Cardio

I would run around my house. Like every other girl my age I was trying to lose weight. I am not actually convinced that every teenaged girl wants to lose weight now. Now I know that some people actually do have healthy childhoods with adults regularly verifying their value. I was living in the echo chamber of Livejournal in the early aughts, during the burgeoning pro-ana movement, in a space where I could close the door and sit transfixed on bodies bonier than every set of knuckles in the house.

I could only run around my house because to run anywhere farther than that in my neighborhood was asking for trouble. I’d run from the door steps to the end of the driveway, then right, and right, and right again, for as long as I could manage.

I ran around and around my house because I thought running anywhere outside of the periphery would kill me.

A few years later I’d realize the only thing in my neighborhood that would kill me was inside of that house.

I ran so far. Left, then left. Then finally right.

I ran until I could feel my hip bones. Now everyone who touches my naked body notices them. They are not battle scars. They are not milky white flags of surrender because the war is never over.

I have been honorably discharged, and those bones are my badges.

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