This week’s homework from my nutritionist is to write a letter chronicling what my body might say to me if it could write. Or talk. Or whatever.
We also decided that this week, I need to reframe my thinking: it’s not about “how much I’m eating” it’s about how “I’m listening to my body and giving it what it needs.” I’m really hoping that this makes it easier to eat.
I have so much I want to do. So many things I want to see happen in my life. An eating disorder is just not in that picture. I have to fight. I have to win.
I’m really upset and hurt by how you’ve been treating me this past year and a half. More upset now than during those years where you escaped to a bathroom or dorm room five or six times a day to draw blood, the scars of which I still bear. That hurt, but I know that you were just trying to figure things out and I was merely a way for you to do that. But this past year has been different. You have declared war. You dug deep into dark places and believed the lies you were being told about me and decided you hated me and would destroy me at all costs.
I’m actually pretty amazing, if you’d take the time to know me. To know me wholly – not just know those things you see as inadequate. We have Granny’s eyes and the toes that you hate so very much are hers, too. Yes, we have hips, but you used to think that was fabulous – used to think that it was the best thing in the world to be able to easily carry a child on your hip. You used to take some pride when the boys you loved told you how fabulous your breasts were, how much they loved your curves. And you loved them too, for a time.
I know we were abused and taken advantage of. I know, Jess. I understand how you began to see those hourglass curves that I naturally default to as a liability. And I really do understand the logic that says that it’s easier to starve away the curves than deal with the abuse. Easier to blame me, hurt me – than to blame the men who hurt you and move past it. Safer to live in me if I’m small and unassuming, tiny and silent. I really do understand.
But here’s the thing: when you don’t feed me, I lose the curves, but I also lose the ability to do so much more. I can’t run if you don’t feed me. I can’t climb mountains. I can’t hop and skip and jump and act silly with your friends. I know you love it when I do these things. We’ve been through a lot together – half marathons, 5ks, 10ks, hours of rock climbing, backpacking trips, hours and hours and HOURS of music rehearsals and drama rehearsals. I want to keep doing these things, don’t you? The reality is that I just can’t do them if you’re not feeding me.
So we seem to be at an impasse. Someone’s got to give and I’ll be honest – it’s not going to be me. I will happily conform to your idea of beauty – slim, curveless, androgynous – but I can’t keep running and jumping and climbing if I’m working so hard to simply stay alive in that form. I would much rather run and jump and climb and be STRONG – but you’re going to have to accept that I’m naturally going to settle in a body that doesn’t look like a twelve-year-old boy’s.
Here’s what I can offer you if you’ll feed me properly:
I will have breasts. (Really fantastic breasts, if you’re into that sort of thing.)
I will have your mother’s hips. They were meant to hold children and love and nurture them.
I will have big, strong legs. They have carried us many miles across roads and hopefully one day they’ll carry us many miles across the mission field.
I will have short fingers and toes. Seriously – no matter how much you starve me, that isn’t going to change.
I will have a soft, round stomach. I am strong and this does not mean I am “fat” – it means that this happens to be where all the women in your family carry weight – even your younger sister, who seems to have accepted that fact.
I will have that hourglass figure that so many women spend thousands of dollars to get.
I will be able to regulate my temperature so we can go out without fear of hypothermia.
I will grow hair that is strong, nails that are strong, skin that is glowing with life.
I will have energy and be excited to go on runs and hikes and impromptu walks in the park with kids you love.
I will be strong, passionate, and around for a long time. We will have years together – years where we can run and jump and play and help the Kingdom of God come to earth.