I was a skinny child. My relatives would always coo at me to “eat more, eat more” while simultaneously reassuring me that at least I would have a “pretty” body when I grew older. “She has a fast metabolism,” they’d say. “She’ll be pretty when she grows up.” Unfortunately, I haven’t quite fulfilled my relatives’ expectations. After hitting puberty and gaining weight in all the expected places, I gave myself up for “chubby” and resigned myself to wearing unflattering clothes to hide my “fat.” This resulted in even worse body issues, which in turn resulted in an unhealthy relationship with food. I’d force down copious amounts of carbohydrates, somehow both relishing and hating the feeling of being full to the point of nausea. After a few weeks of overeating, I’d combat the bloating and inevitable weight gain with restrictive dieting, sometimes eating no more than a bowl of soup and some fruit per day.
I could very well say that bingeing and purging has overrun my life. The weight gain has taken a toll on my confidence and social life, and the lethargy and near-starvation has negatively affected my performance in school.
I’m still on the path to recovery, but I feel optimistic about the future. Being active in the online community has helped me realize that my story is not uncommon. Some of the same forces that affect my favorite bloggers and Internet celebrities are responsible for my eating habits—pressure to look a certain way as an Asian American female, pressure to follow the doctor-lawyer-accountant prototype, pressure to keep up the facade that everything’s perfectly ok.
While in my family it’s an unspoken rule that issues such as depression and disordered eating are private, I’ve recently opened up to my parents and discovered that my mother experienced her share of food woes in college. I’ve also met a boy who’s both understanding and supportive of my journey. This past year has marked such amazing progress for me, and I can only hope for the same this coming year.
Anonymous | U.S.A