Today, these memories act as preventative medicine for my mind as I am constantly bombarded with superficial images of anorexic models portrayed as sex symbols. When I see the skin and bones of models, I no longer feel the envy, because I actively focus on remembering the pain I felt to achieve this.
Not one of the many specialists that I visited wanted to recognize that I was clearly struggling with an eating disorder. Eventually, when all else failed, I was diagnosed with "runners' hematuria" -- blood in the urine -- from running too many miles. "It happens to marathoners all the time," one doctor said dismissively. "It makes perfect sense."
By reducing my fat intake to zero and running for an hour at a time, I knew that I'd destroy every fat cell that existed in my body. I had commenced an all-out attack on the demon inside me that made me feel that way: my homosexuality. With the strategy that combined running and starving, I was sure to waste away and starve the gay within.
I can go on forever about how exercise has physically challenged and changed me. But above all, spiritually, this has been a lesson of evolving, facing my fears and feeling deserving to (as my sister says) be proud of and own the body that houses my soul, that takes you to the next day, the next dimension.