The words he said to my mother, during their divorce, echoed through my head, "A son who grows up with only a mother is doomed to become a faggot." I understood from that moment on that I could never truly have my father's love and acceptance. In our Hispanic culture, being gay was as a mortal disease that led to social shame.
We tend to see eating disorders, our general cultural anxiety about food and weight and skyrocketing obesity rates as separate problems with separate solutions. Instead, we need to recognize that they all stem from the same root. Obesity isn't the opposite of anorexia (or bulimia or disordered eating or just distorted thinking about food). It's its twin.
I withdrew from the University of Illinois in September 2012. The ceiling fan in my bedroom whirred softly as I lay beneath it that morning, crying, then sleeping, then crying some more. I was miles away from my life in Champaign, surrendering to an eating disorder that had been holding me captive for one long year.