HI! Pochondria.

by marinashifrin

You know that mirror dance every girl does when trying on a piece of clothing? You walk up to the mirror analyze your body. Swivel. Do the obligatory butt-check and ultimately realize this is not the ‘you’, you want stepping out of the house that morning.

I have done the mirror dance often, except instead of clothing I try on various disorders and addictions.

I think part of the reason I always struggled to have something wrong with me is due to the monotony of a perfect suburban upbringing, something my 12-year old mind would not accept. Where was the drama? Where was the excitement? I couldn’t write about minivans and happiness in my autobiography. I mean, my parents were even happily married—C’mon!

So, the disordered-love affair started with depression. Being depressed was okay, but the black nail polish was dying my nails yellow and I couldn’t keep up with my poetry. The day 16-year-old Marina stood on the family garage roof—10ft from the ground—crying and threatening to jump to her impending hair-line fractured ankle (at best) was the day that I came back inside and my depression decided to jump.

Soon college came and that’s when anorexia seemed oh-so appetizing. As my weight shot down and my confidence shot up, the calorie counting got more severe and exercising became a ritual.  Then my drastic, non-eating lifestyle took a sudden turn. I almost remember the very moment—I had bitten into my first artichoke dip covered Flatbranch burger and that was the end of it. Besides I was fucking hungry all the time. I folded up my anorexia and put it in the back of the closet between my OCD and Paranoia. Back to the mirror.

For a short while I tried being an alcoholic, but gave up that habit quickly when I realized I couldn’t afford it. SIDE NOTE: My alcoholism made a small resurgence in New York, but I think they call it ‘networking’ here.

And so, where does that leave me now? Who is doing the mirror dance? I would love to end this post to say I realized that none of those disorders were really me and I blossomed into a healthy, stable 23-year-old but I would be lying and my three readers would know it.

Every morning for the past two years, I walk up to the mirror take a breath and take a look. I stare at my face, my neck, my teeth. I move to the body length mirror and examine my back, my chest, my stomach. The handheld mirror comes out for a closer look; thighs, knees, calves. I hold my breath studying every inch, every bump, every birthmark. I do the swivel, and decide: Yup, my butt looks great in this hypochondria.