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Imperfect sense of self

When I was in elementary school, I was a great kid. I was fun and a great student and had lots of friends. My family, all my relatives, everyone saw me as a good sweet girl, who was always carefree and happy, even though I was a bit shy. In third grade, there were a lot of little boys in my grade that were starting to like girls. I was one of the girls that boys would leave notes for and would ask me to be their girlfriend (we were in third grade, we didn't really know anything about dating, just about gf/bf). Just before fourth grade, my mom was able to get a job, with my dad working two jobs already and my mom working one, we had plenty of money to start getting little treats, we were no longer constricted with money problems so we didn't worry about food or clothes and stuff. My mother started buying sweets(candy cake cookies mostly candy though), I developed a sweet tooth. By fourth grade I was chubby, not fat, just chubby.
My dear grandmother, who only has good intentions for me, told my mother that I was gaining weight, and that I should lose it before puberty so that I will have a nice figure. My parents signed me (and my two sisters) up for a gymnastics gymnastics class that my cousin already went to. By the end of fourth grade, I was back down to a normal weight. However, by fifth grade, (my parents could no longer afford my gymnastics so i quit)my body started changing, I got breasts growing before any of my other classmates, so I let my hair grow long to cover them. At one point In fifth grade, my mom decided that I should cut my hair, I argued of course, but she told me that I looked like a boy hippie. That was a real blow to me, so I let her cut it.
After I cut my hair, I started wearing a jacket to cover my " changes ". I wore a oversized jacket all the time, even on the playground when it was near summer and burning hot. One day, I was playing on the playground, and a little girl (maybe in the first or second grade) came up to me and said "scuse me, are you a girl or a boy".
I felt terrible, I had no idea that this little girl was just confused by the way I was dressed. I thought that I was ugly enough to be mistaken for a boy. I was so hurt I wanted to hide, I spent that summer trying to figure out ways to hide my body and my face. I also gained a little weight so I was chubby again.
In sixth grade i was an outcast, people ignored me and they looked at me funny. I was ashamed of myself and my body, I couldn't even change into gym clothes In front of the other girls in the locker room. I have no idea how I passed gym that semester. During the second semester of sixth grade, my family had to move because my father lost his jobs and our house foreclosed. I got a chance to start over again at a new school. I started at my new school, still a bit of an outsider, but I had started changing, I made friends, I lost that extra weight over time and I started wearing normal clothes. But I thought if myself as still chubby. I made a resolve to my self that during seventh grade, I would change.
Seventh grade, I lost more weight and was thin, but as I tried to fit in, I compared myself to other girls and saw that they were tiny, I never realized that the reason they were smaller than me was because of my bone structure and height. I wanted to be as small as the other girls, so I started restricting myself from eating a lot. I never ate breakfast, and I wouldn't eat lunch at school, but I ate a full meal after school. Other than that, nothing except ocasional snacks.
I started eight grade year at another school, we had to move again to make room for the new baby sis. I kept up my eating routine for all of eight grade year. I was finally thin, I finally had friends, no I wasn't popular, but I fit in, I was happy. Except for the fact that I was still afraid. I was scared of being ugly, I was scared of losing what I had worked so long for, so I became anorexic. My earliest stages of anorexia would probably go back to sixth grade, but I never really pushed my self till eight grade. I refused to eat more than I absolutely needed to. I only are enough so my parents wouldn't suspect anything. But of course, my grandmother noticed.
My grandmother knew me well. She knew that I was full of energy, happy, lively, and that I couldn't ever resist her delicious cooking. But she noticed that everytime I came over to her house, I was more tired, I wouldn't eat, I looked too pale, and my face looked older and tired. She told me that I was getting too thin, she told my mother that she should feed me more, that I needed nourishment. I didn't realize that I was hurting myself. I looked in the mirror and felt satisfaction when I could see my ribs protruding a little, I felt great when my size X jeans went down to a size X. But when my older sister(and rival) started saying that I looked anorexic (she tried to put me down all the time, when she said I was anorexic, she would say it hatefully not concerned), so when she started calling me that, I decided to prove her wrong.
I started eating, I made sure to eat In front of people so they could see that I was normal. I was healthy, at least for a short while. After about a month, I could no longer fit into a size X, my ribs no longer protruded, and even though I was not fat, I felt terrible. All my hard work just vanished in under a month. I gained a shocking X pounds, going from X lbs to X lbs and then to X lbs. I felt so so disgusted with myself. I thought that anyone who wasn't thin and beautiful was disgusting and revolting. I couldn't believe how horrible the world was, how horrible I was. I hated and despised my self for gaining that weight, but I grew so used to eating, my mind would not let me starve myself again. So I started purging. After any meals that felt to full, I went and threw up so that I was hungry again. Unless I was hungry, I felt like I was fat. So when I just couldn't resist eating, I ate the. Threw it up. It felt like a great idea.
I started ninth grade last year, I felt that I still wasn't good enough. So I started avoiding breakfast and lunch again. I still ate after school, but I made sure to go throw up afterwards. I went down to X lbs. I felt great again, but for some reason, I couldn't lose those last X pounds. Despite my ultimate goal of reaching X lbs, I couldn't seem to get down anywhere past X lbs. and even that lasted only a couple of days. So I just focused on staying at X lbs.
This year I am on my second semester of ninth grade, I realized that I am unhealthy and I'm not doing myself any good. I want to help myself but its hard. One of my teachers, who is also the track coach, convinced me to join track. I decided to try it because I figured in a sport, you have to be good to your body in order to be the best. I tried out and made the team. But on my second day, I started to feel very dizzy in the middle of a relay race, I was running backwards and then I seemed to black out for a moment, next thing I know, I fell on my butt which the impact traveled through my back and to my skull, I got up and finished the race but afterwards I had to sit down because I felt so dizzy. The impact on my spine and skull, left me temporally unable to walk on my own or talk. My coach had to nearly carry me inside and practice was cut short. My mom picked me up and after about an hour I was able to walk and talk clearly.
Despite the fact that I recovered quickly, it was the most terrifying and humiliating experience of my life, I was afraid to face all those people that I fell in front of. I was afraid that they might suspect my eating disorder. My coach told me that I might be anemic. The other track coach told me that I might have low iron levels, or that I might have been dehydrated. My coach told me to start keeping a food diary to make sure I was eating all the right foods. So in order to make sure no one suspected anything, I started eating all my meals again. But of course my coach has no idea that I throw up everything anyways.
Because of that terrifying experience, I never wanted anything like that to happen again. I want to help myself, but I am addicted to throwing up. Despite everything, I still don't feel like I'm good enough. I am trying not to throw up, and I am up to X lbs right now, but I feel this desperate urge, this burning desire to just lose all those pounds that I gained. I am 5 foot 6 inches and the average weight for a 14 year old girl my height is X lbs, but being that weight makes me feel wrong. I don't feel like I should be anywhere near that weight, I think that I should still be at X lbs, but I would still rather be X lbs instead.
I don't know what to do.

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Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community

The Bulimia Recovery Program