Yeah, it’s a been a rough week around the Polimicks household. I have a bunch of other things I wanted to blog about, including explaining to some “Free Market” Libertarian doofuses that you can’t cry censorship when the market works like a free market (i.e. boycotts), and a bunch of other things. But first, I thought maybe I could talk frankly to you about why I am so vehemently anti-diet and anti-body shaming. Because right now, I’m in the thick of the reasons why.
I’ve talked about my eating disorder before. The years I spent starving myself, then bingeing, then compulsively exercising. The damage I’ve done to my body and mind. The reason my knees hurt so badly, that my left hip occasionally randomly dislocates just for shits and giggles. I’ve talked about losing my hair, and constantly being sick. And just how fucking miserable and even crazier I was during that time period. I was drinking like a fish, and engaging a whole lot of self-destructive behaviors that amazingly enough didn’t kill me, because I had a lot of other friends who were all fucked up in their own ways who looked out for me so I didn’t become a statistic.
Most days I like to think that’s behind me. I like to think I’ve gotten over that bullshit, and I’m doing good. I eat healthy, primarily home-made foods, I eat when my body says I’m hungry and on a schedule-ish. I’m not yo-yo dieting any more. I exercise moderately instead of in every spare moment. I can say, “Yeah, no cake for me thanks,” because every slice of cake is not the LAST SLICE OF CAKE IN THE WORLD!!!!
Then I have weeks like this week.
I’ve been restricting food again.
There are a couple of triggers for this:
1. My dumbell workouts are going really well, and I’ve passed the “I’m just bumpier” stage, into the “Wow, look! Muscle tone!” stage, which is always risky. Because as many former dieters will tell you, getting smaller or losing weight starts to kick over that chunk of programming you never lose that says, “Well, yeah, but think how much better you’d look if you existed on bouillion cubes in hot water and six crackers a day!” (This was an eating disorder stage I had, it wasn’t pretty.) USUALLY I can get past this with a modicum of willpower and making myself eat on a schedule. Except that this time….
2. Stress. I’m really stressed at work. And stress is my other HUGE trigger for disordered eating. Because, thanks to years of conditioning in our incredibly sick society, not eating feels like winning in my brain. When everything else has turned to shit and is escaping my control, if I can quit eating, I WIN! Now, I don’t have to tell YOU (I hope) how fucked up that is. But sometimes I have to tell me that.
So, this week hit me twice, right in the sweet spot, and I quit eating. Well, not entirely. I started paring my food consumption below what I reasonably and rationally know I need to eat in order to be healthy, fuel my body, and not be crazypants.
Last night, I admitted to my husband and my girlfriend that I’d been restricting again. My girlfriend immediately ordered me to go take a clonazepam, because she’d been seeing the bad cycle ramping up in my tweets and IMs all week, and figured this was coming. My husband hugged me and begged me to please not give in to the crazy.
And I’m crying now.
I don’t want to be broken and crazy. I don’t want to go back to starving myself. But when things turn to shit it feels so reassuring. I don’t know if anyone who hasn’t been eating disordered can really understand how hunger pangs can be comforting, but they are. Oh sweet zombie Jesus, they are. My last therapist kept trying to convince me I was doing it to punish myself. I’m not. Because in my head, feeling that hungry STILL doesn’t feel like a punishment. It feels like victory. It feels like I’m finally doing something right.
You don’t have to tell me how fucked up and stupid that is. Rationally, I know. I know that it’s bad and self-destructive, and even more crazypants than I am on average. But oh gods…You don’t know how good it feels. And the thing is, it wouldn’t feel so good were I not so fucking broken.
This is why I am so very angry at the way the anti-obesity argument is framed. This is why I’m so angry at concern trolls and fat shamers. This. Because those people did this to me. People just like them told me that everything about my body was wrong, and the only way to fix it was to starve myself into submission. People I loved and trusted, doctors, boyfriends, friends, and even complete strangers… They aided and abetted in my crazy. They helped form a brain that thinks that hurting myself with hunger is a Reward.
I don’t ever want anyone else to have to admit to their loved ones, or themselves that they’re not eating because it feels good. Because food restriction feels safe to them, like a security blanket.
I don’t want another generation of girls destroying their bodies, and rewiring their brains to accept this crazy shit as right and good.
Do I even have to tell you how fucked up this is?
So, stop it. Just stop it.
If you love your daughters, stop it.