I just bought a thing called a "skinny girl sparkler" at CVS. I kind of hate myself for this. I didn't buy it because it said "skinny" on it. I bought it because it said things like "strawberry lemonade" and "Sale! 88¢", and didn't say "ATTENTION PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE". They taste pretty good. The nutrition label, which is on the back where the phenylalanine warning usually goes, says they have 10 calories a bottle instead of zero, probably because they have at some point at least been in a room that contained actual fruit.

I still hate having spent money on this. I could claim that it's because selling things directly to women on the basis that it'll help them lose weight is a presumptuous load of royally sexist bullshit, and that it encourages us to police each other's bodies in a hierarchy where women who look thin like the one on the label are advised to feel self-righteous about outranking women who are trying to look that way, who in turn outrank women who don't give a fuck. As a fallback position, I could claim that I have an environmental conscience and that I don't believe in the wastefulness of 20 oz single-serving bottles as a packaging method, or in marking for human consumption a drink that is a concoction of water, Splenda, and a dozen or so chemicals that I can't reliably pronounce.

Mainly, it upsets me because it reminds me that I'm getting thinner, and I can't seem to get anyone to understand why I don't like this.

I picked up circus hooping a few months ago. It looked interesting, and I get free rehearsal time at the dance studio.

I spent the first few months not caring if I was locked in a studio alone with a hoop, because that shit was hilarious. It is physically impossible to keep a dance hoop going without looking like an utter sexpot. Learning to roll a hoop around your rib cage is the second-best method of boob promotion ever invented, right behind showing up to ComicCon dressed as Ivy from Soul Calibur, with a name tag smacked directly onto your left tit that says "Hello! My name is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT". I picked up some free hoops from one of the professional hoopers who was cleaning out her stash. I was bad at it and looked stupid for a while, but I got better.

It is becoming increasingly clear that I am never going to get a performance venue for this. I am informed this shouldn't matter -- I should be doing my hobbies for myself. Bollocks. I do plenty of things for myself. I learn languages for myself. I keep rats for myself. I dress fancy for myself. Hooping is a performance skill, whose reward stems from other people's enjoyment of watching you do it. No one wants to see it, so I don't get to show it off, and no one wants to learn it from me, so I don't get to pass it on. I would say that no one gives a rat's ass about the hooping, but that seems unfair to the rats, whose furry little backsides are generally quite popular with Jazmin and her friends.

I can't stop doing it now, or I will feel like an abject failure. I will have failed at being a grown-up and getting exercise, and I will have failed at being an independent human who enjoys things without consulting other people. I am not having a nice life at the moment, and I'm aiming to avoid feeling like an abject failure whenever possible.

This would be fine if I were not also not eating things. I stop eating when stressed. It isn't an anorexic thing where I get afraid of fat or food; it's an anorectic thing, where I have no appetite, nothing tastes right, and if I try to stuff things down when they don't want to go, they are shortly returned to sender. Throwing up is not a favorite activity of mine, so I try to keep it to a minimum. I take multivitamins so I don't actually get scurvy. I try to drink a lot of juice.

Hooping burns a lot of calories. It's a workout, and produces muscles. I'm not worried about looking un-girly; I don't think I could do that if I tried. I have a conical rib cage and wide birthin' hips. My skeleton is going to be in an anthropology textbook a thousand years from now as the prototypical "adult human female (nulliparous)". I've never wanted to look like an athlete either, not even in the passing 'that would be cool, but the effort required to get there sounds effort-y' sense. It's not the weird new abdominal musculature that worries me, that's fine -- it's the fact that I'm now getting thin enough to see this. And my hipbones. And rib shadows. No stretching required.

There is no explaining this to some people. Most people, really. I'm okay with the initial 'atta girl'. I understand that the only way in which this has anything to do with me is that they wanted to say something nice and encouraging to me. Absent any other data, they assume I want to hear what most people in my culture want to hear, and that isn't their fault. I just can't get a lot of them to see that 'randoms on the street think you look appropriate and fashionable' doesn't outweigh things like 'I can't sit on the floor anymore without feeling like I'm bruising something' or 'it's getting harder to find a comfortable position to sleep in, where my hips aren't digging in' or 'the last time this happened, it was a sign of a full-on nervous breakdown'.

So there I am, stuck. Jazmin keeps feeding me dinner things, because she does things like bring home entire swordfish steaks without having any clear idea what she's going to do with them. I'm trying to keep myself out of the pit, but it isn't working very well.


  1. I have the same not-eating reaction to certain kinds of stress, and while most of my friends get that this is bad and I should be prodded to eat food (because I, you know, told them), one persisted in telling me how envious he was. This turned out to be a portent of many bad things.


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