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Written Stories Dear 15-year-old me: you won't get more confident overnight and that's ok

Jul. 14, 2017
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Welcome to another tough year. This year, you think you’re being healthy, but you are suffering from an eating disorder. This year, you are counting calories and comparing yourself to models you see on the internet. This year, you are unhappy but refusing to acknowledge it. 

This year, you are friends with the wrong crowd. Your friends are not making you happy right now. They’re competitive and you simply are not. It’s just not working out, and you’re going to have to speak up for yourself soon. You are in this group of friends because that’s where your best friend is, but you’re not happy, and you will need to learn that it’s okay to ask for what you need and to take care of yourself. This group of people is just not the right match for you. It’s nothing against them, they really are wonderful people, but it’s okay that not everyone in life is a perfect match friend-wise. One day at the end of the year, you will finally talk to your best friend and tell her that you will be branching out to a different group of friends next year. It’s going to be a hard conversation to have, but you do it delicately and kindly, as you do most things, and it will work out okay. 

Oh, also: you are binge eating because you’ve restricted yourself for too long. It’s a truly awful feeling, I remember. You are unhappy. It’s okay to be unhappy now and then (that’s life), but it’s not okay to try to change the body you were naturally given by starving yourself. You are happy right now when your ribs poke out when you lie down on your carpet. Stop it. You are not being healthy. You are wrong. You have an eating disorder—please, please tell someone. 

Ask for the help you need. 

I know you won’t. I know you’ll figure it out on your own. I know that one day, just after school gets out, you will just decide not to count calories. And I know you won’t count calories again after that. I know that you will find a friend over the summer who has suffered in similar ways that you have, and you will help each other become stronger and more confident. You are going to be okay, I promise. As the seventeen-year-old sitting at a computer typing this, I know that I can eat normally now, not feel the searing pain of guilt with every bite, and that I can have a much healthier relationship with exercise and nutrition. 

Just know that you’re not going to become confident again overnight. It’s going to take some work for you to get out of this, but you can do it. You will find friends in your future that will build you up and support you in ways you have never experienced before. The grace and confidence that they go through life with will help to inspire you to embrace your body and embrace who you are a little more everyday. And not everyday will be a good day, some will be a lot harder than others. But all that matters is that you’re always moving forward, you aren’t stopping, even when it feels hard, you will continue on your way to confidence.

You are just beginning to learn that it’s okay to ask for what you need; that it’s okay to remove yourself from a situation you’re not okay in. This will become hugely important as you go through life. Hold on to this knowledge. Remember that you need to put yourself first once in a while. I know you won’t really learn that lesson until you’re 16, but it’s beginning to apply to your life now, and you don’t even know it. You are learning that you have value. It’s incredible. As you remove yourself from the friend group that wasn’t quite right for you, you are beginning to value yourself enough to get to situations where you are happier. It’s a breakthrough that you won’t even realize you’ve had for another year or so. But it’s happening, and it’s helping. I know it’s hard at times, but remember to value yourself always.

Much Love,

17-Year-Old Me