Editor’s Note: This article includes mention of eating disorders.
I spent my 17th birthday with my family. I called it my third quinceanera. I was so happy and surrounded by my friends and family.
I spent my 18th birthday on the phone with my friends. Because of the pandemic, I could not be with them. My family got a new puppy. I ate cookies. It was a great birthday.
I spent my 19th birthday starving myself. My family came over and we had a carne asada, at my request. I could not bring myself to eat any of it.
When we cut the cake, I had a piece. After all, it was my cake and my whole family was watching me. I took a bite and almost began to cry. It was a banana cake with white whipped cream frosting.
It was one square piece of cake. Why was it so hard for me?
When everyone else left, I was alone with my cousins and sister. We had a sleepover and watched a movie. I was so hungry. I could not focus on anything, all I could think about was food.
We started to eat snacks. I had yogurt while they ate chips and candy. I was jealous and still hungry when I finished.
I had a second yogurt.
A few minutes after I finished, I felt guilty. The guilt felt like it was coming from my stomach and I needed to get it out of me, so I went to the bathroom and put my face in the toilet with tears streaming down my face.
My 20th birthday will be different. I will be surrounded by my family and friends, by the people who love me. I will be surrounded by all the reasons why I am choosing recovery. I will recover. I am recovering.