Above the living room in my house, back in Louisville, there is a window. Countless times, I have seen birds fly straight into that window. The birds think there is nothing stopping them, so they keep flying forward and then out of nowhere the world hurts them. That window stopped the birds from being free. I️ believe that is how our lives go sometimes. I believe that we are all like birds - we think everything ahead of us is clear so, we keep moving forward. Then, out of the blue, we are struck by an obstacle. Instantly breaking our wings.
1. The impact from the glass
The reflection in a window can toy with your mind.
Just like birds, I broke my wings when I️ hit my own window. The tricky thing about windows is that if a bird flies straight into it, they won't be knocked down. The glass of the window may be broken, but the window sills keep the window intact. But for me, this window was not made of glass. It was a window with a name - Anorexia Nervosa. When I started to fly, I was only 16-years-old. I was healthy, happy, and wildly in love. Everything in my world orbited around high spirits.
The scariest scary part of anorexia is the fact that I️ had no idea how it happened to me.
When you lose someone to death, you feel broken. After it happens, we as humans usually come to peace with thinking that the loved one is in a better place. For me, losing this person led to me losing myself. I found no peace, I felt that I could not grow. The people that I once loved spending time with I never wanted to be around. This was the first time in my life when my heart was quiet and my head was loud. Loud like a thousand trumpets blaring in my ears.
2. Collateral damage
Photo by Anna Wittkowski
When our wings break, it feels like we have nothing else to help us revive.
Some people may think that anorexia is defined by needing a feeding tube and hospital trips. That it is not a 'real' eating disorder until these criteria were met. I held the same misconceptions. I had this goal to drop weight from 145-pounds to 95-pounds, a goal that I made sure I met. On my break at work, I would eat a pinch of spinach with no dressing, three slices of tomato, and two slices of cucumber. Even while I took these extreme measures to achieve what I thought would make me feel better, I told myself that what I was doing was okay. I thought that it was sustainable and I truly believed that I was healthy. Looking back now, I realize how wrong I was. Now, I am able to recognize all the tricks that my mind played on me.
Anorexia is the fear of weight and the fear quite literally eats someone alive.
It took me a while to realize that I did not want to move to Wisconsin to join a group home full of people like me. A house full of people where everyone was still alone. It's not that I didn't want to eat, it was that I was afraid to eat. If you have ever dreamed about you were running yet it felt like slow motion or dreamed where you were felt like you endlessly falling, that is how my life felt. Except for me, it was not like living in a dream, but a nightmare - I can never forget the living nightmare. Not the ones that were filled with ghosts and zombies, but the ones that filled my reality. I had to "eat" alone in my nightmares. They consisted of the hellish times, such as looking at a box of Gigi's cupcakes that I received from my Grandma as a birthday gift, causing me to instantly break down and cry until someone got them out of my face. Nonetheless, we either let the nightmares come to an end by turning our backs to them, or we let them take over and dictate how we feel.
3. Taking flight once again
VSCO gallery by Nish Amin
What many people don't know is that some of the birds that break their wings after flying straight into the glass, fly again.
However, it all depends on the results of the impact. Sometimes glass breaks into pieces that are large enough to put back together. Other times, the glass shatters into a million tiny pieces. But, when you shine light through the shattered glass, it glimmers.
I consider myself to be one of these fortunate birds. But, this was not an easy feat. The wakeup call that I so desperately needed was when I lost connection with one that I truly loved. After this well-past-due call, I finally started to fight for myself. No longer did I have bruises down my knees and up my spine. I realized that growing hair on your arms, back, ears and feet was not cute. That charcoal-colored fingers were not the ideal hands that boys would think about when they hear Beyoncé sing "if you liked it then you should've put a ring on it."
I found my smile once again, and my wings were repaired and much stronger this time.