Sunday, November 16, 2008

Age 32

For most of my life I hated and disrespected my body. Over those years, there was a constant, mutual betrayal – my body would let me down, not living up to the high standards I set…and in return, I would starve myself as a brutal form of payback. We truly hated each other.

Then I got pregnant…and everything changed. My focus shifted to the health and well-being of my unborn child. During my pregnancy, I truly learned to love my body – the curves I hated and cursed for all those years I now welcomed and cherished. My body created life…and in the process, gave me back my own.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Age 16

If we are not able to look like our peers, we feel neglected. If we look too different from our peers, we become outcasts. It seems to be a lose-lose situation. Reading the other posts, at times I was like “What! They’re crazy!” But when I question if I would have said the same thing or done the same thing, I was silenced. A quote that stuck with me that I read in a post was, “I would like to be able to say I wish I were more comfortable in my own skin…but the truth is, I don’t want to be comfortable in MY skin.” At first I thought that was outrageous, but then I knew I felt the same way. I always put this exterior shield of protection where I try to make all my girlfriends (and even guy friends) feel that I am 100% happy with how I look. But truthfully, that’s not possible. Yeah, no one’s perfect, but in today’s society that’s not acceptable. Sometimes I look at my sister and her friends and see how GORGEOUS they are, yet they always seem to find “those flaws.”

So reading another post - “I imagine that some women would think my body was perfect and others would think I was too big” - I was able to come to the question, “What is beauty? What is beautiful? Is it not in the eyes of the beholder?” Yet knowing all this, you can’t help to feel that judgment against yourself. I know sometimes when I am with a group of people who look prettier than me, I begin to imagine what they are thinking of me - “Ewww…look at her thighs…can she weigh anymore?…Only good thing she has are those eyes, but other than that she’s done…” - but then I just snap back to the conversation and try to make a joke and act like everything is alright. Because of my rough exterior behavior, guys see me as one of them. I am that chick who is more a guy then a girl, the one who says it like it is so “she’s not playin’ no games and she ain’t tryin’ to hook up with any guy.” And that hurts. Once in a while I want to be looked upon as one of “those girls,” the ones guys look at and go “wow.” But then again, I just don’t want to be another girl to be looked upon as “I’d tap that.” I want to be that girl that catches your attention because she uses the mind that god has gifted her with - and yes, maybe because she is beautiful, inside and out.

Another subject I think no one seemed to touch upon was color. Traditionally, where I come from, girls that have lighter skin color are consider prettier….and me being BROWNER than anything you’ve seen, my family seemed to always bring that topic up. Luckily to me, I always found my skin color pretty…it was the one thing I would never ever change because it made me feel different and unique. I know I can’t say the same for my cousins. In a country where your skin color is such a big deal, I have seen them literally bleach there faces to try to make themselves look as white as a “pearl” - it was like watching Michael Jackson get his treatment right in front of you! All jokes aside, I feel that it’s sad that as women (and even sometimes as men) we go to SUCH extremes to become that “beauty” - to become accepted into that stereotypical beauty.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Age 22

Today a stranger told me I was beautiful. My first thought was he was lying – this had to be a cruel, hurtful joke. Is it possible for someone to really think I am beautiful?

I hope a day comes when I don’t shy away from compliments. I hope a day comes when I believe what others see.

Age 17

Realistically I know I am not unattractive, but when I look in the mirror I am so sad by what I see. I want to be happy and confident in my skin, but all I see are flaws.

Stringy hair.

A constellation of freckles.

A big nose and crooked smile.

A frame that lacks tone.

A small chest.

I’ve learned to use humor as a way to appear happy and comfortable with who I am. But I’m sad. And scared. Scared that I’ll never walk with my head up and mean it. I want to be proud. I know I have so much to offer…I just need to find the inner strength to show the world. I need to be OK with me. I hope that day comes…soon.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Age 15

I was really excited to start the school year. Every summer I go away and don’t see all my friends, so school is where we reconnect and share stories.

This year is different.

While I was away, things changed. My friends are taller. My friends have developed breasts. Some of my friends even got their period for the first time. None of those things happened to me. I am the same girl in the same child-like body jealous of all these changes I don’t get to experience with my friends.

So much has changed.

I have not.

This year is different.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Age 40

I battled with anorexia for many, many years. It is an illness that controlled every moment of every day. When I finally asked for help, I found healing. I still have dark moments, but continue to work on me. Along the way, I learned that beauty is within and radiates throughout…no matter how old…no matter your size. I am happier and healthier.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Age 30

My Body - these words reverberate through my mind like buckshot searching for clean, unmarred flesh. My Body - two little words that hold such power over my feelings of self-worth and right to participate in society. How much longer will I continue to berate myself for wanting food, not exercising 4 hours per day and wearing clothes that fit me, not the media's version of what's right? How many more hours of pinching fat on my stomach and wishing I had the courage to induce myself to vomit? What amount of self-loathing and flagellation will be enough to convince myself that I am not disgusting and irredeemably ugly? I yearn for the days when I starved myself into a body devoid of all indications female - a stick-like body that allowed me to ignore the joys and pain of womanhood and sexuality.

My body has been the enemy for the entirety of my remembered life. It is something to beat down and suppress into submission. It is never to be acknowledged, except to criticize its shortcomings, and especially unworthy of celebration. It is outside of me and yet, I can recognize the self-defeatism of tying self-worth to something as ephemeral as physical appearance. Even so, here I sit, hating myself for not being taller, thinner, prettier, better. I sometimes fleetingly daydream about what it would be like to wholly accept myself, but in truth, the word "self-acceptance" has no tangible reality for me; it is a word on a page that applies to other people, never me.

Growing up in a household where no product or technique was too dangerous in the quest to take up the smallest amount of space - a whittling down curbed only by skeletal dimensions – a paradigm of self-denial was created that has stalked me to present day. I can remember at the age of seven scrutinizing my reflection in the mirror, searching for affirmation of the thin ideal propagated by mother's words and actions. For a time, all was right and good with the world - I projected that ideal. Of course, when weight gained on the heels of my parents' divorce created a chubby child and adolescent, the condemnation and judgment of my family and peers was immediate and relentless. Constantly being scolded for my food choices, clothing size and weight led me to believe that somehow I was worth less in this bigger body.

I learned to associate a sense of shame with my appearance that remained even after I starved myself into psychological numbness and physical insignificance. Morphing into a body that fit the vision of cultural acceptability made me hate it even more. Now, instead of being vilified and scorned for being too large, I was applauded and lusted after for being so small. When did my body become public property?

I am tired of only seeing a chubby, mushy, worthless girl that doesn't deserve to eat or to live. I am tired of feeling slightly sick every time I look in the mirror, terrified of what I may see. Can I tolerate the image reflected back, or will I cry and decry the need to face the world while appearing so broken? I don't want to be stuck, forced to choose between subduing my body into a weak, unnatural shape and nourishing it so I can be free to move and run.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Age 16

Unlike most kids, I’m happy summer is over. Bathing suit season is done and I don’t have to make up excuses on why I can’t join my friends at the beach or pool anymore. I hate bathing suits. Or maybe just how I look in them. I feel so exposed. All of my friends are skinny and pretty. And me? Well, I’m just average. I know I’m not overweight…but I am not as thin as them. Not as pretty. I feel like I’m being judged when I am around them. I would like to be able to say I wish I were more comfortable in my own skin…but the truth is, I don’t want to be comfortable in MY skin. I want to be pretty. I want to be skinny. I don’t want to be average.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Age 44

Growing up, I hated my body. Schoolgirl competition certainly got the best of me. I compared myself to my classmates, wanting to be thinner, prettier and well-liked…just like the girls others admired. This obsession continued when I entered college, only my self-loathing intensified. Bulimia became a way of life.

I was always disappointed with the body I was given.

At 39, I was diagnosed with cancer and thought, once again, my body had let me down. This was the ultimate betrayal.

But what I discovered in the months that followed my diagnosis was that I was strong and ready to fight…and so was the body that I abused and tormented for years. We were in this together – and finally on the same page. The body I hated for so many years quickly became my biggest ally. I wanted to live. We wanted to live.

I fought back.

My body fought back.

I am now 44 and cancer-free. A survivor…and thankful for the body I was given. I’ve learned to treat my body as a friend, and not as an enemy. I am strong. I am healthy. And I am so happy to be alive.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Age 42

When I was 13, the boys taunted me about my upturned nose. They called me "Miss Piggy" and it devastated me. I begged my mother for a nose job for my birthday, but she would just get angry and tell me they were jerks and to ignore them. I was much too sensitive to ignore them and so my depression grew. A few years later, when I was 18 and trying very hard to be as pretty as I could be, a car drove by me, full of those same boys and they yelled out, "You're still ugly!" My anguish led me to toy with the idea of suicide. I felt too ugly to live. When I was 24, after another insult was thrown at me, I finally got a nose job. At first I felt completely different. I thought my life was changed forever, but it wasn't. I still felt ugly. At 34 I was diagnosed with BDD, put on Prozac and ordered to stop mirror checking. I have since gained 50 pounds, but mostly don't care about how I look. Other things occupy my thoughts now. But I still don't feel pretty, and I still wish I was.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Age 32

My earliest memory of my body was feeling shame because I knew I was bigger than all the other girls my age. That feeling has never left me, despite the fact that I am a "normal" size, although it’s hard to really say what the word normal means any more. I imagine that some women would think my body was perfect and others would think I was too big. Either way, I have fought like hell to regain my self esteem and love myself. I now can say from an intellectual level that my body is normal, but the feeling of shame is something that is burned into my being. It’s an old wound, that despite years of healing, still bears its mark on my soul the way a scar will forever stay on a person's skin.

