It was June 1995 and I was close to graduating grade 8, leaving behind my friends and comfort to go to a high school where I would know only a handful of people and I can remember sitting in the cafeteria with my large group of rowdy friends and I saw the guidance counsellor heading towards my table. I clearly remember her asking the friend next to me “what have you eaten today”? When my friend broke down crying she was removed from the table and we didn’t see her again until a few days later. My friend had a secret. A secret I only learned about after school, but that had been affecting her for weeks. She had anorexia.
I would say the majority of my girl friends at that time had an eating disorder of one kind or another because we were 13 & 14 and hormonal, all trying to impress the cute group of boys that went to our school. However my friend, had taken it to an extreme level and her best friend had told on her.
After leaving Senior Public school, I had a whole summer ahead of me to think of nothing but ninth grade and what it would bring. My self-confidence was shattering as I poked and prodded my flabby belly and tried hiding my double chin. I was 14 and weighed 155 pounds. I was humiliated.
I lived with my father and my brother at the time, my mom having left the year before. My dad was trying to safely raise a teenage girl and my brother was busy with my (now) sister-in-law, so my depression had no outlet, I was out of control. I became like my friend. I stopped eating, I controlled the only thing I could – what I put in my mouth. My dad never cooked and it was summer so I was outside a lot so it was easy to lie and say I had already eaten dinner or lunch and not get caught. I rode my bike a lot and I drank a TON of water. By September, I was 110 pounds and getting lots of attention. Now, I don’t blame the anorexia for all the weight loss – I mean I did gain an inch and I’m sure my hormones were in full force so I lost a bunch of left over baby fat, but I was starving.
Of course I made new friends who had never known FAT me, so they thought nothing of it, but the few people who did follow me to my high school were shocked and of course started comparing me to the original girl in the story. Long story short, I started eating again and became somewhat healthy again and slowly gained back some weight. My skinniest was 105 and I clearly remember having clothes that were a size 5 and still were a bit big on me. By the time I graduated highschool 5 years later I had gained enough weight to be “normal”, about 145 pounds (10 pounds less than FAT me in June of 95).
Since then, I have gained all of it and more. I am not going to tell you what my current weight is, because again, I am humiliated and ashamed. I know I could easily stop eating and lose weight, anorexia is a life long illness; and I know I could start eating healthy and working out and probably lose weight, but both of those choices seem incredibly exhausting. Because I have let myself go so much, and to such an extreme, it would take forever and it would hurt – both physically and mentally and emotionally it would hurt – like a bitch!
Everyday I need to tell myself to not be anorexic, to not take the easy way out. Right now I am just to weak to do it the smart way – to lose weight in a healthy, non-life threatening way. Thin people don’t understand. FAT people who became thin don’t remember. It. Is. Hard. REALLY REALLY HARD. Our society still does a lot of fat shaming and men (rightly so) still like a thinner, fitter woman.
The other day I read a story about a “celebrity” who had the opposite problem. She is being “thin” shamed. She is so skinny and people are calling her ugly and nasty and bone rack and other nonsense words and she has finally come out to explain that the medication she takes to keep her cancer free is causing her to not be able to gain weight. CANCER FREE. And people are thin shaming her. I have to shake my head. Why do people, especially women, have to hate so hard on each other? Why can’t we just love and support each other where we are. Where we fall on the spectrum?
I’ll tell you a secret.
Sometimes I don’t care that I am fat. Sometimes pizza, fried chicken, chocolate, coke etc tastes better than thin would ever feel because I know if I was thin people would congratulate me and tell me how amazing I look. You know what – I AM amazing now. I may not look it, but on the inside, I am a fucking rock star and 70+ pounds doesn’t change that. This celebrity who’s so thin – she’s pretty awesome now too and gaining 20+ pounds wouldn’t change that either. I just hope she knows that because I do.