March 29, 2023, noon
I’ve been told I grew up with a silver spoon in my mouth, that anorexia is a rich, white girl’s disease. Maybe it was precisely that sheltered perspective that brought me to believe that anorexia would be the toughest thing I’d go through, that everything everyone assumed about me was true. But maybe it wasn’t.
Although I have lived with an eating disorder (ED) for more than half of my life, it was only this year that I truly appreciated the internal battles that people around you may be dealing with daily. You may catch yourself judging someone by their appearance, but you really have no idea what demons they’re fighting, what keeps them up at night.
Perhaps that’s how it starts for some of us - at least that’s how it started for me. I never compared my body to other bodies. I just kept comparing my body to my own at different points in my life. I still do, but that voice gets quieter, has gotten so much quieter every day that sometimes I forget it’s there. Sometimes, it pops up, and sometimes I’m able to silence it.
Maybe that’s what the silver spoon does. It gives, but it also takes. Boy, does it take. For me, it takes bits and pieces of my own confidence, no matter how recovered I consider myself. Maybe it will always take and it’s just something I will have to learn to live with. That no matter how little the anorexia voice in my head gets, it might always be there, and maybe it will always pick away at my self-esteem, but maybe at times it gives me back my life without all the self-doubt. When it’s not ravishing its way through my life, I get to enjoy it.
Perhaps the silver spoon is a reminder. For so long after recovery, I almost found it comical that while being hospitalized, we met with nutritionists, participated in cooking nights, and logged everything we ate, not to monitor calorie content, but to track our urges and our feelings. When I think back, I sometimes feel embarrassed, but the truth is that at 19 years old, I needed to learn how to eat and feed myself again. That the war my mind put my body through at 12 was won by anorexia. I recognized that I required help and needed to go back to the basics.
Was it possible that maybe the silver spoon image that I always associated with people’s judgement, served as my own reminder to eat? People can judge, and they always will. So why not throw it right back and tell that voice when it creeps up, that it’s okay. It’s okay to literally use that spoon, use it for whatever you’re feeling. To remember that no one knows your struggle as intimately as you. You must keep fighting everyday by picking up that spoon and enjoying every single bite.