As a teen, I realized at some point, that I had stopped growing. I was 5 foot 3 at 12 years old and weighed about 90 pounds. By 16 I was still 5 foot 3, but had gained to close to 100 pounds. Somehow, my brain translated that lack of extra height into a massive gain in girth. So, I decided to lose a few pounds.
But it was the wrong choice. I was thin. I had not had any real increase in girth. Although I hadn’t gotten taller, my hips had widened and my shoulders had broadened and my arms were longer. Even my tiny breasts were bigger. At 12 I had worn a 32AAA and at 16 I wore a 32A. So, losing even a few pounds was a disaster. But I didn’t see it that way.
So much of my life was completely out of my control. It seemed like my body was the one thing I could control. By 17, I was still 5 foot 3 and I was hovering between 90 and 95 pounds. But, I felt large. I felt like my butt was huge, when really it was the width of my hips that made my old pants tighter. I felt like my middle was enormous, when really my breasts were just a bit bigger and my shoulders made my old shirts feel too small.
I started wearing baggy clothes to hide how big I was. I wore long shapeless shirts from the plus-department. Tops that came below my butt and didn’t touch me anywhere except where they rested and hung from my shoulders. I never ever tucked anything in, I couldn’t bear the scrutiny of my size.
In my mind, I ate plenty at meals. Sometimes even too much. But outside sources tell me I barely ate anything at all.I had a friend who was shorter and lighter than me. I felt enormous next to her and dreamed of weighing as little as she did. My mother and my sister started commenting on my size. They saw me without my clothes sometimes, my sister and I shared a room. According to them I looked gross and disgusting. They said they could see my ribs and count my spine bones. But from the front, I couldn’t see my ribs or count my spine bones. I literally did not see what they were talking about. I felt like they were mean and making fun of me. Actually, they may have been. Cruelty was nothing new in our house. But, I also felt like they were lying, exaggerating to trick me into gaining weight.
I had no perspective. For many years, I was so thin, I didn’t have enough body fat to have a menstrual cycle with any regularity. I would have one or two periods a year. I was sexually active by then and constantly paranoid I would be pregnant. I smoked about a pack a day and took birth control pills. I think both of those helped me stay small. I honestly didn’t think that being too thin to bleed every month was a bad thing or a negative indicator. As long as I wasn’t pregnant, I didn’t care that I missed a lot of periods.
On my own, I would never have changed. My family was not “helpful”. They sometimes lectured me or bitched at me about my size or my eating habits. But not always, and never in a constructive way. Every comment was a knife blade meant to wound me and force me to change through pain. I was used to pain by then and didn’t see it as a motivator. My stress levels were probably a huge contributing factor as well. I lived in semi-constant hell. I hated my mother, I hated my whole family. As a teen, I would have gladly walked away from them all and never looked back.
Anyway, my undiagnosed Anorexia didn’t change or go away until I was 22. I had to change it then. I worked at it. I wanted it different. I was pregnant and needed to be healthy enough for the baby. That baby is another post.