To my dear friend Ana and to the friends who struggle because of her,
It is national eating disorder awareness week and I feel an obligation to at least blog to my few subscribers of my own journey and the countless others I’ve witnessed.
Ana starting talking to me my sophomore year of high school. Things weren’t going well with a boyfriend and I felt out of control. I made poor decisions that I regretted for the rest of high school (and in general life). I have major OCD which initially caused me to be a perfectionist within my school work and a constant need to control relationships and friendships.
When all of these things spiraled out of my control, there was a final resort: my weight. It felt like the most magnificent way to solve my problems. Once I hit my breakup, I had one thing left for myself: my appearance. I’m a short petite person. 115- 120 pounds is more than enough for me. But these high 120’s began to feel like 200’s. I wanted less 0’s. Around that time, I remember a friend took a picture of me jokingly as I changed somewhere in the high school. I remember her showing me my rib cage. It was the first time I noticed that I didn’t look as great as I thought I did.
But I kept going anyways. I picked the tightest dress I could for a dance. At this point, I was 100 pounds. I maintained that weight as long as I could in the worst ways possible. I didn’t eat. I recreationally took things I definitely shouldn’t have. My personality spiraled down the drain.
Boys noticed me. Girl friends asked me why I wasn’t eating at lunch, if everything was okay, are you hungry, etc. Friends would offer their sandwiches and I’d reply that I wasn’t hungry.
I did this for a long time my sophomore year without much notice from anyone. Eventually, I stopped. As I always do. In stages, Ana comes in and out of my life telling me to lose those 10 pounds so I can look acceptable again.
What’s funny is, I’ve never been told that I wasn’t enough. My parents told me more than enough times. My dad hounded on me to eat every meal. My mom tells me how skinny I look. I’m not sure where the insecurity comes from. I’m not sure it is even an insecurity.
All I know is that in a mirror, it’s the first thing I notice every day. If I’m one pound heavier, I feel worse than the day before. Things need to remain the same. I need that sense of stability. I think what I enjoy(ed) was the reaction of it all.
I craved the attention of looking like someone I wasn’t. With that, I became someone I wasn’t too.
Ana is a lifelong shadow for anyone who has experienced an eating disorder or insecurity. She has the power to mentally destroy you. But I plea with you not to let her.
I’m struggling daily to remind myself that I can be beautiful at 112 pounds. But I keep telling myself anyway. Find a reason to keep Ana locked in the shadows and not reflecting through your mirror.
Beautiful is beautiful. Beautiful is not skinny. Ana is not beautiful. You are the only one who determines your worth.
Stop believing society’s definition of beautiful. Stop commenting on skinny girls instagrams telling them “I want your body.” Chances are, she’s craving that comment so she has the motivation to lose more. Stop looking in the mirror and changing clothes in hopes of looking skinnier. You already look skinny. Eat a burger. Eat whatever. Just eat. Remember that a size doesn’t define you.