Meet Larissa Goldberg, a young female who struggled with an eating disorder for over 8 years. Countless treatment centers, weekly hospital visits, and consuming thoughts of sadness have occupied Goldberg’s life.
Goldberg was my roommate during my first year of University. It was a time in her life that was plagued by haunting thoughts of not being good enough, skinny enough, or happy enough. I was completely unaware of Goldberg’s struggles at first, the only sign of deeper issues being that she would only eat fruit and salads at the dining hall.
Slowly I started to pick up on other signs, the refusal to wear tight clothing and ducking out of photos every time a camera appeared. The few pictures of herself she did allow on social media would ultimately be deleted within a week, a sudden realization hitting her that some aspect of herself wasn’t good enough to be captured on film.
A year after we started University, Goldberg entered a treatment center that would change her life. The persistence of the staff and a decision that she would no longer let the eating disorder overcome her made all the difference. She came out of the treatment center stronger, incredibly terrified, and with an determination to remain in recovery without relapse.
Although Golderg was now eating what people considered a “normal” amount, the self-deprecating thoughts remained in her head. Pictures were still something she loathed and loved all at once, she had an eye for photography but was also intent to avoid the camera. This is where Goldberg’s story becomes unique. She decided to channel her love for social media by creating a tumblr that advocated for positive body image and openly showed her struggles. The good, the bad, and the ugly were in plain sight. She didn’t feel like she had to operate a media account that only showed the glamorous nights, fake laughter, and a happy girl surrounded by friends. She wanted to make something real.
“I was so tired of the vacant smiles of models surfacing in the media. I knew it was time to create an account that yes, looks pleasing and happy, but doesn’t try to hide the pain completely.”
Goldberg went on to become Vice-President of the UMass Beautiful Organization. She created online campaigns that encouraged people to take photos in a cardboard cutout shaped like an Instagram frame. “Creating a positive mind, body, and spirit” the caption reads.
Golderg’s story is a reminder that although it can be easy to get lost in the mess of negative Instagram accounts and become consumed by comparison, there is also a community that wants to help people through their struggles.
“Happiness is accepting our imperfection” Goldberg states. “I’ll never stop reminding myself of that.”
Goldberg plans to continue maintaining her tumblr, adding an advice column, so people going through similar challenges can voice their struggles.