When I was in high-school, I was part of a tight group of 5 girls. We were the shit. We had sports, we had smarts and we had looks. We thought so, anyways. And that was what mattered. Anita called us "The Hoes" and we found out later, that the rest of the grade 10's called us "The Marys." Hilarious.
We had a million nicknames for each other: Sweetie, Hun, Bitch, Hoe, Darling, Fatty, Hippo, Elephant, Uggo, Gigantaur,...etc., etc.
The combined weight of all 5 of us was 500lbs.
They were terms of endearment. It was funny. We knew we didn't mean anything by it. It was harmless. Don't be such a baby.
In Grade 11, we realized that Tina wasn't eating. She told us she ate at home and she told her sisters she ate at school. It was so gradual, none of us noticed anything changing. Slowly but surely, she was morphing into this frail but feisty frame of herself. Her nose was squished together. Her neck protruded out. Her teeth were eroded and began to look jagged. Our demure, stunning beauty was slowly killing herself so she could be skinny.
She kept this up well into university. Her diet consisted of the most high fat foods in tiny spurts - a true irony of anorexia. Coke, candy, French Vanilla Coffees, avocados, boiled corn with lemon juice which tasted oh so good. All of which would come back out as silently as it had been ingested. Two fingers and the bathroom fan and no one heard a thing.
And cigarettes. Packs and packs of cigarettes.
I had days I envied her life, her will power, her beautiful body and her torment.
Most of the time though, I just wanted to shake her - I wanted so badly to pull her out of her affliction - show her the strength of her beauty, her soul, her goddamned gorgeous face. She literally has the most beautiful face. Picture the most beautiful celebrity - she was better looking. What a waste, I would think - how can you not see it?!
But she didn't. She can remember being 4 years old and pulling her dress tight from the back so her waist would look slimmer. Her mom was fat, her dad was fat. Fat was good, fat babies were healthy, cute. But at 4 years old, her photograph had to showcase the the tiniest parts of her.
Getting help was so taboo for her family. We'll handle this ourselves. There's nothing wrong with her. We'll force her to eat and she'll be fine.
Their mentality quickly dissolved with salty tears shed over a draining year. She was hospitalized for fear of death and even then, she'd have rather died than have had a bite.
I can't say how or even when she started eating again. I can't say that she's "cured" or that she's comfortable with her body. I can't say that everyday isn't a constant struggle. What I can say is that she blamed herself for her miscarriage and for her trouble conceiving. That we are always our worst critics. I can say that she thoroughly enjoyed her pregnancy and reveled in her swelling belly. I can say that she loves her tiny chubby baby boy. And I can say that everyone has their own struggle regardless of external appearance.
I can say that when I speak to my son, or my niece, I talk about what they've created, what they feel, what they wonder and what they've learned.
I can't say that this will help them steer clear of insecurities.
But I can say it helps me to think I'm giving them the tools to express themselves.
Created: Apr 23, 2014ahja Document Media