How I stopped eating at 15 as a desperate attempt to gain control over my life.

December 8, 2019

I want to share my eating disorder story with you. It's funny, I talk about having had cancer pretty often (like once a year, on my health's anniversary), but I don't think I ever wrote about having anorexia nervosa and why I think it happened.
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I was 15 when my family moved from Israel to Singapore, and I was torn away from a very awesome group of friends, my first boyfriend, and everything I knew. I started sophomore year in the Singapore American School, and while I was blown away by how fun school can actually be (comparing a private American overseas school to my local shitty middle school in Haifa), I had a very, very, hard time finding my tribe.
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I remember walking around school, crowded with students, but feeling lonely. It seems like the students were already grouped into cliques. Kids of expats who's been going to the same school for 4-5 years were already pretty happy with their group of friends, and the kids like me, who just entered the school that year... Well, I don't know what they did, maybe they were as clueless as I was. But the bottom line was, I tried so hard to make friends, and I felt lonely. Like the party was happening back home in Israel, while I was on a fucking different planet. 
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Eventually I made one friend, but he made all the difference in the world, and I do think our friendship saved me from going somewhere pretty bad mentally @robertritterstudio. I was doing well in school, I had a best friend, I got used to living in the Far East, and I was starting to feel good.
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Which exactly when my parents told me I'll be going back home to Israel within 3 months.
Fuccck.
In hindsight, I guess my eating disorder was my attempt to gain some control over my life. I was being yanked around from country to country, but at least I could control how much I ate. And as a teenager who felt about 2 sizes over the average size of her peers, it felt like it mattered.

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Fast forward to prom and the end of that year in Singapore, as you can see in that picture. Within three months of anorexia, I lost 10kg (22lbs) and I came back to Israel feeling (mistakenly) triumphant. 

My ex-boyfriend already had a new girlfriend, my best friend found a new bestie in her new school, and again, I felt dis-attached from this culture. But hey! At least I was skinny, right?

Wrong.

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To this day, I remember being home in Israel shortly after returning, feeling crappy, and literally having the thought run through my head:
"I don't get it. I thought once I'm skinny, all my problems will be solved. But it's completely the same, the only difference is my jeans size".

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I think that's my main takeaway from this experience. We, humans, assisted by billions of dollars spent in diet culture, tend to hang our happiness on external factors. Like our weight and looks. And yes, looking great (whatever great means) can and will impact you positively. 

But.

LOOKING A CERTAIN WAY WILL NOT MAKE YOU A HAPPY PERSON, NOR SOLVE ALL YOUR PROBLEMS.

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I believe that inner peace is just that, inner, and that while I started my spiritual journey from the body image angle, the more I delve deeper, the more I realize that change, happiness, and calmness are from within. Our bodies are wonderful, beautiful vessels, and we should treat them as such- material manifestations of ourselves. Not the *defining factor* of ourselves. 

 

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