I scrolled through my old pictures, trying to find one that captured how sick I was when I was anorexic so I could post it on social media for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Ed nagged at me, saying “You weren’t skinny enough in that picture, nobody will believe you were sick” and “Oh wow, see how good you looked back then? You should restrict and overexercise again, you’ll get that old bod in no time”. At first, I felt myself falling into his traps, doubting the severity of my illness and my healthy current body. But then, I angrily tossed my phone aside on my bed and confronted the demon in my head.
“Ed, you have no power over me. I kicked you out a long time ago, and you are intruding on my new life– a life free from your wicked lies. I don’t need a picture to tell anyone how sick I was, because the real battle was inside my head, and my current body is healthy and beautiful. I don’t need a before picture, all that matters is the after.”
All that matters is the after. I repeated it over and over in my head. I never ended up posting that before picture– a photo of me at a dangerously low body weight with thinning hair and a sunken in face– because it truly does not matter. I don’t want the world to see how sick I was, because that is irrelevant to the awesome place I’m in now. I want social media to see the real me, the me that is happy and confident and authentic, who does not give any power to lying, slimy Ed.
I encourage you all to join the Boycott the Before movement, where the focus is on who you are today rather than who you were when you were sick. The world needs more positivity and recovery focused posts. Of course, it is important to spread awareness of the dangers of eating disorders, and that is a big part of my blog. However, I believe that posting pictures of my sick body will not help but rather will harm those who are trying to recover. Besides, my smile is much more genuine now than it was when I was sick… and that’s what I want the world to see. So here is my only before and after picture: the change from a forced smile on the left to a genuine smile on the right is something I am damn proud of.