Empty Eyes and Tired Minds


You groan as you slowly turn in your bed and squint at your phone. It’s 5 am and your day has started. Your limbs ache as you force yourself out of bed, still so tired because you were up until 1:30am studying for that test, working on that paper, prepping for the future. Legs are dragged across the bedroom floor as your arms search for the bathroom door. Groggy from the sleep that rests in your eyes, you wash your face. Your skin is rudely cleansed with ice water and your mouth fills with peppermint.

5:10am. The cold, crisp spring air hits your face as your start on your daily workout routine. The route you take is familiar, it’s the same one you did the day before, and the day before that; you’ve been running the same route for months now. Straight for 1km, right for 3km, up that hill, left for 2km, down another hill, straight for 1km, left 2km, home. You can picture it without being there. Your muscles scream at you, they haven’t had a break in 2 months. They are mad that you won’t quit, that no matter how little sustanance you consume, the few hours you sleep, you never miss a run. The hill winds you and half way up you want to stop. Walk maybe. The voice whispers to you, you’re almost there. You’ve done this so many times, just keep on going.

6am. Laying on the cold floor you start your strengthening routine. 60 crunches, 60 Russian twists, 5 minute plank, 80 mountain climbers, 40 squats, 60 lunges, 40 pushups. Every inch of you hurts. Memories of your childhood flood your brain. Fat. Ugly. Stretch-marks and pizza face. Unloveable. Gross. Worthless. Loner. “You say that you don’t care about your looks? Well maybe you should.” You push yourself further. Warm shower water graces your abused body, deceives it into believing that what you’re doing to yourself is a form of compassion. Lying to yourself has become second nature.

8:30am. You’re on campus revising coursework. You see your friend grabbing coffee at Starbucks and wave hello. Big smile, nothing is wrong. She’s a dancer and super skinny as well as one of the most beautiful faces you’ve ever seen. She walks with grace and as light as a feather. God you wish you looked like her. She laughs as she sips her coffee, collarbones sticking out and thighs that are miles apart. You say bye as she heads to class. Back to the laptop you go. Got to get that A remember?

5pm. You’re still in the library. You’ve been here since class ended at 11. Your phone goes off and the guy that you’ve just realized you actually do like has texted you. “How’s your day going?” You ignore the text. You cannot comprehend why he’s messaging you still after 2 months. You start to get scared because you don’t want to get too close. You don’t want him to know the real you, so you start to pull away. Keep your distance. You’ve been screwed over too many times and you know that your body can’t handle that torment again. It’s for the best. I’m making his life easier if I delete myself from it now.

9:15pm. Your stomach is growling. Water, tea and coffee splash around in your belly. The only solid food you’ve had today was a banana in the morning and some carrot sticks with hummus for lunch. Subtly you look down and tell it to quiet down. You take a big gulp of water and sip some more tea. That should trick it for now. You get back to work.

12:30am. The last bus is pulling away from campus as you sprint to catch it from the library. Your brain is exhausted from all that work.

1am. The bed invites you in. You take a quick glance at yourself in the mirror. Your hair is twisted into a strange contraption of a bun, your skin flushed from your natural pigment. Acne is prevalent, your arms and stomach jiggle but your ribs whisper a congratulations. There’s no point in looking at your legs, you’re already disgusted. You do 10 more minutes of squats and lunges and crunches, replaying those haunting childhood memories.

1:30am. Finally it’s time for bed. You have a voice recording of lecture notes playing in the background. The fear of failure is your drive to success. One more A. Lose one more pound. One more comment to crush. One day I’ll be beautiful, smart and worthy of someone. Not today, but one day I will be able to prove them all wrong.