Trigger warning for a more in-depth discussion of my eating disorder issues and mentioning of my (stupid) perusal of pro-Ana websites.
I do not want to encourage any eating disorders. That is not my intent with this post at all. Please let me know if you find it “pro-eating disorder” because I am not in that mindset, despite my struggle.
This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness week. Unfortunately, what it’s done for me is just made me more aware of mine and the fact that I am no where near a stable recovery (though I am trying).
I slipped up today in my perusing of eating disorder blogs. Usually I’m good and just read the strictly supportive/recovery based ones. The ones that do not encourage Thinking Thin or Thinspiration or any of that harmful talk. I found a couple new ones yesterday that were absolutely lovely and gave me all sorts of smiles.
Today I stumbled across a pro-Ana (a term for anorexia) blog. I didn’t realize it at first because it wasn’t overt like some. I won’t link it here because that just perpetrates the cycle of harm and I will not be a part of that.
What bothered me was the way the blog talked about the Goddess Ana. Personifying a disorder into this figure of anti-eating, rib-showing, thigh-gap encouraging “deity” they could pray to for assistance. I am horrified. I hate that I immediately got an image of what this goddess would look like. And she would be cruel. She would demand constant sacrifice; the blood, sweat, tears, and pounds of her worshipers.
I thought we were past the old days of sacrificing young women to appease the gods.
We’ve merely moved on to a darker strain of sacrifice. Instead of a quick knife or even a pyre of flame- it is a slow torture of starvation. It is giving that little piece of you daily to a tall, impossibly thin and icy eyed woman who says it is never enough. Just a couple more pounds. Always just a couple more. Her mouth is a black hole and it devours your strength, your health, your sanity with gulping force, the sharp teeth glittering in a border of poisoned words.
And words have power. I give this goddess power merely by encouraging this descriptive personification. I can’t help it. But I will not let such a cruel goddess rule me. I line my personal angels and guardians up around me. I do not look into her eyes or step anywhere near that gaping mouth. I will not dedicate myself to a goddess who demands such a high sacrifice.
I will not.
And I can only hope that other women and girls (and men and boys) will find the strength to turn away. To know that they are beautiful just as they are. They were beautiful all those weeks ago before they heard the call of the Goddess Ana. Before the siren’s song started.
We are stronger than we know.
Be gentle, be loving, be strong. You are worth it.
Note: I purposely put some tags that may seem slightly “pro-Ana” in hopes that someone will stumble across this post when looking for tips or encouragement. And I hope this encouragement of a different sort, of a truly positive sort, will start the healing process.
Happy National Eating Disorder Awareness week.