I was pretty hard on myself growing up.
I see that now that I’m older.
Now that I have my own children I can clearly understand what kind of thoughts I don’t want them having about themselves. I’m sure my own mother felt the same way.
I had pretty life-controlling eating disorders around the ages of 15 to 22. Starting with anorexia, moving into exercise bulimia then bulimia and back around to exercise bulimia. My mind had no sense of moderation. Sometimes it still doesn’t. If I got into bed at night and I wasn’t either starving or completely physically drained until every muscle in my body ached, I counted that day as a failed one. It was all consuming. Sometimes it still IS all consuming, even though I no longer starve myself or exercise until I pass out. I was bullied & ostracized in high school, which I’m sure anyone I went to high school with will say was of my own doing but we were young & I blame no one for anything. Though because of the inability to control the perception of myself in other people’s eyes, I fought hard to control anything else. My body unfortunately was that “anything,” though I treated it as if it was nothing. As if it wouldn’t be the only vessel I would be given in this life. As if it was inconsequential whether I fed it, starved it, cut it, mistreated it. It pains me now to see how wrong I was then, and I still have scars that are a good reminder to try harder to love myself.
In the process of these disorders, I ruined my teeth resulting in the smile I have today: 10 fully crowned top teeth. Shaved down to a point and capped because they were paper thin & worn down by stomach acid. But also in the process of healing these disorders, I’ve learned that the lines “you can never be too skinny or too rich” or “a second on the lips, forever on the hips” are all disgusting constructs targeted towards women that really have no true bearing. It’s hard to understand that when you’re in the middle of it. If you’re reading this & you have an eating disorder trust me when I say this: I was no happier at my lowest weight. You’re on that exercise bike peddling towards your goal weight assuming happiness & self-love is waiting there for you but you’re wrong. The only thing waiting there is your next goal weight. It’s a vicious cycle & I promise you that the faster you get off it…and walk, not run with a watch on that’s counting your steps, you’ll be so much better off. I wish I could will that notion into your minds. I do. But if you read this article just trust me and take my word for it…I’m a trustworthy source I swear. I’m the level of trustworthiness your professors demand in college essays. I don’t come with MLA but you get the picture.
I know I’m not alone in these disorders. It seems like there’s tons of discourse now that surrounds it & we’re realizing that so many teenage or young women have gone through the very same thing. A fellow blogger/YouTuber Dina Tokio discusses it in her video here. So many other women I consider my peers in media suffered the same.
The thing about these eating disorders is that they’re never really gone. They lie dormant in the back of your mind, waiting for any hint of self-doubt to shake them awake…feasting on the smallest amount of judgement from an outside party. It’s strange how I found myself in media, at my current size & weight, with the full scrutiny of the internet at my fingertips. I think I’m writing this just as bewildered as you’re probably reading this. But the reason I write it is because I’ve gone through graduating university, getting married, and two pregnancies in the public eye. It’s a strange thought but there it is. I write this too because I feel like pregnancy with a former eating disorder really needs to be touched upon. For me it was pregnancy that was and remains to be the most frustrating thing for me to experience. Anyone that speaks to me about having another child, my immediate response is “I can’t handle another pregnancy.” And the return I get from almost everyone is “but you had very uneventful, healthy pregnancies! Babies are blessings!”
Ya. Babies are blessings. My pregnancies were largely uneventful (thank goodness) and my children are healthy (thank God) but my mind just doesn’t do well during or after pregnancy. The feeling of being COMPLETELY out of control of my body is maddening. I can’t stand it. The way nature just completely takes over the way it looks. The way it feels. Where my weight does or doesn’t go. The shape of my stomach. The fact that skipping meals really isn’t an option. Exercising isn’t the same. The whole thing. The way my body is right after I give birth. I don’t think I want to go through another year of it. I don’t want to fall into another black hole of an eating disorder. I want to love myself so I can better love my children. Better love my husband. Be a better daughter to my mother. A better sister to my brother.
I’m writing this because I felt super alone in these feelings. The stigma that’s attached to women that are deemed “ungrateful” for not wanting to be pregnant is harsh. I get it a lot. Unfortunately I get it mostly in person. I’d prefer it online so I can block & delete it, but the reality is that it’s going to happen in person. To a lot of you. And when it does…link them to this article, ask them to scroll right here down to the bottom because….
My body. My rules. My choice.