Prompt: Choose an issue of importance to you-the issue could be personal, school related, local, political, or international in scope-and write an essay in which you explain the significance of that issue to yourself, your family, your community, or your generation.
Society today portrays many messages pertaining to appearance and what it means to be beautiful. It propels the idea that in order to be considered beautiful, you must be thin. The average fashion model's measurements are extremely unrealistic, and advertisements featuring weight-loss plans and medications are seen everywhere. In response, the number of people developing eating disorders is on the rise. Anorexia nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening disease, and many people think that being anorexic just means being very thin and refusing to eat. While those two components are usually involved, there is so much more to know about the horrifying condition.
I have firsthand experience with anorexia nervosa. I remember hearing my mom and stepmom talking about going on a diet after my fifteenth birthday dinner. Foundered and feeling bloated, I thought that a diet sounded like a great idea and decided to start one the next day. I struggled for weeks with temptation and cravings, but after a short while, I could easily resist eating. I kept track of every calorie and gram of fat that entered my mouth, and I ate absolutely no more than one thousand, two hundred calories per day. I also exercised regularly and extensively by going to the gym, riding and working my horses, and going on walks. Within a couple months, I lost a substantial amount of weight. I felt beautiful and free; I could wear any outfit, do anything, and flatter anyone. My problems and worries seemed less significant, because I was skinny and beautiful.
Eventually, I started lying to my parents about how much I weighed, because, though I loved being tiny and basked in the feeling it brought, I knew I was unhealthy. My father is a family physician and my mother is a registered nurse, so hiding the truth from them was impossible. With their help and support accompanied by force, it was not long before I recovered physically. However, the physical aspect of anorexia nervosa is not even half the problem if you ask me; I have been physically recovered from the disorder for over two years now.
You can look at me today and see a physically healthy, maybe even slightly overweight, young woman. The doctors say that I am maintaining a sufficient weight. My appetite is normal, and you cannot see my ribs. However, the anorexia still remains inside my head. When I look in the mirror, I no longer see a beautiful girl. The roundness of my face and curves of my body make me feel undesirable. I prefer to wear jeans and a sweatshirt all the time to hide my so-called recovered body, and I feel as if every time my friends and family look at me, all they see is a chubby failure. I tell myself every day that I will start a diet tomorrow, but I have been unsuccessful for years.
Parents and friends of people undergoing an eating disorder worry about the physical losses of their loved one, not the mental and emotional damage. That damage, which never goes away, seems insignificant to them. However, being anorexic myself, I know that the mental aspect of anorexia nervosa is more significant than other aspects. The messages that the media reveals are wrong. The thought that these advertisements and pictures are causing other girls and boys to suffer with their self-esteem and image makes me sick to my stomach. For the rest of my life, I will struggle with my weight and how I perceive myself. I will live with the pain, and my physical health will most likely falter repeatedly.
Beauty, true beauty, is not entirely a physical aspect. Despite my ongoing struggle with anorexia, I have learned that there is much more to life than worrying about what others think of me. My main goal is to become the best me I can possibly be in every single way, and I will achieve that goal.
(Note: I do not have the essay spaced this way. Instead, where there is a new paragraph above, it is tabbed in the actual essay. Please give ANY recommendations. This is for the University of Texas at Austin.)