“There’s a movie on Netflix I just watched, but I don’t know if I should tell you about it because it’s about anorexia,” is how my mom started conversation with me the other night while we washed dishes. Of course I knew what movie she was talking about. To The Bone; the Netflix original starring Lily Collins as Ellen, a 20-year-old battling anorexia. I had heard about the movie a few weeks ago, curious to watch it when it was released on Netflix, but also postponing it for reason of how my mom continued the conversation. “It looks...scary,” was how my mom concluded her mentioning of the movie.
The movie was on my radar for a number of reasons; I had read about it somewhere, Netflix originals tended to be good movies, and because it is about anorexia. I had always struggled with insecurities about my body; my height, my weight, my typical brunette hair and brown eyes. And up until 7th or 8th grade, I didn’t worry too much about my weight. I ate what I want in what I thought was moderation, until I saw how pretty and how skinny my fellow classmates were. Towards the end of 8th grade, a few months before our 8th grade trip, I started eating less. I lost the weight; I don’t remember how much but some of it was lost and I was finally happy and excited.
And then 9th grade came and went, and along with it was 25lbs off of my weight. By the end of my freshmen year, I was teetering on the edge of being 89lbs or being 90lbs, compared to my previous 115lbs from the beginning of the year. Intense workouts three times a week, and eating a granola bar and half a portion of dinner was the cause of the weight loss. The reasoning behind the want, though, had changed. I had strayed away from the desire to be as skinny as my peers, and I had strayed to the desire of wanting to be like a Victoria’s Secret model; or to at least have a body good enough to please my first boyfriend. I thought I was too fat for him, and that just drove my insecurities threw the roof.
I lost the weight, and never completely gained in back. Instead of gaining the weight back, I gained an insecure subconscious who is always yelling at me for eating this or looking like that, a strong dislike for food where even looking at it will make me nauseas, and a habit where I can go a few days without eating more than a granola bar and without feeling hungry. I gained a partially new wardrobe since nothing fit anymore, and I was overjoyed when now I fit into the 00 and XXS, instead of the 5 and M; I was overjoyed I was finally on the road to being happy with my body. I never realized how bad it was, how I was constantly tired and dizzy, how I was constantly shaking and disoriented, and how now people made fun of me for being too boney and loosing my good “assets.”
No one seemed to notice anything, no one complimented me on a nicer, smaller body, so I took that as motivation to lose more weight. A few people displayed concern during gym class, when I was particularly out of it and couldn’t work out, but I just brushed it off and thought of more ways to loose weight. So I became a vegetarian for awhile; eating next to nothing compared to my already small and restricted diet. And still no one noticed while it was happening; when now, looking back on it, I think I was at my worst.
I’m about to start my junior year of high school, and people have finally noticed me getting smaller and smaller; except I haven’t. I’ve noticed the number on the scale staying where it is, in relation to me barely eating. My mom started to notice when I almost passed out in the bathtub once; she blamed it on lack of nutrition while I blamed it on the heat of the water compared with the heat of the summer. I’m seeing my mom’s slight concern, but I don’t see anything for her to be worried about. Part of me subconsciously sees what’s wrong, but the other, more dominate part sees thousands and thousands of calories lurking in every meal.
I’ve never officially been diagnosed with anorexia, because I don’t have it; I just have an eating problem. But you never know where a problem can take you, and its worth looking into and seeking help if you feel a need to. I realized that my mom told me about To The Bone and was scared about it because yes, anorexia along with dozens of other “hidden diseases” are terrifying, but maybe she was also scared and hesitate to tell me about the movie because she’s worried I’m going to end up like that one day.