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TRIGGER WARNING - discusses eating disorder behavior

Katherine. Livvy. Pearl. The stars of Beauty Matters. Hanging over her bed.

The poster was curling on the edges but had never fallen. Not once. It showed the three celebrities posing in bikinis, drinking margaritas with enough sex appeal to make up where every white male in American over the age of 60 was lacking (which was also probably Beauty Matters’ primary demographic). Abs shined with blinding radiance, defined muscles on bodies that were made to be shown off.

Lauren kept them there as a reminder of the person she wanted to be, but that line of thinking had gotten her to where she was today, and where she was today wasn’t good.

The show had started it all for her. She was only twelve when she first heard the term 

count your calories 

for the first time - or at least, really registered its meaning. Suddenly it wasn’t rice cake, it was 

35

It wasn’t cake, it was 

370

Going above 

1000

was scary, but dipping past 

1200 

was just impossible.

Katherine, Livvy, and Pearl counted their calories. They used an app to make sure they were staying on track with their fitness goals. They tracked it all before every single meal, not taking a bite until they knew exactly 

230

what they were about to eat. Food no longer existed.

Only numbers.

Lauren was proud of herself the first time she went under

500

and even more proud when 

the scale 

went down, too. It was an accomplishment.

A success.

Her 

gum dinners

and 

fasting

had paid off in big ways, in the form of two 

giant thighs 

that had practically vanished.

Along with that, though, so had all of her energy.

Lauren’s parents didn’t notice the problem until her bones started showing. She had dropped twenty pounds in only three months - the most weight in the shortest time period she had ever done. She 

stopped getting her period 

long before that, but thought of it as another big success. Livvy was constantly saying that she had missed her period on the show, taking pregnancy tests and faking a scare as clickbait. 

Lauren was looking up at them now, doing what she had done for the past seven years when she couldn’t fall asleep. Counting the number of bikini pieces between the three of them

6

Looking up and remembering how many calories (probably) were in those margaritas 

200

Wondering how many more hours she’d be staring at the ceiling, stomach hurting, head pounding, mind spinning, while she thought about the 

gum dinners,

fasting, 

calories,

giant thighs,

and how long it would be until she was finally happy.

Every number felt too high. 

1200 

became 

1000

became 

800

became 

500

until the day she saw kombucha

35 

and said even that was too much. 

She showed her friends the 

bad foods list

she had saved on her phone, and praised herself for the way she could resist foods that even Katherine, Livvy, and Pearl couldn’t. She was stronger than they were, she raved, and weighed even less.

She showed her friends, until one day, her friends were all gone. They were doing things that people who didn’t care about themselves did - go to parties, eat fatty foods, and drink until their stomachs stretched in their jeans.

Lauren hadn’t felt stretched in years.

But today, she was laying on her bed, staring at the stars of her life, and 

crying.

Tears were flooding down her face, and she couldn’t stop them. For the first time in seven years, she looked up at Katherine, Livvy, and Pearl, and saw something 

utterly inhuman.  

She wanted to go back to when she was twelve and take that poster down. She wanted it to fall. Why hadn’t it fallen? What was holding it together? 

How had she not fallen apart yet?

She wanted to ask Katherine, Livvy, and Pearl if they were okay. If they were struggling as much as she was with holding herself up all the time. She wanted to ask if they had ever 

skipped birthday parties

or 

stayed home from dances

because they were ashamed. She wanted to ask if they 

lived in fear.

The things that they told her in treatment were coming to her mind today, all because of this stupid poster. These idols that she had looked up to (literally and figuratively) all her life had made her miss out on what were supposed to be the prime of her life. She 

lost so many memories 

because she had really believed that 

beauty is the only thing that matters.

The tears stopped. She got up. She stood on the bed, her head lowered to avoid hitting the ceiling. She held onto the corner, taking a moment to register what she was about to do.

She pulled. Hard. 

The 

bikini pieces became 2 and 4, then became zero when she crumbled the two pieces up. Into the trash they went, 

seven years of fear

going with them. Without thinking, Lauren reached up and touched the ceiling where they had been, 

hidden from the world

for so long, blocked from seeing the daylight.

She laid back down on the bed, the tears drying on her cheeks. It was only for a brief moment, though, because she knew almost immediately who belonged up there. The person that had been hidden from the world for so long.

Lauren rolled over and grabbed the photo album she kept in a shoebox in her desk. There weren’t many pictures, but there was one she was looking for…

There. A little girl. 

Smiling 

from ear to ear. Wearing her tiny soccer jersey with pride as she showed her spoon to the camera. The 

ice cream sundae 

was almost as big as her head, and she was clearly 

enjoying 

every single bite of it. It was her, when she was around seven years old. Years before Katherine, Livvy, and Pearl made an appearance on her screen, and then on her ceiling. Before 

food was calories 

and 

fasting 

existed in her mind. This little girl was the person she wanted to be now. For the first time in a long time, she wanted to be 

happy.

Lauren took her spot on the bed, staring up now at that little girl - the star that radiated brighter than Katherine, Livvy, and Pearl ever could. She took a deep breath and reached down to touch her stomach, lightly. She wanted to feel the way her body was. She wanted to understand that that body was 

beautiful.

This was the star she wanted to see every day:

Herself. Happy.

July 24, 2020 03:27

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11 comments

01:44 Jul 25, 2020

Very poignant writing. Great job. I like the way you set up the paragraphs and spacing. Very effective

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Kirby Povilaitis
04:02 Jul 25, 2020

Thank you so so much!! It really means a lot!

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04:33 Sep 24, 2020

Hey, Kirby would you be kind to watch the first video it's on Harry potter. https://youtu.be/KxfnREWgN14 Sorry for asking your time

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21:35 Aug 17, 2020

Wow. This is really a message. The world's standard of beauty isn't everything in life, we shouldn't throw away our humanity and forget who we are trying to fit in with some stereotypical definition of 'beauty'. Apart from beauty being inside us, all sizes, colors and structures are beautifully made. I really loved this Kirby. :) (P.S. Do you mind stopping by and reading some of my recents? Comments would be nice too. THANKS! :D)

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Raquel Rodriguez
06:54 Aug 02, 2020

Oh. My. Gosh. Okay, holy cow! This is so good! Any girl who's fasted because of weight or been anorexic can probably relate to this. This was so heartbreaking! Though some parts were confusing, I got the main idea that Lauren is skinny and she's fasting. Oh yeah, I noticed something. So, the sentence, 'It showed the three celebrities posing in bikinis, drinking margaritas with enough sex appeal to make up where every white male in American over the age of 60 was lacking' It's supposed to be 'America', not 'American' Or you coul...

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Roshna Rusiniya
15:08 Jul 27, 2020

This was lovely. A beautiful message too. Well done!

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Kirby Povilaitis
14:42 Jul 28, 2020

thank you so much!! i really appreciate it!!

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Roshna Rusiniya
14:57 Jul 28, 2020

You are welcome! Would you also check out mine if you have time? Thanks!

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Peace Nakiyemba
09:06 Jul 24, 2020

This is a great take on the prompt. And I like the message behind the story, very moving, very well told. Well done.

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Kirby Povilaitis
04:03 Jul 25, 2020

Thank you!! I really appreciate you taking the time to read!

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This was great! Love how you used ‘return’ to your advantage. Would you mind checking out one or two of my stories? Thanks! —Aerin!!! 🌈🌈🌈🌟🌟🌟❤️❤️❤️🌈🌈🌈

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