People are surprised to hear that I
After all, I look normal. People see me eat things they don't associate with anorexia. Pizza, cake, cookies. Don't all people who have an eating disorder just not eat anything? Or was I just one of those people who threw up everything?
Well...it's both. I did both.
I would eat nothing for days on end. I would smear food on plates to trick people into thinking I ate. During lunch at school, I would feign eating a large breakfast so I just wasn't hungry. Then I would binge and spend an hour in the bathroom. Eventually, when we were out to eat, I wasn't allowed to go to the bathroom by myself.
It's not like people didn't notice. My gym teacher noticed and pulled me aside. Asked if I was eating enough. I said yes and went along my way feeling good about myself...because the sheer fact that someone had noticed made me both ashamed and confident. Because it was working.
One time, my mother refused to take me to the mall when I asked her to. She didn't want to watch me try for the 100th time to fit into a size 0 jean. I was already a size 1. It never felt like enough.
Even as I became more aware and educated about what I was doing to myself, it wasn't enough. People accused me of faking it. One girl even went so far to say, "Oh you and your 'eating disorder', yeah everyone knows about that load of crap."
But it wasn't a load of crap.
That girl said this to me as I was standing in the hallway in front of my locker trying to fight off the surrounding blackness I had regretfully come to know as the beginnings of passing out. I had learned to let the comments roll off my back. People could think I stuffed my bra or that I was doing it for attention. As long as I was skinny, nothing else mattered.
|Me, circa 2000, about 100 lbs|
I tricked myself into thinking food was poison. Anytime I ate, I felt sick. I had deprived myself so much that the very thing I needed was turned against me.
Soon after, I began to use cutting as a coping mechanism. It was an unglamorous, chilling part of my life that gave me satisfaction in causing myself pain. It was shameful to me and always regretful.
I will always remember the time I felt so desperate and upset that I just wanted to feel better. My parents had gone to great lengths to remove anything I had that was sharp, so in a moment of desperation, I broke a Christmas ornament and used that to slash my leg open.
It was around this time that I began to love swimming. I always had but I loved it even more because in the water, I was weightless. I could feel as light as a feather as I coasted through the waves of the ocean or the lap rows of the pool.
I felt at peace knowing I could go underwater, scream as loud as I could, and be surrounded by silence.
There has been an article circulating around the internet that made it's way into my lap.
These are the lines of a story is a beautifully haunting essay about what our bodies should mean to us. I won't recap what it means or my interpretation of it, because I'm sure it's different from yours.
What I want from reading this article is to some day be as at peace as this woman is with her body.
I want to be able to look at my cutting scars without shame.
I want to catch my reflection in the mirror and be able to see what the outside world sees...what Carl sees.
I want my child to see my body and see it for it's accomplishments. For how it's lived and what it's been through.
I guess the point of all of this is having the strength to see my body and curves as something positive. My mother's hips will allow me the ability to have a natural childbirth. My arms will carry my family, hold them close, and keep them safe. My words will stay with them. They will someday see me as this beautiful creature and I so badly want to be able to look in the mirror at my sagging body and feel anything but shameful and that it was something different.
Her lines are the lines of a story. My scars on my arms and legs are the lines of anguish. The lines of a war. They are my battle scars.
I made it out the other side okay. Even though I'm not always okay, I am okay. I will be okay.