Reflection in a Stranger
Being on a college campus, you are surrounded by many different kinds of people. Whether you get to know them personally or you just know the familiar faces, some of those people will remind you of friends at home, family members, neighbors, and even yourself. This is what I have experienced here at UVM. I have met so many people that have certain characteristics that remind me of the friends from home whom I miss dearly. But most of all, it is the people I see that remind me of myself that impacts me the most.
It is well known that eating disorders are a problem in our society, and college campuses are a place where that problem is magnified a bit. Not to say that all the girls I am thinking of have eating disorders; a few do, and the others are maybe on the verge. But it is seeing these girls where I see myself, and it makes me cringe inside.
I don’t even know how the disease got a hold of me. That is one of the mysterious things about anorexia nervosa, it kind of creeps up on you. I was always tall and thin growing up. I never really thought about my weight or my body for that matter. I was always active in different sports, and never thought I needed to lose weight.
When I entered high school I continued playing basketball and running track. But in high school these sports were more competitive. I wasn’t a great basketball player, but I wanted to be. I began to train during the off season, especially for basketball, playing every day in the summer. And the work paid off, I made the varsity basketball team my sophomore year, and also placed seventh in the state track meet running the 300 meter hurdles. But that only caused me to set more expectations for myself. The varsity team was stressful. I wanted to play more, but I still wasn’t at the same level as some of the girls I played with. So I played every single day and started training for even longer periods of time. That’s when I started getting into nutrition as well. I started reading about sports nutrition, and started watching what I ate, not with intentions to lose weight. I wanted to build more muscle and eat healthier to fuel my body. I started off by just not eating cookies and sweets so much. I would ask my mom not to put butter on the vegetables before she put them on the table. I started watching out for little things like that. My parents thought nothing of it they just thought I was trying to be a little healthier.
Junior year of high school is where the problem began. I trained for basketball so much that I stressed myself out about it. My team was really good – ranked fifth in New England. I was so happy to be part of it, but I personally wanted to be better. Academically, I was very successful, but I had always gotten good grades. At the end of sophomore year I was ranked first in the class, but this meant little to me. I have come to realize now, that all along, I wasn’t trying to prove anything...