I Didn’t Know I Had an Eating Disorder

This picture popped up on my Facebook timeline a few days ago, with a note from Facebook that read: This memory happened four years ago. Share it with your friends!

I thought to myself, “Oh, I’ll share it with my friends all right, but not like this.” So I’m sharing it now, in this form, because there is so much to say about this picture, and I don’t really know where to begin.

I don’t know where to begin, and what I didn’t know then was that I had an eating disorder.

And now I bet you’re wondering how I didn’t know I had an eating disorder.

It’s easy not to know you have something when you know nothing about it, let alone talked about it.

Eating disorders weren’t really disorders as much as they were taboos, the elephant in the room no one talked about. Maybe if we ignore it, it will go away.

Problems don’t usually go away by ignoring them (no matter how long college students ignore their pile of assignments to be done).

Not talking about eating disorders at home is one thing, but not talking about them at school is another and potentially dangerous thing.

Yes, I had the mandatory “unit” on them, but I’m using that term lightly because we spent about five minutes discussing the differences between Anorexia and Bulimia: starving and barfing.

I didn’t think I had an eating disorder because at the time I didn’t describe what I was doing as starving. I was limiting, counting, stressing about the number of calories and the number of pounds. I didn’t think there was anything wrong (which is a classic sign of Anorexia, but they don’t teach you that in school).

I didn’t think anything was wrong until I was in the Emergency room, waiting to be admitted for my appendectomy, and I overheard a conversation my doctor was having on the phone:

I have a 17-year-old anorexic female presenting with appendicitis.

I didn’t think anything was wrong until I heard that one word that hit me like a ton of bricks in the chest, and I wasn’t sure what hurt worse: the weight of that word or the inflamed appendix.

Anorexia.

The shame of being labelled as an Anorexic was enough to keep from talking about it for another year. I didn’t want to be labelled as the “Girl with Anorexia.” People can’t identify you as something if you keep yourself hidden.

School teaches you a lot of useful information: basic math, how to be literate, the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.

It also doesn’t teach you things that could be useful: how to balance a checkbook, how to write a resume and cover letter, how to tell if you have an Eating Disorder

Society talks a lot about the problems occurring today: racial tensions, the Middle East, Drought.

It’s only recently that society has begun to talk about the way media affects adolescents.

I didn’t know I had an eating disorder because I was never taught about how complex they are.

What I was doing didn’t fit the definition given to me, and so I wasn’t anorexic, even though I was.

School didn’t teach me how to deal with my eating disorder, and because I refused to tell anybody for fear of being labelled, I had to deal with it on my own.

School didn’t teach me how complex eating disorders are. Instead, it provided me with simple, one-word definitions that I didn’t even fit.  I didn’t know I had an eating disorder because I didn’t fit the simple definition.

School didn’t teach me about the mental components of eating disorders, just the physical. I didn’t know I had an eating disorder because, for me, it was just as much mental as it was physical.

School didn’t teach me about how hard the recovery process was going to be. It didn’t teach me about how much eating was going to hurt, physically and mentally. It didn’t teach me about how much my self-esteem would be lowered with each bite I took.

School didn’t teach me about how to deal with the effects of this 5-year battle. I can’t skip a meal because habits are hard to break, and the chances of relapsing are higher than I’d like to admit. My hands are cold more often than not. I have permanent dark circles under my eyes, and my eyes seem to be sunk in a little too far in my face. There are stretch marks all over my body from the weight gain during recovery.

These are things I’m coming to terms with. Some days I’m ok; some days, I’m not.

I didn’t know I had an eating disorder because society wasn’t talking about them in the right way.

We’re getting better because now we’re acknowledging the complexities of eating disorders: they overlap, there are many than two kinds, they can affect anybody and everybody: girls, boys, chubby, skinny.

I didn’t know I had an eating disorder. I didn’t know how to talk about my eating disorder. I didn’t know how common they are, how many people I know who had, or still have, one.

But now I do.

And I’m making the most of everything I now know.

