Warning for discussion of my struggles with an eating disorder.
Firstly, don’t worry, I know you’re not a massive fan of the bangs, but you pull them off for a solid two years before retiring them gracefully soooo… just roll with them even though they’re a pain to trim.
Anyway, I know this is going to be hard to believe, especially considering you’re probably devouring a chocolate bar without a second thought right now, but you will start to struggle with an eating disorder. The taste of chocolate itself will become a distant memory, replaced with tasteless salads and water. Those dominoes you order with your friends, the delicious margarita pizza you always choose with the extra thick crust, you teach yourself to eat that with a side of disgust and guilt. You will find yourself cancelling any plans that involve food with your friends just to avoid the unknowing nutritional content your meal will provide. You don’t want miscalculating and exceeding your limit, the limit that you believe will make you skinnier, make you feel more confident in yourself… the limit that will slowly restrict your happiness as well as the food you eat.
The caramel lattes you love to drink at every coffee shop you go to, the ones you love to scoop up the froth from and relish in the sweet taste, they will become less frequent. You can’t ask for one without modifying it, assuring the milk is skimmed despite not quite enjoying the taste as much. The biscuits you snack on after school everyday will become counted and calculated. You will focus less on the tasty treat in front of you and more on the numbers it presents, the numbers on the scale it may change, the numbers numbers numbers. You start defining your worth by numbers, reducing that worth the more the numbers grow. You define everything by those numbers, your happiness, your goals, your future, not realising that digits are as meaningless to your worth as the methods you use to reach them are. You will be manipulated by your mind that this eating disorder defines you. You hope one day that you will comprehend that it doesn’t.
I know you love to dance, enjoying the freedom you feel expressing yourself and being confident. You will lose the motivation, you’ll learn that without nutrients, your body can barely create energy to move, let alone flourish in art. Exercise will become a chore you force upon yourself in hope to lose calories. You will try and move your body as elegantly as you can, try to remember the talent you once possessed, and find that your limbs stiffen, having lost the fluency of its movements. You can just about drag yourself for long walks on paths that feel endless. Your constant state of exhaustion will feel endless, making you unsure of how to change it all.
So, Abi, you will start to develop an eating disorder. It will affect your relationships with those you care about. To be quite plain, it will make you feel like utter shit. But it’s a battle that you will start to fight; you will find optimism and strength from it all, strength you didn’t even realise you had, and you do become determined to recover. It’s not over yet.
All I can say is that I hope one day I will recognise you within me again.
Love from Current Abi (without bangs)