An open letter to my eating disorder:
You’re the one thing I never thought I could possibly have. Girls that looked like me couldn’t have eating disorders. I wasn’t a walking skeleton like all the pictures they show you in high school health class, so it couldn’t be me. I was fine. But a few months ago, I was there, sitting across from the doctor with the glasses and the clipboard, and there you were. And this is what I finally have to say.
Okay. I’ll admit it. You won. For two long years, you won. You took the image I saw in the mirror and distorted it to something I could only see as disgusting and undesirable. You locked the door of my freshman dorm when I spent hours alone while the anxiety, doubt, and self-loathing took over my mind. You told me that if my collarbones showed that much more, they would notice me. You screamed at me that if I lost this much weight, I would be what they wanted. You carved into my heart that what was standing in the way of me being loved was the food I was putting into my body. You held my seat at the restaurant while I excused myself to the bathroom so I could get rid of what I had eaten. You held the calculator while I excessively counted every calorie I even thought about putting in my mouth. You sat and watched while I got weak and passed out in rehearsals. You patted me on the back every time I told someone I was okay, that I’d already eaten, or that I was just really stressed out. You reassured me I was doing the right thing even as it began to tear apart the best friendships I’d ever had. You were the loudest voice in every decision I made, and you were in control of my life.
But not anymore. Not today. Because today I am taking back what I should have a long time ago.
I may not have always been brave, but I am brave enough now to tell you that you’re wrong. I am beautiful. I am worthy of love. Now it’s not because you tell me that I am, that the number on scale tells me I am, that a casting director tells me I am, or that a boy tells me I am. I am beautiful because it’s a choice. I have the choice to wake up every day and to see that I am a reflection of something so much greater than what’s looking back at me in the mirror. I get to wake up and choose to write the words that I am fearfully and wonderfully made on my heart. Did you get that? Fearfully and wonderfully made. That means I was set apart and made as one of the clearest mirror images of something that is astoundingly unique to me. I am not a replica of something, but a new intricate creation. Tell me in that where you find disgusting or undesirable? I am choosing to define beautiful on my own terms. Not as a standard needed to be met but a joy that is obtained by a daily choice. Why was it that you let me push away more than the food in front me? You let me push away the simple truth that my beauty is own my terms, that I am my own kind of stunning, intelligent, unique, breathtaking, and beautiful.
So yes, I could choose your way. I could break, distort, starve, and obsess over the image in the mirror. I could chase after the ever changing standard you set for me. Or I could stop. I could wipe the mirror clean. I could take a second to turn and love the world around me. Cause there I may find a family who reflects strength and support, friends who reflect joy and loyalty, and a life that reflects the way I should have been loving myself from the start.
And to me, that’s the only reflection worth focusing on. That’s the one I choose.
Now I know you’re not going to go down without a fight. But what I want to tell you that I’m ready, and this is one battle you’re not going to win. Not anymore.