I'm beautiful: a Chicago Public Schools student overcomes anorexia

I wanted to take a bite of the mouth-watering, spicy baracoa taco, but somehow I dragged myself out of my hunger and rejected the food. My caring mom would always come towards me with her soft, sweet voice and touch me with her pasty white hands on my shoulder to tell me, "Please eat.  I can see that you are hungry."

I would tell my mom that I would eat.

The problem was that every day at the small kitchen table, I would find guilt in me.  If I ate I would gain weight, so I would just take one or two half-full spoons of food. In order for my family not to notice that I wasn't eating, I would pretend that I was taking a bite of the grilled chicken.  I would give it to my dog that would look at me with those eyes, just waiting a piece of food to fall to the floor.

I got to the point that, when I was on summer vacation, I had lost forty pounds. It took me four months to realize that I needed help. I went to the hospital to see a psychiatrist.  Now I believe that we always get a second chance in life to fix things.

I wanted to be skinny like the models on those Victoria Secret magazines. I kept measuring the food I would eat.  Creating the daily plate on a weight loss Web site was my way to measure calories. My insecurities got to the point that I would look at myself in the pink full body mirror in my room and not see bones, but see fat everywhere. My family and friends would always tell me, "You are so skinny!” I would take it as a joke and would keep on rejecting the food that my stomach was begging for.

One day during my summer vacation from 8th grade, my mom and sister were talking to me about what was going on, but I ignored them. My sister, Maria, is the type of person that makes jokes out of everything. She would tell me, "You better recover before October 31.  If not, you will be the decoration for the front door."

I would laugh and tell her, "Don't worry about me."

Instead of being with my family, I would go to sleep. I couldn't handle my body anymore. I felt like my bones were falling and as if my body was going down. I didn't know that I went from 140 to 100 pounds. It was noticeable that I was anorexic and my anorexia wasn't easy to recover from since my body had gotten used to the starvation.

My mom, a caring woman, supported me in my recovery. She would take me to the psychiatrist for help. The psychiatrist told me the consequences if I kept on starving myself. One thing I will always remember that he told me is "Life is given to people.  Don't take your life away." This meant that I had a life that others wished to have.  I shouldn't be finding a way to leave that life just because I wanted to be skinny.

All the talks I went to for about three months made me realize that I am beautiful no matter how I look. This is why I believe that there is always a second chance  in life.  Life is beautiful and so am I.  Why ruin that?

I now know that being strong isn't being able to starve yourself for three weeks.

Being strong is being able to get out of your eating disorder and become healthy, even when the voice in your head won't let you.  Ignoring this voice is being the strongest.

My mom told me, “You are beautiful. And nobody has the right to make you feel like you are not."


Written by a Hancock High School student who asked we only share her initials: I.M.

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