#MyBodyStory is an ongoing storytelling series uplifting women’s bodies and voices. Because every body has a story, and every story deserves to be heard!
Opinions expressed in #MyBodyStory are the writer’s own.
And now, here is Mikayla’s #MyBodyStoryI don’t really know what age I started becoming obsessed with my body. I remember being in 3rd or 4th grade and my peers started making comments that I was fat and ugly. I started dieting shortly after that. I began to lose weight and then quickly regain it back. It started with dieting, and then binging, and then someone in my life told me it’s ok to make yourself throw up sometimes. Then I started taking the pain and shame out on my body even more by self-harming.
At school the bullying only got stronger and I wanted to disappear, so I tried my hardest to restrict my food. I also danced and one time when I was able to move up to a new dance level, the teacher told my mom she wouldn’t move me up because of my weight. That teacher’s words sent me down a spiral.
As school went on, my freshman year of high school things got worse. I felt worse about my body than ever. I believed I was dirty and didn’t deserve life. In my mind I thought it was the end, but one of my close friends said to hold on one more day, and well, I’m still here.
In my freshman year I started swimming. I’m one of those people that no matter how bad I may be at something, I always do my best and push myself hard to practice. I became addicted to the thrill of diving off the blocks, but also to the weight I was losing. Everyone thought it was just because I was exercising more, but in reality, I wasn’t eating after practice and I would purge after dinner. I had became very self-conscience being in a swim suit as competitive suits are skin tight to decrease drag.
One year a girl on my swim team said to me: “You know EVERYONE on the teams hates you.” I remember hearing that and holding back tears while I ran to the bathroom to cry. Afterwards I turned on myself and took it out on my body. I thought that if I was skinnier I would be more liked. But after that season I made up a bogus excuse and stopped swimming my junior year.
Junior year is when I went downhill fast and I remember my mentor said you have to tell your mom or I will. I told my mom and she cried, and the next day after my first day of junior year, I was sitting in the doctor’s office. I was officially diagnosed: anorexic/bulimic/binge/purge type. But for some reason my therapist told me to count calories, and this eventually led to where I was passing out all the time as I was trying to get my calorie numbers as low as possible.
I had to drop out of school.
That February I was sent to an Eating Disorder clinic and spent the next 6 months in the program. And while a lot has happened since then, and I still struggle with my body, I now know that no matter my size I am worthy of life and love. I know that food is fuel and not the enemy, and I don’t have to fit into a size 0 to be beautiful. I have learned to love myself at whatever weight I am.
When I was at the worst of my disorder, I wished there was someone in media to look up to. I remember when I went to my first treatment center, we watched a couple documentaries on Demi Lovato and we read her book Staying Strong every morning before starting our day. During my time in residential treatment we had to talk or sing whenever we were behind a door, and singing her songs got me through some hard times. Now, seeing the amazing woman she’s become at 6 years sober, she pushes me everyday to fight through all my struggles.
On a hard day, I know I’m not alone anymore. I can usually pick up my bible or turn on the radio and a song will come on that reminds me of my worth. I’m learning to adapt to all the new things that come up in my life.
The body confidence movement and women like Dana Suchow, Megan Crabbe and Dani Adriana to name just a few, have inspired me to keep moving and share my story. Thank y’all for giving me the courage to share this. You have added to this movement to the point that people cannot be quiet any longer, and together we are a loud voice making change for today generations as well as generations to come. I will not be someone who says this road to recovery is easy. It’s not. But over time it does get easier. And it is soooo worth the hard days to know that a new day is on the horizon, because every day is a brand new day to be a brand new you.
“Cause all of me loves all of you. Love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections” – John Legend
Follow Mikayla on Instagram
Read Mikayla’s Blog