Anonymous asked: So a stranger made a rude comment to me irt my weight yesterday, and I'm afraid it's triggered my ED again. I purged for the first time in months last night. I mean, it wasn't just one comment-I've gotten a few in the last few weeks from strangers and friends/family, and my ED always tends to flare up around bathing suit season. I want to be comfortable with my body, but I can't seem to accept it and feel so ugly because I'm fat. I can't seem to lose weight, either. Advice please?
OK, first of all, you did a good thing in telling someone and asking for help- that in itself shows that you have a coping strategy and you’re trying to stop it getting out of control <3
I don’t know if you know, but I’ve had EDs in the past so I understand what you’re going through. Honestly, I haven’t been swimming in 7 years, and that time my parents had to pay me- voluntarily it’s at least 12 years. I spent a lot of that time hating myself, self-harming and havings EDs, and thought “I’ll never go swiming again until I’m a size 8!!!” but I’ve now immersed myself in FA enough that swimming is no longer a terrifying challenge, but a potential reality.
The stranger you encountered is an asshole. You don’t need to be told that though. What they did was an oppressive act against you, it wasn’t just being ‘a bit mean’ or whatever- you need to recognise it for what it is. Also, and this is going to sound strange because of the highly intimate and intrusive experience of having your weight discussed or insulted- it wasn’t personal. They’ve been indoctrinated by a sizist society to reject anyone that represents what they’re scared of, or view as representing several ‘bad traits’, but that’s their deal. I’m not excusing it, and if you had wanted to give them a quick knee in the groin, you would have been more than entitled to, but their comment to you says waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more about them than it does about you. What kind of person feels the need to negatively comment on a strangers weight? A person who is insecure. You’ll see it over and over again on Tumblr, fat people being expected to put up with being insecure, thin people’s punching bags- you never have to put up with it. You have the right to respond, and you have the right to tell them to ‘do one’, because right from the outset of your communication with this person, they showed you disrespect, and so that is not a person you need in your life, especially when, as fat people, we get enough of that from the people we already love.
As for dealing with friends and family- how open have you been about your interest in FA? I would suggest responding to their comments with “my weight is not your business”. Unfortunately, in that case many people think it is because they’re like SOOOOOOOO worried about your health, at which point it’s useful to bombard them with a few facts about HAES. Are they aware of your ED? You should also try saying to them in point blank terms that they are triggering your ED and that that is never OK. If there’s anyone who really cannot even shut up and put up for your sake while you try and work your body issues out, I would suggest taking a hiatus until you’re in a better place, or questioning why they’re your friend at all when they judge you on such superficial grounds.
So onto the hardest part- what you can do for you. FA as a personal journey is not easy, and it’s also not a goal-driven experience. It’s about coming to terms with your body despite what other people want you to believe. I can’t tell you exactly what to do, put I can tell you a few things that have helped me so far:
- Immerse yourself in FA culture. For me, this meant online as I couldn’t find any FA resources near me. I followed loads of blogs that talked about FA to help me feel less alone, and I mentioned it to my friends and made it clear that this was important to me. I also made sure to follow lots of blogs that put forward the idea of fat people being not just potentially healthy, but of them also being attractive and beautiful. I learnt to see the beauty in other fat people which helped me see it in myself.
- Sometimes- just turn the TV off. There are days when I don’t want to see any weight-loss adverts, so I don’t. I change the channel when anything involved *~The Obesity Epidemic~* comes on TV, or when I’m up to it, I critically analyse what I’m seeing with my boyfriend, and you know, after a while you build up armour against this shit and sometimes you can laugh at it.
- Learn your body. Prior to FA, I hated my body so I never looked at it. I didn’t like being naked, ESPECIALLY with mirrors about, and as a result I didn’t even know this thing I hated so much. Try taking time to get to know your body, and have an accurate idea of what it’s like. This may be harder for you because of your ED, but take it slow. Start with your favourite parts and work through. This is an ongoing journey, and there are still parts of me I’m working on accepting, but the other night I wore a sleeveless dress to a party for the first time in 7 years, so there’s also the ongoing rewards to encourage you.
- Argue FA. When you get used to going over the arguments, or seeing the flaws in sizist arguments and understanding the motivations of the people perpetuating them, you’ll see how they provide the tools to make judgments for yourself.
- Know that you’re not alone. We’re all doing this together, and we’re all at different points on the journey, but it’s not a goal-driven experience, so it’s OK to stop and take a little rest. It’s OK to ask for help, and people will help you. If you ever want to talk or ask for help, I never mind helping people with body acceptance realness. You don’t have to do it alone.
I hope you’re OK, and I hope this helps. Any time you need anything, just come ask, and I’ll do what I can. I’ve been in your position, I know it’s hard, but it’s not impossible, I promise.