So I was catching up with the few episodes of Glee I had missed (yes, okay, get it out of your system. All better now? I see you snickering in the back!). I promise there will be no spoilers. And the last few episodes have dealt with body image issues and eating disorders and such. At first, I was a bit outraged at the fact that they chose to focus on one of the skinny minnies as the central character for this issue, and then I caught myself. Holy judgmental bitch, batman! Just because I’m an overweight person with body image issues doesn’t mean that skinny or average people can’t have body image issues too! I was kind of shocked and disgusted with myself for that.
I’ve struggled with an eating disorder since puberty. Not many people know that. A few very close friends do, but it’s always been a very closely guarded secret. I mean, I’m 285 lbs, so it’s not THAT closely guarded, but I’ve always tried to keep it a secret. Granted, duh…. nobody PUBLICIZES that they have an eating disorder. Maybe if some of us did, it would be a step toward accepting the problem, a step toward getting better.
I keep telling myself that I need to get more exercise, and then I procrastinate until it’s too late. I tell myself that I need to eat less, and then I become convinced that I’m famished and need to eat everything in sight. It’s pretty effective self-sabotage, and I’ve been doing it since I was 11 years old, so I’m pretty good at it by now. I’m trying to get less good at it as time goes on, because I can’t continue like this.
Suffice to say, I didn’t expect this level of introspection or emotional turmoil from watching one of my favourite tv shows. Thus the sucker punch. But I’m glad that this show is using its influence to deal with topics that are not only relevant to teens, but are also the subjects that teens are least likely to admit they have a problem with. Bringing them out into the open, where they belong. Telling kids that it’s okay to have problems, and that they’re not alone.
So here’s my confession: My name is Lynne. I’m 37 years old, I weigh 285 pounds, and I have an eating disorder. You’re not alone. And you don’t have to deal with it by yourself. Talk about it. It’s okay to talk about it. It doesn’t make you a freak or a loser. It just makes you a normal person.