This year Platform Youth Culture has collaborated with TasWriters in a creative writing opportunity designed to showcase creative pieces from talented young Tasmanians aged between 12 and 25. As part of this project, young writes were given the opportunity to learn from and develop their creative writing skills by receiving valuable feedback for their submissions from published authors such as Kate Gordon, Christina Booth and Anne Morgan along with the opportunity to participate in a series of creative writing workshops run by Arianne James, Project Coordinator at TasWriters.
Content warning: This piece contains themes of eating disorders, mental illness and self harm.
warnings for the starving ones:
you will learn to draw power from the hunger. you will learn to seek comfort in the brutal finality of numbers. an apple will no longer look healthy. you will almost perfect the art of ignoring yourself. almost. until the night when you are sat down to face a battle in the shape of a dinnerplate. you will chew slowly – if you even chew at all. you will obsess over every possibility of a calorie until you have choreographed your body to fidget & tap & twirl from muscle memory. you will learn impatience & call it aspiration.
your mind will play pretty, hazy tricks on you. like how your friends are just jealous & feeling winter in your bones as the sun shines down on you is nothing short of an accomplishment. your hair falling out is just your body finally helping you lose more weight!
your bones will shift under your skin like a machine thirsting for oil – creaking & groaning – what will you make of this? & when your fingernails turn blue? you know, blue is such a lovely colour. if you are one of the starving ones, you will try to make dying look graceful instead of gory. you will learn to fall in love with the framework of your body instead of the contents until you are nothing but a haunted house.
when you at last see your sickness – like the cracks in a room of mirrors – what will you do? when you realise you have lost control of your mind, how will you ever find it again? when you find the corpse of your soul tucked into the far corners of yourself, what will you do to revive her?
the starving ones, in the end, will call their heart giving out just that – a gift.
to the days that my father asked,
what I’d packed in my lunchbox
& I recited the ghost of a meal that a sane child would love:
she wasn’t always like this.
the girl who lived inside of me used to be soft.
& take marshmallows from
the fridge & get caught
to the nights I laid on my pillow & prayed
to every form of god
that the internet said could make me thin:
you should know that Aphrodite probably stopped answering prayers a
long time ago.
to the christmas dinners I lost
because I was trying to glow up during the break:
I bet you were fucking delicious.
sometimes I think about how much I lost when I let this
sickness take over my body & how
even though I made it out alive
I have done very little living.
to the night after my first date
when my starving mouth engulfed cold-grease-covered leftovers only to
watch them come up in the bathroom sink:
my esophagus doesn’t ever want to call you back. she knows the aching
all too well.
to the backseat drivethru orders where I convinced myself that
breathing in the smell of the fryer through my mouth was probably worth calories:
I don’t know exactly when you lost yourself but we need you to get help.
you’re dying. you’re not meant to feel pretty when you’re dying.
you poison the people around you like a virus
& wonder why they all leave.
dad is worried about you.
actually, everyone is worried about you.
to the walk I took instead of running:
thank you. I was really tired.
to the pastry I dissected in tokyo but
I’m sorry you have to be so proud of me.
I missed you.
even though I sometimes forget
I’d so much rather being fat & happy
than losing to my illness
to the reminders my best friend has to give me
that she’s still proud of me:
I’d eat skittles all day for you. I have.
thank you for reminding me that it’s okay to eat whatever the fuck I want to eat & to look however the fuck I want to look & that I don’t owe anyone my thinness
that I don’t owe anyone any part of me.
to the boy from kindergarten who never wanted to be my friend because I was fat:
it’s not fair that I lost 7 years
to please people
I’m glad you hated me. I hate you more
& not because of your exterior.
to the milk I now drink in my coffee:
you make mornings so much smoother to swallow.
to the days I owe my body:
I’m not sure how to pay off this debt
but I promise to try.
oh isn’t it so unique so classic just so
hot like blood running through
my friends from the middle class
think it’s so cute to have nothing and
call it pride when it’s really
I have always dreamed of having more.
I did not know it was real.
and they try to relate like yes!
we have tasted microwave meals or
yes! we used to eat that when we went camping
what a treat it is!
to not have enough; but only for the
weekend! only by choice!
the smell of poverty is stained
all through my memories. yellow (like my mother’s/father’s/sister’s index&middle finger).
bongs and needles and wet cigarette ash and linoleum and sour and acrid and hot and hot and we can’t afford to run the air conditioner so just wear shorts.
the slurs that seem knee jerk to my
deepest childhood subconscious
frighten me. now that I’m out. now that I’ve escaped it.
I will never escape it.
our house got broken into each year
& we knew who did it
every time. we could not call the police. the police were sniffing the air for us and waiting for a reason to raid.
never safe. always hiding.
but don’t you love the color palette of that movie that was meant to be based in the hood or whatever???
unpaid child support paid by minors. not by choice.
there is a line. a lot of my friends don’t understand that.
once, my father gave us daughters a choice between petrol for the car
we had been hungry before. this would not hurt more than it always did.