I watched a YouTube video over a week ago, and I’m still thinking about it. I don’t usually watch a lot of The Gabby Show, but it popped up and I was interested. It’s interesting to me how many people are struggling, especially the number of people willing to voice their struggles. I like Gabby; she’s full of stories. I didn’t expect her to be the kind of person that would have an eating disorder, much less talk about it openly on YouTube. I knew Shane Dawson struggled with food and weight and liking himself. I know that Hannah Hart speaks a lot of about how she deals with negative feelings and trying to just feel better. I know Markiplier goes out of this way to let his fans know that he’s got problems and he has to deal with them, but that he hopes his fans have to deal with less. I like these YouTubers for these reasons. I like people that are amazing in spite of being fragile. It’s important to me.
It was hard for me to think about Gabby having an eating disorder, but I wasn’t sure why it was so difficult to think about. It wasn’t until later when I was in the grocery store that I realized it’s because she doesn’t LOOK like she has an eating disorder. She’s not crazy thin. She doesn’t look gaunt and drawn. Her teeth aren’t rotting out of her head. She doesn’t look like she’s in trouble. I fell victim to the most basic denial reasoning, and I should know better. I should know better than anyone that you can look totally fine and be dying inside. Your outside appearance doesn’t have to dictate anything except that you want to seem normal.
Let me take you through a trip to the grocery store with me.
A, I’m a fat girl. Let’s start with that, so you can picture me appropriately. I’m not just fat in the middle, or just have a large bottom half… I’m fat in an all over kind of way. On top of that, I’m self-conscious as shit, so I spend an inordinate amount of time looking around to see if anyone is looking at me an judging my food choices.
B, I always get a small cart, because there is less room to put things in. Plus, I always start in the produce section, because if I fill my space with vegetables I have less room for danger foods. I pick up fruit and stare at it. If it’s a banana, all I can think of are the calories. If it’s citrus or apples, I think about the sugar content. If it’s berries or grapes, I think about how well I can portion eating (which is NOT WELL). In the end, I usually put the fruit back. From the produce section we go to the bakery.
C, I only shop the clearance section. If nothing looks good, I move on in disappointment. If something smells like garlic, I pick it up. In the meat department I only shop clearance, trying to find things that freeze well. I can spend twenty minutes at both clearance spots pondering if I really want or need anything, usually just to pick something up and come back to drop it off later.
D, The rest of the store is me picking things up at random, agonizing about everything I even think of touching, and then trying to be sure I have what I actually came for. At the end of the trip, I circle back through the store again and put back as much of my cart as I can.
In theory, it probably doesn’t sound like a bad idea. You pickup what you think you want, look at your cart at the end, and empty what you don’t need. My cart usually ends up with celery, some kind of fried or sweet item I don’t need but convinced myself I deserve, and Gold Peak Diet Tea.
When I’m out with friends, if they’re going to get food before something, I make up an excuse for being late. If we’re out late and they wanna grab a bite to eat, I make up a reason to go home immediately. On dates, I dodge any dinner invitation. This has lead to a few people being insulted that I want to go out instead of going to their place for dinner… but to those people I say, “Bitch, even if I ate in front of people, I wouldn’t go to your house! I don’t know you! This is how horror movies start, you stupid oaf!” But I digress… I don’t eat in public, unless it’s with my mom, and even then I try to eat the smallest bites possible so as not to look like “that fat girl wolfing down a burger without chewing.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m under no delusion that I’m eating healthy. After buying my celery, I almost always pop over to Chipotle, ordering a bowl and some tacos under the guise of taking food to my mom, and then go home and binge eat everything, including the celery. I then spend as long as I can afterwards trying NOT TO EAT ANYTHING AT ALL. The point is that if you observe me… you’d have no idea how I got this big or maintain it. No one ever sees me eat.
I dunno where I’m going with this…
Don’t let someone’s outside appearance make you think they’re not hurting.
Everyone has problems… and they manifest in different ways.
Just let people be.
Also, if you are suffering, seek help.
I’ve sought a lot of help, and I’m very self-aware… I’m not cured, but I’m better than I’ve previously been. Don’t be scared of help… It’ll be okay.