Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tattoos and taboos

It began as a conversation about pretentious tattoos, then half-sleeves, then skinny arms, then blood pressure cuffs. And then I looked at the other two students in the Honors College common room and asked, "Have all three of us had eating disorders?"

We had. The ensuing conversation was fabulously cathartic. Don't get alarmed - it wasn't a competitive thing (although I of course think they are much, much thinner than I ever was). We talked about our families, our low points and our successes, and the things with which we struggle. We cracked jokes that probably wouldn't be funny to anyone else.

And we talked about how difficult it is for people to understand, how we've come up against obstacles and frustrations. How it's such a taboo to talk about it. We talked about how silly that is - shame is one more thing we don't need. We have eating disorders and we work to overcome them, every day. Dammit, that's something to actually be proud of. You'd think with our society's Puritan work ethic that working to overcome any illness, mental or physical, would be a lot less stigmatized.


Harriet said...

Nope, shame is bad. But one thing that can help abolish shame is sharing with other people. It's great that you were able to find people to share with, ones who could empathize with your feelings and situations.

Interesting way to lead into the conversation!

lisalisa said...

I would love to connect like that with someone around here but you are right, it's just not "ok" to talk about it most of the time. I'm glad you found some kindred spirits and were able to connect with them ;)

Lissy said...

i always wonder what's going on with other people food-wise (particulary as we don't discuss "these things".) in general, i always want to know how people feel about their bodies, do they weigh themselves every day, have they purged...?

it would be nice if it all weren't so taboo.

Gaining Back My Life said...

That's awesome. Seriously. Strength in numbers!

p.s. word ver. is "hotrimo"