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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “Don’t Try to Walk before You Can Crawl” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/17/08)

TITLE: Who Are You Calling Skinny?
By Catrina Bradley


Shana stepped gingerly onto the scale and grimaced. One pound? After an hour of jogging, only ONE pound? She grabbed her thick bathrobe from the hook, jerked the door open, and stormed down the hallway toward her mom’s room.

“Everything ok, hon?” her mom, Ellen, called from the kitchen.

“I think the battery’s dieing on the scale in there. I’m gonna use yours, ok?” The odor of whatever was cooking made Shana want to vomit.

She closed the master bedroom door behind her, shed her robe, and went into the bathroom. Should rename this the “mistress bedroom”. There’s no master in this house anymore. She used the bathroom, voiding any possible extra weight.

Yah, better. Three pounds is more like it.

She drank greedily from the tap, then reclaimed her robe and wrapped it around her diminishing frame. Opening the bedroom door, she was assaulted by the food stench. “Thanks, mom. Your scale’s fine.”

“Dinner will be ready in a minute. It’s your favorite – meatloaf.”

“Great, thanks.” No WAY will I eat that. Does she realize how much fat’s in hamburger? She probably made mashed potatoes too. This is gonna be real fun.

Shana dug her ankle weights out from under her mattress and strapped them on. The sweats she donned not only disguised her body, but also hid the weights. The last thing she needed was her mom aggravating her about losing weight. What does Miss ‘I Only Care About You’ know from skinny, anyway? I’m fat. Fat fat fat. I’m a whale. She fought a wave of dizziness as she stood. After she popped her third diet pill of the day, she joined her mom in the kitchen.

“Oh good, just in time to set the table.” Ellen finished tossing a salad while Shana got two plates from the cabinet.

“Would you say the blessing tonight, Shana?”

“Ok, whatever.” “Dear God, thank you for this food, and please bless dad as he eats dinner alone in his little apartment. Amen.” Shana glowered at her mom, daring her to say something.

“That was nice, dear. Ok, let’s dig in.”

Shana put a small slice of meatloaf and a smaller portion of potatoes on her plate. A slightly larger helping of salad followed. Shaking the bottle of dressing over the lettuce made it look like some fell onto the salad. She painstakingly cut the meat into tiny squares, and stirred the white mound of potatoes, covering a few pieces of meat in the process. She took a bite of salad, and proceeded to chew it exactly 32 times.

“Are you feeling alright, hon? You’ve been looking awfully pale lately.” Her mom’s worried look only infuriated Shana.

“Maybe a stomach bug. Nothing you need to stress over. Hey, mom, would you get me some more water?”

While Ellen’s back was turned, Shana slipped some meatloaf into her napkin. “Thanks. I’m really thirsty. Meatloaf’s good tonight.”


“Girl! You’re getting’ too thin for your own good.”

“Are you kidding, Robin?” Shana gawked at her best friend. “You’re startin’ to sound like my stupid mom. Besides, aren’t we in this diet thing together?”

“Well, yah, but… there’s dieting and then there’s starving yourself.” Robin eyed Shana up and down. “Your legs look like two sticks comin' out of those shorts.”

“Fine. I’ll cover them up so you don’t have to see them.” Shana cinched her weights around her ankles and pulled on her sweat pants. The two girls straggled behind the others leaving the locker room. “You’re still skinnier than me,” Shana added.

Robin grabbed her friend’s arm and pulled her back into the locker room. “Come on, I want to show you somethin’.”

They stood in front of the full-length mirror. “What, you want me to look at myself?” Shana snorted. “I can see – I’m fat.”

“But, Shana, that’s not what I see. Take those big ole pants off. Now that baggy shirt.” Robin followed suit, stripping off her own shirt. “Now, look at us together in that mirror. Look at my legs. Look at yours. You don’t need a measuring tape to see who's are smaller. Look at our tummies, our arms. Who’s skinner? Open your eyes, girl.”

Shana stared glumly, mutely, at the reflection.

