Six years ago around this time I had a knife to my stomach, I wanted to kill myself to end the harsh pain that was my reality. I almost did it too if it were not for the fear this wound would inflict on me. In all honesty I had dreams filled with sheer terror that I would not live past 16. The reason behind this fear, my cousin had just died at the age 16. She had a good life I would never have, a group of friends and popularity that I could only dream of, and a boyfriend that was her world. Yet, a few months after turning 16, she fell off a cliff to her death. I would secretly say to myself that she should not have died, such a kind person should not be taken from this world so soon before they have a chance to change the world. If I could I would have died in her place, someone with no existence in the world. One that everyone forgets about or tends to ignore; like a piece of trash they can just throw away when they are done with it. This was my initial thought. However, as the months rolled by, I say my life more as one that should give, that I should help save people from unspoken terrors 99 percent of the world overlooks.
Then a year later, I started struggling with anorexia. Anorexia, people defined it as someone who is so skinny that it endangers there life; more specifically, someone under 100 pounds. Let me to be the first one to say that to have anorexia does not mean to be under 100 pounds, it means to be under your ideal weight for your height class. A person could be six foot and be anorexic, however just because they don’t look unhealthily skinny to the untrained eye does not mean a problem does not exist. I am a 5’6 woman, and during the time I was competitively active in professional Ballroom and Latin dance. For those who don’t know these types of dances require intense leg and arm muscles as well as stomach muscles in order to do the moves faster on point and most importantly for lifts. From doing 60 plus hours of dance every week I was already losing a substantial amount of weight. But then my teacher in forced some guild lines to my eating; I could not eat anything with sugar, no processed foods, only eat healthy before a competition, and excreta. He created extra workouts for me, always saying that I needed to lose weight to do the moves quicker or slower (depending on the dance), I had to be lighter so that he could lift me. Then it started, I no longer viewed food the same ever again. Instead of seeing a plate as something to eat I saw it as what will make me fat. One week I would binge because I was so hungry then feel guilty and go two or three days with only eating a snack or no meals at all. It was not nearly enough to replace all the calories that I was burning off during practices, extra practices, and workouts. When I saw my weight a silent voice would shout, ‘you’re so fat, how could you be that weight, lose two more pounds and you will be attractive.’ In reality I was actually under my ideal weight (which is 125-135 lbs.), becoming 120 to 115 to 110. Another thing they don’t tell you on the Anorexia shows is that not everyone looks like a stereotypical Anorexic, with bones sticking out and basically becoming a human toothpick. I looked healthy on the outside, but on the inside my drastic eating habits started to play a part on my health. I would go to stand up and get so dizzy that I would fall to the ground immediately, if not faint. I remember one time I scared my father half to death because I stood up to fast and went to the kitchen, then proceeded to faint and lose consciousness. I could not hear a single thing and went blind, then proceeded to sweat profusely. If I had not woken up I think my father would have sent me to the hospital. The worst period during the time I was sick was when I was doing dance as well as tennis. Both were incredibly time consuming; which provided the perfect excuse to not eat. My mother would pick me up from school after tennis finished to drive me to my dance practices, proceeding to ask if I ate anything yet. Of course I lied and told her that I had eaten a lot of snacks or just didn’t feel hungry. Then there were times I would tell her that I was hungry and eat humongous portions, which she didn’t find weird because my mother is in fact obese. But I made a friend who helped change me around. Both her and I were struggling from the same eating disorder but were too afraid to speak to anyone about it because of the fear of judgement, someone telling us what their opinion was without taking in consideration of how we saw the same disorder as a normal and not a problem. She had stopped doing ballet.
To tell the truth we used each other as a reason to continue starving ourselves, swapping ways we could stop eating at school. We used to do this thing during lunch time where we would say we wanted to be cool and walk around our school while everyone ate. In reality it was a way to explain why we were eating so little, saying that we can’t possibly eat a piece of pizza while walking because it would be messy. This went on for about a half a year more. Then I started to realize that I should not do this to my body. So at first, I would look at myself in the mirror and say one good thing about myself, which was incredibly difficult. Sometime I would just grab the nonexistent lumps on my sides and scream in my head, “YOU’RE A FAT PIG! YOU’RE GOING TO END UP HUGE LIKE YOUR MOTHER AND NEVER AMOUNT TO ANYTHING! NO WONDER GUYS FIND YOU DISCUSTING!” Over the past couple years it has been a struggle, forcing myself to eat food three times a day even if I’m not hungry, slowly trying to love my body again one step at the time. There were still times that I had relapses in trying to become anorexic again, the worst relapse had to be freshman year of college when I was long jumping for my university team. I wanted to be lighter in order to jump farther because I basically sucked at the sport. I just loved doing something again after quitting dance. However I got threw the dark spots of my past, though some habits still follow me. There is always that fat shadow behind me when looking in the mirror and outbursts of self-hatred as well as certain days I go the whole day with little to no food. But no one ever said it was easy. But as a recovering anorexic there is still a certain taboo subject I wish I could escape from. Weight. More importantly someone saying that they are too fat when they are not, even if you’re joking it’s not funny to those of us who know what those simple words led us to. Or here in Korea people love to comment on weight, which has caused me to relapse. They would constantly tell me that I looked fat or chubby, a person who is a healthy weight of around 125 lbs. That I need to lose weight. Even people in the United States say the exact same thing while in college. We were having a party and some girls just happened to take off their shirts, again this is a college party so those things happen all the time, but the guys who came proceeded to exhibit their disgust and shout, “I didn’t think they let fat asses in here, put some shirts on.” My friends are actually a little cubby but still look healthy, the fact that we let society tell us woman that having a little weight is a crime explains the exact reason why so many are either resorting to over or under eating. It would be nice, just once, to be told that I look good, that my weight is perfect, this is the best healing agent that anyone could ask for.
So struggling with suicidal tendencies then anorexia made me believe I would not make it past 20, let along 21. The fact that at the age of 21 I’ve managed to change all the negatives into positives shows how much I cherish my life now. I want to be able to one say walk down a street and know that I look hot instead of only thinking about how everyone is staring at my fat or humongous thunder legs. Thought I am in a different country and most of my friends forgot about my birthday, I am struggling to view it as a positive. That I’ve got two amazing friends who are celebrating with me, along with my other friends who are celebrating the drinking part of my birthday with me on Friday. Trying to not think about how the cake is going to ruin my figure or being worried that everyone back home has forgotten me since I have been gone and won’t care when I finally come back. That they will treat me as if I’m a stranger or nuisance that should have stayed in Korea. My only wish in life is to get to a point where I love my body, rolls or no rolls, and no longer fear inside what others view of me; I feel that only after accomplishing this, I will truly be free…