While I completely appreciate all of the concerned comments I’ve gotten on and off the internet about my statement giving up junk food in my last post Ten Questions, this is something I have been thinking about lately, and the responses to that post helped me decide to put this up.
Throughout recovery I have been told not to let my disorder define me; that I am not “anorexic” but rather it is a part of me. That I am just a person with an eating disorder, but also so much more than that; that the ED is just a little part of me, and it does not decide who I am. Okay, I didn’t completely agree with that right away. At the time three years ago I thought, well my ED does control a lot of my life, but I get that I am still a person outside of the disorder.
Apparently, this is only true for the one suffering with the disorder. Everyone else on the outside, once they find out I have an eating disorder, has the right to decide that that is all that I am. If I do anything regarding my health, my weight, my physical being, it is only because I am anorexic. I can’t start lifting heavier weights and increasing my mile time, because that’s just me being anorexic and obsessing. I can’t cut out junk food to be healthy; that’s just me giving into my ED. I can’t run when it’s raining because that’s crazy and only disordered, obsessed people run in bad weather. I can’t do all these things without people getting concerned, or angry with me because I have been labeled “Anorexic”. Runners train in all kinds of weather. Lifting heavy weights and increasing your mile time is a good thing for “normal” people. Cutting out junk food is encouraged.
Unless you’re anorexic.
Take my little brother for example. We’re six years apart, but he is now half an inch taller than me, and he currently weighs what I did when they decided I needed to go to the hospital and start my recovery. My brother is joining track next week, so he needed to go in for a physical. Do you know what they said to him about his weight?
“Being underweight is better than being overweight. It’s nothing to worry about.”
I wanted to scream when I heard that. Because he isn’t label anorexic it’s completely okay for him to weigh so little, be skinnier than me, eat so little, join track, and do whatever the heck he wants. But if I wanted to join track and weighed that much that would not be okay. I wouldn’t be allowed to join unless I gained weight, and I would have to go to the doctor every week for a weigh in to make sure I was gaining steadily. Then, and only then, would they sign a release form to let me join track. All because my medical record says, “Anorexic.”
And I am sick of it. I am sick of this label that I’m told is not a label, but it sure as hell seems to me that it is. I am sick of people thinking that me wanting to become as strong and healthy as I can be is just my ED taking over. I am not cowering in the corner anymore while Ana runs my life. I am taking hold of my life, my body, and my future. Ana is the one in the corner now. Just because I’m giving up sweets, and lifting heavier, and running longer does not mean that I am giving in to my ED. It does not mean that I am restricting. It means that I am finally making more progress. It means that I am leaving my ED behind as I move forward with my life. I am going to get rid of this label and I am going to replace it with, “fit, healthy, and happy.”