Eating disorders are some of the scariest things that I see or read about on a day to day basis. Being a dancer the topic of food, body image and disordered thoughts is about as common as that of what the french words themselves mean. Dancers and skaters have it harder than any other sports in my opinion based on the fact that we wear body tight clothing, get judged on how we look (supposedly it is on how our body moves, but it ultimately comes down to how your personal body image projects across to the audience or judges), and we stare at ourselves on a daily basis in a mirror or through photographs and videos to judge ourselves and our performances. I know that I have never had too great of a personal self image. I have never had anything as extreme as an eating disorder, but my thoughts have come on the verge and I judge myself when looking in a mirror various times throughout each day. I worry about how I look. I worry about my weight. I worry about how my body is portrayed to the public. I worry about way too much and weight and body image are a huge part of my daily worries. I wish I were skinner, healthier, more in shape, had less fat on my body, had less arm muscle, had thinner legs, had a thigh gap. These are the thoughts which are constantly running through my head every time I come across a mirror and it really scares me. I am scared of what these thoughts could turn into and what they are doing to me right now. I am constantly comparing myself to other people, pictures, or descriptions of others, wishing that I could somehow look like them at the end of the day. I know that I am not as beautiful as I wish I were. I don’t try as hard as some people though. I don’t have to have the most expensive clothing and I don’t have to wear makeup. But when I do do these things I finally feel a little better. My self esteem rises a bit. But I don’t want to have to do these things to feel good about myself. I wish I had a positive self image and I wish I could portray that through my aura and people could feed off of it. Instead I am surrounded by others who feel this same way. Some of my friends from dance have lost weight, are trying to get more in shape, or are constantly discussing their food choices and clothing sizes with me. This fuels desires inside of me that need to escape and I start to get more focused on these topics in my life as well . I am scared of what I will become. I am scared of how new people will influence me when I leave the people I am use to being around once I head off to college. I am so fricken scared and so unsure of what to do.
The other day I was in my neighbors house and saw a book by the title “A Parents Guide to Beating a Teenage Eating Disorder.” This in and of itself scares me. Their daughter is 12 or 13 years old and she is already thinking this way. She is already manifesting these habits into her life. I want to talk to her. Help her. I want to be a support system to her so that she doesn’t get worse. She is one of the most beautiful teens that I have ever seen. She is so young. So much is ahead of her and I don’t want to see her get destroyed by these thoughts as well. This also though made me think of me and my situation. Do my parents even know how I feel about myself? They are always cracking jokes pertaining to my size and the fat on my stomach. Do they realize that these hurt me so much? The other day when I was barely eating I finally was feeling good about myself. I finally felt a little bit skinnier and more in shape. This past summer I barely ate for a solid 10 days and it was the best I had ever felt. I had dropped about 6 pounds and felt so fantastic, but then I knew I had to stop. My mom was back in town after being on vacation and I knew she would get on my case about my eating habits and how they had changed when she was gone. And you see the problem is when I don’t eat and then I start to eat again I bloat so badly that I am now embarrassed to look at pictures from that vacation she and I took once she got back in town. I pick apart those pictures so critically when I look back on them based on how bad I looked. I just someday want to understand where these thoughts are coming from and how to destroy them. I want to feel beautiful without taking drastic measures, but I have yet to figure out how.