February 12, 2011 Comments Off on [ the sad truth about our generation – 2.11.11 ]
As many of you follow me on tumblr as well (I’m sure most of you actually know of my blog from my tumblr honestly) there was someone who felt the need to say some really unnecessary nasty things to me earlier today:
I used to get a lot of this stuff on a regular basis, but I’ve cut down on using tumblr because I’ve been so busy, and primarily updating my blog. I deleted and didn’t respond to it. But when I got this first anonymous comment after posting this twitter update I decided I was just going to make a really simple, and true response. Of course, in normal fashion of the internet, the person escalated. I simply repeated myself (because, ultimately it is true, comments like that are why girls develop eating disorders, but I’ll get more into that lately). I never in my life thought I’d get the sort of response I did from that person:
“Anonymous asked: you should try having an eating disorder, chubby! maybe then you wouldnt be in denial about your size.”
I don’t think, ever, in my life, no matter what I thought of a person, that I have ever been cruel enough to actually suggest someone try having an eating disorder because they’re chubby. But comments and negativity like this have become the norm of our generation. So may people think it is okay to make comments to people like this, without a second though; I’m sure without thinking at all in most cases.
Bulimia, Anorexia, and other eating disorders are absolutely no laughing matter. These are serious issues. I’ve been self-conscious about my weight before, I’m sure most people have at one point or another. I also have several friends who have suffered from eating disorders (thankfully only one has ever gotten so bad that they needed to be hospitalized for it and hooked up to an iv for caloric intake, which is where many girls end up with such diseases). A friend of mine who lives out in California (I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing this since she did write it for a public website) recently wrote a story about it for Her Campus: A Colliegette‘s Guide to Life.
“This article is hard to write. I am forced to come to terms with the fact that I am sick, I am not in control, and if I continue my life may not ever go the way its supposed to.
But I’m scared. I feel trapped. What do you do when the only thing that makes you feel better makes you a public mockery? Every time I try to put those jeans on, regardless of the size, it’s always a shame. I stare at girls thinner than me, blatantly. I just want to feel like I belong in my skin and my skin belongs to me.”
This is what I’ve heard in various forms to most of the girls I’ve ever spoken to who are currently battling or in recovery for an eating disorder. The honest truth is, when my body image was at it’s worst around the end of my living in Orlando and the first few months I lived in Chicago, that was exactly how I felt. I felt like I was trapped in a body that wasn’t mine. These feelings certainly weren’t helped by the fact I spent the ages of 15-19 struggling with the fact that due to getting sick and being home schooled I went from being 92 lbs and naturally/athletically thin my whole life to being 137lbs at my heaviest and overweight by any standards for my small 5’0″ frame. I finally feel good again, staying in the 110-115lb range most of the time, but sometimes creeping back up towards 120lbs during the winter when I’m much more inactive and pron to ordering greasy take-out food that can be delivered right to my lazy ass’s doorstep.
The fact of the matter is the girl who wrote that article is gorgeous, she’s got hair I envy to no extent, and there’s not a thing wrong with her or me physically… yet she feels this way anyway. It may be self-induced, it could be from playful teasing, or it could be from someone crossing the line and making a comment like what was made to me today on tumblr, it could even just be simply from watching a TV show or reading a magazine and coming about the unrealistic expectations that every girl should have a body that looks like Miranda Kerr’s. Is this healthy? Is this what we want our daughters and granddaughters (and sons and grandson’s, boys can certainly suffer as well) to strive and starve for? If you’re answer is yes, I honestly hope you never have children.
Let’s get down to the barebones everyone. Right now, I’ll admit, I’ve got pudge and fluff in a few more areas than I’d like, but it’s winter! I’m mentally prepared to gain 3-5 pounds this time of year. I was not mentally prepared, honestly, to deal with someone saying this to me today. I freaked out for about an hour, talked to a few friends, calmed down and I decided to do something about it. I decided to break the fear and take my measurements for the first time in well over 2 years. Bust (29 inches); Waist (26 inches); Hips (33.5 inches). I then proceed to look up what that meant as far as sizing goes… It put me at an xs/1/2/4 in most clothing (ie – pretty much anything that wasn’t high waisted). Some how these measurements translate to ‘chubby’.
