tw: eating disorders, body image
Having an “unruly body” is hard, especially when an eating disorder requires a severe amount of control of the body.
There is no one way to have an eating disorder and the experience is entirely awful, but when I was in the grips of anorexia I had this very rigid idea of what the right way to eat and look was. And even after recovery, that idea has been really hard to kick. My lowest weight was 92 pounds when I was 15, and even then that felt like a lot to me. It’s true that once you’ve become addicted to losing weight, you never reach a point where you’re satisfied. I forced myself to eat more when I finally acknowledged that I couldn’t just not get my period (I went 8 months without having one) and would cry when I saw babies in television ads because I was afraid I’d never be able to have kids when I was older. My fear of long-term health effects outweighed my desire to shrink down to nothing, so I let myself gain some weight. I never went through any formal kind of recovery, and since that time in my life I have gone through phases where I restrict and phases where I have no control. My weight has fluctuated a lot because of it, and any sense of confidence or self-esteem that I have fluctuates with it. When I’m gaining weight I don’t even want to leave my room, and when I’m losing weight I want everyone to see me. I’m proud of myself when I’m losing weight, like it’s some kind of accomplishment.
I recognize that these thoughts and behaviors aren’t healthy but I’ve been this way for so long that I don’t know how else to think. I am obsessed with controlling my body and when I can’t control it it seems like I lose control of everything. I really, really want to love my body and I have made progress but it still feels like there’s a part of me that will always desire to be thin. My body’s resistance to control is often frustrating, but in a way it’s also a source of hope that my body can recover from what I’ve put it through. I’ve survived and bloomed since my lowest points, I’m thankful that I get more than one chance to treat my body right.