Summer from an Anorexic’s POV

Many people are excited about summer creeping around the corner. For them, summer means beaches, ice cream, and lazy strolls in the park. However, for me and others who struggle from body dysmorphia, eating disorders, and overall negative body image, the change of seasons is an opening into the fiery pits of hell. The constant body checking and comparing my body to everyone else’s “summer body” causes my eating disorder to leave from its six-month long hibernation like a demonic bear. 

Summer means leaving the comfy safe haven of baggy sweaters and sweatpants and venturing into the chilling realm of tank tops, dresses, and the god-awful, heart-stopping, pee-in-my pants, terrifying shorts. Some years I couldn’t get myself to wear anything besides pants and a t-shirt, lying to everyone and telling people “no, I’m not hot” while the giant pit stains under my arms give me away. Seeing everyone being confident in their summer outfits made me feel like an outcast. Like there was a giant, flashy sign in neon colours saying “eating disorder” above my head. Trips to the ice cream store with my friends means fake smiles while I mentally calculate how many calories a scoop of ice cream is and whether the cone is worth the added sugar. 

Above all, summer means making fake excuses whenever my friends or family make plans to go to the beach because I am not mentally ready to put on a bathing suit. I can’t remember the last time I was comfortable in a swimsuit and whether there was such a time at all. The worst part is, I love swimming. I love jumping with the waves and opening my eyes underwater to see the distorted waves from their perspectives as I try and break the record for holding my breath the longest. The burning sensation of my lungs reminding me that I am alive. Here. But the best part of being in the water is lying on my back with my arms and legs spread out like a starfish, and looking at the sky as the noise of hungry seagulls and yelling children and awful autotune music a group of teenagers are blasting fade away until all I can hear is my own heartbeat. That is what I miss the most about the beach. 

That is what I hate the most about my eating disorder. That it took the one feeling of peace I have ever felt from me. That is why tell myself that my summer body is just my body. That is why I eat that extra slice of garlic bread for dinner and drown my negative thoughts about myself with Coke—not diet Coke or Coke zero, but regular, sugary Coke. That is why I am recovering. 

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