In elementary school, I made a rule for myself that when I was coloring I couldn’t leave any white space on the paper. Pressing lightly on a crayon to paper leaves tiny white spaces, so I would press as hard as my little 6-year-old hand could, leaving layers of Crayola wax and absolutely no white space, on every drawing.

As I got older and continued to create more rules of perfection, I realized it wasn’t possible to always follow every rule. This news was devastating-how could I ever be successful at anything if I couldn’t be perfect at everything? Although I’ve been fairly successful at things, I have (almost) never been number one, numero uno, first place. Second place? Sure, yes, all the time. But there appeared to always be someone better than me at everything I did. And to deal with this epic failure that I viewed as my life, I gave myself something else to focus on: my weight.

Every morning one of the first thoughts I think upon waking is: I’m not going to eat anything today.

And the struggle begins.

Some days, I’m able to shove the thought out of the way and make room for important things; some days I spend the day in turmoil, debating for hours whether or not to eat a certain food and if there will be a consequence for it if I do. Some days, I don’t have the energy to fight something that I’m often unsure if I even really want.

On those days, no white spaces are allowed. Rules flood my mind. But it’s relieving. It’s comforting and safe to know I could succeed at losing weight. It makes me feel successful when I step on the scale–even after just one day–and see a number lower than the day before, even hours before. I’m proud of myself. 

I’m not sure where else to find that feeling.

This makes me angry.

So, so, angry.

know it’s not healthy. I know it makes other people concerned, frustrated, helpless. I know it can’t last. But sometimes, I can’t bring myself to care. Sometimes, I need to be proud of myself, and nothing else works so immediately and intensely. As fucked up as it seems, it’s very real.

Every morning, I tell myself not to eat breakfast, and every morning I try very hard to combat that urge–to let the white spaces be–because I want to live a meaningful life. I really, really do. I don’t want to be stuck for forever. Yet sometimes, it just feels impossible to not color as hard as I possibly can, leaving no white spaces.

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