For more information on eating disorders, and for help for you or someone you know, visit: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

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Open Letter to Society

I read somewhere once that it takes 21 days to form a habit. I also read somewhere that people who are anorexic believe themselves to be larger than they are, and they will turn their bodies when they go through doorways large enough for them to fit, because despite the vastness of the doorway, they believe they occupy more space than any doorway ever could.

I was anorexic for 4, almost 5, years. I was anorexic for 1825 days, give or take a few. That’s enough time for me to form 86 habits and 9/10ths of another. That’s 60 months of training my body to not need 3 meals a day, training my body to not need very much at all.

It’s taken me longer than 21 days to get in the habit of eating again, because I still don’t feel confident enough in my body to think of eating as a top priority.

And sometimes I still find myself turning my body when I walk through doors. Some habits are harder to break than others.

I stopped cutting myself 41 months ago, and sometimes I think if I day gets bad enough, I could start again.

I was raised in a society that taught girls how to protect themselves from sexual assault, but didn’t teach guys how to not rape. Fat lot of good that did me.

I was raised in a society where beauty is found in Photoshop and good lighting. And even though society’s beginning to change, I think it’s too late for my generation.

It’s too late for those who have already starved themselves to the point of hospitalization. It’s too late for those who have killed themselves because the pressures of society were too much. It’s too late for those who have already created enough scars on their skin to map the constellations in the sky.

But it’s not too late for the next generation. That’s why I’m going to teach my children to be more than pretty. Because pretty is boring. I’m going to teach them to be pretty amazing, pretty funny, pretty inquisitive, pretty respectful.

I’m going to teach them that ‘hate’ has four letters, but so does love. It’s easy to hate, and it’s hard to love. But love makes the world go round.

I’m going to teach them to love the 26 letters that make up this alphabet. Because language is powerful, and sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can also hurt you. Which is why I try my hardest to build others up, because I know what it’s like to be torn down.

I’m going to teach them the importance of equality and mutual respect, and the things you learn in school can have practical importance if you know the places to look.

I’m going to teach them that no matter their past, no matter what they’ve been through, they can do great things with their life. Your past does not define who you are. You are so much more.

And I’m going to teach them the following:

Girls, if a guy hits you, do not hit back. Walk away. Tell yourself that you deserve so much more.

The correct response is not, “Don’t hit me because I’m a girl.” The correct response is, “Don’t hit me because I’m human.” Guys don’t like being hit either.

Guys, if a girl hits you, do not hit back. Walk away. Tell yourself that you deserve so much more.

The correct response is not, “I can’t hit her back because she’s a girl.” The correct response is, “I can’t hit her back because she’s a human.” Do not answer violence with violence.

Girls, if a guy tells you that wearing a dress makes you look more dateable, wear sweatpants every day. Dress up to make yourself feel beautiful. Do not dress up to impress the guys.

Guys, if a girl tells you that they are into guys with six-packs, keep your shirt on. Go to the gym and work out. But do it to make you feel better. Do not do it to impress the ladies.

Girls, do not find a hero in a guy. Be your own hero.

Guys, be a hero for a girl. Do not be perfect.

Girls, do not let a guy kiss you/ touch you/ do anything to you without your consent. It’s not ok.

Guys, do not let a girl kiss you/ touch you/ do anything to you without your consent. It’s not ok.

Girls, do not fall in love with a guy who has the perfect body. Fall in love with a man who is not perfect, but who has a heart filled with the Perfect Man who died for us. Fall in love with a man who respects you, who knows you, who loves you for who you are. Fall in love with a man who isn’t afraid to express his feelings.

Guys, do not fall in love with a supermodel. Fall in love with a woman who is far from it, but who has been made beautiful by the washing with His blood. Fall in love with a woman whose heart is so lost in God’s that you need God to break through. Fall in love with a woman who respects you, who knows you, who loves you for who you are.

Girls, do not for a minute let a guy treat you like trash. Do not let a guy control you. Do not find your value in a guy. Walk away.

