Hello my sweet kittens. Welcome to the third rendition of our ~newest column~ over here at THE CRAZY SAD BABES CLUB (purr). Confessions Of A Teen Girl showcases excerpts from real teen diaries spanning across a vast expanse of generations. Teenagehood is a fleeting time in our lives and we believe if we were more in touch with our younger-selves we would be more in touch with our adult desires. Interested in sharing your diary? Email Zara Barrie: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week we’re sharing the diary of Nicole Swerdlow! Nicole Swerdlow is a killer artist and prolific poet. Stalk her Instagram to be blown the f away by her creative work.
As you can see from the picture above, she’s a very stylish and cool adult. But today we’re going to travel back in time and meet young Nicole as she navigates the dark and stormy waters of the most vulnerable, beautiful, and most pressingly; complex age of all: SEVENTEEN.
September 25th, 2009. Age: 17
It was a half day at school today, but I had a swim meet at 5pm, so I skipped out on last period study hall to go get Subway sandwiches with some of the other girls on my team. They’re my teammates, but lately I feel like I’m always just tagging along. No one specifically invites me most of the time, so I just pretend they do so I can feel like I’m a part of the group still.
They tolerate me while I trail behind them like a sad little puppy. Earlier that day in between classes, I had gone down to the cafeteria to buy an oversized double chocolate muffin and a cheese danish from the vending machine. I also had two donuts stuffed away in my backpack from my morning stop at Dunkin’ on my way to school, and an extra-large pack of M&M’s. I’ve been doing this a lot lately, hoarding food in my backpack and room to eat later in one sitting. I like to eat it all, then throw it up because even though I love eating all this shit, I know I shouldn’t. I’m fat, and disgusting, and lack any self-control when it comes to food, but I don’t want to get any fatter than I already am. I absolutely hate how I look in my competition suit. I wish I could look like Quinn or Bella, who always look perfect and toned, with long legs and stomachs that are flat as a board. I know I’ll never look like them no matter how hard I try. I’ll never have a flat tummy, or a thigh gap, or the ease of their confidence in their swim suits. I wish I could just starve myself into thinness, but I’m too much of a pig to commit to that. I’ve secretly been making my throw up since the 8th grade. I’m terrified someone will uncover my dirty little secret, but I can’t stop. I’m addicted to it.
I ate it all before the meet; the muffin, cheese danish, donuts, M&M’s, and footlong Subway sandwich, which I pretended I was saving the last half of for after the meet. I walked back to the school earlier than the rest of the group so I could be alone to hide in a corner of the girl’s locker room, where I devoured all the food as quietly as I could. No one noticed or found me, and no one noticed when I snuck off to the girl’s bathroom downstairs to immediately puke it all back up. No one noticed, because no one notices me. My swim meet pre-practice wasn’t for another half an hour, so I had plenty of time. I felt better after, but I always feel ashamed at the same time. I scrutinize my body afterwards to check if my stomach has gotten any flatter, if by some miracle I’ve gotten any skinnier. I’ve started carrying around mouthwash in my backpack too, not that anyone would get close enough to smell my breath. I don’t have a stupid boyfriend to care about kissing anymore anyways.
Usually I feel better, but this time I felt like complete shit. I was dizzy and light-headed, which is probably why I fainted after coming in first place for the 500 free. I got out of the pool and immediately passed out. Right in front of everyone, my whole team, the other team, my parents, my coach, and even some of the boys from school who come to our meets sometimes when they have nothing better to do. Everyone saw me sprawled out cold, with my white blob of a body spilling out onto the wet, tiled floor. I’m so fucking embarrassed I could die. I’m so fucking stupid and disgusting. I’m sure everyone will be talking about it at school tomorrow.
But it was all worth it, because at least I won the race.
Closing adult thoughts:
This definitely wasn’t easy to read, nor is it easy to share. I was at a very low place in my life during senior year of high school; low confidence, low self-esteem, and in the throes of a full on eating disorder that still occasionally haunts me today. Anyone that’s had, or still has an eating disorder, knows that it never truly goes away and you never truly recover from it. Even if it’s been years since you last made yourself throw up, exercised to the point of collapse, or starved yourself down to 90 pounds for the sake of being able to count your own ribs. It’s always lying in wait in the back of your brain, that nasty little voice that mocks you every time you look in the mirror and sneers at you when you hate your reflection. Re-reading this entry brought on a slew of emotions; sadness, anger, angst, regret, empathy for my little teenage lost soul.
But it also made me feel really empowered.
Empowered by the fact I’ve made enough progress in my life to finally be comfortable enough to speak my truth. Talking about having an eating disorder is terrifying for anyone, and I wish I could hug my teenage self and tell her the person she is now is beautiful, smart, and good enough, because I didn’t have anyone to tell me that during that time in my life. I also look back on that entry and realize how fucked up my perception was, all I cared about on that day was winning that race, even if I was killing myself in the process.
Even years after, as my eating disorder weaved in and out of my day to day life, I cared so much about how I looked, how others thought I looked, and the number on the scale. It controlled almost every aspect of my life and prevented me from being the person I wanted to be. The satisfaction in winning that race wasn’t about the actual race itself, it was about the control I craved, and in my head that race was one little victory for me. I thought by winning that race, I was in control, but the reality is I was completely spiraling out of control. I’m really grateful to be able say that it doesn’t control me anymore. It took years of therapy and self reflection to dig myself out of that hole, and I’m proud of myself for it. I’ve been diagnosed with every eating disorder in the book, but you know what? I can have that piece of cake now without wanting to puke it up afterwards, or eat three slices of pizza and not give a fuck how many calories are in it.
I’m in control of my mind and body, I can silence that nasty little voice now.
Don’t forget to stalk the eloquent and talented Nicole Swerdlow on Instagram!