I did not ask for this body, I do not want it.
When I look in the mirror I feel a powerful cognitive dissonance. I have to be – I must be looking at something other than myself.
People say it is just a body, but it isn’t. It is the only physical representation of my entire self. It is the one – the only – thing tying me to this earth, which is not a place I often want to be.
If I can scrape the fat off my bones, then I can disappear, sink right through the cracks, and fade into the woodwork of life. Sometimes I fantasize about melting, or burning, or dissolving.
I cannot offer any deep insights into my body or my mind. I don’t know why I hate the feeling of food in my stomach. Why the only times I eat are when I’m in full binging mode.
I would like to offer up some counterpoints to the common myths surrounding eating disorders: I do not want to be beautiful. I do not want to look good in a bikini. I do not want boys to look at me.
In fact, I would prefer that nobody looks at me. I have come to the conclusion I’m almost certainly asexual, which I can’t pretend doesn’t influence my isolation from the “sexual” aspects of this – of my body.
I did not ask for this body, and no matter what I do, I cannot shrink my body, force it into a prepubescent frame, where I am free of the long fingers of sex and of the realities of growing up.
It’s not for lack of trying.
Dear Shrink That I Don’t Have:
I’ve been spending a lot of time on the interwebs lately. I don’t know if that’s a good thing. I’ve been learning a lot about Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Anorexia. Mostly via YouTube videos. Do you know how many people suffer from those? Seemingly quite a few. But I don’t.
I mean, in seventh grade I began eating as little as possible to get by. I was already active, so I didn’t exercise as obsessively as some do. I kept this up until I moved in with my dad at 16. Even then it was only a little better.
My mom came to visit once and said I was filling out and looked nice. All I heard was ‘filling out.’
That was a setback.
I dated an asshole, the things he did to make me hate myself are too many for this letter. Another setback.
Then, slowly, I started being able to eat more than salad in front of others. I met my current boyfriend and my eating habit progressed further.
Except now I’m 135 lbs. Do you know what 135lbs is? It’s AVERAGE for a woman of 5’6”. For some reason my brain keeps changing ‘Average,’ in my head into ‘Fucking Fat Cow.’
People tell me I’m beautiful, but I can’t hear them, because I’m too busy seeing all the things I hate about myself. I’m 22, are 22 year old supposed to have cellulite there? I’m pretty sure that’s cellulite. Why is my skin shitty? Oh because I eat sugar. God, my face is too round, why is it so round? Remember when you used to have ABS there? You shouldn’t ever have a child… you’re going to balloon up and it’s going to be hideous. Plus, what child would want to be raised by someone like you? Why can’t you just STOP EATING ALREADY?
The thing is that I’m slip-slip sliding back to a place that I used to be. A place my boyfriend doesn’t even know exists. It’s a deep, dark, scary place.
But you see, dear shrink, I don’t have a problem. Because the doctor I went to for my many health problems between the ages of 12 and 16 told me I needed to make time to eat, but never saw that maybe my not eating was a deeper problem. (Seriously, woman… since when is a middle-schooler or even early high-schooler TOO BUSY TO EAT, ARE YOU DENSE?)
Both of the therapists I went to when I was 19, told me that I was of sound mind, despite the fact that my boyfriend talked me into going because he didn’t know how to deal with my depression. I didn’t have any problems…maybe I should try some breathing exercises. (Gee, thanks…because my much cheaper yoga class couldn’t have taught me that.)
Is there something about me that causes those in the medical field to disregard me as healthy in every way? I don’t feel healthy in every way. The fact that I feel like I have problem should indicate a problem even if no real problem exists. But no, they always send me on my way with dismissive looks and half-hearted advice.
So I don’t get “help,” I let my friends and family think I’m just crazy and I bury the worst of it. I deal with the accusations of being irrational. I deal with people getting mad at me because I’m ‘not happy with my body’ and I wait for the upswing. I watch videos on YouTube by people with Anorexia and with BDD and secretly I’m a little jealous. They’re DIAGNOSED, they have problems. They’re not just that whiny chick who isn’t smart enough to be happy with herself.
Because as far as the world knows, I have no problems…I’m just irrational.
So thanks, Shrink That I Don’t Have… I’m so glad that we’re on the same page here.
P.S. Too bad I can’t afford to visit you either. I’m bummed that I’m missing out on our quality time together.