Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lumpy Gets Personal: Reprise

I received so many amazing comments on my post about body image that really inspired me - it's so amazing to see people sharing their stories. One comment in particular stood out to me, so much that I felt it deserved its own post to address it.

That then said:
I'm glad you've conquered your problems and you've become healthier and happier for it. You've always seemed so ethereally perfect, both in Lolita and just as a person, to me! Truly you are beautiful; think no less of yourself.

I'm sorry, though, Miss Lumpy - sorry that I have such a negative story to tell, and that I couldn't post this under my usual alias. I couldn't bear it.

I feel stronger too when I read these stories. I feel better that I'm not alone. People understand, out there. I want them so much not to feel the pain and the shame of it. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. But it makes me feel better to see others who recovered.

Lolita was my catalyst out of eating disorders. One day, all dressed up, I looked in the mirror and realised: I'm fine as I am. There's no point punishing myself for what nature gave me; if anything, it's selfish and insulting to the girls who starve and die to get what nature gave me to believe that it's not enough. I recovered. I developed a long-needed sense of self-worth that I hadn't ever had. Lolita's a goal always dancing a little out of my reach, like a soap-bubble, and that should be a beautiful thing. Constant, positive self-improvement, isn't that a wonderful experience?

It's so painful to say these things, but I'm so afraid. I'm afraid of myself and afraid that Lolita will be not just the thing that dragged me out of my ruins, but the thing that dumps me back in there. These worries always come back to me at low times, at night and when I feel lonely or afraid: I feel so beautiful and confident in it but I'm not sure that deep down, it isn't worming holes in the sediment of my consciousness.

Isn't it ridiculous? I know that it won't do me any good. I know I'm not fat and I don't need to lose weight. It will only hurt me. It will make my loved ones worry for me. I can't get it out of my head; I'm scared about how my 'big, fat' 25" waist gaining that one fatal inch more will take me out of brand territory.
The stupid thing: I know it won't. Clearly it won't, why do I still believe it? Why do I tell myself that I won't fit any of my clothes if I have that yoghurt after lunch, and so on, to stop myself? I have so much higher standards for myself than for other people. I am the only one for whom I feel that I need to hurt to deserve beautiful clothes. I am the only one for whom I think that it's not about dressing for my shape: it's about losing weight to get the perfect shape. I am the only one who will never quite be pretty enough or perfect enough for this fashion. What a special snowflake I am.

You talk about self-love a lot, Miss Lumpy, and I've always liked the thought and wanted to seek it. I know one thing for sure: if you love someone, you want the best for them. What will I do to myself, taking all these little steps that seem so like I'm helping myself? Exercising more? Eating salads and refusing anything fatty? Feeling so guilty over my love of baking cakes? Drinking glasses and glasses of water before every meal to stop myself eating so much? They all sound so benign. They're the sorts of things that will lead me back down into anorexia.
Last time, I stopped myself before I could do myself any real damage. It was years in the making but only a few months in the performance, and I caught myself in time. Can I stop myself if it happens again?
Will I even want to stop myself? Starvation is euphoric. The power of it.

The worst thing: I write this and it makes me want to be anorexic again. There's a part of me that wants to hurt myself.
Even if you didn't use your usual alias, I am so happy &proud that you could share this story. It really is a huge step in getting better, and you should know that I'm here if you ever need anyone to talk to as you continue your journey into recovery. Your fear is a natural reaction to the hell you've been going through, and it is the one thing that can drag you back down after the progress you've been fighting for. Acknowledge that fear - it's an important reminder of how far you've come - but know that you can beat it.

You ask about those steps you're taking to eat healthier - will it be a help or a hindrance? This is something I've been thinking a lot about, too, and here's the conclusion I've come to: if you're eating healthy because you want to cherish your body and treat it right, you're eating healthy out of love. If you're doing it with this idealized body in mind as your goal, you're doing it out of hatred. It's hard to tell the difference at first, but there is a difference, and if you can harness that love then there's nothing unhealthy about making those choices.

There's a part of all of use that wants to hurt ourselves; it's the only way we can think to react to this world we've found ourselves in. There are so many people out there who succumb without even realizing it, so the fact that you're acknowledging its existence already puts you leagues ahead of others. I's an uphill battle, but I know you can do it. The fact that you gathered the courage to share your story is proof that you know it's wrong and want to get better. It's a tough fight, but I know you're strong enough. This goes out to all of the amazing, beautiful, intelligent, all-around fantastic girls who are struggling with body image: you can do it, I promise ♥


  1. I've had an eating disorder too. the hardest part about recovery is that you have to face the demon at least three times a day. unlike other addictions, which you can quit cold turkey, you need food to survive.
    I was overweight. it has taken several years for me to be able to eat well and exercise without becoming too obsessive. it's hard to do the "moderation" thing we hear so much of.
    it makes me sad how much self-hate there is in this world.

  2. Oh, oh goodness! From the bottom of my heart, thank you! I'm more moved than I could possibly say. Thank you so much, for writing this, for your kind words and for the advice.

    After reading this I decided to tell my mother I'd like to join my family for dinner with them. C: She was very surprised - it's the first time in possibly months I've done that rather than dine upon leaves and celery or even just skip eating altogether - but she did also seem very happy about it!

    And I've thought about it a little before and I'm thinking now of getting help again, like I did briefly last time. I really do want to get better, it just seems like... such a mountain to climb and sometimes it looks impossible. Not least because part of me doesn't want to get better. But I realise what you mean now, about the difference between wanting to do the things that seem healthy out of love or out of hatred. From that angle I can see how self-destructive it is. I mean, I knew it was, but somehow putting it like that... makes me sound more ill than I'd been willing to think about.

    I know what xoxo means. It's a struggle to eat three meals a day with the constant flashing message of "You're eating! It'll get you fat! Quit eating!" bouncing around your head and making you feel sick with guilt for having been too weak to resist. You can lock yourself away from drugs, but how can you lock yourself away from your own head?

    Thank you again - I hope I can repay you someday for your kindness, and how much it brightened my day and gave me hope. ♥



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