It was a few months before my 15th birthday when it all started… I clearly remember wondering if there was something wrong with the mirror. I stood there staring at myself and the longer I stared, the more flaws I see – double chin, belly fat, flabby arms, thunder thighs… to me, I look like the female version of the Pillsbury doughboy. Since then, I became obsessed with my weight. I would weigh myself at least twice a day and the more the number goes down, the more I feel good about myself. On days where my weight shoots high, I am convinced that I am nothing but a complete failure.
Then there are the lies… I would do anything just to avoid eating, “I’m not hungry”, “I’m not feeling good”, “I ate on my way home”, “I’ll eat a little bit later”. Of course I knew that doing that everyday would be too suspicious so from time to time I would sit down and eat with my family and to make up for it, I would work out excessively. Meals are a torture. The sight of food makes me sick to my stomach. Swallowing it? Even worse. It’s like swallowing nails and shards of glass.
Rewinding to a year before. My parents were busy people and during that dark time, I wasn’t on speaking terms with my mom. If you have read the book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother“, that’s what my mom was like. I have always thought that she was hard on me than on my brother and sisters. I grew up to be a perfectionist because I knew that my mom would not accept second best. She made me do everything from art, dance, music, sports while expecting me to be on top of my game with academics. Finally I have had enough, I mustered up every ounce of courage I got to let everything go and be who I want to be. That broke her heart and we drifted apart. She wouldn’t speak to me. It was like I didn’t exist in her world. I thought I would be happy, but it made me feel like I was worth nothing. I crumbled slowly.
3 years on to my struggles with self-image and self-worth, I was 18, a miracle happened – my mom reached out to me and we sat down and talked. It was hard acknowledging the fact that I am “troubled”. I kept telling her that I’m just a little burnt out and that I’ll be fine. From then on, she kept a close eye on me. She would do anything to convince me to eat. She cried… a lot.
One morning, I woke up and went to the bathroom. There was a note posted on the mirror “너무 예뻐. 사랑, 엄마” but what got to me was the note taped on my weighing scale, it says “This is not what you are worth”. I broke down and I finally acknowledged that I needed help. My mom and I went to my doctor who then recommended that I seek help from a therapist and my recovery started from there.
Recovering wasn’t easy. It was an endless battle. Up until now, there would be times when that “feeling” attacks me from behind, making me slip up once in while. Dealing with relapse is tough but I am fortunate to have loved ones who support me and are always there for me through good times and bad. They are NOT giving up on me… so why should I?
Anorexia Nervosa and other eating disorders are no joke – it is fatal. The first step to recovery is acknowledging that you are suffering from it. NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) offers a free online screening. On their official website, you will also have access to various resources like treatment information, support systems, education kits, etc. If you are not suffering from an eating disorder but knows someone who might be – reach out to them. You might be that person who could save them.
Weight is just a number and just like in the note that my mom posted, the note that saved me… let me remind you that your weight is not what you are worth. I have always loved this quote from Wintergirls – “I am beginning to measure myself in strength, not pounds. Sometimes in smiles.”
Falbala Fairey posted a photo not too long ago which made me want to share my story. This was a tough decision but I hope that through this I would be able to help out. A flickr group was made for it but it was shut down due to the numerous negative comments/reactions it received. In an attempt to raise awareness in Second Life, I made a new flickr group, [Second Life] Eating Disorder Awareness and Facebook group. which will be actively moderated. Be sure to read the simple rules before submitting your photos. The group is made not only to raise awareness but also a support system to those suffering or know someone suffering from an eating disorder, undergoing recovery, recovered, and curious minds. Please keep it positive! ❤
hair: !lamb – The Big Doll House
skin: Essences – Cho
feet: Slink – Mesh feet
lingerie: The Sea Hole – Catalina
magazines, scale, mirror: Dutchie
poses: Exposeur – Heart Broken