Friday, December 10, 2010

Age 19

No, not her
Not sure how I became this girl,
The frail shell of what used to be,
The barely existing, numb, scared child,
No longer a vibrant spirit, no longer free.

There’s only a glimmer left,
Only a faint sparkle of that old girl remains,
But she’s trapped deep inside there,
Trapped under the pain.

But don’t give up on her,
That girl is ready now to fight,
To conquer the fear that’s buried inside,
To cross from darkness into light.

She hasn’t waved the white flag,
Surrender is not a word she knows,
Because she wants to conquer the world,
Just watch the places she goes.

This girl will break the ties that bind,
That hold her underneath the waves,
The swirling current of disaster,
That has held her as a slave.

She answers no more to their voices,
Ignores their command to obey,
To let the waters of doom wash over her,
And she begins to pray.

Prayers for strength and faith,
Prayers for hope, above all,
Knowing that they’ll be answered,
Ready to face this battle, walking tall.

I am currently in recovery. I recently found this poem that I wrote during my first week in the hospital. The one year anniversary of my hospital admission is approaching and I can't believe how much has changed in a year. I would hardly recognize the girl I was one year ago...I am never turning back.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Age 19

Dear 12 Year Old Me,

You are standing in the line at the grocery store next to the studio. You don’t really know why you’re there and you’re worried that you will be late to dance class. You have one item, and it seems really important to buy. When you pay for that package of laxatives you don’t realize that you’ve started what is going to become the hardest fight of your life.

You hate who you are. Hate, perhaps, isn’t quite the right word. Hate implies too much action; it takes energy to hate, and you don’t feel that you deserve even that. You feel that you should just disappear, and rid the world of yourself. You reason the world would be a better place without you. You are a straight A student, taking advanced courses in middle school and excelling in dance classes; you’ve known what you wanted to do since you were 4 years old (oncologist) and you are determined to achieve it, and all you can think of is whether or not the number on the scale is up or down.

Soon you become sick of the laxatives, they make you cramp and feel nauseous, and you discover that throwing up really gets rid of everything faster. By 13 you are purging everything you eat, restricting everyday to under 200 calories and binging once every few weeks. You are consumed with this feeling that you don’t deserve anything that you have. That you deserve to be in pain; that you're life and your body are in gross excess, you can barely look in the mirror without your stomach churning in revulsion; you do endless calisthenics in your room at night and you beat your stomach as it cries out in hunger, and it all seems like the right thing to do; you need to disappear.

But what you can’t see is that you are crying as you write this. You would never have thought that 8 years from now you would be sitting in your room, writing this letter and crying your eyes out because you can’t stop this cycle of hatred. You can’t see the damage you’re doing to your body. How you can’t even eat now without feeling ill. How your hair is falling out. How your skin is always a mess. How your period is irregular and disappears for months at a time. How your heart beat is irregular due to electrolyte imbalances from purging.

You don’t realize that your life will become one long succession of getting on the scale and off the scale. You can’t see that, even as your twentieth birthday looms, you will still be that 12 year old girl, sad and desperate to feel beautiful and accomplished, though you’ve graduated high school a year early, worked in a biochemistry lab for almost 3 years and won a national scholarship in your field, all before the age of 20.

But now, you will choose to change. It’s not a question of want to; though sometimes you do want to be rid of your eating disorder, other times it is easier to just curl up with it. But you can’t do it anymore. You can’t fight this losing battle with your body. You are only going to lose either way. No matter how thin you get, you can’t fix an inner problem with outward appearances.

These feelings of inadequacy are not based on size. This eating disorder is not about a number. It’s about shutting out feelings that you can’t deal with. It’s about making the miserable pain you feel inside more manageable. But it doesn’t make it more manageable; you are slowly killing yourself and you can’t go on like this anymore.

