It was Formal night: the biggest dance in youth group and filled with expectation. One of my best friends, Mia, was particularly excited because she wanted to dance with a guy she’d had her eye on for a while. Throughout the night we danced with our friends, yet all the while Mia kept one eye out for her crush, Luke. After finally shoving him to the back of her mind, she and I ran off the dance floor laughing to grab some soda. Upon our return we found one of our best friends kissing Luke and dancing with him in front of everyone. What made it worse was the fact that our friend knew all too well that Mia liked Luke. I will never forget Mia’s face at that moment. She cried in the bathroom for the rest of the night.
After a long weekend of Mia not answering her phone and our friend explaining that she simply “forgot” about Mia’s crush, I decided Mia would be over it by Monday. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Monday afternoon’s youth group meeting rolled around and I finally got a chance to talk to Mia alone. When I asked her how she felt after Saturday night, she shrugged and told me she was over it, no problem. But as we were talking, she casually mentioned that she hadn’t eaten since Saturday night.
Shocked, I questioned her and she replied, “There must have been some reason Luke wanted her and not me. I realized he chose her because she’s skinnier than I am. So if I lose a few pounds, maybe he’ll look at me the same way he looked at her.” Beneath my words etched with forced calm about how she was perfect just the way she was, I was fuming at how my friend had made Mia so insecure. I looked Mia in the eye and told her that she should put this behind her and realize she’s better off without him. At this, Mia started crying and I hugged her, knowing she must have liked Luke more than she let on.
The next day we found out that our friend and Luke were officially going out, which I knew wouldn’t help the situation. Later in the bathroom, Mia scowled at her reflection and pinched at the skin around her thighs and stomach, saying she could “stand to lose a few pounds.” Mia had never spoken negatively about her weight and had always been confident about her body. The fact that she doubted herself now worried me. Over the next few weeks at youth group, I monitored her at meals to make sure she ate something every day. As her best friend it was necessary for me to do this, yet it hurt me that a guy’s rejection had made her fall so far. Slowly her temporary anorexia disappeared and she resumed her normal appetite, but to this day she still makes offhand remarks about her weight.
The day Mia told me she hadn’t eaten in three days was one of the scariest days of my life. I believe that when you give your heart to someone, make sure there are strings attached so you can get it back if need be. Everyone needs a lifeline to hold on to. This I strongly believe.
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