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Letter to Ana

2nd May 2014

Hey *Ana,

I think it's about time that you and I had a few words. Somebody has suggested I write to you. At first I thought that this was crazy but I am trying to be more open to new ideas so I'm giving it a go. No doubt you will enjoy the attention.

So here's the thing, we have been together on and off for a long time now, 20 years to be exact. Sometimes *Mia has taken over (sorry, don't get jealous) but right now and for the past year in particular you have been my right hand woman. Problem is as my right hand woman you are supposed to have my back, yet a lot of things are not going too well for me right now. To start with you never warned me that every man and his dog would try to claim that I am stark raving bonkers and should be in a god damned Eating Disorder Unit. What the hell is that all about? You know fine well that I will never let that happen so why don't you get the hint and ease off a bit.

Secondly getting thin and being a teeny size zero like Victoria Beckham is one thing but ending up looking like an escapee from Auschwitz is quite another. I am sure that I recall you promising me that we would stop there, while I was strutting around in my designer dresses but you lied and now I am living in the same pair of jeans as everything else makes me look like a clown wearing oversized MC Hammer pants. I used to enjoy those enviable looks that I used to get from people who couldn't believe that somebody my age could have such a tiny figure, now people stare at me in horror. This is NOT a good look.

Oh and while I'm on a roll my career is down the toilet along with everything that I have eaten in the past year that you consider to be bad even if it tastes good. I worked bloody hard for that degree and you just storm in and rob me of my professional status leaving me bored shitless and watching Jezza with the rest of the benefits brigade. Cheers mate.

No job means no money, which should totally suck but you thought that one through too, you're clever I'll give you that. I got shit all to spend my money on now thanks to you so I have gone from frequenting Selfridges and doing lunch to supermarket surfing obsessing about what food I can and can't buy and seeking out the best wine on offer (against your strict rules I know but it blocks you out for a bit) I know that you will say that I should be in the gym but don't worry that is always my first priority. Just a question though, why do you insist that I go even if I am knackered and haven't eaten anywhere near enough to go training? Oops silly question, you get off on it watching me suffer. Why else would I eat laxatives like they have gone out of fashion?

Talking about suffering, your constant reminders that I am weak and a failure are starting to make people pity me and see me as a victim. Sure I can play this role, but is it really me? I remember times when I have been incredibly strong but interestingly you weren't around much then. If anyone around me dared to put me down and insult me like you do they would be kicked to the kerb quick smart. Shows how deeply you have got your claws into me.

Ana you are very manipulative.

It can't have escaped your notice that I am 40 this year. I know that neither of us wants me to grow up but you can't fight time from passing. It has always been my dream to go somewhere exotic for my fortieth but I'm skint now. You and I parted company for a while last year and my partner and I had the holiday of a lifetime, OK maybe you weren't altogether absent but you were certainly a woman of few words for a couple of weeks. How on earth am I supposed to go on holiday now? It would scare people half to death the sight of me in a bikini, in fact I would probably get arrested for causing visual pollution. This was NOT part of the plan.

I am also arguing a lot about your chosen lifestyle with my partner and everyone else who cares about me. Anyone who tries to offer an opinion is fair game, I'll take them all on except you, until now.

I always trusted you when you told me that getting thin would make me happy. You promised that if I could just hit a certain number that would be it but you keep changing the goalposts for success. I'm not saying that being thin doesn't make me happy it does but the whole heap of shit that comes with it is getting a bit much. I need a break.

So although you will no doubt find the tone of this letter jovial it is written so on purpose as the one thing that you have not yet managed to take from me is my sense of humour. On a more serious note though don't you dare take away my freedom. Have you any idea what it would do to the people that love me to see me carted off like that kicking and screaming like a banshee? It would kill them and ruin my life. You know fine well that you are the only person that can tell me what to do and you will thrive in that situation. All that rebellion and anger that you fill me with would take over and leave me with a tube stuck up my nose indefinitely. I actually hate you when I contemplate this.

Ana, you are going too far so please piss off, at least for a while so that I at least get a chance to experience life without you. Who knows I may even enjoy it. Please just let me be.

PS. This is an order not a request, see I can be a bossy bitch too.

PPS. Didn't go to the gym today I have been too busy bollocking you. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

* Ana refers to the anorexic voice

* Mia comes from 'bulimia'

Signed: ME