Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters

I just finished reading Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters by Courtney E. Martin. Read it. I don’t care who you are out there, read it. Especially read it if you are a young woman. Or you’re a mother. Or you have a mother. Or have a daughter. Or sister. Or cousin. Or friend.

I pretend I’m above it, beyond it, have recovered from it. I refuse to Fat Talk. I sit silently and listen to my coworkers and friends and family obsess. The truth is? Not talking about not talking about it is dangerous. There is a part of me that sometimes feels like that 16 year old girl descending into anorexia. The part that refuses to talk about how she feels, what she fears, the girl who believes she can avoid the world to remain safe. I am no longer in denial that this part of me is still a part of me. I often pretend it’s not. Yet I’m realizing that pretending is going to kill me slowly.

I don’t talk about it, and shame festers in silence.

Please, please, read this book. Like many things lately, it broke me a bit. It called me out. Hey! You! the pages said, You’re full of shit! You’re not above this! I reacted defensively in my head through many of the 288 pages.

I survived. I survived an eating disorder with dumb luck. Some days I call it a miracle. Either way, due to a cancellation, my intake appointment got moved up two weeks and I didn’t drop dead of a heart attack in May 2007; I was hospitalized. Bed rest on the cardiac unit. That was the miracle. The dumb luck is that I then didn’t die from electrolyte imbalances during the bulimic period that followed the anorexia. I survived.

Recovering? Now that was my choice. There is nothing in the world I am more proud of than recovering. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. But survival was dumb luck. I’m lucky. I’m grateful. It doesn’t usually make a lot of sense to me.

On the other side, now– I can’t ever forget where I came from. I am not above this. I am not alone. I still struggle some days. So many women have these strange and awful thoughts. So many of us have these strange and awful illnesses. I am not alone. You are not alone.

Read this book. It has changed my life.

I am determined to write more about this. Soon.

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