Run as fast as you can to the cafeteria. So that you can gorge yourself on cake oozing chocolate goo, strawberry ice cream piled high with toppings, pizza slices swimming in pools of grease, and French fries bathed in enough salt to put the Dead Sea to shame. So that you can eat enough to start taking up more space and stop feeling like you are invisible. So that you can fool yourself into thinking at least your stomach is full when every other part of you is empty. So that you arrive home from your freshman year of college feeling worthless and utterly disgusted with yourself for losing so much control. So that you realize your mom, dad, and sister barely recognize you. So that you can spend the whole summer eating healthy, exercising daily, and learning how to respect yourself and your body more than ever before. So that you understand no amount of food will ever make you feel as full as the things and people you love. So that you lose some weight. So that you regain your confidence. So that now you can look in the mirror and step on the scale and be proud of what you see.
Run straight to your mini-fridge in your dorm. So that you can gulp down a whole bottle of wine, go out later, and completely embarrass yourself in front of everyone you know. So that you do this more than once. So that you can feel “happy” because you are numb and oblivious to everything that is going on around you. So that you lie to your friends and family about your weekend plans. So that you throw up over winter break in your date’s car after drinking the bottle of André and more than half the bottle of Bacardi Mojito he bought for the two of you to share. So you wake up the next morning with vomit stuck to your clothes, hair, and face, with no recollection of how you got home. So that you feel awful about scaring your mom to death because she thought you needed to go to the hospital. So that you could have choked on your own vomit. So that you ask for help. So that you have fun with alcohol nowhere in sight. So that you understand alcohol will not solve any of your problems. So that you can be proud of your choices. So that you know your limits and will not go past them. So that now you know you can have a good time whether or not you choose to drink.
Run into the arms of immature boys who could care less about you. So that you can be called “stupid,” and a “bitch” and a “slut.” So that you start to think that, maybe, you deserve to be called those names. So that you are isolated from your friends and have no one to turn to when you are crying hysterically at 4 a.m. So that you forget how to laugh. So that you continue to give yourself up for less than a song and begin to feel that your soul and body are no longer one. So that you can be someone’s 12 a.m. booty call because he was “too busy to see you during the day” and you wanted to believe he was telling you the truth. So you finally recognize that you deserve better. So you stop making excuses for guys who would not make the same excuses for you. So you delete them from your phone and your life. So you can really appreciate the man who says he is “crazy about you,” calls you because he wants to hear how your day is going, makes you laugh until your cheeks hurt, and makes you feel whole again. So that you can spend a week with this guy doing nothing but building furniture together for his new apartment, sharing meals that taste like chalk, keeping him company while he works, and realize it has been the best week of your life. So that you can know a good thing when you see it.
Run toward the things and people that will try to destroy you.
Fight back. Own up to your mistakes. Learn the important lessons on your own. Feel beautiful because you remember what it’s like to feel ugly. Feel whole because you remember what it’s like to feel empty. Feel joy because you have known pain.
Say you saved yourself. Know it to be true.