Once upon a time, I knew a girl who didn’t love herself very much. At least, that’s what I assume, because she certainly didn’t act like she loved herself. I think that growing up, she must have had self-confidence issues or something. She had some pretty cool siblings, and they all loved each other a lot, but somehow along the way she convinced herself that her sister was a lot better than her– prettier, better liked, more popular. Sure, my friend was smart–she always got good grades and her parents were proud of her–but also seemed to feel awkward in her own skin. She liked to play sports, but she also liked to play make believe alot, and that meant that sometimes other kids made fun of her. Her sister’s friends, in fact, made fun of her a lot. And the guys at school. People that she had thought were friends were sometimes so mean when they made fun of her that she would run behind the tree at her middle school and cry alone, or she would walk through the field and think to herself, I guess because that was when people left her alone. When she was alone.
So anyways, to continue the story, my friend went off to high school, and she made some decent friends, but I think that her experiences in middle school really stuck with her. She was so certain that she was the silly, smart kid while her sister was the popular pretty kid, that she began to treat herself that way. She assumed she wasn’t all that special, with the exception of school, and I guess it was sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy in its own way. Sure she had friends, but most of them were other kids that felt similar to the way she did–insecure young teenagers who were trying to fit in somewhere.
The problem is that my friend started doing things to herself to try and be the sort of person that she thought her sister was. She started freaking out about how she looked all the time, obsessing about how much she weighed and what guys thought about her. She was still a pretty cool girl, and definitely a tom boy, but she also seemed really sad sometimes. I think high school in fact was when she started developing an eating disorder. She was so certain that she wasn’t good enough, that she was willing to risk her health to change.
I know that she knows that it’s bad, that she shouldn’t be doing the things she does and that she could hurt herself. We’ve talked a few times about it, and its clear that she doesn’t like the fact that she throws her food up when she is feeling sad, or that when she gets stressed out she eats things that she doesn’t want to eat, thereby creating situations in which she is more likely to engage in that behavior. She knows. But still she doesn’t stop. She even tried to get counseling for it once, but it didn’t work out very well. She told me that the psychologist didn’t seem to understand her, or to care about her enough for her to put the energy into it.
Anyways, the point of my post is that I am worried about that girl. She’s my friend, and I can’t stand to see her like this. I wish she didn’t feel like she was ugly, or waste so much time trying to feel prettier, thinner, more liked. I think that if her friends knew this stuff about her, they wouldn’t believe it, because they seem to think she’s awesome. I know I do. So I guess I am hoping that this year might be different, that this year she might be able to begin to change, to begin to see that she is a wonderful human being. I hope that this year God reminds her and her friends finally help her to see the truth, that she is unique and wonderful the way she is, and that nothing needs to change.