Interesting Number

Interesting Letter
Federico Andreotti

When you're 5'4"*, ___ lbs. stark naked should not wreck your day. In fact, if you're 5'4", ___ lbs. stark naked ought to tell you that you need to take in just a handful more calories, since minimum healthy weight for 5'4" is 108 lbs. if you're a stickler for impersonal charts, and ___ lbs. is juuuust shy.

However, when you're 5'4" and you have an eating disorder, and you've recently been seeing the lower value of --- lbs., then that higher ___ lbs. might raise a saucy eyebrow at your schedule for the day, cackle, and shoot the whole day to hell.

It's hard to say what feeling that higher number triggers, but the feeling is akin to claustrophobia. The fact-based knowledge that weight fluctuates daily, the embarrassing certainty that the same shift downward would elicit a mixture of pride and shame, and the intellectual acceptance that it's the disease fixating on the numbers are squashed like a rush hour subway commuter by the claustrophobic sensation triggered by that higher number that is so few ounces away from "minimum healthy weight." If I may nix the subway thing and mix my metaphors (it's my blog; I may), the sensation is not unlike the vaguely creepy feeling I've gotten in costume corsets. That corseted feeling is wrong, and no matter how I've tried to explain it to other costumed cast members, I can never communicate the feeling with any justice. It's a not-quite nauseated state of being. It's a not-exactly-anxiety. I'm willing to bet $5 that there's a German word for this feeling, but I can't find it.

That feeling is one of the manifestations of an eating disorder. We carry that feeling around in the back of our heads like a hitchhiker. It bides its time, then it comes out to play. Be aware. It's there. Happy NEDAW week. Yeesh.

* As I recently discovered, I'm not actually 5'3", or at least, I haven't been since sometime after college. Did I grow an inch between age 22 and 28? Possible. Was I slouching when my height was measured in 2003? Even more possible.

1 comment:

  1. CN, thanks for sharing the claustrophobia metaphor. It is so apt. I'm eating disordered for different reasons but relate to the idea/sensation so well. Sometimes I feel very trapped in my own body.

    Great art this week, by the way.


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