Sample Chapter from my Book "Girl Talk: Boys, Bullies and Body Image"
By Dr Carol on May 20, 2013
Chapter 5- The Reality Show
I am a six or seven out of 10 on the scale of self-esteem.
I am not some teenage girl on the Disney Channel who writes in a diary and cries about a boy who doesn’t like her. No, that’s not deep enough. That downgrades my issues.
I don’t have a diary.
I don’t write, “Dear diary, so-and-so doesn’t like me back.”
No – when I have a bad day, I scream, punch pillows, and listen to angry music at the highest volume until everything else fades away.
Or I smoke weed.
Or, I used to throw up until I passed out.
Have you ever seen that on the Disney Channel?
I am a six or seven, but this wasn’t always the case. There is one thing I need you to clearly understand about me before you walk away: I HATE who I was a year ago. Who I am today, right now, is not who I was even a couple months ago.
I have struggled with bulimia since the fourth grade.
I’ve always kind of had people make fun of me for my weight. I’m not fat but I’m not thin. Boys especially like to point this out every chance they get. Like recently a guy told my friend that I was a chunky girl. He said that only black guys would ever like me because they’re the only ones who could handle my “thickness.”
What? Excuse me?
I would usually take a comment like that to heart, but this time I didn’t let it affect me. This time, I confronted him… well, yelled at him actually. I’ve come a long way.
But the main source of my bulimia doesn’t stem from cruel comments about my weight.
It all started in the third grade when my dad moved away. My mom was kind of unstable. Sometimes she was more than kind of unstable; she was CRAZY. Other times she would just come home from work, go to her bedroom, and shut her door for the night. About a year ago, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. But at the time I had no idea. No idea at all what was going on with her.
So I raised my sister and me. Even though she is older, I helped her with her homework and did her laundry. She’s kind of a princess. I was always the one making meals, doing the chores… all that stuff. It got to be too much. A fourth grader shouldn’t be cooking dinner every night and making lunches every morning, you know?
I felt like I was losing control of my life. I had to put myself and my energy into something.
So I put them into throwing up.
Later I discovered that one of my friends had anorexia. I didn’t know at first because I was too trapped in my own head to focus on other people’s problems. When I found out, our relationship changed. We were both obsessed with our eating disorders and would root each other on.
She’d call and say, “Did you eat lunch today?”
I’d say no.
She’d say, “Good. Don’t. And here’s why you shouldn’t eat dinner either.”
It was not a healthy friendship at all, and I can see that. Now, anyway.
My relationship with boys wasn’t healthy either. In middle school, I got a bad reputation for being a slut. I craved attention. The feeling of having someone who “wanted” me took over. When a guy noticed me, I would think, Oh my God! A guy actually WANTS me? I would do anything then, you know? And guys turned into huge assholes, using me all the time.
Between boys and bulimia, I was a mess. When I started coughing up blood and passing out, my mom and dad decided to take action. They sent me to a hospital and from there I went into residential treatment.
My anorexic “friend” would call me while I was in rehab. She’d be like, “Oh my God. Are they making you fat? I bet they’re making you SO fat.”
But they weren’t making me fat; they were making me myself again. An amazing thing happened there: I found tools. Things I liked. I got back into horseback riding and played volleyball. I quit cheerleading. THANK GOD. Cheerleading was so incredibly negative.
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