I’ve been considered the ‘skinny’ friend my whole life. I was always the lanky, awkward, skinny friend who tried to stay in the background. Many people would call me names or try and put their hand around my waist.
Growing up, I naturally was skinny. I would eat three times a day and snack. I ate like a normal kid my height should eat. The doctor was never worried about my weight and told me I was perfectly healthy. But everyone I knew always would ask me, “Well do you eat?” I was young and had no idea that mental diseases were even a thing. I would be very confused by the question and always answer with a strong yes.
Once I got to high school, which started for me in the 7th grade, I was still naturally skinny but I was gaining weight due to puberty. My parent’s friends started asking them if I was eating enough or that I needed help. They would remark they were just ‘worried’ about me. I grew so annoyed with everyone asking if I was eating enough or throwing up after I ate.
I began to understand eating disorders when one of my best friends started using the restroom every time she was done eating. She honestly thought I wouldn’t notice and eventually, I asked if she was alright. She confessed that she was bulimic and was throwing up after every meal so she could loose weight. She was very open about her disease, which confused me more. I always thought if you had depression, anxiety, an eating disorder or any type of mental disorder, you weren’t supposed to talk about it. Society made me believe you were to keep it quiet.
The day I truly understood mental disorders was the day my first ‘love’ told me he didn’t want me. I was only 13 and I just felt numb. I didn’t feel sadness, anger, or pain. I just locked myself in my room and stared at my walls. I felt nothing. This numb feeling continued until my junior year of high school. I knew my life was complete shit. I knew that everything was my fault. I lost my friends, I shut out my family, I didn’t go out with anyone, I didn’t want to leave my bed. I hated going to school because I knew everyone was staring at me and judging me. I knew they all hated me and there was no point in me being alive.
My whole teenage life, I was in a deep depression. Some days, I would try to fight it but sometimes I couldn’t. With this depression, I gained anxiety. I have yet to shake this. I have terrible test anxiety, I was considered shy but I knew it was because my anxiety was so high. I couldn’t tell anyone because I felt so ashamed of myself. With the shame, I began to stop eating. I would pretend to eat meals in my room but just throw the food away. I hated eating out because I knew I hate to eat more than I usually do. I became so ill. I skipped even more school, I stayed in bed even more than before, I was becoming the person I was afraid to be my whole life.
The sad part was everyone started complimenting my skinnier body. “You look like you could be a model.” is what everyone would tell me. It made me a little bit happier than before. I was starting to feel something but it wasn’t exactly happiness. I was feeling pain, anger, confusion. I was scared that I would end up dead soon.
My junior year of high school, I finally decided to get that boy I have been crushing on forever. Somehow he asked me to the winter dance and I was completely ecstatic. I didn’t eat much when we went out to dinner beforehand. He’s a bit of an idiot and didn’t realize I don’t eat in general.
When we went to prom later that year, he still didn’t understand the reason I got the kids meal. It had the least amount of food. He praised me to his friends. He kept bragging that I was a cheap date.
My senior prom is finally when he realized what I was doing. I was still stick thin and very unhealthy looking. I knew I had to look extra good that day so I ate the smallest amount of food I could so I wouldn’t pass out.
That Monday after prom at school, I nearly passed out in gym class and was told to go to the nurse’s office. The nurse knew exactly what I was doing. She would repeat over and over and asked if I was eating. I knew the answer, she knew the answer. I just couldn’t say the answer. I was sent home that day and I confessed to my mom I haven’t been eating right for years.
I was considered the skinny friend. I had a reputation to uphold. I wanted to be prettier and happier. I thought if I was skinny, I would make friends. I might have been able to keep my friends. I thought I could get a guy’s attention.
It’s been a few years since I overcame many of these mental disorders. My depression and anxiety come back every once and a while but I know how to control myself so they don’t take over my life. I still get the, “Well do you eat?” every once in a blue moon. I may not be as thin as I once was but I’m nowhere near being fat. I’m happy with my thicker thighs and fatter ass. I’m okay that I don’t have a perfect stomach. I’m trying so hard to embrace my stretch marks. I’m so happy that society is changing to where every body type is beautiful. If you are naturally thin, like me, don’t be afraid to be you. You don’t have to gain weight to make yourself feel pretty. Look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself that you are hot as hell.
Embrace being the skinny friend.