Guys, do not for a minute let a girl treat you like trash. Do not let a girl control you. Do not find your value in a girl. Walk away.

I’m going to teach my son that if he likes a girl, he should not pull her ponytail, he should not be mean to her. I will tell him, Honey, if you like a girl, buy her flowers or chocolate or make her a card. Do something, anything that will show her how special she is.”

I’m going to teach my daughter that a guy pulling her ponytail is not ok. I will not tell her he likes her. I will tell her, “Honey, if a guy really truly likes you, he will show you how special you are over and over and over again.”

If someone has a history of being abusive, do not get involved.

If someone has a history of being abused, do not continue that cycle.

If someone is making you uncomfortable, walk away.

If someone is hurting you mentally or physically, walk away.

Do not for a minute believe that the world is better off without you. We all have a purpose. We all have talents, but sometimes we doubt our abilities.

If worse comes to worse, rely on God. You are loved by a God who is far greater than any love you can find on earth.

But most importantly, I’m going to tell them over and over again about the importance of faith. Because there will be days when the size of life’s problems will be too much for their small hands to handle, but they have a God who has hands big enough for all of us.

Clock Tower Ministry

“What time is is?”

“I have no idea.”

“Oh, wait… We’re sitting under a clock tower.”

*facepalm*

This past week was my favorite week of the year: Bible Quizzing Nationals! Every year, this is a week where my faith gets tested, my hatred towards high stress situations becomes apparent, and where friendships are made and strengthened. This year was no exception (I regret to inform you I was unable to watch my youngest sister in her Semi-Finals for Individuals, because of stress. And, had she made it to the Finals, I wouldn’t be able to watch her there either. I rather enjoy not being bald and having finger nails. If not being able to watch her makes me a horrible sister, oh well. Persecute me).

However, my experience this year was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in all my previous years of Quizzing. Last year was my last year being involved as a student in Quizzing, and as such, this year was my first year being a Coach. Being a Coach is a completely different than being a Quizzer, and like in every situation, there are goods and bads.

Bad: I miss jumping.

Good: My knees don’t hurt, and the skin on my elbows is intact.

Bad: I miss knowing things.

Good: I don’t have to study, because studying: Ain’t nobody got time for that!  (Study kids! It’s important!)

Good: I can talkasquickly or as s l o w l y as I want to.

Even better: I can still make my point in 20 seconds or less, so don’t get into an argument with me.

Being a Coach this week afforded me the opportunity to get to know some people. And a lot of the conversations I had took place at this clock tower in the center of my College Campus: 17595_10201556207572955_2020817768_n

The thing about this clock tower is I hated it. I hated it when it was being built, because while it was being built, the shortest route from one end of campus to the other was not able to be used. I hated it after it was built, because I kept running into it. I hated it because even though I’m in College, I have a hard time reading analog clocks.

This week, my perspective changed. Every night, I would sit here, and I would talk to anyone who needed a friend. I would talk to the misfits, the lonely, the ones who were struggling, the ones who were metaphorically lost, the socially awkward, the ones who needed someone to cry with, the ones who needed a hug, the introverts who just needed someone to sit with. Basically, I sat and talked with anyone who reminded me of myself. We all had something in common. It provided healing for me, and I hope it started the healing process in them.

Yesterday, my Dad told me he was proud of my “Clock Tower Ministry.” I mean, he’s supposed to say that, because he’s my Dad, but I’m proud of me too. Because there was a time not too long ago when I would have been the one who needed someone to be at the Clock Tower, and I might not have found anyone there. And I would have been too shy and afraid to ask if I did find someone. But this week, I was the person at the metaphorical Clock Tower. I was the one standing in the Harbor with my light glowing, safely guiding people home. And if this is the only worthwhile thing I ever do in my life, then so be it. Because I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.

 

This week, I was President of the ACFCL (Assistant Coach and Fanclubing League), which let me say, is fantastic! Because this week, I was able to watch a lot of the teams from my Church quiz, and I was able to cheer them on without the pressure of having to be at this place at this time.

