“I am an eater who is a horrible feminist, probably. I dream of what I would eat if I identified as a man and it looks vastly different from what I eat as a woman. There would be so much pizza. The Mountain Dew would runneth over and it wouldn’t even be diet. If I do not believe that I as a woman deserve pizza, what does that say of my views of other women? If I do not love my body, how can I love the body of any other woman? I could say “I love my body” so that I appear to be a good feminist. But that only means pretending to love something I hate.”
– Melissa Broder, So Sad Today
My relationship with my body, with food, and with the amount of space I take up has been tumultuous at best, fucked up at worst.
I cannot think of a single time when I was happy with my body. I look back at pictures from years ago and see a body that I think is incredible and would kill to have but I remember that when I *HAD* that body I would go to sleep crying and wishing to be skinny. Even when I was really young, I would lie in bed and think that all of my problems would be fixed if I could finally be skinny.
To say the least, I have spent a lot of time indulging in self-hatred like it’s an open buffet. The things I have thought about my body and said to myself are so hateful, so biting, and so undeniably cruel. I would never speak to anyone the way that I speak to myself. I would never let anyone else speak to themselves the way that I speak to myself. But for some reason I feed that self-hatred more than I feed my body. Or I try to cover that self-hatred in an impressive amount of Taco Bell so that I can’t hear anything that it has to say.
The two eating disorders I struggle with are anorexia and binge eating. How can those two disorders co-exist you ask? NOT WELL. Having anorexia is like having a voice in your head that tells you that you don’t deserve to eat, that you can’t buy anything in the middle of the grocery store, that eating more than half of a protein bar will ruin your day. In the thick of it (HA) I remember getting so angry when people would invite me out to lunch or dinner or to places where food was available. I would be anxious for hours beforehand knowing that I would either have to eat or have to make an excuse as to why I wasn’t eating. I would feel so powerful and so happy with myself when I would go a day without eating or when I would stick to my regime of an apple for breakfast, half a bar for lunch, and the other half for dinner. Feeling hungry was the goal and when I was hungry I was successful.
But sometimes that success would slip, I’d accidentally eat something outside of my diet plan and then since I had already “ruined” my body and my life was going to go to shit I would have a whirlwind of junk food and take out and I would consume it so fast, as if I was trying to get it all down before that voice could creep in and tell me I was ruining my life and my body and that no one loves me and that no one could ever love someone as fat and disgusting as I am. But the thing about binging to drown out that voice is that once you’ve eaten everything the voice comes back and it is fucking PISSED. I remember trying so many times to make myself throw up after meals or after binging. I tried using my finger, my toothbrush, just about anything I could think of but it never worked. I was jealous of friends when I found out they could purge because I knew that after they binged they could relieve themselves of their mistakes and that they could shut that voice up. I had to just wallow and listen to that voice saying how unworthy, unattractive, undeserving, and unlovable I was. That no matter what I did I would never be enough.
I’ve been allowing either one of these disorders to control my life since I was 10 or 11 years old. There are pictures of me where it is obvious which disorder had its hand on the wheel. I’ve had times where within the span of a single year I lost and gained the same 80 pounds. I’ve had people talk to me in the bathroom about how they were worried about how skinny, or big, I had gotten. I have jeans in sizes 4 – 14. I have stretch marks mapping out my stomach and thighs from losing and gaining so quickly.
I can say all of this and know it to be true and still hear that voice in my head. I know that I struggle with this and I know what triggers me but I still do not have control over it. I think that’s one of the most difficult things about having an eating disorder. I will always know how many calories are in an apple or an egg or a krispy kreme original glazed doughnut. I will never buy oreos, or cheetos, or M&Ms to have in the house. I will always have the urge to get $20 of fast food and eat it quickly in my car or hidden in my room. I’ll never forget how good it feels to drink water on an empty stomach that hasn’t been fed in days. I know that these thoughts and that voice will continue to exist but I also know that I have a choice to listen or not. Even when it feels like I don’t.
Poignantly put by Melissa Broder: “If I do not believe that I as a woman deserve pizza, what does that say of my views of other women? If I do not love my body, how can I love the body of any other woman? I could say “I love my body” so that I appear to be a good feminist. But that only means pretending to love something I hate.”
I would never say the things to another woman that I say to myself. I would never find a woman undeserving of food, even pizza. I would never value someone less because of their body shape. I want women to love their bodies, in every shape and form. I want to love myself in every shape and form.
I’m a horrible feminist, probably, like Broder, but I’m trying to be better.