I wish for a world in which every child can grow up in an environment where they are loved and love themselves for their beautiful souls rather than how they look. Undoubtedly, I wish in vain, as every indication seems to be making this possibility rarer as children younger and younger are starting to struggle with their looks and do whatever it takes to be skinnier, prettier … perfect. As if perfect were an attainable goal.
I was that child, that teenager, that young adult. Striving for perfection, failing, blaming, and suffering. Giving everything I was, everything I loved to fit an ideal that others told me was perfect. I pushed everyone away: family, friends, boyfriends to allow myself to get closer to the disease that was crippling me, inside out.
There is no way to express the pain, the anguish of not feeling at home in your body. Of feeling that you would do anything to change it, even risk dying to have one whole day where you do not feel trapped in something that is constantly failing you. Of feeling both complimented and horrified when someone tells you how well-defined your hips are and you want to tell them it’s because your bones are jutting out.
Nor is it easy to suffer the constant barrage of thoughts in your mind; the thoughts that tell you that you will never be good enough, pretty enough, valuable enough unless you follow its advice. To not be able to concentrate on conversations because your mind is too busy ruminating on what you have eaten, when you will exercise, and how much you weigh.
In the end, I did choose life; I did choose recovery. My love of learning was great enough that the threat of being pulled from university caused me to question how anorexia would ever help me to achieve any of my goals. And it didn’t, and it wouldn’t, and I would not be here now if it weren’t through the support and guidance of some of the most incredible people I have ever met.
But, this experience has given me a passion, a purpose that I would not have been aware of otherwise. I am going to dedicate my life to helping others find the path home, away from the self-destruction and to prevent others from having to suffer in the first place. We do not know where we will find our calling, but mine came to me in the darkest nadir of my life and I am grateful to have this purpose.
I will stand up and speak for those who cannot, fight for those who are struggling, and hope for those who are lost. I wish for us all to find a home in our bodies and to embrace that home with loving kindness. Until that is achieved, my work will not be done. And I will never stop, never rest until I can fulfill that wish.