REAL TALK: There’s no denying that I like taking selfies (you know, in case you haven’t realized by now). I’ve been into them since the MySpace era. A few things have changed since then, like the invention of the front-face camera & slightly more technologically advanced phones. But, one thing hasn’t really changed: I like selfies.
Last year around this time, I found myself in the darkest & most dangerous period of my anorexia. Suddenly, selfies were a rarity. My life became all about FOOD & beautiful photos of it all over social media. Sadly, although I wished it was, that food wasn’t for me.
My life became all about preparing beautiful & delicious food for others & vicariously feeding my brain & body through those actions. Making food for others was a way to compensate for the fact that no matter how badly I wanted to eat, ED didn’t let me.
It was a way for me to pass the time until my next permitted snack or meal. Cooking meant I could get my mind off of what I’d eat & focus on what I’d make for others.
So, I cooked & baked my life away.
I went to grocery stores for hours & bought food I didn’t eat but wished I could. I spent hours there to make time go by & to subconsciously feed my mind through vision instead of nourishment.
Little did I know: this fake form of nourishment was slowly killing me.
Selfies also became something I loathed because contrary to popular belief, I HATED the way I looked.
People with EDs are NOT VAIN.
They are not going through a fad or a phase to look thin, bony, frail, lose their hair, grow a protective layer to stay warm or to feel so weak they can hardly make it up a staircase.
People with EDs look at themselves & they’re scared. Every reflection is a warning sign that their life is on the line & that they just might collapse & never make it out of ED’s trap.
I hated how I looked so much that there were days where I made a conscious effort not to look at myself in the mirror, let alone reach for my phone & take a selfie.
Every time I looked at myself, I was reminded of what I was doing to my body, how it was affecting those around me & how I was simply “too weak” to stop, even if I wanted to.
Nobody likes to be reminded that they’re weak.
Eating disorders are not a myth, a lifestyle choice or a pursuit for the perfect body. They are diseases & disorders of the mind that are so strong & powerful that they have the ability to alter thought processes & behaviours to the point where victims don’t even recognize themselves.
Don’t be fooled by the way we look – It’s not an ideal or goal. The thinner & more frail we look, the deeper we are in the trap, the more we are hurting & suffering & the more life & our ability to LIVE is on the decline.
Today, I still LIKE selfies & I post them all the time. I’m still not doing it because I’m vain, self-centred or because I love the way I look.
I do it because selfies are just one of the more superficial things my ED took away from me.
Now that I am recovered, being able to do any little or big thing that ED once took away from me, is one of the most rewarding things in the world.
Today, selfies are a reminder that I’m a warrior & a fighter.
A reminder that my life is no longer on the line & that everyday is more beautiful & full of more opportunities to do & be better than the last.
The selfies in between all the delicious meals that I cook & post also serve as a reminder that I’ve found happiness in cooking healthy & clean food not only for others but also for myself.
A reminder that I no longer need to feed my mind (but starve my body) through hour-long cooking sessions, beautiful & delicious food I wasn’t allowed to eat & grocery store runs that were useless in the grand scheme of things.
They’re a reminder that my life is no longer a timer that I watch tick impatiently until my next permitted meal & that recovery has taught me the meaning of FEEDING & NOURISHING MY BODY WHEN IT NEEDS IT.
So yes, a selfie is a selfie.
Some might think it’s superficial.
Others might enjoy them too.
But selfies mean a lot more to me today than ever. There’s a way deeper meaning to them & to me, they represent LIFE & taking back all the things I love from an illness I trusted so hard & that was slowly destroying me.
They’re a symbol of my FIGHT but more importantly, of my VICTORY.