An Imperfect Perfectionist

Two of my sisters are models, another one is a former track star, and another is a pageant queen. My older brother is a successful surgeon. My sister in law is the cheerleading coach at my high school. My mom is the head discipline administrator of my school. 

As you can see, I have pressure coming at me from all angles. Pressure to be perfect. I can't make any mistakes at school or else my mom will know right away. I can't make mistakes in cheerleading or else my sister in law will yell at me more than the other girls, simply because she knows me better. I can't afford to lose in track because then I'll be constantly compared to my track star sister, who rarely lost anything. I can't make B's or else my parents will compare me to my brother, saying that he had a 4.0 in high school and that's how he got into med school. I can't place below the top 3 in pageants that my mom makes me do or else I get compared to my pageant queen sister, with people saying that I need to be like her to win. I can't gain any weight or else my two model sisters tell me that in order to be pretty, you can't be fat. 

I know they all love me and mean well. But a girl can only take so much before she cracks. 

And that's exactly what happened two years ago.  

I'm not sure what set it off. It was like it had been in me my whole life, but something just set it off. As they say, genetics loads the gun but environment pulls the trigger. My aunt had an eating disorder in high school, so I guess that would be my "genetics" part. But not just one thing led to the "trigger being pulled". 

I remember the day clearly. It was just like any other day. It was 9th grade. I had forgotten my Romeo & Juliet book that I needed for language arts, which was first period. "Claire," said Ms. Fesler, my teacher. "That's the third time you've forgotten to bring your book to class. You have detention after school tomorrow."

I had simply nodded, knowing what was coming next. It was dreadful, waiting for it. It took until third period, but eventually the intercom came. "Mr. Feldman?" the intercom buzzed into the theater classroom. "Can you send Claire Patterson (made up that last name for privacy purposes) to Mrs. Patterson's office please?"

The collective "oooh" coming from my class was enough to make me sick to my stomach. If anyone got sent to Mrs. Patterson's office, it meant you were in trouble. The only reason it was worse was because she was my mother. 

I got to her office and sat down. My mother ran her fingers through her blonde ponytail as she spoke. "I just got a detention notice email from Ms. Fesler," she said. "Do you think that Matt got a 4.0 by forgetting to take his book to class? Come on, Claire, you need to step it up if you want to be successful in this world." I left her office crushed. I'm an insane perfectionist, so hearing my mother say that I had let her down gave me the worst feeling in the world. 

At lunch, I'm not sure why I did it. I skipped the salad bar and headed to the ice cream stand. I bought three ice cream sandwiches and ate them in two minutes. I did it in hope that it would bury my anxiety from the trip to my mother's office.

Instead, I felt even worse. I kept on hearing Jaime and Jill's voices ringing in my head: "You can't be fat and pretty at the same time!!"

I had to get rid of it. 

I got up and told my friends I was going to the bathroom. I locked the stall door. Thank goodness the hand dryers were on. I bent over the toilet and put two fingers down my throat. After much poking and gagging and crying and heaving, I finally manage to make myself throw up. It was a glorious feeling. I felt accomplished. 

That afternoon at cheer practice, my sister in law Christine was working us like a madwoman. I was still a bit dizzy from throwing up earlier. I was three counts behind everyone on our routine we ha just learned. Christine pulled me aside during water break. "Claire, what's wrong with you today?" I shrugged. "Well, you need to get your **** together. You're letting everyone down."

That was the straw that broke the camels back. 

I got home and cried. I cried for hours. I looked in a mirror and listed every single thing I found wrong with myself. "Imperfect" was on the list fourteen times. 


I strived for perfection my whole life, and yet I was the most imperfect person on the planet. 

I thought about the perfect people that surrounded me and found a direct correlation between weight and perfection. 

The next day, I ate nothing. I was giddy that night when I felt my stomach growl in protest. It was addictive. I had a new addiction. 

An addiction that at first I enjoyed. At first, I was truly jumping for joy when I would step on the scale and see I lost yet another pound. But now I know how drug addicts feel: you hate it. You know it's awful for you, and you know that you have to stop. But that feeling... It's so god damn addictive that you have to get it. You need it. It feels so damn good and you hate that it does, but it does. It becomes more important than anything. 

Anorexia isn't just a mental disease, like tourettes or autism. It's an addiction. 

An addiction that has ruined my life. 
volleyballclaire volleyballclaire
13-15, F
1 Response May 6, 2012

I know what your going throw my sister is a surge also and my other sister is a top cheerleader. My brother is a high school ba<x>seball star. I have the same pressure as u