A Skinny Girl’s Rant

7 12 2010

Trigger Warning for Eating Disorders, body image & self-hatred

This is a guest post from S.P.

“You’re so skinny. I’m jealous.”
Don’t be. I never wanted to be this skinny. And by skinny, I mean gaunt. Emaciated. Malnourished. Look closely – do you see my ribcage? My collarbone? Do you think I want to wake up every morning and see that? Because I really, really do not. But I need to.

I have been an anorexic for five years and counting. Before you label me as a shallow bimbo brainwashed by the mainstream media, hear me out. I do not give a fuck about what I actually look like. I don’t stand in the mirror sobbing, desperately clutching a photograph of a Victoria’s secret model, wishing that I looked like that. Well, maybe breast-wise, but not the rest. I’m standing there sobbing because over a span of five years, I have slowly bound myself to a set of rules to control my own life, rules that are slowly killing me.

And when I say killing, I say it in all seriousness – I am purposely living in a constant haze of malnourishment, depriving my body of what it needs to survive. My body will shut down incredibly prematurely – medical problems of that sort have already begun. I know I am hurting myself, and yet I continue.

Why? I could spend hours upon hours answering that question, telling you my entire story, boring you to tears, and you would still not understand. That is because until you have become so tethered to control of food as a means of reward and punishment, as a means of feeling in control of your life, as a means of feeling a sense of accomplishment, you will never be able to understand this mindset. I have taught myself to fear food to the point where I will physically begin shaking with fear when presented with a large amount of food at once. I recognize how wrong this is, and yet my heart still pounds as the cold sweat rises on my skin.

So, please, stop telling me you understand. Stop thinking you know what will help me, and listen to what I actually need your help with. Stop yelling at me, telling me I am not eating enough. I know I am not. I am so painfully aware of that. I don’t need you to tell me that. I need you to encourage me, even for small things, because every time I think I make an accomplishment and you shoot me down, I feel no incentive to try harder. I need you to stop talking about fat like it is a bad thing. I need you to tell me that I do not look like the fat slob that I feel like whenever I eat. I need voices to override the screaming monster that I have created in my mind – to tell me the obvious things that I can’t hear or see because I have become so distorted by this eating disorder.

I say this now because I have been slipping at my nutritionist appointments. My weight is falling back again, and I need to encourage myself to keep trying to eat more and break down the “old rules” as much as I need other people to encourage me. You will never be able to understand how hard this is for me to do if you have never had an eating disorder. Every meal is a battle, a constant re-assessment of everything I have eaten, what I may eat later, what I look like as a result. These things are always in the back of my mind, every hour of every day. You have no idea what kind of near torture it is.

I am determined to overcome this. It will take time, and it will be the absolute most difficult thing I have ever had to do in my life. I will do it, but I will not be able to do it alone. I need your help.

Don’t be jealous. Just be there for me.


Fat Hate: It’s What’s for Dinner

24 05 2010

Fat hatred is nothing new. And whether you’re a size 2 or a size 22, you’ve probably experienced some kind of fat shaming or fat hatred at some point in your life. It penetrates all aspects of daily life – education, work, travel and all forms of media.

So, naturally, fat hatred has infiltrated social networking. A search of the words “Fat” and “hate” on twitter will bring up thousands of tweets about how much the user hates someone who is fat, or is trying to insult someone by calling them fat. On Facebook, the same search turns up multiple pages and groups dedicated to hating things fat people do.

Notice the theme among those pages (besides the awful grammar)?
It’s not just any kind of fat person this hate and vitriol is directed at. Almost all of this is directed at self identified women.

When I worked at Fashion Bug, every day women would come in who had internalized this special combination of sexism and fat hatred, and the results were not pretty.
Women who were terrified of trying on clothes, women who wouldn’t take of their winter coats (in April) to avoid people seeing how big they were underneath, women who wouldn’t let anyone measure them, etc. This is all a direct result of groups that target fat self-identified women.

This is what the world thinks of fat women.

Now, I know you’re reading this groups with judging eyes, but before you get all self righteous, think about how you see fat people. How often do you think “She is too fat for that dress,” “He needs to put down the fork” or “Maybe if she ate some vegetables she wouldn’t be in that scooter?”

This is certainly a big problem, one that requires everyone’s help. But, keeping the same thoughts as those above and just keeping your mouth shut solves nothing. You cannot help us end hate until you rid yourself of hate first.