In my short 32 years, I have struggled with a 13 year eating disorder; been on every diet known to man; spent countless dollars (I imagine it is far into the thousands at this point) on products designed to make me believe I would love myself more once I consumed them; and wasted more time than I care to imagine hating my body for being something other than what it was. My body image has consumed me to the point that I can say it has probably gotten more attention than anything else in my life. That statement makes me sad just writing it.

I am not unlike any of you. If you met me you would find me "normal", with a good job, a nice home and a nice family. I am a typical American woman...and I am angry that I have abandoned myself in search of being "perfect." There are times I think this struggle is something I will live with for a lifetime, but if that is the case, then I am willing to fight. I will fight because with each passing year I am tired, and I am ready to finally love myself for being alive and being strong enough to put up with the senseless crap we women have to endure just to feel "good enough." I hope everyone reading this is fighting too. Hopefully, we can make small steps towards change.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Age 22

I'm 5'3" and 125lbs - and I hate it. My sister is two years older, one inch taller and twenty pounds lighter.

Growing up, I was the "thick" or "solid" of the two. My sister and I were nearly identical, even mistaken for one another in high school, except for our weight.

I know I'm not fat, but I've got these hideous saddle-bag thighs! I hate them. My love handles are kinda sexy, though.

Then comes the boobs. My weight once reached around 135, and then dropped back to 120-125. And in the process, my boobs deflated and now resemble balloons half filled with water, just hanging from chest. I can even hold a pencil in the fold beneath them.

IN CLOTHES, I look alright. But naked, I feel sick. I see old paintings in museums of nude women: elegant and curvy. Today's women are stick-thin. I wish REAL women could be considered beautiful. Then maybe I could look in the mirror without shame.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Age 27

I was first told I was fat by my sister and father. My father liked really skinny girls. He once told my husband on the phone that his favorite females were 13 or 14, "just blooming." My husband got off the phone shaken and disturbed. When he told me, I said "I told you so." My father is part of the reason we have yet to have children.

My father has an eating disorder himself. He goes through binge/starve cycles and has always been obsessed with his weight. As kids, he rationed our food and told us what to eat. He didn't keep much food for us in the house. I think these years played a huge role in me developing an eating disorder. There were many days I ate less than 400 - 600 calories. For a time, I was also bulimic. Bulimia was private, whereas fat was out there for everyone to see and judge you.

I feel I stunted my growth. I am 5'3" and the same height as both my grandmothers who grew up during the Depression and then WWII rationing. I think I could have been taller, healthier and more proportionate had I eaten properly in my formative years. I think I may have weakened my heart putting my body through too much stress and not eating properly.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Age 50

"Your thighs are getting too big, better watch it."

"Your grandmother was built like you, she fought it all her life."

I understand now that these things were important to women during the depression, and my parents were trying to be helpful, but it made such a HUGE impression on me. I have learned to accept my muscular thighs and small waist - it is hard to find jeans that fit, and I have never found a pair comfortable. Now that I have been living with M.S. for 10 years and have trouble walking sometimes, my strong thighs are part of what is keeping me upright.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Age 18

As a middle school girl, my mother and I got hooked on the television show What Not To Wear, and realized that young girls can also learn how to create styles that flatter their bodies - which is even more important as their bodies change through puberty. We decided that was the key to reaching girls to show them how to be more accepting of their bodies and not respond to media hype and peer pressure. Once girls see that, they can begin to discover who they really are, learn to take care of their changing bodies and discover true role models and how to achieve their true goals. We've created a journal, How I Look Journal, vetted by the National Eating Disorders Association, that can be used by girls individually or in classes. I am now on my way to college and hope that we'll begin to see changes in how girls see themselves in my lifetime! (

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Age 35

A few months ago, my parents moved from the house I grew up in and I found a pile of life drawings of naked men and women I had drawn when I was about 13 years old.

At the time, my art teacher was very encouraging but told me that some of the heads were very much out of proportion with the rest of the picture. I never understood what he meant, as I always used the head as a measure for the rest of the body.

Seeing my drawings now at 35, it is obvious that all the females I drew had heads that were 3 quarters the size they should be, making their bodies appear oversized and monstrous. The male bodies were all rendered in proportion. I was shocked to have such evidence of how distorted my views of my own and other women's bodies had been. It made me so sad for my 13-year old self, and so grateful I never have to feel that way again.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Age 24

My family would pressure me to shave my legs when I was very young, because I had to wear a skirt every day to school. I hated it and I didn't understand why I had to do it, because none of the kids ever bothered me about it. But my family told me I was too hairy, and the kids would make fun of me for being like a monkey. This was long before puberty. I had no concept of why they were so worried. Then I got older, and my hair got coarser and darker and developed in the usual spots, and still nobody bothered me about it. Only my family ever fussed over how hairy and disgusting I was. Once, a boy in high school insulted me, but that was the only time anyone ever said anything to me about it. Even my boyfriends didn't mind.

Now I'm out of school and no longer forced to wear a uniform every day. The first freedom I had upon graduating from high school was freedom from shaving my legs. I decided nobody would ever force me to wear a dress again. I didn't shave for years until I had to wear a swimsuit to go into someone's pool. I was still ashamed of how hairy and animalistic my body was, and I couldn't just go out in public with my disgusting legs. All those years, I kept myself covered, even in summer heat.

I've met some queer girls and feminists since then, who also don't shave. They don't shave anything at all...not their armpits, or the fuzz on their lips...and it's ok. Their boyfriends and girlfriends are proud of them. They like their bodies and how furry they are. I've started wearing shorts again, but only when I'm around them. I'd never go out in public like that.

I can't bring myself to shave either, though.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Age 13

I don't feel the full pressure of having to be thin. I'm constantly told I'm thin, but that's not what I see. I've been a gymnast for almost ten years, and I am the tallest in my gym. I am 5'8 and 110 pounds. I don't see myself as that thin athletic girl anymore. I am constantly at the gym, trying to eat healthy and do everything within my power to make myself look better. But, it's not everyone else that's pressuring me to be thin, I think it's myself.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Age 22

I was 17 when I was raped. I didn’t tell anyone, fearing others might blame me. Eight months later, my parents divorced. I cried alone because I had to be strong for my siblings. My world was falling apart and I felt so, so alone. Food became the one thing I could control. When I look in the mirror, what do I see? A girl who is undeserving of love…someone in so much pain. I became good at punishing myself. I am 5’8” and now weigh 95 lbs. I still have so many demons. I still feel so alone. But at least I am in control of something…even if it’s killing me.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Age 18

When I look at myself I see fat and I feel disgusted. I'm 5'8" and 145 lbs. That sounds normal but I look so obese. I constantly fear that other people will make fun or hate me because I look fat. I can’t be in relationships because I'm so self-conscience and I even decided not to go to my high school graduation because I felt so fat and unattractive. When I take pictures people tell me I'm really cute and pretty; however, I think the pictures are just altered to make me look pretty.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Age 37

As a child, I developed much faster then my friends and peers. I was athletic and focused on sports, so my newly developed breasts were just a hindrance. I was embarrassed – I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me. I walked with my shoulders forward, trying to hide every new inch of me with loose, baggy clothing.

If only I knew then what I know now.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Age 19

It's become a game to me. Each day I try to eat a little less. I like to see how far I can push myself. In the beginning, the hunger pains were unbearable. But as much as it hurt, it wasn’t as painful as looking at myself in the mirror.

It would be so much easier not to care…

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Age 33

I literally see every pound on my body. If I gain weight, I know exactly where the new pounds go. I see the fat. I wish I wasn’t so acutely aware…but I can’t walk past a mirror without examining every inch of body just to make sure. My mood is determined by the scale – my happiness is reflected in the number that looks up at me. I no longer have control…my weight – my body – controls me.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Age 27

I was sitting on the couch when my mother came in for some “small talk.” She told me I should lose weight. She told me I didn’t look good. That was 13 years ago, although it feels like just yesterday. I can still feel the tears streaming down my face. I just sat there as she spoke those words…and after she left the room, I silently cried. I didn’t speak up. I didn’t question her warped perception of beauty. I just sat there…wishing I could disappear. At the time, I was a healthy, average-sized teenage girl. I was happy.

I have been tormented ever since – consumed by thoughts of food and weight…and trying to be perfect. Wanting to be loved.

I still wish I could disappear.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Age 29

Sometimes the words to describe how you feel have already been written...often better then you could have done it yourself.

By Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suit a model's fashion size
But when I start to tell them
They think I'm telling lies.
I say
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips
The stride of my steps
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please
And to a man
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees
Then they swarm around me
A hive of honey bees.
I say
It's the fire in my eyes
And the flash of my teeth
The swing of my waist
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say
It's in the arch of my back
The sun of my smile
The ride of my breasts
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say
It's in the click of my heels
The bend of my hair
The palm of my hand
The need for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Age 29

When I was 5-6 years old I was of average weight. During that time period, my father tried to engage me in a sexual act, but fortunately someone intervened in time. I have been overweight since then.

In high school, I was a size 14 and thought I was huge - I don't recall what my weight was then. I was horribly shy, and I was super-self conscious about my hairy forearms and being short (5'2"). Even though I was shy, I discovered I had a deep love of acting, and I was involved with the drama club - tiny bit parts and backstage work.

In 2001, I was just under the 200 lb. mark. I was at the end of a 2-year long, lackluster unhealthy relationship and when I was broken-up with, I did whatever it took to treat myself badly - intentional starvation/binging, alcohol and drug abuse and cutting.

