A flat piece of plastic is all that it is. 1.1kgs of it.
This 1.1kgs of electronics and plastic has ruled my life for over a decade.
It has no emotions, no sense of muscle versus fat and no perception that women hold water at a certain time of the month.
Most of all it has no idea that we are people, and so much more than the number that they assign us.
So many of us have deemed this small piece of plastic and electronics the ruler of our self worth and leader of our confidence.
Growing up I had always been happy, energetic, healthy and a little bit lanky. As hormones kicked in and my food allergies developed, all of a sudden I became much larger and my body shape changed.
Combined with bad skin and low self confidence, I hid from the world. I tried to be as unseen as humanly possible.
This isn’t easy when you’re nearly 5.7” and seem to draw attention from strangers anyway.
I enjoyed a world of books, movies, my family and occasionally friends outside of school.
As my mum got sicker and I was old enough to figure out how the story with her was going to end, my mental state deteriorated quite quickly. I’ve touched on this in past posts.
The biggest physical change was that I went from around a size 18 very quickly down to around a size 8.
I became obsessive.
I spent my nights exercising after I’d made sure that Mum was cared for and comfortable. Late into the night I’d run up and down the stairs or power walk laps of the house so I didn’t wake anyone up.
I had my routine down.
It was easy to skip breakfast as this wasn’t monitored.
For lunch I’d delay getting to the table with my friends until right before the bell. I could then grab my lunch as if I was going to eat it on the way, and throw it into the closest bin as I left their view.
Dinner I’d have to eat a little, but would complain about being tired and not hungry to help me get away with barely touching what was on my plate.
This is where my eating disorders began. There are so many to choose from and it seemed to be a constant rotation between one or the other.
The body dysmorphia associated with eating disorders, or low confidence in general, shaped what I saw in the mirror with its suffocating grip.
I’d look in the mirror and still see a size 18 body when in reality I was barely an 8. So I’d continue, never enjoying my body for what it was.
This cycle continued for 11 years.
It peaked after my dad died. Even I could see that I was skeletal and my closest male friend, whom we’d never had an argument before, sat with me until I ate a full meal the day before the funeral.
He was one of only two people in my whole life who was bold enough to call me on what was so clearly visible. We argued, but he didn’t care. I wasn’t allowed to budge until the whole meal was gone.
It was childlike on my part, but that moment changed my entire future.
He helped me see what my body looked like to others in terms that I understood. He compared me to someone else who I’ve always admired as incredibly slim and beautiful, and told me I was now much smaller than her.
I was shocked, and it clicked that what I saw in the mirror wasn’t real.
When I left my home town and returned back to my life I got help.
I’d been to a few people for one or two sessions about eating at certain points in my life but this time was different. I saw the impact it was having on my long term health and wanted it to end.
I was ready to let it go.
Drop back next week to read more about how I finally managed to conquer the scales and all that they represent.