I have spent everyday since my discharge contemplating how I could get back to my anorexic-tendencies as fast as possible. Every morning I order my same iced coffee, hoping it'll work like it used to. I still wander the aisles of grocery stores, hunting down the lowest calorie option possible. Sometimes I leave with nothing, and the July bag of bones that I used to be makes a guest appearance in February. I truly believe being vegan is the best option for myself health wise, and I do not support the mass murder and abuse of animals. But sometimes, it is still an excuse for me to be able to say no to food. I still stand behind my monologues about how my friends, family, and hospitalization saved my life. I still believe I look better now than the old me that was almost 30 pounds lighter. I am happier now that my mind will let me chew, swallow and digest. But my secrets are real, and for that, I am sorry.
Ariana Grande's Thank U, Next album has taken the charts by storm. The pop singer's newest releases are in Instagram captions, celeb Twitter videos, and conversations around the globe. Though I love the melodies, confidence-boosting bops, and fantastic beats, one song really struck me. I spent a traffic and tear-filled car ride after work one day, sobbing to "Fake Smile". As I filled my hands with the physical out-pour of everything I have been concealing about work, a policeman pulled up next to me to make sure I was okay. I found myself telling him everything was completely fine, only perpetuating my sorrows. Maybe he could not do anything considering the fact it was not an immense legal issue, but in that moment I realized Ariana was talking to me.
Our fake smiles are perpetuating the woes of tomorrow. I found myself masking my eating disorder downfalls, inappropriate work experiences, stress, emotions about my late father and grandmother, financial issues, lack of confidence, and everything under the sun, behind an artificial smile. What has that done for me? So far, it has only given me this article.
Music is so powerful, maybe more so than we realize. In one single car ride listening to the Thank U, Next album, I had a revelation. My bank account still makes me wince, my body still makes me reminisce ominously about my underweight figure, and sometimes I still cry, wishing I could have saved my father. I have realized as a 20-something that loves Ariana Grande and would love to undo the cultural damage that has been perpetuated by societal standards, that the fake smiles that our face-saving baby boomers and beyond have taught us to perform will be the ultimate downfall of life as we know it.
As an outgoing, honest, uncut individual and writer, even I find myself hiding behind the cheery, "strong" archetype I have been constructing my entire life. Strength is not summed up by the amount that you keep concealed. I have always been criticized and made out to be "attention-seeking" because of how rapidly I self-disclose. I have only given the tip of the iceberg about my life, and even that is dishonorable. I encourage you all to apologize to yourself for hiding everything you should have never kept quiet in the first place. For every tear-jerking event that haunts your sleep, every toxic thought that you feared judgment about, every time you wanted to cry but told yourself you couldn't, let yourself know that you are sorry. The age of fake smiles need to come crashing down. Defend your beliefs, your raw, anti-mob mentality beliefs. Tell someone you miss them if you really want to. "F*** a fake smile".