14 October 2009

Picturing me

I just looked at a photo of me in my "anorexia days" and my reaction was both surprising and gratifying.

Surprising because I was absolutely appalled by what I looked like at my lowest weight (this is a picture of me on a mission trip to Haiti - which I went on against doctor's orders.) I look so gaunt, so skeletal, so thin ...

At the time, I thought I was very attractive. I certainly was the thinnest one around - several small Haitian children would come up to me, stroke my arm with their little fingers, and whisper "too thin," "too thin." (That really should have given me a clue - if children in a third-world country who have seen starvation tell you you're too thin, you might want to think about it!)

I was very proud of being the thinnest one around during the summer of 2008. Unlike many anorexics, I didn't bundle myself up in layers of clothing (unless I was too cold) - I wore mini-skirts and tiny T-shirts to show off what I thought were my thin, model-like legs (no thighs touching!) and slender arms. I remember feeling so proud walking into a store and being told, "I'm sorry, we don't have anything small enough to fit you," "What are you, an extra-small," ad nauseam ...

Oh brother!

Now looking at the picture, perhaps seeing myself as others saw me then, scares me. My arms look stripped to the bone, my face tightly pulled against my skull, my skin dead-white. Frankly, if I saw someone looking like I did, I would be scared for her life!

I am gratified by this reaction, because I feel that in spite of some small relapses and evil thoughts (get that thin again! come on, you can do it! it is easy!), my reaction makes me feel that I am getting better. I don't really want to lose weight. I enjoy being able to wear jeans without tugging them up no matter what size (and near the end - or maybe the end of anorexia's complete and total grip on my soul? - I was tugging at those size zero jeans, and I thought it was terrific; I was aiming for teens size 14!)

I am grateful for the health I've gained, for the curves I've earned, and for the right to at least try and eat without fear.

At first, I thought about posting that picture with this blog. But no. She isn't me anymore. And she never will be again.


ghost girl said...

congratulations on confronting that image and the old voices that go along with it.

Silly Girl said...

It is a big step to confront that image. I so admire you.