I laid in my new hospital bed that would be my home for the next few weeks. The walls were bland, the peculiar baby painting was staring at me, and my mind was far too flooded to allow myself to cry. In just 4 hours, my 7-year obscure, secret diet was labeled as a malicious mental disorder that was killing me. After 15 pages of questions, an hour of crying, an hour of medical examinations, a wheelchair escort to the ER, 3 blood tests, 3 urine tests, 3 different doctors, and a second wheelchair escort, I was plopped into my cell in the ED unit. Once my mom left the room to get shirts and leggings for my stay, a kind man with an X-ray machine entered the room to see how badly I ruined my GI tract. He looked at me and asked, "you look fine, why are you here?" In 7 words, my world shattered. In the first 3, my urge to starve and purge yanked at my brain like never before. In the eyes of an anorexic, anything beyond fear of how thin you are translates to "fat" in our Ana complex. For someone that worked closely to patients with these mindsets, I was shocked at how casually those words slipped out of his mouth.
I do not understand how my high school is still a credited institution. Students that required financial assistance were pulled out of class to be reminded they require assistance and have paperwork to complete. I loved my peers and always felt bullied by the administration. I felt picked on for being the "poor kid" whose "mom wants her to just come here for free" (thanks, Mr. Vice President). How coincidental is it that as my entire class went wild once the teacher stepped out, one of three students that didn't hand over a sizable donation to the school was scolded for asking for their pen back. This would later somehow be grounds for this same teacher to deny the student an AP course, and argue they would never amount to anything. How did these individuals rise to power? To go further, the eyes of an educator, how could someone delegate power to individuals that are so toxic for the growth and development of all students?
While my experiences angered me in the moment, I truly have moved past them. I've grown from my experiences and I now know how to prepare myself in fragile situations. What upsets me is the parallels I find in the experiences of others. Nursing school is at an all-time high in terms of competitiveness.
How is it that thousands of intelligent men and women are denied, but the woman slut-shaming me during a routine STD test is granted the honor of such a sensitive role? We need to stop focusing on the numbers and expand our scope of what one must embody to become a hire on. Teachers and medical professionals are two of the most serious, influential roles in the American workforce. A piece of paper certifying completion should not be the golden ticket into a position that can deteriorate someone's future or wellbeing. ED nurses should not be a stranger to patient etiquette. Teachers should not take a student's future ignorantly into their own hands. It is understandable that slip-ups happen, miscommunication occurs, and people make mistakes. What is not okay, is excusing and empowering these faults. A B.S. should not excuse comments such as "I wish I was anorexic, I've gained so much weight!" In the age of competition in the workforce, I challenge America to reconfigure its standards. With a nation so eager to become great "again", why don't we begin with becoming decent.