How often do you consider the words in your mind before you let them come out of your mouth? I am talking about true consideration. How will my words affect this person’s wellbeing? Nobody is perfect, and to err is simply human, but words really can cut someone more deeply than you think.
I’ve been dealing with insensitive people my entire life, people who care more about their social status than how they make someone else feel. As early as elementary school, I was ostracized because I was a square peg in the world with only round holes. The abuse was justified several different ways. You’re slightly overweight, so we have the right to verbally abuse you. You are quiet and intelligent, so we have the right to abuse you. You are physically uncoordinated and not good at sports, so we have the right to make you wish that you were dead. No matter what the excuse, it all came down to the same bullshit premise. This abuse is your own fault because you’re different. If you could just change your entire personality and appearance to match everyone else, the abuse would end. The only logical conclusion I could draw from years of abuse was that I was the problem because I’m too weird to be loved.
A person can only deal with abuse for so long before they get desperate. For me, complete desperation kicked in when I was in high school. People had fully convinced me that I was worthless, and I fell into a deep depression. I stopped going to lunch during my junior year of high school, because I was sick of being singled out by bullies in the cafeteria. They would throw food at me, yell insults, and the entire cafeteria would laugh because no one there had a heart, or, if they did, they didn’t have the balls to speak up. One time, I threw something back and I was the one who got in trouble. Unable to deal with it anymore, after a bout of cutting myself and a suicide attempt, I asked for permission to spend my lunch period in the library instead. I was much happier when I was surrounded by books and computers rather than bullies, but the damage had still been done.
When I stopped going to lunch, my constant anxiety took on a new form. I wasn’t eating, and I began to notice some weight falling off. It was as if a light bulb of self-destruction had been lit over my head. What was the main reason everyone hated me? Oh, right. I was slightly overweight. In my state of depression, I drew the conclusion that I should just stop eating. I could see two possible outcomes of my plan. One, I would get skinny and people wouldn’t hate me anymore. Two, I would die and not have to deal with the pain anymore. I was ok with either outcome. That, my friends, is how an eating disorder was born.
Throughout my junior and senior year of high school, I barely ate. I began running every day (even though I hate running) and obsessively working out several times a day. I worked at McDonald’s and ate nothing there except the occasional salad. During my senior year of high school, I was also dealing with my father’s cancer, and the likelihood that he would die. It was a really dark time for me. I was always hungry, but I had severe anxiety every time I tried to eat. Stop, I would tell myself. If you eat, you’ll just make yourself even less valuable. I got used to the feeling of being hungry and equated it with being skinny in a desperate attempt to turn that hungry feeling into something positive. The truth was, I was miserable.
Over the course of about a year and a half, I lost a lot of weight and got a lot of compliments. At my skinniest, my ribs were visible and my boobs had shrunk to a sad little A cup. I knew that what I was doing was unhealthy, but nobody else saw it. All they saw was the skinny girl who used to be fat and disgusting. I felt like I was too skinny and I missed having curves. I was, however, fully committed to fitting into that round hole just like all the other round pegs. I dyed my hair blonde and tried to fit in. It didn’t feel right, and I discovered a whole new world of self-loathing.
I often wonder how my life would have turned out different if I hadn’t found a relationship right in the middle of that period of self-loathing and utter fakeness. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that the relationship I began at age 19 was not a healthy one. However, when I met him, he brought me out of the anorexic mindset I had been living in for years. It was nice hearing that I was beautiful and that I would still be beautiful if I ate dinner.
12 years later
I thought that my anxiety surrounding food consumption was a demon of my past. Little did I know, it would rear its ugly head once more in my early 30’s. Weight fluctuation is pretty normal for me, thanks to some pretty finicky genes and a slow metabolism. At this point in my life, I’m a nice curvy in between size that I feel comfortable with. I truly stopped worrying about it, and I was waiting to find someone who would love me for me. That was when I met him. He seemed great at first, a good person to become friends with, and we became not only friends but more. He was funny, handsome, charming and seemed genuine. Over the course of a few months, we became pretty close and I trusted him. Unfortunately for me, my brain works like a girl and I inadvertently became emotionally attached.
I had to know, one way or the other, if this relationship could become what I was looking for, so I asked. The response crushed my soul, and took me right back to high school all over again. I was a great girl, good enough to be friends with and good enough to have a physical relationship with, but not good enough for romantic love because I’m too fat. Now, there was even a number placed on my inadequacy!! Fifty pounds, to be exact. Those words were not a knife in my back. They were a knife right in my heart. I tried to shrug it off, but I couldn’t. Over the course of the next week, I felt once again the severe anxiety every time I tried to eat. You’re not good enough, the demon in my head screamed. You should stop eating, and then someone will love you and you won’t die alone. I knew that I didn’t like my body when I was scary skinny and had no boobs. I really didn’t want that again, but it’s hard to argue with inner demons. They have a way of winning every battle.
This time, I knew I had to enlist some help quickly, so I called my best friend (who is 600 miles away unfortunately). I needed someone to tell me that I’m beautiful, even when I eat dinner. I can always count on her for that. This type of anxiety has once again become a daily occurrence, on top of all the other stress in my life, but I’m fighting the inner demons with every ounce of my strength.
I really wish this story had a happy ending, but that’s yet to be seen. For the time being, I have completely called off the search for a soulmate and I am focusing on loving myself and making my life great, but my soul really hurts some days and my trust issues are worse than ever. I fear that this world is too shallow and ignorant to produce the caliber of human being necessary to love someone like me. Someone please prove me wrong.