Dear All of You,
Here is my (Twenty, age 20) answer to the writing prompt:
What would you do if you weren’t afraid? What can you do now to make that a reality?
I’ll do the same thing as both Ana (age 25) and Twenty-Three (age 23) and list my fears, how I handle them, and what I want to do differently.
My fears, in no particular order:
- Failing my classes
- Not getting into graduate school
- Getting fat
- Getting caught with drugs
- Boys not liking me
Maybe there are more, but it’s been 5 years since I was in the driver’s seat and I might have forgotten a few things.
How I handled those fears:
- I took drugs to study and pulled all-nighters
- I worried
- I purged any food I binged
- I found a second doctor to give me the prescriptions I abused by pretending I had ADD.
- I gave the second doctor lots of presents and was overly charming so he wouldn’t ask me questions
- I put the pills inside empty chapstick cases so they weren’t obvious
- I wore revealing clothes, got drunk, and threw myself at boys so they would like me
- I never said “no” no matter how uncomfortable boys made me
- I dissociated if they did things I really didn’t want to do so I wouldn’t experience it
- I looked at lots of thinspo and took drugs so I wouldn’t feel hungry
The base fear: failure
I was bridging two worlds: school and partying. I wanted to be the best at both and things quickly fell apart on both fronts. I couldn’t party care-free without becoming a drunk / high mess because of how worried I was about school. I couldn’t do well at school because recovering from being a drunk / high mess plus throwing up my food all the time was time-consuming and energy-draining.
If I wasn’t afraid I would…
- Tell boys “no”
- Tell boys “no” even after they bought me drinks
- Tell boys “no” if I didn’t want to go further – I always felt guilty stopping the show, like I had lead them on
Looking back, there are so many things that would have helped:
Not partying as hard, scaling back on the academic pressure, investing in eating disorder recovery. In the moment, however, addressing those issues didn’t seem possible. I was lost. Only stuff with boys was something I think I could have approached.
I appreciate how you all are starting to acknowledge my past state and accept that, rather than look down on me from the future and shame me for things I couldn’t possibly understand.
We’ve come a long way.
Twenty (age 20)
As for the life update, I think it should be limited to 3 sentences. These letters are getting way too long.
So: 1. Still no bingeing (almost 1.5 weeks I think). 2. Official job offer came through – is super fancy and I’m excited (besides it being in the middle of no where). 3. I’m hanging out with people and that feels awesome.