So, this is my body...
I will start this post by saying my showing my body is not meant to be in disrespect or in adulterous undertone or in hopes of being considered an underwear model. I have not uploaded this image to this post for any other purpose than to make a very valid and often misconstrued point. The reason I feel compelled to make this important point is because I feel like I am supposed to. I feel like it is my purpose to make this point and many others regarding the largely misunderstood world of disordered eating. I feel as though it has been placed in my heart as my divine purpose to do so.
So, this is it... Above is my body. Below is my point.
Important side-bar: As a newly committing Christian woman (a growing child in my faith...), I have been made aware that it is expressed in biblical terms that the woman is supposed to save herself and her body for her man and vice versa. A woman is not "supposed" to show her body to the cyberspace world in lingerie. I understand where some confusion may lie in the fact that I have blatantly posted my boudoir photograph above (Thank You, Jenny Earnest Photography).
So, the point...
The point is that the body above was not a body people thought was nor would think is suffering. At that time, I was deep in my battle with poor (and dysmorphic) body image, obsessive exercise and an 8+ year long battle with bulimia. If I remember correctly, this picture was taken in February of 2011. I am happy to report that a couple months later, something wondrous struck me and I never acted in bulimia again. I am still "clean" to this current day.
The photographer of this photograph recently found out, like yesterday found out, that I was a sufferer of an often whispered about psychological disorder at the time of this photo shoot. The photographer found out that I suffered from the mentioned because this picture was posted on a Facebook page called This Is My Body Project. She happened to come across the picture she captured and the caption I provided for it:
""This is my body... on bulimia and obsessive exercise. My body may have looked like this to the outside world but, not according to my view. The reflection I saw in the mirror was always much different. The reflection I saw in the mirror was never good enough. No matter what size I was, I always found myself feeling mocked by the reflection of a beautiful face; this beauty I saw in my face often didn't match my judgment of my lacking, imperfect body.
This picture was taken a year and a half ago. My body doesn't look quite like that anymore but, I am without bulimia now. Which is better? A "perfect" or "hot" body on bulimia? Or, overall health and well-being without it? I choose health and well-being. I choose Eating to Live, Not the Alternative"
The point of This Is My Body Project is to promote body acceptance in any and every body type, form, age, color, weight, gender, et cetera. The point of me showing this picture is essential to what I feel my calling surrounds.
I believe my purpose in life is to create and propel the volume and extent of awareness regarding eating disorders and the all-to-easily hidden devastation that comes from them. I know bulimia well, too well. I know it not because I read about it, but because I used to be all about it; she was all about it.
I would like to pose a powerful question: What does the body above show or reveal to the observer? Black underwear?
Would looking at that picture make you wonder about me? Would looking at that picture make you wonder if I had confidence or self-esteem? Would looking at that picture make you wonder if I was a sufferer of bulimia?
Not really, eh...?
Face value. The face value of the snapshot above is trivial and superficial. Black underwear does not reveal her secret.
The snapshot is not about lingerie, disrespect, attention seeking or exposure. Right now, intwined with my divine purpose, the photo is posted in order to make an extremely valid and necessary point.
So, what is the point?
"Everybody Knows Somebody" - The National Eating Disorder Association's Eating Disorder Awareness Week's slogan of 2012
You cannot look at someone and know what they suffer with or without.
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." - Plato
Be kind. One's outward appearance and/or adornment does NOT simply nor often accurately reveal one's real and potentially silent battle.
The picture above was taken by a photographer and was witnessed by none other than my now fiancé. Neither of them knew that I was acting out in bulimia at this time. Hiding it from the photographer was easy. She didn't know me, she just saw me. Hiding it from him, my fiancé, that was all too easy too. And, it wasn't easy because he didn't care or didn't ask or didn't know my disordered eating "past".
What do ya think? Did I hide it well? Did I suffer well in silence...
I've done this before and I have to do it again right now... I cannot say a phrase like the last in the 3 line paragraph above without immediately and wordlessly reciting one of my favorite poems, Suffering In Silence. It is not my favorite because it is bright and inspiring. It is my favorite because it is real and it is really accurate, especially for this post.
This is my body which, despite its outward appearance, was suffering...
I was suffering in my own silence and you, nor photographer, nor fiancé would know it... not unless I told one of you.
The body above and the bodies of millions of others regardless of size, color, gender or outward appearance suffer, too. How will we as a society ever know it? How will their millions of disordered eating secrets ever be revealed?
An end to silence... an end to the silence and the whispers and the ignorance surrounding the occurrence and abundance and all too easy to hide suffering of bulimia and the disorders like it.
Eating Disorders. The deadliest of ALL psychiatric illnesses...
Do I look sick and like I could die in the picture above? I don't think so...
Do you wonder how many others are pulling off the facade I pulled off in my black underwear above?
Answer: MILLIONS. Well over 10 million to be exact.