Counting calories and the lost moments
My name is Mara, and I am in the recovery phase of my eating disorder.
While gone are the days of obsessively weighing myself in every morning, driving my finger as deeply into my throat as possible, or gulping down some laxatives I once convinced myself were safe (the bottle indicated things like “herbal” and “all-natural”), I wonder when I will ever really get over this fear of food. The thought of it seems far-fetched.
I was not always the uptight and serious person a lot of my college acquaintances make me out to be, constantly yelling out things like “you need to work less” or “you need to get out more.”
In fact, behind this tough exterior is a simple, corny girl, chock-full of dad jokes, desperate to reestablish connections and make up for lost time.
I cannot keep blaming things on others’ criticism, much less victimizing myself. Yes, being bullied as the outgoing, confident, fat girl that I was in grade school contributed to my eating disorder.
But, it was the sh*t that I did to my body that caused the hormonal and emotional imbalances I now have to take medication for. It was I who alienated myself not only from food, but also from those who loved me — those who loved me as the carefree, laugh-at-her-own-silly-jokes girl who loved life and good company.
I have never felt so alone and so estranged than I have this last year, with my obsession with counting calories and my weight preventing me from doing things I used to love. It is an incapacitating struggle.
To all the dear friends I flaked out of dinner and drinks on because of the 500-calorie blueberry muffin that put me way over my daily caloric intake, the same muffin I had skipped out on breakfast for so I could indulge over lunch, I offer my sincerest apologies.
I am sorry that my fear of being out and surrounded by food I used to love has proven to outweigh my great love for you.
I know I will joke about it, calling myself a croissant because I am “so flakey,” but I hope you might understand that my life continues to crumble under the fear of becoming the fat, 160 pounds, size-14 girl I once used to be.
It is an irrational fear, I know, as weight gain does not happen that quickly and, quite frankly, should be my objective. It has caused me not only to lose weight, but also to lose the many friendships I once had with people who were there for me, through thick and thin.
I now find myself alone, counting calories and all the lost moments I could have had making memories to grow old with.
Friend, I am so sorry that in this self-destructive condition I now have, I have dragged you down with me and made you feel unloved and unworthy.
My selfishness has prevented me from being there for you and helping you carry the burdens you might be crushed under as well. It breaks my heart to think that food — what often brings people together — is what has torn my life apart. (#firstworldproblems)
Maybe one day, I will grow out of it. Maybe the next self-love book I pick up will finally have the answer.
But, right now, I still feel as if I am drowning under the waves that keep crashing down on me, roaring, “you are not good enough.” That I will never be thin enough to deserve the love and attention I have desperately been seeking.
But, until then, I am wholeheartedly sorry I was not there when you were drowning as well and needed me to throw the rope.
As I continue to kick and push myself to the surface and fight the currents pushing against me, I hope to find the ropes you once left out for me still there. Until then.
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Mara Diego, 21, is an undergraduate scholar at the University of Notre Dame in the United States. She is pursuing a track in economics and education, schooling and society, and about to enter her junior year of college in an exchange program with the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
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