Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How 'bout stopping eating when I'm full up?

I've been holding onto this post for a while, as it's very, very personal and a really sensitive subject. But, it's an important story to tell.

There are many kinds of eating disorders. You've got anorexia, bulimia, food "problems," etc. Reasons why eating disorders develop are definitely not always the same with each person, but in my opinion, it usually boils down to insecurity.

If anything, I had anorexia in high school. My reasons for wanting to be thinner than I already was (which was thin) were 1) I developed a love for high fashion, and I wanted to wear those beautifully constructed clothes I saw in Vogue; 2) I was unable to afford $2,000 dresses made by Zac Posen or a pair of $700 Louboutins, therefore I would have to be a model. Somehow I had it so ingrained in my mind that I actually thought I could do it, despite knowing about the modeling industry's standards (i.e. at least 5'9", 115 lbs, flawless skin, and brilliant bone structure); and 3) being a high-fashion model would surely universalize the fact of my beauty. (No, I do not deny that I am vain.)

So, I started counting calories. I ate salad with tuna for lunch. I freaked the fuck out when I ate too much, debating whether I should throw up the food that I thought was going to make me gain a million pounds. I never threw up, because I knew that I would seriously have to get help. I didn't want help. I wanted to be at least 5'8" (still only 5'7", a height I am completely content with now) and weigh 105 pounds. Skin and bones, skin and bones. That's what I wanted. I thought that was beautiful. Trust me, it's hard to not think it's beautiful when you're bombarded with photos of models whose legs seem to never end, like roots of a tree. It was a dream, a silly pipe dream. Anyway, I didn't talk about it to anyone. Well, maybe that's not true. I do remember once asking a friend if she'd ever thought about throwing up her food. She gave me an odd look and said no.

My senior year of high school, it reached its peak. I counted calories every day. I obsessed over food. Food was my love and my enemy. Then, one day, it stopped. I had plans to go see this modeling agent in Nashville or something. I told my mom what I was doing, and she gave me a resolute no. (I think that may have had something to do with my sister giving a try at modeling. It didn't go anywhere for her.) After that decisive no, I just gave up. I ate normally again. But that year, I did lose weight. I don't remember how much. I do remember thinking it wasn't enough.

My food obsession lay dormant for a while, due to boys coming into my life and paying me compliments about my body. For the first time, I felt desired and sexy. But I noticed that I tended to eat a lot when I was upset. I remember going to McDonald's around 11 p.m. after a "traumatic" experience and ordering a double quarter pounder meal. I went back home, sat on the chair in front of the tv, and ate it while I cried. I didn't finish the whole thing. I think I was too emotionally drained. Sometime later, food really took on its enemy role. Anytime I messed up, anytime I felt bad about myself, I gorged myself with food.

The spring semester of '10 was particularly bad in terms of food-abuse. Really, it was masochism. It was not rare for me to eat five cookies four or five times a week, in one sitting. It was not rare for me to pig out on junk food. I can't even begin to explain how irrational the cycle is. My logic usually goes something like this: "Shit. I just did that. I really just did that? What the hell is wrong with me? (continued self-punishment in the form of words) I need to eat. Scratch that. I want to eat. I am angry, and I want to hurt myself some more." And ate I did.

My food "problem" still remains, but it's not as bad. I don't think about it as much. But, it's still there. Certain friends can attest to that. I don't actively publicize it, because it's not a part of myself that I particularly like. Er, but here I am actively publicizing it...

What was — and still kind of is — missing in me is self-love. It's what's missing in every person who struggles with eating. And eating disorders are not for women only. Why are men working out every day in the gym? Why are they running 3 miles a day? For some, it's about health. For others, it's about attaining the "beauty" standard for men.

And if there's anyone to blame for eating disorders, it's society. We're bombarded with photoshopped images of celebrities, we're told that we can lose 10 pounds in one week, we're told that we can stay young forever if we just do x, y, and z. In the end, the media is telling us we're not good enough.

Well, darling media, you can fuck off. Does this include me? Should I fuck off? I post pictures of beautiful models. Isn't it ironic, don't you think?


LyddieGal said...

I think it is terrible that you (and So Many Others) have to go through years of emotional and physical torment because of how we are raised to view beauty and taught this belief that we can not ever be happy unless we are thin.

I know I can spend my whole life wishing I were five inches taller and three cup sizes smaller. Because lets face it, models do not have big breasts.
Which is just one of those hypocritical things about our society - high fashion is designed for women how are without curves, when curves are often used as the very definite of women. and while millions are out there desperately seeking larger breasts, I sit and wonder why anyone would choose such a burden.

Chic on the Cheap

Fashion is me said...

Great blog. Very interesting and stylish.

Just come and see mine.



Lydia said...

In a community where so many of us are posting pics of our sweet outfits and debating the merits of the newest collections, I think it's really brave that you wrote about something so personal. I think the issue of eating disorders is totally relevant to the fashion world. I actually wrote about a "Glamour" article about body image in my blog recently that you should check out. Also, five cookies in one sitting is not a lot. I eat way more than that all the time. Because they're delicious.

Amelie said...

LyddieGal and Lydia, thank you very much for your support and thoughtful comments.

Adam, thank you for posting a comment that's inspired me to write a blog post.

chloé said...

one word . beautiful . your message is soo meaningful . i couldnt agree more . although i was one of the media victims . or still am . or- *sigh* anyway .


20thCgirl said...

I can really relate to your experiences.

I think it's quite frankly disgusting that the fashion industry gets away with putting "skeleton-chic" on such a pedestal. I live in England and there's been a lot of debate recently about some of the model's appearances at London Fashion Week - some of them look horrifically ill, they are so thin.

There is no such thing as being "built that way" either. No one who eats a normal amount ends up with ribs protruding so much you can count them. I'm not saying all models should be size 16 or something but why not size 8? A size 8 person is still slim and attractive! ... it just gets me angry. I don't think enough is being done to challenge something which is so obviously flawed about the industry.