Family Tree, Recipe for Staying Hungry, What I Wanted, and Jorts and Depression by Megan Cannella

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Family Tree

 

Mother

(n.) one who sheds their human form to fully transition into sacrifice; the juxtaposition of widow and youth, never quite finding the right time to be

See synonyms: martyr, enemy, friend, stranger, future

Father

(n.) a myth you don’t quite believe in anymore, despite the evidence you see every time you look in the mirror and see his face; an ancestor; an increased risk of heart disease and heartbreak

See synonyms: absence, answer, question, mirage

Brother

(n.) a person you raised but have no maternal claim to

See synonyms: ungrateful, asshole, heart, forgiven

You:

(unsure) versatile; resilient; repurpose as needed

See synonyms: mother, father, sibling, tired, wretched, alone

 

Recipe for Staying Hungry

CW: disordered eating

 

1. List all the foods that feel repulsive to your mind’s taste buds. They are too slippery, too gamey, too chewy, too gristly. You used to like these foods. Now, your imagination says no, and your tongue doesn’t want to be part of this conversation at all.

2. Check your bank account. Can you afford to be neurotic about your next meal? Maybe, but only if you scale back your neurotic output somewhere else. There is only so much to go around. 

3. Are you really even hungry? If yes, proceed to Step 4. If unsure, consider the following questions:

    • a. Are you sad?
    • b. Are you lonely?
    • c. Are you forgotten?
    • d. Are you broken?
    • e. Are you forgetting the name of this feeling but still able to remember the feeling of cheese?

4. Do you want to eat cottage cheese again? If yes, eat cottage cheese as a meal for the 4th time this week. If no, go to Step 5.

5. Do you want to eat super chunky peanut butter from the jar again? If yes, eat super chunky peanut butter from the jar as a meal for the 7th time this week. If no, go to Step 6.

6. Repeat steps 1-5. More than once. Just to be sure you really are too pathetic to eat any of the food currently taking up space in your freezer and pantry.

7. Do you want to order something that is mostly bread? If yes, fine. Whatever. You need to stay alive. If no, repeat steps 1-5 one more time. Then, maybe, move on to Step 8.

8. Give up. Go to sleep. Try again later.

 

What I Wanted 

 

When I finally left, I wanted to leave five open cans of tuna hidden around the apartment in places he’d never think to look, but I was too lazy to go out and buy revenge tuna.

Instead, I got four days between the moment I realized I didn’t love him and the moment I realized that mattered. I tried to talk him out of coming to my grad school graduation. I didn’t want my happiness or pride or enthusiasm to be near him anymore, because I knew they weren’t safe.

When I was packing up, I tried to think of three things to make it worth staying but could only come up with HBO, which I suppose I can pay for on my own. (I still haven’t though. Never knowing how Girls ended seems like a positive side effect of this breakup.)

Instead, I got two years of pain that even now still sometimes tastes like love.

When it started, I just wanted one I love you that I trusted.

 

Jorts and Depression

 

The star patches on the pockets are comforting. They generously lend some optimism to this whole situation.

I usually like finished hems and think faux rips and tears are tacky, but in this case, the mass-produced cutoff-ness makes me look like this isn’t the first time I’ve worn shorts in 20 years, the first time since my mom made me cry in the Target dressing room, as she tsked and sighed that she’d apparently have to try to find a bigger size for me. If the shorts believe they’re familiar and worn, other people will believe it’s normal that I’m wearing them, and I will forget that there isn’t actually a rule against fat girls in shorts.

The fit is decent. There was no breath holding or wiggling or jumping or bargaining when I put them on. I think I’ll keep them anyway as an incentive outfit. Before ordering, one reviewer said she wore them to a family picnic and got lots of compliments. One reviewer said she wore them on a date and felt flirty and fabulous. A supportive family, a date, and shorts all for $25.99—even less once my Torrid Cash was applied—is a fucking deal, even if I never wear them out of my apartment. But I am working on that part.

 

Megan Cannella (@megancannella) is a Midwestern transplant currently living in Nevada. For over a decade, Megan has bounced between working at a call center, grad school, and teaching. She has work in @PorcupineLit, @dailydrunkmag, @VerseZine, @TBQuarterly, and @perhappened.

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