Friday, October 22, 2010

Appalled.

My first reaction was to tilt my head to the left, raise my eyebrown and kind of crinkle up the right side of my face. All in confusion. Then my confusion turned to disgust. Then my disgust turned to out right anger and I couldn't hold it in any longer so I had to let it out. I'm probably a month or so behind on hearing about this but I chose to still comment on it. The store Urban Outfitters (I'm not even linking them) put out a shirt that says "EAT LESS". I had to see it for myself so I googled it and found a few articles and a few pictures. I cannot tell you exactly what I felt when I saw the picture of the shirt. I began to cry. I began to shake. My stomach turned into knots. And I just sat there, quietly crying, with a tsunami of memories taking over my being.
Not a lot of you know my story. To be truthful nobody knows all of it. Some know bits and pieces but my husband is the only one who comes close to knowing the entirety of it. I suffered with an eating disorder for 6 years. It went undetected or at least unconfronted for almost 5 1/2. I was nowhere near the scary skin and bones pictures that are on the billboards and discovery channel documentaries but I was sick. I was incredibly sick. My mind and my body were taken over by the disease. I use to draw the word "FAT" on myself with markers and stare at myself in the mirror for hours. I used to take freezing cold showers when I head eaten too much. I used pinch my "fat" to the point of bruising my skin. The eating disorder almost took my life. I will share that story some other time. With the eating disorder came severe clinical depression, insomnia and OCD tendencies. For a lot of sufferers these all go hand in hand so those things are not abnormal. There are still days, fewer and farther between, that I think "I just ate ____, I'm too full and I need to throw it up" or "I feel so full. I hate feeling full."
In all honesty, I was scared to get pregnant because I was worried about what the weight gain would do to my well being but pregnant actually changed my entire mindset and helped me get completely healthy. Having another human be completely dependent on you quickly changes your mindset. I think breast feeding Teagan has been extremely helpful in preventing a relapse because I know if I don't eat and get the nutrients I need then neither does she. I have imagined how easy it would be to slip back into that dark place to lose the baby weight but I refused to because Teagan's needs are greater then my want to be the skinny girl.
Thankfully, pregnancy has shown me that I am no longer a girl. I am a woman. I have curves. I have girl parts that have come in quite handy providing nutrition to my sweet girl for 9 months now. I will never be flat chested. I will never be able to shrink my hips. I'll admit there are days when I want to be flat chested and shaped like my husband (a stick) and then other days I like to figure out how to rock my curves in an appropriate manner.
When I saw the t-shirt in question my heart ached for Teagan. She already has a history of eating disorders and depression to fight. I ache at the thought she will have to go up against the same billboards, same messages, same pictures that her mom did. Possibly even worse. I vowed to get healthy not only for me but for her. I want her to grow up in a home where HEALTH is the focus. Not weight. Not inches. Not looks. I want her to be a kid. She will not be in makeup before she is in high school ( a little nail polish and playing dress up is fine). She will not wear shorts and skirts up to her rear end (no matter how long her Reid legs might be) with the excuse that everything is too short because Grandma can fix that little problem. Once she gets old enough to step on a scale ours will be thrown out. Weight and inches will not be something that is focused on. I'm not going to ban magazines and fashion because she will have to learn to deal with those things but she will learn in an open and structured and ask anything kind of environment. I know I can't protect her from it but I can make sure she focuses on being healthy and not just being skinny.
Even though it was the darkest time in my life I learned a lot from it. In reading and trying to find hints for myself at the time I learned also what to look for. I learned the early signs. I learned different tricks on how to hide it. At this point I look back and I'm thankful for that aspect of it because I know what to look for. I know the numerous amount of tricks and excuses. I also know that early intervention is key.
If you get anything from this entry I want it to be the idea of education and being proactive. Parents, teachers, friends & family. Educate yourselves. This has been a problem for YEARS and it's not going away anytime soon. Know the signs. The signs are starting as early as 5 YEARS OLD. Talk healthy body image to your kids (girls AND boys).

I've included some resources if you're curious.

NEDA
Eating disorder treatment
Kids Health



If you want to see/read about the shirt go here & here.