You Are A Warrior

Danielle Mellor

Photo credit: Brittany Sidewell @bsidewellphoto
This content is for mature audiences and may contain triggers involving, but not limited to, eating disorders.

I thought controlling my food would fix everything. I thought that shrinking my body would shrink all the pain I felt inside. I truly believed that I could hate myself into a body I loved; a body that didn’t hurt anymore. Instead, I hated myself into an eating disorder and my pain only grew stronger.

For as long as I can remember I hated what I saw in the mirror. I always felt out of place in my body and such discomfort with what I looked like. I was constantly seeking the acceptance of others, but no matter how hard I tried I still hated the person staring back at me.

As I searched for the acceptance of others, the acceptance that I assumed would allow me to accept myself, I was sexually assaulted. I stopped caring about acceptance and only wanted to forget. So I drank. A lot. There were many nights I probably shouldn’t have woken up from. I was so desperate to have control of my body back that I drank until I was out of control. I spiraled into a deep and dark place.

One night, a girl I barely knew called me fat. Instead of changing my habits because I was walking on thin ice, I changed my lifestyle because of a word that brought me back to childhood. I began to lose weight. I was desperately seeking control of my body still and thought that weight loss was the key to healing. I lost about 90 or so pounds in less than 6 months.

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Photo credit: Brittany Sidewell @bsidewellphoto

I would look in the mirror and feel such disgust despite being the smallest I had ever been. I still saw the fat girl in the mirror. I still saw his hands all over me. I still saw pain flowing through my veins. So I worked out more. I dedicated myself to fitness and counting macros. I lost my friends in the process because I couldn’t bear to be at a social event with food. I was scared of what I might do.

There were times I laid in bed at night and would put pieces of chocolate in my mouth just to get a little taste and I would spit it into the trash. I could not afford the calories. If I hit my calorie goal for the day and food crossed my mind, which it always did, I would go for a run or do sit ups or hit the gym. Again.

I controlled everything I could concerning my body. Binging, restricting, binging and restricting. A vicious cycle I deemed a healthy lifestyle. I wanted to control everything so badly because I was terrified of someone else having control of my body again. Yet, here I was again desperately seeking control while losing control to something else.

It wasn’t until I finally accepted that I needed help for abusing food and exercise that my healing began. My eating disorder did not stem from the dislike I had of my body growing up. I had learned to accept that I didn’t accept my body. My eating disorder stemmed from trauma and I think that’s important for people to understand. Eating disorders are not always about food. They are not always about what you look like. In fact, there is usually deep-rooted trauma that lies underneath.

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Photo credit: Brittany Sidewell @bsidewellphoto

As I began to dive deep into my pain, I slowly began to appreciate my body. As the days went on I noticed my self hate started to diminish. I was developing a tool box to guide me through these dark times, to help change the narrative that played in my head for so many years.

The things that happen to us do not define who we are, but how we chose to overcome them does. It is okay to have pain and it is okay to have been through trauma that has changed you. It does not mean you are damaged or broken, it means you are a warrior. Some days it may feel like you are fighting the same battle over and over again, but that is what warriors do. We fight.

The more I fought for myself the more I accepted my body. Along the way, I learned something very important and I hope if there is one thing you take away from my story it is this: you don’t have to love everything about yourself, but you can learn to accept the things you do not love.

You don’t have to love your cellulite or your jiggly arms, but you can accept them. You don’t have to love the dark places you traveled down, but you can accept them. These things make us who we are and resisting acceptance only hurts ourselves. Our journeys are beautiful, even in their darkest hours, for without the path we traveled on we wouldn’t be here today.

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Photo credit: Brittany Sidewell @bsidewellphoto

danielle mellor

Danielle Mellor is on a self-healing journey. While discovering more about herself, she has learned how important it is to share her story. She currently lives in Michigan and works in the restaurant industry.

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