On February 28th, I participated in Endicott College’s production of the Mind/Body Dialogues for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. The concept of the Mind/Body Dialogues is to create a collection of voices, an honest account of the ways in which we think about, feel towards, and care for our physical selves. This was the second year I participated and this year, I felt completely different. While I still struggle with disordered eating, I was not nervous about sharing my story, the piece I had written for this year’s production. I learned last year that I had every right to be up on that stage and I became less afraid of sharing parts of my story with others. Thank you to every phenomenal woman who spoke at Mind/Body Dialogues. I am so happy I was able to take part in this experience again because I have been surrounded by such love, support, honesty, strength, and courage. I am so proud of each woman who participated this year and I am thankful for everyone who came to the performance. While I still struggle to believe it when it comes to my own body, you are not defined by your looks, your weight, the number on a scale. The body is sacred thing, it should not be desecrated. Sending love to each and every person who needs it.

I want to share with you all what I wrote and performed at the 2017 Mind/Body Dialogues:

It became a sick game - how low can you go??

1,000. 900. 800. Go lower. 700. 600. Not good enough, go lower. 500. 400. 300 calories consumed today – not good enough, but it will do. A Luna bar and mini saltine crackers.

Just because I'm fat doesn't mean I can't have disordered eating. Not only am I ashamed because of my weight – I’m ashamed because I’m told I can’t possibly have disordered eating since I’m fat.

I've struggled with disordered eating since freshman year when the Callahan food was so unappetizing and made me ill. I've always been chubby or fat since my mom got sick. But I never had that part of my brain that would make me play a game of "how little can I eat today?" until my freshman year here. Second semester I recorded what I ate for two weeks. I remember I averaged less than 800 calories a day. I ate mini saltines, a Luna bar, and a Clif bar. I remember one day I was around 300 calories. When I turned in the project, my professor said nothing.

During the summer, I binged. But back at school for my sophomore year, I reverted to the same habits. Luna bars, Clif bars, and mini saltines.

To this day, I still struggle. I’m a graduate student here. Some days, I’m like “f*ck it, eat what you want, treat yo self” and others it’s “you had Belvita crackers and a Luna bar today – keep it under a 1,000 calories, you pig.”

My brain says "if you eat 700 calories today, you have to exercise and burn off those 700 calories on the arc trainer!" But I took nutrition, I know anatomy, that's not how it works. You burn calories by thinking, when sleeping, you stay alive through calories. But no, my brain elects to ignore that information and make me burn off everything I ate some days.

I have to shop in plus size. It's a shameful experience walking in the mall with your friends who can fit into something from any store. I just pretend to be interested in hats, socks, and scarves. My friends are single digit sizes, complain about how disgusting they are, how fat they are, how they hate how they look, and how they’re worthless because of their size. They say no one will love them because of their size. They say they’re “such a tub,” “a whale,” “a huge blob,” etc. Well how the f*ck do you think I feel?

I don’t remember ever thinking my body is beautiful. Hell, I can’t even appreciate it. I can swim a mile in 35 minutes, but my mind tells me that I should be able to do it in 30.

I constantly have thoughts about whether I can fit in the chair. Thoughts like, “Will I make it through that opening between the two chairs in the Callahan?” I constantly feel like people are judging me in the Callahan when I go get something to eat – “Look at that disgusting, fat bitch, she’s getting pizza” or “Look at that disgusting, fat bitch, she’s getting salad, who does she thinks she’s fooling? She didn’t get that way by eating salads.”

Whale. Tub. Fat f*ck. Jabba the Hutt. You piece of shit. You're stupid, fat, and ugly. Fat people have no value.

I restrict. I punish myself. I starve myself. I’m worthless. Why should I eat when I’m so fat? I don’t deserve food. I’m too fat already. I don’t deserve to live. My mind tells me that if I starve myself, if I feel those pangs of hunger, I’m punishing myself for not being good enough, not skinny enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not outgoing enough. I’m not thin enough. I’m not pretty enough. I’m not enough. I’m stupid, fat, and ugly. I’m stupid, fat, and ugly.

I’ve tried many times to at least even accept my body, but that never goes well. Most foods come with a side of shame. Either that or I just taste the shame as it goes in my mouth. I get told that “You have to love yourself before anyone will ever love you!” Well, f*ck that and f*ck you.