It is black and white. That’s where my weight came in. I refused to let myself go as I was informed I did my first semester at college. Had I known myself at the time I would have known that I was going to go to the extreme in dieting. I had this little voice in my head telling me I was undeserving of anything to eat if I did not earn it. That little voice is still there, but now is just a casted shadow on my thoughts. At the time however, I was hardcore. I was known to be seen around campus jogging up and down hills, always at the gym, and always working out. I was also famous for my large consumption of Bacardi night after night, because of course, it had no carbohydrates and being intoxicated allowed me to let loose some freedom. I would use the energy from alcohol to run around campus drunk with everyone and dance the night away at bars.

 I started ritualizing food. Everything was prepared slowly, my food would be freezing cold by the time I finally finished eating it, and it was WAY over seasoned. As soon as the long winded meal would be over, I would immediately go to the mirror and check my body. I would grab everything I could and convince myself I needed to lose more weight. Once I got down to a lower weight I would be okay. There was a goal, and I needed to meet it. I had to do it perfectly because I expected perfection of myself, especially since I couldn’t figure out what to do with my life. I had to keep my control on food. I was finally really good at something, and it was something other people admired. Anyone will admit that in our culture fat people are shunned. People assume they have no will power and don’t care about themselves when that is so far from the truth.

I was in so much mental agony, pain and obsession. Sickly, I enjoyed it. Every minute of it I was proving people wrong; I was in control. That pain and constant stress are freeing. The pain from mental control, the pain from hunger, the pain from the will power you possess that no one else does. It is all freeing, and very soothing. It was the only way I was able to keep my distorted mind as ease. It kept me calm and in control. I enjoyed it all to an extent— in my sick and diseased mind. I was calmed when I told myself I was fat and worthless, that I didn’t deserve food and I was not good enough to be eating any sort of meal. This gave me something to control, and something to perfect- hell, it was something to do. To this day I still long for the calmness anorexia placed in my mind. And wouldn’t you know, I never for a second thought anything was wrong the whole time I was sick. I saw myself as determined, accomplished, and someone who had amazing will power and control. Any negative vibes my way were from people who weren’t good enough to be me. It’s not until you start to get healthier that you realize just how sick you were, just how much pain and suffering this disease places on you and so many other people.

I started sleeping on a heating pad because I was so cold, I had goose bumps 24/7 and wore layers of clothes. My hair was thinning out and I ran and ran and ran. I can’t even tell you how often. My life at this point was so obsessive and unbearable I was losing friends, none of my clothes fit, and people were coming to me concerned all the time. Even my professors and cheerleading coach were questioning me. The shit hit the fan one weekend at a bon fire party. I was accidentally pushed in the fire (a small push throws a tall skinny ass person right in!) and was taken to the hospital. I was in so much pain I don’t even remember much of that night. I remember screaming and crying for hours because the pain was so bad. That was real pain, my mind and body had experienced REAL pain. I went home for the weekend, covered in bandages and this thick expensive burn cream. I developed pneumonia within a day of being doped up and bandaged up. I was throwing up blood, seeing things, and running a very high fever. I remember my dog growling at me as I lay on the couch miserable and thin as a rail. Obviously, I lost weight being sick as well. I secretly enjoyed the pneumonia- that’s sickening to think about now. However, upon getting better I went back to college even skinnier. People told me I disappeared when I turned sideways. I slowed down on the weight lifting, because I was simply too weak to lift and had learned that the body can eat its own muscle for weight loss in the absence of exercise. I became obsessed with jogging and doing it to the point I felt “high.” I was waking up in the morning and having the room go black on me or standing up and experiencing little colored spots circling around my head. I disregarded every body ailment I had, because to me, I had control and will power. I learned so many trick, tips and ways to burn calories I could write a book on just that.

Along with perfection to my body, which I never ever saw as ideal or good enough came perfection in my school work. I worked my ass off to get straight A’s and argued my way with teachers for the grade I wanted. This extreme position and perfectionism played over and over in my life. At one point, I went from an anorexic compulsive exerciser; to what a nutritionist once told me was “orthorexia.” That is, I would not eat any food I did not personally deem as healthy. And while I had my reasons, and still do have reason for my food choices, at the time it was centered on my warped mind and lower weight goals. I continued to become mentally obsessed with myself. I worked out harder and spent more time focusing on myself than the life in front of me. I read about diets and weight, I wrote about my dieting and weight, and I continually circled thoughts in my head regarding my body and weight. I stepped on the scale morning after morning, making it a ritual like habit. My first thought upon waking was “Did I eat last night when I was drunk?” and “Will my weight be lower than yesterday?”

I punished myself for everything.  A ‘B’ on a paper, well I sure as hell wasn’t going to eat. A bad cheer practice? No food. Fight with my shitty boyfriend…definitely no food. I wanted to tell my parents I was suffering, but I couldn’t convince myself I had a problem. Nothing was “really wrong.” My parents expected success out of me; I couldn’t possibly admit something was wrong.

Once I started down the path, it was a never ending cycle. I was so sucked in and addicted. Not only had I transformed my body, but my personality and friendships took a turn for the worst. Everyone commented on my obsessive behavior, and sudden lack of socialness. My best friend cried to me in tears as she watched me slowly dissolving away and hurting myself. I would not listen. At the time “she was wrong” and “I was not good enough.” I was constantly telling myself and others, “I’m fine.”

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