To My First Love, My Eating Disorder: It Is Over
High school sweet hearts. Intimate relationships. Loyal companionship. Unending trust. Unquestionable reliability. All things I’ve always aspired to but have seemed so distant and unfathomable.
The reality is I’ve all had of these things. I’ve had all of the things every girl dreams of my entire life, without even being aware. I’ve had you, my first love. The most intimate relationship I have ever had, however, was so self-destructive. I’ve become so close to you and everything you’ve brought me. Leaving you behind is like killing the part of me that taught me how to survive.
You promised me everything. You promised me love. You promised me success. You promised me acceptance. You promised me validation. You promised me admiration. You promised me beauty. You promised me compassion. You promised me prosperity. You promised me all of these things before I could even tie my own shoes.
You took away the voice of an innocent little girl before she could have her own. The endless promises seemingly would have brought me the life I always desired. Instead, you brought me sleepless nights and constant calculations. You brought me constant worry and self-hate. You brought me misery and pain. You brought me countless mirrors and reflections to fear and f***ing hate. You’d take away with one hand, what you’d give me with the other. Yet, somehow turning away from you is still the most difficult decision of my life. I’ve tried to run from you before. Every time you’d chase me. I let you in because I was fragile and vulnerable. I was never ready to shut you out.
You taught me from a young age to surround myself with people who made me feel the way you do about me. This grew into teaching me to strive for and crave destructive relationships. You taught me love was only found in dark places, in the form of abuse, judgment, shame and guilt. You never allowed me a voice to speak up when enough was enough. Once I had finally met a man who treated me with the love and compassion I now know I deserve, you had me push him away, breaking his heart and my own, because I was never worthy or deserving of anything he had to offer me.
You told me a number on a scale would make or break my worth. You allowed the greatness of my day to be dictated by that number. You told me I should judge everyone around me, including those closest to me. You allowed me to become the most self-centered person I’ve ever met by helping me build my own little world, where nothing else mattered more than killing myself to survive.
You praised yourself by robbing me of simple things in life that brought me happiness. From eating lunch in the cafeteria with my friends, riddling me with so much anxiety and fear of judgment, to eating alone in a bathroom stall. Nights out on the town with friends quickly became nights out on the bathroom alone, by myself. However, the outcome was eerily similar. Passing out at the toilet bowl, smashing my face on the wall, from engaging in such strong behavior. Waking up in situations most people would only encounter after a long night of drinking and partying. Passed out, covered in my own vomit with a nosebleed, unsure of where I even was.
My days were no longer timed by events, important appointments or things I had to do, instead they were timed by hour counting, trying to fit in the things I could before it was time for my body to release the rest of what I kept inside. When it was time for the disgusting amount of laxatives you fed me from morning until night, like f***ing candy, to do their job. You took the joy away from kissing the man I loved, by making my mouth a warm, welcoming home to canker sore upon canker sore. I couldn’t stand his hands touching my fat, at all. The terrifying thought of his eyes being laid on my bare body, a sight I couldn’t even handle myself. He never earned the cuddles or kisses the poor man deserved, all because of your f***ing selfishness, the latch you had tied onto me, holding me hostage no matter how many times I begged to be let free.
You robbed me of enjoyment in my career. You denied me an education, making it unbearable to be in any space without worrying if my shirt was sitting the wrong way, not tucked in properly here, not ruffled there, my tights not scrunched here or not meeting the top of my shoes there. You made me fear, if not, people would be staring at me, thinking I’m fat. My math skills have improved because of the number of calculations running in my mind about food. I am ready to forget the obsessive counting of how many times I have to change my clothes before it becomes acceptable or somewhere close to comfortable for me to leave the house. Let’s not forget the overwhelming anxiety being in any given room with the presence of anyone else eating a single piece of food.
We’ve come to a point where we’re no longer giving each other what we want or what we need. I am walking away and I am not listening. You keep screaming louder and louder. You’ve created a war inside of my head. Sometimes I think I could forgive you for the things you’ve done to me because my whole life I’ve thought you helped me. Now, I see you did nothing but keep me from living. Instead, you taught me just how to survive.
You’ve put me $4,000 in debt, by constantly obeying your consistent binge, supplementing, lax abusing orders, whatever it was you felt I needed. Your constant companionship left me nothing but empty and hollow inside. You’ve created a person of me, a monster rather, I was never meant to be. Secretive, destructive, dishonest and unaware of my own values, with life-long health problems on top.
I know you don’t believe me and think you will wean your way back into my life. Trust me, when I say: I’m ready. Inside of me, there’s a girl who is screaming to be heard, to be let free. I’m finally going to give her the chance you never did. She will stand tall, and trust what is to come is a life she deserves. She will create a world of self-love and compassion, face it with optimism and enthusiasm.
So this is it. It is over. C’est fini. E’ finita. Sayonara. Goodbye. Au Revoir. Adios. Whatever I can come up with to finally say, fare f***ing well. Do not call. Do not write. Do not worry about keeping in touch. Do not text me for a booty call at 1 a.m., on a lonely Saturday night. Don’t face me when I look at myself in the mirror. Don’t tag me in your Instagram posts attempting to make me nostalgic. This time it’s you who’s wrong, not me. For once, I am going to have a life and embrace what it is to live. I will no longer be surviving.
This post originally appeared on Kinleigh’s blog loudhouseofself.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.