It’s Sunday afternoon, and I have decided to take a break from my stressful student life to give you all a little insight on my beauty with a purpose. As some of you may know, my cause is to bring awareness to eating disorders and help build body positivity (self-esteem & confidence). This blog post will be one that will rely on a lot of strength as I tell you my past struggle with reaching a perfect body image, and how I plan on making a difference.
When I was in the fifth grade, our teacher had to weigh us for a ski trip. I was over 60 pounds; the weight of almost all my other classmates, and that was the beginning of a dark path… I had believed that I was fat for as long as I can remember. My thoughts in grade 5 were mild compared to the way I perceived my body, as I grew older. Already at that age, I wouldn’t wear certain clothes due to the fear of someone noticing my bulging hips or my tummy. Then came middle school…
It was an interesting time for me, I had just moved to Beaumont, AB. I was trying to make friends, all the while trying to discover who I was. Even though I was keeping myself busy with the move, those dark thoughts just wouldn’t go away. “You’re too fat. Only eat breakfast, you don’t need to eat today.” It did not help when I received comments such as: “You will only need to lose a couple of pounds and then you will be perfect.”
When did we gain the right to define a perfect body?
At 15 years old in the tenth grade, my eating disorder began to consume my life. I would eat just to puke. I began to get tired, I couldn’t concentrate on school but I was reaching the weight I hoped to see on the scale. The only thing I would eat in a day were bear paws (getting that iron intake, right?). Then, I finally stopped because I had reached that weight I had hoped to achieve.
I was ok for awhile, however, summer of 2015 I started again and this time, it was ten times worse than when I first began to purge. It was the summer before I started college. I lost 15 pounds in a matter of weeks. I went from 115 to 100 pounds. I felt like I looked great, but I felt so weak. The feelings I had are hard to explain. I wanted this; I knew I wanted this because I found comfort in my purging. I would eat whatever I wanted because I knew that later on, it would all be out of my body in a matter of seconds. I limited myself to a couple trips to the bathroom a day to rid myself of anything and everything that would make me gain weight.
The following weeks, the comments started up again, only this time, they wouldn’t tell me I needed to lose weight. “You’re so skinny.” Or “You’re too skinny, you look sick.” And my favourite: “You need to stop losing weight, it won’t look good.” The only thing people would notice was my weight. It was a conversation starter. I was struggling; my mental health was not stable. I needed help.
I no longer look to purging for comfort; I found comfort in my parents and my friends. They listen to me and helped me when I couldn’t help myself. I wish I had found the strength to ask for help, but I was embarrassed. I also chose this as my beauty with a purpose because I wish someone would’ve come to talk to me about the dangers and about the dark grasp that begins to form around the addiction.
Questions that always seem to stray in my mind are: What is the definition of perfect? What is the perfect body shape? I was looking for that answer through my purging, but I have learned there is no definition. We as individuals, as unique individuals make up the true meaning of perfection. We are not defined by what society believes a perfect body type is. This is why there are clothes made for different body sizes. No one is made exactly the same. WE ARE BORN THIS WAY! My goal is to deliver this message and make you truly believe it. Man or woman, you are beautiful. If you need help, do not be afraid or embarrassed to ask. You don’t have to struggle on your own. My work in the next few months will solely be based on bringing awareness to this mental illness, and help build body positivity. There is no definition of beauty, so why do we stress ourselves in attempting to create one?
I hope to work with an eating disorder foundations located here in Alberta and gain advice from those who have self-esteem programs put in place. I plan on receiving guidance, but I truly promise to do everything in my power to send out a powerful message.
Lastly, I would like to give thanks to a friend. You know who you are. Thank you for not leaving my dorm room because you knew it would result in me purging. Thank you for not believing me when I said I didn’t have a problem. Thank you for checking up on me, always. I can truly say if it weren’t for you who made me realize that what I was doing was a mental illness and not a blissful way to pass time, I do not believe I would’ve been able to break away from it. It had a grasp on me. It controlled me. It owned me.
Riwa, Miss East-Central Alberta 2017