Tonight I went out with friends to get vegan pizza. This might seem like nothing out of the ordinary for most people but for me this was just another reminder of how different my life is now from 2 years ago.
I can remember at this time two years ago every time I rode the buses back and forth from downtown I would watch people. I would watch the easy natured way they talked to their friends on the bus and made plans for the weekend. I remember wanting so badly to be able to connect with people and break out of my self built isolation.
I would get off the bus and go back to my apartment and cry. Most days I would cry. I was tired of being lonely. I was recovering from an eating disorder, but what’s even harder about recovery is recovering the social aspect. (this may not be true for everyone) But I cut myself completely off in the depths of my disorder and did not know how to build friendships and just talk to people.
Once I stopped worrying about what I ate and when I ate and whether people were judging me for eating my life became a lot easier.
Not to say my life is perfect now. It’s a rare day that I don’t think about slipping back into disordered habits or losing weight. Body positivity is hard and I am no expert at it. I still struggle with anxiety.
But now I live for other things than my image and my weight and the “cleanness” of my food. I love pouring my energy into animal rights and Banana Slugs for Animals, my campus group, and writing for City On a Hill Press. I love cooking people yummy food (and eating some of it!). I do have body image issues but I’m happy now.
I never thought it would be possible to go out with friends and eat multiple slices of pizza and laugh and not give it a second thought. My life is better now even if I’m no longer a size zero and even if my food is not 100% healthy all the time.
And I guess I’m just writing this to say that life does get better. I know what it’s like to feel like you’ll be stuck in an endless cycle of loneliness and depression. It’s hard when you feel cut off and like you can never bridge the gap between you and other people. And nothing anyone says really helps.
When I really devoted my time to Banana Slugs for Animals I met some of the most wonderful, caring people I’ve ever met. They’ve made my life and time at UC Santa Cruz so much better. I love being surrounded with compassionate driven people who share similar goals. I love having people to make vegan food with and go to Veg Fests and Animal Sanctuaries.
It took me a lot of hard work to rebuild the social aspect of my life. It’s hard to look back at the pictures of me from a few years ago and see how different I looked and I can’t quite quiet that deep longing to be skinny again. Somedays it’s a deafening roar in my head, but on nights like tonight it’s barely a whisper.