When I Felt Unloved, I’d Drop 20 Pounds. Read Count : 20

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When I felt unloved, I’d drop 20 pounds. 


I’m not exaggerating, really. 


I’d go from 120 to 100, or 130 to 110 to eventually 100. My metabolism always felt very direct. If I didn’t eat for a day, I’d drop three pounds, simple as that. Do that three days, you’ve lost roughly ten pounds. 


I didn’t do this because I thought people might love me when I was thin, but because concern was the closest thing to love I knew. 


I was what I might call an “unappreciated” person if I was a self absorbed egomanaic. No, I was not “unappreciated”, I was an accessory. Like the bow on top of a present, going unnoticed unless it was missing or looked like shit. This is my own fault. 


I’m not horrible in groups. I can be funny, make people laugh, can keep a conversation rolling, and I never have awkward silences. I’m charming. But no one talks directly to me, I float from group conversation to group conversation, I can just leave parties without saying a word and no one notices, no one wants to hear about my problems and everyone knows more about me than they’re comfortable knowing, and it seems to be the general opinion that I’m amusing, but not friend material. I have a lot of guesses as to why. 


At attention I would flee, when people would try to get to know me I would respond like a brick wall. I often lashed out in groups when I felt people’s opinions of me were too high. 


When people thought I was good or smart or kind and expressed as such, I was convinced they didn’t know me yet. And usually they didn’t. So I would act like a total dick bag immediately to show them who I “really was”. I was not this way with the few people who I ended up actual friends with or with family. It was only a public spectacle to convince everyone how shitty I was. I’ve always been kind of an asshole, and I always am, but any kind of positive attention makes that skyrocket. 


In middle school and elementary school, I was often mocked with fake interest and classmates pretending to like me. A group of people would come up to me and start complimenting me- luring me in till they snapped down and began to insult me. I knew it was a trap, but I could never find out how before I was humiliated. I grew to immediately snap anytime groups of people would pay attention to me, and still today I think people are making fun of me. I can remember the first time I ever immediately deflected attention from a group, in the 5th grade; Italia, Sonali and Anya came up to me near the computers and started asking about a shirt I was wearing, and I was tired of having to try and predict everything only to end up made fun of. So I just snapped “fuck off.” (They still laughed at me).


Have you ever been in a room where you  make everyone uncomfortable and they all wish you would just shut the fuck up? It’s not all that horrible, really. It sounds worse on paper. In that room there’s a weird sort of power associated with making someone laugh for 10 minutes straight and then immediately flipping into talking about your Adderall addiction to show them all how much of a shitty person you are, how you don’t give a shit about them or what they think , and how detached you are from them. And it went both ways, as the room definitely showed me right back, albeit indirectly, “we’re not gonna touch you with a 10 foot pool.” 


But they keep you around, because sometimes you have clever observations and you’ve read more than anyone else and you’re probably the 5th smartest person in the room, and you’re definitely the quickest. And some of them will make off hand comments about worrying about you or wanting you to “get off the drugs,” but they won’t take action or even talk to you the way people who actually want you to get better do. Primarily, it’s a joke. I’m the joke. I’m the joke doing nothing but taking up space. 


It’s a strangely freeing feeling, that you could disappear and not much would change. It’s a strange fantasy. I don’t die, I don’t run away, everybody wakes up one day and I’m just gone. And shit goes on, not a single gear out of place. My history teacher would miss me more than any of my friends. There’s nothing keeping me tied down here. I don’t belong to these people and they don’t belong to me, I’m just a passerby. Most of them belong to each other, or at least to someone. But I’m almost completely untethered, and it’s equal parts freeing and horrifying to know you could become a nomad. 


