The Eating Disorder Information Network (EDIN) strives to break through the haze of societal messaging that contributes to the development of eating disorders. Dedicated to encouraging the healing of men and women affected, EDIN tackles the issues head on through increased community outreach, education and awareness. Recently the nonprofit invited middle school, high school and college student eating disorder survivors to write a letter to their younger self as part of an essay contest. College essay winner Montana Marie shares hers below; see other winning essay online at myedin.org.
College Winner — Montana Marie
What if you wake up one day when you’re 65 and you never got your memoir or novel written or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice comfortable tummy or you were just so hung up on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy, creative life, of imagination and silliness. It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. Learning to love myself again was like learning to walk all over again. Self-appreciation comes from within when you realize that what other people think about you, isn’t nearly as important of what you think of yourself, and I finally realized that at the end of the day if I’m happy, that’s the only thing that matters.
Don’t let this happen to you. Just because others don’t see your worth, doesn’t mean you don’t have any. A positive body image won’t magically appear when you reach a certain weight or when you look a certain way. It’ll come as you begin to realize that your body has carried you through life. Your thighs have carried you when you didn’t have the energy to walk, your stomach has held many of delicious foods, and your eyes have let you see the beauty of the world. Don’t grow up the same way I did, don’t learn to love yourself again, learn to never fall out of love with yourself. The day you decide to love yourself is the day you’ll conquer the world. You can only hate yourself for so long before what you think becomes who you are and that’s a life that isn’t fun to live.