It's All Connected

It's All Connected

Monday, July 5, 2010

Screw IMAGE, let's be healthy!

On the 5th of every month, bloggers from around the world are open to write about rights and issues concerning women. First started by Shine and Marie, we’re hoping to bring a variety of women’s issues to the forefront to make people aware of what’s going on. For the month of July, we’ve chosen to write about Body Image. Please join us in telling us your stories, thoughts, and ideas on a monthly basis. To read previous installments, click here.

I have an eating disorder. Now, don't call A&E and schedule an intervention or anything. I am in recovery. I have been now for three years this August.

The first time I made myself sick to lose weight I was in junior high. I can't say why, I really don't know. I don't remember junior high being that bad, not nearly as bad as high school. I just remember that I learned that if I didn't give myself my shots, I could lose a lot of weight very quickly. On top of my body basically eating itself from the inside out, my very high blood sugars made me either too sick to eat or throw up everything I did eat.

I had always been a very chubby little girl, and so me dropping to a size zero was noticeable to those around me. I remember my health teacher having his own intervention, and I denied everything. Said I was losing my baby fat. Tried to convince him I was normal. That Christmas, I received a great pair of jeans from my mom, and I wore them to our family Christmas dinner at my cousin's house. Everyone was talking about how skinny I was, how I looked sick, and was there something wrong with me. I ran from the house crying, and realized two things; I was going to get caught and no matter what I did others were going to think I was ugly.

Now, I know that second thing is not entirely true, but it was enough for me to stop for a while. Nobody likes throwing up, I was always tired, and it was nice to feel "good" for a while.

The second time was when I was twenty years old. I was down to a size four and saving a lot of money on insulin. I was dating Kelly's sperm donor and he used to make fun of me. He'd slap my ass and say, "you don't even eat cottage cheese". Or he'd rub my nonexistent stomach and say, "I didn't think you drank beer". It was humiliating, and I let him do it because I did it to myself whenever I looked in the mirror. I actually thought I was lucky to have someone in my life who wasn't afraid to be honest about the way I looked. Then I got pregnant with my little man, and I no longer had a choice. He needed me to be healthy, so I was. When I was pregnant, I was able to look at myself in the mirror and see beauty for the first time ever.

The last time (and I really do mean that) was four years ago. For three years I had the Tribe telling me how ugly I was on the inside and no matter what I did I could never convince them otherwise. I was really depressed, and every day brought more and more hatred for myself. My marriage had fallen apart, I was making poor choices, and I thought, if I was beautiful on the outside, maybe they'd see the beauty within.

For over a year (the longest I ever abused my body that way) I didn't take my long acting insulin but once or twice a week. I took only one shot of short acting a day, at night, so I could sleep a few hours without having to throw up. I went to the ER at least four times for "uncontrollable" vomiting. I got down to a size two, I weighed about a hundred pounds. Still, when I looked in the mirror all I could see was ugly. Disgusting. Revolting. I was never satisfied. Everyone kept telling me how great I looked, asking me how I did it. So, I thought I was on the right track. If I just did it for a little while longer, others would finally be able to see the real me.

August 2007, I went to my family reunion at Rainbow Beach Resort. I had these horrible stomach pains and this hard lump in my abdomen. I asked my sister-in-law what she thought the lump was, and she said, "it's poop." I started thinking about my body, and what used to be normal compared to what was normal for that last year. I looked up bowel blockage online, and realized what I was doing to my body. I thought about all of the comments my family and friends had been making, wondering if I had cancer or some other illness. I was so ashamed for lying to them, to Jero, to myself for so long. All of the nights Jero spent at the ER with me, when it was all my fault. But I was scared. I was scared to stop getting those positive comments from my acquaintances. I was scared the Tribe would never see ME if I stopped. I was scared I'd get "fat" again.

I told Jero. I bit the bullet. I told him I had an eating disorder. I told him how I was doing it. I told him I needed help, I needed help being held accountable. He told me that he loved me and that if I didn't stop, he'd leave me. I told him I'd try.

