Thursday, March 24, 2016

Age 21

When I was going into middle school, my mother moved me from the big city I lived in to a town with around 1,500 people. Kids are mean, it’s something we all know. But the people who stand as outsiders can really understand how mean they can be.

I was always a little chubby. I mean, I was kid maybe 30 pounds heavier than I should have been. Believe me - they let me know. I was different and going through an awkward phase – kind-of “grunge,” kind-of “emo.” After about a year of bullying and torment, I had become a shell of who I previously was. I felt so alone and desolate. I missed the city - I missed not sticking out like a sore thumb, pretending I didn’t hear people call me the fat emo girl. I was tired of the façade I religiously upheld – “I don’t care about your opinions, I am me.” But the words were empty - something I could hide behind. I hated myself.

So, I started to lose weight. 140 became 130, which became 120, which became 98. I was obsessed - not only did I frantically count every calorie I put in my mouth (gum included), I ate the same breakfast and lunch every day. I was so terrified one different meal would throw all my weight back onto me. I stopped getting a period and my body had no energy to deal with the 2+ hours of vigorous exercise a day.

So, what happens when the fat girl nobody likes becomes thin? Well, I just became the “too skinny” girl with an eating disorder. The girls disliked me even more because the guys noticed me now. If only they knew their harsh words never left my mind.

Well, my mother reacted like any reasonable parent and became frightened. She moved me and my sister back into the city hoping something would change. Something did change - I gained 20 pounds back and reveled in the compliments of others. It was a drug. I was pretty now, right? I was entering high school and the world of binge drinking and more drugs than I would like to admit. I still hated myself. The only difference was I grew into my body - I was blonde and people liked me now. I had everything I ever wanted, yet I still had to drink and do drugs several times a week to feel like the person other people saw me as.

Then, there was a shift. After a destructive relationship and a few years of university, I decided I needed to find a way to live differently. I just wasn’t happy. So I lost about 20 pounds, joined a boot camp with supportive women twice a week and decided it was my turn. It was my turn to live a life where I cater to myself – not others. All I ever cared about was people liking me; the paradox was I didn’t even like me. I became a weak, co-dependent and was jealous of every girl I saw. This wasn’t me. I knew this wasn’t me - this wasn’t the smiling girl I was before the world happened to me. I wanted to be strong and independent.

These fluctuating years were the best thing that could have happened to me. It made me humble. It made me realize I was born with this body and hell yes I am going to love it every step of the way. I am not perfect - I never will be. But I am happy - and not the synthetic happy I pretended to be before. I don’t need approval from people now and I don’t need to be hit on at every party to feel pretty. I know I am pretty. I know every single woman I look at (regardless if I know them or not) is pretty. We are mentally and physically stunning creatures. No matter how low you feel, I am there with you. No matter how much you hate yourself, I have been there. On the days when I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see, I remember that you are with me. We are in this together.

I am telling you that now it’s your turn – it’s your turn to be happy. Please forgive yourself, and please do not give up on becoming the best version of yourself. I don’t care if this is a 250 pound you or a 90 pound you - it is you. When things get hard, just know I am with you.