Between 2001-2007, I slowly grew to 230 lbs. I was involved in another bad relationship, and 2 unhealthy attachments to "Mr. Unavailables." I decided to go to college in 2003 - to get a degree in my second favorite passion - writing, because I felt too ugly and fat to pursue my dream as an actor. During my four years at school, I partied excessively – abusing drugs and alcohol and barely passing my classes. When I graduated (a year later than I had planned) I was in a deep co-dependent relationship with an alcoholic/addict friend – for a time, I thought I was in love with him, and one drunken night I seduced him (by carefully studying the troubled, size 0 women he was always attracted to) to sleep with me- my rationalization being that "sleeping with me would be so disgusting that he would realize the extent of how messed up he was, and seek treatment for his problems." I still haven't forgiven myself for disrespecting myself that much.

The drama kept piling up, and a month later I staged an intervention and he went into rehab.
I was completely unhinged at the time, and didn't realize the extent to which I was messed up. After he got out of rehab, he thanked me for saving his life and simultaneously kicked me out of his...that was the point where I really lost it. I was a depressed zombie for months - starving myself and binging again, getting up to 250lbs. I wasn't working, living at home with my mom and new step-dad, taking Wellbutrin without doctor supervision, "just to see" if it would help didn't.

This past winter, a friend of mine really helped me - gave me a place to stay, and some perspective and advice...after that, I moved back to the city I got my degree in because I need to live in a place where I have good friends, that feels safe and familiar. Right now I am living on a friend's couch, looking for a job and therapy. I keep thinking about my great passion – acting - I know that I'm good at it, and that if I weren't trapped in the body I have, it would be without a doubt, what I would be pursuing. But the fact that I am a 240 lb woman with hairy arms, acne and scars on my arms really brings me down...sometimes I forget about it briefly, when I'm entertaining my friends with my wild, actor-y antics or when I allow myself to think about my goals - about working with people in the industry, like Joss Whedon, Tom Hanks, etc...sometimes I wish Oprah would find me and take me under her wing (then again, who doesn't wish for that?!).

I have started making a few changes. I've been eating regularly and much healthier than
I have in the past, and I walk every day. I'd like to get started on a program at a gym, once I have a job and a stable place to live. I haven't given up on my goals, but it sure is easy to get distracted and discouraged - however, every day is a new chance to remember what it is I want out of life, and work towards manifesting it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Age 29

When I was 8 I asked my Dad what size a grown-up woman should be. He told me that a woman should be no heavier than 9 stone, and no bigger than a (UK) size 12. I had great legs, he said, but would obviously need to watch my weight.

When I was 12 Dad told me he was sorry he'd given me such meat-slabs for hands.

When I was 15 he said that I wasn't feminine enough, and wanted to know if I was a lesbian (and did I know that all gay people had pedophile tendencies?).

I grew up to weigh 12 stone and wear a size 14/16, and I thought I was a monster. I refused to be in photos. I got cramps in my hands from trying to bend my thumbs under to make them look narrower. I threw myself into relationships with men I didn't fancy, and often didn't even like, in an effort not to be a lesbian. I got pregnant, and afterwards I hated my body even more. I comfort ate, drank too much and self-harmed.

Then I discovered this band and took a liking to the singer. She's been my inspiration.

I've lost weight and got fit. I'm still big but I find it sexy. I've stopped drinking. I've stopped over-eating. I've stopped hurting myself. I'm out. I'm androgynous and no longer see that as a bad thing. My hands were filmed as part of a documentary. I have such beautiful hands.

I watched my Dad with my half-sister a while back. I can count the number of times I've met her on one hand. She's this tiny, skinny wee soul, and he was calling her fat.

I wish for her her very own Amanda Palmer one day.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Age 21

I had never considered myself thin, or even average. I couldn't stand what I saw when I looked in the mirror. Looking back, I was average... not too thin, not too fat. Nevertheless, I've been dieting since I was in girl scouts, at around the age of 8. I hid my body with long, baggy clothes. In high school, I was so ashamed of my weight (although there was nothing wrong with it) that I began wearing jackets, even in the intense heat and humidity of Miami summers. I wore the jacket for 7 years.

At one point in my life, I dated a guy who asked me out by writing me an email saying that he liked me, and he thought we had a lot of potential, but in order for him to be able to date me, I had to lose weight. At the time, I was 5'3" and 140 lbs. At my highest a couple years earlier, I was 180 lbs. Nevertheless, I agreed because I was still in the process of losing weight. A month later, we broke up because he didn't think I was attractive enough according to other people. For the next year, we became close friends and got together and broke up about 5 times. We got together because we have something that, in normal circumstances, works amazingly and has great potential. We broke up because I wasn't thin enough. Every time, I allowed him to degrade me and then get me back without even apologizing or assuring me that things would be different. It was because I agreed with him. It was because I lacked the confidence to stand up for myself. Now I know I deserve so much better than that.

I don't consider myself to be beautiful, but it doesn't matter. I am happy with what I see in the mirror and I know that guys are attracted to me. It's taken a lot to change the way I see myself, and sometimes I slip and see fat, but it's ok because I don't let it define me. So what if I'm ugly or fat? (which I don't believe I am). It doesn't change who I am, and I really like who I am...fat or no fat.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Age 18

I was 13 years old. I'd been a naturally skinny kid. During my pre-teen years I gained weight. Suddenly it hit me – I wasn't thin anymore. So I went on a diet. By several months later, I had lost 20 lbs on my small-framed, 5' frame. I was throwing up after eating 100-200 calories. I hated myself even more.

I was 120 lbs when this all began. I'd written how I'd "stop" once I hit 102 lbs. Stop the restricting, the purging. I just wanted to be "beautiful."

When I was 14 years old, 5'1, and 85 lbs it still wasn't enough. I wasn't thin yet, wasn't beautiful.

I'll be 19 in a couple weeks. It's been over 5 years. I'm 5'2.5 and fluctuate throughout the 90s. The rational part of my mind knows I'm technically thin. The other part sees only flab and disgust. My body looks horrific. I have scars all over from years of self-injury that started even before the "diet" ever did.

I have restricted to almost nothing. I have thrown up until I see blood and bile. I have taken bottles of cough medicine so that I wouldn't eat and to just feel nothing. I have drunk alcohol and eaten until it was easy to throw up. I have spent days on end drinking energy drinks, having a couple hundred calories and purging everything else. I have eaten several thousand calories in a day. I have spent all of my time thinking of food, weight and how repulsive I am. I have had to repeat my freshman year of high school because I stopped going to school. I have completely dropped out of high school, with only months left in my senior year, because I couldn't deal with it and had missed over half the year. I have cut, burned, given myself a black eye. I have hidden my food issues from everyone for all this time. I have hated how my gag reflex won't work if I purge too much. I have seriously considered suicide.

Yet I still don't feel beautiful. I still don't feel "sick" either. I realize that I technically have an eating disorder. But I still don't feel "good enough" to deserve that label. If I had an eating disorder then I would certainly have lost more weight by now. I would have been forced into treatment. I would be skinny.

People tell me how lucky I am to be thin. Really? Is this lucky? I would give anything to go back and never have started this. But now this is who I am. I won't go into treatment or try to recover. Not until I'm thin. Not until people won't believe me when I say "I'm not hungry" or "this is my natural weight."

I wonder if I saw my current self back when I was 13…What would I think? Would I think I was thin? Would I think it was enough? Would I think it was worth all of this? Would I have stopped? The answer that scares me is a resounding "No" to all of those questions.

When will it be enough? When will I be thin enough? Will I ever get there? I don't know. For now I'll continue to hate myself with every fiber of my being. Continue to restrict, to binge, to purge when I can. Because I can't deal with the answers to any of these questions. I lost myself those years ago and I'm not quite sure how to get myself back.

When I look in the mirror, what do I see? I see a failure. A fat person. Somebody who will never be good enough. Somebody who deserves to die.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Age 22

I've always had the puppy fat, and it didn't bother me until, when I was about 9, my body became a target of bullying. So I started hating myself. My mum kept telling me it was puppy fat and it would go, but it didn't. I was teased. I was called ugly. Kids jeered at me from across the playground. I hated myself. I still recall, with perfect clarity, reading a book when I was 10. It was one of those 'feel good, be happy with yourself' books, about a girl who had an eating disorder, lost a lot of weight, realized that she was still teased and came to appreciate her friends she had more, but the message that gave me at 10 is, not matter how you slim or diet, you'll always be the fat girl on the inside. I gave up, then. I remember thinking to myself, well, if I'll always be the fat girl and even if I lose the weight they'll all hate me, I might as well just accept that I'm ugly.

My mum also used to say to me "You can't be clever and beautiful." I wonder what she meant by it by now, maybe she didn't even think about it, but I got into my head that it was true. The pretty people were dumb, I was clever, but I couldn't be pretty too. If I was going to be clever then that was all I could be. For years I used my intelligence like a shield to hide my body. I hated my body as a teenager. The teasing never really let up. I truly believed I was disgusting and repulsive because of my fat, and that made me over-eat. Comfort eat. I was going to be the fat ugly girl anyway, might as well.

I made a few attempts to lose weight in my teens. My mum would encourage me, tell me how easy it was, drag me to see the doctor about my weight, pack me of to the gym to work out with the express purpose of becoming thin, and nothing happened. I was still picked on, still teased, still an undesirable, still craved food, but now was miserable in my free time too and had guilt whenever I skipped on going to the gym.