You may not always love your body. But you are going to try. You are not going to fight it anymore. Even as you write this, you’ve been in outpatient treatment for two months, seeing a therapist, nutritionist and psychiatrist. And they want you to go to an inpatient clinic. You see, that’s how serious things will become! And you will probably do it. Because you’ve come to your wit's end and you’ve lost the control that you were trying so hard to gain, to no avail, with your eating disorder. You're weight's been all over the place and you've never been happy, you've never felt beautiful, the key word is felt: you've always been beautiful!

You only get one body. This life is all you have. You’re all about being accomplished and successful. And though being perfect is not what life is about, if that’s what you want, then stop focusing on killing yourself and start LIVING! It’s not a life, what you’ve been doing for the past 8 years. You’re going to start graduate school in a year and a half; enjoy this time. Embrace life with the fervor that you embraced your eating disorder. And leave this disease behind you, so you can be a productive member of society, and, above all, happy. Think about whether this eating disorder has made you fundamentally a happier person. I think you’ll find the answer is painfully obvious. You deserve better. You deserve to live and be loved. You won’t always believe it, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less true. You are beautiful inside and out.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Age 15

I look in the mirror, but who I see isn’t me.
Where am I?
Hiding beneath the self that I see.
Far away, trying to find me.
Where did I go?
The question stands still.
The tear that I see on that self before me, glitters and shines.
Could it be that I finally found myself.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Age 32

Dearest Body,

We have had a love/hate relationship over the years. I must admit to it being more hate than love at times, and I don't know whose fault that is. I used to blame you and me (the body and the spirit), but I also blame society. When I was a little girl I didn't think about you - you just were. I lived in my body and I never thought you would be anything other than beautiful because I felt like a beautiful person. At some point people started telling me that you weren't beautiful. Since me and you are really two halves of the same coin, that hurt a lot. They always said you were too fat, even when you probably weren't. They were so cruel to us. They beat us up in school, they teased and shouted and threw things and made us feel like nothing. And the worst part is that we believed them. Deep down, we knew we were not ugly, deep down we knew that we were brilliant, in fact. The person in the body felt like the body was a prison, and that God, if there was one, was a cruel god for trapping such a loving spirit in an unlovable body. Those feelings may not be right now, but they were part of growing up.

Because I was told these terrible things over and over, I started to believe them. I tried to punish you, body, for making me feel this way - for being the reason I was treated as a sub-human. I starved you. I was glad to feel hunger pangs because it was a punishment on you for the suffering you inflicted on me. But it didn't help. I still wasn't skinny. I was skinnier but not skinny enough for the world. I saw only my fatness; I saw only the flaws, because that is what everyone else saw. Every bully in school reinforced these thoughts, and I am sure they did so gladly. I didn't see the beautifully small nose or the eyes the color of the sea. I didn't see the gorgeous breasts or muscular and shapely legs. I saw only a stomach that wasn't flat enough and arms that sagged at the top.

I tried to love you when I went to college. I dyed my hair funny colors to distract people from my extra curves. I tattooed you and pierced you in order to make you my canvas - a living work of art on which I could let some beauty shine through. And I dieted, of course. I kept you from eating meat, but you grew bigger. I restricted everything, and yet, no just wouldn't shrink. I began to resign myself a little to the thought that you might not ever be small. I learned how to buy clothes that looked better on you. I dressed sexy, despite my size. I learned to let the girl within come out - the bon vivant, the fun girl, the girl I had always wanted to be (had always been) but had hidden. And I had friends, for the first time. Lots of them. But body, I never did love you. We had a truce. That was all. We stopped fighting so much and tried to accept each other.

Later on, other people decided that they loved you, though I never really believed them. I'm still not sure I do, although I have a husband who thinks you are ravishingly sexy, no matter what you have on. I still have my doubts. Sometimes I wonder how anyone can think you are even remotely attractive! Sometimes I wonder why men flirt with me, or are not embarrassed to be with me, because of you. Of course I am thinking only of a little fat, and not of the brilliant girl with the vibrant spirit that lives in that body.

