I remember the day so well. I remember what I was wearing, where I was sitting and I remember the words that would forever alter my perspective of life. It was certainly not a comment intended to send me spiraling into a battle with anorexia that would last for years. It was just an innocent comment.
I guess I'd like to first point out that there have been MANY contributing factors into my struggle with and journey through anorexia. As I blog them out, I hope that you never once hear me say that one thing was the only factor. The factors are all so intimately related that not one of them can be called the reason I choose not to eat. Today, I'm talking about the factor that caused me to make a conscious decision to not eat.
I was wearing my navy blue rayon pants with cream colored flowers with a cream colored button down blouse. It was an outfit that made me feel like I looked good, which I didn't often feel, especially lately. I had been incredibly sick with the "mystery illness" and weight had dropped off of me at an alarming rate. My skin was pale and even more broken out than normal. In retrospect I looked as unhealthy as I felt but in that outfit at least I didn't feel it. I was sitting next to a friend during an awards ceremony or something like that. She was tall and beautiful and outgoing and everyone who knew her loved her. I guess I could say she was popular, but she didn't really act like it. She was just friendly and got along with everyone and in return everyone liked her. When we stood up she said the words that would forver affect my life.
"Wow! You are so skinny! I wish I was as skinny as you." Eight words did it. Eight words expressed to me that someone who was beautiful and well liked wanted something I had. I wasn't willing to let that image ever fade. I had to keep it up. After all, an upperclassman (I was a freshman at the time) who had the looks and the popularity, wanted to be like me.
It wasn't difficult for me to skip meals unnoticed. I had been so incredibly sick leading up to this that it was difficult to eat anyway. While I was still sick, I wasn't as sick as I had been. No one knew that though. No one knew that the reason I still couldn't eat was because I didn't want to. It was easy, too easy. No one notices if a highschool student eats breakfast, so I skipped it. Lunchtime was a breeze. My classmates were used to me not feeling well and therefore only sometimes eating. I would give my lunch away in parts. One guy got the cookies my mom always made and packed. Another got my chili cheese dip and chips. Someone else would get the side items and I kept the soda for myself. Like I said, it was a breeze. No one questioned. It was also easy because having not eaten much for so long anyway, I didn't feel the normal hunger cravings that I once might have. Dinner wasn't even that difficult. I pushed the food around on my plate, took a few bites, pushed it around a little more and then claimed to be full and excused myself to my bedroom and my ever growing pile of schoolwork that I was behind on.
My plan was working. It would be two years before anyone ever questioned my eating habits.