I do a lot of pretending.
I pretend a lot that I’m going better than I really am.
I pretend that I’m happier than I am, or at least, not as unhappy as I really am.
I pretend that I have a lot more hope than I do in reality.
And I pretend that I don’t really want to be ‘thin’.
I don’t know what to say to explain that one!
No, I really do NOT want to be emaciated, or even ‘too thin’. I feel like such a failure, and that everyone can SEE it when it’s that obvious. It’s not a nice look at all, in fact, it can be quite disgusting. Have you ever seen someone who is emaciated’s bottom? There is this big… concave HOLE there. And the anus that is usually hidden by flesh is.. stretched out in the middle of that hole. Too much info right?
Grossed out yet? Imagine LIVING WITH THAT. Still want to be thin?
And yet, I would give anything to go back to being almost 15 kilograms less than I am now. I don’t care how gross it might be. I don’t care about people looking down on me or treating me horribly because of it. I don’t even care that it might kill me. I am too much, and I will always be too much. At least in my mind, I am too much. I know in reality I am not, far from it. But to me, always too much. Always. And even at my lowest weight, I never even started to not be too much.
My body image is SO distorted. Even when I was at my lowest weight, on a good day I would see a normal, maybe rather fleshy person. On a bad day, I’d practically be able to roll myself around. And yet, under all that, my wise mind was constantly saying “But I’m too thin. I know I’m too thin. The ‘numbers’ say I’m too thin. And yet what is this incredible fleshy hulk I’m hauling round with me every day?”
Every now and then I’d catch a glance of what I called “Michael Jackson” in the mirror – a glimpse of how I truly was – and scare myself terribly. But that lasted for a glimpse and a few moments post-glimpse – before “too-much” loomed over me again, threatening to squish the ‘me’ right out of myself.
Okay, I know my nose is bigger and it’s REAL, but yeah. Scary stuff.
One of the common myths is that people with anorexia and/or bulimia enjoy their disease, enjoy the ‘thinness’ that many of them achieve. I think the reality would be closer to we don’t even get to experience it let alone ‘enjoy’ it.
How do I really see myself?
Imagine your body is SO heavy and huge that you find it hard to move. You find yourself very weighed down. Sluggish. One of the reasons my dancing started to fail in uni was because, yes I’d gained some weight initially, but after that, even though it was plunging DOWN, I felt heavy and unable to MOVE properly due to having so much flesh stopping me. It was a complete utter delusion.
You can’t walk with your legs together because your thigh rolls prevent that.
You can’t put your arms down properly to your sides because the rolls of fat under them and on your torso are too huge.
And it all feels SO REAL. So completely utterly REAL.
It’s not just about the body image way of being ‘fat’ either. It’s about being that aforementioned ‘too much’.
I experience the world as though I’m towering over everyone around me. I am more tall than I am short, but I’m not THAT tall, and I still feel this way when the person next to me is actually a lot taller than I. The same with width – I feel monstrous next to everyone else, even if the person beside me outweighs me by 100 kilos.
Even without the comparing of size, I just feel too much ME. I’ve spent my life trying to squeeze myself out. Trying to disappear. To be invisible. Apologising for taking up too much space, for being so wrong, for being so grossly overimposingly massively HERE.
The way I experience my own size against that of the world has also see-sawed along with my actual weight, except that it’s strayed ever further than reality each time. The first time I ever lost weight, I felt tiny, I could feel myself and see myself shrinking. The world became huge, but only in relation to my own size.. Then I was refed, and although I grew, oh boy did I grow bigger, the world seemed to stay the same size. Each time I went down after that, the world got bigger while I stayed the same size. And each time I was refed, I grew bigger and the world stayed the same size. Can you understand that? We were becoming more and more skewed the more I lost and gained, I growing ever bigger, the world ever smaller.
Whoever invented those carnival mirrors, I wonder if they knew what this was like to live with?
This is just how I see my own face! My brain stretches it out so that it appears smeared.
So my problem is, I guess, that it’s so hard to live in a body that you feel so wrong in, one that you constantly wish you could literally unzip and step out of.
And while I struggle so much with my body image, I guess I have had to get to a place of maturity – listening to my wise mind and rationality over my discomfort and my desire to strive for something I find more pleasant to both see and be.
Not everyone has reached that place.
Eating disorders are NOT about food, shape, weight – that is surface stuff. That is the language of our culture. That is the language we fall to first, when we are not happy, worried, anxious, have problems, and have no other way to express them but “I hate myself, I am so ugly, I am so big, if I lost weight, my problems would be better.” But food and weight and body image issues are often triggers for eating disorders to begin – and for the malnutrition that they cause to trigger the cognitive deficit and irrationality that leads to it becoming a mindset and something that overpowers us easily.
It’s very dangerous to be constantly giving us images to which we are expected to conform when they are physically not even possible for most. So many of us are struggling to even accept ourselves, let alone find ourselves acceptable in context of the rest of the world… and we are bombarded by reminders that apparently we never WILL ‘size up’.
And here I will end my ranting and leave you. Do you feel you ‘size up’ or are you too much? Is your body image distorted, or normal, or can you even tell when you only see what YOU see? How do you know if what you see is the reality?
If you have an eating disorder – how much do you feel it’s about food, weight, body image? Do you find that if you take those issues away, you still are stuck with your disorder and the problems that are underneath?
Do you find yourself yearning for something that is forbidden and dangerous? How do you deal with that?
And – if I don’t get to post again before midnight tomorrow - HAPPY NEW YEAR!! May 2013 be the happiest and most positive year all of you have lived to date – with better things on the horizon. xx