My blog this week has been written by a guest. It is not realistic fiction, fiction, or semi-realistic fiction. This is a real story written by a real person that needs to be told. It is someone opening their heart and soul to the rest of the world much like Megan Schmidt (@veganmathbeagle) has done time and time again in her blogs. If you are unfamiliar with Megan read this blog and you will see what true courage looks like.
What would your blog look like if you let your guard down? If you didn’t have to hide behind motivational quotes and start talking about real stuff. About kids that you struggle with, parents who hate you, failures in the classroom or school. Would we learn about the real you? Maybe that is too public for some. Too real. After all, we want to be heroic! We are educators. We will save the world.
What would real friendships look like on social media if we didn’t pretend we were perfect, had the perfect solution to every problem, or knew every time we hurt a co-worker? Would we hear people connecting as people? Learning about each other’s families and mental health status? Where are the real connections being made? Maybe these conversations are happening in private. I hope they are.
Take this journey with the author as they meta-cognate through their troubles.
“You’d be sexy if you lost weight.” Those seven words triggered something in me that literally made me want to puke.
It was June 2005, and I was visiting a relative, who took me to another, distant relative’s, house for dinner. The relative, an older woman, asked me if I had a boyfriend, as most family members do. When I said no, she then said that to me. I remember excusing myself and going in the bathroom to cry. This was normal. What was not normal was that I purged.
It was the second time this had happened. The first time was a few years earlier. I don’t remember what triggered that particular incident.
This behavior was abnormal for me, as my usual M.O. was to just stop eating entirely for a few days or even a week. I’d been doing this since the sixth grade, and wrecked my metabolism pretty badly.
What also didn’t help was that during my teenage years, I ate horribly, as most teenagers do. While most of my friends could get by on a steady diet of pizza, french fries, and soda and not gain a pound, I would look at a cookie and gain five.
I hated my body, and myself. For most of my life, I didn’t want to be here. I have swallowed more pills than a little bit, but somehow I always managed to wake up. Some of my friends have not been as lucky.
That day in my relative’s bathroom, I began a bad habit that would last for the next three years of my life. I remember turning on the water to drown out the noise, but when I came out of the bathroom, I felt all eyes on me. It seemed like everyone knew. But I felt better.
A few days later, I was visiting another relative, but was alone in the house when the urge struck again. The more I did it, the more frequent the need became.
Nobody would have suspected that I was doing this to myself, intentionally. My weight didn’t change much, if at all. As a matter of fact, it probably increased during this time. However, it became a psychological addiction. If I didn’t purge, I became extremely anxious.
When I did get caught, I blamed the flu or nerves. Coworkers would ask me if I was pregnant, which I took as a jab regarding my size. People will be people, and will sometimes make rude comments from left field. The more comments I received about my size, the more I converted them to fuel for self-hatred. I continued to internalize these negative feelings, and my drug of choice to ease the pain was purging.
I don’t know what made me stop. It was probably the guilt I felt, knowing that this was wrong. Perhaps it was the physical nuisances, like the abnormal heartbeats and weakened teeth, both of which continue to leave annoying reminders of this awful time. I decided that I wanted out of this kind of behavior. No more purging, no more starving. I set my next birthday as the end date.
The date came and went, and while I didn’t meet my goal, I was able to decrease the frequency. Eventually, the behavior disappeared until it went away completely. The urge, however, has never left. It has taken other forms, such as excessive exercise, diuretics/laxatives, and “cleanses,” which in many cases still allowed me to starve and feel better about myself but put a nicer, socially-acceptable title on it.
Over a decade later, I’d like to say that I’ve come to peace. The truth is, I have come a long way, but I don’t know if I’ll ever see the world through normal eyes, if there is even a such thing. I have been up and down the scale, and even on the lower end, it wasn’t good enough. Every time I feel physically critiqued, I find myself slipping into the bad place once again. However, now, I have developed the strength to hold onto the ledge before going into total freefall. Hopefully it lasts.
Q1: What is said to you that you internalize that most people don’t realize? #slowchatpe
Q2: What have you said about someone’s looks that you wished you hadn’t? #slowchatpe
Q3: How do your looks affect your confidence? #slowchatpe
Q4: What is the unhealthiest thing you have done to lose weight? #slowchatpe
Q5: What signs should we look for that someone might have an eating disorder? #slowchatpe