MorningJoy Podcast is a biweekly podcast that focuses on education, mental health, and the music we use to cope in this crazy world. It highlights folks of color doing amazing work. 
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The gag is....

The gag is....

When I was in high school, it was either my freshman or sophomore year, I was playing varsity basketball and my dad had signed me up for tennis lessons. And somehow I had made time for the violin as well. 

Anyway, during this time I remember my older sister coming home from college for one of her holiday breaks and she asked me how I had lost so much weight. I originally said that it was because I was playing two sports. So all I did was exercise; however, I later admitted that I was not eating. 

I would eat very little at dinner with the family and say that I just wasn't hungry. At during lunch I would eat close to nothing. I don't know why I did this. Scratch that, I do know why.  I mean why does every high school girl (or woman in general) stop eating--they think they are fat. 

And that's the thing, I wasn't fat. And even if I was, so what. But at 13/14 years old, I did not have that resolve just yet. And to be honest, I didn't even have it at 22 years old. 

If we were to fast forward to 2016, I had just graduated college. I gained quite a bit of weight my last semester of undergrad. I was in 18 credit hours. Worked 20 hours a week. Studying for the LSAT. I graduated in December, and I was trying to figure out my next steps in my life because, as I have spoken about before,  the LSAT let me know that law school was not the route I was headed down. 

Every time I looked in the mirror, I just saw the failure that I thought I was. Every extra pound I gained in underground visualized all the mistakes that I had made and all of the heartbreak that I had experienced. And literally all of the stress. I hated myself. 

Here I was, 22 years old, feeling like I felt when I was a freshman and sophomore in high school: worthless and ugly. 

I know we hear quite a bit about how society hoodwinks young women into believing this unrealistic standard of beauty; however, I don't I think I fully understood how interalized it was for me until recently. Here I was at the time, 22 years old and letting all those white disney princesses get to my head. 

So, at 22 years old for about a month I made myself throw up. I have never said those words out loud much less written them in a blog post for the whole world to see. But it has been weighing on me for some time, literally and figuratively. No one knew. But I would eat and drink and be merry with my friends (or folks I thought were my friends) and then I would go home to my bathroom and puke it all up. 

I somehow had tied my worth to the number I saw on the scale. I felt like people were talking about me. I felt like I wasn't pretty. I felt like the girl who had big dreams but didn't fulfill them but managed to fill all that space with extra chicken on her burrito bowl from Chipotle 

I had this weird relationship with food. It was love hate so to speak. I knew I needed to eat, but I hated the way it made me gain weight. I thought it was the food's fault. I thought it was my fault. 

I wanted to be the pretty girl. No one really called me that. I was always complimented as "smart" and to be fair, I like being smart first. But if you never hear "joy, you're beautiful" but all you hear is "you're smart" you begin to think to yourself if you're ugly. 

You begin to ask yourself: why don't I look like the girls other women say or gorgeous? What do I have to do to look like them? Maybe if I look like them, I will be able to accept myself. I know I am smart, but I don't know I am beautiful so I needed to hear it. 

It sucks when the only test in society for "beauty" is do you look like a covergirl? Like, I can prove I am smart by acing a test; however, how can i prove that I am beautiful? 

So I threw up every calorie. And as I flushed the toilet, the weight of my failures ( I thought) went down the drain as well. I thought I could throw up my unattended hurt and brokenness. I thought that I could heal myself by hurting myself. 

I wanted to be skinnier, and now that I am almost 25 I still want to be a little thinner. But this time, for the right reasons. Because I know that I stress eat, and my first two years of graduate school were hella stressful but I have to find another way to cope. But that is a post for another day. 

I think back to the time I wasn't eating while I was in high school, and I can remember that everyone was making fun of me. Even my basketball teammates were making fun of me. And in turn, I made fun of other folks. It is true when they say hurt people hurt people. I can understand that now. 

I can understand that I was hurting from feeling unaccepted. From feeling like a failure. For feeling like the cause for my mother's death. The cause for my father and step-mother's arguments. I thought the less space I took up physically, the less space I would take up in people's minds and they would forget to make fun of me. 

I think back to how I found myself in the bathtub of my apartment after throwing up, crying my eyes out alone. Finally willing to address the heartbreak I was feeling. The heartbreak of watching something that I thought was my dream slip through my hands. The pain from the man I thought I loved at the time lie and take all I had to give physically, emotionally, and even financially. 

I was trying to rid myself of this hurt my making myself get rid of the tangible thing I thought I could fix. 

I guess I finally have the courage to write about this because I have recently started this "meatless" lifestyle change for a little bit. And before I decided to dive into it, I really had to ask myself the reasoning behind this decision. Was it because I just wanted to lose weight. Cause once again, I gained about 40lbs since I moved to Iowa. 

I had to ask myself really tough questions. And I realized that I have an extremely unhealthy relationship with food. I want to eat because I need sustenance not because the food is in front of me. Don't get me wrong, I am not going vegan or vegetarian, but I am going to go on this journey to better understand myself. I am happy that weight loss is a plus lol. 

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