People have many different fears: fears of flying or swimming, fears of commitment or rejection, even fears of bugs or frogs. One of my biggest fears is the dressing room mirror, and I know I’m not alone.
Numerous women and men struggle with a bad body image, or how they view themselves in something like a dressing room mirror. Body image can also be defined as that picture of yourself you have floating around in your head. This sometimes pessimistic and critical view of a person can manifest itself in everyday life in many ways, such as feeling self-conscious or anxious in social situations, or wanting to avoid social activities altogether.
However, sometimes a poor body image is handled by extreme, and quite harmful, measures. Skewed and distorted body images can lead to habits like self-starvation, binging, and purging. All of these tendencies are telltale symptoms of eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.
Aside from the physical torment that people put themselves through when they fall victim to these eating disorders, emotional and psychological problems also present themselves. Feelings of depression and self-loathing are all too common among those suffering with eating disorders and a poor body image.
What is even more unsettling is the vast number of people that live this struggle every day. In the United States alone, as many as ten million women and one million men fight a daily battle against an eating disorder, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.
Out of those 11 million people, I know two of them. One is myself, the other my brother.
In the brutal, cutthroat reality that is high school, I was never really “fat,” I just always felt I could look better. I mean, I was obsessed with Hollywood and the people who resided there. I wanted so much to be like them, so flawless.
However, my breaking point came when the popular boys decided to tease me for wearing skirts to school. I decided that all of the dancing I was doing wasn’t enough to look better, so I slowly and nonchalantly started skipping lunch. I would come up with excuses or bluntly lie, saying that I ate early.
One day, however, my body decided that it wasn’t going to put up with my ridiculous and abusive behavior, so as I was walking to the front of my classroom, I began to feel woozy. The next thing I knew, I was on the floor with a small
gathering of classmates around me.