The Skinny and the Girl

Whilst perusing the internet today, I came across an online group.  It was pro eating-disorder…”thinspiration”, they call it, when it is image-ispiration based.  I am constantly on the search for beautiful dance pictures reminding me of ballet lives past, I frequent upon sites such as these not uncommonly.  Something about the hip shape and leg extension of a ballerina is still so magical to me, and has kept me moving forward in my goals to get healthy and lose weight.

This perusing of the web stopped me today though.  A woman had bombarded the site with an exceptional piece of work saying “are you all insane?!?! And a well-written essay of what to expect when you are dying of anorexia.  For those of them lucky enough to die from it, and not just need organ replacements and such.  I knew all the facts she brought up, but it was written from and to the mindframe of a woman in the throes of anorexic delusion, circling the drain. 

“By then you can’t eat less though. You’re barely eating enough to stay alive as it is. & you can’t stop. It isn’t working & you still can’t stop. & whether its working or not, you won’t see the truth. You’ll never actually know what you look like. Nope…no matter what you’ll think you must weigh at least four hundred pounds. This is true if you weigh 150 or if you weigh 70. You will be fat. Insane is the proper term for it, isn’t it? Yes, you might just be one of the lucky ones, one of the ones that doesn’t lose weight. But don’t sit there & think that means you won’t be sick. Not true…not true at all. Your skin & hair will be dry, your teeth sore, your period gone, your bones aching, your muscles cramping…well, no need to go on. You still want this, of course. After all, you won’t be like that. You won’t be one of the failures. You’ll be successful; you’ll be thin & perfect. Beautiful.”

Having a personality easily swayed to the addictive aspects of life, I respected this woman.  She spoke from delusions she knew girls reading the post would relate to:

“Well, since you’re going to win, why don’t I tell you about your prize, hmm?? It’s quite nice. You will be skinny. You will be sickly thin. Your ribs will stand out & your hipbones will be sharp. You won’t see it. You’ll look in the mirror & see fat. You’ll see rolls. You’ll look at girls who weight fifty pounds more than you & wonder why you can’t be as thin as they are. You’ll look in the mirror everyday & swear that you’ve gained at least ten pounds. Other people will see you shrink but you won’t get to watch. You’ll never see the truth. Others will though. You’ll be sickly skinny…but you won’t be pretty. & they’ll all see that. You won’t though…you’ll be too busy staring at your ass & wondering when you turned into your fat Aunt Bertha.”

The fact that she spoke directly to the girl behind the illness, the one who thought she had control, with every rib exposed, every time her legs didn’t touch when she stood with her feet together, was new to me.  This was not written as a science book.

“I know, even after reading this, that you’re still sitting there, wanting this. Why? What is it you want?? Is it beauty? Do you honestly think you won’t be like this?? Do you honestly think malnutrition won’t steal your looks? Is it glamour? READ THIS. Show me the glamour. Is it control?? Let me tell you, you’ll NEVER be more out of control than you are when you have an eating disorder. You don’t control what you put in your mouth. Hell, you don’t even control your thoughts. You have NO control. None. Do you honestly think that you’ll be able to do this & not wind up this way? Do you think you are the one person on earth who can control this, who can just stop??? Do you think that maybe you can just do this, get thin, & stop?? WRONG! It doesn’t work that way. Do you WANT to die? Do you want to be a martyr or something? Do you think this is beautiful? I bet you think its some sort of tragic beauty. Its not. There’s nothing beautiful about it. Do you want some attention? Buy a new eyeliner, dance naked in the streets. Needing attention is a natural thing but there are a hell of a lot better ways to get it.”

“One thing’s for certain though. Insane is a definite part of the package. Your mind won’t be yours anymore. Kiss it goodbye”

I couldn’t read this and not respond, because the beautiful thing about this post was that the first five girls who responded to it… AGREED.  This was unexpected to me, I was sure so many people would say she could show them all the proof in the world, but they knew what thin was, how it felt.  But the girls…. the girls talked about having a goal, and health.  

Dieting for practicality and health while having a mind or psychological setting in your brain that is addictive is scary and dangerous, and something you have to do very carefully.  Here was my response. 

“The coolest thing about this article, to me, is that the first few peopel who read it thanked you for posting it. I am pro getting healthy, and for me and my structure, that means being a lighter weight. I also remember liking hunger pangs.  Despite the ability to have a mindset that could easily go anorexic, due to chronic pain and medication to help me deal… I’m fat.   I mean I JUST got below the “obese” section of the BMI. But…. you talking about this, despite the yelling sentences, is a good way to get people to think about whether they are here to lose weight and be healthy… or here to scold themselves with these pictures of skinny women. I love my collarbones and cheekbones, and love seeing them come back. And pictures of audrey hepburn and pin up girls are awesome… because you know they moved, and ate. Pictures of ballerinas show them as scary skinny sometimes, but the ones who can actually perform EVERY night are the ones who dont faint on stage. They dont wish their hipbones stick out. They are the ones who look at their pelvic structure and can think “Hey, thats pretty”.  But they laugh, and apologize to their boyfriend when they hug them because they poke them with their hipbones, or know they are a bit too bony to be good pillows.  But these particular women,  they are also the ones who have enough love and energy and passion to love the feel of hands gripping their hipbones in dance, or being pulled in by them for a hug or a kiss.  There is a difference between loving your thinner self because you are so scared what anyone else thinks of you, or are positive you are grossly malproportioned, and loving it because you are capable of so much more, including loving how you feel and the way your body moves.   I miss my hipbones, but I dont want a hollow abdomen inside them. I want my thighs to not rub together, but I dont want sagging skin from lack of muscle. I want to be a shape, not a frame. I love my muscular legs, and as fat leaves them, they become longer looking and muscular. I have wide shoulders and a big ribcage, but I know dieting isnt going to change my bone shapes. I DO know that I have more of a waist when my torso has less fat. My knees like me more when they dont have to carry 160lbs, and I know that in my family, a small rounded tummy right near my hips is the last thing to go away. I have a long way to go, but I know what I want, and what to expect. I think having a goal is a great thing…. and being able to stop and maintain when you get there.”

The ability to stop and have a reasonable goal is what seperates healthy dieting from binging and purging, because you cant help but look in the mirror and cringe.

I love what ocassionally happens when I write in a stream of consciousness.  I find a few sentences that help me understand who I am, moreso than I can do just listening to my thoughts.  

“I want to be a shape, not a frame.”

Thats such a good way to think, for me.  In terms of dieting, and modeling, and dancing.  I am a frame to my personality and devotions, and become a full person when I have committed to them.  Today, I feel like a person.  And through this whole argument with weight and pain and dance and muscle and sanity… I’m ready. 

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One Response to “The Skinny and the Girl”

  1. matt Says:

    This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

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