Simple yet poignant advice

Here's some sage advice from the mother of a teen with an eating disorder:

A label is a number and a set of washing instructions - not a judgement, a way of life or a measure of worth.

I think that ED Awareness Week tends to focus overmuch on body image and media and everything, to the detriment of other aspects that I think people could use awareness about. That being said, body image does play a role in eating disorders, and clothes shopping can be a minefield.

Sizes aren't consistent from store to store, brand to brand, or item to item. It makes no sense, but it's true. And when your obsessions cause you to fear the size of clothing you wear, the random fluctuations really mess with your head.

Part of recovery is learning how to deal with this. I've gotten better. I think it helps somewhat that I never cared much about clothes and style and still don't, as there's a bit less unlearning to do. It also helps that most of my friends don't care, nor do they think discussing the minutiae of how a particular pair of pants fit is an appropriate topic for conversation.

That our society considers size a moral issue doesn't cause eating disorders. It sure as hell triggers them, though, and it most definitely makes recovery a lot harder. There's power when you start refusing you buy into that nonsense, when a pair of pants is really just a pair of pants.


Kim said...

This said it all:
"That our society considers size a moral issue doesn't cause eating disorders. It sure as hell triggers them, though, and it most definitely makes recovery a lot harder."
Like you, I don't give much of a shit about fashion, so I'm lucky there. I'm perfectly happy wearing my elastic band, black skirt every day. Ha.

Libby said...

Ummmm... were you eavesdropping on my therapy session?? *wink*

Gwen said...

A pants is just a pair of pants. So simple but for so many woman, myself included, a simple pair of pants can fill a heart with despair and loathing. I'm trying so hard to change that about myself. I'm "recovered" from my ED, and yet these thoughts still remain, these feelings of self-loathing persist, prompted by numbers: on a scale, on a size tag, on a bag of pretzels I just ate. I guess I won't be truly and fully recovered until I relinquish the power that those numbers still have over me. But that is so hard to do in our society. Thanks for your wonderful, for your wonderful blog. You are an inspiration - for your writing ability and your stance on body acceptance.

Anonymous said...

Its true that sizes vary from brand to brand and in my case I never know what size I am. I feel that I can be a size 10 in some brands or a 6 in others. At the end of the day its reaching the point in which we are empowered to feel beautiful in any size even a 16. When my mind is clear and I'm not having Ed thoughts I project self confidence in any size and when I'm not, I tend to feel horrible weather or not I'm in a size 6. So, I guess its really about the mind and not the size in my case. My homework is to remind myself that my height and frame are different than others and that is what makes us each unique.

Special K said...

Who are you? I think that is the big question behind our society. We seek to belong, but also be ourselves, and women have to tightrope this beginning now in elementary. Even preschoolers stigmatize against "bigger" peers. What I think we need to work on is NOT COMPARING!
I am my own enemy, and that bothers me more than anything, that I am suspectible to this mentality. That I feel strong when I deprive my desires and doubt my gut.

b said...

Loving your pictures and the genuine and poignant way you have put your story across - you're an inspiration and I am following your journey - awesome work!

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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.

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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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