My Body, My Choice

Dear Blonde Lady with the Scale,

While I think you are a very nice person who bears a freakish resemblance to Nicole Kidman, frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn what you “recommend.” 

Let’s make one thing clear: I want to be healthy. But I want to be healthy on my terms.

Who are you to control my body? To tell me you don’t care if I get my period, I still need to be at a higher weight? To claim that hovering in the low end of my range is “inappropriate?” I realize you’ve known me for a whopping two months, but you, dear friend, do not dictate the way I live.

I’m sick and tired of my voice being silenced because “I have an eating disorder.” You tell me I’m more than my illness. You say this is not who I am. But you keep me in my illness when you use it to invalidate me. 

How can I ascend this identity when my every move is labeled disordered?”

If I enjoy a nice kale salad, “I’m orthorexic.” If I say, “these pants make my butt look big” “I’m dysmorphic.” If I eat just enough to stay in low-range, “I’m obsessive.” And that’s “not appropriate.”

But riddle me this: How much of this is my eating disorder and how much of it is just me?

Maybe my choices aren’t “inappropriate” because I have an eating disorder, but because they are simply inappropriate.

Yes, I am a perfectionist. Yes, I am a control freak. Yes, I eat boiled eggs for breakfast, and yes I snack on kale. And I know plenty of girls who do the same and don’t get called “disordered.”

“But Bella, you have a serious eating disorder history,” you say. “You have osteoporosis. You don’t have a period. You dropped to 82 pounds.”

So is that it, then? Am I damned to live in the past? Can I never escape my “history?” Is reinvention simply not an option for me?

I’m not dismissing my eating disorder, and I’m not denying my history.  But when you constantly remind me of my disorder, I feel like it’s all I have.

“In my experience,” you say, “those who have the most success in recovery are the ones who slave to the dietician. The meal plan is the meal plan is the meal plan until the dietician changes it.” 

I constantly fail to meet your standards. I consistently miss the “recovery mark.”

So why even try? Why not play to my strengths? Give me one good reason not to return to my eating disorder–not to do what I’m really frickin’ good at.

*****
[Sigh.]
Ok.

I know most of this sounds disordered. I know that if I were really recovered your demands wouldn’t seem so daunting. But recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. And you can’t take away the progress I’ve made.

I’ve wasted years slaving to the voices in my head. I’m not going to slave to someone else. Not even someone with a Masters from Columbia.

If controlling my life is “disordered,” then we might have a global epidemic on our hands.

I’m not just taking my life back from my eating disorder. I’m taking my life back from you.

This is my recovery, not yours.

You may consider yourself officially fired.

Sincerely,

Me


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