I had an eventful morning, one that I am sure you would envy. My morning started with being pulled over by a very cranky cop who was yelling at me before he had even asked to see my license and arguing with said cop over traffic laws (I won and didn't get a ticket! Go me!). Then while at my parents house I got the distinct privilege of explaining that someone walking into a bank with minimal clothing and depositing $200 in ones that are creased from being folded, is a stripper. The conversation was actually hilarious with me and my dad both trying to tell my mom about creased one dollar bills and their meaning while both maintaining that we had never actually graced a strip club with our presence. AWKWARD! And then to close out my morning, I had to talk with my children's pediatrician about my eating disorder and how it has affected my kids. Fun times. You know you are jealous!
My conversation with the pediatrician got me thinking about me at 14. What do I wish I had known then? So I'm writing a letter to teenage me.
You are growing into such an amazing young lady. I know you don't see beauty when you look in the mirror, but let me tell you something that will make your journey much easier, THE MIRROR LIES. You are beautiful, so very beautiful.
You strive for perfection, to prove you are an adult, that you can handle life. Guess what? You don't have to have it all figured out at 14. You don't even have to have it all figured out at 17 or even 19. You are growing and learning and it is ok to not know everything. It is ok to question, it is through your questions that you will learn.
God sees you, sweetheart. He cares about you, He loves you. I know you feel like no one loves you. I know you think God cannot possibly love you or He wouldn't have allowed others to steal your childhood. I know those thoughts. They hurt like hell. They also are not truth. You do matter. You're pain is real not a ploy for attention as some around you believe. You are worth knowing. You are worth taking the time to truly listen to. You are worth the work it takes to break down your walls.
You don't have to hide. You don't have to starve to cope. There are other ways to deal with your pain.
The euphoria of not eating and the rush of finally having some control are traps. A journey down this road will take you much further than you realize. It does feel good now, and I know that. However, when you are in your early twenty's still dealing with it, it loses some of it's appeal. When you are in your thirty's it becomes terrifying. You never wanted to hurt anyone else but yourself but hurting yourself hurts others also.
You really do matter! You really do make a difference. One day you will realize you are addicted and you cannot go back to the way things are now. One day you will look in the mirror and not recognize yourself. As this continues, one day you will have to look your husband in the eye and own up to how you are mistreating yourself. One day your children will have to live with the knowledge that you are not ok but be unsure of why.
You are worth so much more than this. You are so much more beautiful than this disease. I know right now you don't think it is a disease. It will be many years before you acknowledge it as that. Right now it is just how you cope. It is just a way to feel good. One day, though, it will threaten everything you love. One day you will want to walk away from this and not be able to. There really are things you can control in your life without punishing your body. I know, it seems unlikely, but it is true. You decide your destiny. Right now you are deciding a destiny that will steal your energy and compromise your fertility. It is a destiny of passing out, hating living and aching so deeply within your bones that you wish you could die to stop the pain. It is a very lonely destiny.
Right now this disease feels like your friend. It feels like the best friend who comforts you when you cry and sees you when you are invisible. It isn't your friend, it is a serious disease. You are not invisible. Anorexia is not the only one who can see you. You don't need to prove to those who don't believe you hurt that you can hurt worse. You don't need to hurt your body to match the hurts in your heart.
Your beauty was born in you. Your beauty wasn't stolen when your innocence was. Your eyes are beautiful, yes, even behind those big plastic glasses. Your smile can light up a room, when you give it a chance to shine. Those platinum highlights in your hair that you naturally have are the envy of some of your friends. Your love for music makes your soul sing. You are beautiful, acne, glasses, not hip clothes and all.
As your future self, let me beg you to not walk down this road of addiction. It is still not too late. You can start to fight this now instead of waiting for way too many years, illnesses and tears to pass. You can win. You have the strength to fight this and you are worth doing so. You are worth being taken care of. You are worth being protected. You are worth fighting for! Trust me, I know!
Your future self