“Can’t you see it? Do you not see that you are scrawny? Bony? Ee-may-cee-ated. I love you, ya know. I wanna be skinny, too, but you are treading in dangerous waters. An’ I love you too much to watch ya drown.”

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This article has been read 1201 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Betty Castleberry01/25/08
Very thought provoking. It's so sad that many girls think they have to be skinny. This is well written.
Sally Hanan01/27/08
I enjoyed the writing and the idea of the story.
Red ink: I guess it just didn't grab me because it didn't seem to go anywhere--there was no dramatic thing happening in it that built up to a climax and then got resolved.
Jan Ackerson 01/27/08
Extremely compelling reading--as one who works with teens, I can say that you got the voice exactly right.

I'm unclear of the tie-in to the topic.

I like your title, and your very patient mother.
Patty Wysong01/27/08
An important message for girls to hear!! The internal dialog is what makes this piece. Good job. :-)
Dee Yoder 01/27/08
My favorite thing about this entry is the dialogue. It's wonderful-very natural and just the way real people speak. My only squiggle line of red ink would be the tie in to the topic. I see a bit of it there, but not as clearly as you'd want me to, I think! You have an awesome ability to write conversation, girl!
william price01/27/08
I really liked this story and the message. It has some very good components. My only red ink comment would be that the piece didn't flow very well, a few speedbumps here and there to slow me down. But, I did read the entire story willingly ( meaning it kept my interest). Super effort. God bless.
Kristen Hester01/28/08
This is a very important message. Good job. I liked the inner dialogue.
Kristen Hester01/28/08
I just noticed your request for red ink. I think there were two misspellings: dying and skinnier in the 3rd to last paragraph.

It seems she's upset with her mom or dad about their divorce. I would like to know a little more about this. (I know, I know...only 750 words makes it hard.)

I agree it seems a little off topic.

And I agree with all the things I said in my first comment, also. Nice story. Great inner dialogue. Important topic. You go, girl. God bless!
LauraLee Shaw01/28/08
An’ I love you too much to watch ya drown.”

Everyone needs a friend like Robin, especially someone who has such a serious problem. It will be exciting to see how God will use this story.
Sharlyn Guthrie01/28/08
This is an important theme for young girls, and you've touched on some major related issues. I appreciate your obvious heart for teens. I, too, believe God will use this story.
Sheri Gordon01/28/08
This is an extremely relevant topic for teenagers -- and you wrote it very well. The flow of the story is very realistic.

I don't quite get the tie-in with the topic.
Hanne Moon 01/28/08
This was very good, Cat. While I'm not quite sure how it ties in with the topic, it was a good piece. Good show of the inner demons that girls with eating disorders have.
Lyn Churchyard01/29/08
I liked the way you handled the dialogue - very realistic, as was the thought processes of the MC.

What a great friend she has in Robin - AND in her mother too if only she realised it.

Couldn't really see the tie-in with the topic, but nevertheless, well written.

But did you HAVE to make the meal meatloaf and mashed potatoes? That is my all time favourite comfort food!!
Lyn Churchyard01/29/08
I liked the way you handled the dialogue - very realistic, as was the thought processes of the MC.

What a great friend she has in Robin - AND in her mother too if only she realised it.

Couldn't really see the tie-in with the topic, but nevertheless, well written.

But did you HAVE to make the meal meatloaf and mashed potatoes? That is my all time favourite comfort food!!
Lyn Churchyard01/29/08
Oops, sorry, seemed to have hit the submit button twice
Loren T. Lowery01/29/08
An important message and, if I'm not mistaken, I think I caught part of the root of your MC's problem - that her father was absent. It goes to the importance of family and how its dynamics affect each of us in so many different ways.
The wrting shows a caring, thoughtful heart as always.

Temple Miller01/30/08
I so could have been right in the scene watching this story play out. Great writing.
Sara Harricharan 01/30/08
I love Robin. I bet she was able to get her friend to come around and get some help. This is so sad to see-but I'm glad for the note of hope at the end! ^_^