subject line: "used to" has made its way to "now." March 22, 2016 by Hannah Brencher new york I used to exercise at 3 am until 6 am because I hated the way that I looked. My body was too big (not really, but there is such a thing as body dysmporphia). I hated my thighs and my stomach but I couldn’t help it. I was already starving myself and would purge when I ate too much. I was slowly killing myself in the name of perfection. And that seemed like a valiant cause to me. I used to stand in the shower for hours because my skin would be cut open and bleeding out. I would rake a razor across my skin because it was something I could control. I could maybe leak out all the wretchedness that laid inside me if I just bled enough. If I could get it all out, then maybe I would be good. Maybe I could be worthwhile. I used to sit in my closet and cry silently to myself because I was depressed and wanted to die. I couldn’t picture a future for me, how could there be a plan for a person like me? I was useless and worthless and invisible. I was too sad and could picture death everywhere I went. I was too sad for my own good. But now, I eat 3 meals a day and run 4 out of the 7 days of the week for 20 minutes. I am healthier and I am trying to nourish and fuel my body for the goodness of this earth. Now, I have scars that tell of a battle I was not proud of but man, recovery is something to rejoice in. I am alive and I am good. Now, I fill my closet with clothes and boxes full of memories I wouldn’t have had if I had followed through with any of the plans I made. I am here and I am worth it. Now, I have plans that echo my past. I want to open a shelter for at risk youth and speak at high schools about self-worth and love. Because people deserve to hear on a daily basis that they are worth it. They are worth the pain and the fight and the joy. They are worth the love. You are too, you know. You are worth the moon and the stars. You are worth healthy lifestyles and happiness and memories to cherish forever. Don’t give up hope. Sorrow and battles will soon be a “used to” in your mind. You can make it. You can be victorious. Keep on keeping on.