A letter to my 16 year old self

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You heard voices that told you among other things, that you weren’t good enough.

It was a lie, but it sounded as convincing as any truth.

You firmly believed that because that one girl wasn’t your friend, or because that one boy wouldn’t talk to you, that your life was meaningless.

 

You were convinced that it was because you weren’t pretty enough, or weren’t skinny enough.

 

You stopped dancing, something you’d loved doing for 12 years, because you constantly compared yourself to the bodies of the other dancers and the voices told you that you didn’t measure up.

 

You allowed yourself to be a victim of these voices.

You allowed herself to become a victim of a disorder that was all about control.

 

You felt this void, this unexplainable emptiness.

Feelings that you didn’t understand.

Instead of dealing with your emotions, you suppressed them by filling yourself with all you could eat.

Filled yourself up till you couldn’t feel anymore, then get rid of it.

Because it’s oddly cathartic being able to be the cause of your own pain.

To be in control of punishing yourself.

It was an endless cycle of binging and purging.

 

Though you were religious, your bible sat forgotten on the shelf.

More of an artifact than anything else.

A reminder of your past, and one that only added to your shame.

 

Occasionally you would pick up that book, that artifact, and flip through the pages begging for answers.

 

You wanted to know where the disease came from and why it plagued you, but you found no answers in that book.

 

You wanted to stop. This endless cycle was destroying your life, silently.

 

Your family ignored it, calling it “That thing you do.” They even joked about it.

 

But it’s not cute, it’s not funny.

 

It stole your voice. You used to sing. You had a lovely voice.

 

But the disease took that from you too.

It ruined your voice. It physically hurt to sing. You’d made yourself another victim.

Another reason to hate yourself.

 

Whether it was time that healed you, or sheer force of will. Or the kindness of a few loving souls that finally stopped the cycle, but it did stop.

 

It took every ounce of effort that you had to stop. It took every ounce of effort to fight the temptation to get rid of everything you ate as you watched your body change, not used to actually taking in food.

 

You hated your body for five years after that.

For most of your life you lived as a caged animal, either hindered by a disorder, or hindered by the fact that you still hated your body no matter what you did.

 

It would take another five years to heal completely.

But if I could go back and tell you, I’d tell you that it will heal.

 

And you will be ok.

 

And there will come a day when you won’t even think about it.

You won’t even remember that this was something you used to do to yourself daily.

And you’ll sing again!

There will be a time that you’ll think that will be impossible, but you’re wrong.

There will even come a day when you’ll come to love the sound of your own voice.

There will come a day when you finally believe other people when they tell you that they love the sound of your voice.

 

And you’ll finally be free.

Don’t lose hope.

It’s a long battle, but one worth fighting.

And I’m proud of you for sticking it out.

 

But just know that everything you’re going through won’t be the end of you.

And I look back on those years and it gives me strength for everything I have to endure today. Knowing how far I’ve come.

 

I look back at you. At that girl, that beautiful, strong girl who fought so hard to hide it, who fought so hard for control without having any at all.

 

One day you’ll truly find control, and you’ll realize that instead of making you feel trapped, that it sets you free.

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