How do I feel about looking like the actors in movies playing the ugly, undesirable, lazy, or stupid characters? Or seeing a physical representation of myself on the news, with all the faces blurred out, as they discuss an epidemic in our society? Yup, I am a fat person. I really am fat; significantly overweight. One of the first impressions anyone has of me when they see me is my size. My fat morphs my face, and makes my eyes squint when I smile. My stomach is round, making me touch the table when I sit at a restaurant. My arms stick out from my body, even when they are relaxed. There is just no way around it. How does that feel? Honestly, it feels a little dehumanizing.
I haven’t put pen to paper about my anorexia in years. Maybe even a decade. As unbelievable as it is for me to be typing the next sentence, it is true: I was anorexic more than 20 years ago. I can pontificate (and perhaps I will at another time) on what life has been like since but I think what is important is to get inside the mind of an anorexic for a bit. That season of my life is vivid as though I’m watching short films of my life as a fifteen-year-old. I can see moments and everything distinctly: the clothes I wore, the eyes of my mother, the sound of stepping on the scale while the metal wheel of numbers spun around until settling on the big red line. Even though it was a scary, dark time it was also one where my body was working fiercely to stay afloat, stay alive, stay aloft this strangely creeping vine which is anorexia nervosa.