Sarah Wallace

"My Story"

This is me. This is my story. It isn’t perfect because, let’s face it, I’m not perfect- nobody is. But there was a time when I thought I could be…

Lonely, lost, laughable. I was an outcast- at school; at home; in the world so it seemed to me. I was looking in on everyone else’s lives- their fun; their friendships; their futures. But I wasn’t a part of it. I worried. I worried about everything. The anxiety of life ate away at me. Literally. You see, I wanted perfection in my world. I didn’t want arguments in my family. Arguments made me worry. I wanted ten out of ten for my essays. I wanted A* grades for my art work. Nothing less would be good enough. I had to be the best. But not just at one thing; at everything. Not because I had the intention of boasting to my friends- “I got 100% in that maths test”- but because failure was out of the question for me. It meant I hadn’t pushed myself hard enough. But the trouble was my best was never enough. The goal-posts were constantly moving. I couldn’t reach perfection, no matter how hard I tried.

I searched for perfection; I strove for perfection and little did I know I would ultimately starve in the name of perfection.

If I couldn’t control what was outside my body, I would control what I put in it. I would look like the models that paraded down the catwalk. They looked poised and perfect. I would look like the celebrities emblazoned on the front covers of magazines. They looked poised and perfect. That would be me. I would carve out the perfect body. Cut away the fat that I had longed to take a knife to, as I stared repulsively at the lumps and bumps in my reflection. The fat that I had pinched as hard as I could, willing it to peel off into my palm, would melt away. I would melt away. Then I would have control, wouldn’t I? Everything would be okay in my world. So, quite simply, I starved myself. And I was right: the fat dissolved, my bones protruded through a thin layer of skin. But along with the fat, I too faded from existence. I barely spoke a word- I didn’t want to pass judgement in case I got it wrong and everyone laughed at me. I lived inside my head and drove myself to the edge.

My road to recovery began only when I realized that actually, the world is not a perfect place. In fact, I am not perfect and I had to accept that.

So my question to you is: why, in this day, are men and women everywhere, still trying to obtain perfection? Why are the media giving out the message that thin is perfection and perfection equals beauty? Why are children as young as 12 starving themselves? It is a problem. It is a huge problem and we need to face it.

We need to accept our bodies for what they are and focus on celebrating the individuals that make our world. Everyone is special. Everyone is unique. Everyone has a natural beauty and deserves to be happy with who they are. Afterall, it is what is in our hearts that makes us who we are; not what is in our reflections. To me, loving yourself is the most beautiful thing of all. This is my message and this is my story. This is me.

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