My Eating Disorder

I’ve been reading a lot lately in the blog world about people having Anorexia/Bulimia/Some-strange-condition-where-they-seems-themselves-as-fat-and-hideous. It takes a lot of courage to talk about hating your body and how much you hate that you hate it. It’s made me think about my relationship with my body. I pretty much have the opposite of Anorexia. I’m not sure what it’s called but I always think I look fantastic. I check myself out each morning and say, “self, you are looking fine!” So I’m always caught off guard when I see a picture of myself or–even worse–my reflection in a store window. “Huh??? What the heck? There’s no way I look like that!”   What is it called when you think you look terrific even though there is evidence to the contrary? Like how Anorexics see nothing but fatness when they look in the mirror, but the opposite.

Those blobs of fat oozing out of the top of my jeans? Meh. It’s just how I’m sitting; it can’t possibly be because there is actual fat spilling out my clothes. No, not possible at all.

My jeans size is in the double digits? Only because they’re skinny jeans. The sizing is way off.

The reason my shirts are size large is on account of my nice chest. That’s the only reason.

According to society I should hate my body. It’s downright embarrassing to like your body if you are larger than a size 6; anyone larger than that should be ashamed. We full-figured gals are hideous monsters blah, blah, blah.

It’s not just about my weight either. I wear red lipstick and imagine how full and pouty and beautiful my lips are. Which made it all the more surprising when my son took a picture of me yesterday and my lips looked entirely average.  And in that same photograph my eyes look dull and brown when they are not dull and brown at all. They are golden with flecks of green! It’s true! They are!

I’m pretty sure I can blame my disorder on my husband, who has showered me with compliments even when I’ve been post-partum with a belly like deflated bread dough. If you’ve been told you are gorgeous and sexy every day for twenty years, you start to believe it. I can also blame my mother. She has this same disorder but I think it’s even worse. Once I was sitting around reading a People magazine with my mom and a few other family members. I came across a picture of Harrison Ford emerging from the ocean. This was about fifteen years ago and he looked mighty fine for somebody his age. I held the picture up and announced what a fox Harrison still was. “Oh, I look just as good as he does,” my mother informed us. She was dead serious and didn’t notice us all rocking with silent laughter. She was quite the hottie back in the 1950’s and in her mind she still was/is. All I can say is good for her. And good for me because she has passed it on.

Does that mean I wouldn’t love to lose twenty pounds? Of course I would! I’m not mental! I would love to catch my reflection out of the corner of my eye and have it actually look like what I imagine it to look like. Which on a good day is Audrey Hepburn* and on a bad day is more like Joan from Mad Men.

Next time you see a ginormous lady in Walmart wearing high heels and miniskirt, cut her some slack. Sister is suffering from the same disease as me.  We can’t help it if we think we’re gorgeous.

 

*Intellectually I am fully aware that I haven’t looked like Audrey Hepburn since I was 11. Not exaggerating. I went from a from a girl’s size 12 to a Juniors size 7 in one year. I have been and will forever remain hourglassy. But the mind plays tricks. And if I see Audrey in the mirror what am I supposed to do?

21 thoughts on “My Eating Disorder

  1. I love it. I may have a bit of that. Skype is the worst. Who is that lady in the computer! Her neck is saggy and she has wrinkles!!

  2. Do we share parts of the same soul? Because sometimes it’s downright bizzarre how I could have written this.

    My parents are to blame, my dad still talks to anyone who will stand still about how great I was at this or that, and my mom never talked bad about herself or did weird diets, and she’s actually overweight enough to do so.

    I’ve always said that if I ran into a major celebrity like, say, Oprah, or Katie Couric that she should be excited to meet ME. Cuz I am unbelievably awesome.

    They are just people who have jobs on TV–it’s just a job, so why do people think they are so great? It baffles me.

    Someday when you come to town we should get our giant egos together. And when we walk into the restaurant for lunch–everyone’s heads will turn.

    1. Amen Jill! I feel the same way about celebs. What’s the big deal?

      And yes, I promise we can have lunch next time I’m in AZ. Heads will for sure turn.

