I love spending time looking through old photos and reading through old journals. They bring back memories of good times, hysterical laughs and little moments that have since slipped from my mind.
Recently, however, I stumbled across one of my journals from high school, and the words inside it ripped me apart.
You see, all throughout high school, I genuinely believed that I was the furthest thing from beautiful.
Each morning before school, I’d stand in front of the mirror, poking and prodding myself, agonising over every flaw and wishing I was anyone but me.
I’d admire people who were skinnier than me, noticing how much happier they were, and imagining how much happier I’d be if only I looked like them.
I didn’t take into account different body shapes and builds. I didn’t take into account metabolisms and genetics.
For me, it was as simple as - she’s skinny, I’m not. I battled with this for years, until I reached my lowest point where I hated myself and food.
Anyone who knows me knows that food is a huge part of my life. I love cooking and baking, I love exploring new restaurants and trying new cuisines, I flick through recipe books for fun and my Instagram consists almost entirely of food bloggers and cafes.
When I reached the point where food was something that I feared, it was evident that my obsession had become an issue.
It was also at this point that I had reached an unnaturally low weight, and people started to whisper worried comments to my parents and best friends, asking if I was okay.
This obsession had taken over my life – this obsession to be skinny, because that was my perception of beautiful.
My parents took me to a doctor, and despite my resentment of each appointment, the seriousness of my issue began to dawn on me. Despite this realisation, however, I couldn’t bring myself to change. I was so close to my goal weight, so close to being "beautiful".
One day a girl, who was three or four years younger than me, gave me a letter that she had written to me. In it were the words “…you’re such an inspiration to me…” She went on to talk about my personality, my humour, my generosity. At the end of the letter, in the line before her name, she said “I think you are beautiful, inside and out”!
She called me beautiful! She saw in me what I had been struggling to see for years. But she thought I was beautiful because of what I did, how I treated people, and how I lived - not just how I looked.
She introduced me to a more important kind of beautiful, one that didn’t depend on how much I weighed or how little I ate. She helped me realise that I was beautiful just the way I was.
It was a long road to recovery, and one that I am still trekking today, but I’m so grateful that I made the decision to turn my life around.
Since then, I’ve had some of the happiest moments in my life. I’ve laughed more, I’ve found my passions, I’ve followed my dreams, I’ve travelled the world. I’m finally living the life I was born to live, and I love it!
Gabbi, thank you for your courage, and for sharing this story with us. Gabbi is a stunning human who writes for bella on the regular, as well as studying at uni and eating out at the tastiest spots she can find! (For research purposes, of course!)
The photos in this piece are not of her, yet! We are working on getting some photos so you can see just how splendid she is. We hope you like these pensive pics in the meantime, we thought they were pretty. Peace out.