I've been insecure before I even knew what the word insecure meant. I’ve hated the way I look ever since fourth grade. I would always see the little girls at school who would just look so much smaller than me. even today, it’s still the same. by the time of sixth grade, my screen would light up with the workouts I would force myself to do on youtube. I would eat so terribly all day and cry about it all night. the feeling of not being good enough consumed me. wherever and whenever it was always there. covering my stomach when I sit, pulling up my leggings to hide my rolls, only wearing baggy clothes, and obsessing over food was just programmed into my brain. I’ve always wished I could escape this never-ending cycle of mental and physical torment. all the people I’m friends with are just so perfect, and every day it gets harder. If you know me, you know that I hate myself. in sixth grade, my friends made a whole Instagram account just dedicated to why I wasn’t fat. I couldn’t go a single second without mentioning the word “fat”. I was never fat, I just was never skinny. I was told, “stop you’re not fat” “you look just like us”. those words went through one ear and out the other. no matter what anyone said, I never listened. it felt like there was a small little box in my brain that contained various comments that I told myself like; “you’re fat’, “you’re ugly”, “pig”, “you’re not as small as them”. The box was never closed. those words were constantly filling my thoughts. last year, I starved myself for a week. I would throw away the breakfast and lunch my mom made me. I would tell my parents I ate dinner at dance, when I truly munched on ice. my meals for that week were water, ice, and gum. each day my stomach would look flatter and flatter. I thought that I would finally start loving myself because I was becoming skinny. I thought that I would finally be good enough for the boy I was talking to. I thought that I would finally stop being the “bigger one” at dance. I thought the small little box would finally close. the Friday of that week, I woke up extremely ill. I was throwing up all day because my body was simply not getting enough nutrients. but I didn’t care. I just wanted to be skinny. to this day, the box has not closed. I find myself counting calories, over obsessing over what I eat, checking the exact about of fats, sugar, carbs, and protein in each item, working out just to be skinny, comparing myself to my friends, and crying every single night. I recently tried to talk to my family about my problems. I had never truly opened up to them about the reality of what was going on in my life. I expressed how I wanted some support with the unhealthy relationship I had with my body and with food. whenever I would hear stories about people’s unsuccessful stories with trying to receive help, I would always feel some sort of comfort knowing that my family would support me through everything. little did I know that wasn’t the case. I ended up causing a fight between the whole family and I was ignored and looked down upon. I’ve received a little bit of support in my journey of trying to be healthier, but I cannot refer to it as “losing weight”. I can only refer to it as “being healthy”. Do I think I have a problem? yes. does it revolve around eating? Yes. Deep down, I know that this could be an eating disorder. but no one will help me find out what it actually is. my body has consumed my life. not a single second goes by where I don’t think about it. living in our world now is so hard. you are constantly compared to these beautiful women, and your body doesn’t become good enough. being skinny has become the new normal, so if you don’t have a perfectly flat stomach, you’re fat. our society is so unbelievably toxic and it is so sad to feel like the only way to be accepted is to be skinny. I’m so exhausted with hating myself. it has come to the point that I don’t think I’ll ever be truly satisfied with how I look. how I feel isn’t normal. I shouldn’t have to only love my body when I’m morning skinny. I shouldn’t have to force myself to go on runs that I hate. I shouldn’t have to practice sucking in for pictures. I shouldn’t have to feel like guys will only like me if I’m skinny. I shouldn’t have to drink shots of apple cider vinegar that doesn’t work. I shouldn’t have to keep drinking these drinks that I’m convinced help me lose weight, even though it just makes you throw up. I shouldn’t have to take pictures of my stomach every day just to see if all of this torture is worth it. my happiness shouldn’t depend on my appearance, but it does. someday I hope that small little box will finally close.