Letter to SI: Underground Battle
Julie Olsen '14
Hello SI. You may know me as the girl who posts videos every Tuesday on Facebook with a chipper greeting and lovey-dovey message of some sort. Recently I did one on eating disorders and how to sucker- punch them, since I am someone six months recovered from anorexia. After that video posted I had twenty-four students message me confessing to their own EDs, which brings us to the point of this article. SI is filled to the brim with people who knock our socks off. They range from star athletes to outstanding musicians and actors, to kindhearted people worthy￼￼￼￼ of a Nobel Peace Prize. However, for whatever reason, insecurities and the pressure to be accepted still rampage throughout the school. The pressure to be thin is so ubiquitous. Hardly a day goes by in which I don't hear a girl com- plain that she's "so fat" for being a size four, or that she's "so bad" for eating pasta. This attitude needs to stop, not only because vocalizing self-criticisms breeds self-criticisms in others, but because everyone at SI is already beautiful. If there's one thing I've learned from anorexia, it's that people don't give a flying flip about what size you are (except jerks, of course). My friends love me now just as much as they did when I was skinny; the only difference now is that I love me, too.
People who criticize themselves make me so sad. Seeing my peers convinced that they are "not good enough" is heart breaking. I used to think that about myself, too, but that kind of thinking is what invited anorexia into my life for a year and a half. However, since sucker-punching her off my shoulder, I see how tainted this attitude is. You may think you’re worthless, but that’s just because you’re looking through a filter that masks all your good qualities; therefore all you see are your negative ones blown up billboard-size. This filter could be the debris from a broken relationship, an overwhelming fear, or low self- esteem, but let me let you in on a little secret. You can peel that filter off; all you have to do is find the weak corner, which you can do by finding what makes you happy. Get into yoga, try cooking, paint your feelings, dance, go shopping, volunteer! Do something that makes you feel good about yourself. Your body holds your soul and personality and talents; therefore, it is the most finely-crafted instrument you will ever own. Treat it like a temple. Dance, run, breathe fresh air, think good thoughts, move in every possible way and eat enough food to nourish these activities. Look in the mirror and smile at what you see, even if you don't like it yet.
In modern culture, society sets us up to be ashamed of our eating disorders; therefore we don't talk about them and we become convinced that we are alone. Well I am here to let you know that you are not alone. Eating disorders are very common, and they are nothing to be ashamed of. They are disorders that need treatment, just as we seek remedies for other illnesses that we suffer The irony of eating disorders is that we think (I thought) that skinniness brings happiness, but really, loving yourself is the key to unlocking that happiness. Stay strong my friends, I have faith in you.
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