My heart hurts. I am near tears. I am sad. I am angry. I am outraged but I am hopeful…
I’ve thought and prayed all day before I wrote this post, because I know of the wide variety of people who might read this article. Even more I thought of my future son or daughter who might one day read this article and I thought of the world he or she might live in. I can only hope that it is more compassionate and loving towards those with Eating Disorders and other issues. For over a decade, I lived in the silence of a sickness that was killing me and so much of the reason I lived in silence was because I was embarrassed and I was afraid. I was afraid of articles such as the one I read today. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be taken seriously or understood.
This morning a friend tagged me in the comments of an article and asked if I wanted to tackle this article on my blog. Typically I am not one to respond to articles such as this but my heart broke for the women and men who might read this article and who more than that agreed or believed it in any way to be true. Typically I would link my post to an article I reference but frankly I would prefer others not read it. However, to give you readers some context the article I read had to do with reasons to date girls with EDs. After reading the article and being thoroughly appalled I decided that it was time to take a stand because after all change doesn’t happen when we sit around and do nothing. So today, I am going to share a part of my story again, in hopes that it may help someone else. After all, my story of my struggle with Ed is one of millions but it is one that I feel compelled to share. Because in my heart, I believe we go through trials and hardships in order to help others with their own burdens. So here is to helping others and sharing our own stories so that the word might be changed through grace.
Honestly, if I believed that this was just one absurd article than that would be one thing but sadly statements and messages such as these are becoming the norm. I learned in kindergarten that sticks and stones break bones but words could never hurt me. That was a lie and it still his. Words hurt so much more than a stick or stone ever could. If you are reading this and have dealt with physical abuse, please know that in no way am I making light of it but I want people to understand the value of words in response to such a hateful article. My bruises from getting knocked down on the playground healed but the hateful words that were said to me left wounds that took and still take time to heal. When we say negative things about other people especially about their bodies, we are stating not only words that can never be taken back but we are also judging based on solely physical appearance, which in no way determines our worth. It in no way measures our heart, our journey, or our stories. However, sadly articles such as these preach the opposite and in turn cause bruises worse than any stone. Eating Disorders as they were in the article are glamorized and even more taken lightly, when in reality they are life taking, soul sucking illnesses that need serious medical help and awareness all over the world. I will never forget the amount of time I spent pouring over various glamour magazines, looking at unrealistic standards of beauty. I spent hours memorizing diets and workout plans and it left me empty and unfulfilled. No matter how hard I tried to look a certain way it was never enough. The media promotes a standard of beauty and appearance that is not only unhealthy but it also distorts the reality of true beauty. Instead, we are fed images that are not only unhealthy but also unrealistic. As a girl who spent years striving to look a certain way, all those images ever did was leave me with a huge hole in my heart.
Sadly I am not the only one who was often left with a hold in her heart, that no one knew about. People with Eating Disorders often look like they have it all together. For over a decade, I was the girl with the smile on her face. I was the All-American, Girl Next Door poster child. I had everything I could have ever wished for and more, yet inside I was dying, taken over by a stronghold so much greater than I ever realized. I felt so, so alone because I believed no one would understand that I didn’t have it all together and that my world might be falling down around me. While I felt alone the one thing I have realized throughout recovery is the fact that other people who struggle with Ed also feel alone and isolated. I never talked about my issue because I thought that others wouldn’t understand and that they would judge me because I wasn’t perfect. What I learned was that no one expected me to be perfect in the first place and was relieved when I wasn’t. When I am messy and real I am me and that is why I share my story, because Eds lie and manipulate and articles that promote such unhealthy realities only fuel such lies.
Because Ed lies and deceives we often believe the lie that Eating Disorders only affect a certain group of people and the rest are immune. However, I am here to tell you no matter your race, gender, culture, socioeconomic standing, nationality, or age Eating Disorders don’t discriminate. Eating Disorders affect everyone from young kids to grandparents. Mine started when I was a young child, before I even hit puberty. Even more, along my journey of recovery I have met men, women, grandparents, parents, teachers, lawyers, doctors, wealthy, poor, middle class, people of various races, and so many other groups of people who have dealt with Ed in their lives.Even more than discrimination of Eating Disorders based on the background of people. We often discriminate based on the appearance of someone. Finally, professionals are learning that there is no set weight or number for someone who has an eating disorder. Ed doesn’t discriminate based on the number on the scale. In fact, numbers don’t matter at all. People of all shapes and sizes struggle, however are overlooked because they don’t meet certain criteria. By making light of an issue because we assume it only affects a certain percentage of people is to not only be ignorant but also to let others who don’t fall into a specific category know that it is not okay if they struggle with this issue. And that in my book is not okay!
While my heart was heavy after reading the aforementioned article, my heart is also incredibly hopeful. A few weeks ago I was contacted by some incredibly brave students from my Alma mater at TCU. They decided to do a project on Healthy Body Image and Banning Fat Talk. You can watch the interviews they did here:
and sign their petition to eliminate fat talk here /http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/tcu-fat-talk/ It is students and individuals like these that make me so grateful for the opportunity I have to continue to build awareness of Ed and Body Image issues. They are not alone in the fight and it is my hope that after seeing their video and reflecting on your own experience with body image that you too would begin to change the conversation, that you would think about the words you are about to speak before they leave your tongue. Together we can make a change for our future sons and daughters to not have to live in a world where Eating Disorders and other mental illnesses are taken lightly. Whether you struggle with Ed or some other kind of addiction or stronghold, know that you are not alone in the fight and even more know that articles like the one I read today are not truth. The more we share our stories and struggles the more opportunity we have for a change to take place. And the more we cling to grace and not perfection the better chance we have to change the world . Today and always I am proud to call myself an Ed survivor and a Recovery Warrior and I hope that no matter your issue you keep fighting and may you ALWAYS REMEMBER…
YOU are LOVED and YOU are WORTH it!!!