I was just admiring the 6 packs of Zuzka and blaming myself for picking the easy workout for today (and that after a good hour of thinking whether I should or shouldn’t…and decided I must!) and for eating corn chips and drinking wine late last night (Ohh, and the popcorn is coming back now as well) when I realized there was a very thin frame gazing at me from the right side of the screen… “My life with anorexia” it said and I could not take my eyes from hers…sad, confused, angry, darkness and resignation was fainting in those large pupils which seemed to be the only thing that she’s got left. What it started were the saddest, most troubling and hard to watch images I’ve ever seen (I do keep myself far from human suffering that I know I can’t alleviate in any way ’cause I don’t find it interesting or amusing to watch other people’s turmoil..But those eyes…).
I guess my interest was in part awoken because FOOD has been one of the hard confrontations with “life facts” at a very early age. Coming from a former communist country, food has always played a big part in the everyday life. No, we did not starve, but “high end products” like good meat, real butter and white bread were only for the “chosen one” (like in all dystopian literature) while the proletarians (as they were called back then) waited in line for hours to buy dark bread and milk, and soy deli. As a nation, I think we developed a weird complex that makes us organize real food orgies for any holiday, saint’s day or birthday (or with any other reason as a matter of fact). Still we were not a fat nation until we started to have more and more over weighted kids a few year ago, and we have the fast food companies to thank for that (I guess it’s a sign we are entering the civilized world finally).
Now by the time I first read about Ana Carolina Reston’s death due to anorexia and bulimia, I was well on the chubby side of the scale. My subconscious was sending plenty of messages about my weight (I was dreaming I was lighter almost every night) but my attitude towards my growing “behind” was of total denial. “If you like me, you must like me the way I am!” but I wasn’t really liking myself anymore and I was afraid to admit that I went to far and didn’t know what to do to make it go away (the weight, of course). I was chasing stupid promises like the 10 days diets and crazy pills that supposedly make you thin and all the rest of it… The image of that beautiful girl dead because she refused to eat while I was refusing to climb the scale made me realize that I needed to do something NOW. I started eating healthy again (my weight increase was mostly due, what a surprise, to daily visits to KFC and MacDonalds- I was telling myself that a meal a day at KFC which consisted of chicken and fries, can’t be fattening. I was actually hoping to lose some weight in my madness!) and tackle the scale daily…. the results were showing but in a shy way. After a year or so I changed continents and my friends were all joking about my future looks, I was going to the land of all opportunities and which the highest rate of obesity. To prove they were wrong, I got a gym membership and spent more and more hours in there while I was eating less and less. For the first time in my life I was actually reading the labels of the products I was buying. Bread of any kind was pure devil; sugar was poison as well as oil in salads (the only thing I was eating at a certain point). I reached the weight I probably had when I was 15 years old and felt like I should not stop. For the first time in my life I understood what the word addiction meant …that and being able to find cloths only in the kids department! I was counting the freaking calories like crazy and was afraid to eat certain foods but I don’t think I ever starved myself…or maybe I can’t tell.
Then I realized that my skin was not very happy with my workout-no-fat-of-any-kind-in- my-diet-salad&fruits life style and started to look like a parchment paper. So for the sake of my sagging eyelids I started using olive oil again and eating nuts…Then my beloved fish reentered my life and sometimes even cookies (that I made myself with much less sugar and butter), but I was trying to workout more than I did before…After a year I suffered a knee injury and I wasn’t able to run anymore which scared the hell out of me. I was afraid/ashamed that I will get heavier again and no one will like me any more and all sorts of other crazy ideas ran through my mind. I would measure my stomach every morning and have nightmares about my weight…
Fortunately I got distracted in time by other things and stopped obsessing so much about the way I looked. I did not suffer from anorexia, but I think most women feel or have felt the pressure of being as thin as possible, to look as frail as they can and it’s something very hard to control. It’s scary to see 13 years old girls not eating because they feel fat as it is scary to see Honey Boo-Boo in a tv show, bitches! The extremes are promoted in such a fashion that they become “a cool thing” or even scarier, the standard, the guideline. There is probably nothing new in what I’ve wrote but there was much anger in me after watching that video that needed to be expressed somehow.
Take care of your children, friends, lovers… make them feel beautiful, important, loved and appreciated; teach them the real important things in life like being healthy and enjoying everything that surrounds them with moderation (including ice-cream, sodas and chocolate cakes!). I believe that these problems develop gradually so we should be careful and pay attention to the delicate spiritual structure of those depending on us for comfort and guidance. Open your eyes, your mind and your heart, maybe you can make a difference and save someone’s life.