From as young as the age of 8, I remember hating my body. Puberty hit me like a tsunami. By the time I left elementary school I had the body of a full-grown woman and a menstrual cycle to match. Not a day went by that I didn’t feel awkward and out of place in my body.
That feeling soon became more than a feeling; it became my truth. It was in middle school that I first began standing in front of the mirror poking, prodding, and pinching my body—tears rolling down my face, berating my body for not being good enough. I would watch makeover shows and dream of all the plastic surgery I would get if I were ever chosen for a show like that. And, by the end of middle school, I went on my first diet.
By the time I had started high school, that first diet had turned into an eating disorder. We didn’t talk about it back then—not my family, friends, or teachers—but I know now that's exactly what it was. I was tormented by feelings of not being good enough—pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, liked enough. It became my secret realm of control, perfectionism, and perceived safety.