This blog is a discussion post I submitted for a class in my graduate program called Counseling Theories and Practice. I thought some might find it of interest… Our professor posed a question:
This is how I answered:
Well, just how “skinny” do you have to be to fit into some of these “skinny jeans”? Here, I’ll show you with the help of Dr. Dae Sheridan (http://www.facebook.com/DrDae)
This photo was taken at a JC Penney’s department store. And these are your average “skinny jeans” displayed on your average mannequin.
Do we NOT see what media, advertisements and society is doing to our psyche?!
What might your average teenage girl think when she walks down this aisle at JC Penney’s? She’ll probably think – “hmmm, I think I’d like a pair of those “skinny jeans”!” So, this same average teenager will likely grab her size and try them on. What do you think happens to the average teenager who tries on these “skinny jeans”?
I will tell you from my historical point of view because, like many other teenage girls out there, I had definitely been there before!
I will likely grab what I think is my size, probably about a 6, and I will grab a room. In this room, I will be faced by a horribly large mirror with horribly bright lights. I will probably be analyzing how horrible I feel about my lower half as I undress, even before attempting to try on these “skinny jeans”. I’ll slip in one leg, and I won’t be able to pull it over my quadricep. I probably won’t even attempt to include my other leg in this “try” cause I quickly know the result. I will pull them off and think, ughhh… I am not skinny enough – why can’t I ever fit into these skinny jeans!? Everyone is wearing them, but I can’t. I am too fat.
You know what historically came after that?
Guilt —-> Sadness —-> Unworthiness —-> Disgust —-> Low(no) self-esteem —-> Eating Disorder
Those, like me, who just so happen to have legs bigger than their arms will try to fit into this “skinny jean” style and end up feeling disappointed, feeling like there is something wrong with them, feeling inadequate and guilty.
Then they will diet, feel bad about themselves, think they are fat, etc, etc… you know what comes then? Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, wickedly low self-esteem… all thanks to society and its ridiculously absurd, media blasted, seriously unrealistic “skinny jean” standards!
**Sign a petition HERE in regards to JC Penney’s and other stores using more realistic mannequins!**
I usually ate before I showered. If I ate before I showered, I’d be able to sneak away and use the noise of the shower to her benefit. The bathroom fan was perfect as an extra buffer to her quick, but grotesque release.
I particularly remember coming home late to my BBW (previously mentioned-long time HS/college sweetheart). I’d usually have to-go food for he and I, just the way he liked it. I didn’t like it. I knew before I placed the order what was likely to happen…
I’d get home. Sometimes I helped prepare his plate. He’d be anxious and ready to eat; he had already smoked undoubtedly. Then it was my turn. I’d smoke marijuana as a quick and hot inhaled escape. I always wanted to escape. I wanted to escape from my feelings. I wanted to escape from the ones I already had and from the feelings I knew were coming. I’d smoke so I wouldn’t feel so guilty about eating the food I’d brought home. Likely, I had eaten something around the Outback Steakhouse during my serving shift. I probably wasn’t even really, literally hungry. I certainly wasn’t thinking “Eat to Live!” Nah, the alternative.
I’d initially plan on eating half, eating less Outback bread, no dessert if I brought it home… Those plans sometimes (most times) go right out the window along with the smoke bled from the blunt. I would eat too much. I would, in the least, feel like I ate too much. Regardless, between the munchies and my ruthless mind, thoughts of eating most likely continued…
This is where purging came in to play… If I “got rid” of some, I’d have room for more. Or, if I got rid of some and refrained from giving into the compulsions of continuously consuming led by such a ruthless mind, I would win. I wouldn’t be in trouble. I wouldn’t be bad. i wouldn’t be fat, guilty, disgusting, ugly… I would have escaped it. I already mentioned, I always wanted to escape. So…
I wouldn’t always purge, but when I did, showering was the perfect excuse. I’d wait to shower until after I ate. As mentioned, I could get away with a lot with that background noise; she got away with a lot.
I can’t quite describe it; those of you don’t know Mia may never believe it anyway. But, I will try. Its like this panic. This panic that you know you have the answer in calming. This panic was led by a voice, figuratively speaking. This voice set a panic inside of me – in mind, in body. She, her, Mia… she would encourage me and tell me just do it. She would tell me it will fix everything. She wouldn’t let up and she would definitely not let me get up if I made it to my knees, not without doing it.
Sometimes I’d make it out alive. Sometimes I would die a little more inside. Either way, I was guilty, and I felt that way. I either ate too much. Or I ate too much and threw it up. It was always lose, lose.
She surely served her purpose. That is certainly why I kept her around for so long. Wait… did I keep her? Or did she keep me?
Lets be honest. If you won’t, I will. I kept her around. I never sent her an initial invite. I definitely didn’t throw her a welcoming party. But, once I got to knowher, I needed her. I wanted her.
You see, I lived a life of living to eat. But, it wasn’t because I wanted to live that way. A part of me wants to say I don’t know how it got to be that way, but a part of me knows I could write 10, 20 blogs that give pretty decent reasons and lead ups to eventually inviting her in. I didn’t have control; I couldn’t grab onto control with food. I wanted to so badly, but I couldn’t do it. She helped me control. I finally found a way to control food. She was ugly and she was destructive andshe was mean. But, I loved her. Like the best friend you always want to be around, I didn’t know how to live without her after a while.
