This December, Advanced Composition students studied, wrote, and recorded audio essays. Students wrote and recorded their own "This I Believe" essays inspired by the weekly This I Believe Podcast. While we're publishing the text of each essay below, we strongly encourage you to listen to each student's audio essay for a more intimate experience.
Growing up, my childhood was highly influenced by Disney films. The princesses and princes, the castles, the dresses; it was all a dream come true. I fantasized day and night about making fairy tales like those come to life. I dreamed about one day finding my Prince Charming and moving far, far away where he and I could live happily ever after, but that wasn't the case.
My childhood was a breeze. No cares in the world and free to feel and think whatever I wanted. There was no judgment and everyone got along. During elementary school, I was determined to live out my fairy tale fantasy. Seems foolish, I know, but at that time I was ignorant and gullible. I was under the impression that women were meant to find love at a young age. Once middle school came around, I was totally ready for love. I met this boy. He was tall, brown haired and blue eyed with a radiant smile. I knew I had found him; my one true love. When I confessed my love for him he responded with, "I'm sorry, but I don't like fat girls".
Numb. That’s what I was. That’s what I was feeling. It were those few words that broke my heart and scarred me for life. It had never occurred to me that my weight would be a factor in whether loving me was okay. Looking back, I'd always known the prince falling for the princess for her generosity and genuinely kind soul. After further observation, it was clear that every single princess that had been swept off her feet was not only kind and generous, but thin and beautiful.
Ever since that day, I'd question my whole belief system. What was beauty? Why am I not considered beautiful? My soul was crushed and I didn't know how to heal. I spent the rest of my middle school years trying to change my appearance. I experimented with all kinds of fashion styles and cosmetic products but that didn't change how I looked and felt underneath. I needed a drastic change. I tried working out, but I would begin to feel discouraged when I didn't see results. At this point, I was desperate. I began starving myself. I avoided eating at all costs and when I did, I'd forcefully vomit to rid my body of the empty carbs. Because of this sick obsession, I developed an eating disorder.
You may ask yourself, "How crazy would someone have to be to put their health in jeopardy"? Well, I acted without reasonable thinking and I didn't consider the subsequent consequences. It’s insane to think that because of one thing someone said to me 5 years ago, I’d be suffering from a long and life-threatening disorder. I was so infatuated with this idea of falling in love, that I blinded missed the actual meaning of it. What is love anyway? And why is it so damn appealing? My definition back then was that regardless of your personality, you must be physically attractive in order to be loved. However, through the course of my disorder and treatment, I’ve learned that love is when you can be yourself, inside and out, and that special someone will appreciate you for being you.
I had always thought that if I had a beautiful face and a thinner body figure, then I’d find someone to love me, but I was completely wrong. Today, I am a 17 year old recovering bulimic and I believe that, while I’m not the thinnest girl in the world, I still deserve a happily ever after. I battled through some of the toughest obstacles anyone could ever endure in a lifetime, but it’s made me who I am and I’m grateful for it everyday. And even though I may never find my prince charming, or live in a palace far, far away, my life had always kind of been a fairy tale. It’s a different Disney story and I’m a different kind of princess.