Another thing: I don’t date. I did in middle school, and since then I’ve had nothing but hook-ups. In this world, where romantic love is the one true love, and everything else only seeks to assist it, I am unloved, as other people can’t stand to be that close to me, or would never choose me above others. Maybe that’s why I’ve been obsessed with the concept of marriage for as long as I can remember; it’s your place, this is your person and you are their person. They’ve seen you in every place and picked you, picked you out of everyone. Their whole life won’t be about you, not in any realistic capacity, but it’s a very direct promise: I see you and I notice when you’re sad and I want you to be happy and you are nonexpendable for me. When I’m surrounded, I will pick you out of the crowd. I will make space for you in my life, and that will never go away. 


It doesn’t help that out of the few who have loved me, they all have seemed to resent the fact. “I hate that I love you”, etc. As if I am bad, despicable, mischievous, and a problem, but for some reason still attractive. No one had ever decided that it made sense to love me. 


But I’m not kidding anyone. I’ll never get married, it will never work. No ones ever going to promise their life to me just because I’m me. Everyone’s them. We’re all people and I’m just a person, and an impressively average one at that. So when my future spouse is standing in a group of six people, and they find something about me they like, my fight or flight response will go off. I’ll say something purposefully disturbing and uncomfortable so they piss off or I’ll just leave. They won’t chase me down like an animal after that, not in any realistic capacity. That’ll be that. We’ll fall into a routine with all the other group members. I’ll be charming for 5 minutes, earning myself a place in the conversation each day, then a total unbearable bitch. Someone makes a joke that there was a line between healthy and unhealthy drug use, but I snorted it. They’re making fun of me. “If you don’t sit down right now I’m gonna check you into rehab.” 


I’d like to make it as clear as possible that these are not ignorant people. I’m drawn to groups of intellectuals and thinkers and pretentious assholes. They all love to debate or write; they all agree addiction is a disease, not a personal failing. And yet they seem to have a lot of trouble applying the theory. 


But then my friends see me after February break, only rice everyday, and I’ve lost about ten pounds. In 10 days. I keep going and I go from 120 to 100 and it’s impossible to ignore. I’m wasting away. It’s not a joke to them anymore. At the regular party someone comes up to me and asks me if I’m doing okay. They speak so gently I think I might cry. The joke that they all want me to quit turns into concern I might die. And it feels so, so, so good that when they have to confront what it would mean for me to die, that when they see what I would look like laid out for my final rites, that when they really have to process what being a drug addicted anorexic means, they don’t want that. It’s different for them to know the information than to see it.



Typically, you only worry about your friends when they talk to you about something they’re going through. That would never happen with these people I was constantly surrounded with, but they would definitely do so with each other. A BMI of 17.2 forced worry into them. They never had to have a real conversation with me to see that something was deeply wrong. They never even had to really care about me to see someone they knew in an obviously dangerous state. It was like a slow public execution. It's hard to watch an execution without having any desire to intervene. 


My fucked up state was no longer a comedy. It was almost like they saw it as fiction before, the way you can laugh at a dark comedy because you know it’s not real. Now it was tragedy. 


So my group would ask me, if there was anything they could do, if I needed any help, if there was anything wrong, if I was eating. Nothing ever felt closer to love before. No one had wanted to help me before. 


I did this more than once. With a few separate friend groups. The exact specifics of all these conditions don’t remain for me now. I don’t drop 20 pounds to feel loved nowadays. But the same sentiment still exists in me. One of my strangest, most extreme fantasies is all my friends seeing me high. A couple of them have seen me a little messy, but never absolutely fucked up. I’m talking 40mg of the white stuff and 15 of the blue, the type of high where your heart beats out of your mouth like a cartoon character and I end up crying because what the absolute fuck is wrong with me. I want them to understand. 


My friends are good people, I’m the problem. It’s not their fault I’m fucked and it’s not their fault I can’t stand to take friendships seriously unless the other person treats me with cruelty. It’s not their fault that trying to love me is like trying to give a bear a flu shot, or that I’m, frankly, an obnoxious bitch. I don’t want to sound like I’m whining about the horrible tragedy of being a fuck up. 


I am almost completely unloved, and that’s nobody’s fault but mine. But concern feels like love, and it’s much easier to evoke. I don’t know. Don’t try Adderall and don’t be autistic. 

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