When I finally reached a healthy weight, I was bombarded with compliments. The few friends I hadn’t managed to alienate through years of self-starvation rushed to reassure me that I was more attractive as a size eight than I had been as a size zero. I went to bed with men who told me that they “loved my curves”, thinking that this was what I wanted to hear. I tried desperately hard to “love my curves”, too — but the real breakthrough came when I stopped defining myself merely by my dress size. Once I started to believe that my worth as a person had nothing to do with how my body looked to other people, I began to give myself permission to take up the space I needed.
Recovery from an eating disorder is difficult to measure, because it involves so much more than putting on weight: you have to will yourself to believe that you deserve your place in the world. Even when you hate your normal-sized body so much that you want to tear chunks out of it, you have to get up, eat your meals and get on with your day. You have to learn to say those two, terrifying little words: I’m hungry.
Now I’m always hungry — sometimes for a sandwich, sometimes for sex, or work, or travel, or a change; sometimes I just want someone to say I’m fine. I’ve learned that it’s OK not to be a good little girl, that it’s OK to break the rules, even when you are told that you ought to take up as little space as possible. I refuse to shrink myself to fit into the narrow coffin that society lays out for young women.”
— Laurie Penny, life tastes better than skinny feels (via liberonetwork)