Briton Collier's Body Image Story
My freshman and sophomore years in college were brutal. Almost as soon as I moved into the dorms I developed an eating disorder and over the next two years it claimed more and more of my life.
I looked at the beautiful girls around me and felt like such a failure. People contribute eating disorders to a control issue – you feel out of control so you start throwing up your food or starving yourself or working out for hours every day because it makes you feel in control – and I think that was part of it for me. But even more so, I think I was punishing myself.
I was so mad at myself for not being like the girls around me. For not being as skinny as them or as funny or as carefree. It was like I was trying to get skinny not so I could squeeze into a smaller pair of jeans, but so I could squeeze into a whole different life.
I didn’t like who I was.
But the funny thing is, I didn’t even know who I was. I hadn’t given myself enough space to figure it out. I was so busy trying to be someone else, I didn’t know me!
By the end of my sophomore year I was throwing up so many meals a day that my throat and nasal passage were totally inflamed and raw. I couldn’t swallow hard food anymore. And all of a sudden I had this flash forward and thought, is this how I’m going to be for the rest of my life? Am I going to be a slave to this for the rest of my life?
In that moment it made sense. This wasn’t the kind of life I wanted, this wasn’t what I had dreamed about as a little girl. I wanted to be FREE, I wanted to live a wild and precious life and there was no way I was going to be able to do it if all my energy was being poured into looking a certain way.
So I stopped.
Don’t get me wrong - it was hard. It took support from my family and counselors and most of all God. But it was done. And FINALLY the good stuff got to begin. For me the good stuff was making the most unbelievable friends, getting to have a job that made me feel like I had real purpose, falling in love, and discovering what I was really all about.
At Be Bona Fide our mission is to encourage you to be real in a culture that’s striving for perfection. You may not be able to relate to my eating disorder. (And actually, I really hope you can’t.) But, we all live in this world that’s consumed with a desire for perfection in one way or another.
My definition was skinny. What’s yours?
When I look through my Instagram feed it’d be easy to fall back into my freshman dorm mindset. It’d be easy for me to think I want her legs and her arms and her hair and her house and her date nights and her clothes and her baby and her dog and her vacation.
But there’s always more to the story. Perfect and pretty are always paired with messy and ugly.
We all have both and I’m so glad!
I love the pretty and the perfect, but I also love the eating peanut butter out of the jar over the sink in sweats. Don’t you?!
Let’s stop all the comparing and striving and Be Bona Fide! Let’s make our worlds more fun, more special and more real. Let’s choose to be settled in who we are and let’s stop wasting time trying to be anything that we’re not.