A friend recently informed me she had been reading this blog and that it really struck a chord with her. She hadn’t known about it and stumbled upon it randomly. She told me she read it avidly, every single post. She worried it was a violation of privacy, but I assured her it was a public site for a reason and I had no intention of hiding my battle with anorexia or my recovery from it.
I was extremely touched by her letter to me and very glad my blog had meant something to her, though she did not suffer from an eating disorder herself. She told me she had had some issues with food and body as well, and mentioned that she’d like to share her experiences with me. I can’t wait to have lunch with her and really talk.
It’s not that this friend didn’t know I had an eating disorder. She most certainly did. She just didn’t know I was writing about it, and then was unsure if I wanted her to find out that I was. Truth is, I want it out there. I feel it’s important. And a lot of people read it. And that’s okay with me. I have no problem talking to people about my past because it is a part of me and I have come a long way.
The topic of my eating disorder does not upset me. I examine my place in recovery every day in some form or another and I’m not afraid to talk about it, especially with people who want to understand. Really, a woman’s relationship with food is a more common thread between us all than we might realize. There are lots of different ways people use food, lots of different ways they cope, and lots of different ways they get healthy. I think it’s important to notice this.
My friend told me that she had her own journey to discover who she is and who she is with food. I like that she told me that. I feel closer to her just knowing she can relate to this blog. My friend also mentioned that she was worried about eating in front of me or about openly displaying her own habits she uses to keep herself healthy. As I told her, people don’t have to worry about eating in front of me or about the habits they use to keep themselves healthy. I have learned to not be triggered by these things. I will always be aware of eating disordered issues, but I can truthfully say that I consider myself recovered and I’m okay now. I would not have started this blog in the first place if I didn’t think I was strong enough to be someone who could help others. I’m great now! Happy, healthy, and very recovery-oriented. It doesn’t rule my life in the least, so to anyone who ever worried—I would say please don’t feel self-conscious about eating with me.
There was a time when I would have been uncomfortable to even go out to eat with any of my friends. That was a couple years ago now. For the last almost two years I’ve been actively recovering, gaining weight, staying healthy and fit at the same time, and working on learning about myself and my eating disorder. I’ve helped myself mentally. I’ve learned to live in the world at last.
In the letter my friend wrote me, she asked about my experience being mistreated by girls in middle school. And she had questions about the impact of my eating disorder on our own friendship. I tried to answer her as best I could. It’s often hard to come up with definitive answers in respect to eating disorders. At least that’s been my experience.
She was familiar with my middle school "mean girls" scenario. It messed me up for years even though I didn’t outwardly dwell on it much. I know she remembers. I didn’t realize how eating disordered this incident made me until later. It was definitely a weird kind of coping mechanism. The friend I’m speaking of was a great friend to me during that time and thankfully helped me cope in healthy ways along with my unhealthy ones.
I tried to get across to my friend that in the future, I’d be honored to be the listener if she wants to talk to me about her relationship with food. I think we can both understand each other well.
“I want to learn more than I already thought I knew,” she wrote to me. “ It's important as a woman and a future teacher, and as your friend.”
As I said to her, I think that’s wonderful. I feel that way too. It’s definitely a continuing goal of mine. And I so appreciate her saying it to me. It means so much and I’ve thought about that statement a lot since she wrote it to me a few weeks ago.
So, in closing, to my friend, I’d like to say: Thank you.
Here’s to honesty and sisterhood.