I loved ballet. It was my passion. My dream was to become a professional dancer. My parents did whatever they could to help me achieve this dream, whether driving me to the academy every day or planning family trips to NYC so that I could take classes with esteemed instructors.
Being an only child, I was grateful for their support & love. They willingly sacrificed their time year-round & even more so during the fall and winter for The Nutcracker rehearsals & performances & then again during summer intensives. Since the academy was the official school of a professional ballet company, I relished watching & learning from the professionals.
Despite coming from such a loving home, I never felt like I measured up: whether it was in ballet, school, my weight (even as a young child), or life in general. It was never verbalized to me, it was just an inner, constant nagging of not being good enough. I was convinced that I did not measure up to the standard, even though I didn’t know exactly what the standard was or whose standard I was trying to attain.
All this proved to be too much for my young, 6th grade self. Eventually I began to feel like I had no control over anything in my life. I turned to food and exercise, began to restrict my calories, and eventually ate a very regimented diet of the same food and quantity every day. It became an obsession to measure & weigh every bite.
Around this same time, the ballet academy began to weigh us weekly & record our weight. Already not feeling good about myself, feeling as though I did not measure up, not being happy with my weight, & like I had no control over my life, I realized the one thing I could control was my weight & what I ate. The turmoil within me and the perceived pressures around me created a perfect storm for an eating disorder. By the 8th grade, I was in the depths of anorexia nervosa.
This week I aim to share my story so that others know they are not alone & that there is *always* hope in Christ, regardless of how deep the pit or dark the night. More to come tomorrow, but if you or a loved one are struggling, please reach out for help. And know I am always here and count it a privilege to pray for you.