There are the atrocities others inflict upon women around the world. And then there are the atrocities women inflict upon themselves. As I was contemplating my story, I thought mine wasn’t as important as the stories women from dangerous parts of the world have so bravely shared on PulseWire. But then I realized that my story is part of an epidemic amongst women, one that is often laughed at, ignored, or misunderstood, but needs to be taken seriously and solved. For those reasons, I must share my story...not just for me, but for the millions of women who have, or are currently, suffering as I did.
I am speaking of eating disorders. They start in different ways and for different reasons, but eventually grow into an all-consuming monster that feeds upon our bodies and minds. I suffered from anorexia, and then later bulimia, for almost seven years and then still struggled with my view of food and myself for an additional five years. That accounts for more than one-third of my life. Twelve years that I could have achieved more, nourished myself more, LIVED more, instead of the hell I put myself through.
Many people think eating disorders only affect the rich, bored, weak, or self-absorbed. I don’t blame them. If you have a healthy relationship with your body and self-image, it’s hard to imagine what it’s like. However, people need to realize this is a serious, sometimes deadly, disease that leaves deep emotional mental trauma long after the body recovers. An eating disorder is not like alcoholism or drug addiction. One can abstain from alcohol or drugs, but not from food. I think this is why eating disorders are particularly difficult to overcome.
Society and the media hold women up to impossible standards. We are bombarded with images of thin, beautiful women with no flaws, the Perfect Woman. That to be loved, desired, and successful, you must look like this, act like this. From the time we are little girls, we hear these messages, see these images, and collect them within ourselves, storing them until we are old enough to use them. It is disturbing that girls of younger and younger years look at themselves and see ugliness, imperfection. They deny themselves food so that they will one day be loved.
I hope to be one of the Voices of Our Future, helping women create a healthy relationship with food and with themselves. I see PulseWire as an opportunity to support other women and create an open dialogue, thereby improving our self-image and how we treat ourselves. I want to discuss what real food is, how it can heal us, and how through nourishing our bodies, we can nourish our souls and heal our wounds. I want us to become Whole Women...again, or for the first time in our lives.