You did do some good things for me, body, or at least WE did them, when we were cooperating. We learned how to run long distances, and we enjoy doing that frequently. When we are running, you usually surprise me with your endurance and speed, and I feel more at ease with you when I can put you to the test do something that demands toughness. You've always been muscular and strong, so I've been able to lift things that other girls can't. I like that, because you make me feel capable.

You also made me sick, as you have an illness that can't be cured. Thanks a LOT for that, though I suppose genetics gave it to you, so I should be thanking my parents first. But the illness has changed my life. You can't process a lot of foods, and now that I know, I have to eat a very different diet than most. That really bites the big one, because food is no longer a source of pleasure for me. As sad as it is, I have been pleased that my new diet has shrunk you. You are finally slimming down, and I am maybe getting my wish, at a high price. Maybe someday I can really come to terms with you. Maybe I can love you for real, or truly be proud of us both. Maybe. Someday. I guess we'll see.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Age 19

When I look in the mirror at age 19, I don't see an insecure girl anymore...I see a confident woman who is in almost every way sure of herself. I don't see society's standard of "beauty" - I see ME. Even though society tells me that all my "imperfections" should make me self conscious, I don't see my curves, small breasts, scars, un-dyed hair, tummy, freckled face as "imperfections"....I see them as blessings. These "imperfections" are what make me unique. As I look in the mirror, I KNOW that I don't need to rate myself according to society's standards of "beauty"...what is "beauty" anyway? YOU decide. I did, and it was the best decision I ever made.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Age 19

I looked in the mirror two years ago and didn't recognize the girl on the other side. I did everything I could to make that girl go away, yet the more I tried, the more I seemed to be greeted with failure.

Today, I look in the mirror and see a girl who has overcome struggle. This girl knows why she is here and will to whatever it takes to help each and every girl who lives on the other side of the glass.

I will be kind to myself, I will listen to myself and I will believe in myself.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Age 17

Dear Body,
What I see when I look at you in the mirror varies greatly.  Most days negativity overpowers any morsel of acceptance that I have for you.  I see fat some days, while others I am able to decipher the slightest hint of beauty - a healthy body that has come a long way from its days wasted on an eating disorder.  But ultimately the image that I see every time I look at you in the mirror is an image that is not good enough.
My eyes have grown to become critical, enabling you to be subjected to unwarranted scrutiny.  It is as though you are modeling clay. Perhaps with these negative thoughts I will begin to transform you into a body that is good enough.  A so-called perfect body.  My legs will become impossibly long and lean, my slightly convex stomach flat as a board and oh, what the heck, I will grow a few inches and then make my boobs a bit bigger.
Whose body is this?  It is not you and will never be.  The sad part is, this description resembles a mannequin - an image that I feel has been shoved down my throat leaving me to wonder why am I not the same. When it comes down to it, you are my home.  You should be respected and recognized for your amazing existence.  Body, I know that an apology is in order.  I am sorry for abusing, belittling and loathing you.     
With that, I acknowledge that today is a new day; it is a day to break free of all body negativities that berate me.  Lets face it, if I don’t come to terms with my body sooner than later, when will I?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Age 25

Dear Body,

I must admit I have a love/hate relationship with you. When I was in elementary school, I hated being the tallest in my class. Yet when I was in high school and I was stuck playing point guard instead of center, I hated that too. I hated how quickly my womanly hips showed up after I stopped playing college soccer, and how quickly those curves turned to apathy and disregard toward my wish to take care of myself as I had known how to my whole life. I didn’t even want to step on a scale or look in the mirror.

When I ended college as a size 12, I hated myself. But I missed the physical pain I could put my body through via exercise and the subsequent pride I felt upon completing a challenge. I put on the cleats again, as well as the running shoes. Now, a year later, I am proud of my physical fitness, my ability to run 10 miles and play soccer with ease. I like how my legs look, how my arms have toned and my ass. Yes, my ass looks great. I look at myself naked after exercise or a shower and think, “Damn, I look good.”

