I'm feeling quite uneasy right now.
I wore a bathing suit. In public.
Okay, it was my parents' backyard, and just me and, um, my parents, but I wore the damn Spandex and hated every second of it.
I was hyper-aware of every bobble and bulge, of my scars from cutting, of the way my body settled into the deckside chair. I didn't like it. Not one bit.
The irony is that my parents are not in one bit judgemental about my body or appearance. I don't think either of them is particularly pleased with my nose piercing, but it's been over a year, so they've had more than enough time to get used to it.
Being so...scantily clad...in a tankini...made me feel like I was supposed to be on display. That my teeth weren't white enough, my hair not styled enough (not that it's ever really styled), my butt not toned enough. Bathing suits have an uncanny way of making almost every woman feel inadequate. Most women's suits are not meant for the purpose of swimming. They're meant as a way to display your body. I mean really...swimming laps in a g-string? I don't think so.
And yet, I don't judge other people that way. I do the whole comparison thing, but I don't know that I judge a person's personality based on their weight. I don't think a woman, regardless of her size, should be discouraged from wearing the suit that suits her. Although old men wearing Speedos should be considered a felony and treated as such.
All day, though, ever since I stepped into that suit, I've been wanting to crawl out of my own skin. I don't feel comfortable. I feel fat.
Not "fat" as in "a substitute for some other feeling," but fat as in a real, physical feeling. Now I'm even more self-conscious about everything I'm wearing. Do these shorts give me a muffin top?
That's a daily terror of mine: the dreaded muffin top. And the round potbelly. Obviously, there are cultural cues at work here. On almost every magazine, there's advice on flat abs. You can't escape it. I remember the day when I first started becoming obsessed with my stomach- about 3 years before the start of my eating disorder. I remember what I was wearing (pink sweatpants), where I was standing (in front of my dresser, getting socks), and I remember looking down and thinking "Wow this looks so much better than other times."
Ever since then?
Thou shalt not show off one's midriff.
Thou shalt not tuck in one's shirt.
Thou shalt not wear tight pants.
No one sees it but me. That doesn't make it any less real.
It's kind of part of a constellation of OCD symptoms, this body dysmorphia. I get it. I get that the more you starve yourself, the fatter you think you really are. And that poor body image is the last thing to go in terms of ED symptoms. There is a very intellectual part of me that understands this.
Then there's the emotional part of me that really doesn't give a rat's ass.
I feel a ridiculous desire to be perfect. And how can you be perfect if you don't look right and eat right? So now that I'm no longer ultra-thin, I feel imperfect. Beyond help. For years, I thought that if I could just make everything perfect, then I would be okay, I would be at peace, I could relax. But the bar is always raised, and you never get there.
I don't want to admit that it's not possible.
Because then I would lose the opportunity to ever get rid of that horrific anxiety. That I am not good enough. I thought that if I got the right grades, the right weight, the right number of calories eaten vs. calories burned, I would be "okay."
I get that I'm okay just the way I am. But then I think: wouldn't I be more okay if I did X? And shouldn't I at least try?
I want this anxiety to go away. That is at the root of ALL of this.
In the end, it really is. I don't have a solution. Part of it is my personality, part of it might just take time. I can't anwer that right now.
I'm feeling quite uneasy right now.
- binge eating disorder
- biology of EDs
- body image
- disordered eating
- eating disorder
- Grand Theory of Eating Disorders
- narrating anorexia
- normal eating
- obesity hysteria
- weight gain
- weight loss
- Carrie Arnold
- I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.
Drop me a line!
nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote
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