I have never had the highest confidence, but I fake it well. I have perfected the attitude that everything is fine inside and out, when reality is I'm usually falling apart. People see me and would not guess that for the longest time my confidence was dangerously low. For years I have struggled with body image. It is something that I have never talked about till now. A secret that at times controls my life even when I try my hardest to fight it.
I have a love hate relationship with my body. Females of all ages do too. It is a toxic mindset that can make or break your confidence and ultimately how you carry yourself. There are days that I am confident in my appearance and can walk shoulders back and head held high, while other days are spent attacking every minor flaw I see. My mirror has the potential to be my best friend or my worst enemy.
I spent a good majority of my high school years secretly struggling with binge eating. I was terrified of what people thought of me and how I ate. I had twisted a basic human need into a fear of judgement. I avoided eating in front of other people all together and would gorge myself when everyone had gone away. Few friends noticed my struggle and even fewer cared to express their concern. I gave no hints at all towards admitting to the issue. It was my little secret and I intended it to stay that way. It began to morph into a more aggressive monster and soon enough I was avoiding situations where I would even be presented with an opportunity to eat in front of others.
I had to hit rock bottom before I could even think of looking up. I spoke up about my struggles to a counselor. All done privately so I could still keep it all under wraps from everyone around me. I was embarrassed to admit I had a problem, and even more hesitant to ask for help. Slowly things began to get better. I had a core group of friends who I trusted to support me and help me feel comfortable once again with eating in front of others. Eventually, it got better and I reached a level of comfort where things began to feel normal again.
There are days that those old thoughts come flooding back. Every dinner date brings a swarm of nervous butterflies because the fear of judgement could easily return. I will always be incredibly self conscious regarding eating around others, but I just remind myself of where I was. I look in the mirror now and I see strength and determination. I no longer see every imperfection, but instead I see a girl with a story that no one knows. A girl who dealt with a crippling fear of rejection and being judged. A girl who now knows that no one's opinions matter but my own.
If you have ever struggled with binge eating or any other form of eating disorder, I beg you to reach out for help. Doing it alone is hard. Having a safety net to fall back onto makes the ride a whole lot smoother.