This is a great piece, and I can totally understand why it was nominated for a FROG. It's raw and gritty, but so real. It's such an honest story, and particularly in the beginning when Sadie is looking at herself in the mirror and struggling so hard to come up with things she likes about herself and is only saying half of these things because her therapist wants to hear it and not because she believes it herself, is just heartbreaking. Mostly because her desperation and sadness are so tangible, but also because this is a real thing that happens to so many people.
The stories from the other people she talks to with eating disorders were so heartbreaking as well. I liked that you showed the variety of different people that eating disorders can affect: anyone, regardless of size or gender or age. But I was so happy that talking to these people gave Sadie hope in the end, and that they help her begin her path to recovery.
"My love for others who can't see the beauty in themselves that I can see in them is making me realize that maybe I'm wrong about myself." -- This rang so, so true to me. I think we are all our own worst critics, and sometimes I'm amazed to find that people I really look up to have issues with self esteem or are in some other way unhappy with who they are, when I think they're amazing. And vice versa- that I'm surprised when other people see something interesting/beautiful about me. And it's so true that when you see that in other people you begin to realize that you're far more critical of yourself than other people are, in general.
Of course, Sadie's stepfather and ex-boyfriend made the story even sadder, how it's not just Sadie criticizing herself, but other people are as well. They sound like such awful people. Which makes me even more proud of Sadie for seeing that they are wrong and getting their criticism out of her head and beginning to appreciate herself. The end of the story really emphasizes Sadie's strength. She came through so much, and it takes a lot of strength to pull oneself up out of that kind of mess like she did. The last paragraph is wonderful - it's very hopeful.
I thought this piece was remarkably well written. Great job, Rumpel ♥
Sorry it's taken me so long to respond. I got terribly behind on reviews and am just starting to catch up now!
This was a difficult story to write (so much so that I haven't been able to bring myself to edit the parts that need editing). It's been even more difficult to respond to reviews for this one. I agree we are definitely our own worst critics.
Thank you so much for your wonderful review <3 and I apologize for the very short and brief response but I am very thankful for your wonderful feedback.
This was an incredibly powerful and poignant piece of writing. I know that you've said it's quite personal to you, and I have to say that it feels very raw and honest and believable, probably because of that. It also really made me stop and think - I have some experience with eating disorders (particularly with friends), but this captured what it's like to be the person going through all of this - and I think it made me feel like I need to pay even more attention to my words than I already try to do.
The way that you opened this piece was really strong - a bold statement that almost felt defiant and challenging. If Sadie could say it first, then nobody else could tell her that. It's like a coping mechanism for her.
It felt almost painful to read the way that Sadie was staring in the mirror and struggling so much to like any aspect of her body. It's so devastating, and yet so incredibly real. We all have natural insecurities but when it gets to this point, it's almost impossible to see yourself clearly - and certainly not the way that other people see you.
I know that Sadie was trying so hard to find something she liked about herself, but I also know it was more to shut her therapist up than anything else. I think that showed a really important point, that you can only start to change and recover if you do it for yourself.
I don't have (polite) words for someone like Chad, or Sadie's ex-boyfriend. There are so many people who don't focus on what's important in life, and put the emphasis on body image because it's an easy insult to spit out, without ever thinking about the impact that might have on the people they're talking to - particularly young people, who are so vulnerable already.
It's a small detail in this story, but I was glad that you included the man who had an eating disorder - I think it's so often thought of as something that only affects women, and any sort of mental illness is harder for men to talk about because of toxic masculinity, and I loved that inclusion.
The peer counselling actually sounds like a brilliant idea - and I'm so, so glad that it helped Sadie. I loved the way that we saw her finding it easy to pick out the beautiful things about the people she spoke to, and about their lives, and that gradually that led to her starting to accept herself for who she was, and realise that she was beautiful. It was such a powerful and hopeful ending.
I really loved reading this piece, and I just want to say thank you for sharing this with us.
This piece was the most difficult piece I've ever written (most probably because of how exposing it feels to me, personally). It's a conflict between being happy that I wrote it and partially wishing it never existed.
And, yes, I wanted to bring [at least one] male perspective into this because, in reality, whether they've chosen to accept help or not, there's a very real population of men struggling with things like eating disorders. I really hope that with the ways society is changing today that people realize that men are also affected by bullying, discrimination, and harassment.
Thanks so much for your wonderful review!
Rumples, I can't even begin.
First, let me apologize for taking so long. Occupational hazards of ending a challenge right before NaNo.
This really struck a chord with me. I know this came from a real life situation and that really breaks my heart, but it also warms it in a way. Sadie came a long way and it is... A hard struggle. I've seen a lot of people go through it. Hell, I've had people tell me I should be doing what they're doing and a lot of them went a lot farther than anorexia and bulimia.
This is beautiful.
This challenge didn't necessarily have to be about something so serious and painful and difficult, but at the same time, this is also exactly what it was all about. Sadie had to take a much harder road than I had initially imagined, but she also gained a much greater reward.
I have to admit, I don't think I've read much of your stories. I'm seriously behind on my reading list. But this one- I'm glad I got to experience it. And I pray that so many other people get to as well. This is a story that demands to be heard.
On other notes, I still owe you a sign-up review and a submission review. If you have anything in mind, shoot me a PM, otherwise I'll tiptoe through and find something when I'm done with all the entries.
(But seriously, though. This story. This is something truly powerful. Thank you.)
(Sorry it's taken me forever to respond to this!)
This was definitely a difficult piece to write and I wish I could've added more to it but I'd hit my emotional limit with what I have. I'm really happy that it struck a chord with you, though! That's absolutely what it was meant for and was the first thing I thought about when I saw your challenge...really a way to be informative and as a release for some pent-up emotions (which is what writing is all about for me).
Thanks so much for hosting such a lovely challenge and thank you for the wonderful review!