Tori Noriega Tori is a student at Pace University in New York City and Creative Director/Staff Writer at TFP. You can visit Tori's blog at- www.dailylifeofvictoria.com/
Time to talk about one of the most dreaded things… weight. Can you believe little numbers on a scale determine so many people’s happiness? Can you believe those little stretch marks and tummy rolls ruin our moods for days on end? I can’t lie and say it doesn’t determine mine from time to time. When you look at a scale and all it gives you is something you don’t want, your spirits drop a little. Coming from someone who has struggled with their weight for their entire life, I know the effects of weight. I know the toll it takes on your mental health and the way it affects how you live daily. I grew up the overweight little girl in elementary school; I was always the biggest girl in the class. It was always a struggle to be around all of the tiny little girls who could fit through the tight desk spaces and in the playground. Their uniform skirts wouldn’t bunch up at their stomachs and their thighs wouldn’t chafe whenever they’d walk. They wouldn’t cry in the mornings when their uniforms never fit right. They were never told by doctors that they had to go on a diet at the age of 7. Their lives haven’t been ruled by how much they weigh since they were children. They wouldn’t sit down and see tummy rolls through their polos. Other little girls wouldn’t point out their flaws not in a malicious way, but only because they’d never had them. I honestly can’t tell you what it feels like to not worry about your weight. I can’t tell you what it’s like to look in a mirror and love what you see. I’ve never known what it’s like to love myself. I was child who grew up only knowing that her body wasn’t what it was supposed to be. I grew up thinking that the way I looked was wrong, it wasn’t right. I couldn’t eat that second cookie; I couldn’t have that little piece of cake, because if I did it would all just sit in me and add weight. I had to be put on a diet at a young age just to control it. I was trying to sign up for weight watchers in fifth grade. My life revolved around weight management. Now, here I am at nineteen years old and I have more weight issues than anyone really wants in their lifetime. I have been constantly trying to lose weight, for how many years I can’t even keep track. My mind has been clouded with thoughts of weight loss and being skinny for years on end. Whenever I do lose weight I still see the same sized girl no matter how hard I try to see someone different. I’ll become unmotivated and eat away my feelings. It’s an awful cycle of loss and gain. You lose yourself in this battle with your body. All you want is for you to love yourself, but it takes over everything you. All you think about is how you should eat, or when you should workout. Did you work out long enough? Did you really need to eat those cookies? All of these thoughts run through your mind, at least they run through mine. It’s just a pain to live. Everyday it’s the same routine and thought process, it’s never ending. It isn’t a life. I have yet to find a way to stop this cycle, but I’ve had some successes for a few months. It all goes to shit again soon after though. This isn’t rare and of course I know that. Most girls throughout the world experience these issues. If you don’t, I can’t express how lucky you are. These feelings rarely go away and truth be told I don’t think they ever really do. You gain control and you understand how to better yourself, but they never go away. If there were to be someone or something to put the blame on it would be society, the media and the way the world pressures women to look. You’re told you can’t be too skinny or too fat, but if you’re fat you can’t be. Except if you have no curves you’re doing it wrong. There is a never a way of winning in this world. Sometimes you just have to throw in the towel. It’s better to love yourself and the way you look than listen to what society tells you is beautiful. Because, honestly, you’re beautiful.
