It's been years since I've flown back home to visit family and friends, and as much as I keep telling myself it's purely for selfish reasons (i.e. Puerto Rico is too hot, I have to work, don't like the beach anymore, etc.), I know it stems down deeper than just that.
Last time I was home was the summer of tenth grade. I will never forget how awful that summer was. I was ridiculed for liking Christian music, anytime I expressed that I actually wanted to go to church, I was made fun of and told that someday I'll end up saying that I'm going to be a nun. I had panic attacks often after seeing someone that I hoped I'd never have to see again, and was put on a very strict diet because my uncle thought I was too "fat" and it was simply unhealthy.
I knew I wasn't skinny, but I was never the kind of girl that wanted to be. I enjoyed myself with food, I exercised enough to be able to do that, and although I didn't have the most ideal body, I was proud of who I was.
I remember being confused when one day, my aunt and sister went shopping and when they came back and showed me what they bought for me, my aunt (who by-the-way is no longer my aunt due to divorce) told me that I needed to start wearing spanks to go to sleep because they would help me tuck in my stomach. I remember looking into the full-length mirror wondering what was wrong with the tummy that I had.
Not too long after that, after I had eaten dinner and wanted some dessert my uncle yelled my name from his bathroom and when I went over there he asked me to stand on his scale. My eyes began watering as I let out a soft "no" and looked away. For the first time ever I was ashamed of what I had eaten. He asked me to step on the scale because he wanted to know how much I weighed and this time I screamed "NO!", ran to my grandmother's bathroom and locked the door.
I sat with my back against the door, crying for what seemed like hours when really as I hyperventilated the minutes felt longer than they actually were. After I calmed myself down a little bit I got up and looked at myself in the mirror. I was disgusted.
I leaned over the toilet and did what I had seen in movies and my favorite show at the time. After I purged that evening a sense of satisfaction washed over me. The food was gone, I didn't feel as heavy and it was all over and done with... Only it wasn't over; it was only the beginning.
3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
1 Peter 3:3-4