Yet, somehow, even though I love my commitment to physical fitness and the joy of the addiction to my runner’s high, I am a bit afraid. I am afraid that this might go overboard. You see, a year later I managed to fit comfortably into a size 2. I’ve never been that skinny, even in my prime days as a three-sport high school athlete and a college athlete. Am I just exceeding what I thought my body could do or abusing it in a way that I just now am developing a mild consciousness of doing so?

I love how I look right now. Love it, love it and want to flaunt it. But I still hate the possibility that it is not the best way for this to be done.

Love and hate,
The inhibitor of you, Body

Friday, July 23, 2010

Age 20

When I look in the mirror, fully clothed, I think I might look beautiful. I dress well, have nice makeup, blonde hair. I'm thin, but not too thin and have curves in all the right places. But if I take those clothes off and stand in front of the mirror, I'm horrified at what I've done to myself.

After 6 years, I've cut, burned, sliced or stabbed every area on my body that looks so well when fully clothed. The skin on my bare arms, chest, breasts, stomach, hips and thighs is no longer a creamy, smooth, white surface. Instead, it's puckered, bumpy, discolored and ugly. My constant need to hide these self-inflicted imperfections has brought on the paranoia of being found out, the pain of rejection when I am found out, the need to leave early due to panic, the addiction of archaic blood-letting and the fatigue of anemia.

I'm angry with myself and with my naked body. But the thing that angers me the most is that I have suffered no heartbreak, loss, physical ailments or family trouble. If I had, then I would have something to blame. But because I have been blessed with what many would call a perfect life, the blame is mine.

How pathetic.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Age 17

Dear Eating Disorder,

I’m writing to say how much I hate you and how much I want you out of my life.

I hate the way that you make me feel and I hate the control you have over me. You make me feel like such a failure. You make me feel like I am so out of control. You make me think such bad things about myself and you make me feel so hopeless and worthless.

I hate always wishing to be thin. You always make me feel so incredibly fat, even when I am so underweight I have to be put in the hospital. I hate feeling like I constantly have to compare myself to everyone that I see. I feel like I am striving to be perfect, but nothing I do is ever good enough. I never want to hear your voice again. It is so difficult trying to go through life with your voice always nagging me in my head. I HATE YOU, I really do.

Every single thought that goes through my mind is that I’m not good enough, skinny enough, pretty enough or smart enough. I’ve dealt with you for over seven years now and it has been the longest seven years of my life. When I was little, I had no friends, no social life and no fun. I always tried to keep a smile on my face, even though deep down inside, I was hurting so badly. I wanted to be beautiful, like all the models and actresses. I wanted to be thin so badly that I would rather die than be fat. You told me that I was being strong by not eating. I have never cheated, lied or hurt anyone more than I have when I was with you. I have hurt my entire family and all of my friends. I have pushed people away when I needed them the most. You ruined my life and you were the worst thing that ever happened to me.

I thought I was doing the right thing by restricting, purging, exercising, cutting, taking diet pills, laxatives, diuretics - anything that I could get my hands on. I thought I was doing something good by losing weight and hurting my body. I now realize how wrong I was by thinking that. I thought that by becoming thin, I would become happy; that was the biggest lie you have ever told me. I lost so much weight and was so unhappy. You hurt me so much. I wanted to feel pretty, to be popular and have a lot of friends. I wanted to make the perfect grades, get accepted to the best college and impress everyone I knew. I wanted people to think, “That girl has it all.”

I felt like I needed you most of my life. You were my only friend that I could turn to when no one else was there. When my life was falling apart, or something bad happened, you were always there to bring me back up. You were constantly there by my side through everything. You gave me comfort and control, and that’s what I wanted. It is so hard to let go of you, because you were my best friend. I have to be strong now and let go. You have made it so hard to get close to people. I feel like I don’t deserve anything anymore. You took away my life from me and now I want it back. You took away my friends, my faith, my family, my happiness and you filled it with self-hatred, depression and sadness. You took away every good opportunity in my life that I had. I couldn’t do anything anymore because I was so worn out over you. I want to get rid of you completely.