And for that, I am thankful.

Because this week, I learned something about myself. I learned that even though I am insecure, even though I am loud and obnoxious in large groups, even though I have been broken in the past, even though I have no idea what I’m doing ever about anything, even though some days I believe I’m worth nothing, even though I am a misfit, I can help others. I can be their listening ear of understanding. I can be there to share their laughs, to listen to their struggles, to sit there in silence when words just aren’t enough, to be their shoulder to cry on, and I can be their Fan Club when all they need is a little encouragement.

And that is why I am thankful for this ministry and this week, because I was surrounded by fantastic teens from all over the country. I am surrounded by teens who are hungry for the word of God, and who are destined to do great things. I am thankful for the people I meet, the people I talked to and got to know, and I am thankful for all the students who stood at the front of the Auditorium and shared how God has worked in their lives. And I am thankful for the people I didn’t meet, the people who attended, and the people who couldn’t.

Because I left this week more fulfilled than I ever did when I won trophies and accolades. This week reinforced the concept that people are what matter.

Accidental Inheritance

In her kitchen, my Grandmother prepares enough food for a small army, which is more than enough food for our 13-person family. She’s not afraid of food, but so many people are.

Sitting in the dining hall, I watch young women count the calories. They say they don’t deprive themselves, but my instinct tells me better. I’ve learned to find hidden meanings in every movement of the fork pushing the food around their plate, in every held back tear as they take one more bite. I wonder if they eat when no one’s around.

I wonder if this is why the world feels so big: it’s proportional. As girls shrink to fit themselves in the box labeled “perfection” by society, the unoccupied space around them increases exponentially. This world seems increasingly vast.

And it’s not that we are scared of food, because our lineages are intermingled with stories of big, strong women who knew how to eat. As humans, we are genetically-bred to love food, but we’re not bred to love ourselves. This world is focused on obesity and malnutrition, plenty and need, excess and want.

And somewhere in our history women were taught they were lesser without a man, and men only wanted women without excess fat.  Somewhere in our lineage, excess women turned into less women: shrinking women made space for men to enter their lives.

I have been taught that everything’s better in moderation, but I’ve learned not to accommodate others if it means devaluing myself. We’ve been taught to have a relationship with food. A love-hate relationship: love the taste, hate the calories.

The world needs more confident women. Women who know that they are beautiful despite being excess, women who know how to exude confidence when they open their mouth, women who know how to mix the words they speak into the food they eat to fill everyone up. Women who don’t begin every sentence with “sorry.”

The previous generation teaches the next generation, and even though genes are inherited, behaviors are replicated, which is why I don’t know how to knit. But I can still feel the silence weaved by the previous generation onto this collective blanket of “Topics Society does not talk about.” This blanket feels heavy as it covers this ever-growing world.

And we unknowingly pick up the habits of society when we deem somebody less because they are excess. And we pick up the crumbs of food dropped by a fugitive stealing food she does not deserve. We are prisoners to society.

I watch these girls as they figure out how many bites they are entitled to, and I’ve learned to mimic them. Because sometimes inheritance is genetic, but sometimes it’s accidental, and while I try so hard to unlearn this learned behavior, a girl more perfect than I walks by. I don’t know whether to hate her or be like her, but I don’t want to do either anymore.

We don’t want to do either anymore, but the burden of society has wrapped us up tight, which is why we don’t know the requirements we need to graduate, but we know how many more calories we can eat.

Because we spend an entire lunch time deciding whether or not we deserve another piece of pizza, a circular obsession we never wanted, but have accidentally inherited.

And all we want to do is not start every sentence with the word “sorry.”

 

see also: https://alltherestisunwritten.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/game-of-comparisons/    AND https://alltherestisunwritten.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/your-body-is-not-your-own/

 

Perfect

Find somebody who’s perfect. NO. Don’t find somebody who’s perfect. Find somebody who’s so imperfect that the Spectrum of Acceptable Levels of Perfect doesn’t even apply.

