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National Eating Disorder Awareness week is Feb 23rd-March 1st. To honour and acknowledge the severity of eating disorders, and hopefully to raise a bit more awareness, I will be posting poems from my new project, thigh gap until the first.

You can read the poems here

As someone who has struggled with body image and disordered eating for the last 5 or so years (with subtle indications of it apparent even before then), it is extremely important to me that a dialogue on eating disorders and body image is open to all people, all the time.

One day, I hope that society will not stigmitize those with patterns of disordered eating, so that men and women are afraid to ask for help, for fear of being called an ‘attention whore’ or a ‘pathetic little girl’ or something equally vehement and ignorant. I hope that one day people won’t be ashamed of this and get the help they need, that one day people won’t compliment you on how “great” and “thin” and “bony” and “petite” you are, and turn around and tell everyone that you MUST be annorexic. I pray that one day, it won’t be acceptable for a woman to come up to me in line at the grocery store and remark that “my eating disorder looks good on me” and proceed to ask me what I weigh in front of a line full of people.

And I pray that one day, girls like me won’t be sexualized because of their “romantic little eating disorders,” and that boys won’t write songs and poems about it like it’s a “good thing,” only to turn around after rejection and write about it being an awful thing.

And I think most of all, I hope that no girl, ANYWHERE, will ever be asked by a junior high boyfriend to starve herself into amenhorhea so that she cannot get pregnant if they were to have sex.

These are JUST my experiences, with a non-life threatening history of disordered eating patterns, not even something I would label as an eating disorder, more just a REALLY difficult and complicated relationship with food and my body.

I pray that one day, everyone suffering from these things can find the support that I’ve found; can find even one or two close friends who will always put up with bad body-day texts, who will always be conscious of your feelings when you go out for dinner, and who will be there, in the background worrying about you every step of the way, even from different cities. I pray that everyone can find someone who loves every inch of their ever-changing body, who will kiss away years of self-denial and self-hatred, and will stick with you for every up and every down. Who will celebrate with you when you are (for the first time) happy about gaining weight, and who will hold you and tell you that you are good enough when you take a couple steps backwards.

One day, recovery won’t have to mean, in a hospital, tied up to a feeding tube looking like an oak tree in winter. Recovery will mean that no matter how severe you are or were, you can overcome the voice in your head that tells you your body isn’t perfect the way it is, and that you can cook beautiful food and drink great wine and not care if your jeans are a size 00 or a 7 or a 14. You can recover and you can go to the gym for an hour every tuesday, not because you want to be the skinniest girl in your French class, but because you genuinely love running and it makes you feel strong to lift weights, even if they’re only 10lbs. One day, everyone will be able to recover and we will teach our sons and daughters from childhood about the dangers and signs of disordered eating.

One day, NEDA week won’t be necessary.

Take this quiz to find out how much you actually know about eating disorders– if you pass, $5 will be donated to NEDA in your name!

Click here to learn more about eating disorders.

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