This is my “About the Blog” section that I wrote summer of 2009. Since then, many things have changed and I have shifted my focus on the blog. However, I’m keeping the original “About the Blog” post up because I think it’s really nice and is very inspiring. Also, it’s proof of how far I’ve come that I conquered some of the behaviors featured in this post. I hope you enjoy it.
I’m starting this blog as part of my journey to a happier, healthier life. This blog is a place for me to discuss my challenges, triumphs, disappointments, and progress. It’s a place for me to feel accountable yet comforted. It’s a place for reflection and motivation.
To understand my blog, you’ll need to understand my story..
As a little girl, I was smart, charismatic, charming, chatty, and a little chubby. I didn’t mind much, it didn’t seem to matter at the time. When I was in 7th grade my mom went on Weight Watchers. I started counting points also, as a way to show my support for my mom. I didn’t want her to do it alone. I ended up losing about 20lbs. I was a healthy size and I didn’t obsess.
In 8th grade I started to severely restrict my calories for several months and ended up under 100lbs. In order to keep myself from eating I would say the most horrible things to myself in my head. I remember telling myself how I was a fat, gross elephant and how fat, gross elephants didn’t deserve to eat. I was terribly mean to myself, and although within a few months I started eating again and gaining weight, the negative self-talk never left. This is where all the problems began.
From that time on, my fixation with my body was strong and persistant. My weight fluctuated over the years and I always felt like I was 10lbs overweight. In all actuality, I have always been a healthy BMI, but I’ve never loved myself.
I’ve never seen myself as particularly pretty. I guess I always thought that I can’t change my face, but I could change my weight… and I’ve always defined a “pretty weight” as thin and slim. I’ve always thought that the “desirable” feminine figure had to be rather small. Some of this also comes from the fact that I have small features: small bust, small butt. So voluptuous was always out of the picture. My only options in life were to be skinny or pudgy, and for some reason I started defining myself more and more on these terms than on terms of achievement, talent, or kindness. It didn’t matter if I had great friends, a stellar GPA, a loving family, or a huge round of applause when I hit the stage for my bow at the end of a show… if I felt “pudgy” then I was not good enough, and life was not all it could be.
The low self-esteem and body issues have followed me for years, but they took a turn for the worst last summer. The summer before my sophomore year at college, I lost a lot of weight. I was down to a 17 BMI and a size 0/1 jean. I loved it. I felt fabulous and on top of the world, but even more importantly.. I felt pretty. However, I lost this weight by becoming obsessive over calories and a slave to the gym. There were times that summer that I genuinely feared calories. I was in denial, and said time and time again that it was natural weight loss and that I had no problems. But in all actuality.. there is no way a 5’7″ girl gets down to 108 lbs without some serious issues. **
Surprisingly though, this is not the story of a girl who suffers from anorexia. This is the story of a girl who became trapped by a cycle of bingeing and self-hatred.
This past October, I started bingeing. It began with just once a week, then twice, then the days I binged started outweighing the days I didn’t. I never threw up after a binge, I just stuffed my feelings down my throat. I fell into a deep state of depression. Everyday seemed unbearable and every task, even the simplest ones, appeared impossible. I completely ostracized myself from friends. My days would end with me curled up in a ball in bed with a bloated belly, hysterically crying. My days would begin with shame and guilt as I felt my bellyache from the binge the night before. The cycle was viscous. I was disgusted with myself for my “lack of control” and felt out of place in my own body. As my clothes got tighter and tighter my self-hatred grew. I felt as if I didn’t deserve to live anymore. Violent images and suicidal thoughts started haunting me. I couldn’t escape the torture because it was in my own mind. By the time fall semester ended, I was merely a shadow of the person I used to be.
I got a little better during winter break, and the beginning of spring semester was better. But then, a week before spring break, I started bingeing again. I binged for the four days leading up to spring break, binged every day of spring break, and when I got back to school I just couldn’t figure things out. The rest of the semester went just as fall semester had, and I once again crumbled beneath the burden of my pain.
Now I’m home for summer break, and I have gotten a little better, but each day is a struggle. I don’t binge as often, and my binges are not as extreme. Yet, I face many challenges from my nearly year-long battle with bingeing and emotional eating:
- It’s very easy for me to feel tempted to binge. Whenever I am stressed or upset, the comforting feeling of food is far too alluring, and its hard for me to keep from bingeing, even though I know the pain and sadness it will bring.
- I’m very uncomfortable with my body after gaining weight from chronic bingeing. It feels like living in a body that’s not your own. It also feels like a punishment. And the worst part is, that even if I have a couple of good days, if I look in the mirror I still see the body of the “binge me”. It’s hard for my to rationalize that it’s OK, my good days will add up and gradually I’ll look like the girl I want to be. Instead I feel like a failure, and my good days are quickly forgotten.
- Speaking of mirrors, I am terrified of them. I also absolutely hate to get my picture taken because of what I experienced this past year, and for that reason I have no pictures of my sophomore year of college.
- My negative self-talk is inescapable, and it’s a constant nagging voice in the back of my head, holding me back from fully enjoying my life.
- I have difficulty striking a balance between my love and passion for food, and having an obsession with food.
- I still have a hard time defining myself beyond my weight.
So where do I go from here? I don’t exactly know, but I’m trying to figure it out. This blog is a window into my search for a happier life. It’s about trying to love myself and respect my body. It’s about gaining control and getting a grip on what’s really important in life. It’s a search for the real me, a girl who has been hidden for far too long under a sea of insecurities and unrealistic expectations. It’s time to shed my need for perfection and embrace every beautiful imperfection that makes me unique. It’s time to love myself for who I am. I can no longer wait for happiness. I cannot wait to lose those 10lb, or until I find the “perfect guy”, or until I get a 4.0 GPA. These things are not the magical answer to years of pain and sadness. These things will not make me happy. I shouldn’t put my life on hold until they are attained.
Recently, I haven’t been living my life. I’ve let it go on around me, but I haven’t experienced any of it. It’s time to live again, it’s time to breathe easy, cry a little less, and smile a lot more. It’ll be a long road, and sometimes I’ll feel like giving up. I know that as I take steps forward, there will always be the risk of taking steps back. I have to be OK with that. My journey will have a lot of bumps in the road, but hopefully it will lead to a happier me.
**I must make it clear that this is not a story about pursuing a size zero frame. I don’t want to be the girl that I was last summer. The reason that I mentioned that I felt beautiful then was to make it clear how distorted my view of myself is. If I’ve only ever felt pretty as a size 0/1 then obviously there is something wrong and I need to fix that. A size 0/1 is not the end-all-be-all perfect size. It’s below a healthy weight for me and it’s not something to strive for. I want to be healthy and happy and live a fulfilling life, not be a twig.**