My Story (Pt. 1)

Warning: This Post May Be Triggering…

I was going through the junk under my bed today, trying to decide which items would be considered keepers, donations, or throw aways, when I found some things that brought up some (not so) happy memories. I found my first ED journal, the paper that consisted of my first calorie count (being taught to me by my mother), and other things that were leftover from last summer. I decided that today would be a good day to share my story, or at least begin it, while my mind was on it.

I was a generally happy, healthy kid. Sure, I’d had some problems in my life, but I never really let it get to me, at least not that much. But looking back, I do recognize in myself behaviors that could be considered unreasonable, even before the ED really began. I was self conscious, a little vain, goody two-shoes (Never got a time out but I cried the one time I got a warning), peace maker, etc. I strived to be perfect. I wanted to be better than anyone else, the role model, the little angel, the smartie pants, you know. I put myself up to high expectations. My step mom told me that maybe I would be the one who would finally get my parents to stop fighting, maybe I would be the first of the kids who wouldn’t pick a side because the stress from living in two houses was too much to bear. I believed it. I would be the favorite.

When I was in sixth grade, my mom started getting on track towards healthier eating. Throughout middle school, I rebelled against it. I mean, a yogurt cheese and spinach sandwich on dry sprouted wheat bread?? ew. just ew. My sister and I would hide our halloween candy under our beds to eat it without mom knowing. One of my friends once gave me a bag of Cheetos puffs after a sleepover, so sister and I shared it and hid it in our rooms, never to tell mom. I never really thought I would one day be hiding food from mom so that I wouldn’t eat it though. Gaining weight was I guess a little frowned upon at our house, and at my dad’s house it wasn’t. “Bad” food galore, fast food, junk food, ice cream, chips and treats. All readily available. I liked that food a lot more at that time. I slowly started to gain weight, but I wasn’t getting any taller (i.e. I’m a junior and Ive been 5’1″ since 7th grade). I wasn’t totally comfortable with it either, but I shrugged it off. I didn’t think it was a bad weight, I felt good, what was wrong? It wasn’t until we were weighed in PE, and the weight was read aloud that I really became semi-self concious about the weight. Just a simple remark from a stupid kid when he said after my turn “Daaaannnngggg Lacey!”. I wasn’t sure if he thought that was a lot or a little, but I didn’t like the comment.

Between middle and high school, I started dancing at a new, more intense dance school. We only wore tights and a leotard during class, and as the new girl I was put into a younger age group until I could catch up with the girls my age. I felt just horrible. Clumsy. Revealed. At the same time, my mom told me that if I really wanted to stay at this school, put time, effort, and money into this, I needed to commit and treat my body right to be the best dancer I could be. She had me go weigh myself. 116. Really?! Try again without your clothes on. 115. Okay, so maybe you should think about losing about 5 or 10 pounds. Can you do that? Sure I said. Whatever. Of course I didn’t really lose any weight. Instead I only became more aware of it. All I saw was this fat, untalented, stupid girl who would soon have no friends because I was starting a new district and I was going to be a laughing stock. I even wrote a “Dear Abby” letter to the newspaper, asking her what I should do. “I look in the mirror and all I see is fat. I hate it. But I’m scared, I don’t think this is what I should be feeling. I don’t want an eating disorder. How can I lose 5 pounds safely without it turning into something bad?”. I never told anyone. I never even got a reply.

School started, I was more self-conscious than ever. Rather than losing the weight, I began to gain even more. More rapidly. I was eating a lot of junk food, snacking mostly. I would eat spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar, I kept going back for more, until I felt sick and was about to cry. I guess in a way I was an emotional eater. I knew I was gaining weight, but I didn’t know how much. Between August and October I gained about 15 lbs. Around Halloween, I had a small party with my friends. I thought I looked great in my costume, which was a kinda revealing, old dance costume. That night one of my friends had forgotten her jammies, so my mom lent her a pair of yoga pants. The next morning, my friend and I took my dogs for a walk, only this time I was wearing the pants because I didn’t have any clean clothes and she was wearing her own jeans. When we got home, my mom took me aside and told me to take off her pants, I wasn’t to wear her clothes without asking. Practically in tears I complied. Later, in the car, I got a talking to by my mom and stepdad about how my mother worked hard to maintain her size and wanted her clothes to stay nice, didn’t want me to stretch them out. It was a very emotional car ride. The next day I asked my mom to help me lose weight.

Thats enough for now, I will talk more about the rest later. I guess I just needed to start letting things go, tell someone other than a counselor. I don’t want to keep this part of my life a secret anymore, because I want to be accountable. I won’t allow this to be something I am ashamed of.

Smash the Scale

There was a time, not too long ago, when a square, cold hunk of metal ruled my life.

The (not so) mighty scale.

I would religiously weigh myself every morning. Most afternoons. Many evenings. Before and after a shower (because of the dirt, you see). Before and after exercise (how hard should I/did I work).With clothes, then without. Mealtime, restroom, whenever I got the chance. I was glad once I got contacts (wouldn’t be adding that stupid half ounce from my glasses), I cursed the day I got braces (metal mouth=extra weight). It was ridiculous. I loved it. Especially because it was in my parents bathroom. I had to sneak in. Stealth. Adrenaline rush. I was a scale junkie…

Aside from that, I was being weighed at the doctor, dietician, gym and house (by my mom). Seldomly was I turned around. Told to close my eyes, sure, but I always peeked. I never let anyone know that of course, to them, my tears and cries of “I’m trying! I didn’t know I was losing weight!! I thought I was doing good!” were sincere. In my head I was always saying “haha suckers.”

But as my ED progressed, my dietician forbade me from the scale. I stopped weighing myself on my own. It was hard, I was addicted. Going to someone else’s house with a scale in their bathroom was an ultimate test, but I did it.

The problem was that it was still there. Calling me. “oh, you really shouldn’t do that, go see what it did to you”.

When I was in my outpatient recovery program, we had weekly family sessions. At one of these sessions, we discussed triggers in the home. After, my brother took our family scale, that cold omnipresent hunk of depression, outside. And we smashed it. It was the best feeling. I felt free. We all did.

For a while, things were going great.

One month ago, two months out of my recovery program, I wandered into my parent’s bathroom to grab the nailpolish remover. And thats when I saw it. A shiny new scale. Glass, digital, 10x more accurate than the little old spinning dial scale. It even weighs to the tenth of a pound. I was agahst. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought “Are they trying to kill me?” The temptation was back. The cloud was back. But I promised myself ImnotgoingtodoitI’mbetterthanthatI’mfinejustfine.

Three days later I weighed myself. I told myself it was just to calm the nerves. One qick look and I’llshowyouEDIdon’tneedyou. What a lie. I knew it too.

I asked my mom about the scale. She defended that they (the parents) need it to keep their weight in check and maybe I just shouldn’t be allowed in their room. The very same person that 2 months earlier had admitted that she, too, let the scale dictate her life, was telling me that it was to rule again.

I vented about it to my counselor. I had just told her about smashing the scale a week ago, and now it was back. “No, I haven’t weighed myself, I’m past that. Its the principle of the thing” I told her. I had weighed myself twice by then.

Its starting to get ridiculous now. And I am ready to be done. I know it. I just need to convince the voice in my head that I’m ready. So thats what this is for. No, I can’t smash the new, glass, digital, fancy pants scale. But I can smash the voice in my head telling me I need it. I can watch the video we took of when we smashed the first scale. And I can keep moving on.

I invite you to join me. Smash your scale. Document it. Live freely. Because we are all worth so much more than a number, even if it is digital to the tenth of a pound.