Saturday, July 18, 2015

Personal Story: Revealing My Old Self

Hey everyone! So, I am going to do my darnedest to post once a week and keep up with it. One of the most requested types of writing to post has been my own personal writings (poetry, short stories, etc). To get things started, I have decided to share a piece I wrote for Creative Writing last fall. The prompt was to write about a person with bulimia who wasn't ashamed of it.


I can feel the burn in my throat
As I tie the ribbons on my shoes.
The burger wasn’t as satisfying the second time.
I begin plies for barre and
Feel thinner than I did an hour ago.

During the adagio I get a glance of the mirror.
I see the fries on my thighs.
Tights, leotard, and skirt combined
Can’t hide this morning’s pancakes.
Ballerinas are supposed to be petite.

If I eat I no longer possess the required figure.
Choreography commences and I jeté as if
I need to leap over my last purge.
With each arabesque I feel my stomach grumble.
After class, a large meat lovers is calling my name.

I untie my ribbons
Simultaneously preparing my stomach.
Ballerinas are supposed to be petite.
After that pizza slice
I will be.

Rereading this poem has inspired me to write about something extremely personal to me that I think is time I share with more than just those who know about it. No, I was not bulimic.

However, I was anorexic throughout high school. I was always around people who were not exactly thin in society's eyes. I was naturally a small and skinny person, which is normal because I was born prematurely. But growing up around people who weren't "skinny" made me feel extra self-conscious. It was 6th grade when I heard the first comment about my size.

"You're so thin. What, are you anorexic or something?"

It was meant as a joke I'm sure, but it didn't feel like one to me. That question has been in the back of my mind all these years. Then, more comments started coming along.

"Do you even eat?"

"Maybe you shouldn't dance so much."

"How are you so thin? Are you anorexic?"

And yes, people did actually say those things to me. At first, I wasn't anorexic. I was just small. But then, as high school approached and I started filling out, I thought I was getting fat. I didn't want to be like the people who said those things to me. I associated gaining weight with being a mean person. So, I did what I could to avoid it; I became what they thought I was. I knew it was wrong, but I thought if they think this is the way I got so small, it must be an effective way to do it. I began eating less at lunch without people noticing. Instead of the chicken patty, bag of chips, salad, and juice, I grabbed a PB&J and a carton of milk. Eventually, I would only eat half of that PB&J. No one really noticed, or they didn't mention it, because I was good at either eating alone or just talking with someone about anything but food.
"I liked how I looked when I didn't eat."

As the years passed, I got a job and started feeding myself dinner on the go. That usually consisted of a quick taco from Taco Bell or a McChicken from McDonald's. During breaks at dance (about 6pm), I'd go across the street to the gas station for dinner and grab a granola bar and a bottle of water; that'd be the only thing I would have eaten since that PB&J from lunch at about noon, and that'd be all I'd eat the rest of the night. On nights when I knew I wasn't strong enough to finish the last three hours of dance on just the granola bar, I'd grab a hot dog since they were only a dollar or two. The saddest part, I believe, was that I liked how I looked when I didn't eat. I was thin, I could see my muscles, and I was the reason why. I liked that. 

If I was home for my parents to make/bring home dinner, I'd eat it. But I would hate myself a little more each time. I could see the food sitting on my thighs and making my butt bigger. I was starting to get a belly and I hated it. I absolutely hated it. I was exercising every day for a minimum of two hours a day with the dance studio, and I could still see all the food sitting on my hips. I wanted it gone.

Unfortunately, this went on for about three years without anyone noticing except my high school sweetheart. On Sunday's after church with his family, he made sure I came home with him to eat his mom's lunch/dinner before I went to work for the night. Once senior year came around I was getting better at eating more. It wasn't much more, but it was more. I started eating Crunchwrap Supremes from Taco Bell instead of just a taco and maybe a hearty salad from the local grocery store.

The year that I took off from school was probably the hardest year of my life. Not only was I struggling to make money for myself while still being happy as a dance teacher (which any dance teacher knows does not pay well money-wise), but I was also struggling to break the habit of not eating. I would do really well with eating for a few weeks, but then I would get really depressed about something happening in my life and I'd fall off the wagon. I would go a week without eating more than one meal a day. My boyfriend at the time, Fred (now my ex--see posts from Aug/Sept 2014), was away at school but he noticed and helped me get out of my depression and start eating again. By the time I had moved out of my house and started my own life, doing whatever made me happy, I was a hundred times better. I was eating a full three meals a day, and I was exercising to stay healthy and fit.

Now, I still have days where I know it would be super easy to fall back into that pattern to lose the weight I've gained since high school. But I know better now, and I do all I can to force those thoughts from my head. Looking at old pictures, I realize now I wasn't even that skinny to begin with. I was the average build for a girl like me.

It was a rough five years of my life, not only with the anorexia but with other personal issues as well that will surely come up in this blog eventually. I struggled with the eating disorder, depression, family drama, friend drama, and major self-confidence issues. With each day that has passed, I have become a stronger person because of it, and I have started learning how to love myself. No, I don't always like how I look but I can recognize that I have curves and some fat on me. I know that I am not perfect and never will be, but that doesn't mean I will fall back to anorexia. I am aware of my less than perfect body shape, but I am also aware that I am by no means obese or unhealthy.

"I can recognize that I have curves"
It has been a long time coming for me to open up about this, and now I have. I am not looking for anyone to say they wish they would have known or they would have helped or I should have told them or anything along those lines. I'm not looking for help because I fixed myself with the help of the few who did know. I learned and grew stronger from it.

Note: I am by no means encouraging an eating disorder, and I am not saying people should not get help for any serious issues like the ones I have mentioned. I am simply saying that in my unique case, it worked itself out and made me a better person.

I do not blame anyone for my being anorexic in high school; I am simply a product of my environment.

So, there you have it. One little part of my past has been laid out on the table. Maybe you know me a little better now, and maybe you know me a little less than you thought. But either way, I hope this has taught you to be a little more cautious with the words you let your mouth say. Think about what it is you're going to say next time you say it:

"How will this person react to this thought of mine? Am I sure it will affect them in a positive way?" If not, don't say it. Save a person from their own self-consciousness. Think.

Until next time,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is a truly amazing story/blog! I have to admit, As one of you facebook friends I had no idea. None whatsoever. This is exactly why we don't judge a book by the cover!
On a side note it is awesome how open you are and willing to share. I have found in life that being positive is the absolute best thing you can do for yourself. It seems as though you have made that realization as well and strive to be a happy person. Remember to always chase your dreams and to never never quit.
I have really enjoyed reading this and look forward to reading more. I hope you have a majestic experience on your persuite of happiness, other wise known as the game we call life ��
Yours truly,
A relateable Facebook friend