the author of this essay has asked to remain anonymous
For years, I’ve dealt with many mental health issues, I’ve been told its depression, severe panic disorder or something to do with me being lazy. I believed it was just how I was supposed to feel. For nineteen years having the constant need to bite my nails till the most painful point. When my heart would race for hours on end and I couldn’t breathe with sweat dripping down my face from how nervous I was. I would sit in bed not being able to enjoy a single moment of my life without feeling guilty or sitting in bed wishing I could do something but not having the motivation to do anything but wallow in self-pity. I’d dealt with emotional issues due to the fact of having a toxic relationship with my father as a child. I still to this day make excuses for him. He was going through a hard time. He struggled with his own issues, but I was only three or four and I was terrified to go home and face him. I was terrified I’d do something to upset him and I’d ruin his day. I had to grow up and learn that being a child wasn’t an option. Then I move on to high school and meet a boy who I thought truly loved me for me. I thought that finally I had reached the peak of love fairytales. Then I was used and thrown out like a used tissue and when I told my mom I was told that what I did only prostitutes* did back in her time. It was a moment where I felt that what I did with that boy wasn’t what I had wanted, but I was told by my mom that I was something she deemed as a lowlife. I felt useless and empty for years. I couldn’t really talk to anyone about it. I had one person that listened to me and honestly that person is the only reason I’m alive right now. I had to convince myself that I was worth something again. I had to tell myself that these people don’t mean anything. Their comments don’t mean anything. I am more than these comments. I didn’t handle it the best way with getting into fights with my mom and ignoring my dad. I would skip school not wanting to show up and see anyone. I’d ignore my friends and shut them all out. I was becoming someone I didn’t recognize. A girl that use to be happy and bright. Someone who always had a smile on their face and was laughing as if there was no tomorrow. To this day I don’t fully recognize the person I’ve become. I’m happy with who I am, but it’s not who I was. The point of this article is that for years I had no idea what was wrong with me. Why did my mood change so much? Why was life so hard when I was at my lowest? Why do I constantly have these feelings of insecurity and pain when I come into contact with men? Why did no anti-depressant or anxiety medication ever work for me? Over spring break, I got only part of the answer, but it was a step to something I knew that would begin to help me more than anything had in my past. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II, which is a less severe BPD than I, but it still affects the daily life of someone severely if not controlled. The idea of telling someone frightened me because people have predetermined stereotypes of people with Bipolar Disorder. Would people turn on me? Would people think I was unstable? I know I’m not. I know I’m strong, because I’ve been dealing with this for most of my life without any medication or true help and in my personal opinion I’ve done it beautifully. I have convinced myself now that I deserve to be self-absorbed. I deserve to love myself and compliment myself relentlessly. I deserve to appreciate myself. Now there is more to deal with. I know I still have relationship issues that I need to deal with. I have more psychological issues to work through, but for once in my life I’m at peace with myself. I’m finally ready to begin self-help. For anyone who is dealing with things they don’t understand or with pent up emotions that they feel like they can’t let out. It will get better, but you have to work towards it. You have to open yourself up to it. It will get there. You will get there.
*I in no way believe prostitutes are lower or lesser than me or anyone else. They are working women/men that deserve respect.
Tori Noriega Tori is a student at Pace University in New York City and Creative Director/Staff Writer at TFP.
My major and my life is pretty much dedicated to keeping up with politics and current events. I have to consistently know what is happening in the world. I need to know what Trump said yesterday or who was put into his cabinet. I need to know about the hate crimes happening and where they were. All of these things that are mind numbing and killer. I feel this necessity to know everything that’s happening. If I don’t I feel like I’m not living up to my life standards, but it gets tiring. That’s something I hate to admit. Since I decided my life was going to be dedicated to a field of politics I was excited. I was ready for it. I knew it’d be hard and I knew it’d take a toll. I didn’t realize how much of a toll it would take. Sometimes it feels awful saying that though. I feel like I’m letting people down. It’s dumb and weird to be honest. No one really cares if I know what happened exactly yesterday in the White House I know they won’t be disappointed if I tell them my mental health is deteriorating due to this awful administration that continues to strip us of our rights. I know that people will understand if I tell them that listening to stories of people being attacked daily is painful. These aren’t bad things because we are all still humans. We are not robots. We have feelings and emotions. We are not these disgusting Nazis who have no remorse. If you feel drained and mentally unstable because of this, it is okay to not keep up. It is okay to take a breather and take personal time to get your mental health together. Take a break from being on Twitter and seeing these articles being thrown around and read a book. Write in your journal and let out your thoughts. Go outside and take walks to clear your head. If you feel like your friends seem to only talk about these things bring something else up. Talk about dumb boys or about music. Talk about things that interest you. Things that make you happy. Now this is all easier said than done. It is much easier to say to separate yourself and take breaks than actually doing it. I know from personal experience. When all of my classes are dedicated to learning about politics, how can you not talk about American politics in Political Science classes? I can’t take myself out of these classes because I need it for my future, but when I’m done with them I separate myself completely. I focus on writing and letting out my emotions. I read some books or even watch TV shows that I haven’t caught up with. It does feel like a waste of time sometimes but to be honest, it’s not. Your mental health and stability is not a waste of time; it never will be.