Parents, Kids, Bodies

Kids: they're more perceptive than you think they are.

All right, so I know that Passive Aggressive Note is funny.  I know it is.  But it makes me really, really sad.  For Olivia, for her sister, for their mom, for their dad, for any brothers.  Just sad.  Our culture's obsession with food and body, already moving on to the next generation.  Fabulous.

I very much hope that this note occasioned a frank discussion about hunger and satiety cues, about there being no "bad" foods in moderation, and about healthy being beautiful, not just "skinny."

I hope.  HOPE.

(I think we long ago established that I am not actually all that cynical.)


Joke, Reality

The joke:  I got a tapeworm in France.

The reality:  I ate like a normal person in France (i.e. did not restrict) and it's hard to switch back from that.  Ideally, I should shouldn't* be switching back from that at all.  I should be saying to myself, "You know what was awesome?  Eating like a person without an eating disorder and therefore having all that extra mental and physical energy with which I enjoyed the shit out of my vacation."

om nom nom nom nom nom

The joke:  I'm allergic to being back home.

The reality:  I broke out in hives Sunday evening.  After the pharmacy was closed and all the REAL Benadryl was locked in the cage.  Much itching and hypochondria of the no-really-my-throat-is-closing-up-no-truly-it-really-is variety ensued.

* Whoops, LOL, oh, you subconscious, you.  Downright Puckish.


Books: More Fun Than Body Image Distortion

photo source
It's true.  Much of the time I do.  Books have a really hard time being incorrigible ignoramuses (ignorami?).    I read through a checklist of warning signs for reading addiction one time and realized that I could check off fewer than I'd have feared, but enough to make it a little embarrassing.  In fact, the Harry Potter books were what helped catapult me on my first solid recovery in 2003, and the Sookie Stackhouse books propped up my second one in 2008.

I spent most of this long weekend reading, so I felt pretty calm on Saturday and Sunday, if a little antisocial.  I did make it out to tea with a friend.  (Books and tea. Yes, really.  I am a Victorian mademoiselle.)  This friend is a fellow eating disorder patient/veteran/patient.  There's usually something at once comforting and competitive about eating with others whose food relationships are tetchy for whatever reason.  However, with this particular friend, I tend to mostly feel comfort.  There's no judgment and no overt eyeing of what/how much the other person is eating, and no pressure to eat more, which can be irritating.  It's really a shame we don't have much in common other than our eating struggles.
om nom nom nom nom nom

What with one thing and another, I hadn't had a chance to weigh myself on my own scale since before my doctor's appointment on Wednesday, so when the doctor told me my weight was down, as you know, I figured it was down in relation to the last official weight twelve weeks ago, and not to my actual right-now weight.  Until I stepped on the scale this morning for the first time since last Monday.

Someone asked me recently, while I was in the throes of panic and discomfort over the higher weight my scale had been showing, what happens when I stop weighing myself entirely.

Well, what happens is that I lose weight.  Kind of a lot for one week.  In fact, I'm rather hoping that some of it is just a lack of fluids (though I have not been engaging in purgative behaviors).  Yes, Internet, I stepped on the scale this morning and saw reflected there the lowest weight since I went into treatment in 2003.  Now, part of that has got to be low water weight for one reason or another, but in the end, it's also got to mean that I really haven't gained all that much weight.

And therefore it's got to mean that all the discomfort and the panic?  Even less grounded in reality than I thought they were.  So that's beyond frustrating.

Equally frustrating is that I did not mean to do this.  In fact, I have been actively trying to eat in such a way that I should naturally gain some body mass.  And that's just infuriating.  I've been putting myself through the paces, only to either stay right where I've been, or to backslide.  Not fair, Body Fat Fairy, not fair.

I am going to re-reread An Artificial Night now.  Don't bother me.


Link: Feministe Guest Post Fail

Oh, you guys.  Ohhhhh, you guys.

Fat and Health at Feministe

You may have already heard about this one, or read it.  It got 124 comments before comments were closed *cough*, which about triples the comments Feministe guest posts usually garner.  To quote one comment from notemily,


I don't keep Feministe, Feministing, Jezebel, etc. on my blogroll, mostly because there's something about their tone that usually doesn't mesh with my reading style, which is not to make a judgment call on the blogs themselves, but is meant as a comment on my own reading preferences.

But when something like this piece of ignorant flippancy pops up on my radar?  I've just got to point it out and say, really, people?  Is this really what you want in your feminist blogs?  (And judging by a good 3/4 of the comments, no, no it is not what you want in your feminist blogs.)

To read any of a number of sound arguments for why Monica's post is uninformed at best and sexist, hateful and classist at worst, simply read the comments.  I really can't say it any better than some of the commenters have already done.

Cognitive Dissonance and Capricious Meaning

At my doctor's appointment yesterday I was informed that I had lost weight.  When I last went to see her six weeks ago, she didn't weigh me, so the last time she weighed me was about twelve weeks ago.

"Actually, I've gained weight," I told her.  Which is true.  I'm up slightly more than I was last week, in fact, and I still want to claw my way out of my own body starting from my belly button.  (It just seems like the most logical place.)

So what this means is that twelve weeks ago, I was essentially at either the same or a higher weight than my weight now.  And what that means is that the significance and the torturous importance I put on my erstwhile lower weight is... wait for it... totally irrational.  (I know.  It's almost surprising.)

"Lady, y'ain't right."
As they (and I) say over and over again, eating disorders aren't actually about food or body.  To understand what function the disorder serves, you must dissect the meanings placed on all things food and body.  (And yes, that takes a lot of work, and yes, it is maddening, and yes, it's easier just to skip it.) For me, at no time is this fact clearer than when I'm reminded that the last time I was at this "higher" weight, I was celebrating (on some level) because it was a "lower" weight.  And at that other time, I was merely afraid of another "higher" weight that now seems terrifying, rather than just fearful.

The weights and their corresponding shapes haven't changed.  What's changed is the significance and the symbolism I accord each of them.  It helps, momentarily, to remember this, to point out to myself that my feelings are totally irrational and illogical.  But then I'm expected to take the next step.  "What does xyz weight mean?  Why is it so frightening/such an accomplishment now?"  And while even the meager gain I've managed gives me notably more energy than my recent lower weight, I just can't summon up the stamina to plod through those next-level questions right now.

And so we begin again...