This past week was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
I know what you’re thinking…
There’s a week for everything these days….Zzzz….Zzzzzz…
And you’re absolutely correct…there is a month/day/week for just about everything. March alone is home to National Puppy Week, Pi Day, Skipping Day, and British Pie Day just to name a few.
But, this really is a cause that deserves its own week. Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S according to ANAD.
This is nothing to scoff at.
In the last 6 weeks, this blog has posted on topics ranging from eating disorders to body image to photo manipulation ethics, but this week I want to discuss something different.
I want to talk about you.
What is your struggle?
Do you look in the mirror and poke, push, and grab every part of your body that you don’t like?
Do you get anxious about leaving the house without makeup on?
Do you use filters on your pictures in order to give yourself a “better” appearance?
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions: you probably struggle with some form body image issues.
You’re not alone…I’ve been there too, and so have a lot of other women.
There is no easy answer to this epidemic. If there were, we would have figured it out by now. But as it stands, three quarters of US women are unsatisfied with what they see in the mirror.
NEDA’s campaign revolved around the phrase: I had no idea…
I had no idea that so many women and men are affected by poor body image.
I had no idea that I wasn’t alone in my struggle.
I had no idea that those who meant well in my life, lied to me when I was young.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Bullshit. A more honest phrase would have been:
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will crush my heart, soul, and self esteem.
I had no idea how powerful words could really be.
I had no idea how devastating words could be to my psyche.
I had no idea how uplifting words could build me up but also cause me to doubt.
I had no idea how complicated life can be.
I had no idea about you.
In life there are always insiders and outsiders. In groups and out groups as the sociologists would say. And it seems to me, and most likely to you as well, that no matter what you and I were always in the outgroup. So what happens when a bunch of so-called outsiders band together?
We become an IN group.
According to Erin Morgenstern “there are never really endings, happy or otherwise. Things keep going on, they overlap and blur, your story is part of your sister’s story is part of many other stories, and there is no telling where any of them may lead.”
Even in our darkest days, our ugliest days, our days when the darkness of our beds are the only comfort, “things keep going on,” your story is wrapped up in my story and “there is no telling where any of them my lead.”
You and I are in charge of our own stories, yet they are both intertwined. We do not exist in isolation. We were created for community. You keep me accountable for the words I say and think about my body, and I will do the same for you.
Because we are beautiful.
And no one should tell us otherwise.
Stay Smiling Beautiful! Happy, looks great on you.