TW: Eating Disorders and Body Image
Now Pussycats, today we are discussing something of a very serious matter, something that we each have a different relationship and something that needs trigger warnings, and that my friends is Eating Disorders.
Eating Disorders are defined as “conditions defined by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual’s physical and mental health.” The two most common forms are bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, aka binge eating and starvation. I doubt these terms are new to you, considering our diet-saturated media; there is a constant discussion of weight, food, diet, exercise, body image, fast food, health food, obesity, anorexia etc with no room to breathe. I don’t know when this trend began whether it had to do with an increase in obesity or ED’s but I’ve been well aware of these issues and constantly hearing about them for my entire life.
Being a young female who happens to work retail, I’m constantly surrounded by people who seem to not want to talk about anything else and I absolutely hate it. WHY CAN’T WE USE TRIGGER WARNINGS IN REAL LIFE? I genuinely don’t understand why we cant, because you never know what will trigger people and I think that one remains ignorant if they can’t see that.
That being said it’s time to get personal.
As a young 11 something year old girl, someone very close to me suffered from an eating disorder. I was in that awkward, self centered kid/awkwardly self conscious tween age where I was too selfish to really understand what was going on. This person in my life got really sick; she shed about 40 pounds quickly only eating pears and working out after consuming everything she did eat. As the annoying little prick that I was, we fought, I was obnoxious and insensitive while simultaneously very sensitive and I just didn’t know how to handle what was going on. At around the same time my mother developed breast cancer. This was a very scary, very uncertain, very blurry part of my life that I do not like to relive.
Luckily my mother’s cancer was caught SUPER early and they were able to get rid of it leading to her current cancer-free status. My mother cancer was not only a scare to me but it shocked this other person in my life to getting better, so LUCKILY everything worked out pretty okay. Since this whole traumatic incident happened at such a quintessential time in my adolescent years, I decided that I was never going to worry about body image ever. I decided that I was gonna love myself and love my clothing, but to mostly just not really think about it too hard at all. What I mean by this is that I do not dwell on it. If I’m feeling puffy, I’ll eat salads till I crave McNuggets, if I eat too much ice cream, I stop for awhile, but I don’t really put much thought into it because I really don’t like talking or thinking about that stuff.
What I’m getting at is, be careful how, when and where you talk about things as important as ED’s or weight loss related issues because you don’t know how you might trigger someone. When I hear about people wanting to lose weight, how “fat” Kim Kardashian has gotten, or how “annaz” their friend has been looking lately, my horribly traumatic memories of being a very confused very sad 11 year old are triggered. I start wondering about my body and how I look and I’m reminded of the close person in my life and their relationship with food and I’m reminded of my mother being sick and I frankly want to cry. You know my name, not my story people, and that is the case for EVERYONE.
We treat issues like suicide and mental illness very seriously and with taste when discussing in a social environment, but I don’t understand why we don’t treat ED’s with the same regard. Everyone has a relationship with food and I’m positive that everyone knows someone or has personally experienced issues involving body image, it’s a very serious matter and we shouldn’t ever talk lightly about it. Diet culture has run rampant in our society and while being healthy is important, it isn’t the only thing that matters.
While your personal diet and relationship is important, remember that it is just that, personal, you can never be certain with how you might trigger someone. That is not to say that discussion about body image isn’t important, but if I ask any of you, lets just keep the subject matter body positive and PLEASE use trigger warnings and respect others wishes if they choose not to talk about it.
If you are stuck in a conversation that is heading down the body negative drain just turn it around or change the subject, remember, you don’t need to hear this stuff! Stay strong, and if anything just pretend to get a phone call or something!