There are so many communities in which I feel like an outsider. I was born in Seoul, South Korea and was adopted by a white family from the US when I was eight months old. My family never treated me any differently, but by the time I was school aged, I realized how being Asian in a predominantly white school made me different, even at age five. I didn’t know what I was “supposed” to look like or how to dress, but I knew that though I wasn’t the “ideal,” I wasn’t even the “norm.”
I remember thinking my thighs were fat when I as about eight. This seems too early, but when the other girls were wearing the “slim” girl sizes, I had to wear the “regulars.” As I transitioned into juniors sizing just as I was about to enter high school, I skipped over size 0 entirely, and started with 1. Eighth grade was the first time I ever purged. In high school, I began a routine of binging and purging or sometimes just purging. I played sports and was active in the community and my high school and no one was the wiser.
As I started dating, this problem only got worse. My self-esteem was so absent that I would gladly agree to go out with anyone who would have me. This included boys that were mostly interested in the fact that I am Asian. Or at least, that I look Asian. Except, I don’t have any of the cultural background expected of me, so I wasn’t even what they were really looking for in a girlfriend. I spent so much time worrying about how I looked and how to become more “Asian” because deep down, I knew I was an impostor. My weight dropped to 95 lbs and I was still disappointed in myself for being so “fat” and “un-Asian.” Why weren’t those 0 pants 00s instead?
Eventually I got to college and through a series of stupid choices, I ended up in the ER and was told that the only way I was leaving was to get outpatient therapy. I’m so grateful for that therapist. We worked out my identity and self-image issues and I’m so much better for that. So where am I now? I’m heavier than I’ve ever been and I’m struggling with the same feelings of self-hatred and self-doubt. How did I get to be this fat? Why can’t I just stop eating? Except now I’m married to a wonderful, loving, supportive guy and we’re working through my issues so that I can be healthier and our marriage can get stronger.