I told my mom, who cried, and told me that she had known something was wrong.

They both told me the truth about how I looked. Sick. I had no muscle left anywhere. My legs were as big around as Jero's forearms. My skin was sallow, I had bags under my eyes, my teeth were rotting out from the acid.

I was devastated. But, I needed to be.

Three years now, well, almost, and I have NOT ONCE skipped a shot on purpose. I have NOT ONCE willingly thrown up. But I want to. I want to every damn day. I do not see myself as beautiful. I want so much to be like my best friends and KNOW that I am a beautiful real woman. I want to love my curves. I want to know inside myself that the things Jero says about me are true and not just coming from the man who loves me. Isn't that funny? All I wanted was someone to see me for who I am, and I finally have him and I don't BELIEVE what he says. I guess what I was searching for was for me to see who I really am.

The reality is that I AM proud of myself. When I broke my foot and was unable to walk for five months, I put on a lot of weight. People would say things like, "what about the Wii? That will get you moving. That will help you lose the weight." What I wanted to say back was that, even Wii bowling is hard to do on one foot. That I didn't want everyone else pointing out my weight gain, because I was well aware of it. I was waiting eagerly for the day when I could walk, swim, work. So, I pushed myself too soon. I re-injured my foot twice, which only added to my recovery time. BUT I DIDN'T MAKE MYSELF SICK, NOT ONCE!

I'm getting there. I can walk, I can swim, and I am back to work. I have changed the way we eat in our house. No more fast food (three months!) aside from three times when I've cheated. We eat yogurt instead of sweets (most of the time) we eat one helping only, I drink more water, I haven't had a regular soda in over a year. I am HEALTHY.

I can sometimes look in the mirror and see a pretty girl. I am at least able to look at myself from the neck up and see beauty. But, I know, deep down, that I have to stop focusing on the numbers. I have to stop worrying that I am a size twelve-fourteen. I have to stop thinking that I am 5'2" and weigh a hundred fifty pounds. I NEED to start focusing on how much better I feel.

I feel great! Well, not today because nine hours at Silverwood did a number on my foot, but as for my energy levels, my moods, my insides, I feel like a new woman. I know that I am a good person, and I am slowly getting to where I don't care that strangers and acquaintances don't see it. They see the surface. They see my "situation" without bothering to find out why I'm in it.

I am worth loving, and best of all, I'm starting to love myself.

For all of the girls and women out there who think that abusing your body is the only way to make your outsides match your insides, let me tell you something; those who can't see that it already does do not know you, and that includes yourself. Don't deny your body what it needs, and don't deny your psyche what it craves. If you want a piece of fudge, by golly, eat a damn piece of fudge, just don't eat the whole tray. If you want to have a burger while you're out with friends, have a burger. Denying those urges constantly will only lead to unhealthy decisions. Health is the key, not image.

And for fuck's sake, find out who you are and LOVE HER! The rest will eventually fall into place. And if you ever need someone to talk with, vent to, lean on, I am here for every one of you, there is no shame in banding together.

Later skaters!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Sara,
    So well written, and I know how hard that must be to share. But thank you. I am sorry that I wasn't there to help you, but if you ever need anything, I am here now.

    You are an amazing woman.

    Love you!

  3. SO SO SO proud of you! welcome to the femme writes group! nothing but love and support from the gals there.


    I LOVE ALL OF YOU- from your healing silly little foot to your amazing, gorgeous twiggy haircut. thank you for writing something this hard and personal. I ADORE YOU. and like google says...more people should be reading this ;)

  4. Thanks, guys!

    AND I tried to delete that spam comment from the guy at GoogIe...hahaha, did you notice the I instead of the l? But, it wouldn't let me delete it. Any suggestions?

  5. Ooooh, I did it! Never mind. :D

  6. Ah Sara Susie, what can I say.

    So much heart. So much truth. So much courage.

    I love you.

  7. Thanks for sharing this. My niece is battling anorexia and is finally getting help. I know it took a lot of courage for her and for anyone in that spot! Kudos to you!