Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. They say everyone you meet has a past, so don’t judge because you don’t know their story; there is definitely a ring of truth to that. I have been fighting my battle against my internal demons which was destroying the life around me. I could never admit that I was suffering from eating disorder. There are times I am tempted to slip back into my darker days, and wonder when I will feel special or accepted by others. Being constantly bombarded by images and adverts of size zero supermodels in today’s age didn’t help — it took me a long time to be open to even discuss this sensitive issue with my friends and family cause even I judged myself. How was I supposed to expect them not to look at me differently? So here’s my story, to everyone, friends and family, who stood by me, i’m ever so grateful to you all.
Many teenagers experience the phase whereby they don’t know who they are, eager to discover and find themselves. I was no exception, I was always challenging myself to become ‘perfect’ in the eyes of many, but even till now, I ain’t sure what is defined as being perfect. But what is the point if you’re ‘perfect’ when all you are doing is hiding behind a mask constituted of flaws and scars? When you can’t enjoy a pizza with the extra cheese, or burger with the extra bacon without feeling guilty? It all began when I was in Secondary 4. I was really passionate in sports, Netball, Running, Swimming, Tennis etc. so apart from studying I would find myself in the realms of sports. But it soon spiraled into an obsession. I started despising myself, looking into the mirror, wanting a body of a model (thinking about it now, this is so vain and silly) in an attempt to fit in with society’s perception of perfection. The fact that I was in a girls’ school for 10 years and the imminent transition of going into a co-ed college fueled my desire to look even better.
From a passion to self-destruction
I started to become obsessed over my calorie intake to the point where I would just look at the mouth-watering dishes, but just swallowed my saliva telling people I simply wasn’t hungry. The extreme dieting took a toll on my body as I started to feel exhausted easily. The kilos of my weight were dropping but at the same time I started questioning myself, was I actually happy? My social life was affected, I was avoiding meeting up with people to avoid eating and gaining weight; my life was basically sleep, exercise, repeat.
I was finally empowered to work towards a healthier lifestyle instead of rejecting food from my system, when my parents started showing a lot more concern — they were worried about my ‘skeletal appearance’. My parents took the time off from their busy schedules, encouraging me to eat more and specially buying the food I took a liking for. It was the first time in a long while I genuinely felt happy. I wanted to do anything to remove the frowns on their faces and worries, I began dedicating my time to my family and friends, engaging in other hobbies such as baking, yoga and reading. I began putting on weight and my physique started to look healthier but once in a while I would binge on food for hours and attempt to do a 2-hour cardio work-out because the guilt was haunting me or just using the chew-and-spit tasting in food in prevention of putting on more weight.
Two years on, graduating from high school in England i would definitely say i’m much better than before. I wouldn’t exactly take: “You’ve put on weight, but you’re looking better” entirely as a compliment, but I certainly feel better about myself. My ex-boyfriend was another important character in helping me improve with my self-love and acceptance. He had seen the worst of me, where i had obsessed over diet and exercise fads yet he loved me unconditionally. He was worried that i would be drawn back to my old ways while studying abroad so he was my sunshine, looking over me, having my friends keep tabs on me making sure i was eating my meals, and occasionally sending surprises to remind me i was beautiful the way i was. Indeed, everyone is beautiful so don’t lose sight of faith or undermine your self-worth.
Quoting Roslyn’s Made Personal story: “I also realised that self-acceptance and self-confidence definitely do come hand-in-hand with good health.” (Definitely!) My life journey has been full of ups and downs especially where image is concerned. So much has happened in the past 3 years; it was arduous, but meaningful and fulfilling to see how far I’ve come today. The point of sharing my story is to show that everyone has a story and is fighting their own battle as it’s only human nature to feel insecure or jealous of others. Never stop loving yourself or preventing yourself from being happy because being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect, it means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.