This was me. A very young me. It must've been taken the summer of '01 during my family vacation in Panama City Beach, FL. This was during the time when I was so obsessed with being thin. You see the picture...me with a slice of pizza? I'm pretty sure I felt so guilty eating that pizza later, to the point that that would be the only food I'd allow myself to eat for the rest of the day. This is the bitter truth: 10 million women and 1 million men in the United States alone have an eating disorder. During school I would drink waters or diet sodas, skip breakfast, and eat a small serving of fries for lunch. By the time I would get out of school I would have no energy and would still feel the need to run off the calories I'd consumed in my small lunch. I loved food, but felt like it was my enemy. I can remember when it started...my anorexia. It began in middle school, eighth grade. I stopped paying for lunches. I'd sit at the lunch table while others were eating, without a tray. I felt like I wasn't beautiful. I felt like being thin would make me feel beautiful and would allow me to fit in with the rest. All the comments anybody ever said about my weight throughout my childhood would rest in my ears, forever reminding me that my body was imperfect, ugly, driving me to eat less and less. I hated that I couldn't be naturally thin like the other girls at school. So I decided to make myself thin.
By my ninth grade year I had shed some pounds and by tenth grade year I had an even slimmer figure and people began to notice. People would give comments of approval, which just added fuel to the flame and made me want skinniness even more. The judgement of my thinness came in the form of a bone test. Could I feel my spine when I bent over? Could I feel my pelvic bones protruding while standing? Could I see my collar bone? If I answered yes to these questions, then I knew I was skinny and it felt good. And that meant I had succeeded. I had made it. With fewer and fewer calories being consumed I could feel my body changing for the good and bad. I was thinner, but I was also having problems with my body. I would often black out and have to stand still so I wouldn't fall over. I would get terrible headaches that wouldn't go away. I developed acid reflux and my menstrual cycle was merely inexistent. All these problems caused from an obsession with being thin. I believe it was when I was down to a size 0-2 that I was sooooo happy with myself. I had fit in to a pair of GAP jeans that was a 0-2! If any of you reading this know me now, you know for sure that my booty is NOOOOOT gonna fit into jeans that small. No way. Never again. But that's the point the disease got to. With every size smaller I could fit and with every bone I could feel protruding, I was happier and happier. I wouldn't be happy until I was a stick with clothes falling off of me.
In the summer of '02 I met Andrew at a local church my mom had decided to start attending. We hit it off soon after we met and soon after that I developed a relationship with God. And then...I didn't care so much about my food obsession, because (I believe) God had filled that with His love instead. And to this day, there are times I'll get down about my weight or the roll that feels larger in my middle, but I know I'm still beautiful. It's just something God showed me. That I'm beautiful to Him and I am worth so much more than destroying myself. I also developed a healthier relationship with food. I learned what was good to eat and what wasn't. I learned how to stay healthy and eat foods that would keep me that way. So I can workout and eat healthy and have a piece of cake when the time comes.
Eating disorders are so rampant in the lives of young people and it saddens my heart so to see young women going through it. I have a youngster friend that I love so dearly who had struggled with anorexia for a few years, and who was at the worst about a year ago. She was at death's doorstep. The doctors said she didn't have a week if she wouldn't eat. Now, it's a year later and she is much healthier, but still struggles with her image. It bothered me because she had a breakdown when I told her she'd have to get a bathing suit to wear to the YMCA pool. I told her I'd take her myself to help her look for one. She cried...she didn't want to. It was in that moment that I saw how the Enemy can distort a person's view to the point of near suicide. It made me so sad to think that a young beautiful lady could think herself so ugly...to starvation...to death. And it amazes me how God can change that. How God says we are beautiful and lovely simply because we are H-I-S. Simply Amazing. So I told this beautiful young girl that it didn't matter what anybody at the pool thought of her, what I thought, or what the world was telling her she should be. I told her that God mattered more, and that He thinks she is beautiful. We would get through this together. I understood where she was coming from.
Then we went and bought a bathing suit and she stayed in it nearly all day and smiled and laughed and I believe she thought she looked lovely.
There are so many people who need Divine Love in their heart. Here's what I know: God can do all things, cure all things, and He will win every time. Sometimes it's fast, sometimes it's slow. To everything there is a process.