circa 2008

Photo source: rosaley.tumblr.com

Let me tell you a little something about weight loss struggles, more specifically my story.

For as long as I can remember I’ve always struggled with myself or rather, my perceptions of myself. Sure, at some point I can just always blame the media and marketing strategies for brainwashing me into believing their cock-and-bull story about how I should be presenting myself. You know this, it’s that part of life that almost every teenager experiences and most parents pay little attention to (or at least until everything becomes painfully obvious, that is). But the thing is, I’ve been through that phase and I thought I am through with that phase because I’m actually old enough to know better now.

Yet here I am, still ensnared by the bright lights of the media and the tempting promises of marketing. But I shouldn’t be anymore, right? I’m twenty years old, for crying out loud. I know that I know better. I actually know what the media is doing and how the marketeers are doing it. I’m feeling ten thousand times much worse at the moment because I am so painfully aware that I can actually choose not to believe their lies and yet I go down that path where I try to remain blissfully ignorant of the truth as long as I can.

I remember how it all started for me. I was in second year high school and I had just become aware of my body. It was a terrifying experience, truth be told. I had so many questions. Different thoughts bombard me every single day. I didn’t know who to turn to so I sought the most convenient source of information I had –the media. Oh yes I know I should probably rue the day I made that decision, but I don’t want to. That day was a turning point for me because it was an epiphany, albeit a terrible one but it was still an epiphany and it will pave the road to more (and yes, better ones). My perceptions of myself completely changed after that day. I (thought that I) was inadequate, that what I am is never enough and I had to change myself (to fit into “their” expectations) in order to feel happy. Truthfully, that’s all we ever want at the end of the day right? We just to feel good about ourselves, to go to bed with a smile on our face, to wake up everyday feeling content with what we see in the mirror. The thing is, that’s the last thing on the media’s mind. We can’t start thinking like that or else the culture of consumerism they so strongly cultivated would be for nought. So my sixteen-year old self was bombarded daily, by the hour, by the minute, with images, videos, testimonials, TVCs, beauty magazines, news articles, even my own friends planting the idea that I am not enough. All it took was just one successful thought and I did everything else by myself. I was the cause of my own undoing.

For the next couple of years, I was obsessed. My weight was fluctuating every year. I kept on exercising even if I had to cry in the middle of a session because my body hurt. I deprived myself of the things I love to eat. It was all or nothing for me and unfortunately, I chose nothing.

There were moments when I would just shake because I was so hungry but instead of reaching for a meal, I’d grab an ice cube instead. I spent two consecutive hours on a workout and every night before I went to bed, I would feel so utterly miserable because I was in pain and I couldn’t move. I became bulimic. My best friend was my toothbrush and my refuge was the bathroom (or more appropriately, the toilet) I was never really diagnosed but I didn’t need a doctor to know what was happening to me and what I was doing to myself. What’s worse was I was absolutely convinced there was nothing wrong with me.

Then there moments when I would feel so happy (or was I?) because I was so thin. I looked forward to going to the bathroom because then I could admire myself in the mirror –you know, with all my bones sticking out. I relished the feeling when I could touch my collarbones and hipbones because I was nothing but flesh and bones.

Then all hell would break loose because I couldn’t take the starvation and the pain anymore. I’d eat my guts out and then some. I’d eat anything and everything that I craved and deprived myself of. It was a horrible thing to watch but when you’re the one experiencing it, every horrible moment is just so easily justifiable that you can never really stop.

I was a mess wreck. Then when I graduated high school, I thought that that was the end for my struggles. I was a university student now and all that was just high school drama. But it turns out being eighteen (an adult, really) didn’t do much for all that pyscho-bullshit I’ve managed to carve (quite deep) onto my subconscious. The glitters and promises of a university life quickly faded and were soon buried. I looked at myself and once again the thought emerged, “I am not enough.” And so, the cycle repeats itself.

But I know now. I know what I’m doing and that I might actually be killing myself (or speeding up the process) because of all of it. I’ve been hospitalized before because I didn’t eat enough (I managed to develop iron-deficiency but it was nothing a few pills couldn’t handle) but the biggest scare of my life (so far) was when one of my friends told me I looked sick… like-you’re-gonna-fall-down-anytime kind of sick. All the complements I received about how thin I was already and how much weight I lost were forgotten. It was the first time somebody told me that and it scared me because I knew it to be true. Up to now, I don’t know why I was so affected by that single word. It wasn’t a complex word, was it? It’s just four letters! But I guess it was the simplicity in that word that affected me so much.

And so, I let go of myself again. I stopped caring about what other people think or what they might say. I ate to my heart’s content because the food was delicious and I wanted to appreciate it. I was happy, genuinely so. (Another epiphany here, thankfully a good one this time.)

But now, it’s summer again and my timeline, newsfeed, and dashboard are filled with the usual cock-and-bull story we all know. And you’d think I’d get used to it by now, that it’ll be a miracle if I get affected by all this shit somehow. BUT I AM. I am withdrawing into myself and I am spending my time lost in my own thoughts (about different things really… well mostly about how hungry I am).

I thought my story was over. I guess not? I don’t know how this thing will end, or if it ever will, but I am trying. I am trying so hard not to fall back into my old ways. But old habits are so easy to fall back into that it’s taking all my willpower and then some just to stop history from repeating itself.

 

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