This I Believe

Jasmine - Glendale, Wisconsin
Entered on June 20, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: illness
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This I Believe…

A major belief that I implement everyday is never depriving my body. A few years ago, I acquired a negative perception of myself. I bought into the hype our society creates. With constant images of lean, perfectly proportioned women on T.V., it’s hard to be happy with your self-image. These images always bothered me, but not enough to harm myself. However, everything changed when I dove headfirst into high school.

My world suddenly turned upside down freshmen year. I was now surrounded by a sea of girls with lean bodies. Some looked as though they’d never had an ounce of fat on them. I started becoming paranoid. Every time I wore wear a fitted shirt, I would walk the halls with acute awareness. I wanted to see how fellow students perceived me. Most of them were so busy with their own problems that they never glanced in my direction. However, every once in a while, a teen would take notice. Their eyes would look briefly at my face, and then linger down to my stomach. Every time someone did that, I would become distraught.

I no longer thought I was a decent looking person. Instead, I decided to take action against my God given form. I went on an extreme diet, something I never would’ve done before. I turned my healthy eating habits into something unhealthy, trading whole meals for a bottle of water and a cookie. That’s the only thing I ever allowed myself to eat, no matter how hungry I was. Being on such a severe diet allowed me to shed pounds at an alarming rate. In the span of a month, I lost twenty pounds. I was so skinny my cheekbones were sunken in.

When I lost the weight, I noticed that I was still unhappy. I had only deprived myself to appease others. Instead of people discreetly observing me, students were openly giving me alarmed stares. I truly looked sick. Everyday, one of my friends would stroll up to me with comments such as: “Girl, what you been doing to yourself? You need to eat; you need some chicken.” Even though they presented it playfully, there was a serious message behind their jokes. I was emotionally and physically hurting myself.

That’s when I decided to stop the madness. I reinstated my prior diet of three healthy meals a day. Looking back, none of the things I did were worthwhile. I’m glad I had people who made me realize just how much I was damaging my body. If they hadn’t hit me with the truth, I would’ve progressed down a more dangerous path. I feel so healthy now. I no longer try to live up to everyone else’s standard of beauty. If I think I am beautiful, than I am beautiful. God made me the way I am for a reason, and I’m happy with that.