From 14 - 22 I struggled with bulimia until it ruined pretty much every relationship I had and finally sought therapy. I wanted so badly to be anorexic; that's the *glamorous* one where I thought if I only had the discipline, I could be that demure sort of waif I saw (and still see) in every fashion magazine known to existence. (Anorexia is NOT glamorous. It's a real disease, too and not a joking matter. But when you're bulimic it's the glamorous shadow you think you live in). But no, I told myself I was "lacking in self-control," as I developed the manic shit-show that was throwing up pretty much everything I ate for nearly a decade.
I'm alright now. Some days are better than others, but I'm good, food is AMAZING and I'm not striving for a body type that I don't have. I've given a lot of crumpled up dollar bills to therapists and I gotta say it's way better than spending the same amount of money on food that just ended up going straight down the toilet before my body could actually extract any nutrients from it.
About a year after I sought professional help, I became a stripper. Stripping has done wonders for my body image. I realized that my body is a machine that needs fuel to function. I realized that there are so many kinds of bodies, none are 'wrong,' and that sex appeal has nothing to do with your BMI (a calculation that tells your how fat you are based on your weight and height. It was a totally consuming kind of bullshit that reduced my sense of self-worth to an arbitrary number. Fuck that noise). I haven't weighed myself in 8 years.
When I see my reflection while I'm dancing on stage, no matter how 'fat' I may have felt dragging my lethargic ass to work, when I catch a glimpse of myself bathed in a red glow, I feel sexy, powerful and perfect, just as I am. Heels and black light have done things for my self-esteem that no glossy magazine could ever have done. And holy shit I actually started saving money when I invested in the help I needed. TO BE CLEAR: Stripping didn't 'fix' my eating disorder, but it was one of the many things that helped me see myself as beautiful, powerful and acceptable, just as I am.
Eating disorders carry a lot of stigma; the recovery process is a lot more complicated than a blog post, but I just want you to know that I've been there, and I am still there as a person in recovery.
It's hard to talk about because we're shamed into believing it's a gross choice that we make. I'm not ashamed anymore, and want to share with you that this 'gross personal choice' you 'make for yourself in private' is in fact a very lonely disease. I am not a professional, but there are so many resources and professional people who are ready to help you when you are ready.
National Eating Disorder Hotline: 1-800-931-2237
With love and solidarity,