I’m 41 yrs old and I am still waiting for the day when I will see myself in a mirror and be happy with who I see. For 30 years easily I have obsessed almost everyday over my body, its weight and whether or not I am good enough. As I write this I can see how stupid I am to believe that my body equals my value. But this is where the disorder comes in.
To have had an eating disorder is not like a cold that goes away, it’s like a backpack of bad thoughts that get heavier and sometimes lighter as days go on. I couldn’t tell you why it all started for me, I don’t believe it was because of a celebrity or like today, an influencer. I think it was my life journey, I could control this body, this was mine.
When I was a teenager I used to wait until everyone left the table and put the food back, eat chewing gum for lunch and over exercise. To this day I still fall into binging, followed by guilt followed by over exercising that turns into an obsession that forces me to step away from exercising that then turns into guilt for not moving enough which in turn makes me eat less, it is a never ending massive vicious circle.
This particular week, as I write this, I have had one meal a day with a lot of coffee for the past 4 days, and I feel a small grain of pride, even though I know full well that this is not the way to lose weight in a healthy way. This is so stupid, and sad, AND damaging. And a waste of precious time. And more so when I know I wasn’t any happier at 48KG’s than I’m now at +80KG’s.
Now being an adult and knowing what I’m doing and what that in turn does to me, I feel so sad that so many years have been and still are wasted on obsessing over this body that so wonderfully has carried me through all of the hardship life has thrown at me. And that I don’t look like this from negligence but from fight and survival. I am sad that I hold my stomach in every time there’s a mirror, a shop window, a dinner with friends. I am sad that I hide my stomach in photos, that I feel the need to look a certain way as if there ever was just one beauty. I am sad that food for me is a constant “ if I eat that then I have to refrain from that”.
In this day and age with headlines and photoshopped images it makes it even harder to love what I see in the mirror, and on top this strangers feel that they have a place to comment on mine or anyone’s appearance and body as if it was ever welcomed. In the past 2 months, I have been asked if I’m expecting, if I want a seat, how far along I am and my very favourite, a woman working for the TFL felt it fitting to shout out on the platform like a town crier “give way for the pregnant woman, please everyone give a seat to this pregnant woman”. I swear I have never been more mortified in my life.
But, I also in that moment somehow managed to decide that I would no longer allow comments like that to touch me. They don’t know my journey or what that comment could lead to. And most of all they don’t know me at all.
As a stylist and a lover of fashion and clothes what does make it hard to not feel like I should be much skinnier is that so many shops carrying such amazing clothes, don’t fit me anymore. I make it sound like I’m a size XXL right?
I don’t feel like I am but we are still in this place where clothes aren’t made of everybody. I don’t want to mention any shop names but there’s this particular Spanish High Street brand, stunning pieces BUT I will if I’m lucky fit into their XXL, but then if I go to a Scandinavian High Street brand I am everything from a Small to a size 16?!?
So on top of the daily headlines talking about “taught midriffs” and “envious curves”, which btw does not mean curves, it means a slim waist and a Brazilian butt lift, you are now pretty much shunned from being allowed to enjoy the style that you love unless you are a size 6-10 or a Small to a Medium. I mean think about it, the representation on these shops websites are perfectly skinny people, and when there have a range for “plus size” you have maybe 10 items out of a hundred.
I could go on forever, and I will probably still fight my disorder demon for years to come, but I have noticed moments where I haven’t looked away from a mirror. I have noticed that I understand how little others think about my body. And I have also understood that others see me with their eyes and they don’t look at me with the same judging eyes that I do. I am forever grateful to those who love me, all of me and for me when I don’t. I am enough and one of these days my reflection in that mirror will agree with celebration.