So, surely, she served her purpose. And that is certainly why I kept her around for so long… for 8 years so long.
Besides, who was I without she. At some point, I had forgotten. My life before herwas a blur and life without her was something I could no longer imagine. Like life without a lover, friend, family member… I couldn’t imagine life without her.
So, when I wanted her around, when I needed her around, showering (and maybe a little bit of pot) was the perfect excuse.
(although I don’t like the fights).
I’ve had a couple of drinks.
I’ve prepared some homemade guacamole;
And, fresh salsa with mango & cilantro.
I made sautéed chicken and rigatoni;
spicy arrabbiata marinara sauce.
I put out the dips,
with some tortilla chips;
And, I got honey roasted peanuts
for the guys.
The moral of the story is:
She‘s not here.
Who is she?
EVERYONE and EVERY woman should LOVE themselves.
with that being said…
I was absolutely appalled at myself today when I found that I “liked” this page on Facebook. Please duly note, I am NOT advertising or endorsing this page by posting it’s link. In fact, I am doing the OPPOSITE.
–What I do endorse and strongly encourage is two-fold:
(1) EVERY single woman should love themselves. If YOU don’t love yourself, how can anyone else love you? In fact, if you don’t love yourself, how can you love anyone else?
(2) EVERY single woman should respect other women. If we don’t respect each other, why should men, our bosses, our kids or anyone else? Lead by example ladies – you, and you, and you, and I – we are NO better than each other.
–What I challenge is for every one of you to look into what you “like” and endorse, in life and on Facebook. If you are a fan of the mentioned page or any like it, I challenge you to make the choice to respect your gender – unlike it!
Kindness goes a much longer way than judgement, ladies & gents.
Curvy girls are NOT “better than” skinny girls –> coming from a “curvy” girl.
Curvy girls are NOT “less than” skinny girls, either –> still coming from a “curvy” girl.
This page and others like it are nothing less than ignorant and disgusting BULLYING.
STOP being a bully. STOP being judgmental. STOP being a…
Let’s start a new trend – repeat after me:
NO GIRL/WOMAN IS BETTER THAN ANOTHER!
In case you didn’t know, I refer to my eating disorder in the third person – I explain this more in another blog that I will quote from below [Blogging in the 3rd person]:
I still have so much anger towards my eating disorder, towards her. I desperately want to let that anger go so I can truly let her go. I want to be ME, I no longer want to even know her. I need to tell her that I hate her and I need to forgive her. I need to do this so I can allow myself to completely let go of her. Sheno longer serves me and I no longer want to serve her.
Well, today was the day I spoke to her using the empty chair technique I mentioned in Talking to ED via the empty chair. Although I did speak to her openly and truly, I have more to say. I have more to say and more to let out; I want to involve my readers.
Before I get into what I have to say to her, I have to first thank my readers. After the exercise I will summarize and expand on below, I immediately felt a need to write about it. I immediately felt a need to write about it so you could experience it with me. I feel connected to my readers and I feel that my best therapy comes from opening up to you – whoever you are. And for that, I could never thank you enough.
A preface to the Empty Chair:
Before I began to speak to my eating disorder, my group members and I sat in a circle. My faux-therapist brought up that he felt I may have some unresolved issues with my eating disorder and invited me to speak to her, to tell her how I feel. He asked me to speak to the chair he moved in front of me as if it wereher. He invited me to tell her exactly how I feel, right now, today, in this moment… to tell her.
Maybe you won’t be surprised, but it is easier for me to get my complete thoughts out in writing rather than aloud. The following is what I told them, and then some. The following is what I have been wanting to tell her for quite some time…
Empty Chair – commence:
I know the reality of you and I know the realness of the pain and torment and guilt and shame and exhaustion that comes with you. I know what its like to have to hide you from the world; I know what it’s like to be deathly afraid of your reveal; it is terrifying to know that someone might catch on to you.
Because of this, I know what it is like to live in a complete and elusive facade.
I am so humbled by the knowledge and purpose you have brought to my life. I am truly so thankful for that.
I snapped and I lost control. I snapped and I lost myself to you. I lost control; you took it from me. I hate you for the first time YOU ate – binged – and I suffered. I hate you for this first time in which I purged. I hate you for the temporary euphoria and incomparable control you provided me with during this first purge.
I hate you for the friends I lost. I hate you for all the moments I lost out on with the friends who stayed.
[*To my sorority little sisters, Hillary and Shannon, whom I am no longer close with but will always adore – I am so sorry. I am sorry I didn’t keep up with you and keep a close relationship with you… I regret it. I wish I could have remained more apart of your lives, especially your recent weddings. You are both wonderful, and I love you. AOT Love.*]
I hate you for the continuous body checking behaviors I participate in because of the fear you have instilled in me. I hate that I fear what the mirror will reflect back at me. I hate that, every morning, the first thing I do is look in the mirror. It’s as if I am scared that overnight, I may turn into some grotesque kind of alien. I fear that no matter how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ I was the day before, I might look in and see something completely ugly and unworthy.
I hate you for the fear I have that when someone looks at me, I wonder what might be wrong with me. I hate that you made it so hard for me to ever take in and believe a compliment.