I remember the day I took the picture on the left very clearly. I was beginning recovery, and had just eaten Special K cereal without measuring it first. I was mortified by what I’d done. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d eaten something without knowing the exact number of calories in it, and was pretty sure I’d gained weight from doing so.
I spent most nights either binging and purging or pressing my fingers to my neck, counting my heart beat and feeling for my collar bones. Food was all I could think about, ever.
I could barely leave my room.
I have never done anything harder than recovery. There isn’t a good way to explain the hours spent in treatment centers and hospitals, crying because you are being forced to eat foods that terrify you. Crying because you have gained a pound. Having an anxiety attack every night on the way home from treatment, all because of dinner. Feeling scared to walk across campus because of all the weight you’ve gained. Wanting to scream to the world that you didn’t mean to get so fat. Wanting to apologize for your existence. Wanting everyday to go back to the illness that was destroying you.
But then, one day, months or years later, you notice the misery is fading. You notice that you spend more time thinking about your dreams than your weight.
This passed week I traveled to a new city. I ate froyo with candy on top four days in a row. I went to brunch with my best friends and ordered pancakes, eggs, and bacon instead of the egg whites. I stayed out late dancing until 3 am,a ate a slice of pizza on the way home from a bar. I ordered a cheeseburger at lunch and ate the whole thing, including the sweet potato fries. I had chocolate chip cookies, tacos, and noodles. I went to tea and spread cream across my scone happily. I did not know the calories in anything I was eating and I honestly didn’t care.
I was able to travel to a new city and truly enjoy myself.
I was everything the girl on the left dreamed about but was too scared to be.
I was alive, and it made everything I’ve gone through feel worth it.