I first learned about eating disorders in… I really don’t remember but as someone who watched a whole lot of television growing up I’m pretty sure I learned about in Junior High- somewhere between 1st and 2nd form. I vaguely remember some HBO movie about a young white womon who had bulimia and an episode of St. Elsewhere (how I remember this I do not know) an Asian-American doctor was struggling with bulimia. I don’t think I fully u/s then concept then, all I probably saw was a young white girl vomiting into a toilet. One of the many things I put into the category of “white people things”. A list that grew tremendously long as I got older.
Back to eating disorders. When I was in 4th form there was a rumour going around school that I had bulimia b/c I’d lost quite bit of weight somewhere between 3rd & 4th form. The weight loss was something I had not noticed until this rumour. I was very hurt by the rumour but I never spent much time thinking about the bulimia bit.
Over the course of the last 10 years I’ve “struggled” with my weight in various ways. I’ve always been small but “society” has always made me concerned that my stomach wasn’t flat enough, my thighs weren’t smooth enough etc. etc. I hoped this would fade out as I got older- it didn’t. It also didn’t help that my weight moved up and down within a 20 lb range over the course of four years.
And now at my fittest, I still worry about my weight.
- And I wonder is the constant worry about one’s weight count as an eating disorder?
- And why isn’t there more information on eating disorders that focus on womyn of colour?
- And what counts as constant worry?
I think about what I eat and when I eat a lot. It of course doesn’t help that at the office a running joke is that I’m a small vacuum, my co-workers are often in awe of the amt of food I am capable of eating keeping in mind my piper body.
I worry that all these comments coupled with my obsession with my body makes me think that I need to be exercising. And I know exercise is good thing and that’s the reason I’m doing it. Diabetes is a very real concern in my family and sports have never been my thing- it requires too much coordination so I figure if I don’t start making an effort now to be physically healthy I never will be. But I still can’t help thinking that maybe the real reason I’m exercising is b/c of society’s demands on what my body should look like.
So I think okay, so many womyn would kill to be my size (not that inspirational for other womyn) and try to limit my exercise b4 it gets ridiculous and be responsible about my eating while at the same time not obsessing too much about body image. But it’s so hard… do you ever watch television? Everyone stomach is sooooooooooooo flat and their clothes fit sooooooooooo perfectly and they just look sooooooooooooo together and all I want to know is how? And the answer is “it’s television” but I still can’t get past the images. How do I get past the images? How do I feel confident in myself and not be sooooooooooo susceptible to media images and societal standards. How, oh how, oh how? Does anyone have an answer?
And I know you can hear my psyche crying now. It’s in pain and all I can wonder or think about is how much damage I’m doing to myself by
- limiting myself food
- overindulging in food in an attempt not to fall into the societal trap of limiting myself food
- actually considering putting my finger down my throat b/c maybe my stomach would look flatter
- being oh-so-thankful that I do not have enough will power and enjoy food way too much to starve myself
- looking at myself in the mirror every change I get to assess how my body is looking at that moment
- never having a mirror in my room if I can help it so I don’t get trapped into spending all my time in a mirror
- wondering how my body looks to others
- wondering how people make it through their own days with all this stuff on their mind- really wondering if I’m the only one
Sadly and fortunately, I’m not the only one.