The first time I got a glimpse of what it was to love my body was when I was 18, and someone else did it for me. My first relationship. How could I be disgusting when someone wanted to touch me? How could I be repulsive when they kissed me? The relationship didn't last but it did teach me that there were other ways to think about my body. It was still another year before it really kicked in. My mum had always taught me that as a fat girl, I had to dress like a fat girl. Had to hide my body with big, covering clothes because my body was shameful. She still does tell me habitually I’m wearing clothing which she thinks is too tight. Anyway, a year after the end of my first relationship, I walked into a shop and looked for something sexy. Something that showed off the good bits of my body, as I'd just about managed to convince myself I had some. And I found a top, and I felt good in it.

I made a conscious decision not to hate my body anymore. That was three years ago, when I got that top, when I looked in the mirror and told myself I was beautiful for the first time, that I could have both brains and beauty. I've been telling myself that for three years now and I almost believe it. I believe it in myself, but I don't think it's true of others. I know I'm beautiful, but I instantly presume nobody else finds me to be beautiful. And there are still days sometimes when I feel ugly, disgusting, when I drag myself to bed and cry. But I do my best. I hate how, even when I try to teach me to love myself, I still can't convince myself that other people do. Maybe, in time, they will. I have an amazing group of friends who tell me regularly how beautiful they find me and how much they love me, and I do the same back to them. I'm learning not to take every rejection of love as a rejection of my body, there are other reasons people might not want to date me and it doesn't make me undesirable. I'm learning to see the beauty of my figure, I'm learning to crawl out from the oversized tops my mum says suit me so well, I'm learning to not be ashamed of myself.

I can only hope I can keep it up, because it feels like a battle to love me, and I don't want to lose the fight.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Age 17

When I was a little girl, everyone could tell you I looked more like my dad than my mother. My mom’s side of the family was very thin and in shape and on my father's side everyone is obese. I remember going to my mom’s room crying "I’m gonna be fat, I’m gonna be fat like dad’s family." I was scared to death of gaining weight or getting "fat." I was never popular, or really pretty. I wanted people to notice me. I hated my body my whole life. I wanted to change so I started dieting in the 7th grade, and by 8th grade I was making myself vomit after meals. I didn't think I had a problem. I thought I was better than everyone else. I was disciplined enough to purge. I struggled with bulimia for about 2 years and then my sophomore year of high school I became anorexic/bulimic. I became obsessed with my body; I knew every inch, every pound. I was at my worst. I hated my body. Everyday I woke up early, looked at myself and I tried so hard not to cry. I hated everything about my body. I was a 5' 6’’, 17 year old girl who weighed 110 pounds and I saw nothing but fat on my body. I never felt thin. I would purge up to 15 times a day if I did eat and I restricted my calories to 300 a day. If I broke it, I would purge and take 4 laxatives. I would be so disgusted with myself that I couldn't even stick to a diet that I would punish myself. I would take a razor and cut my thigh. I was so angry and sad all the time and I had no one to talk to, I felt it was the only way to let my anger out. I've fainted on 2 occasions. I have vomited blood more than once. I have heart palpitations, memory loss, poor concentration, torn esophagus, acid reflux. I was caught while purging by my mother and was sent to an eating disorder clinic. Since, I have relapsed more than once, been to 2 other treatment centers and I am still recovering. What I have found to help is to take out the mirrors in your bedroom. Then you can’t stay up ‘til 3 in the morning obsessing like I used to.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Age 48

I think I’m beautiful. My hair is thin and dry. My skin sags all over: on my face, where it also causes huge creases and wrinkles, my upper arms, where my empty skin falls down over my elbows, my stomach, my thighs. My ribs and my hipbones jut proudly out from my skin; my cheekbones bring a cadaverous aspect to my face. At night I cannot sleep on my side with my legs together as my knees and my ankles grind into each other. I can’t see my butt, except with a mirror, and then I see that the loss of flesh in my buttocks completely reveals my anus to sight.

I think I’m beautiful. My heart palpitates and I get chest pains, my skin is turning orange, and my brain can no longer concentrate or remember. My electrolytes are unbalanced and my bones are thinning. I no longer shiver in response to cold, leaving me with grindingly cold hands and feet that only warm up with a hot water bottle.

I think I’m beautiful. I am the poster child for weight loss and fitness at my gym, where I define “frenetic”: jumping and running and lifting again and again and again. I stand in front of the mirrors to make sure I still have a gap between my legs that starts at my crotch and ends at my feet; sometimes at night I run my hands down between my legs just to make sure I didn’t gain a bunch of weight that day. Sometimes I look over at another woman and wish that “I was skinny like she is.”

I think I’m beautiful. Some people tell me how great it is that I lost weight or that I look great now that I lost weight. Are they nuts? Some people I know walk right by without recognizing me; if I bother to call them I tell them it is because I let my hair go curly. One person asked if I had HIV/AIDS, another told me I look “delicious.”

I think I’m beautiful. I live my days trapped in my house by fear of food, fear of letting my guard down and eating. I am trapped by the weather as my poor skinny body cannot respond to cold. I am trapped by my isolation from the world. I am afraid of dying and afraid of healing.

I think I’m beautiful. What do you think?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Age 22

Bodies are inconvenient as the truth. The inconvenient truth is this woman's body with fair, pale skin that reflects neither radiant energy nor the darkness, but only coats a body that is no more representative than the color of skin, a body with humble breasts that will never be confused with mountains, feminine curves at the hip for childrearing that will never happen and no amount of exercise will change. A booty meant for shaking, though it will never be shook by the owner of this body. Scarred legs testify an eventful childhood, blistered feet from trying to reduce the size of a stomach directly proportionate to the amount of beer drank despite the fact that after 2 years I have yet to acquire the taste with my tongue that is rarely used for anything but tasting these days. The lack of the use of my tongue might be because this inconvenient truth often appears more or less sexual than its owner and in all its femininity it is far from the truth that lies within. Still I will gladly lie through my teeth with this body and accept an inconvenient truth that allows me to connect with other liars.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Age 64

I am 64 years old and from a very early age decided that I was not going to focus on my physical image, but rather my mind! This decision has "saved" me! I was never "thin and beautiful" in high school, but as I perceive other women around me, I have ended up much younger than my peers, and much "better looking" than other women my age (and a lot younger). This "subject" will not disappear!!!! And has not been addressed adequately!!!!

I thank my genes for this...and most especially yoga and meditation! But more than this, I gave myself a gift of not focusing on my physical self...I had nothing to "lose" so to speak (in my mind)! I notice that many other women view themselves "nostalgically" as to the way they "used to look." And of course THE MEDIA!!!

This didn't affect the way I have viewed our culture...because I am a visual artist...a poet...and a writer. I have, as a woman, given a lot of ("obsessed") thought to this subject! I wrote in 1993 a play called: "When the Women Didn't Feel Pretty Anymore"

Which is STILL relevant!!!

From the "prologue"...

(A disembodied voice says from above...):

"And when will I love my body
it is still no temple to me
filled with my love
and at peace with my soul"

"And when WILL I love my body? This question and these thoughts have been with me for quite some time, almost long enough to make me feel haunted by them...knowing that my own body has never been completely loved by me. There has never been a moment in my life when I loved all of me, and every cell of my being knew it."

"I'm wondering now if I ever will feel totally at ease in my own skin, and if I shall ever luxuriate in my flesh as any natural animal would and does every day of its' life. I'm feeling that if I can't at last love my own body, then how can I fully love myself? And if I don't fully love myself, then how can I love others?"

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Age 21

Once upon a time there was a beautiful, strong, happy woman who gave birth to two beautiful baby girls. Nothing was more important to this woman than making sure her daughters knew how beautiful and how strong they were. The oldest daughter grew up to be a little more independent than her sister - she wore crazy outfits to school, loved learning, was a fierce debater and adamant feminist. The mother was so proud, and she let her daughter know every day. So much so that the daughter was afraid to tell her mother about her insecurities when the girls in school started weighing themselves and stopped eating. She didn't want to disappoint. Strong women didn't care what others thought, strong women knew that if you are beautiful on the inside the world will see that reflected on the outside. Strong women knew that beauty is not about weighing 115lbs. One day the mother and daughter were watching the news when a special came on about eating disorders in high schools. The mother looked at her daughter proudly and said, "I am so glad you are healthy, that you know better than this." The daughter squirmed inside, but smiled and scoffed at the insecure stick figures on the screen.

I am 5'7", 140 lbs and a size 8. I am beautiful, inside and out. I am a feminist who appreciates that beauty comes in every shape, color and size. I believe in knowing your own self worth and self confidence. I will never, ever tell anyone that I wish I could just lose ten pounds. That I am not the defiant, magnificent, proud person they think. I do love my body most of the time, but I do not cherish my stomach or my thighs. I hope one day I can actually be who I claim to be.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Age 24

I'm a feminist, a confident woman, an advocate for body positivity - and it takes a man telling me I'm beautiful for me to believe it. I make myself sick.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Age 61

Let me first say that I am 61 1/2 years old and I live in West Virginia. I am a third generation victim of eating disorders. I know definitively that my mother had body image distortion, and it was modeled for me. I never met my mother's mother, but I can tell just by looking at pictures of her that she was fixated on being little. My mother had an interesting manifestation in that she couldn't see her body accurately, nor could she see mine accurately. So for almost all of my adult life I have been trying to erase her programming, which was entirely negative. I still don't know if I am seeing my body realistically, I think not. I think I am really fat; and I have at least four reasons that I "know" it is true. (1. I'm on medication that causes weight gain, usually about 25 lbs. 2. I moved from Florida where I had no appetite to West Virginia, where eating is a pleasure shared. 3. It was autumn, and I was packing on winter weight. 4. I have fibromyalgia and CFS which have drastically cut into my exercise energy. I spend more time idle and on the sofa, where I don't hurt as much.)

