Lettuce talk about something serious.
Like, serious serious.
*If you currently struggle with an eating disorder, please note there is content that may be triggering in this post*
I am a perfectionist. I hate messes, I hate clutter, I hate clothes that don’t fit, I hate drama, I hate confrontation, and I hate hurting anyone’s feelings. That’s a lot of things to hate? And, who am I to claim to be a “perfectionist”?
I have always been a bit OCD, wanting to control this or control that and it was never that “big” of a problem. Sure, it was annoying, but my family was used to it. Things became a problem when I felt like the thing I could control the most, was my body.
Lettuce back up for a second though. I can remember being on the bus in third grade with a band-aid over the mole on my knee (so no one would make fun of it). I would slouch in my chair so my knees were propped up on the seat in front of me, that way my thighs didn’t bulge like they would have if I sat up straight with my legs on my seat. (I was worried about “bigger” thighs in the third grade people. THIRD GRADE.*Sigh*)
I remember being in 7th grade wearing khaki Bermuda shorts that my mom got me from American Eagle. I was so pumped to wear those things! Then, some girl (who I thought was my friend) looked me up and down and said my “a** had never looked so huge”. Then she laughed and walked off. I threw away those shorts when I got home. (Middle school sucks, am I right?)
I remember being a freshman in high school. I hadn’t worn shorts to school since my previous shorts experience, so I wore shorts on the last day of school. I remember feeling uncomfortable and awkward. Some guy mocked me because I was pale. (Like, what the hell?)
I remember being a sophomore in high school. I had just started cross-country and I was starting to gain some confidence. I had gotten a boyfriend, had dropped a few pounds, and was feeling more like myself. Then this boyfriend wanted to eat out all the time. McDonald’s, Sonic, cookies, ice cream, fried foods, the works. So I ate it too, I mean goodness forbid I tell him “no” because he “might break up with me”. We dated for a while and then ended things the summer before my Junior year.
I remember feeling “heavy” and my clothes being too tight. I became obsessed with health blogs, healthy eating, and sugar-free, fat-free sh*t. I told my mom I wanted to start eating salads for lunch and rice cakes for snacks. I remember her being excited that I wanted to clean up my diet. By October of my Junior year, I had lost 20 pounds and was looking fan-freakin-tastic (so I thought). My running had improved, my skin was healthier, and people noticed me more. But something was off. I felt sad? I would go straight home from school, eat my allotted one piece of fruit, and hide in my room looking at “health” blogs and trying to avoid dinner. When it came time for dinner, I would stress and stress about what to make. It needed to be incredibly healthy and under 300 calories. (By this point, I hadn’t eaten the same meal as my family in 2 months)
I remember it being the end of October / beginning of November when I broke down crying on a run with my mom. I needed to talk to someone. I needed a therapist or someone to help me quit thinking about food and the way I looked. That’s when I met Jamie.
By December, I was down another 20 pounds. I was tired. Soooo tired all the time. I was running in the mornings with my mom, then I would come home from school and run again. (I don’t think she ever knew this, sorry mom) I would cry ALL THE TIME. If I missed that run after school, I would cry and cry and then eat less dinner. I was so skinny and so afraid, yet I felt huge and ashamed. Who was I?
(I remember having to duct tape that dress to my body)
In January, I had dropped 10 more pounds and I was at my lowest. I remember my mom BEGGING me to eat a granola bar after dinner each night. I remember my dad pulling me off the treadmill and breaking down and crying because he was so scared for me. I remember being in class when I took off my sweater and people commenting on my bones showing. I remember my parents yelling at me over a card game because I wouldn’t eat ONE M&M.
I remember wanting to die. Not to kill myself, but to just…not exist anymore.
By March, I had started gaining a couple of pounds. I remember feeling overwhelmingly afraid. I was doped up on antidepressants and feeling out-of-place.
By the summer, I was at a “healthier weight”. I was eating things like ice cream, enjoying family dinners, and smiling more. My Senior year was exciting and scary and fun and emotional. The weight kept creeping on and I had to buy two sizes up that year. I went through jeans like I go through peanut butter now, QUICK. It was tough adjusting to my new size. My right size. I began dating a boy the end of my senior year. For some reason, he thought it was amusing to call me “cheeks” in regards to my abnormally large baby cheeks. Hilarious. I was so self-conscious already, this was just belittling. We broke up the day before I started college. He had his own issues and I couldn’t let him bring me down anymore.
I met my first love that first month of college. He helped me realize just how beautiful I was despite what my mind and society told me defined “beauty”.
There is so much more I could say about my eating disorder. There were food rules, screaming at my siblings, months without a period, my hair falling out, going to the doctor all the time to make sure my heart rate was OK, and wearing my snow coat in the house because I couldn’t get my body warm enough. There were times that were so low I don’t know how I survived and there were times that were such a blessing that I can’t help but thank my family.
Mom and Dad: thank you for loving me with everything you have. For holding my hand, for getting me counseling, for continuing to tell me I am enough.
Jamie (my therapist): thank you for listening to me, for helping me not be so hard on myself, for helping me realize that salads suck and I don’t have to eat them all the time, and for dealing with my craziness.
Barrett: Although we aren’t together anymore, where would I be without you? You got me through some of the roughest years of my life. I thank God every day for your sweet and inspiring soul. Thank you for helping me find my own self-confidence and helping me discover beauty is more than just how you look on the outside.
God: I am sorry I tried so long to be a perfectionist. I know now that you are the ultimate perfecter. Thank you for helping me see that my body is just a body. Thank for for helping me appreciate every body size, regardless if it is big or small. Thank you allowing me to do the things I can do in this body that I am in.
<3 If you struggle with any disordered eating, you can always contact me. I am not a therapist and I am not a dietician, BUT, I do know what it’s like and I am always open to listening to you or referring you to some of the people that have helped me. <3