Last Day NEDA ’16 – The Starving Voices

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Last day – National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Saturday: share anything else you want! Anything to help people struggling and encourage them in recovery ❤️

*****

This is the last day of my National Eating Disorder Awareness Week posts. It has honestly been completely exhausting and taken a lot of mental re-hashing of difficult things. But I hope it has been worth it. I hope that it has helped somebody, somewhere. Thanks for sticking with me. I really want to know what you think, so get in touch. You are the people I want to hear from the most. You are my encouragers. Thank you.

The following is called “The Starving Voices,” and is dedicated to all of my dear friends who have fought demons in the darkness when it comes to food. It is here to show you we are not alone.

*****

She is royalty. She is the Queen of pain, and fear, and the Struggling Journey. Her body is a map, the path littered with scars and bruises and stretch marks. She has grown and shrunk and bloated and starved according to the seasons of her life, and now she is an open book – radiant with light and hope. She is no longer ashamed of the stories her body tells. Her insides are broken from years of regurgitation, she has thrown up her health with her dinner many times and now the scars are deep and wide in her secret insides. But still, she is miraculous, still alive. Her curves are her trophies now, a sign of life when she had thought nothing would grow again. This is the palace she lives in. It might be broken beyond repair in places. It might bear the signs of the siege, the years of assault when she was told her body was not enough, but now she can see it for what it is: Home.

She is the girl in the middle of the dance, twirling with a furious speed, a laugh on her shining face. She is motion and movement, song and dance, and she is pounding away her fear with every step she makes. The darkness tried to tell her she was too big, too large, too fat, too stupid – not worthy of food and kind glances. The music tells her she is free and good and worthy of love. When her feet flick and jump and sink into the earth she does not hate her legs any more. She does not wish they were thinner or smaller or had gaps between the thighs. Instead she is fire and water, earth and sky. When she dances she is snapped free of the body she wanted to have, and released into the body she can dance in. This body right here. When she swings her arms, those arms she hated, those arms she starved herself to reduce, she knows they are no longer arms. She has grown herself a pair of wings, and now she can dance in the air.

She is the cook, the chef, the woman with life in her hands and flour in her hair. She mixes and whisks and bakes and fries, she covers her kitchen in potato peelings and her friends in love. She is no longer afraid of the taste of things, she is no longer trapped by the anxiety that closes her throat and cuts off her appetite. Now she is the Mother to many; the woman who gives and creates happiness out of eggs and sugar and left over casserole. The deep darkness has told her that no where is safe, something terrible is coming and she is powerless to stop it. But she is defiant and cooks in its snarling face. She will create safety amidst the wine glasses, she will build a castle out of warm homely scents and the taste of joy. The darkness cannot have her, and she will cook and eat in safety. She will make safety for others and grow a church out of home made bread and sour-dough starters. She is beating back the demons with a herb garden.

She is the face you see in pictures, she is the pouty lips and arched eyebrows. She is the tilted head and waves of perfect hair. She is the face you look at with wonder, she is the body you admire from a distance. She is the face that hides the brutal struggle for normality, she is the face that fights her darkest urges to unravel her body down to it’s bones and then take a selfie. She is the face hidden behind large sunglasses so you cannot see the insecurity that lies there.  She is the face who has heard it all before – you’re beautiful, you’re so skinny, your hair is amazing – She is the face who knows it will never be enough to feed the monster who lives inside. She is the face of strength, fighting every day to love herself despite her fears and her lust for the perfect body. She is the face of determination, looking out at you with a smile, despite the roving judgement of your eyes.

She is the performer, the artist, the singer of songs and bringer of words. She no longer starves herself for the perfect costume, the perfect role. Instead she throws her whole body onto the stage, laying it down on the altar. You can have all of me, she cries to the Gods, I give you my whole body and my whole spirit. She buries her fear inside her characters, wears them like a skin that she can love and not hate. She calms her heart in the glow of the stage-lights, and closes her eyes to the hum of the audience. She stands, her soul naked, letting their many eyes pierce her flesh like daggers. Let them look, let them see, she will not feed her hunger to their gaze any more. She decides to bleed with their glare rather than hide from their stares. Her body is a theatre now, no longer a house of bones and tears. She takes a bow in an empty room.

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