Opinion: True Beauty

Illustration by Emily Hermosillo.

When I was 12 I developed an eating disorder. I wanted to be perfect because I felt it was shameful to be overweight. I felt I was fat and needed to be super skinny to be perfect.

It started when I was left by my father at age 3.

I remember the day he left was a Saturday, since that was the day he always picked me up from my grandmother’s house, and he never came back.

I used to blame myself for my father leaving because I thought I wasn’t good enough.

During that time whenever I felt worthless, I would think back to my father leaving me.

By not eating, I was able to feel in control because I was disciplining myself.

I was 12 years old and had anorexia. The doctor said I was beyond underweight and that I was dying.

Anorexia doesn’t kill quickly and quietly. It kills the body slowly.

My hair would fall off, my fingernails would chip easily and my skin was pale.

Since I stopped eating during at a crucial moment in puberty, I stopped maturing altogether.

I remember I would not want to take showers for fear of my hair completely falling off.

When someone is anorexic they don’t just decide to eat one day. It’s very hard to realize you’re suffering from an eating disorder let alone admit it to someone else.

I used to think that what I was doing to myself was helping me.

My mother was the only one who helped me out of it slowly. The way she would cry at seeing me lose more and more weight broke my heart.

She made me see that my thinning hair and broken fingernails were not normal and that what I was doing to myself was actually harmful not helpful.

My mother would tell me she loved me and that my father was not thinking of me when he left and to forget about him.

I loved my father a lot as a little girl. It really hit me as a surprise when he left us.

I didn’t hear from him until after I turned 14.

My mother taught me many things about inner and outer beauty.

She says, “Smile and people will see how beautiful you are. A smile is what catches more attention because it shows you are a happy person with who you are. Being happy with your own self image is what it is all about.”

My mom taught me that what makes a woman beautiful is how she treats others, not how she treats herself. She opened my eyes to self acceptance.

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About

Adriana Aguilar was once a student from Azusa High School and graduated from Adult Ed School. She loves coffee and the song M83 MIDNIGHT CITY. Someday, Adriana wishes to become a Public Relations Specialist for Mental Health organizations.


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