Funny how being thin is so important until you realize it accomplishes nothing but hunger.

I wish I’d known this before I tried to starve myself to death.

I wish I could have known how good and beautiful I was in spite of my mushroom-cut and big-rimmed plastic glasses. In spite of my pastor-dad who was never home and my homeschooling mum who didn’t like herself and in spite of my thrift-store clothes.

But I didn’t.

It’s hard to be nine and to feel like you have no one, and it’s even harder to be 13 and to nearly lose yourself. To see the shock on nurses’ faces when they marvel that you’re still alive and then to run a hand through your hair and find your hair in your hands.

But maybe it’s all about being hungry.

Because hunger is something you feel you deserve.

If we feel unloved as children, we begin to think we deserve to be punished, and hunger is a knife that cuts deep.

I don’t want my children to ever go hungry.

But how do you convince your daughter that she is worth more than the world, or you, or your interpretation of God could ever describe? How do you help her see love in the mirror, past the freckles and the wide eyes and the stringy hair which she inherited from you?

My mum didn’t know how lost I’d become until she lay down one night beside me, as I slept, and couldn’t find me. All she found, instead, was bone.

And she cried at the moon, at the stars, at the faith she’d accepted in university because no one had ever told her that she was loved, growing up. So how could she tell me?

And we wonder where God is in all of the hard until we realize that it’s only in the hard that we can find him…

(Follow me here, to Prodigal Magazine, for the rest of my story, friends? Love you.)