Saturday, May 7, 2011

Who is 'That Girl'?

Most people have some sort of assumption about what type of person has an eating disorder. I think it's partly a way to protect ourselves. There is a 'them' and an 'us'. We are not like 'them'; this makes us feel safe and to some degree lucky. We can sympathies with, support and love them but they are not like us.

As a member of society my heart hurts for 'those' girls. We see eating disorders portrayed in television and movies. We hear reports about actresses who suffer from them. The terminology has become part of everyday conversations and facebook status updates. Before I found out that I am 'that girl' this is what I thought about her:

A person with an eating disorder is weak and stupid. She would have to be in order to continually harm her body that way. She has an unbelievably low self-esteem. She is one of those girls who is continually (and often annoyingly) looking for praise and complements. When she gets them she often argues or disagrees with them. She is fragile, pathetic, insecure and selfish.

I'm embarrassed and ashamed to think about how wrong I was.

This is not how I would describe myself.

This is no longer how I would describe any one with an eating disorder.

This is what is keeping me silent. 
I have no idea what my loved ones preconceptions about eating disorders are and I can't bare to think that they might be as wrong as I was. I can't bare to think that they might feel this way about me. Or even worse they might not believe that I have a problem because I do not fit their preconceived notions of who 'that girl' should be.

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