“All I wanted was a shiny nose,” I cried. She had to sit down because her giggles made her wheeze.
That same weird lick of pride has visited me again and again, as my muscles bulked up through sports. As my endurance grew.
As weight slipped from my frame.
At age sixteen and 104 pounds, I was compact. I could drum a beat on my ribs. I was lithe, sleek. My BMI was just over 18.5, so Not A Problem. Never have I owned myself more, even now. Discipline was stamped into my bones for all to see. A regency over flesh.
Denial felt powerful. I was the master of myself, even when I was ravenous.
I will be a doctor soon, and even still I draw on that year of deliberate privation, those old wounds of choice. It is a well-earned lesson to know myself in matters of want and will.
It’s an even better lesson to learn to evaluate the want at the source.
Iowa City, Iowa