Senior Farewell: I needed to stop pretending I was thriving on the inside
Content warning: Contains references to eating disorders.
It all started with a simple intention to “better myself,” and it ended with a sickness I couldn’t control.
Appearance had never been my main focus until the summer after freshman year. After beginning to feel bad by comparing myself to peers, I would turn to my phone for distractions. But that just made it worse, as I was scrolling through Snapchat stories and Instagram posts until my eyes burned.
When true struggles hit me, I felt more isolated than I could begin to express. There was not much in my life that I felt that I could control – even how I was feeling. Subconsciously, I ran to the only thing I thought I could control: my eating.
I soon hit rock bottom. On the outside, I was pleased with my appearance, but on the inside dizziness and fatigue felt like a normal part of everyday life.
I counted every pound and every calorie, to the point where I didn’t even need to count anymore. My own health took a backseat to this sickness to such a degree that today it is difficult for me to look back at pictures of me from this time.
After a health scare brought my own brain back to reality, I knew I needed to quit pretending that the person on the outside was thriving on the inside.
I was reluctantly placed into outpatient therapy every day. I went completely online for school, and nobody knew why. I thought my isolation had peaked before, but it was nothing compared to this.
Forcing myself to eat felt like something I could no longer do. I had lost who I was and the body that was holding me.
I began two months of intensive therapy as one person, and I came out as another. Therapy is nothing to be ashamed of. Even though it took until my senior year to recognize this, I can confidently say that I have found the most pivotal lesson in my life.
I have learned that comparison is the thief of joy in all aspects of life. Comparison is the seed that the roots of vulnerability, masking, and toxicity all grow out of. Comparison can shave your inner being, leaving you with a fraction of who you thought you were.
Objectively speaking, high school is only four years – four years out of an entire lifetime. It is not worth it to spend time comparing yourself to others and changing the person you are at heart to fulfill someone else’s expectations.
The lifetime ahead of you is driven by one person: yourself. The test of true strength is won by those who have the ability to respect and honor themselves, no matter who is standing near them or who is appearing on their screens.