The body is a chamber to the most beautiful soul it could dream of carrying, so it must be cherished and preserved, loved and cared for… but I failed to do so myself, my body wasn’t a temple to me, but a gory land of hatred.
I never really knew the meaning of hatred until I was 12, but like all the other children, I indeed used the word on a daily basis because it was cool lingo back then. But like all things good, there are darker shades to life, images and voices that stay in the head, echoing in the quietest nights. This is the hate story of my body and me.
Let me be honest, I was a very chubby baby and the baby fat never really wore off. People found it cute for a very long time, but suddenly the world used the word ‘fat’ and it hurt. But I took it lightly whenever I could. I joined a dance class in hopes I could meet society’s standards and somehow that failed too.
I tried my best to not let their words get to me, I made my skin thick and heart bulletproof, but that didn’t last for long. I had forgotten to cover my traitorous ears. I heard every word, I felt ashamed and unaccepted by the people around me. I tried controlling my food, I tried working out and they didn’t notice anything and that got to me.
Summers and winters went by, so did the years and my mind was racing at the possibility of being ‘hated’ for being the weight I was, just like how I had fondly started hating my body.
I was already suffering from social anxiety and depression, but this pressure of a prim and perfect figure only intensified them, it induced insecurity and I was falling apart quickly. It felt like every person who looked at me wanted to make fun of me or every person laughing in the room was laughing at me.
Every time I saw food, I felt sick to my stomach, all I wanted to do was throw up… so that’s what I started doing. Although initially, I was following a beautifully constructed diet plan and found good enough results, I knew it was not enough… People who told me I was ‘fat’ started telling me whatever I was doing was working and I looked ‘amazing’. I wanted that validation, I wanted to hold on to that, I wanted for people to keep telling me, for them to make up for every time they made me feel insecure.
Although I kept dieting, the voice in my head told me I should start rejecting food, maybe if I ate smaller portions I could see faster results (My portions weren’t that big, I was eating about 4-5 tablespoons of whatever food I made).
I switched to smaller portions and liquids, the constant feeling of hunger and bile rising in my throat kept hitting me badly, but I kept going. Knowing that my family would force me to eat more I started eating alone so that nobody will know the amount of food I was consuming.
What happens when that works too and I need a new way? Rejecting food from my system entirely was what my mind thought of. I started eating more, I think you could call it binge eating, and when I had enough I would go to the bathroom and force the food out. The first couple of weeks I felt tired and detached, my head felt light and my footing wasn’t strong enough, my fingers were nimble and I didn’t have enough strength to hold anything, but I got used to it. I saw how tired my face looked, but at least I was shedding a few pounds…
Eating disorder or rather Bulimia was making its presence known. I knew this, I knew of what would happen if I kept going, but I couldn’t stop because I was obsessed with becoming perfect.
Between listening to opinions and letting it get to me, I forgot I was human, I forgot perfection was only a myth. I didn’t know I was assaulting myself and taking my body for granted.
I was mentally disturbed, physically I abused myself by carving sharp cuts on my thighs, right on top of prominent stretch marks that made me feel imperfect. I felt like I was unstoppable and like I could get away with what I was doing to myself.
But I got caught, not by a person, but by the pandemic. In the month of September 2020, my sister and I tested positive for COVID-19. We were quarantined together in the same room and food was delivered at frequent intervals. We HAD to eat every last bite of food, I was suffering and depression was getting to me and I was extremely anxious about gaining all the pounds I lost. I knew for a fact that I wouldn’t be able to purge that food, I knew I’d be caught if I didn’t keep it in…. so I ate and kept it in my stomach.
Every second I felt myself bloating, I felt like I wanted to run outside and empty the contents in my body. It felt like my hands were tied, I felt so powerless, but most of all I felt ‘fat’.
Post-Covid, I was accustomed to keeping food in my body, but the moment I realised I was free to get rid of the food and lose weight, my body involuntarily started rejecting food. I couldn’t contain myself even if I wanted to and that scared me. Things weren’t in my control anymore.
That time around I remembered signing up as a trained therapist on an online portal. How ironic isn’t it? A person trained to give advice was unable to control her own thoughts… that made me feel so small.
I was talking to one of my clients and had to stop the session because they were talking about the eating disorder and wanting validation. Their story was messing with my mind further and I needed to do something before I would be a lost cause.
So I spoke to one of my colleges anonymously. I’m extremely thankful for them because they made me see what I hadn’t.
‘Perfect’ was a standard that can never be achieved, it’s only something that we assume it to be. Who really knows what perfection is? I don’t, you don’t and society definitely doesn’t. They made me see the importance of staying positive and calm.
I still struggle from anxiety and depression on a timely basis, but the way I deal with it has become a strength. Instead of crying about it or locking myself up and making my soul feel so helpless, I release my emotions in the form of poetry and articles.
A creative outlet is the best way to feel less lonely and accepted. Today, as I’m typing this I still feel sick to my stomach thinking about the things I did to my body, I regret every single thing because now I understand that whatever your size, it’s enough if you know you’re healthy. You don’t need any other’s validation, look into the mirror and smile, you’ll get validation from your own reflection.
As for how I stopped my body from rejecting food, I meditated. Meditation let my body listen to my will and I willed not to purge, I willed to stay healthy. However tempting purging and losing weight that way might feel, I’ve learned to keep those feelings at bay.
For all of you out there who struggle from Bulimia, depression, anxiety and other mental health problems, you’ll be surprised by how listening to YOURSELF can positively impact your life.
The world will keep imposing its views on you, but what do you really think? What do you really want?
In my case, I wanted control over my thoughts, over my life and I have achieved it to an extent. There’s still so much left to do and I’m willing to go all those extra miles.