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The Never-Ending Ladder: My journey to self love

Content Warning: This article contains discussion of eating disorders and body image.

Throughout my life, I have always had an aversion to my own personality. Despite my other qualities, it was something that I tried so hard to change. And often, I would end up pushing myself too far and jumping way over my comfort zone to try and please others. I was always trying to be someone that I wasn’t. I had a whole facade of this put together perfect girl, but nobody is perfect and never will be. This in turn, led me to develop an eating disorder which has been a part of my life for a few years now. I ran obsessively because I truly believed I had to stay incredibly thin to have any value because I didn’t know how to talk to people. I had to only eat healthy because I wasn’t a boy magnet. I had to be perfect because I would be “happy” when I was. It is a long, drawing impossible ladder to climb because this ladder of achieving my idea of perfection would never end. And this was all because I truly believed there was no other value that I could uphold that wasn’t being picture perfect.

When quarantine came about, I found myself finally at peace. My eating disorder began to fizzle out and I began to appreciate who I was. In all honesty, it started because I gave myself time to really explore this aspect of who I was. There was nothing I needed to change, I only needed to accept and appreciate the way I had been and the way I will always be. I was able to chanel this discontent into reading and baking, which I found myself utterly infatuated with. This time away from the world made me realize I was someone that I would like to be around. I didn’t have to work out like crazy or put myself on a restricting diet. I was free to be the girl I wanted to be without being perfect. Perfection is pure misery and I never want to be that way I was before. Now my idea of perfect is not an idea at all, it is simply something abstract that no one can touch. I learned my lesson and I found that the consequences of this lesson was being free from the unrealistic standards that I expected myself to satisfy effortlessly. For all who are reading this, you are amazing just the way you are and the only thing you should worry about is being happy the way you are. Believe me, it is so much easier said than done, but you will find a peace that you’ve never known before.

From then on, especially as I finish up my first semester of college, I know that who I am is a gift, especially to myself. I still have my moments-we all do- but I have found a solace that has made me strong in a way I never believed I could be. I may be shy, but that doesn’t mean that I am less than anyone else. I may not (and never will be) perfect, but it is relieving rather than all consuming. I stepped off that ladder and began to meander down a better road where I could see the end clearly, not an end that could never be reached.

Freshman writer for her campus GWU;)
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