Saturday, March 7, 2015

Because I wish I knew all this when I was 16 (a letter to my 16 year old, anorexic self)

A letter to my 16 year old, anorexic self.

 Dear Me,
         How much would it shock you to know that 10 years from now, you will love your body and the life you are living? I know, you probably scoffed and rolled your eyes at that statement, because 10 years feels like an eternity from now. 10 years ago you were living as a family of four, swimming in the summers, and playing pretend with stuffed animals...and now you are a long way from that. But it's true.
         Right now every waking moment of your day is focused on food or feelings. How much food will I eat today? How much food will I NOT eat today? How much weight will I lose if I eat nothing? How much weight will I gain if I do eat something? How do I deal with all these feelings and emotions? If I make myself vomit will I feel less guilty? If I cut will I have less emotional pain? Remember when they diagnosed you with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and you were stunned at how they determined that? Because in your mind no self-esteem and NPD were opposites? Well all those statements above contained the word "I", and that is all you think about. You spend so much of your days thinking about how awful you are, how fat, how NOT perfect, how everything is your fault; I'm surprised you find time to do anything else.
         Now before you think I am criticizing you, let me explain. In 10 years you will finally realize how exhausting it is to constantly berate yourself each and everyday. You will learn that when you stop thinking about calories, food, bingeing, purging, starving, weight loss, and perfection, all day long, life gets less exhausting. Not to say that in 10 years you won't be perpetually exhausted, because you will. In 10 years your days will be filled with taking care of 2 little boys. Feeding, potty, diapers, playing, napping, teaching, reading, singing, laundry, and cleaning. You will be exhausted.
You will take care of a home you share with your husband who loves you...but also drives you slightly insane. You WILL be exhausted. You will work, and serve at church and feel useful in your community, but you will always be exhausted. The difference is that it is a fulfilling and spiritually rewarding exhaustion. An exhaustion that is opposite of your daily, constant criticism and emotionally overwhelming exhaustion that you feel now. It is an exhaustion that will help you accept and even love your body.
           Remember those 2 little boys I talked about? You may look and your body and hate every inch of it, especially your stomach. That stomach will never be as flat as you want it to be, in fact it will never be flat again. Because within it, a miracle happened, two in fact! In there a baby grew, was sheltered, protected and loved. A precious soul came to a body that grew in the "fat, flabby stomach" you hate. And when they leave your body, it will never be the same, but you will love it. I am not saying that in 10 years you will not want to change things about your body, or that you will love it 100% of then time; but you will appreciate and marvel at it.
          Even now your body does remarkable things. You can swim a 57 second 100 free, and a 25 second 50 free. You can swim for miles at practice, all while starving yourself. Your body will get a 1230 on the SAT without studying, and get a 4 on the AP Bio test without even taking the class. Your
body is ALIVE despite being starved to the point where your heart only beat once every 2 seconds. I
know you look at your body and see what it cannot do, what it does not look like, and in turn you must punish yourself for it. I know that it leads to a spirit crushing exhaustion. In 10 years you will be amazed by your body, you will embrace it and love it, and you won't be spiritually exhausted anymore.
         I write this to inspire you during the dark and desperate times, because I wish I knew all this when I was 16.

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