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How Good It Tastes (Article/Personal Account) (1 Viewer)

L

Laura- Tiffany

How Good It Tastes

It's been a long year and a half. I didn't realize how long it has been until I actually thought about it. A year and a half out of control that took away my grades, my love for writing, and almost my life.

Everything started so innocently, I didn't have time to react. I went on a diet. A healthy one, complete with sixty minutes of exercise and generous portions of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Of course, since I used to be a "burger and fries" girl, and now I wasn't, I lost a lot of weight and backed up into a wardrobe I wore three years ago.

Needless to say, I was delighted. So I started exercising more. And eating less. I went from a healthy one hundred five pounds to ninety pounds and I dreamed of seventy-five.

The cycle continued until one evening, blinded by hunger, I went on my first binge. I remember it fondly, for some reason: a box of vanilla wafers, a box of brownies and dessert cakes, a pint of ice cream, a bar of chocolate, a quarter of a loaf of bread, half a jar of peanut butter, and a piece of cheese. Afterwards, I felt so guilty, so ugly. I wanted to throw up. But I couldn't. So I went in my room, locked the door, and exercised for five hours straight until I felt I had purged every little calorie and sugar gram from my body.

I continued to binge and purge in this way. I never dropped anymore weight, but I backed up into a wardrobe I had worn in middle school, and here I was in the last year of high school! My body fat percentage went down to 6.6% and it turns out that I did so much damage to myself in that way I'll probably never have kids.

But I was blind to any damage I was doing to myself. I thought I was being healthy, and I was, for the most part. During the day, I ate like a health guru. But at night, I'd eat like an elephant, and I wasn't discriminating about what I ate, either. It's like one person went to bed at night and another walked out in the morning.

My grades started to slip. I used to be ahead of everybody in my classes and now I was chronically behind. I didn't want to do homework because it interfered with exercise. I especially didn't want to write--though I could remember a time when it was my favorite activity--because one story could take hours to complete and that was time I just didn't have.

When I finally got treatment for what turned out to be a subclinical eating disorder, I realized the extent of the damage. The excessive exercise put tremendous strain on my heart and enlarged it. I still have trouble with unbalanced electrolytes, and I've got bruises in places most people don't get them. I'm a good candidate for heart disease and osteoporosis, due to low levels of estrogen.

The biggest damages were in my academic life. Obsessed with food and thinness, I hadn't paid attention to any of my lessons and reading my favorite stories had lost its joy. I became depressed and thought about dropping out of highschool. I missed the days when I was free. I missed playing with my dogs, going for long, slow walks. But what I missed most was sitting down and writing a story, good or bad.

Then, one day, when I was talking to the school nurse, she said, "Why don't you pick up writing again?"

My hands were shaky when I sat down to take her advice. The first sentences I tapped out were agony. Creaky wheels in my head had begun to turn. While I had been obsessed with food, calories, and exercise to burn it all off, I had gotten rusty on a lot of other things. After about three paragraphs of grade-A garbage, I was about ready to break into tears and quit.

So I came back later, and something amazing happened. The old me started to come back. The words flowed. The ideas committed themselves to paper in ways they never had before because I now understood the pain that was often involved behind and with them. I became more empathetic for my characters because I could imagine better the hardships I chose to put them through.

In a way, a subclinical eating disorder has nearly destroyed me, and it's also showed me what matters most in my life. I realize now how much I love to write, how much I love to read and discuss philosophy with my fellow classmates. I realize that being healthy isn't about being excessive. It's about doing what you love and loving yourself.

I still have problems. I think I'm fat when I'm a healthy weight. I think I'm too short, too stupid, that I'll never regain what I've lost. But I know these things aren't true, and I know that if I keep trying, the old me will come back.

The old me. The person who was balanced, healthy, and happy. How good it tastes to know that someday, maybe, I'll be completely healed.
 

00153719

Member
I really enjoyed your writing and look forward to reading more. It was interesting from start to finish and straight to the point.

Getting back in touch with the real you is the best feeling in the world. Or at least it was for me. I wish you the best of luck.
 

americanwriter

Senior Member
Your experience has made you strong and wiser than you were before. And has allowed you an opportunity to write with focus and just the right amount of emotional connectivity that will keep your readers engaged. This is well done and courageous. Best wishes with placing it. I think it might do well in one of the Teen Mags, because there are certainly young women out there today that need to know that moderation is their best friend.
 

sputnik_15

Senior Member
That was very good, an enjoyable read, kept me interested :), i never exactly understood alot of eating disorders and things like that. i guess i just dont understnad. but im glad you realized the real you again :)

welcome to the forums. im new too :)
 
S

scribblesheet

I thought you had a good story to tell. However, i felt too many sentences began with "I". It got a little irritating as I read it. Dont worry I am not some 19th century school teacher who stops kids from using the word "I". I think you can use more creative beginnings for your sentences.
 

americanwriter

Senior Member
"I" is not a dirty word, particularly with respect to personal essays. Use it sparingly, don't be afraid to omit it when something else will do just as well but do not be afraid to use it. For too long, writing programs have taught that using the word "I" in writing an essay was almost criminal. It's not. It's as good as any other word. Some of the best essayists out there use it as they wish. The truly gifted personal essayists have found a way to interject it in a way to maintain ownership of their work.
 

The Backward OX

WF Veterans
For too long, writing programs have taught that using the word "I" in writing an essay was almost criminal. It's not. It's as good as any other word. Some of the best essayists out there use it as they wish. The truly gifted personal essayists have found a way to interject it in a way to maintain ownership of their work.

Would you perhaps care to share with us some further details pertaining to your final sentence?
 

americanwriter

Senior Member
Would you perhaps care to share with us some further details pertaining to your final sentence?

Have you ever read an essay in which the word "I" has been surgically removed as though it were a cancer? When I come across them, I cringe, becuase there is a distance about those works, a deliberately constructed chasm between the essayist the essay and the reader, an emotional disconnect. The author's writing may be eloquent, their structure perfect, their point made, their punctuation and spelling without flaw, but the personal connection is all too often lost. Isn't the point of a personal essay to connect with the reader on an emotionally intimate level? I can't count all the writing classes I have taken through the years where a personal essay was returned and I was told to reconstruct my paragraphs, omitting the word "I". Excuse me? This is a personal essay, emphasis on personal. Its purpose is to allow me to put the story before the reader and then step out of my shoes so they can step into them and feel a part. When they read the essay to themselves, the words crossing through their minds, that "I" becomes them and they're right there in the experience.

I'm not saying start every single sentence with it. But if you're going to be an essayist, or any type of writer for that matter, you can't be afraid to take the word out and exercise it every now and again.
 
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