I want everyone to reflect upon how stupid that is, how absolutely ridiculous it is that at 5’0″ with perfectly ‘average’ measurements and a weight that falls well with the healthy range by both pounds and BMI (I know these can be tricky subjects and are far from accurate on everyone but I’m trying to make a point here), actually falling almost dead in the center of said range on both, that some how I am chubby and in a deserving position of such comments. I can only provide facts and measurements about my own body and wardrobe of course, but this isn’t just about me of course. This is true for thousands of girls all over the world, in every country, from every culture. It could be true for your mother, your grandmother, your little sister, your best friend, that gorgeous thin teacher you envy every day in class, that model on the cover of your favourite magazine or staring in your new favourite line that just debuted this week in New York for fashion week.
What does this say about our generation? It says a lot. It says a lot about how we are willing to treat out peers, especially those who we have never met, and maybe not even spoken to. I will never understand how people could be so cruel to someone just for the sake of it, especially about something so serious as an eating disorder. If you don’t think they’re serious, I suggest you take a look over here at South Carolina’s Department of Mental Health’s page on eating disorder statistics.
“A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover”
“20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems.”
Those are some absolutely hilarious statistics aren’t they? The truth is that eating disorders take over your life. They effect you, your family, your friends, and most importantly your health. You can die from them. You can do serious and permanent damage to your body if you aren’t treated for them, and even if you are the chances of recovery aren’t that great. You can destroy your teeth and esophagus beyond repair. Is this still funny to everyone?
If you don’t like me and think I’m on such a ‘high horse’ and should ‘try an eating disorder’ from a simple twitpic complaining about never finding anything floor length that fits my short 5 foot frame right… then I highly suggest you take a look in the mirror, a long and hard one. Think about what it means about you that you feel the need to go around talking people down like that and being so rude. Think about what it means that you still follow my tumblr/twitter just so you can make these nasty comments about 150% harmless things I say. Oh come on, it’s a bitch to be short! If you haven’t wrestled with trying to find something that fits you length wise and you’re my height, send me another message with where you shop so I too can partake in this wonderful world of maxi dress and skirts! (PS. on the real though, suggestions ladies.)
At the end of the day, I’m one of the lucky one’s, my own bad body image has never actually turned into an eating disorder, a fact of which I am very thankful of. I owe a lot of credit for this to a book I read right before I started college at DePaul, back in August of 2009 (a point when I was at one of my most content and happy places in life). It’s called Thin Is The New Happy. It is not the story of a recovering anorexic or bulimic. It is the story of a woman, a mother, a strong female with a good career. It is her story about being berated by her mother as a child and going through the diet dictionary and having been on almost any one imaginable. It is about her struggle to realize how to be healthy, accept that not everyone is a size 0, and make sure that she broke the bad body image cycle and didn’t pass it down to her own daughters. I suggest absolutely anyone read it; male, female, fat, skinny, eating disorder, no eating disorder. I also suggest the documentary ‘Thin’ which is a film done at a Florida treatment center following 4 women ages 15-30 as they go through the pain of treatment for eating disorders.
“Coming to terms with my diet demons seemed more doable than losing twenty pounds, actually. And more worthwhile, too, given what was at stake.
Even more than love, I wished for my daughters a life of comfort in their skin. I had to break our family tradition, ensure that Maggie and Lucy felt super strong and bullet proof, no matter what shape they took. I had to show they how, but first, I would have to figure it out. For me, the struggle started with my mother. For my daughters, the struggle would end with me.” – From “Thin Is The New Happy” by Valerie Frankel
At the end of the day, I hope just one person reads this and gets something from it. Whether it makes them think twice about what they say to people or whether someone who is struggling with their own body image comes across this blog entry and realizes that you don’t have to subjugate yourself to comments like this and the pressure they create within your mind. I also offer a friendly ear if anyone who reads this ever needs one, I’m always glad to listen, especially if you feel like you have no one to talk to.
I’m not perfect (probably about as far from it as you can get), there are always things about me that I will need to take a step back and look at and work on. I’m not saying by this article that I’ve never said a mean thing about someone; whether out of spite or not. However, the older I get, the more and more I realize just how awful it is to be mean to someone simply because you can or because you’re having a bad day or whatever the hell reason you tell yourself to sleep at night. Why? Because you never know what that one sentence could do to someone.