The problem with being human is we try so hard to be perfect and fail so miserably we might as well be called “Adam and Eve,” because we ate the forbidden fruit and were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, which essentially means perfection because paradise is perfection, or as close as we are going to get. So, we are separated from the One who is Perfect because of our own iniquities, and are so afraid of failing (which coincidentally looks an awful lot like falling) we begin to shave off part of ourselves because we will never measure up to this line defined by perfection—because humans are born with the innate fear of falling.

And this changing who we are to fit the standards that Society defines brings us even farther from perfection. Because if I’m not perfect for society, how can I be perfect to me? And so we reach into our pockets to find any loose coins to throw in the Well of Change and transform who we are. Because if we lost paradise once, we can lose it again, and everybody knows that paradise is conforming to the rules of society so you do not stick out like a sore thumb, like a weed in a garden of roses.

But even roses have thorns. And you don’t know beauty until you’ve been broken, so don’t be afraid to fall and shatter. It’s the regrowth that makes you beautiful. So be a weed in a garden of flowers, because weeds choke out their enemies (ok. Bad metaphor. Because the 6th Commandment is do not kill. So do not choke out your enemies).

A better metaphor would probably be the regrowth of a forest after a devastating fire. Beauty comes from ashes. So do not be afraid to burn up every once in a while. Nobody’s perfect.

The problem with being human is we are so focused on being perfect that we forget about the one who is perfection defined. We are not perfect, but we are made perfect by the washing of his blood, which is good enough for me. Because I’m busy trying to save my body from myself and I don’t have time to worry about being perfect. Because how am I supposed to be perfect when I can’t even get my hair to do what I want?

Somebody so perfect loved people so imperfect that we don’t have to be good enough for society. Because despite all our failures, we still have a place in Paradise.

Be More Than Beautiful

‘So, I let myself believe that I wasn’t beautiful. I let myself believe that I didn’t have the right to feel beautiful. I didn’t have the right to like a guy. I didn’t have the right to do what I wanted to do. I didn’t have the right to be happy, but I also didn’t have the right to be miserable because “somebody always has it worse.” ‘- the Healing Process

Here’s the thing: society makes it so hard to love ourselves. Everywhere we look we are surrounded by attributes that society tells us we need to have in order to be beautiful. Because, as a woman, society tells me that my worth is encompassed in my appearance.

False. I tell you that it is all false.

Over the years, I’ve done a lot of journaling. I have piles of notebooks filled with 3 am thoughts. I have notes on my phone filled with random “throughout the day” thoughts. I have saved drafts on my computer of writings that I might not ever share.

Last night, I found this one: a journal entry from exactly a year ago, a journal entry from a 17 year old me, crying out in frustration.

look, I’m trying here; I’m trying to be ok and to like myself. But it’s hard to be ok when you don’t feel beautiful half the time. And when you do feel beautiful, people are always so willing to extinguish that thought. As soon as I have the tiniest bit of confidence, somebody comes along and crushes it again. That’s the hardest thing of all.

You know what I want more than anything in the world right now? I want to feel beautiful. I want somebody to tell me I’m beautiful; I want that person to mean it.”

I haven’t felt beautiful in years and on the rare occasion that I did, somebody was quick to criticize something about me. What kind of society is that?

What kind of society do we live in that teaches our children that beauty is looking like her or him? (and you all know the ‘her’ and ‘him’ to whom I am referring: The supermodel with perfect skin, perfect, teeth, perfect hair, and who is skinny, or the perfectly toned Abercrombie and Fitch Model with six-pack abs) What kind of society teaches our children that our value is based on what we look like? What kind of society teaches us that are identity is wrapped up in a guy? What kind of society teaches us that if we are raped, we were asking for it?

Answer: the wrong kind.

It’s taken a toll on me and my self-confidence and my sense of self-worth. It’s taken a toll on my friends and people who I come into contact with every day.

I wake up in the morning and don’t want to look in the mirror. She wakes up in the morning and wonders how many meals she should skip today.

