I quibble with the trajectory of the eating disorder narrative, at least when it comes to our changing bodies. This is tied up in Feelings about my own journey, admittedly, and I wouldn’t use the j-word except that I’m thinking of Joseph Campbell as I write.
I’m supposed to be better for myself, right? Not for anyone else. But at the same time, there’s way too much emphasis on how guys don’t find skinny women attractive. We don’t have curves; we’re walking skeletons. Do we want to lose our boobs? Do we want to lose our hips? Our bottoms?
Quite against my will, I’m still losing weight, and coupled with all that crap, how am I supposed to not hate myself? Because if I’m hideous anyway, why not just let myself slip further downhill? It’s easier than fighting the system for the things I need to gain weight. Twenty pounds only made me pudgier, not magically curvy. — And you may wish to argue with me how I’m perfectly curvy, but it’s not any one opinion that counts. It’s the mosaic of images that hit and hit and hit with every passing moment:
either I am tall/lanky/athletic
I am little/curvy/va-va-voom.
But I am 1.5 meters tall, just shy of five feet, with bird bones and a high natural waist. I favor tighter pants and skirts because they make the most of the bottom I’ve got, and I let things drape on top because that’s how best to flatter A-cups like mine, or so I believe. I maximize my hip spring and strut around in heels and it’s all an illusion, darlings. It really is. Short hair, long legs, strong shoulders: proportionally formidable, but in such miniature that they don’t really make clothes for me. (I have sung this song before.)
This is not the shape the narrative promises. They say that one of the benefits of recovery is that shape, and for whatever reason, I will never have it. If I console myself that by not fighting, by listening to my body’s demands (or lack thereof) for food, I can at least be the teacup version of Halle Berry, have I thus failed the hero’s journey? I’m eating. Willingly. And I don’t want to die anymore. I thought those were the goals.
I’m glad there are people who are just that happy with their bodies now, you know? But I wonder how many of us exist who look in the mirror and wonder: is this it?