I have felt a little taste of life without you and I was never happier. I smiled and laughed so hard when you weren’t in my life. Once everything seems to be okay, and in its place, you keep coming back into my life and taking everything from me again. You tore me to pieces. Every night that I cried myself to sleep, I was in so much pain and just wanted you to stop coming into my life and telling me all these negative things. I want you to stop and never come back again. I am finally starting to let go of you and let other people back in my life. People need me, and I need them more than ever. I have Jesus in my life, and He has helped me more than you ever did. I don’t need you anymore, and I never will.

You have been in my life for way too long and I don’t want to hear your voice in my head again ever. I am drawing a line between us, and you may try to cross it multiple times, but I will never let you. God has shown me what great things I can do and I completely trust Him now. No matter how hard you try, I will never let you back into my life. You destroyed me and I cannot be destroyed ever again. You may try to feed me lies and let me try to think awful things again, but I won’t believe you. I am better than this. I am trying to become a better person. I am starting to like who I am.

It takes work, but I am really trying. I am so much better than what you ever told me. I realized that if I am going to be happy, then I need to be healthy and I am not becoming your version of happy anymore. I need to end this now. I would like to say thank you though, because you have made me such a stronger person, and I can see reality now. I am so much happier without you and I am so much closer to God than I was ever before, so thank you for that. You have made me realize who I want to be.

Although those are good things, the bad you have shown me outweigh the good. I am such a better person than this and I realize that now. I hope and pray every day that you will never come back into my life. Please stay away from me. I am stronger than ever and I am going to beat this.

I am such a better person now and I couldn’t be happier.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Age 19

When I look in the mirror I see a journey.

Two years ago my body was tight, slender, muscular and smooth. Today my body has scars, stretch marks and deflated breasts. There are so many stories written all over my body, I do not have a perfect face or body by the world’s standards, but every day I marvel in what my body has done and been able to survive. Both sides of my face are distinctly different, my eye is smaller on the left and my head indents where my skull crushed part of my brain. I have long jagged scars that go from my eyebrow and disappear into my hair. On the right, I see faint scars on my cheek where the skin was scraped off. I almost died that day, yet I pulled through, and my face tells the story.

Traveling down my body I see my breasts - they hang low and are barely recognizable to what they used to be. I cherish these breasts which I used to despise. I had inverted nipples and wanted no one to see them. Now my nipples point out, far out, because they are nursed on 6 times a day for a year so far. My belly is soft, not like pudding, more like an expensive down pillow. I love it - the stretch marks make the skin even softer to the touch. My defined abs have disappeared behind the loose skin, they did well carrying my babe for 9 months.

Farther down I see my thighs - what an embarrassment they used to be. To think I had 5 stretch marks when I was 15 and refused to wear shorts! Now these winding tears have multiplied by a thousand and traveled all the way down and finally reached their final destination in my calves. These are the illustrations of a story, my story.

Should I be embarrassed that my body has been through a lot? Should I be ashamed that I was given the gift of carrying a child? I used to be. I won’t lie; it's been a long journey, a journey where I've discovered what really matters and what true beauty is. I can safely say that when I look in that mirror, what I see staring back at me is not an ugly, distorted, worthless girl, but a strong strikingly beautiful and confident woman.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Age 24

When I look in the mirror I see a happy, healthy young woman. She's brightly dressed and confident. She takes care of herself and is comfortable in her own skin. This person is me, and I like her.

Only a year ago, a very different person used to stare back at me. Her malnourished body was swathed in baggy clothes, and her dull lifeless eyes could barely muster the courage or the strength to stare back at me. This girl was suffering from an eating disorder, and the mirror was her enemy. Even at her thinnest, this girl still saw herself as a fat person, a monster whom she hated and attacked. She spent years trying to destroy this person, this creature in the mirror. And she very nearly succeeded.