You do realize that despite the years of starving herself because she didn’t feel worthy enough; despite the years of wearing a pound and a half of makeup because she has imperfections that run deeper than her skin; despite the years of staying in abusive relationships, because she believed her identity was found in a guy; despite all of this, all she ever wanted was to feel beautiful.

We are worth more than that.

So, Do not tell me I’m not beautiful, as you walk by with your arrogance on display, drawing the wrong kinds of people to you like a pack of dogs.

Do not tell me I’m not beautiful. I’ve listed the ways on my skin as I cut myself open with my own self-hate, and waited to be stitched together by empty words.

Do not tell me I’m not beautiful. The words running through my mind late at night do a fine job of that on their own.

Do not tell me I’m not beautiful. I’ve eaten my reflections so many times, and I’m still hungry.

Do not tell me I’m not beautiful because I’m not you. Beauty isn’t defined as 1,2,3, and it’s most certainly not a 5×5 grid of attributes to have.

Do not tell me I’m not beautiful because I do not fit in the shoe box of what society deems to be beautiful. Who I am cannot be squeezed into a box with the lid forced on, which is stored on a shelf until I’ve conformed with the rules of manufacturing that society creates to make us all identical.

Just don’t tell me.

Instead, tell your friends and children to be more than pretty.

Tell them to be pretty amazing, pretty smart, pretty kind, pretty funny, pretty eager to change the world. A five letter word does not describe them.

A five letter word does not describe you.

Be more than beautiful.

Be the Change You Wish to See

Friday, December 14, 2012, 27 people were killed in a shooting at an Elementary School. 20 of the people killed were children. It breaks my heart to hear about any loss of life, especially when the loss of life is the life of a child. These children had futures as bright as the stars, and now are not given the chance to grow up; they are not given the chance to change the world. These children had all of life to live, all of life to experience, and in an instant, it was all gone.

It is not just about the children that died either; it is also about the children who survived. Those poor kids, who are still babies, should have had years of innocence left before they realized that life can be cruel. These are children who still believed in Santa Claus, magic, and wishing on a star, whose biggest hurts could be fixed with a Band-Aid and a hug. These babies are too young to be experiencing this kind of grief, pain, and heartache.

It is not just about the children either; it is also about the parents. Parents should not have to bury a child because of life lost at the hands of another. Parents should not have to remember Christmas as a time of grief and mourning. Parents should not have to bury a part of their soul. Parents should not have to have these conversations with their children when they ask why their sibling is not coming home.

It is not just about what happened; it is also about how we move on. It is about how we change. This is not the first time this has happened, and it probably will not be the last. Violence has always been a reoccurring theme throughout history, not just in our society but also around the world. Wars and Genocide, Shootings, Murders and Violent Revolts have rocked the world while trying to solve problems.

I do not know enough about society to start making policy. But I do know about right and wrong. I do know about pain and suffering. I do know that the past can influence the future, and I know that the best way to learn is to look at our mistakes and ask ourselves “what can we do better next time?”

As children we are taught that violence is not the answer, but as soon as we reach adulthood it seems to become the answer. We say to other countries, “don’t mess with us because our weapons are better than yours.” We go to war to prevent future violence. The reoccurring theme is that violence leads to violence.

How many more innocent lives are we going to let be lost before we actually do something? Change starts with us. It starts with you and me deciding that enough is enough. Violence is not the answer; it is the problem.

It starts with you and me putting down our hate, weapons, and fists, and picking up our forgiveness, pen, and microphone. It starts with you and me deciding that our words are powerful enough to change the world. Words combined with actions are more powerful than wars will ever be.

Learn a lesson from this.

Learn a lesson from the first thing my parents ever taught me: “Use your words, Kaleigh. People will understand you much better.”

Strength

We all have these stories—these moments in time that make us who we are. You, me, them, all of us fight battles every day; some of them threaten to destroy us. Others try to rewrite us; and still others seem to define us. There are moments in our past that we would like to change; if there isn’t, you haven’t lived enough—you haven’t stepped out of your comfort zone, taken risks, made mistakes, made a fool out of yourself in front of a guy that you like.

