I got out of treatment a few days before my 13th birthday, and went back to school a “brand new Lauryn” on the outside, still trying to get adjusted to my “new body.”
Everyone commented mostly on what I looked like. And very few asked about what I had learned, how I had grown or what was on my mind.
As I tried to shed my eating disorder cloak (from my mindset), I still felt very fuzzy and gray about “HOW TO” live without ED dominating my thoughts…Even though I could go through the motions of eating mom’s spaghetti, checking off macros and hitting calorie counts for my doctors and nutritionist, I was STILL obsessed with reading food labels, counting fat grams and thinking about my next meal…
I was present…but NOT present.
It was only a matter of time before, once more, ED fully crept back in, and by the end of my 7th grade year, I found myself back in treatment—back in Arizona—for another 3-month stay.
That same year, my best friend told me she could no longer be friends with me because I was “too much,” and my “dreams” to one day play college basketball, be an actress and dance on Broadway were replaced by dreams to just break free from the CONSTANT pressures to either:
(A.) Hit a certain weight for the doctors, and eat 3000 calories every day, or
(B.) Fit into Size 00 Abercrombie Jeans and sneak in a set of 100 squats in the shower or 1,000 crunches in my bedroom (since mom and dad had banned me from working out). ED was alive and well.
More happiness on the inside, but broken, lost, confused, bloated, constipated and 100% disconnected with my body on the inside.
Come the 9th grade—when this picture was taken—my body was yet, once more, in a “scary place,” and every night for 6-months straight, my mom would insert a feeding tube down my nose to “feed me” extra “nourishment” per doctor’s orders.
I can still smell the baby formula smell of the chocolate formula to this day.
And my “greatest” escapes were the moments when I felt “normal”—like cheering on the BRUINS in my pom squad uniform, or youth group on Wednesday nights where my heart continued to know…there was something more.