Springfield, Ohio USA
Editor's Note: The following story could be potentially triggering for those who have struggled with an eating disorder or suicidal ideation. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “HOME” to 741741.
"I have danced my whole life. There is no greater feeling than feeling the stage lights illuminate one's face as the curtain rises. However, no one tells you how difficult the training is for this.
Every day, for four to six hours after school, I would go to my studio, put on a pair of tights, a leotard, and tie my hair up into a bun. It's not a secret that there is an expectation for dancers to have a 'specific body type.' For me personally, I do not have that 'body type'. But, while I was there, I believed that I needed it.
I would see myself in the mirror, in comparison to the other girls who were tall and incredible lean, and just wonder why I did not look like them. Because of this, I hated the way that I looked for years.
I reduced my eating, I increased my exercise, I tried meal replacements and pills, yet I could never attain that specific body type. My self-loathing never fully manifested into a diagnosed eating disorder, but depression had a big effect on my life. I would tell myself things like: 'this is why you are not in the front' or 'this is why you don't have friends' or 'how could someone possibly love you?'.
These questions were constantly running though the back of my mind. They made me withdrawal from my friends and family. And, they made me simply hate myself. It got so bad that one night I could not see how my existence was necessary- Why was I alive? It seemed that no one needed me or would care if I simply vanished. I sat in my bed just hoping to disappear. For weeks, this was how I felt- nothing.
One day, my church had an outing and we finished the day by meditating. During this time, I had a complete change of mind. I realized that I was valuable and that the way that I had been feeling was not true.
A few weeks later I began therapy and, after almost four years of work, I am able to see my worth and beauty. Some days it is still hard, but I always remind myself that someone somewhere will miss me when I'm gone and how loved I truly am. Knowing that I am not alone and beautiful is what keeps me going."