That said, here is what I have deprogrammed. Mother said my lips were big; I know they aren't. In fact, I think I have a beautiful mouth. Mother said my legs were fat, like tree trunks; my legs aren't small, but they're not fat either. I have the same legs as my Dad, my brothers, and 2 of my 3 children. They are solid Italian legs, but not fat. My mother's people have skinny legs. I almost like my legs. Mother told me that my butt was big. I am very proportionate. Mother said my hair was too straight and she was always putting perms in it. I love my hair. I've put back the red (strawberry blond) I had as a child. I think my hair is very, very pretty. I love my eyes; they are strikingly attractive. I am on the short side - 5'4" - and that limits what I can wear; I am learning at this late age how to dress attractively. I watch What Not To Wear on TV to get ideas and it has become fun to dress pretty. I have no money so I am a pretty regular shopper at the Goodwill Store. I now know what will add to my natural beauty and what will detract from it. I finally am madly in love with my freckles. I hated them for decades. Now, I hope they'll never go away. I look a bit younger than I am, so others say. I don't know what 61 is supposed to look like. I am trying to stop shopping in the juniors department. I am very self-conscious about my fingernails; they break off so easily, and never grow very long. I wish I had pretty ones. The biggest reason I quit smoking was because it gives wrinkles.

I am never thin enough. I am terribly eating disordered and see no way out of it. Beginning in 1973, after the birth of my third child, I was primarily anorexic. I got down to 87 pounds and was almost happy with how I looked. Looking back at pictures from those years, I looked like a concentration camp survivor. In 1980, I began living with my second husband, Larry, who loved to eat. He fixed food and saw that I ate well. I got up to 105 and was sort of OK with that weight. But then, I began gaining and gaining and began purging after every meal. Larry caught me and I developed hundreds of ways to get around him so I could get rid of what I just ate. That pattern of purging after meals is a giant monkey on my back - probably a mountain gorilla, if I'm honest. For me, I can starve myself when my life is chaotic. When I'm content, I eat and then want to purge. I don't like to look in full length mirrors now; I think in all honesty I look terribly fat. My hair and face please me, as do my feet. It's what's in the middle that I don't like. I sure hope I learn to love my body just as it is before I die. I'd love to live a life that doesn't focus on eating, food, calories, pounds and sizes of clothes. I wish I could feed me in a healthy way and not obsess about what I weigh or how my clothes fit and what size they are. I just don't how to do that, so it likely won't happen. And that's me and my thoughts about my body.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Age 18

When I look in the mirror, I see a girl who is so incredibly sad. Tragically unhappy. My friends and family think I live a perfect life because I’ve learned to smile through the pain. I have mastered the ability to appear happy even when I’m not. At 18, I’ve become a phenomenal actress – showing others only what they want to see. Or what they can handle.

But the pressure to be a certain way – thin, beautiful and popular – has made me so sick. In an attempt to fit in, I have lost myself so completely. I spend my days staring down into the bowls of toilets. My insides splatter porcelain as tears trickle down my face. I wish I could stop. I wish I had more control.

I wish I loved myself as much as people believe I do.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Age 20

I am 11. I am standing in front of the bathroom mirror, pinching the fat on my thighs. I am crying, because I can pull away with whole handfuls of fat - at least in my mind. I am hysterical. I am so, so big. I take up too much space, gravity pulls me down so far, I galumph when I move. I pinch more fat. My mother knocks on the bathroom door. Dinner. I wipe my eyes with the back of my hand and emerge from the bathroom, smiling.

I am 15. I am standing in front of the mirror in the girls' locker room. Next to me is my best friend. We are comparing our breasts - hers are much smaller. We then compare our post-adolescent stomachs. Hers is much smaller. I am so, so fat. No, she says, you aren't fat. You're athletic. No one thinks you're fat, you're just not skinny. She turns away. I bite my lip, blink away the tears, choke back a scream. I emerge from the locker room, smiling.

15 is the year I learn to battle my weight. I learn to measure my self-worth in pounds and inches. Today, I will eat only celery and carrots. Tomorrow, I will have black coffee and a cracker. The day after, nothing. Look at yourself, fat girl. You are not worth food. But I get hungry. I so badly want food that I eat without thinking, stuff my mouth with anything I can find, visit fast food restaurants and eat it all. Then I learn to get rid of it, through the cunning use of my left hand and a box of chocolate-flavored laxatives.

I am 18. I am standing in front of my boyfriend, naked. He is staring at me. I don't know what he is seeing. Appreciation? Awe? Disgust? He turns away. He hands me his tee shirt. So you don't get cold, he says. I turn away. Do you think I'm fat? I ask the carpet. No. I think you are too skinny. I can see your veins beneath your skin. He doesn't know what's important. He doesn't know what this means to me. He thinks girls should be big and curvy, and I think I should disappear.

I am 20. I am bent over the toilet bowl, staring at my rippling reflection in the water. I am shoving two fingers down my throat and getting rid of everything I ate, or didn't eat. I am 21. I am drunk, because I drink every night to forget about the fat that is eating away at me. I am wobbling on my heels, jamming my hand down my throat, beginning to cry. I bring up vodka, saliva, bile, blood. I collapse on the tile floor, thanking God that it's all out of me now, nothing can touch me when I'm this empty. I am not worth anything but emptiness.

I am still 20...and I wish things were different...that this never happened...that I loved my flaws...that my flaws didn't exist...that I didn't, that I were happy...believe in happiness…I so badly believe in happiness.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Age 18

I always thought that beauty meant strength, and that conforming to societal standards of beauty would make me powerful. I was a size 4, starving, told by everyone around me that I should model, with violin-bow arms and a concave stomach.

Then I went to college and started eating. I gained 30 pounds in three months, and my psychiatrist told me I had to be careful. I wanted to scream at him, "I'm recovering from an eating disorder!", but I didn't. I just kept quiet and kept eating. I'm now a size 8, and I exercise every day. I have defined muscles in my arms and legs. I can run miles and lift children and work at a construction job.

I look back at pictures of myself from high school and I see brittleness, fragility. I've learned to embrace my scars, my cellulite, the fat on my stomach and butt, the way my flesh moves when I jump, as signs of trials overcome. My body represents who I am: I'm stronger now, thicker, more of a presence, capable. Powerful.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Age 16

For as long as I can remember, my weight has fluctuated. When I’ve been heavier (healthier, happier), it’s because I’m eating. When I’m thin, it’s because I’m skipping meals. Starving myself, actually. When I’m not eating, when I’m so hungry it hurts, I’m told I look beautiful. That's certainly better then constantly hearing I look bloated, or that I'm getting a belly, or that I should try to lose the extra weight. I would rather hurt myself by not eating then hear those words spoken to me again. Those words hurt far more then the constant hunger pains.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Age 18

I have always thought my body was a bad thing. No, that's not really right. I was told I was overweight, and was told that I needed to eat better, and exercise more, then maybe I would feel better, and "become a better person." These criticisms always stuck close to me. I heard them (and frankly, still do hear them) on a weekly basis from my parents, and they cut deeply. Every comment someone made on my weight felt like a small jolt through my heart. So I started to hurt myself. Every time I just felt despair that my family couldn't accept me for who I was, I would hurt myself. This started in middle school, and continued on into my high school years. I knew it wasn't helping me feel better in the long run, but it helped heal the immediate internal wounds, inflicted by comments such as, "do you really want to eat that" and "maybe you should go for a walk instead." They seemed to tiptoe around the "f-word," and instead use "big," "large," and "voluptuous." Calling myself fat was often met with exclamations of "You're not fat!" and sometimes even anger. But let's face it, I know that I am fat.

Only recently have I been able to feel as though my fat is a part of me, and I love it. Yes, I am fat. And you know what? I don't have a problem with it. When I look in the mirror, I see someone beautiful, someone who may be fat, but is still in love with themselves. I now believe that no matter what size I happen to be, I will be content with it. If I got down to what most doctors would say was a "healthy weight," I'd still be a 12/14, and I'd probably still be fat and fabulous. I guess what I'm trying to say, is that as a college freshman, when all the other gals are obsessing about those two cookies they ate with lunch, or are eating nothing but salad from the cafeteria, I am enjoying life, enjoying food, and enjoying my body. It's not to say that I don't have other worries, such as my grades, and how I'm going to finish that paper worth 25% of my grade by Friday, but I can happily say that I don't add to any worries with obsessing over the fitness (or lack thereof), size, shape, or weight of my body. I do not even own a scale, but I don't need one. I love every roll of fat, and ounce of flab, because honestly, it's just a part of who I am.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Age 39

curvy round buoyant
bouncy soft comfortable
insulated grounded well-padded
not heavy
not cumbersome
not overweight or obese

These don't fit.

I just have extra fat. Everyone has some, I just have more.
I'm not saying that I need all of it, but it's not too much to carry.

For now,
I fit it
it fits me.

Age 22

I've often wondered what it would be like not to have any fat on my body. I wonder what these muscles could do without the weight of the fat I carry, how far I could run without getting out of breath, how high I could jump. I wouldn't want such a change ever to be permanent, though. I know that the muscles I have are just what I need for carrying every ounce of me.

