What It’s Like for a Former Anorexic to Join the Gym

Not too many people know this about me, but I struggled with an eating disorder through much of high school. I wanted to be thin and perfect, and I never felt I was good enough. I suffered in silence, starving myself until my fat melted away and my skin clung to my bones. I felt my heart getting weaker both metaphorically and physically. I was an athlete and nearly collapsed at swim practices because my body was so weak. I hated myself, I hated my body, and I hated who I had become. Things didn’t get better until one night I sat in my bathroom crying, and I realized that if I didn’t change, I was probably going to die soon.

I recovered in relative silence, too. I slowly stopped skipping meals and started eating more. I learned to find my identity in Christ rather than in my body size. My new boyfriend showed me that I was worthy of being loved. It’s simple really; It’s all about love. Love from God and from people washed over me, and I learned to love myself. Love was all I really needed, and now I’m healthy.

I’ve gained 45 pounds since high school. I’m a curvy Puerto Rican young woman, and I’ve learned to embrace that.

That being said, I decided to join a gym in August. Not to “lose weight” necessarily, but to be healthier. I want my body to reach it’s potential. I want to be able to do those crazy yoga poses you see on Pinterest, run a mile without feeling like I’m going to die, keep up with my future energetic kids, and whatever else I feel like doing. I want to love my body so much that I enable it to do amazing things. (And I’m very proud of that last sentence, because it shows me how far I’ve come since the days of hating my body so much that I forced it to wither away to nothingness).

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Day 6: Perfectionism and grace

Perfectionism. It’s a beast that constantly lurks under the surface, changing shape everyday. Your body has to fit into that dress in a certain way, your grades have to be phenomenal, and your eyeliner can never smudge.

I’ve struggled with perfectionism for almost my whole life. I know I’m not perfect, and I know I never will be, but something in me is always striving to be flawless.

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Taking off the mask

One morning when my big sister and I were getting ready for school, she looked at me and said, “Mimi, you really should start wearing more makeup. You look dead and ugly without it.” My 15-year-old self took those words to heart, and five years later I guess I still haven’t shaken them.

For the last five years I haven’t been able to leave my house without at least some amount of makeup on. I have to be wearing makeup, even if it’s just eyeliner, or I feel ugly and super insecure. Now, I suppose my loving big sis is not entirely responsible for this attitude of mine; there seems to be something in our culture that convinces us that painting our faces is a necessity. When I think about it, it’s kind of a crazy concept considering that I survived the first fifteen years of my life without wearing makeup and felt completely fine

I was inspired/challenged by a Buzzfeed article to go a week without wearing makeup. My journey starts tomorrow and, too be honest, I’m scared. I don’t know if I can make it through this entire week without makeup, but I’m going to give it my best shot and see what I can learn along the way.