The other evening, my boyfriend and I went out to eat at a pizza restaurant. As I was eating my salad (I know… ugh), I spotted this young girl sitting in a booth with her parents. She sat on one side, no older than ten, swinging her short legs and nibbling on a piece of pepperoni pizza, while her parents sat on the other. The girl had a huge smile plastered on her face and her parents looked at her lovingly as they chatted away.
Even as my boyfriend went on about his day, I couldn’t pull my gaze away from this happy little girl. I studied her chubby (not unhealthy) body and her cute round face, and I almost lost it as I admired her long, golden curls. She did not seem to have a care in the world as she eagerly grabbed another piece of pizza.
I looked down at my salad, close to tears. Was I that happy once? I wondered. Did I ever enjoy pizza without worrying about calories? I knew the answer, but the fog in my head prevented me from remembering such a time.
The girl and her parents left before we did and as I watched them head towards the exit I couldn’t help but wonder what the girl’s future looked like. Ten years from now, would she still frequent pizza restaurants and happily graze on a hot pie? Or would she turn out to be like me, picking at a stupid salad?
I prayed, for her sake, that she’d turn out to be a normal teenage girl; one who would go out with her friends, confident in her own skin and not afraid to order a burger or a milkshake (or both!).
One who would not succumb to the deadly grasp of an eating disorder.
I wish I had the ability to travel back in time. I would find myself, a joyful little girl, sitting at a pizzeria, and I would tell her not to give in to the evil voice. I would tell her to just be happy and live her life, regardless of what the world thought of her.