As I was scrolling through Facebook a few days ago being nosey, I saw a photo of one of my old childhood friends that for as long as I have known her, I thought was absolutely beautiful. Not only was she beautiful on the outside, but she has always been one of the most energetic, wild hearted, and free souls that I have ever met. I always felt compelled to her energy since we were little girls, because she so effortlessly had a way of exciting me, and putting sparkles in my eyes. With Vannah, everything was an adventure- and that’s what made her so fucking perfect to me.
She posted a photo and her caption stated “FRIDAY FEVER!!! I can’t wait to be that skinny again!!!!!”
I saw the photo and of course acquired heart eyes; I remember when she originally posted it months ago and thought to myself how amazing she looked. I commented and told her she needed to share her secret with me! I didn’t think much about the comment, I just wanted to let her know that I still thought she was gorgeous, and her weight loss was something to be proud of. In my head I thought to myself, I really hope one day I can get skinny like that and be happy in my own body too. I mean, I had been stalking her photos for months anyways; I gawked at her liveliness and magenetic beauty for years. Plus, she’s been a lifelong friend of mine and secret girl crush way back since we were truly fat and in middle school. (this is where everyone reading chuckles) It really meant nothing to me to comment and let her know I still see her for how beautiful she’s always been.
I didn’t expect to receive a direct message from her though in my inbox; and by the time I got to the end of the message, my eyes were in tears.
Here is what my beautiful friend said to me:
“Hey beauty. So I’ve been meaning to message you about the comment you left the other day on my skinny picture, when I saw your post I decided to just go ahead and tell you what I had to do to be that skinny.
You’ve known me for a LONG time, so you know I’ve always had issues and insecurities about my weight. Over time, I stopped thinking about it as much and it started to bother me less. In 2011, I was about 140 pounds and looked relatively healthy, just a little thick. And then I met B. He was literally the most gorgeous man I had ever laid eyes on and he chose me! I couldn’t believe it! He always has and still does make me feel like a queen even when I feel I am hideous. So a couple months into dating him we got to talking about partying and such and I tried my first Adderall. I. Loved. It. Something about being able to focus on everything and nothing at the same time was so tantalizing. I felt awake. And so, we would do them here and there maybe like 3 times a week at first so we could stay up and party. Then we started taking them every day. Then we would take more than three a day. That’s at least 90 mg of amphetamine salts a day. I had turned into a terrible person because I let it eat me up. I was doing things I never would have done, lying and stealing and whatever else I had to do to be able to get my pills. I felt cold and numb. And even with the love of my life always at an arm’s reach I had never felt more alone. I never could sleep. Food tasted like ash in my mouth because I was smoking two packs of Newport 100’s a day. I was dead and alive at the same time. So, we started rolling. Almost every night. I can’t say that I regret any of this because I don’t. I had fun. But after doing this for over a year, I started to physically feel pain when I wasn’t high. My body hurt, my head pounded, I would throw up constantly. But it was never enough and I never knew I had a problem. I remember one night looking at myself in the mirror thinking, I am finally perfect. I was 96 pounds. Can you imagine? Me, 96 pounds. I was sick. And I stayed sick for a long time. Months later, after coming down hard from a 5 day bender, B and I were laying in the dark crying in our room because we were in so much pain. He turned and looked me in the eyes and asked me if we should give up. I thought about it for a long time because to be honest, dying seemed so easy. Instead, I gave him a kiss and went into our nightstand drawer and threw away everything. Everything. Hundreds of dollars’ worth of uppers and downers, gone. I wanted him to be happy so badly and I finally realized that we couldn’t have both worlds. Cause you see, when you do uppers you’re so worried about getting high that you don’t appreciate the little things. The smell before a big rainstorm. A hug from your mom. A whisper from your lover. The feel of the sunshine hitting your cheek. So, we did it. It was the hardest thing we have ever had to do. There were plenty of times where one of us fucked up here and there but we have always been honest and there for each other and that is how we get through everything. Because it is so true when they say true love conquers all. I don’t know where I would be without him. About six months later, I had a really fun party to celebrate a really great job opportunity that I never would have gotten had I been on drugs. Two months after that, I found out I was pregnant with Bella. The point of all of this is that I want you to know that you are so beautiful the way you are and sometimes being skinny really isn’t as great as some would think. I wish that I had been happy in my own skin, I would give anything to look how I looked before I started doing drugs but this is my life now and I am proud to live it. I love you, and again you are BEAUTIFUL.”
My jaw dropped and my heart sunk. This was a friend of mine that I viewed as perfect, and I had no idea that for so long she was battling with so much psychological shit. She was fighting against a drug addiction and that was the reason for her weight loss. My eyes still watery, I thought to myself, I was looking at her like she had the perfect body, and the whole time we both were struggling with our body image. I wanted to reach through the computer and jump on top of her and tell her how hot she will always be. I wanted her to know how deeply her honesty inspired me.
I read her message twice and responded with:
“Vannah, that was like wow. Like wow, you literally just inspired ME. Please let me use your story on my website. That is amazing. I had no idea. And to be honest, you ALWAYS were so beautiful to me. At ALL of your sizes. I love you so much, and I would love to meet your daughter and stay more in touch. We practically grew up together and you’ve been through a lot. I admire you. You were just young and insecure, we’ve all been there. But look at what a beautiful women you’ve turned into. I fucking love you. Thank you for being honest with me and telling me all of that. I’m so happy you’re at a better place now.”
My heart melted again. Because there was my childhood friend, this honest and beautiful survivor who had just leaked out her soul to me. I felt thankful to know her. This beautiful friend of mine had been dragged through mud and gone absolutely bonkers, but still came out as strong and flawless as ever. Plus, she found true love in the process, within herself, B, and Bella.
If any of you take anything from this story, please take this:
Be cautious of your habits, because they are indeed what turns into your lifestyle. Take care of what you ingest mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally; and NEVER think you know what’s going on with somebody. You truly never know what battle someone is fighting.
Vannah is right, love does conquer all.
Not only love for someone else, but love for ourselves too. Vannah got better because she decided to choose love over addiction.
The only way to get rid of the darkness within, is to illuminate ourselves with light- and that is exactly what she did.
In today’s world, drugs and body image insecurities are a huge issue that a lot of people feel uncomfortable talking about. People don’t want to acknowledge this as sickness, they’d rather use terms like druggies, misfits, crazy etc to write those people off.
I am here to tell you that this story is not an uncommon one by any means. People every day battle against drug addiction and have a war in their mind about their body image.
So here is my final message, and what I hope you all keep in mind:
Remove the habits from out of your life that harm you.
Take care of yourself so then you can take care of others.
I would like to say thank you to my gorgeous, lifelong, childhood friend Vannah for sharing her story with me; and making her even more awesome, how beautifully she wrote it.
I know someone will be inspired after reading this, and for that reason alone, you should take great pride in your story.
With lots and lots of love,
#OYEEZYVIBES | The Inspirational Movement.