We all have these demons that try to tear us down: society, family, friends, schoolmates, ourselves. It doesn’t matter. People tear others down to make themselves feel better. And sometimes, it’s not words that are used; looks or actions can be used—looks of disgust or hatred, pointing and jeering, laughing and whispering, or being ignored. Some people are good at brushing things off.

I am not one of those people.

Is there some confidence gene that I am lacking, or is it because I have been bullied most of my life? I honestly don’t know. Is there something wrong with me, or is there something wrong with society that doesn’t allow me to be comfortable in my own skin? I still don’t know.

All I know is that I am not alone; other people have these feelings, too.

And I wish I knew how to help these people. I wish I knew what to say to these people to make them like themselves. But, I don’t; because I can’t even love myself. Sure, there are days when I feel confident, beautiful, and strong. Then someone prettier walks by; someone who has confidence radiating from their soul; someone who is more liked than I, and I lose all confidence I had. There are days when I feel great, and it can be ruined with a look. Better yet, I can make myself look like a fool because I say or do something stupid to be noticed.

I’m tired of being ignored.

If I could go back and change my past, I would. I’d take away the bullying, the sexual assault, the nights of crying myself to sleep; the countless times I made my skin bleed would all be gone. And I’d be fine.

But I can’t; so, I have to make do with what I am, and what I’ve been through. It’s only made me stronger. I’ve grown and I’ve changed. And I still struggle with inner demons and inner battles to not hurt myself again. Every day I think of reasons why I should cut my skin again, and every day I have to think of reasons why I shouldn’t.

If you have these feelings, I’m sorry. I really am. Nothing I can say will take away the pain. But I promise you there’s hope. You are stronger than this. I believe in you.

There is something beautiful about being broken, and yet, somehow, finding the strength to stand tall. Being thrown down, wind knocked out of you over and over again, and refusing to accept that fate means you’re strong. Being strong means standing out in the storm, with the wind howling around you, threatening menacingly to knock you over, rain pouring down like a hurricane; there you stand, rain-boots and all, your dashed hopes and dreams stitched into your skin, rain-boots overflowing with the tears of the earth, collecting all this world has to offer. You know that rain washes away pain if you just let it. Strength is refusing to give up when the whole world is against you; strength is having the scars to prove it.

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty.

Here’s the thing: I’m not very fond of myself.

You see, I have this problem where I always compare myself to society’s ‘ideals.’  It causes major headaches on my part. I walk around school and see these seemingly perfect girls that have the “perfect” body; their hair is always perfect. Their makeup is perfect. Their teeth are perfect.

It’s taken me a while to realize that nobody is that perfect. Even the models on billboards/commercials/magazine covers are not that perfect. Photoshop and other editing programs are advertisers’ best friend. And it’s amazing what the perfect amount of makeup can do. Makeup is powerful. The best makeup artists can transform their appearance whenever they want.

Not that I’m against makeup, because I’m not. Makeup can help girls feel beautiful; it can cover up imperfections. It can help accentuate the things we like most about ourselves.

But, why is everybody so focused on outer beauty? Inner beauty is just as, if not more, important.

Inner beauty can transcend outer beauty. A beautiful heart and soul can help make a person shine. But that’s not what society values. In TV shows, movies, stories, the beautiful people on the outside are the most successful–they get what they want.

Something I’ve noticed (being the observant, tv watching, book reading, teenager that I am) is that more often than not, the most beautiful people on the outside, are the meanest, most conniving people (of course there are always those exceptions. *cue green-eyed monster*). To me, the prettiest people are those who are nice to everybody, kind, caring, compassionate.
So, yes. Maybe my hair is hardly ever perfect. Maybe I can stand to lose a few pounds. Maybe my makeup is pretty bad. And maybe I wear reading glasses. But I’m still beautiful. So, screw you, Society. You can’t tell me I’m not beautiful.
Because I am.