Luckily help was at hand, and she entered a treatment clinic for people suffering from eating disorders. Here she began to rebuild her shrunken self, literally and metaphorically. As she did this, the story in the mirror changed, and I started to see myself. Eventually I discovered that I liked that person, loved her for who she was, and I wrote a book about the process of self discovery that brought me to this conclusion. It's called Mariposa and it's available from

That frightened, starving girl has since become a distant memory, and my perception of myself has changed. Curves are good, health is good. There are parts of me I like more than others, but no one can be perfect. Above all, I can accept and make the best of who I am. Today the mirror is no longer my enemy, nor is the reflection within it. In the mirror I now see recovery, an exciting future and a person who is special in her own unique way. I see me, and I like it!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Age 19

When I look in the mirror, I see a beautiful face, hot body. Not the perfect boob-waist-hip, but I love everything about me. I wouldn’t change a thing.

I would not change my smallish boobs, large butt, stubby fingers or straight, yet, obtuse nose. It all forms what I see to be the hottest girl in the world - though I am still coming to terms with the fact that not everyone can see what I see.

I am close to turning 20 and I have never had a boyfriend, never even been close. I have tried to take a step back from what I see in the mirror. I even thought I had a reverse image disorder, but no - I love me. All of me. My personality, my wit (okay, sarcasm) and my body. Just because boys in college have failed to see the beauty of me, I don’t want them to bring me down. Though I am scared everyday that I will one day look in the mirror and see what everybody else sees. I am scared that one day, I will finally give in to society and see something other then myself. I don’t know what that is, because for some reason I have been blessed with high self-esteem and it seems that I am invincible except for my heart where I longed to be loved.

I am strong, beautiful and I know it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Age 21

When I look in the mirror, I see big thighs and a bit of a flabby tummy, but you know what - I think I’m beautiful the way I am!

Before I turned 17, I used to be a slim UK size 8…now I am a UK size 12. I may have been skinnier but when I look back, I was never happy. I never felt confident about the way I looked and I wasn’t the bubbly person I am today.

Up until recently, I’ve been obsessed with dieting and trying to lose weight - but even doing that made me miserable! Now I’ve decided to get over the way I look, and by doing so, I’ve started to notice what’s more important in life. I’ve focused more on my university studies and decided to take on voluntary work. I also take care of myself health-wise rather than obsessing about my weight. My weight is healthy so why bother.

I’ve also realized that I have a lot of good qualities that are much more important than any bit of cellulite or flab on my body. Life is so much better when you learn to love yourself!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Age 19

I'm about to be 20, and I really hoped I would've stopped thinking about these things by now. I have never had an eating disorder, but two of my closest friends have suffered from anorexia and bulimia and I feel guilty sometimes for being naturally thin around them when I know that putting on weight stresses them out. But the thing is, it stresses me out too.

Recently I really dislike my body even though it's a healthy weight. I just feel like my hips are lumpy and unattractive, like I'm too short to carry any extra weight. I weigh 111 lbs now, and at my highest weight ever I was 118. I am petrified of someday weighing more than 120 lbs. I know I'm not fat, but I'm not in shape either. My thighs have cellulite and I have love handles. I almost went back on Prozac even though it made me suicidal because my appetite was gone when I took it - I weighed 104 lbs and felt so thin and people noticed and complimented me. Now I feel hungry all the time.

The only parts of my body I like are my wrists and my calves, but my calves are even kind-of ruined for me because I've inherited really poor circulation and I have spider veins and scars and blotches. I can't shake the idea that models in magazines are normal no matter how many times I read that it's not true…I just feel like that's the right way to look and then I feel terrible. I'm a lesbian and at one point with my ex I thought, "God, my body is so much uglier than hers" and then immediately hated myself because she's anorexic and she was being so unhealthy at the time. One part of my mind knew that I wanted her to eat healthy and be happy and yet, another part was saying "she looks good!" even though her bones were jutting out. Body image is so fucked up in our generation.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Age 24

