3.25.2013

Labels


Today, I'm going to talk about something pretty big. Something I've been thinking about blogging about for a while. 

Hello, my name is Lara. I'm a female student, average height and weight, light complexion, dark eyes and hair. I come from a family of three kids and two parents. I teach school. I'm Mormon. 

Those are the labels that seem to define me these days. There was another label that I had pinned to myself for months, years.... But I have since realized that my labels may influence me, but they do not determine my actions. And that label was not one that I wanted. 

So, for a few years back there, you'd see...

Hello, my name is Lara, and I have an eating disorder.

Phew. I said it. It's in the open now. And I think maybe a few posts will talk about that.

It started as a sophomore in high school, and continued until I was a freshman, early sophomore in college. I'd look in the mirror, not see what I like, and forcefully change it. I still cannot look in the mirror and like what I see, but that's a different matter. Today I'd like to talk about the label I gave myself.

Anorexic and Bulimic. Those were labels I attached to myself, so I justified my actions, saying that it's just how I was. I was born that way, or whatever. And even if I wasn't born that way, it was a part of my personality. So I thought it was ok to starve myself and make myself sick, because I had given myself those labels, and that was how I was supposed to live with said labels. 

I hated it.

I'd spend nights crying, praying, saying "Why, God?! Why did you make me this way!" It took years, obviously, for me to realize that even if God DID make me that way, He was not forcing me to live one way.

And even when I had come to terms with my problem, I didn't care. I almost wore my label as a badge. But the fact still remained that I literally could not live with that lifestyle. If I kept living that way, I would never truly be happy. And eventually, I couldn't live anymore. That's just how it is. 

That was a hard day, when I realized that the label I had given myself wasn't one that could sustain me. 

I heard a speech given by my friend at a State debate tournament. She said that if you weren't happy with your life, then change it. 

And I realized I wasn't happy.

I didn't like the labels I had put on myself.

And I didn't like the other labels that others had put on me as I dropped weight so quickly, and even though they were being concerned, their worried looks and the lines they'd say to me seemed like accusations. "You're too skinny. I think you have an eating disorder."

This post goes out to everyone out there who has been given a label that they don't like. Who has written something on their "Hello, my name is..." name tag that they're not comfortable with.

We're given this one mortal life. 76 years or something. That is too short for anyone to be living a life simply because they feel they are supposed to, because that's the "How to" instructions that come with their label.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the world. Do not live by your labels. Live by your beliefs. Live by your standards. Live because you have lived so many different ways, and you've found the best way to live. 

Do not let your labels define you. 

Hello, my name is Lara. I think that's all the label that I need. 

4 comments:

Amy said...

You are amazing. Congrats on your engagement, happiness, and banishing labels you don't like!

Stefiko Monsen said...

Dear Lara,
I feel like I know you even though we've never met, and today you touched my heart and helped me feel less alone. I guess a label that could be assigned to me is a failed anorexic. I have always struggled with weight, doctors always say "yeah you're pretty healthy, but you need to loose weight." It gets to your head, especially when you can see that same thing they're worried about in the mirror every day. I hate mirrors, I refuse to have one in my room and wish the one in the bathroom was smaller. When my mom makes me a dress and tells me to see if I like it, I am always afraid to see it in the mirror, cause I know that I'll still see lumps and rolls, even if it's a flattering cut.

When I got into college I realized that I could run pretty well on not much food if I wanted to, and it almost became a game I would play with myself. I wanted to see how many days I could go with only a bowl of oatmeal in the morning. But I found out that I didn't have quite that much self control. I justified it by saying that I could use to loose the weight, and if I was too tired to eat, why bother?

I lost quite a bit of weight, slowly at least, because I did not do well at my own game, but then my sweet Weston started to notice how little I ate, and he would catch me staring hungrily at food, but always refusing to eat it if people offered. I was in total denial, for about a year, but then I realized he was right. So I started making sure I ate food regularly, which means that I stopped loosing weight, and have gained some of it back, but at least I am not in that place emotionally anymore. I didn't think I knew anyone who had also been there. Thanks for helping me see I'm not alone. I still wish it was easier to slim down like the doctors want, but I don't want to go to that dark place anymore.

Michelle said...

I've been really lazy and haven't commented on blogs in awhile, BUT I wanted to tell you how brave you are to put yourself out here like this. You are such an example of strength and genuine beauty to all of us. You are amazing and such a lovely person.

Katie said...

Love this post. So honest and real. You are amazing for putting it out there.