I’ve had a negative self image for as long as I can remember.
And I’ve never been able to win in many things. I couldn’t beat my friends in races or outsmart them on a test. I had nothing of my own and nothing to feel good about. And I’ve always wanted to be the best at something or be better than someone at anything.
It is really hard for me to live with my perfect older sister because I constantly compare myself to her. She is everything I want to be, consisting of—being the valedictorian of her class, having a beautiful, lady-like body, being extremely artistic, having an amazingly compatible boyfriend, being independent, being well-loved by all friends and people around her, not letting anyone down, and being the type of person that everyone looks up to and seeks out for advice and help.
She has the ability to do anything and learn faster than anyone I know. She excels in anything that is put in front of her. She is a young, strong, magnificent woman. She is all of these things, despite my parents’ complicated and depressing separation, and this boring, small-town life.
Being around all of this, and seeing the similar outstanding achievements of my peers around me, led to my own self-hatred and low confidence to this day. And I couldn’t live with myself that way, constantly feeling not good enough for anything or anyone, including myself.
The thing that bothered and still bothers me the most, though, is my own body. I cannot stand having a little bit more meat on my bones than everyone around me. I cannot stand feeling insanely huge and disgusting.
When it all started in Junior High, I really couldn’t take myself anymore. My attempts to lose weight began with little things, like pushing myself a little harder at soccer practice, or doing twenty pointless crunches after eating dinner. Anything to temporarily help me feel a little better about myself was worth it, even if it didn’t make any changes or lower my weight.
Of course, nothing worked. Nothing ever worked.
As I got older, and in the 10th grade, the image I had of myself just became worse and worse. I actually started to skip meals, and cut out as much fat and unnecessary sugars as possible. I also became a vegetarian. I pursued this habit because of the unfair and inhumane treatment of animals, and also for myself, because it was just one less thing I could eat without making an excuse. And it was an easy step towards eating healthy that would have hopefully led to weight loss and happiness. Happiness, because I only feel happy when I feel a tiny bit lighter or when I’ve skipped a meal.
And as of today, my 11th grade year, I’ve focused myself more than ever on my eating habits. I cannot get the thoughts of eating, being skinny, being fat, in taking calories, and skipping meals out of my mind. I read the labels on everything and tell myself that I want to only consume 200 to 300 calories a day (maximum) and if it was a good day, I would actually follow this. But there are days when the brightness overtakes me and I just cannot say no to food. My worst enemy.
I’ve become so into it, that I stopped going to my friends houses for sleepovers, fearful that there would be lots of food there and I would be unable to resist temptation. I also stopped visiting with my aunt and uncle, only to avoid the usual dinner, or feast, prepared by my aunt each time I went to their house. Everything must have worked for awhile, because people made comments about me losing a little bit of weight, and how I don’t eat and act the same as I used to. But this feeling of imperfection constantly ruins anything, because even if given the chance to really have fun, I still think about hating my body no matter what I am doing. I feel as if I cannot be a normal person. I can’t take a bite, of anything, without wondering what is in the bite of food, or how it will effect me or that I shouldn’t even be worrying about this because I should have turned it down ten minutes ago.
I always plan the next thing I am going to eat and think about what I should and should not eat. Another major issue of mine is that I don’t like to eat in front of others, and if I do, I try to eat something healthy and cute and small so that it reflects off a nice image to others.
But, the biggest thing that bothers me, is that I cannot win. Despite the comments, seeing others, and hating myself, I still cannot keep what I would consider “good days” (of not eating much) in line for more than a week. If I consider myself doing well, it could be ruined in a matter of seconds by a small offer of a cookie or if there is a chance to have some type of dessert or if there is ice cream in the freezer. I can, for the most part, turn these types of foods down, because they are gross, and I feel like the largest woman alive while eating them, but there are also times when I simply cannot stop myself. And it kills me, because I cannot excel in anything else, I cannot win at anything … and I can’t even prove to myself that I can give up food to lose weight. I see food as excess gross shit that shouldn’t be made consisting of so much fat and many calories.
Also at the beginning of this year, my junior year in high school, I began to write a journal of my own thoughts and used it as a way to express myself and get my secrets out to someone (kind of). I wrote a lot in it, whenever I got extremely angry at myself for eating, and feeling regret, guilt, and shame, or making notes of ways to help myself win. For example, on December 13th, I wrote:
“Despite today’s exciting school cancellation, I still feel terrible about myself. It’s been harder for me to resist temptation lately and I ate a gross slice of pizza today and some snacks earlier. I wish I could just stop easily and not eat. I wish I’d realize that the feeling that comes after eating is not worth actually consuming the shit that I do. I seriously hate me and I hate food. Last week to two weeks ago were great! I didn’t eat much, so I didn’t have to hide behind clothes or behind people or layers like I’ve been so used to doing. I don’t want that feeling of isolation to ever come back. I like being able to be around people and feel a little teeny bit better about myself.”
And, on the same day, only later:
“The only thing that could make me feel content at the moment would be losing twenty or more pounds. I’m about ready to grab my Nike’s and run to a different country. Oh hell even that wouldn’t save me. All the sit-ups in the world couldn’t save me. I want to pull through this.”
The journal entries vary from being worse and better than this.
All of this was extremely hard. It is very hard work to try and achieve a better body. All of this wasn’t enough, because the results weren’t enough.
There was only one thing left that I thought about trying, being that i was desperate for anything that could possibly have a successful outcome.
One night, after munching on some cookies and other foods, I felt one of the worst feelings of regret from eating that I’ve felt throughout this whole journey. I could not, simply could not sit or stand or lay feeling so large and disgusting like I did.
This is the night I decided to make myself vomit.
It was the best way to be able to eat something without actually eating it. I didn’t have to worry about calories or fat when I could just simply rid them of my body. Ever since then, I resorted to this method every so often, here and there, and only occasionally.
But as the year went on and the months passed, I began to rely on purging more and more. Over the recent months of January and February, it became a once a week thing, until late February when it was once every few days, and then once a day, and sometimes up to three times daily.
I cannot always self vomit because I live with my mom and little sister in a small apartment where everything can be heard and known. Sometimes I am really sneaky about it, like waiting until late night, like 2 or 3 a.m. and going on a major binge and purging with in my room with low music while I know they are sleeping.
I will go to great measures just to purge. One night, I went for a walk, even though it was very, very cold and there were flurries and high winds. I had eaten so much but there was no way I would have gotten away with purging in my own house. So, after gearing up with my sweat-shirt and a winter coat, I took a walk around 10:00 p.m. over to the baseball field a few blocks from my house. I remember walking over to some bushes around the outside of the stands and putting my fingers forcefully down my throat to self-vomit and make sure I got everything out.
But, despite all of this, the lies, the excuses, the purging, the thinking, being miserable and foggy, I am still the same body shape. It is not fair. I can’t win. It angers me to the point where I have even tried cutting myself, lame … maybe, but the fact that I stole the X-Acto knife just for that purpose is beyond my knowledge. I am not losing noticeable large amounts of weight like other girls who go through this do. I am lost, and need to feel skinny to be happy. Feeling full, fat, and gross feeds my angry and upset emotions to act up and make me take my anger out on other people around me. I am unhappy and I go through everyday feeling like I am not even here … I am only a person who is wanting to escape herself.
Is this an eating disorder or not?