When I was in the seventh grade, I watched one of my best friends starve herself. I was 12 years old. And I had no idea what to do about a friend whose ribcage was becoming increasingly more prominent when changing for gym every day. I didn't know how to respond to a friend who insisted that her leggings were supposed to be baggy. I wasn't sure how to handle a friend who gave away over half her lunch everyday and complained about how fat she was. And I wasn't the only one. Our other friends were just as lost, concerned, and frightened as I was. Thankfully, her parents were paying attention and took her to a nutritionist before it got entirely out of hand. I remember how relieved I was when that happened. And I remember how ticked off she was. She was angry that she had to eat and record everything that she ate everyday. She was even more angry that we made her stick to it. Eventually though, she became comfortable with food again and with her body and by high school was one of the most healthy and fit girls to grace the halls. I'm scared to think of what might have happened if her parents hadn't noticed; hadn't intervened.
I'm thinking about all of this because last night I stumbled across the blog of a young girl who describes herself as walking the line between dieting and anorexia. After scrolling through a few pages of her blog, my heart hurt so bad. It upsets me to no end the way that girls are primed to hate their bodies with such ferocity to quite literally launch an attack on themselves. And it makes me even more angry to know that I, also, have fallen prey to that special department of self loathing (among others). I am grateful, and lucky, to have been blissfully unaware of my weight for the vast majority of my life - and once I discovered that weight was something to be concerned about, to be perfectly satisfied with my own.
In the more recent past, I've struggled with the weight gain that followed a fast (done for religious reasons). I should have realized, but didn't, that the fast would totally destroy my metabolism. And I should have been prepared for the weight gain. But wasn't. And I freaked out. None of my clothes fit anymore. I felt awful all the time. I hated looking at myself. I experienced a level of self consciousness I hadn't felt in a long time, if ever. I initiated a full on assault on my body, trying to whip it back into shape, not thinking that what I needed was to give it time to regulate itself back out again. After a year of struggling, I finally figured it out. This year for Lent, I gave up two things: 1) eating anything that wasn't a healthy meal, prepared with my own hands and 2) the scale. I had never owned a scale in my life before. But somehow in the past year, I convinced myself that I needed one, and dutifully weighed myself daily in the way that only the obsessive do.
I am proud to say that though I did go back to indulging in junk food when the opportunity arose after Lent was over, I have not stepped on a scale since. Over the course of that 40 days I found peace with myself and my body again. I remembered that I didn't need the scale to dictate my worth to me. And I hope hope hope that the other girls and boys out there who struggle with this are able to find the same soon enough to enjoy the rest of their lives.
In other news, I still wear clothes. And sometimes even manage to capture some photographic evidence of that fact.
Dress: Converse One Star x Target
Cardigan: Hand-me-down from Mom
Hat: Mossimo x Target
Shoes: Kate Spade
Bag: Betsey Johnson
Bracelets: Gift from Lebanon and Vintage
Earrings: Jess LC