By Amanda Little
A polaroid of my sister and me shoulder to shoulder one summer evening in the fading sunlight, as we sit on a hill. My pale yellow pleated skirt brings out the buttercups in the grass beside us.
A polaroid of my boyfriend and me holding a pink heart-shaped helium balloon, his hand around my waist. The balloon brings out the blush on our cheeks.
A picture of an old group of friends sitting in a field on the day we first met, arms interlaced over and under one another. We snuggle together as if we have known each other for years.
A photo of me on the beach looking at my feet in the shallows, my blonde hair bleached almost white from the bold rays of the sun as it splays about in the salty wind.
These are my first impressions while looking back on some of my favorite photographs.
But I can never stop the inevitable second thoughts that follow, as the pictures slowly take form into tests, and my happiness depends on if I pass.
The night my sister and I sat on the hill to watch the sunset, I had run over six miles that day and skipped dinner to look thin in that pale yellow skirt.
Before the picture was taken of my boyfriend and me on Valentine’s Day, I had made sure to suck in a breath so that my waist would take up less room in his hand.
The day I had met a new group of friends, I remember the skin under my fingernails being blue because I was so cold on that warm late April afternoon.
That day on the beach, as I walked in the shallows, I wasn’t looking at my feet but at the gap in between my thighs, making sure it was large enough for me to be wearing my bathing suit.
I have over 7,000 pictures on my camera roll.
Along with them come over 7,000 thoughts that my eating disorder has latched onto like a parasite.
Looking at each picture I can name what I ate that day, if I ate that day, and how happy I was depending on it.
With each year that passes as my camera roll grows, my infected thoughts do the same.
I’m always hoping that I will see the smiles instead of the size of my waist or the gap between my thighs.
I am still hoping for my photographs to return to what they once were to me before: not a test, but a cherished place in time.