I think I started to be less ashamed of my body when I dropped my long hair and got my gigantic mohawk. Suddenly everyone around was complimenting me. They said things like, we love your hair, it looks like the sun. I felt powerful with my hair spiked out to look like it could kill someone. The mohawk is long gone but the feeling of confidence in being visible is still there.

And I love my body. I really do. I walk around in my apartment naked and whenever I see myself in the bathroom mirror I smile and look at how long my armpit hair is getting. Sometimes I feel like a five-year-old, sitting in the bathtub poking at my belly and thinking of how it's like a flotation device. I'll never drown.

And I love my body when I am bicycling down the road and the cars are passing me and there is a fresh breeze in my face. I love my heart and the way it pounds when I try to go as fast as I can. I love the slight pain that gathers in my legs when I strain to pedal faster. It makes me feel strong and alive.

Age 70

OK, it probably started at the age of 12, in the summertime, with a rolling pin trying to trim my thighs. I had a girlfriend who was the skinniest peg you ever wanted to meet. Me, well, I wasn't so lucky (or so I thought). My mother even signed me up for a magazine called "The Chubby Club." I hated it. The magazine would come with pictures of girls who were so much heavier than I. They sold dresses which had this elastic at the back waist (you know, so it could stretch). I dreaded it coming in the mail.

Next came the diet doctor. I remember my mother bringing me and the doctor taking my "before" picture. Every week I went, got pills, weighed and had a little question and answer session with the doc. One of the answers I can recall was, "if you eat from a pig, you'll look like a pig." His name was Dr. Repp in West Philadelphia. Needless to say, when I passed out one day my mother threw the pills down the toilet and I didn't go back to Dr. Repp. I think I weighed 150 lbs when I started with him; I recall losing 10 lbs in one week.

Today, well I'm 170 and hate it. I've tried so many diets. No flour, no sugar seemed to be the only one that works, but it's too difficult to stay on it.

My body image is of a fat person.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Age 28

For more than 20 years, I have hated my body. Every aspect of it - my skin, my hair, my size, my height - down to the freckles on my shoulders. Over those 20 years, I have been a compulsive over-eater, exercise bulimic, anorexic, bulimic, ED-NOS, and at times, even recovered. I've been pre-med in college, an EMT, a firefighter, a 9-1-1 dispatcher and teacher. I've gotten married, have two wonderful children, and while they give me purpose, the only time I ever felt validated as a worthwhile human being was when I was sickest, and at my thinnest. All the good I know I've done, the people I've helped, no one ever noticed me, appreciated me, respected me, except when I was skinny. I curse and hide my body. I look at my old scars, criss-crossing my arms and thighs where I once used to injure myself and I wonder, since it's been years since I hurt myself, that means I'm recovered, right? So I skip some meals, and stick my fingers down my throat when I do eat, but so what? Right? Denial is more than a river in Egypt.

I'm scared for my daughter. That she'll endure the same hell I've lived in my whole life. I walk a tightrope between worry and obsession with what she eats, how she eats, etc. I worry that my son will face the same image issues or that one day, maybe unknowingly, he'll judge someone else's worth based on their appearance and weight.

I don't need money or a big house or cars and jewelry to make me happy. If I had one wish, it would be to be rid of all my body image issues and disorders and

Age 34

I am fat. No, really. I am fat. Morbidly obese is the medical term. I prefer fat. I have a fat ass, fat upper arms, a fat belly, fat hips, fat thighs and a fat face. I have stretch marks and I have cellulite. I also have a body that enables me to do the things I want to do. It has conceived, carried and borne two healthy children. It houses my brilliant mind and gives me means to express my thoughts and creativity. It lets me make love to my partner and to enjoy it. I like who I am. I like where I am in my life. I would rather be fat than stressing about dieting and losing weight. I can spend that time writing and creating and being. My body has got me where I am today and while I haven't always been on BFF terms with her, I think she is pretty cool. That is why I decorate her with ink and other expressions of love. I refuse to be ashamed of her. Why should I? My children love snuggling up to me because I am soft and squashy. My partner doesn't find skinny women attractive. I look like my mother did and I don't see that as a bad thing. Maybe I am in denial like all the fat haters say I am. But hey, it sure is more fun here than at Weight Watchers.

Age 19

Ever since I was a child I've been told I'm beautiful, cute, even angelic. I've had more than one guy tell me I'm "perfect." I don't understand where all of these compliments come from. I have days when I look in the mirror and I see what everyone else sees; I see a beautiful young woman. I only weigh 105 lbs, that can't be fat. Right? So then why is it that I have a lot of days where I look in the mirror and despise what I see? I'm not tall (I'm only 4'11") and I don't have big breasts and a non-existent waist. I'm not what I should be. I'm not perfect at all. How dare anyone say those words to me.

For years I've struggled with an eating disorder. I don't know how to stop.

Age 20

"I know all women have body issues. If you didn't, you wouldn't be normal."

My new boyfriend told me that when I became upset at him commenting on my body fat (or lack thereof), and I don't think he could ever understand just how much more depressing I find it that I am merely 'normal' in my repellant self hatred.

At least as an anorectic, one has something special. Now at a healthy weight I am just another female, having family reassurances constantly contradicted by the media - another 'sinful snack,' 'flawless perfection,' 'perfect new body' advert. I don't know one woman who is truly happy with herself. Most of them haven't been classified mentally ill, so what hope is there for me to ever let go of this?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Age 15

Now is the only time in my life I have been called beautiful, and it’s only because I am starving myself. I have always been fat, but last year I have started to not eat. I hide my food and wait for a good time to throw it all away. I act sick so I don't have to go near food when I'm at home. And the people in my life are praising me about how pretty I look now that I have a slimmer waist and hollow cheeks. People are encouraging me and I know I cannot stop. My friends are not fat and most of my parent’s friends are not fat, only my close family is. So I am a fat ass. Sometimes when I look in the mirror I catch a glimpse of a slim pretty girl, but then I'm overwhelmed by my huge fat thighs and rolled fat belly. I poke and prod my fat leavening purple-green bruises and dark red lines of blood. I never mean to hurt myself; I just wanted to show myself how I should look and feel. I can no longer see me as me, I only see what I think is me. I’m scared for my health.

Age 20

I'm covered with scars. Face, arms, stomach, thighs, ankles, all covered, all attacked, all self inflicted. As grotesque as they are, I don't hate them as much as the fat that they lay on or the stretch marks that some blend in with.

I hide it all behind designer labels and a pretty smile. Thank you for your compliments, I've never believed them. I really just want people to realize that I'm just as breakable as the china doll that they think I look like.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Age 22

I have hundreds, probably thousands, of dollars worth of tattoos on my body. I am more proud of them than anything else, but just once I want somebody to say "Oh, she would be so pretty if it weren't for all of those tattoos" instead of complimenting them. I have them so people look at the tattoos instead of looking at me, I want somebody to really see me someday, and think that I'm beautiful. Maybe someday I'll stop putting beautiful things on my body and actually believe that my body is what's beautiful.

Age 19

I am 19.

When I look at old pictures of me, I cry. I cry at how pretty I was. How that girl disappeared. How I fear I'll never find her again.

I wipe my tears away only to cry again when I remember how sick I was. How everyday I had a stomachache. How if I was awake too long, my stomach would hurt so badly I wanted to curl up and die. How I worked out when everyone else relaxed, and how eventually I couldn't eat a full meal anymore. How I spit out every bite behind my napkin.

And I wipe my tears away only to cry again when I remember how my jeans began to fall down. How I would lie on the ground, admiring the valley between my hips and ribs, and swear nothing was as beautiful.

And I once again, wipe away those tears only to cry again when I remember how fast the weight came back. How with medicine and depression I became literally twice my size.

And I look at those old pictures and cry, because, I was so damn beautiful.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Age 18

Everyday. Everyday I love food. Everyday I hate food…or rather, how the food makes me feel after I eat. I am tormented and wish I could free myself from this pain. My anguish is unrelenting. When I look in the mirror, what do I see? Someone with little self-control. Someone unworthy of love. Someone who wants to cry out for help, but is too afraid…

Friday, March 28, 2008

Age 24

This is not my body. This can't be it, this soft, round, jiggly blob. No, my real body is hidden under all these layers of fat, and my job is to remove the fat so I can be who I really am. So I can be a happy, confident, successful person who is loved and desired and appreciated and respected.

When I look in the mirror, that is what I think: No, please, this can't be it! I have struggled with bulimia for 8 years. My weight is normal and healthy, but it is too much. There's too much excess, too much softness and flab. I hate my eating disorder; I hate how I have allowed it to take so much from me - my health, my teeth, my time and money, my friends - but I feel that if I were to recover now, I would have failed. I never got skinny. I never achieved the goal. Recovery would mean giving up, and I can't let that happen. So I have to keep going, keep throwing up, keep dieting, keep doing all the things that make me sick and depressed, until I am thin enough that I am allowed to stop.

I know that I will never be thin enough. But I have to try.

Age 36

When I look in my mirror, I have learned to categorize my body parts.

Eyes (Mutable, From Green To Blue)
Pert Nose
Slim, Strong Shoulders
Musical Hands
Wonderful Smile
Delicate Wrists

Double Chin
Apron Stomach
Fat Thighs
Chunky Calves
Wobbly Upper Arms
Fat Ankles
Big Butt (aka "Fat Ass")

I just want it to stop.

I am infertile because I am fat. I have starved, hit, bruised, cursed and mutilated my soul's cage for so long that I don't know how to stop it. I punish the flesh with the words in my mind on a near-constant basis. I don't know how to stop it.

I just want it to stop.