When I look in the mirror, sometimes I see my nice ankles, or my decent calves, or my pretty collarbone; but most of the time my eyes are focused on the cellulite on my butt, or the way my legs touch all the way down, or how I still have the pooch on my stomach that will never ever go away. I am 5'5" and weigh 130 lbs, but I still feel like I jiggle like jello when I try to run or jump onto a bed, and like my stomach is huge when I bend over to kiss my boyfriend or sit at a computer. My younger sister, who is about the same size as me, feels the same way. Our mother has always obsessed over her weight, going from 120 lbs up to 200 lbs and back again, and SHE has always felt fat because her sister was thin and beautiful. It is awful what we as women put ourselves through even though we know better. I am so scared that I will always worry about getting fat or not being pretty enough and that I will pass it on to my children. I would hate to make them feel like this, even unintentionally. I just read through the accounts on this site, and it made me cry to see the age range of women who aren't happy with themselves. I don't want to hate my body for my whole life.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Age 23

What I see when I look in the mirror? I see a body that has been through a lot - sports, diets, eating disorders, injuries, ups, downs, love moments, hate moments. My whole life is written within my body. Each muscle, each fat inch, each scar is a trace of the way I've lived and the goals I've achieved so far. If I can be proud of my story, than I have to learn to be proud of my body. Even if it doesn't resemble to the general idea of the perfect body, even if I don't get complimented for it as much as I would like, still I have to learn to be proud of it. It's a daily struggle - it's not a thing you achieve overnight. Still it is something I want to achieve.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Age 23

I see something different every time I look in the mirror. It's a mind game. I see my body change in 5 minutes from before to after I throw up. I see something different if I eat or if I don't eat. I see someone who is not really me. I see secrets and lies and emptiness. Then I see Jesus. And I wonder why I choose to live in the empty when He has offered the fullness of life.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Age 28

I am 28 years old, and I have had three children in the last five years - and nursed each for a year. No one really tells another what effect this has on your body. I am not quite sure if my stomach will ever go without having a big flap of skin hanging loose, like an extra appendage that just suddenly grew overnight. I will never regret having my sons, but what bothers me are celebrities having babies then walking down the runway three weeks later in lingerie. Can any woman possibly live up to that? And talk about getting people's expectations too high to ever be attainable. At this point in my life, I am just completely unhappy with my body, but feel so powerless to do anything about it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Age 22

I have the same insecurities as another author about being "too skinny," but that's not my greatest insecurity. Perhaps if I was less focused on the hair on my body, my flat and skinny body would be my top priority. I'm not sure why or how it came about, but around the beginning of college my body hair became thicker and more widespread. Now I have a happy trail and thick nipple hair. It actually pains me to even write about it. My mom tells me that she'll help me pay to have laser hair removal, my friends have no idea and my boyfriend says he doesn't care. But I do. I care that my mom isn't comfortable enough with her own body image to pass something positive on to me. I care that in other cultures body hair removal is not a "necessary" part of social survival. I care that I know beauty is relative and in the eye of the beholder, but yet I do not feel beautiful. To this day I keep it despite the fact that I am uncomfortable. When I am feeling really insecure or tempted to remove it, I ask myself "If I were in a place where no one cared, would I still do it?" No. Besides, like I told my mom, once I remove it then I'll just find the next insecurity to focus on. At some point I have to stop. So hair I am, and I'll stay until my hate turns to acceptance and my acceptance to love.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Age 32

Two years ago I took a ballet class for fun - it was a great way to get exercise, and I've always loved to dance. But I hated having to look at myself in the studio's full-length mirrors. Wearing tight leggings and a leotard top, I was disgusted that my body didn't resemble the svelte, delicate form that I'd long come to associate with beauty. My stomach stuck out. My thighs were thick.

I remember that at around age thirty I noticed that I had belly fat for the first time. Nothing major - I just realized that my stomach wasn't that perfect (usually airbrushed) washboard that gleams on the covers of magazines. I was embarrassed to sit on my own couch in a pair of jeans, looking down at this extra piece of skin that I had been told in no uncertain terms was hideous and unhealthy.

