This is the premise of Jenni Schaefer’s book Life Without Ed. After years seeking treatment for her eating disorder, Jenni finally found a successful approach when viewing her disorder as an abusive spouse—a man who constantly told her she was fat, she was eating too much, she wasn’t working out enough, she wasn’t trying hard enough, she wasn’t good enough, skinny enough, determined enough, etc.
As an eating disorder survivor, that really resonated with me. I’ve often described my eating disorder in my book as a monster that I constantly caved to and also a voice in my head which was a mean-spirited, venomous, skinny, horrid thing who consistently did what Jenni says her “husband Ed” (a nickname for her eating disorder) did to her.
So, what is Jenni’s best form of advice? Continue reading “Life Without That Abusive Spouse: Review of Jenni Schaefer’s Life Without Ed”
When someone says the word “eating disorder” what vision immediately appears in your mind? Be honest and think about it for a moment. For me—and, I would imagine for many—a shockingly skinny white young girl pops up. And many think, for this reason, young white girls are the only people EDs affect. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. While I know this, I don’t always see evidence of it (although I wish I did), but a recent review I received from a reader of What Goes Down brought this realization back home:
EDs do not discriminate.
It doesn’t matter if you’re white or black or Chinese or Peruvian, big and tall, or fat and small, a girl or a boy, or even transgender, an ED cannot see any of that and cares nothing about it. Once it sees you as prey, you are only that: genderless, nondescript prey. And any of us can fall prey. Continue reading “EDs Don’t Discriminate: Neither Does My Story”
I think we’re all pretty familiar with the “life-size” Barbie analogy where a Barbie doll is made to-scale as a life-size woman and she’s absolutely ridiculous: boobs she could not fit into any shirt, feet the size of insects, arms as thin as reeds. It really is quite hilarious (and sad) that children strive to look like that. If you haven’t seen that Barbie analogy, here’s a great recap:
While I think this measurement-to-measurement comparison is an important reminder to the little girls and boys inside us that Barbie is not a good role model, the more I think about Barbie, the more I see how a real-life version of Barbie would make me laugh. I wouldn’t envy her, or be jealous of her. I would simply laugh. Just imagine the many oddities and limitations Barbie has to deal with and how she might handle that on social media:
Because she can never NOT smile:
- “Lost in Simon Says again today. Hate when he says ‘make a sad face’.”
- “I am pissed. Why don’t you believe me?”
- “This IS my resting bitch face.”
Because she has no nipples:
- “Piercing guy told me ‘No’ because he wouldn’t know where to put them.”
- “Is it cold in here? I can never tell.”
- “Where do I put my pasties?”
Because her knees only bend with two audible pops up to 20 degrees:
- “Namaste in this awkward extended position cause I can’t do Lotus.”
- “At least I can bend and snap (oh … *snap*).”
- “There goes my pole-dancing career.”
Because her toes are always pointed like she’s in a perpetual orgasm:
- “Got my ‘O’ feet on today (and everyday)!”
- “I can’t wear Birkenstocks. I just can’t.”
- “I can’t understand why they call them ‘flip-flops’ – mine never flop.”
- “Why are the cops always so mad when I tippie-toe in the line-up?”
Because … well, just because she’s hard, shiny plastic:
- “Nothing jiggles when I twerk.”
- “How do I ‘make it clap?’”
The more I think about it, the harder I laugh. Imagine Barbie trying to go down stairs. Her back foot wouldn’t bend enough to let her safely put her front foot (even in ‘O’ mode) onto the next step, so she would just tumble the rest of the way down and land in an only slightly-bended heap at the bottom. Like a falling stick. (It’s a good thing she’s plastic.)
But, then how does she even get up?
I believe if Barbie took one single fall, she’d be down forever.
I hope some of these Barbie musings have made you all laugh as hard as I have, and—far more importantly—realize how infinitely more amazing YOUR bendable, capable, unique body is compared to that piece of plastic.
You are an amazing person, you know that?
Sure, you may not believe me right now, if you feel you’re having a bad food day, or you feel sluggish and huge and mad at yourself today. But, do you want to know something that’s really great about people like you me—and, yes, the word “like” there includes the fact that I (and maybe you, too, to some degree) have suffered from an eating disorder? Continue reading “2020: Be a #GoalDigger!”
That’s what my grandmother called it anyway. Although that’s never what I would call her. She went by one name and one name only: Big Mom. But, the name for the white Christmas trash she made was quite fitting as that’s exactly what it looked like: this sticky, white hodge-podge mound of trashy snacks thrown together.
In all reality, it was just a soupped-up Rice Krispy/Chex Mix treat, but in my little ten-year-old mind, it was so much more. When I saw that goodie on Big Mom’s kitchen table, I knew Christmas was here! And, when I look back on it, I think it truly did sum up how I spent some of the most memorable Christmases of my childhood: with a hodge-podge of people thrown together, and just the right amount of white trash. Continue reading “Celebrate Christmas with Some White Trash”
That’s exactly what eating disorder survivor, Kristen Brunello is doing with her Eating Disorder Recovery Speakers podcast—bravely talking about it—and I could not be more grateful.
“Eating disorders grow in the dark,” she says in her June 8th podcast interview, which is so true.
They’re such a lonely, isolating disease. For those who (sadly, just like me) fall down that wretched rabbit hole, they find they spend their days, their nights, their every meal with those two stupid voices in their head telling them to “Eat!” or “Don’t eat!” Had I heard someone like Brunello talking about it so long ago, I would have saved myself years of torture. Continue reading “Let’s talk about it: Kristen Brunello’s Eating Disorder Recovery Speakers Podcast”
A great piece of comedy is a verbal magic trick[.] [D]ealing with a lot of the same areas where our defenses are the strongest—race, religion, politics, sexuality—but approaching them through humor instead of fight-or-flight adrenalin, we get endorphins and the alchemy of laughter turns our walls into windows, revealing a fresh and unexpected point of view.
Chris Bliss, Comedian
Humor. It is the most difficult way to approach a sensitive subject because it seems to make light of it, it flirts on the verge of offensive. But, if done expertly, it can be the most effective tool because it sneaks up quietly and slips into your conscience while your guard is down. “It’s just comedy. Nothing serious about it.” Then all of a sudden you’ve seen something big and important in a very different light, and it is now all too serious. But it is also now true and undeniable, because you laughed at it. This is what humor can do. It can allow me to help you see the blunt reality of your life with an eating disorder and finally decide to stop damaging yourself. By the time you’ve laughed, you can’t take it back or un-see the honest truth exposed and I hope it will give you the strength you’ve been looking for to change it. Walls into windows.
I feel like I’m sashaying saucily up to you: “Would you like me to seduce you?” Let’s see if I can. Continue reading “Walls into Windows: Beating EDs Through Humor”