Thursday, May 16, 2013

Age 25

This post is hard for me to write. I've gone back and forth about whether or not I should write it. I don’t like being vulnerable and this post is going to make me extremely vulnerable. I want to start off by saying that I am not a victim and don’t plan on making this post around being a victim – but I have body image issues because of my scars and I feel like the only honest way to address them is to be upfront about it.

My number one body image issue I have had to deal with my entire life is burns. It’s something that I've come to accept and most days they don’t bother me. That doesn't mean that there aren't days where I would rather hide from the world and be a recluse, but most days I am okay with them and sometimes even like them.

For those of you wondering, I was burned in house fire when I was 3 years old. Over 50% of my body was burned and I have 20+ skin grafts and various other surgeries because of it. I’m telling you this because it was extremely hard to grow up being “different.” Kids are jerks. They’re mean and I was teased relentlessly about it. It did a number on my self-esteem. I really hated my body because of it for a really long time. Obviously scars aren't the prettiest things on the planet, but they’re part of me and there isn't anything I can do it change it.

Even though I can’t do anything to change it, my family made sure that I knew I had been burned on a daily basis (and sometimes still bring it up). What I mean is they’d say things like, “You were such a pretty baby. You would have been so pretty if you hadn't been burned.” Or, “You shouldn't wear a tank top. You should cover your scars up more.” Heaven forbid I show any imperfection or anything that isn't the norm. It was hard to deal with. I feel like I’m more insecure about it because of the way they handled it.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Age 23

Diet Lie #1: Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels...


The first time I really tried to diet, and I mean really tried - not the dozens of times in high school when I would count calories for exactly three days and then give up and eat Taco Bell - I told myself over and over that nothing could ever taste as good as being thin would feel. I don't know when I first learned that phrase; it just floated in the ether of diet/body-hate wisdom I continuously and subconsciously internalized, but I immediately found it comforting. What better way could there be to talk myself out of eating a cookie? The cookie would only taste good for a few minutes, but once I got thin I would be happy for life! I just had to keep my eye on the prize - the payoff would be worth it.

The trouble is, it wasn't true. After seven months of dieting (which should probably be more accurately referred to as the beginning stages of anorexia), I had lost almost 50 pounds and was well below my original BMI goal. I was 5'4'' and weighed 105 pounds. Others, including my boyfriend, told me I was beginning to look too thin, but I thought I looked great. Actually, to be perfectly honest, I still thought my belly stuck out. I was still not entirely comfortable in a bathing suit, but I sure felt better about my weight than I did before.

And yet, being thin didn't feel good.