      1. Jill said: “my mom never talked bad about herself or did weird diets, and she’s actually overweight enough to do so.”

        This is exactly what I’m trying to do for my girls. I hope that they will grow up knowing that they are beautiful just how they are, and that they can carry that with them into adulthood. There are so many voices out there ready to tell them everything that’s wrong with them.

  3. I have the same affliction- I’ve been calling it Reverse Body Dysmorphic Disorder for years. How is it possible that those arms are attached to me? When did my skin go to hell? I blame the “mom jeans” of the ’80’s, no muffin top peeking out. Or my “Dexie’s Midnught Runners/Bananarama/Overall phase. Who really know’s what I looked like under all those Mod thrift store finds. Having a teenage daughter with a perfect bod can help. I can at least buy her cute clothes!!

    1. Having a teenage daughter is surreal. I can’t imagine I was ever that thin or that, if by some miracle I did lose a ton of weight, I would ever look anything like as good as she does.

      1. Well, I think many American women would be much happier with your disorder than the other type. I aspire to it. And in some places and times, your supposedly-overlarge hips would be far more admired than the tiny little kind of hips. (Not that tiny hips aren’t lovely on women for whom God intended them.)

  4. I’m always surprised when I get a compliment. I’ve always had difficulty seeing what I actually look like and probably always will. And I’m okay with that.

    And you always look fantastic on your blog (and when I’ve seen you irl). Loved the shirt/look you had on your loo tutorial too.

    Any chance you could do a tutorial on how to nicely dress a nice chest? 😉

  5. I love this post! I hope that I pass this along to my daughter 🙂 And I always think you look fab on the blog as well 🙂

  6. Love this! I think your disorder is much healthier and more enjoyable than the other types. I honestly have no idea how I look to others, and I really don’t give it much thought.

  7. My favorite: “According to society I should hate my body. It’s downright embarrassing to like your body if you are larger than a size 6; anyone larger than that should be ashamed. We full-figured gals are hideous monsters blah, blah, blah.”

    I’ve seen actual looks of shock (and possibly horror) when I’ve said I have no plans on dieting, or that my husband said I shouldn’t go on a diet. I don’t know if it’s my audacity to actually like myself how I am, or if it’s jealousy that my husband says he loves me how I am, and that (to put it in his words), I am “hot”. All I know is that I thought I was beautiful when I was in my 20’s but now that I’m in my 40’s, I’m okay with looking like a mom. Cuz, you know, I AM a mom. I guess I feel like I had my days of being young and beautiful, and now I’m happy to be middle-aged and a mother. But, to admit that outloud is a sort of heresy among women. It’s like you’re _supposed_ to hate yourself. So sad.

  8. I have selective moments of this disorder. I skip the mirror when I’m getting in or out of the shower, and yet I am always shocked that I don’t look as good in photos as I do in my head! 🙂 When I knew I really had a problem, lol, was when I was a 27yr old mother of 2, still fighting the last 15 lbs from the second baby, and on a trip with my 14yr old sister, and two other teenage girls. They were walking in front of me and I thought “gosh I look just like them, but maybe an inch or two wider!” HA!! 🙂

  9. I agree. The camera can be cruel. Pictures of me always shock me because I imagine myself being way hotter/skinnier/better looking that I really am. But it’s a good thing. Because pictures are reality, and it’s good to have a dose now and again sometimes.

  10. 1. I love you. You’re not mental.
    2. Glad your husbands thinks your hawt.
    3. Maybe you could participate in a wrinkly neck post with me. Not sure if you have one, but I discovered mine in some pics. WHAT HAPPENED?
    4. Who cares about wrinkly necks? That is the point.

  11. If I could rock Joan’s look on Mad Men I would every day of the week.
    This is a great post because the truth is we should all see ourselves as beautiful, regardless of our size or if our hair is having an “off” day or if our red lipstick has faded except for the outline. ( I run into this lipstick issue A LOT) 🙂

  12. I can’t say I share your disorder generally, but I thought of this post when I didn’t recognize myself in a beach photo. “Is that me?! I look pregnant!” Husband: “Oh, you were just relaxing when they took that picture.”

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