Note from Jen Pastiloff, founder of The Manifest-Station. This is part of our Young Voices Series for Girl Power: You Are Enough. We are always looking for more writing from YOU! Make sure you follow us on instagram at @GirlPowerYouAreEnough and on Facebook here.
By Alyssa Limperis
I can still remember coming home from the doctor and hearing my mom ask, “Did he say you were better?” She was referencing my 9-month old eating disorder of anorexia. At about month 8, I’d decided that I wanted to start getting help. I wanted to start getting better. I’d decided I wanted to stop blacking out every weekend, to stop being freezing in the summer, to stop waking up at 5am to work out for 2 hours, to stop only sleeping for 3, and to stop dreading daylight because it meant the beginning of starvation.
I didn’t want to be possessed by a nasty dictator. I wanted to be free. I longed to take a bite into an apple without feeling disgusted with my weak self. I wanted to undo the damage I had done to my decaying bones. I wanted to be normal again. And so I went to get help. And a month later my mom asked if I was better. And in that month, I knew what that answer would be for a long time. I
quickly realized this wasn’t a cold. I couldn’t get a Z-pack and be ready for work on Monday. I had learned ugly truths. I had memorized specific details. I had lived in a frail body. Those are not strands of mucus that get blown into a tissue and
disappear. Those are pieces of knowledge that got lodged into my brain. My underfed, misguided brain.
Eight years and eight therapists later, I couldn’t get off the couch this morning after trying on tights that pinched me the wrong way. I screamed and cried and felt like a whale and was afraid that others would see it too. 8 years later, I can’t look at a picture of myself without thinking my face looks like a chubby 5th grader. 8 years later, I still think about every single thing I eat every single day. I am unfortunately still not better. I am haunted by this awful voice that still won’t shut up. It doesn’t speak as loudly, it doesn’t have as much control, but it is still in there whispering and waiting for a wrong move. Waiting for a bad day. It’s still there to distract me
from the magic of this gorgeous earth. To eliminate the joy that a cupcake delivers. To convince me that my body still isn’t desirable. To weigh me down.
In an effort to achieve ultimate lightness, I have gained hundreds of pounds. My body has ballooned with self-doubt. At my lowest weight, I was the heaviest. My pockets were filled with anger, irritation, disgust and shame. I lost my ass but gained an evil
monster who told me I wasn’t good enough until I lost 10 more pounds. I still long to lose 10 pounds. There is an irrational piece of me that still believes I would be happier if I lost 10 pounds. Believes I would be worthier. 8 years later, I still wanna get better.
Getting better is a strange phenomenon with an eating disorder. If I truly wanted to get better, I would have to be ok with letting go. With saying goodbye to that anorexic voice in my head. Over the years, that voice has become part of me. It is a bad friend but has become an old friend. It makes me feel in control. But now, see I didn’t write those sentences, the competing voice did. It wants to convince me that I can’t let it go. It wants to convince me that I need it to feel in control. It hopes I will ignore the fact that its entire essence makes me lose control of my life. Makes me be prisoner to toxic thoughts. I don’t need it anymore. I have powerful voices now. I have my friends’ voices, my boyfriend’s voice, my career’s voice, my own voice. I don’t need to be bogged down by a bad friend. Life is too short to live with a bad friend. I want to get better. I want to kick the voice out for good. I want to eat when I’m hungry. I want to smile when I see a mirror. I want to take control. I want to get better. It’s still going to take more than a Z-pack but maybe this time, it will take less than 8 years.
Alyssa Limperis is 25 years old and moved to NYC after college to pursue stand up comedy. She blogs at www.alyssalimperis.com.