Preoccupation to Realization
As long as I can remember, food has been a large part of my life. Growing up Italian, it was inevitable. What 10 year old me did not anticipate was that enjoying food would become something of the past, and a preoccupation with counting and control would become the thing of the future.
Growing up sheltered with supportive family and friends in no way prepared me for the dog eat dog world that was high school. What I was good at, that I always knew I was good at, was the school part of school. The social aspect on the other hand was exhausting and overwhelming. Making friends was never my strong suit, so I conceded to being friends with the people that were nice to me. Being popular was never my priority but I did want everybody to like me, which I now realize is unrealistic.
Throughout my high school experience the bullying was bearable until I was about to start my senior year. My parents were pressuring me about university and my best friend had moved away. I became the brunt of the bullying.
My entire life became about control. My grades. My extracurricular activities. My food.
I slowly became consumed. Every thought, every action, was in some way related to food or how I could avoid eating meals.
I thought that losing weight would make the bullying and the pressure from my parents stop, but the thinner I got the more I hated myself. Nothing was ever good enough, and the happiness from losing weight was short lived as in the next moment I was fixated on how I could lose more.
When I thought there was no hope and that nobody cared, the light at the end of the tunnel appeared. University, though scary and unknown, saved my life. I rediscovered the light I had lost so many years ago. I began to get involved in theatre and photography, and I surrounded myself with people that were there for me when times got tough. Telling people about the darkest part of my life was scary, and getting help was scary, but I can undoubtedly say that I am better and healthier for it.
Every day is still a challenge. It’s not easy but it’s worth it, and I came to realize that I’m worth it. My eating disorder doesn’t define who I am anymore, and instead of it being in control of me, I’m in control of it.
Natasha is a recent graduate of Ryerson trying to find her place in the world after spending most of her life in the classroom. She's a frequenter of trivia and loves photography. In order to keep herself together when times get stressful she takes improve and yoga classes. She has also gotten into adult colouring which she actually finds very calming.