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Thinness=Happiness, right?

"I was always the ‘chubby’ kid in the family. I ate the most, would never fit the costumes we would dress up in at granny’s house and I’d always be told to cut back on the cake and chips. But it was just out of love, so no worries, right? I remember a time in sixth grade, when I ate ice cream for dessert almost every single day, my mom suddenly sat down with me. She told me I was getting too fat, and I needed to cut down my food intake, or I would become extremely overweight. Diet culture was huge back then, and no one seemed to rebel against it, so how were parents supposed to know how to approach their kid with weight gain? I remember crying - a lot. I just knew the difference between fat and skinny, what is good and what is bad - everything was just black and white in my little head. Continuously being told to cut down on my food intake made me start eating in hiding. At least I could enjoy the food without having to deal with the guilt comments from other people.

Without realizing it at the time, I was very depressed during secondary school. I didn’t understand jack shit of what I was going through, I just thought I was a weird, stupid, emo. I turned to films and TV-shows, fangirling on twitter, and playing Minecraft in my room instead of going to the school ball, to cope with my feelings. Nobody understood or even questioned why. «She’s just not a social person.»

The summer before high school, I remember waiting for my brother to come back with the best kebab in town. I started bawling my eyes out, ‘realizing’ that I was fat and miserable. Thinking no one would ever love me if I looked like this. I decided that (after the kebab, obviously) I would become a ‘thin and happy person’. Because thinness = happiness, right? Within nine months I had lost weight, and to be quite honest it completely changed my life. I felt better, I had more energy, and I was happier. But behind the smiles, the laughs, the praises, I was constantly insecure. Still not good enough. 

For my second year of high school I moved to the United States, I feared that I would gain weight again. I hated that feeling of being heavier. After a few weeks, I thought I had gained a lot of weight, which I hadn't. It was body dysmorphia and anorexia slowly creeping up on me. I started to eat less. I remember weighing myself at a birthday party, completely freaking out for a second that I was going to die, so I ate chocolate until I felt sick thinking it would make me gain weight and not die. It was a constant battle between not wanting to die and this little voice telling me I had to be thin. Thinner. After some time my host mom sat down with me and asked me if I was okay. At this point I was eating so little even my seven- and five-year-old host sisters were raising their eyebrows. I ate less than a 5 year old. I initially denied it, but then realized that when someone I appreciate approaches me, I should take that as a sign to cry for help. So, I did. I came clear, told her - and myself - that I had been starving myself for months. All I could ever think about was food. Nothing else. Calories. Numbers. Weight. 

The next summer I went to Australia by myself, and it changed everything. It changed my whole perspective on life. Traveling around, I saw so much beauty in my surroundings and I met so many incredible people, all while reading the book ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’. All of this made me realize that my life is much more than weight, and by only focusing on it I took so much for granted. I took for granted many wonderful aspects of life. I gained weight that summer. I gained even more that winter. Recovery took four years. It had nothing to do with weight gain, but gaining knowledge, happiness, and confidence within myself. Thinness does not equal happiness. I choose to eat food that I love, with whom I love, at a place I love. I choose to successfully become the actress I am meant to be, to love whoever I want to love, and live wherever I want to live. Because at the end of the day - it is my life, my choices, my mental health, and my body."

- Martine, Norway

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