Dear blog readers,
This week countless local and national organizations are working tirelessly to fight against the deadly deceiving grip of eating disorders. It’s not only time to bring this issue onto the public stage, but it’s also time to unearth my secret and shame. I write this letter for all the lovely, beautiful people who do not believe recovery is possible. I write this letter for myself as a reminder that a life of food, friendship, love and laughter is always worth a fighting chance. I tell my story to not be triggering for anyone, rather to be encouraging and a voice for all those who have been all-to-soon silenced by an eating disorder. Nikki B, I write these words for you. Your memory keeps me going each day.
Dear my former eating disorder,
You used to be my devoted companion. When I was 12, certain thoughts plagued my mind. It used to be extremely difficult to separate you from myself. You innocently introduced yourself, slowly, secretly, but with definite purpose. During sixth grade I thought I was fat and could stand to lose a few pounds. As I ran my hands over my developing frame, your lies began to take form. “Look at yourself, you’re disgusting, that’s big, your breasts, your thighs, your hips…” I knew nothing about weight, calories, and food rituals. I could never understand how someone could starve themselves. You taught me all I knew. In order to be a ballerina I had to be thin. Even if my bones showed, all that was important was I maintained thinness. Appearance is everything, right? You convinced me when I’d be hungry, as I would lie on my bed, I was wrong, I was not hungry. Your lies eventually turned into a euphoria feeling when I’d fast for a prolonged period of time. Your lies became truths which than became my bible. I had to listen to you or else.
Anorexia, you used to distort my thinking. I am able to articulate what could and may happen eventually if I ever again indulge in your mind-whirling games. You came out of nowhere. I never intended to have an eating disorder in seventh grade. I didn’t realize what was happening until I ended up at the eating disorder clinic, and weeks later was hospitalized time and time again because I fell for your lies for so many years. You used to be my inescapable identity. You caused me to miss out on many different aspects of my life, and I continued to still devote all my time to you. You isolated me. I gave up dance for you and had to leave Kutztown for you. I allowed you to have control over me, because I thought you were right and you’d never deceive me. I used to be willing to take anything for you–feeding tubes just to get out of the hospital, lying to therapists until I was discharged from treatment just to hide you. All of those messages were cunning ploys. Everyone who wanted to help me was correct about your distortions. All you wanted was for me to prepare for my untimely demise.
You were like an abusive partner; I used to love your high. One minute you made me feel valued and loved, and then the next instant you cut me into tiny pieces. Loser, fat, worthless, ugly piece of shit. After years of to many relapses and hard work I’ve finally reconstructed the person I want to be without your help. I am on my way to becoming a professional who understands both sides of your twisted torture. I am a child of God who deserved to always feed her body, soul and mind with truth, peace and positivity.
When I felt down about myself, my weight, who I am as a person, you so perfectly attempted to validate those emotions, but now I believe I am worthwhile and more than the number on the scale. You caused me to feel guilt when I enjoyed a particular food; however thankfully with the help of experts, work and determination I am able to sit down and eat a meal without your associated thoughts intruding on my deliciousness.
I no longer need your discipline. I do not need to prove to you that I’m able to succeed at something because I am worthwhile and loved by God, my family and friends. I will never allow you to take back my life, goals and dreams anymore. I hate you and myself for causing my family and friends to suffer with me so many years, but I am blessed they never let you win the war. Recovery is a fight I am worth. I love myself enough to tell about your lies. I no longer wholeheartedly trust you. I am thankful that each thought is not devoted to food, hiding you and lying. This is not an easy letter to write because I am fearful of being judged, but it is worth telling if it helps even one person realize the true beauty and purpose of life and their body.
I never will again hurt myself to accommodate you. You are never right no matter what lies you attempted to spin. I will fight against you for the rest of my life and in doing so I will enjoy every bite of the journey. You used to be my calculator, the scale, the dictator and my judge; however I now determine my mood and plan out my meals. Let’s be honest—your rituals and lies are just a disguise to cover up other hurts such as feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. I truly believe I am worth recovery and deserve to life through the joys of this precious gift God has given me and will not squander the time I am given.
Am I willing to sacrifice everything for you? No. Am I willing to die for you? No. What if I were to die because of you? I would get nothing in return. You are the great deceiver and are not worth my time, energy or attention anymore. Recovery is worth every bite. Being ok with my body is healthy and I can even survive without knowing my weight. At first you are tender and your touch was soft and gentle. You have an inviting singsong voice to many males and females fall prey too. As we coincided your grip became tighter, suffocating me, smothering me slowly, and methodically killing me. I’ve worked so hard to get rid of you and will never take you back.
I have found companionship in my friends, live for positive thoughts, revel in the feelings of my accomplishments, and refute all that you claim to offer.
Despite my shortcomings I am able to believe I and all your other victims have something worthwhile to contribute to this world. The thoughts of an early death are not realistic, and each day I have something to live for.
My body is a walking temple of His love. I must show the many gifts God has given me. A confident, caring, nourished person is truly who I am. I am stronger without you. You are the enemy I loathe. You have taken my dear beautiful friend Nikki and too many other countless souls, and with every calorie and healthy pound gained I will continue to win each battle you try to wage against my mind and body. I am finally free and am strong enough to say no more, I no longer want or need you. Rather than ever again submitting to societies antiquated standards of beauty, I will light my world with compassion, kindness, and love for all those who are placed along my path. I encourage you reader/friend to do the same. Please do your part to promote positive body image and self-acceptance.
Until next time,