My husband of 10 years married me when I was fat. He loves me, but I still don't understand why that is the case. I know it hurts him so much when I humiliate my body verbally; when the abuse becomes physical he throws himself full force into the fray, stopping my scratching and marking, braving the snarling beast I become.


My parents, family and friends don't know the effect their words and actions have on me. They don't understand that who I have become is a result of their words of "concern." They can't figure out that when they comment on my food choices or my lifestyle choices, the pressure is unbelievable.


Age 24

I had always thought of myself as the fat friend, the fat daughter, just plain old fat for the longest time. The other day, I found an old picture of myself, maybe 7 or 8 years old. I looked at it and the first words out of my mouth were "I was thin?!" Me? Thin? This was an alien concept, something that couldn't be. Surely, I was thinner at that time (roughly 16 yrs old) than I am now, but since then I've had a child and kept a few pounds. I'm also not as active as I was. Thanks to my pregnancy though, my breasts are larger and I've got an amazingly curvy waist. I wouldn’t trade my son for size 2 jeans any day.

I've come to accept my body for what it is and how it looks, mommy pouch, uneven boobs and all. Our bodies grow and change over the course of our lives. They're beautiful and strong and capable of so much and deserve our love and reverence. It's not always easy and some days it's downright hard when everything in the media is screaming at you to change, to lose weight, telling you that you as you are right now is not good enough. Good enough for who? It's even harder when the people telling you to change are your family and friends, people who love you and only want what’s best for you.

Love yourself. You deserve it. Everyone else will fall in line.

Age 24

I'm 5 foot 9 inches tall. I have no idea how much I weigh because I'm too afraid to get on a scale. My measurements are 32-25-32. When I walk down the street, I regularly have strangers (men and women) stop me to tell me that I'm beautiful. I've modeled. I wear a size 0.
Every day, I look in the mirror and see something so hideous I can hardly believe that I am human. I look down at my body and want to rip all of the excess away because I do not deserve to take up this much space. I look at myself and I can't find anything to like.

I'm terrified that I will lose my boyfriend over this because he likes my "curves" and I can't stand to hear him say that because all I hear is "fatdisgustingexcessivewasteofspacefatworthlesshorriblerepulsivefatfatfatfatfatfatfat."

I have felt like this since I was six years old. I have starved for weeks at a time. I've purged glasses of water because I can't bear having anything inside me. I've worked out for hours on no food or sleep. I've never sought treatment because my weight has never qualified for a diagnosis of anorexia and I'm convinced that no one would take me seriously without it.

I want to believe that I will be able to stop feeling like this one day, that I will look in the mirror and see what other people see. I honestly do. But, I don't remember ever feeling any other way and that makes it nearly impossible to hope anymore.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Age 19

I was never really told I was beautiful or even attractive until I said I was ugly. To tell the truth, once a person says they’re ugly, it’s too late. That statement means that they’ve had enough time to think about it and have finally given in. Sometimes that’s how I feel. Sometimes I just kick my ass. I drag myself through the dirt worst than anyone can. I try to recover. The best I can do is give myself a nice little pat on the back. I’ve come along way from where I used to be with my body, but I get the feeling that the struggle will never truly be over. Even if I was to lose the additional weight, well now my skin is not perfect, my hair, my nose, my breast, my butt, my legs...something is always wrong. I’m always one step away from perfection.

I hope to have children one day. I promise that I will do my best to encourage high self worth and esteem. I feel that if you don’t get it when you are young, if your self worth was destroyed when you were growing up, you will spend the rest of your life in the Battle on the Body. It’s a never-ending war. Sometimes I have peace talks with my self-esteem. I say, “Hey, I’m not ugly and my looks don’t determine who I am.” And my self-esteem agrees and for awhile all is quiet on the home front.

Then it comes back.

It’s as easy as a quick glimpse in the mirror. Sometimes it’s as rough as a trip to the mall. In these moments the War is back on, being waged on all fronts. Sometimes others try to negotiate peace talks. They tell you stuff like, “you’re not fat,” “you aren’t ugly,” but it’s futile.

The only person who can even get anywhere near winning the War on Self is self.

I wonder if anyone has ever won.

Age 20

I was a tiny, yet muscular and strong tennis player until I developed an eating disorder my junior year. I dropped below 90 pounds. By the time I went to college, I had mostly recovered. Now I run and workout a lot, but it never seems enough. I'm almost as strong as when I played tennis again, but now I worry that my arms and legs are to muscular, I don't look "tiny." I shouldn't feel that way. I should be proud of my hard earned muscles, of my strength. I'm not a size 0 but I can run mile after mile without getting tired and do push ups. Those are the things I should be proud of. But a little voice in my head believes men don't like it when you have muscles. It's absurd that I should base the value of my body on what men will like. I am trying to learn that the only person that matters in loving my body is me - but I, like many other women, struggle every day with this.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Age 19

I wish I could just LET IT GO.

The numbers, the calories, the weight, the all consuming time I spend thinking about it. After a 6 month stint in hospital two years ago I consider myself a recovering anorexic. I'm now able to maintain a decent enough weight to have a life of some-sort. But still, it’s always there. The numbers, the food, the calories, the binging, the purging, the starving. Granted not so much, but any amount is too much. I want it gone properly. I want to be able to let go completely. To just NOT CARE. But I can't. I'm too vain. Too self obsessed. Too proud.

And much, much too scared.

Without all this I've got no barrier. No option to dip out of real life.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Age 20

I have hated my body from the time I realized that was a possibility. I remember always being overweight, although it didn't show on my body. I was always 5 lbs away from a 'normal' BMI, 5 lbs away from being able to love myself, from being able to feel beautiful. Those five pounds led to crash diets, an abusive relationship, an eating disorder, stealing diet pills from stores when no one was looking because I was too ashamed to buy them and let someone see my desperation. There is a movement to celebrate 'curvy' women, telling us that that hourglass figure is the ideal, but at 5'6", 152 lbs, I measure in at 38-27-38 and clothes aren't made for me. I love shopping, but with such a small waist, things hang on me, making me look larger than ever. This is the first time I have been within a normal weight range, and I feel huge. I have always had guys like me, or love my body, and I hear compliments daily, but it doesn't mean anything to me, and no one understands that. I can't appreciate what they see until I see something worthwhile, until I can accept that maybe, being a size 8 is okay. I need to see for myself that being a size 8 is okay even if my entire family is smaller, and it doesn't need to translate to being undeserving of happiness, or love or respect.

Age 17

I have all the characteristics of a model. I am tall, I have excellent bone structure, almond shaped eyes, long legs and great hair. There is only one problem. I am fat. My body mass index puts me at 33.7. I've always been one of those people who "would be so pretty if you only lost weight." So everyday when I look in the mirror, I don't see any of my positive attributes because I'm so focused on how much I weigh. I'm constantly thinking about how everything in my life would be so perfect if only I were thin.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Age 24

Half of the time I feel like there's nothing wrong with the way I look, that it shouldn't matter how overweight I am, as long as I can still keep up. The rest of the time I feel disgusting and looked down upon. As if, to even some of my friends, I matter less because they find me less attractive. I try to focus on the good things: my boyfriend that finds me irresistibly attractive, the friends that hold me in the highest regard. Sometimes that just isn't enough, though...when your ass doesn't fit a seat, when you struggle to find clothing made for someone with a sense of fashion that fits, when you feel guilty for telling anyone that you're hungry, even if you haven't had anything to eat all day, because you're afraid they'll equate it to being fat and always hungry. It doesn't matter how many times I'm told that I look fine, or they don't think of me as "fat," or I'm beautiful...deep down, I usually never feel that way.

I hope that going to a weight management support group, a nutritionist, and starting some sort of workout routine, or at the least leading a more active lifestyle, will help me feel differently. I don't think I'm ugly, at least not my face, but my body makes me forget, society makes me forget, that I'm just fine.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Age 36

I never had a body image problem growing up. I was a runner and a year-round soccer player. My mother cooked balanced, healthy meals that included a salad, vegetable, meat and a starch. I drank (and still do) skim milk and water. I don't like soda much at all. Never did. I do like the occasional alcoholic beverage. I do like some sweets now and again. The point is, is that I was a healthy teenager and 20-something, which has carried on into my adult life.

When I reached my mid-30's, I gained 30 pounds within a year. I've always been an athlete and worked out at the gym 6 days per week, until I met and married my husband. Circumstances were such that I stopped going to the gym and began working 10-12 hour days. My eating habits changed to match that of my now husband, but they still weren't terrible. However, without the workouts, I gained and gained until I hit 30 pounds extra. Then, I hit depression and self-hatred. I almost didn't fit into my wedding dress. Can you imagine the horror I felt when trying to squeeze into it? I kept my veil on the entire night to hide my bulging back and thick arms. THIS is what I remember from my wedding...

Three years later, I am still struggling to lose the 30 pounds I've gained; it's beginning to creep up to 40 pounds extra now. I work out at the gym 5-6 times per week and do watch what I eat. I started running last fall for another 1/2 marathon, but once I reached 8 miles I began to have knee problems and had to drop out of training (I blame this on my extra weight). Which, by the way, I never lost a single pound in all my running and I was weightlifting and bicycling as well. I was and still am under the care of a physician and a personal trainer (I have had one for 3 years now).

