(TW: Eating disorder)
You are 16 now and I’ve something important I want you to know. I want you to read these words and truly take them in. I want you to hold them in your head every day, repeat them to yourself if necessary. I can’t lie to you, I still struggle. I still forget how to remind myself that I am worth more than a sum of my parts. That who I see in the mirror is not someone to be afraid of. I can’t promise you that your body will stop being your worst enemy. But you do gain some clarity and you’re able to drag yourself out of the pit you’ve been in for years.
You have grown up watching women rip themselves apart. You’ve watched your mother, her sisters, her friends all point out the parts of their body they hate the most. You’ve taken that on board subconsciously and unfortunately, you’ll carry it forever. You always saw your mother as a beautiful woman. A beautiful woman with a belly and stretch marks and arms that jiggle when she moves. None of those things made her ugly to you, they made her your mammy, that beautiful woman. So why do they make you disgusting?
The things you do to your body are not healthy. Hiding while you eat food, avoiding food all together. Eating a grapefruit a day for 2 weeks is not something you should regard as an achievement. You love food! Food is a joy, a past time, something in life which you can now embrace, laugh over, not hide. It’s a hobby. Be proud of the dinners you cook, the cakes you bake and enjoy them yourself! Eat them yourself!
When you are 21 you will find a diary from when you just turned 11 and you’ll cry as you see your scribbly, little girl handwriting “I hate myself. I hate my body and my face, I’m ugly and fat.” You’’ll read about how you snuck ice cream to eat privately even though you had refused it after dinner. You’ll read a list meant to inspire you to “be better” and number one on that list (spelt horribly wrong) will be “Lose Weit.” You’ll recognise that you were only a child then and you had already started punishing yourself. You didn’t deserve it, you don’t now, as a 16-year-old and you won’t in the future, as an adult woman. As me.
You won’t recognise any of this as a problem, you’ve got bigger fish to fry, am I right girl? A plethora of mental health issues, a horrible boyfriend and a tendency to lie to your therapist are definitely higher on your list of priorities. It wont be until this year, when your in your early twenties will your sister say to you “You had an eating disorder” will you ever look back and realise what has been happening. You’ll also realise that you’re still fighting it, it didn’t disappear on its own. Of course it didn’t! You need help and you should get it.
No one else is scrutinizing you the way you think they are. No one is watching you as you walk down the road and thinking you look fat. Fat is not a negative word. It’s the same as thin, its an adjective. People shouldn’t regard you as being worth less for being fat. If they did: what are the worth to your life? You’ve never though negatively about somebody else’s body so don’t assume everyone else does about yours. Nobody cares. They care about your laugh, how funny you are, how creative and clever. They care about how you make them feel: loved, cared for, important. They care about your opinions and stories and your plans. You are beautiful, not just physically, its ingrained deep inside you. You can see the beauty in everything and that shows. You are completely brilliant, and you need to hear that.
I love you,