Growing up I used to dance ballet. From the age of 3, I remember the rush of adrenaline, the addictiveness of hearing applause an...

Guest Post: How I learned to love my body or did I?

By December 22, 2018

Growing up I used to dance ballet. From the age of 3, I remember the rush of adrenaline, the addictiveness of hearing applause and the warmth of the spotlight — what a rush that was.

Then I got older, the more I dance, the better I got, the more expectations they had of me. I had to be this size not that size; I had to be able to do this many piroets in a row; I had to be able to bend my body this way and that way. When I started doing pair performances, that's when it began to affect me negatively. I'd skip meals; I'd skip school, I'd skip warm-up sessions. Ballet was my life, and I was just shy of my 14th birthday. 

At this point, I had no friends, and I had just started training with this Russian (I'm Eastern-European) prima-ballerina, who had no patience for puberty. I was told on the daily how I was too fat, too heavy too this, too that. My breasts were starting to come in - boy, was she not happy. There was nothing I could do expect to listen to that abuse, train harder and eat less.

That's when it all hit the fan. Me and my partner were working on a performance for a show we had joined with this travelling ballet troupe in Ukraine. Travelling to perform was nothing new, and I was used to being away from home. I had been away from home for about two weeks my teachers were responsible of me at this point because my parents had signed some sort of waiver form as I was leaving the country without them and was underage. Anyways, too much training and not enough food - I fainted during one of the rehearsals — nothing too serious just dehydration and exhaustion. 

Once my parents heard of it, they became concerned, so they started to keep a closer eye on me. They noticed how little I would eat and how much I trained. They saw how dysphoric I was feeling about my body — Anorexia they said. I was so confused because I was a child just following what was told to be normal. 

After my 16th birthday, I got injured - busted knee. My partner helped me finish the number, and pretty much carried me off the stage. That was the end of my ballet carrier. By the time I recovered, I could no longer go pro due to my injury and for how long I was out. 

After unintentional starving came intentional starving, during my rehabilitation, I had gained weight. I was a teenager now, interested in boys and heavier than I had ever been. Plus at the time I didn't realise I was bisexual so I had all these weird feelings that I also didn't know, how to cope with so the only thing I knew how to control was my eating. 

After years of starving and binging came binge eating disorder. The more I gained, the more I hated myself. Add to mix depression, and you have a cocktail of a young girl crumbling and begging for help. 

I finished high school packed a bag and moved to England to start over. It turns out this stuff will follow you anywhere. Now I was still hatting myself just at a different part of the world. 

It took me years to get where I am now. And I'm still probably not there yet. I don't know 100% what it is to love your body, but I know this - hating yourself leads nowhere. 

I used to tell myself I wouldn't buy clothes that I really wanted until I lost weight. Imagine my surprise years later that losing weight is actually a lot easier when you hate yourself less?! 

So made a conscious decision (thanks to my therapist, who thought me this) to replace my negative thoughts with much kinder ones. For example, instead of telling myself that no one can love me this size, every time that thought pops into my head, I acknowledge it, say thank you to it and store it away. Then I replace that with a much kinder thought such as 'those that love me, love me for who I am'. It's a conscious effort, but then again those struggles with eating disorders also know that recovery is a never-ending conscious effort.

That's my story of struggle, spotlight and learning to love myself. 

I’m a twenty-something year old, trying to figure out life one blog post at a time. I started writing concepts by S because I always have too much to say and not enough friends to listen to me. I can be found on twitterinstagram.

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