I never realized how hard it was to fight the messages sent by magazines, movies, television and the beauty industry until I started doing it. As lefty-liberated-feminist as I considered myself, I couldn't shake the idea that my completely normal, healthy-sized body was ugly. It's a battle that I fight every day, every time I find myself harshly judging that image in the mirror.

I have one trick that seems to work for me. Right before I get in the shower, I look at myself naked in the mirror. I don't pose, I just stand there. I feel the texture of my skin, the soft fullness of those parts of me that society says are supposed to be smooth and hard. I look at my eyes, my hair, my moles - all of it real, unairbrushed, unmodified. In that moment, at least, I am able to feel beautiful. Not because of some arbitrary set of guidelines, but because my body is my own, and loving it in the face of so many voices that tell me not to is the ultimate act of joyful rebellion.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Age 21

I am 5'0" and 90lbs.

Sometimes I feel beautiful. Especially when someone compliments me. Or when I'm with my boyfriend.

And sometimes the world I live in makes me feel hideous. Especially the media. Splashed all over magazines, websites and TV shows, I'm told time and time again that "curvy women are real women." I see so much resentment towards skinnier girls. Comments like, "I hate anorexic girls." Or, "She's totally flat and doesn't have a butt. That's so gross." Or, "Stick-thin toothpick girls are so overrated. Curvy is beautiful."

I can tell you that nothing is quite as hurtful as hearing people talk about "REAL women." Being told that I'm not a real woman, not a real and attractive female, makes me feel sick and awful.

I've been underweight my whole life. It's in my genes. I eat more enthusiastically and more frequently than all of my friends put together, but my skinny frame doesn't keep any of the fat. I'm healthy and eat healthy. But If I miss a meal, then I lose a few pounds. I have bony shoulders, and obvious collarbones. I have breasts so small that they don't fit into 32AA bras (but I wear them anyway). I have narrow hips. I have a thick waist. A small and flat bottom. The only fat I have gathers around my stomach, which inflates once I've eaten a lot. It looks disgusting to me, since I have no breasts or butt, so my stomach becomes the largest protrusion on my body. Like little toddlers with fat stomachs. I'm short for my age. In all respects, I have the body of a teenage boy. I try to tell myself that I have the body of a woman, but everything around me tells me otherwise. The media makes me feel ashamed and ugly.

Sometimes I wonder about breast implants. I have dreams where my waist shrinks and my hips balloon outwards. Where I get a perky bottom. I have nightmares about anorexia. I know I'm so far from it, and it would never happen. But it's my greatest fear. I'm terrified of missing a meal. Sometimes I stare at myself in the mirror and grow so frustrated that later, I avoid the mirror for days.

Sometimes I try to gain weight. I force myself to eat constantly, for days on end, until I feel sick. I gain maybe a few pounds by the end of the week. I rejoice and go back to my normal eating schedule. I lose the weight in a day. I go back to square one.

Nobody has my problem. Every one of my friends worries one way or another about gaining weight. They talk about diets, about shedding the pounds. When I have insecurities about my weight, they ignore me. Tell me I have no real problems. They get jealous, too. And that saddens me so much.

I wish the world would learn to chant, "Every Body Is Beautiful." No matter how tall, or short, or fat, or skinny, or big-breasted, or tiny-breasted you are. Every Body.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Size Ate

Margaux Laskey's autobiographical, award-winning show Size Ate: One Woman's Search For the Perfect Fit returns to the NYC stage at the Wild Project for a limited engagement, January 14-16, 2010. This one-woman show chronicles Laskey's harrowing, yet humorous struggles with body and food issues, and her journey towards self-acceptance at any size.

Size Ate explores the universal themes of obsession, addiction, redemption and recovery through humor, drama, song and imagery.

For more information, please visit

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Age 28

I see beauty. A body that celebrates it's own uniqueness. A skinny top with pointy breasts and round dimply bottom. An infectious smile. Tiny hands that heal.