I wanted to write and publish this post last week, but I was sick in bed, absent from school with a sore throat and a 100+ degree fever.
About a week and a half ago, I SMASHed some scales with McCall Dempsey of Southern Smash, my mentors, and fellow recovery buddies. It was an amazing experience. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to participate, meet and visit with McCall, and listen to her tell her story that evening.
There was just on thing though, I wanted to smash MY scale.
The story is, when I was first diagnosed, my dad shared McCall’s organization, Southern Smash with me. I knew I wanted to participate eventually, but had no idea when or if I ever would. I put it in my mental bucket list and anticipated my chance.
Shortly after being discharged from the children’s hospital where I was diagnosed and re-fed, I began outpatient treatment. Leaving with no skills, therapy or any type of treatment other than weight restoration, I went straight back to my old behaviors. My dad had taken the scale out of his bathroom, took out the batteries and hid it so I didn’t have access to weighing myself. Determined to know my weight, I went searching for the scale and found it under his bed. I noted its location. The next morning, before school, while my dad was in the shower, I hurried to his room to collect the scale and quickly replaced the batteries. I stepped on it relieved that the number didn’t go up. I continued this ritual everyday. One weekend, when my dad was taking a shower in the early afternoon I went to do my daily routine. My luck, he hadn’t stepped in the shower yet and came into my room to ask me something catching me red-handed. He became upset and so did I. We talked for some time and then he said he was going to throw it out, but asked if I wanted to use a hammer to smash it. I agreed to the idea and participated. Did I physically smash a scale? Yes. Did I mentally and emotionally SMASH the scale? NO WAY! Especially because after that I refused to eat for fear of not knowing what my weight was if I did and ended up back in the hospital on my way to treatment for the first time.
I haven’t stepped on a scale since the impromptu smashing (except for a the nutritionist’s and doctor’s office but that’s backwards of course), but the number on the scale still regular visits my mind.
Swaying between recovery and relapse for three years, I still worry about what that number says. I’m never curious [peeking] though because the thought of what number it is terrifies me. However, I have realized that no number will ever be enough for my eating disorder. Not 1,000 and not 0. To be frank, I know that before I reach the goal that my eating disorders has set (limitless), I will be dead. I am currently working on accepting whatever number I weigh at my healthy weight is OK. It’s not important. It is only an obsession that my mind has grasped onto because of the media and the culture of thinness I was born into. I am certainly not the only one who experiences this nor do only those who suffer/suffered from eating disorders obsess over it (as seen by the countless people including men and women that visited Southern Smash’s event table to let go and smash scales). My first SMASH event will be one I won’t forget because it was all and all an amazing day. I can’t wait to participate in more in the future.
As a part of the activities during a SMASH, participants are ask to write what they would say to their scale on a piece of card stock and place it under or over the scale when they smash it. I wrote various obscenities on my card that I totally meant, but I didn’t really sit down too hard to think about what I was writing so, in this post, I wanted to write an open letter to my scale as this post is titled. I’m not sure this will be the last letter I will write to my scale because, right now, it is still very much in my mind but one day when I’ve finally broken free of those thoughts, I will write another one that is a final farewell to my scale.
Dear Unnecessary Household Item [Scale],
Truly, I wish you never entered my life in the first place but that however is unrealistic due to the society I was born into. You didn’t really ever need to be in my life because you were never used for good only evil. I’m really not so keen on the fact that you can be used in a positive manner, even though doctors would disagree, because you aren’t really a measure of someone’s health. There have been numerous studies that have shown that weight has no correlation with health, but before I get TOO scientific let’s stop there because this is supposed to be a personal letter to you, MY scale. I remember the day that my dad brought you home and as he placed the batteries inside to turn you on, I had no idea that I would soon allow the number you gave me determine my worth. It’s crazy that I put so much stock in one number. Since when does a number determine my worth as a person. I don’t let the a number I get when I work out a math problem label my character so why should I let the number you give me do it. It’s funny that most of the time I pray for high numbers: my GPA, my test grades, AP scores, and basically ANY other number other than the one I receive when I step on you. It’s ironic. I hate that you ever became a part of my life. I hate that I put so much of my worth in you and sometimes still do. You don’t matter. Honestly, you don’t. SO GOODBYE SCALE. (Even though your already in a trash pile somewhere.)
With Much Hate,
This is my personal letter to my scale and only reflects only how I feel. You may not have the same feelings towards your own scale, but I definitely encourage you to write your own and maybe even share it with your therapist or someone you trust. It was really therapeutic for me to write mine. I know I still have more to say to it, but I wanted to only say the things I believe. So, when I finally fully believe the other things I wish to say, I will write another.
Also, make sure to go check out Southern Smash’s website here to see if a SMASH event is coming to a campus near you. McCall would love to see new faces SMASHing scales.
Today’s mantra has been: Keep moving forward.
What has your mantra been lately?