‘Erasure’ is part of Nasty Women Connecticut’s show “Complicit: Erasure of the Body” at the Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut.
‘Erasure’ is about the messages in our heads that drive us to erasing ourselves to please other people. In this case, through anorexia. This has been one of my personal challenges since eighth grade. For me, it has been about a lack of self-acceptance, brought about by the message-absorbed from society and those around me-that I was never enough as I was. I was too fat, not in good enough shape, wore glasses, not talented enough, not worthy enough…just, not enough. So I tried to control all that through my weight. I stopped growing at 5’6″ at age 12. The doctors told me that I should weigh about 135lbs to be healthy. I have a solid bone structure. Anything less than 145 for me starts to look scary thin. But to me, it wasn’t enough. I tried to keep my weight around 124lbs, fit into a size 6 or below, and my waist at 24 inches. I was obsessed at that last one.
And this is a mild case. I never got so underweight that I passed out, or went into amenorrhea. Thank goodness. I was, however, scary thin enough for my body that my father, a professional ballet dancer, was freaking out, because he had had several friends in the dance world die from anorexia or other eating disorders over the years.
I was trying to control a life I felt that I had no control over through controlling my body. I under-ate, over-excercised and worried constantly. I felt unloved, unappreciated, and as if I would NEVER be good enough. I was constantly trying to please those whose approval I wanted, or felt that I needed to survive. In all areas of my life. I didn’t stop to figure out who I was, just believed that it wasn’t good enough and I had to try harder.
Let me tell you-years and years of self-work later, it’s still a challenge, but I am getting better. I still have a hard time with mirrors, and I don’t own a scale. I hate the scale at the doctor’s. It sends me into a tailspin for a while afterwards until I can catch myself and calm down.
The thing is, no matter what we look like, the message we get from society in general-the media campaigns, movies, advertising-is that no matter what we look like or what we do, it’s never enough. The messages don’t go away. The hamster wheel in the head doesn’t ever really stop. But it can be slowed down, or put on mute for a while. It’s an ongoing process. So if you know someone with an eating disorder, be patient with them, and give them your love. We all need it.
Complicit runs until March 31st, 2019. For event info go to https://nastywomenct.org/events