Usually when I look at old photos I get really triggered. I keep thinking “My God I was so small, and I didn’t have monster legs, and I only weighed XXXXXX, and those size 0 shorts were actually big on my waist. And oh my God how did I get it all back?”
The same thing happened again this past hour, but I looked at recent photos of myself and closed my eyes. I counted to ten then opened them, and I somewhat didn’t mind what I saw. There were even a few photos I really liked. And I have to say: I really like that my arms aren’t as twiggy as they used to be.
And beyond surface level, shallow “how I look bit” - I started comparing how I felt at the time I was at my lowest weight to how i felt on the climb back up (and even the ten pounds heavier). Sophomore year is so faded and blurry except for the image of an elliptical in my basement and a towel covering my mirror. Well - there were those images AND the sight of red nail marks on skin. I wasn’t really alive. I even hated taekwondo. Everything was just a motion or chore and nothing had me genuinely smiling. My summer in cyprus was enjoyable - same with Greece - but i also remember avoiding any and all family events, being very alone, and calling my best friend one night just to sob over the phone. I wanted to puke out everything about myself. Half of junior year was then a lot of crying, anger, and trying to realize that something was wrong…I remember when my doctor warned me that if I didn’t gain weight back and if my cycle didn’t regulate, he wouldn’t let me exercise. I hadn’t even been at my lowest weight when he told me this. I only went to him after I had a breakdown about malamars cookies and my recent gain to 118 pounds. Not very sick physically - but I was an emotional wreck.
Then my theater group came into play, I went to Spain with my best friends, and all of a sudden I felt so much lighter. Everything wasn’t better completely - but they were certainly better. I almost relapsed completely that summer and the stress from college apps definitely triggered something, Before senior year started - in that moment I almost relapsed - I had someone I trusted tell me I was weak when I finally admitted to him what was going on. He called me a hypocrite since I’d always tried to life his spirits yet there I was butchering my own. He said I lost the magic I’d always claimed to love - and that made me angry. It made me angry, and it made me finally fight my negative self-talk. The majority of senior year: I was happy because of that fight. I looked at health and fitness, and I was determined to treat my body and mind better after two years of killing them. From there I had to relearn a lot of things. Portion sizes, the difference between exercise and over exercise, how “healthy” means I can eat a donut and not feel guilty, how to rebalance everything I’ve always enjoyed. I went back to juggling taekwondo with theater and running and reading and drawing and tv shows and ice cream and fresh fruits and family-bonding and sleepovers with video games, junk food, and sunrises. I went up two pants sizes then down one, and I went to Disney with my theater group and finally told my mom how much she hurt me when she had called it “a phase.” I went to guidance, spoke with my English teacher about it, and had a long talk about how going away to college won’t take away my problems - that if I lost weight my parents would take me out faster than I could blink.
And now I’m here. Flip-flopping from hating my legs to appreciating their curves and strength. I’m here, finally gaining enough determination to realize what I actually want out of life. I joined crew, I plan to run a 10k before the end of the year, I’m climbing, I’ve been writing again, I’m happy with how my drawings are improving, I went to Puerto Rico and had a blast, Im managing time to leisure read (!!!!!!!!!). While I sometimes feel alone at my school (feel as if I haven’t found people I… Really mesh with), sometimes feel like the mirror is my absolute worst enemy - I know half of it is in my head the same way I’d imagined it all at the beginning of my sophomore year of high school.
I’m excited about things again. I’m laughing. Im determined and hardworking in an aspect beyond my physical appearance.
Of course TONS of other stuff has happened in my life and had their effects on me: loss, weddings, traveling, moving, high school to college, family, friends, teachers, tutoring my cousins and neighbors, volunteering at an environmental center, a summer taking an art class with my friend, etc…. I’m definitely not saying my life is defined by my EDNOS. I’m just reflecting on it specifically…
I gained weight because of my recovery.
It makes me anxious sometimes.
But God I’ve gained so much more than a number on a scale.
I’ve got my life back. I’ve got my goals and dreams back. I’m still fighting, and that’s okay - I know everything is alright.