self-inflictedFriday, June 14, 2013
STAGE 1: THINSPIRATION
Even the most stuck-up breed of teenage girls shares common insecurities with the normal ones. It is normal for a girl to be conscious about her body shape. It becomes abnormal when she does something about it that is too overboard.
Most people will laugh at one's own definition of beauty and perfection. Other than good looks, a bright mind and a charming personality, one should weigh according to his or her BMI (body mass index). The less he or she weighs is better.
On a summer night in 2008, watching models with garments hanging loosely on their thin frames while doing a catwalk on the runway had made her an obsessive weight conscious fifteen-year-old. Models not having awkward flabby arms and love handles sticking out of from their clothes and looking glamorous in everything they wear is perfection to her. She just had to be one of them, enough to please Anna Wintour, the ice queen of Vogue.
No matter how smart or beautiful a person is if she’s fat or chubby, she’s less likely to have a chance to be the face of fashion. Honestly, clothes look better on skinny girls. Being skinny is a feminine thing. Asian girls tend to have smaller frames than Western girls, and she thought she had to live up to that image. She has been aware of the increasing rate of obesity in the West, and they were often characterized to be unhealthy and lazy people. Her own, stuck-up judgment had developed to hate the idea of being fat.
Although people often say she is ‘skinny’, she never considered herself as one, at least not until she sees her collarbone sticking out, or her skin clinging only to the bones of her arms, or her stomach at its flattest, or her face showing its contoured jaws. She has the dress size of two, but she's going for zero. In achieving so, she avoided the greasy food, and only ate one meal (sometimes none) everyday.
On special occasions like family dinner, she made sure she drinks a lot of green tea just to get rid of what she ate. Thank goodness her family loves Chinese restaurants – she didn't have to pay 50 bucks just for a cup of tea.
She started to be disgusted with meat, especially pork. At one point in her life she tried to live like a vegetarian and ate what the rabbits ate.
Her appetite had always been small, but thanks to a sweet tooth, her journey towards a skinny body frame is being delayed for another week. Cutting her food intake was working, though.
And when the day comes when all the unreasonable things she had been doing, and when starvation had finally paid off, she gets to be the happiest and most contented girl on earth. No fats sticking out of a tight-hugging tank top, or thighs touching each other. She had the body of a waif, like Twiggy, she thinks.
The tape measure around her waist says 24”. The weighing scale reads 42 kg. For a small Asian girl with the height of 5’2”, it’s an achievement within two weeks. Her clothes when she was seven years old fitted her again. She didn’t have problems about clothing sizes when shopping, because she knew they’ll fit her anyway.
No friend of hers gets to squeeze a lump of fat out of her whenever they play around. No lump of fat whenever she bends over or sit down. It was awesome, it was blissful, and she feels perfect. So she continued this lifestyle in the dark.
She knows that if people find out what she's been doing to herself, they will think she's not only insane. She's sick. But Kate Moss was right: “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”
STAGE 2: ANA AND MIA
Now that she has the body type she has been starving for, the next thing to do was to maintain it as long as she lives. Trying to maintain a thin frame was difficult.
She wanted to be perfect all the time, but she can’t be. Like any other human being, she is flawed. She needs to satiate her physiological needs, like eating. She scorns eating. Eating makes her fat. But she had to eat. Who does not? This paradoxical situation she had been in had led her to more absurdity.
She started to become extra picky of the food that she eats: An apple for breakfast, tomatoes for lunch and water for dinner. Because she's starting to eat again, her cravings for sweets are stoked. All the hard-work and resistance from her favorite snacks were put to waste. She gained some weight, and that made her panic. She did her own research on how to maintain thin. Whenever she feels like eating, she bloats herself by drinking water, just to feel full. She ate ice cubes just to satiate her cravings. If that didn’t work, she brushes her teeth just to forget the feeling.
Her social life was sold for being skinny. She refused to eat meals with her family as she excuses herself that she have already eaten at school. Her friends (who love food), she had to ditch them. she goes straight home to do cardio exercises and sleep, just to avoid the thought of food.
Yet again, one has to emphasize that as a flawed human being, she needed to eat. An inevitable thing. So, she found a way how to not to gain weight other than starving myself or drinking tea. And she did it – put two fingers inside her mouth and touch her own tonsils until her insides flip, and purge. Successfully, those two slices of pizza and fries were out of her system right away. And so, whenever she feels fat after a meal, she just locks herself in the bathroom and throw up. Even if the after-feeling is unbearable and sickly, she had to endure it. To this date, one could say that this was the most outrageous thing she ever did, proving that she was very obsessive about her weight.
Gladly, for the first few weeks, no one caught her frequent visits to the bathroom. She knew she was going to be fine, as long as no one notices. But no later than that, people around her had begun speculating over her dramatic weight loss.
She did not care as long as she was skinny. The feeling of an empty stomach was surprisingly gratifying.
STAGE 3: SIDE EFFECT
I became used to this lifestyle, as my family and friends started nagging that I should eat. But I was just as stubborn as Gandhi. I thought that they were just insecure of me being thinner than them. I’ve irrationally feared and hated body fat. And to some points in my life, fat people.
My family and friends started to point out habits I’ve gotten since I started becoming weight-conscious. The most extreme was that I always call myself fat on photographs, even if I was not, and I kept insisting I was. To my dismay, they do not see what I see towards my self-image, and had thought I was only seeking attention.
They do not know what I feel, they have no right to say such things, I thought. So I just continued on. I’ve gotten used to only eating an apple a day, with the occasional salad.
Unknowingly I have associated the word ‘fat’ to ‘food’.
By June 2009, everything was okay until I was frequented by colds and high fever. My complexion turned unattractively pale and was too sensitive that it itched on everything it feels. I missed two weeks’ worth of classes and I was not getting any better. Obviously my immune system had been performing poorly. I knew the solution but I did not want to admit it myself. For assurance, I had to see the doctor. The doctor said I was not eating right. The problem was simple, and the answer was simple as well. I had to eat.
However, it was not such a simple thing for me to do.
By the time this thought had dawned to me, I took into consideration that I may have some sort of mental disorder. I mentally debated whether I was anorexic or bulimic, and if this lifestyle was truly a mental disorder or a choice. It was both. Maybe I am anorexic, I think to myself. But maybe I am not, because whenever I look at the mirror, I see a not-so-skinny-but-quite-chubby girl.
All of my ideologies regarding beauty and perfection may have to do something about the artist in me. Maybe I’m just mentally messed up that I had these discriminatory thoughts towards being fat and fat people. If these were true, then I feel very ashamed for being so prejudiced. I feel ashamed that I am so insecure of myself. I want to change.
After I got better, I started to eat right again. I try to eat like a human being -- at least two times a day. I still have not gotten over some of my eating disorder habits. I still drink tea after every meal. And I still skip meals. Though I gained weight, I am still weight-conscious. I know I’ll never be fat because of genetics, but I kept having withdrawal symptoms from eating more. I want to accept the kind of body type I have, but the negative perception of it remains in my head.
It is quite frustrating to be in the mid of what you want and what you have gotten used to. But the surest thing right now is that I know what I don’t want. I don’t want any eating disorder to get the best of me. It’s all in the mind.