I'm obsessed with losing this extra weight. It consumes me and I don't want it to. I know it's very petty of me. I think it's even more strange that I never cared about weight until now, but in thinking it over it's most likely due to the fact that I'd never before had a problem. Why can't I just be happy with the way that I am? My physician husband thinks I just have this in my gene pool (my maternal grandfather was obese and died of a heart attack; my maternal aunt is obese; my mother is obese, even though she has lost substantial weight with working out over the last few years; and my younger sister was "mildly" obese as the doctor told her. She has since lost around 60 pounds through diet and working out. She looks fantastic even though she feels she has more to lose). There could be truth in what my husband says, but I don't want to place blame. I just feel the need to lose the extra weight. I want to fit into normal sized clothes and feel good about myself once more. My husband tells me I'm beautiful and I believe him, but only until I look into a mirror. He loves me, I know this. I am 5' 9" weigh 186 pounds and wear a size 14. I want to feel happy with these statistics. With who I am. Who I've become.
I am not.

I hate my body. I don't want to do so for the rest of my life. I am destroying what little I have left of my own inner spirit.

Age 23

I'm short and stumpy - those are the two words that I think of when I look in the mirror. I'm 105lbs, most people say I'm not fat at all...but it doesn't change the fact that when I look in the mirror I see all the things that could do with improving. The flabby arms, disgusting stomach, the flubberry butt. I don't know what to do. I've tried so hard through other achievements to forget about it - I have a degree, I can teach piano, I love drawing, reading, writing, I used to swim to national level. I go to charity stores to do my shopping, I love cooking and I have a wonderful husband - but there are times when NOTHING feels so good as when someone comments on how skinny I am, or how thin I've become, or when that cursed weighing machine informs me that I've lost 0.5lbs. I just WANT to be thin. Every time I see a magazine cover, or a candid photograph or even some of my best friends, I feel incredible jealousy. How can that be right? I wish someone could help me.

Age 21

Age 46

Number of minutes of every hour I spend hating myself for how much I weigh: 40. Those 40 minutes are spent thinking of what I would wear if I were "skinny"; if what I am wearing makes me look fat; if I am as fat as that girl; or that one; or that one; if I can manage to not eat; what I ate; when I will "behave" and not eat (Monday); why can't I eat and look like that girl; what is wrong with me; why am I so weak...

Over the years, that is a lot of time devoted to...futility.

Age 23

I've always been the fat kid. Growing up, I never had a boyfriend. I still have never had a boyfriend. I was constantly made fun of. I can still remember sitting on the gym floor, watching every other kid get picked in PE. But I was always one wanted me. I was never told I was beautiful, not even by my parents. I never go shopping with friends. No one else shops at the plus-size stores like me. When I walk into "normal people stores," I can feel the stares, wondering why I even walked in. I'm used to the stares, the jeers, the feeling I'm a freak. Little kids stare, their parents do nothing about it. When will I stop feeling like a freak? When will I feel beautiful? When I lose weight? When I die and am no more? When will people see the real me, the me that is just wanting to bust out in all it's wonderful glory?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Age 17

My mom is and was always very beautiful. She modeled and had men falling over themselves for her. When she had me...she had no clue what to do. I was the opposite. Physically, I am not pretty or attractive. I'm on the cusp between "normal" sizes and "plus sizes," a size 12. I hate my physical appearance, when I look in the mirror I see a monster. Sometimes when I am talking to someone and I can tell that they are closely looking at my face I will look away or down because I'm afraid that if they look too close then they will see that I am even uglier up close. In some ways, being ugly has helped me to have to cultivate a personality and a good sense of humor. In other ways, it has destroyed my spirit. I have been, and still am, trying to reconcile myself to the simple fact that though I am not physically beautiful, my spirit and personality can shine through and possibly soften the rough edges of my outward appearance.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Age 31

Growing up, I was made to hate myself for being fat because everyone else hated me for being fat. It was the absolute worst thing that anyone could be. It lead to depression and several suicide attempts. I tried to kill myself because I'm fat. Three years ago I started reading fat-positive blogs and websites that taught me that I am not ugly or a bad person or disliked by everyone. Last summer I met a man who praised me for being fat, who loves large women and tells me all the time that I'm beautiful, and he actually means it. After 31 years, I finally feel beautiful. I walk with my head held high, full of confidence. I'm no longer afraid to call myself fat instead of using some kinder euphemism like curvy or plus-sized. Being a size 28 is just something I am, along with a woman, college graduate, nerd, redhead.

Being fat is not the worst thing that could happen to you. Hating yourself because of how you look is.

Age 23

I wish there were someone I could ask, who I trusted to give me an honest answer, whether I look "normal" or "fat." I know better than to truly trust myself on that subject - after several years of struggling with disordered eating, I've finally reached the point where my eating patterns are mostly healthy and my weight is stable (at a place my body seems to like). But I look in the mirror and see myself as no smaller than I was 30 pounds ago. That can't be right. But there are few people I'd even want to tell that much about my body image issues to, and anyone who I would tell, I would also expect to say "normal" even if they don't mean it, just to make me feel better. Even if my current size is considered "fat," I wouldn't try to change it right now. If the point where my body and mind are healthy is "fat," so be it. But when someone talks about fat people, am I one of the people they're talking about? I'd just like to know.

Age 17

Five years and counting. I have struggled through eating disorders, anxiety, cutting, fear, depression. I have been better for the past year or two to where I can function normally. The thing that scares me now is the fact that I still have to struggle with these things for the rest of my life. I just want it to go away...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Age 48

I am a plus size woman who lives in Brooklyn. I am 48 years old and don't believe a woman has to be a size 2 to be beautiful. I am a size 18 and proud of who I am. Strong and confident.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Age 17

I came across this website and was really moved by the words of the 18 year old ED-NOS girl. Those words could have been written by me. Our stories seem very similar. I struggle daily and look at food as my enemy. I worry about my weight constantly. But I suffer in silence because I don’t think others will understand. My case is not “severe” so I never looked to get help. Reading her words shows me I am not alone and I don’t need to fear seeking help. Thank you for sharing.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Age 30

I stumbled upon this website and starting reading some of the thoughtful submissions, and was compelled to add my insight. I am a highly educated 30 year old doctor who has been in a constant battle to accept my body for over 12 years. My accomplishments are plenty, but at night I torture myself about the superficial external qualities others see. Let me add that I am 5'4" and 105 lbs - obviously distorted thinking on my part. The first time I recognized my distorted thinking is when I witnessed my younger sister (19 yrs young in college) battling the same demons. I could not understand how such an athletic, beautiful, smart person could even fathom being outside the normal perception of beauty. It touched me more than any insult could have every struck me, and I realized that this distorted thinking can reek havoc on the best people around. I ask anyone at this site (who is probably battling like issues) to attempt to step back and look at the bigger picture, and try to understand that life is too short to hold yourself to standards that are not healthy. I guarantee you that once you hit your unrealistic goal, you will not be happy and only up the anti. Your body deserves better, as do the future offspring you hope to produce.

Enough said - please take care of yourselves, as your body deserves it.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Age 43 (7 At Heart!)

When I look in the mirror, what do I see? An essence of pure love and light that is created of me. I seek to find the contours of my face, then the vibrancy and energy adorns me in lace. I notice the outlines, a bit fragmented at times, and realize that age has defined more than lines. My beauty is deep and flows from my heart. In laughter and crying my eyes never dart. From the radiance that shines inside of me. The glow, I realize, not only I can see. The power of love that has held me so dear. The love that has cradled me close through the years. The years that were hard to watch as my sister withered and died. Afraid to eat. Afraid to shine. She hid in her binges and purged all the time. Out of her came a peaceful, kind, sweet dove. Her memory I hold dear in my heart. Our friendship we shared will never part. I close my eyes and realize inside. Is the place that we live and can never hide. That place is pure love. Pure creation and joy. Born in this world for each boy and girl. We each hold the key to realize our truth. We each are beautiful in creation even through our youth. Learn to love who we are and grow strong inside. Learn to accept the little things that we may mind. Learn to see what others may miss. True love is the way to undying bliss.

We are all born perfect. In our perfection we must learn to honor our SELVES and accept that those who attempt to harm our selves are not worthy of our time or love. Love is the answer to a life long acceptance of oneself. Please, take time to learn to love.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Age 18

I've struggled with an eating disorder for three years now, but as an ED-NOS girl, I refuse to seek help because I feel that my eating disorder isn't as important as others and I will be seen as an attention-seeking person. I feel like, because I have a normal BMI, I do not have a serious affliction. I'd give anything to not care about my weight anymore.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Age 43

I am a mother of a teenage daughter. I watched my 5’5” child waste away to 70 pounds and felt completely helpless. I felt as though I failed my daughter. I knew I had to get her help or she would die. After seeing an eating disorder specialist, my daughter is now on the mend and regaining her health. She still has her struggles and faces many challenges, but I now see that recovery for my daughter is possible.

Monday, February 25, 2008

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

February 24 - March 1, 2008

In the United States, as many as 10 million females are battling - often silently - with eating disorders. Society's emphasis on physical beauty has created an overwhelming pressure to remain thin in an attempt to obtain the "perfect body" (by any means possible). Due to the shame associated with eating disorders, many cases go unreported although treatment is available and recovery is possible. An eating disorder is a very real illness with serious, dangerous consequences. This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Share your story.

For more information, visit

Monday, February 4, 2008

Age 17

In middle school I remember being happy. No one talked about their weight or their body. I am now in high school and the girls at my school are constantly criticizing their bodies and the bodies of others. There is always talk of this girl throwing up, or that girl not eating, or another sneaking into an unused classroom to do another 100 sit-ups. It’s almost like a sick competition. It’s become more of a struggle to feel OK about yourself. Before high school, I thought I looked alright. Now I’m just trying to fit in with the rest of the girls. It’s like we all strive to look like the other and I don’t even know why.

Monday, January 14, 2008