Dear precious hungry girls,
I know that you think you know what’s best, and that you are doing just that – what is best for you. I know you think you are on the road to happiness.
I know the feelings of control, and what a rush that is. I will tell you, in all honesty, that the greatest drug I ever took was weight loss. THE GREATEST DRUG I EVER TOOK. The biggest rush, the biggest high. Better than booze, better than sex, better than cocaine. Better than the food I avoided, better than the food I scarfed down. I know how good it feels, I really do.
I also know that something that started for me when I was 12 stayed with me for over two decades before I even started to get help. Imagine that. Two decades. Twenty years. Imagine doing what you are doing for twenty more years, and still not being thin enough.
I know right now you think you are on a road to happiness. The control, being thin, then thinner, then the thinnest, you know, you just know you will be happy then. But the road is a lie. I promise you, it is a lie. You will get rushes of what you think is happy. When people compliment your weight loss, when you see the number on the scale go down, when you buy a smaller size and watch it go from tight to baggy, yes, you will feel a rush. And you will think that’s what happy is. But it will leave you. It took so much control, so much self-sacrifice, so much HUNGER to get you here, and in moments it is gone. You need more. It will never be enough. I promise you, you will never be thin enough. NEVER. You will never get that magic moment when you can live happily ever after in your new thin body, because thin ever after is a lie. The hunger will overwhelm you. The physical hunger, the emotional hunger, the spiritual hunger. The empty that once filled you up now leaves you more hollow than ever. There is nothing that will ever fill you up until you decide that YOU WILL NOT LIVE LIKE THIS ANYMORE. If you are smarter than I am, you will come to this point soon. Not when you are in your 30s, struggling with your weight even on the most minimal calorie diet you can manage without passing out, unable to maintain long-term relationships, forced to lie, keep secrets, and hide. You will have to hide, all the time, and hide, and hide. And one day there will be nowhere left to hide. You will see a shell of a human in the mirror, and you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are dying. And the only way that you will be able to live again, is if you give this shit up. Give it up.
I promise you, it will kill you if you don’t. And even if you keep on living, it will be no life at all.
I never wanted to give it up. I was convinced if I gave it up, lost control, I would face a fate worse than death. I would get fat. Fat. The most horrible thing I could imagine. And you know what? I got fat anyway. I got fat starving myself. I got fat running until my feet bled, a throat scabbed over from my fingernails scraping it to throw up the meals I caved in and ate. I got fat anyway. Not because I “lost control” but because I ruined my metabolism. If you think it can’t happen to you, I promise you, it can. And I promise you that if you ever do get fat, you will think you have failed, lost control, and that you will never be happy until you are thin again. But maybe one day you will realize being fat isn’t the worst thing ever. Being afraid of being fat is worse. It is a prison. Because what you really fear is that you have no control. And I can tell you, that you don’t. You don’t have control. You think you do, with every calorie you count, every pound you lose, that you have control. But you don’t. You are in prison. You do not have control over your eating disorder. It has control over you.
If you are living in fear of being fat. If you are starving yourself. If you are compulsively exercising to the point of sheer exhaustion and injury. If you are eating until your stomach feels like it might explode. If you are making yourself throw up. If you are weighing and measuring yourself constantly. If you can’t stand the thought of losing control. Then you are in a prison. And you will never escape until you stop doing all those things.
And it breaks my heart, because I know you don’t believe me. I know you think my experience is nothing like yours, that it doesn’t mean anything, that I don’t know you or what you’re going through. But I am you.
And it breaks my heart, because I love you. I know you don’t believe that. How could I love you? I do, though. I love you because I can look into your eyes and I see my young self there. The young self that wouldn’t have believed someone like me either. The young me that would have still ruined my body and my life for years on end because I was too much of a fucking coward to just surrender my precious control and my need to be right for a single goddamn second.
I know you believe, deeply, that you are right. And it breaks my heart, because I was right once too. And god, how wrong I was. And maybe now I am wrong to think my words will make any difference to anyone.
I promise you, one day, if you let yourself live, all of this will make sense to you. I hope that it is soon, for you, my precious hungry girls. I hope you live. I hope you let yourself.