Sunday, June 17, 2012

ED Talks #2--Anonymous

I come from a family of skinny minnies. Siblings who try to GAIN weight because people tell them they look sick. My dad never exercises, eats a quart of ice cream a night and looks the same he did 20 years ago. My sister now has three kids and probably weighs 30lbs LESS than me. I guess I haven't totally overcome the comparing. 

At 14, I would not have been considered fat or even chubby by any valid measurement tool. I was just a kid but puberty was changing my body and I freaked. Within a few months, I had bigger boobs than both my sister and my mother of four children. I played basketball and soccer but my eating habits struggled.  As many teenagers do, I  began to resent my body. Instead of resolving the crisis by finding normal coping mechanisms, I turned to what seemed logical at the time, purging. 

It started slowly. I would eat too much ice cream at night and head to the my bathroom shortly after. Maybe two or three times a weeks. Then the frequency escalated, every day and eventually several times a day. I feared being caught but not more than getting fat. I remember being at a cousins mission farewell in another state. I shared a bathroom with my entire family at my grandmothers house for the weekend. Vents in her house make every sound reverberate like thunder. I would wake up in the middle of the night to sneak to the bathroom. 
The thought processes were so incredibly distorted. I still have a hard time believing I wasn't stronger or more respectful of myself.  I should have been worrying about the cute boy who asked me to the sweethearts dance or the next episode of Gilmore Girls. Instead I was a calorie counting, daily weighing extremely sad little girl. I knew what I was doing was wrong but every time I tried to stop I found myself back on the cold, unforgiving tile floor. 

14? Really? Seriously?! That is awful. Where did these self depreciating thoughts come from? Definitely not my family. They have always been and will always be my greatest support. The great and abominable Media? Satan?  Whatever the source, I am grateful I was able to overcome.  I never told my parents and to this day they have no idea. My mom still describes me as her easiest teenager. I can't bring myself to tell her. Would she hate me? Would she blame herself? 

How then, did I do it? Well, I got scared when my period stopped. I wondered if this stupid thing was going to affect my ability to have kids in the future. That terrified me and I resolved to change. Where to turn? Who could I talk to? Not another soul knew this side of me. So, I turned to the person who my parents had taught me could help with anything. I  decided to pray. I was so ashamed with what I had been doing to God's most precious gift to me. I had been praying superficially for two years. I knew He knew what I was doing but I couldn't bring myself to say it out loud, to ask Him for help. After much too long, I took what I still consider one of my most courageous steps. I knelt in my room and begged for His help, to see myself as he saw me. I needed to hear that I was ok,  that I wasn't a terrible girl and that He still loved me. Needless to say that affirmation came. The feeling was too divine for words but I knew in that moment that if God could accept me, I could accept me. I hope that doesn't sound too preachy or churchy. For me it was exactly what I needed. The transition was slow and more of a weaning process than an instantaneous one. Old habits die hard right? Even if you are only 16.  Whenever I catch myself criticizing my chest or waist or arms, I reflect on that moment and still find strength and resolve. 

My teenage sister made a comment a couple of years ago about how she thought she was fat(she is the 3rd skinny minnie). I felt a rush of memories and immediately started talking to her about body image. She is smarter and better than me in so many ways so I don't think she will fall victim to the same patterns, but then again I played the perfect kid for so long without a single suspicion about how I really felt. I tell her every day how beautiful she is. I hope she believes it.

1 comment:

  1. I had to read this several times to reassure myself you are not my sister! I think it is amazing that you turned to God for help and found the strength from Him.