Akhila Bandlora

CW: extended discussion of eating disorders

To All the Teens with Eating Disorders That Weren’t Good Enough

  1. Eat in front of a mirror. If you aren’t repulsed by your body, start taking off your clothes. Continue until tears dribble down your face and make soup out of your curd rice.
  2. Pick at your fingers like oysters when you’re hungry. The deeper you dig, the closer the pearl.
  3. Consider going bulimic but write it off as too messy.
  4. When an astrologist tells your mother you will struggle with your weight your entire life, spend the rest of your trip to India refusing jalebis.
  5. When your family tells you to join them for a walk because you’re looking fatter than usual (but not those exact words because “fat” is too strong for this household), feel your empty stomach cramp up.
  6. When your friends and family gush about how sexy your new body is, swell with pride, then deflate yourself, because bloating is not your friend.
  7. If someone offers you dark chocolate, let your stomach rumble like a blender. Say no.
  8. When you start to lose inspiration, read the comments on a Buzzfeed video about plus-sized women. Every time you see the word “whale” or “fat ass”, do twenty push-ups. Congratulations on your new six-pack.
  9. Download a calorie counter. Follow it like religion. Convince yourself that God is hiding in apple skins and low-fat peanut butter and egg whites.
  10. When you’re hungry, chew gum, then swallow your saliva.
  11. Picture yourself walking out of American Eagle with new shorts instead of a pair of those fucking socks.
  12. Remember an eating disorder is temporary. Like being vegetarian. That you’re not like those other girls. That you’re stronger.
  13. Go to math student hours instead of lunch to avoid the inevitable question of “Why aren’t you eating anything?” Leave when your math teachers brings up parabolic curves.
  14. You don’t want curves.
  15. Because curves are just a kinder way to say fat.
  16. Laugh when you get a 4 instead of a 5 in AP Calc.Your mother always told you never to learn on an empty stomach.
  17. Search up “how to be anorexic” on an incognito tab.
  18. Advice: if you’re craving something sweet, lick chopsticks and dip them into a swiss miss pack.
  19. Advice: paint your nails so you can’t eat until the polish dries.
  20. Advice: This is all bullshit. You are good enough.
  21. When your friend’s mom asks you if you want something to eat, tell her you’re sick. Her eyes drift over to her daughter. Quickly add, “It’s not contagious.” She’ll exhale, say a platitude, and go back to cutting carrots.
  22. Watch To the Bone. Focus on the one character who’s black for the 5 seconds she’s on the screen.
  23. Search for statistics on women of color and eating disorders.
  24. Find they are predicted to be higher than the average middle-class white girl.
  25. Stare at the word predicted.
  26. There have been no conclusive studies done on women of color and eating disorders.
  27. No wonder you thought you wouldn’t be affected, you brown motherfucker.
  28. Do your research. There isn’t just anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorders. EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified) is an eating disorder that doesn’t meet the criteria for anorexia, bulimia, or binge. It’s when you kinda have an eating disorder but you kinda don’t. The wonder bread of eating disorders, the most common, the one you and millions of other teenagers picked up at the store today.
  29. Add eating disorder to a lifetime of not-good-enoughs.
  30. You just didn’t fit the profile.
  31. You weren’t skinny enough.
  32. You ate too many calories.
  33. You were never hospitalized.
  34. And for that, you are goddamn lucky.


Akhila Bandlora, a sophomore at BASIS Phoenix, resides in Arizona. She has been awarded eleven times regionally through the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, where she serves as co-president of her local affiliate. Additionally, she has been formally published by Young Authors of Arizona, fromthebowseat, and Rising Phoenix Press. Currently, she serves as a Counterclock Art Reader.

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