My Body, My Struggle

The age of 12 is never an easy age, is it? Those lovely pre-puberty years when you’re trying to find your place amongst all the changes going on, most of which you have no control over. For me, this was the year that I started disliking my body. Most girls go through it around this age—so much is changing and it’s hard to have any control over it.

I was in 7th grade when I started gaining weight. Growing up, I was quite the picky eater and very thin, so as you can imagine, this was a big deal for me. I was not used to this new body. I started becoming very self-conscious and aware of how others saw me, and how I saw myself. To others, I may not have seemed overweight, but to me, it was everything.

To this day I cannot remember what triggered me to go into the store and steal diet pills, and I remember thinking this was the answer to all my problems. Of course, you can already guess that it wasn’t.

I started feeding into the concept where girls/women have this unobtainable idea in their minds of what the opposite sex wanted. I needed to be skinny, with blonde hair, long legs, and large breasts. This mentality never changes for most

Over the years, I’ve called this thinking my “mental eating disorder.” I had never acted on it, but a lot of times I wanted to. I just never had the willpower. Sure I’d try, but always failed. It was a rarity when I was happy with the girl staring back at me in the mirror. The rest of the time was a look of disgust, and even 30 years later, the thoughts are still there—as I’m sure is true for a lot of women in this world.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I took the leap and acted upon my “mental eating disorder.” The situation I was in at that time was not a happy one. I was depressed and lonely and started to overeat. After a while, it had grown into something I no longer had control over. It became a vicious cycle. You eat because you’re depressed then you’re depressed because of how much you eat. There was no happy ending in this loop, or was there? This was when I thought, “Well I can binge and just purge when I’m done. Wow! This is such a great plan! I can eat whatever I want and purge and it’ll be like it never happened.” Right!? Wrong!!! Not only is this incredibly unhealthy for your body and a waste of money, but at the end of the day, it didn’t really change a thing.

Do you love yourself more? Are you happy with the way you look? These were questions I’d ask myself and the answer was a resounding, ‘no!’

Soon after I started bingeing and purging, I would often flip and go 180 degrees to the other side of eating disorders: starving myself. With this, I would limit my food intake, exercise a lot and became obsessed with calories. Calories my greatest enemy. The less I had the more I felt great about myself. I would drop a lot of weight in a short time period and was so happy. But that happiness was only temporary. Eventually, I broke down and switched back to binging and purging, thus starting the cycle over again. But in those times of not eating my brain was constantly thinking about all the food I wanted but couldn’t have. It was taking over everything. I shut out a lot to keep up with this exhausting life I was leading.

Eventually, it all became too much. It was starting to affect relationships with people I didn’t want to lose, so I took that step and scheduled an appointment to help defeat these demons in my head.

I wish I could give you a ‘happily ever after’ to my story—though I am better in not doing those harmful things to my body, the thoughts are still there….haunting me every day. I struggle to not count calories or purge if I’ve eaten too much. To not want to be that super skinny girl I’ve wanted to be since I was 12; to not look at myself in the mirror with disgust. It’s a hard, hard issue to battle. One that I may never overcome. Tears fall down my cheek as I write this, and it saddens me that I’ve fallen victim alongside many girls that think they will never be good enough or beautiful enough.

I see how the world is and it’s not getting any easier. Girls are growing up in a world where their idea of beauty is distorted. All you have to do is go on any social media platform.

The truth is beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes, and it’s hard being something you’re not. So if you take away one thing from reading this, just know whoever you are that you are the perfect version of you. Only you can do you!

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