With all the notoriety my friend Megan, aka @bodyposipanda, has received lately it was inevitable I would receive some backlash as certain articles written about her have featured our pictures together or her post about #thechristineproject which leads viewers to my personal account. She graciously offered to untag me to get some of the heat off as I’m not used to such frequent rude comments, but I declined because I’m not ashamed of myself.
When you look at her you see a beautiful young woman who’s been through unimaginable hardships in the road to loving herself. She almost died before she made the decision she wanted to live. But when you look at me you see a “morbidly obese” person who “lacks self respect”. And yet my and Megan’s journey both involve us nearly dying before we got to the points that we’re at today. The only thing is depression and suicide attempts don’t have the before pictures that anorexia does. I can’t show you pictures of my lowest points days before I tried to end my own life as an example of how far that “ugly fat bitch on the right” has come in changing her life and becoming mentally healthy.
I’m not writing this to argue my health. I’m not going to waste my time discussing this with people who aren’t my doctor. I’m here to tell you that what you see on the outside isn’t a fair assessment of what that person has had to overcome inside to get to the point where they’re finally happy with themselves.
Two years ago, I wanted my life to end. I had left the apartment I was living in after being bullied by my roommates who watched way too much Bad Girls Club. They isolated me, lied, manipulated, destroyed my things, and ganged up on me daily. It was only on the day I moved out that 1/4 apologized for the way they treated me when “you’ve never done anything. I don’t know why we acted like that.” I had been broken up with by a coward who stopped replying to my texts two weeks after I lost my virginity to him. My life was falling apart. I was broke sleeping on couches not knowing where I was going to live or how I was going to sustain myself.
And all of this treatment I allowed stemmed from huge insecurities both on the inside and outside of myself that I didn’t deserve better. I hated myself so I refused to stand up and say “I deserve better than this. You’re not going to treat me like this anymore.” Instead I let myself fall deeper and deeper into my hole of self loathing until killing myself seemed like the only option that would bring me peace.
I called my father, whom I had a very strained relationship with, as I sat on the bathroom floor and told him this was it for me. I didn’t want to keep suffering. I tried for the second time in my life to kill myself, unsuccessfully. And two weeks after, I sat on a bench staring out onto a lake alone realizing I needed to make a change. I couldn’t keep living this way or eventually the next time I tried to kill myself I would succeed and I wouldn’t be living at all.
I transferred to a new location of my old job after taking two months off to get myself mentally more stable. Everyone was extremely welcoming and excited for me to be there which made my transition back into the workplace much smoother. On my breaks I would scroll through Instagram which I had been so resistant to use for the longest time as I just didn’t get the hype. I started posting outfit selfies, not because I felt good, but because I work in a clothing store and at the time when I lacked real responsibility it was just something fun to do to pass the time.
One day, a girl commented “Ur so fat 😭😭😭” on one of my pictures. Just to be a smart ass I made a collage of her comment above a picture of me with the caption “‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’ she thought as she ate another chicken nugget.” A woman named Lily, who some of you might remember if you’ve been with @pizzasisters4lyfe since the beginning as she was one of the creators of it, commented on it, “You go girl! #pizzasisters4lyfe”
I didn’t know what that meant. I wasn’t even eating pizza in my picture so I was confused what her hashtag meant. Upon clicking it I saw a few hundred pictures of plus size women OWNING their lives. Some were larger than me and I could see their confidence radiating on my phone screen. Was it possible that they could be this size and be…happy? Yes, it was entirely possible I realized. Could I ever be this beautiful and confident? I hoped so, as I was still fragile and could relapse mentally back to where I was not too long before.
I started following Lily and other users I saw in the hashtag and looked everyday for their updates so I could get my daily dose of body positivity. I started posting more pictures of myself and reflecting on the girl I saw in the pictures and over the months I started seeing more things I liked thanks to my Pizza Sisters. After my experience with the awful girls I had lived with contributed to me wanting to end my life, an online community of women praising each other for just being themselves helped save it.
I began genuinely loving myself. I wasn’t a terrible person. The things that happened to me were an outward reflection of how the people who hurt me felt about themselves, which is something I keep in mind every time I get nasty, mean comments trying to bring me down. But it won’t work because I’ve already been at my worst and I won’t let another person have the power over me to get me to that level again.
A little more than two weeks ago I was sitting on a bench looking out onto the sea, but this time I wasn’t alone thinking about what I needed to change in order to want to live again. I was sitting with my boyfriend, Jack, on my left and Megan on my right eating fish and chips thinking about how far I’ve come and how happy I am to be alive. I fought depression harder than I hope any of you ever have to in order to remain here. I fought a battle with my mind to love myself so my life wouldn’t seem pointless.
I know this won’t change anything and people will forever be cruel, but please don’t think just because one person visibly fought back from near death doesn’t mean another person hasn’t fought invisibly.
Please get involved with #thechristineproject to bring awareness to invisible diseases (See previous blog post for more information.) and break the stigma of discussing mental illness.