I wake up in the middle on the night sometimes, sweating, crying. I have so much guilt built up inside me. All because people judge you before they know a thing about you. People see someone who is over weight and instantly assume that person sits on a sofa eating big Mac’s all day. Ok for some people the thought of a gym or a salad frightens them to death but for a lot more of these people this isn’t true. There are a number of reasons that person maybe retaining weight. So anyway I bet you wondering how this constantly makes me cry wellâ€¦
Steph was my best friend. We’d grown up together, went through primary, secondary and even college together. She had a smile as wide as the ocean and a wardrobe any 16-year-old girl would be proud of. So she wasn’t the perfect size 8 but no one was bothered. She was such a laugh; I can remember memories of us like yesterday, laughing so hard my sides hurt and rolling round the floor crying.
It was a Friday night and we were off to a local disco. Steph asked me if she looked ok, and she did. She looked better that ok she was glowing. She said she’d been skipping a few meals and was really happy because she could finally fit into the red skirt I brought her for her birthday over a year before. Through pure ignorance I praised her claiming she looked radiant. That night was ruined! Some childish, stupid, heartless little boy called James Wright ruined the whole night in one fowl sentence. “Oi fatty breath in I aint got all night to get round ya”
Harsh as it was I doubt Steph would have been so devastated if it hadn’t came from James. James was the captain of the football team at our college. Steph was in love with him. So much in love in fact she brought his tutor photo off a kid in his class for Â£50. Steph was like that. From that night things seemed to change.
Steph had an eating disorder. She lost pound after pound and became little more than skin and bone. It wasn’t just physical differences I noticed, she wasn’t the girl I once knew. The girl who had a warm smile and a hug for everyone became the girl whose skin flaked and whose hair fell out. The girl who would race against the boys and usually win became the girl who cheered them on instead. The girl who never lied became lost in a sea of dishonesty, in a feeble attempt to cover the truth. The girl, who told everyone to be true to themselves, was telling herself the biggest lie of all. It went unnoticed for far too long. A friend or family member suffering from an Eating Disorder can be very frightening. You want to help that person but you aren”t sure what you can do, you don”t even know what to say. Our once fun and giggles turned to awkward looks and silence. I wish id have paid more attention to what was coming out of her mouth rather than what”s going in.
So why does society dictate that we should be stick thin with blonde hair and long legs? Surely its what’s inside that counts? Maybe one day someone will create a dress that looks good on all of us. Maybe one day if I have grandchildren they will not know what an Eating Disorder is. If I had one wish it would be that we could all look past the appearance…sometimes a pretty package holds an empty gift…sometimes a package wrapped in plain paper, with no bows or ribbons, holds a diamond. Unfortunately, the media and the public continue to idolize ultra thin actresses and models. It’s the first thing you see when you turn on the television or open a paper.
So do these people, youths aspire to be like really deserve the admiration we give them? I pray that the next generation of women raised on “girl power” realise that the real power comes from within us, and that every person should be ruled by her own expectations and not one society dictates. I have read lots of statistics of eating disorders yet there is more behind those statistics that you read. Behind those statistics are people. Those numbers represent lives, lives that have been lost due to eating disorders. They are mothers. They are sisters. They are aunts. They are daughters. They are wives. One of those numbers was a very close friend of mine.
This wasn’t a one off problem. Thousands of people die every year due to eating disorders, that isn’t fictional its fact. This cannot be argued with, however the fact that we can help can be. I’m quite sure a lot of you sitting in front of me are self-conscious. You choose particular outfits because they make your bum or stomach looks smaller or your boobs look bigger. We all want people to be attracted to us, its natural but it seems it’s also natural to point out other peoples short comings. So do we do this to restore our own confidence? I think the bigger question is do we understand what were doing to that certain individual and the impact were putting on their lives.
Steph became really ill and was admitted to a special clinic. I tried to talk to her but I just didn’t understand. I tried everything; the nice approach, the honesty, the tears. Nothing worked. It was making me bad and I couldn’t bear to see her parents that way. I had her mom crying to me, asking me to talk to her. I did my best. I decided I wanted the old Steph back. I went to visit the day after and told her how I felt, how she was killing herself and how she was selfish and couldn’t see how much hurt she was putting here parents threw. We had our first real argument that night.
She died in her sleep the night after we argued. Dearest Steph I hope that you had good dreams that night. I hope that you dreamed, and you know that I love you, and am very sorry that we couldn”t have parted ways on better terms. But Steph, I love you hun, everyday that passes, you’re in my thoughts! I miss your smiling face and those eyes! And to be quite truthful I’m having trouble accepting the fact that you’re gone, so I wont. I just see it that we are going a while without seeing each other. I can understand why God would want you close to him, as you truly was an angel on earth. I love you and I miss you.
I thank you for listening and hope even a little of what I said made you think. It’s far easier to focus on bad things than good so all I ask is for you to think before you speak.