You don’t know what you got till it’s gone:
When I was struggling through the awkward stages of development, I thought I was ugly. Shocker right? Not. Most of us when we are going through preadolescence think we are inadequate and are unhappy with our appearances. So, this was normal to think I was not anywhere near perfect. But, I took it a little further than just thinking I was not good enough, I made changes to myself in an attempt to improve myself and in the process, I hoped I would gain happiness from “fixing” myself.
The first thing I began to modify was my weight. I was never considered anywhere close to fat, nor did I ever look “pudgy”, but when I looked at myself in the mirror, I was not at all satisfied with the body image I saw. There were so many parts of my body that I had a tough time accepting.
My whole life I have been a big enthusiast of sport and have always tried to maintain my fitness. I am runner so naturally one would think I was made to be lean. I used to not think about what I ate; rather, I would eat whatever my body was craving and not think much of it. It wasn’t until the end of grade 10 that I felt like I was getting fat. I just couldn’t understand how it was possible for me to do as much exercise as I was doing and still not have the abs that I so desired. The only thing that I could think of that was affecting this was the way I was eating and this is what started it all.
From that point onward, I was very particular about the foods I ate, restricting myself only to veggies, fruit and protein and cutting out most carbs. When I was still not seeing the results I wanted to see, I then took it one step further: I began skipping some meals or only having small portions at meal times. This did not help me get any closer to my goal either. As a result of my “dieting”, I lost some weight – not a huge amount – and became incredibly weak. Not having enough calorie intake directly affected my energy and caused me to not perform to the best of my ability anymore. This went on for quite sometime as I was so fixated on obtaining the ideal body image that I stopped caring when my stomach grumbled or when I felt light headed!
To make matters worse, in my final year of high school I was to go through jaw surgery (I will get into more detail about this later). I could have post poned it to a later time in my life, but I wanted to get it over and done with as soon as I could, as I couldn’t bare going through life any longer not feeling normal.
As the days drew nearer to my surgery, all the professionals that I talked to insisted on eating a lot of food. They said it was crucial for me to go into surgery with extra weight as I would loose it all after the surgery due to the fact that I was not going to be able to eat! I tried to eat as much as I could force myself to eat, but I think I was still holding myself back to some extent.
After the surgery, not only was I thinner than before, but I also lost a ton of hair as a result of not eating enough. It is hard to pin point when I started losing hair. It could have begun much earlier than my surgery – when I was dieting or maybe a few months before when I started to get stressed about it and other things like exams and graduation. Whenever it started, the impact was evident afterwards. I no longer looked like my old self. The shine in both my hair and eyes had disappeared. My voluptuous, thick hair was no more, instead I was left with thin strands of string – it felt and looked like nothing!
It has been roughly 9 months post surgery and my hair is slowly starting to get thicker, but still far from it. I have been eating better and taking multiple vitamins, however the process is a slow and painful one. I have no idea if I will ever be able to get back to the old me. All I can do now is hope and tell myself that it is more important to be healthy and have thick, beautiful hair like I used to than focus on obtaining the perfect body that I longed for so much.
Looking back on how I used to look, I have a slight pang of regret. At the time I really had no idea how good I had it until it was all taken from me. I guess that’s what it takes: to lose it all in order to make one realize all that they had to begin with.