Well, first of all, I am officially healthy. Body-wise. After moving to my new home in Leiden, The Netherlands (not Holland, never just Holland), I immediately ransacked the internet for a good gym and came across one which used the same technology as the one I went to in Madrid.

Naturally, when the trainer asked me whether I was willing to undergo a physical evaluation, I was slightly skeptical and very insecure. Somehow, I stomped on my simpering anorexic’s neck and went through with it and what do you know, I’m 200 grams over my “ideal” weight (whatever that means). I was given two workouts for every other day and asked about my goals. Blah blah blah. What goals could I have, after years of agonizing over every single gram and inch?

Gyms don’t provide tips on how to love yourself. They are places that feast on human insecurities. Healthy as it may be, exercise is a devil of its own – but I have already talked about that.


And ever since then, I have been overthinking. Overthinking what it means to be “healthy,” what it means to be at an “ideal weight.” Overthinking whether those two were connected in any way – and whether these amorphous concepts had any bearing on what I was to do with myself. The insecurities of my freshman year, yes, that very same freshman year, have started to rear their ugly little heads, and yet, I somehow feel… detached from this worry.

I still eat healthy, I still workout like a lunatic, but there is no panic. It’s all right if I don’t go to the gym today if I have something important lined up. I won’t curl up in a ball and cry my eyes out. No abandonment anxiety either – that the people I love would leave me because I have gained a few. No self-deprecation, at least not as strong as it had been three years ago. It’s almost as if… weight doesn’t matter?

But wait! Something my life has been centered around for ages suddenly matters less than traveling around, getting together with other people, trying out new things – new foods included? What the hell is wrong with you, Mariya?

Sometimes there is this urge to slip back into self-destructive habits. But now, as opposed to then, food is too good to not eat. Back in 2013, I had the iron will of a KGB agent, resisting even the most wonderful of temptations. Not a single ice cream cone or extra apple slice could pass. I was like Gandalf. Now, I tend to give in. IMG_7272.JPG

Perhaps I do feel guilty from time to time, perhaps my jeans sometimes feel a little too close for comfort to my love handles. But there is something greater than numbers on a scale in my life – perhaps it’s time that I seized it. While I’m young.

And healthy.



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