I cleaned out my closet today. By that I mean I arched awkwardly over my sister's overflowing laundry hamper and sorted through storage containers. I was pretty ruthless - stuff that I've hung onto for years for "sentimental value" is currently sitting in the trash.
Then I found my old journals. My first day of high school, my first boyfriend, my first kiss. My first breakup, the SAT, college mail, my second boyfriend. Homecomings, prom. I thought about myself a lot. I'm also surprised by how virulently I hated myself sometimes. I really wasn't that bad.
I kept reading. There was the first time I listed what I'd eaten that day. When I first admitted to myself that I didn't know when or how to stop dieting. I wrote about fighting with my mother, throwing away the almonds she tried to make me eat. It was so weird to be diagnosed! How could I, as smart as I was, possibly have anorexia?
The entries go downhill from there. Those first weeks of treatment were brutal - and this wasn't a residential program; I was seeing three doctors a week. Things that should have been exciting were shadowed by how sick I was - going on vacation, starting college, meeting friends. And I said the ugliest things - about my mother, my doctors, myself.
The entries are saddening - but they're a reminder of how far I've come. I still struggle - and I will for a long time - but I've made this much progress.