Sunday, September 12, 2010

i'm not skinny.

i have the wonderful privilege of working with my dear friend, paige slaughter, as social chair of our sorority (CHI OMEGA if you were wondering).

the two of us have had a beautifully adventurous time the past couple of weeks, wandering Birmingham and searching out venues for upcoming events. the other day, as we pulled into a downtown stoplight, Paige crossed her arms, shivered, and said, "Gosh, EA! I'm not used to you not being's freezing in this car!"

we laughed for a hearty minute or so, and continued on our way. paige never gave the wonderfully candid comment a second thought, but it left a soft smile on my face for the rest of the day.

on my first ever visit to the "eating disorder specialist" in high school, i remember learning that individuals with malnutrition and inadequate amounts of body fat often find themselves feeling cold in the midst of perfectly comfortable temperatures. i think that doctors think that telling their patients with eating disorders that they're always going to be cold is supposed to be a selling point for recovery, but it ends up turning around on them and becoming yet another burdensome and destructive criteria for finding success in the disorder.

when i was active in my eating disorder, i found victory in the goosebumps that constantly inhabited my arms- especially when i looked around and no one else had them. when friends begged me to turn down the heat or roll down the windows in my car, i felt like the "special" one - the one who's uninsulated body was perfectly comfortable in the heat. ironically enough, the constant cold was a blanket of security that i took with me wherever i went.

i haven't been unnaturally cold for months now. i've thought about it a couple of times, but i didn't want to feel the guilt of the absence of the cold, and so i lightly brushed the subject with my thoughts, but never dwelled upon it. until the other day.

as i laughed a guilt-free, out-loud laugh at paige's comment, i transcended myself for a moment, and realized that i'm growing into someone different. i realized that i'm "that girl" that i never wanted to be- the one who doesn't get cold because she has "meat on her bones"- the one who thinks curves are beautiful and low-carb diets are stupid- and lifting weights is more important than cardio- and that belly dancers deserve a lot of respect for loving their womanly bodies.

i'm that girl who gets hungry more than once a day, and doesn't think that red meat is just for men, and laughs a little bit at the thought of trying to put on a size *, and is proud of the "something" in the back of her jeans.

i'm the girl who isn't skinny, and isn't worried about it, the girl who's sick of comparing herself to others, the girl who thinks runway models are gross and healthy fats are a food staple.

my eating disorder would like me to think that the girl described above is un-memorable, un-unique, a lower status of human who secretly wishes she could just be thin.

but my eating disorder is lying. because in addition to the girl described above, i'm also the girl who's happier than she's ever been, more able to love than she ever thought she could be, more open to her Father's idea of beautiful than she ever felt was safe, more excited to be alive than she ever knew was possible, more of herself than she ever thought there was.

i thought the "skinniest" was all i'd ever be. Thank God it isn't.



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