What I Learned About Sizes From My Eating Disorder

More and more, people are starting to bring attention to the innapropriate and unfair sizes in women’s fashion. For me, however, the problem didn’t become real until it was too late.

1. I have anorexia. I was diagnosed three years ago, when I dropped twenty pounds over the course of around a month. Over the course of my journey, I have gained and lost and gained and lost, relapsed and recovered and relapsed and recovered, never quite being able to get there. Never weight restored, never healthy, never fully happy. And after three years, I’m mentally stronger and physically weaker than I have ever been. I can eat dessert by choice without crying, but I can’t gain the now thirty pounds I need to to actually recover. But this isn’t about my journey. This isn’t about me. It’s about a society that told me that I should be ashamed of my size two jeans, that I had to be a size zero to be “skinny”. I was healthy, never overweight or sickly, as a child. I was a freshman in high school and a runner on the cross country team when my eating disorder cropped up in it’s fullest, most severe form. And I wore a size one or two jeans, depending on where I shopped. (Not only do I find this fact frustrating,

I have anorexia. I was diagnosed three years ago, when I dropped twenty pounds over the course of around a month. Over the course of my journey, I have gained and lost and gained and lost, relapsed and recovered and relapsed and recovered, never quite being able to get there. Never weight restored, never healthy, never fully happy. And after three years, I’m mentally stronger and physically weaker than I have ever been. I can eat dessert by choice without crying, but I can’t gain the now thirty pounds I need to to actually recover. But this isn’t about my journey. This isn’t about me. It’s about a society that told me that I should be ashamed of my size two jeans, that I had to be a size zero to be “skinny”.

I was healthy, never overweight or sickly, as a child. I was a freshman in high school and a runner on the cross country team when my eating disorder cropped up in it’s fullest, most severe form. And I wore a size one or two jeans, depending on where I shopped. (Not only do I find this fact frustrating, but also ironic since sizes are supposed to be a standard of reference, not a guessing game.) It was my goal, however, whenever I went shopping to fit into a size zero. Why couldn’t I fit a size zero? No one said that I was fat because I was a two, but I was always ashamed when someone “beat” me to a smaller size. Why couldn’t I, no matter how hard I tried, be a zero? A true zero, where it wasn’t a question whether I was a zero or a one or a two? Why did I have to struggle and wriggle like an eel into a pair of jeans, only to get stuck like a swollen slug, struggling to get out when it was time to face reality? I wasn’t a size zero— every time, at least— and that wasn’t good enough for me, because it meant I wasn’t the skinniest.

Whenever weight talk started, I was embarrassed. Whenever sizes were brought up, I sat silent. I didn’t want to tell people that I was larger than them if I was, and I didn’t want to make it seem as if I was bragging if I wasn’t. I couldn’t be proud of who I was while I defined my value by the number of threads that had to be woven into fabric for me to fit my legs into it.

Now, thirty pounds underweight, I am wearing a pair of size zero jeans I bought online. I was nervous when I ordered them because I still wasn’t sure they would work for me. Maybe I should go for a two?

Well, they fit. Thirty pounds later, three years with a disorder that ruined my life, my happiness, my future, my relationships, my personality, my whole being.

I finally fit those size zero jeans.

(And no, they’re not big on me. They’re not petite, or slim cut. Normal size zero. What sort of standard is that?)

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