There was a point in my life–the point at which my body started “developing,” as they euphemistically put it–that food suddenly became Bad rather than Good for me at home.
If you have children or have been a child with attentive parents, you probably remember the squabbles over eating. “But I’m not hungry.” “Sweetie, you need to eat. How else are you going to grow?” “I don’t want any more.” “Just one more bite, and then you can have ice cream.”
I also had these conversations as a child, once.
Then it all changed seemingly overnight.
“I don’t want any more.” “Good!” “I can’t, I lost my appetite.” “Good!”
It must’ve taken a few years, but by the time I was in high school, the implications were clear: not eating is virtually always good. Any reason or excuse or motivation you can find within yourself to not eat, or eat less, is good.
“Wow, I was so engrossed in this book that I totally forgot about dinner.” “Good!”
I hate feeling hungry. Always have, still do. So it wasn’t that I wanted to “go hungry,” as it were. But lived for those things that made me forget about eating or to lose my appetite: distraction, sickness, tricks played by certain foods.
“I only had an apple and some almonds today!” “Good!”
Nowadays I don’t do that sort of restriction anymore. […]But my actual attitudes about food haven’t really changed. When I’m sick or when I realize I’ve been too busy writing to remember to eat, I still reflexively think, “Good!” When I get hungry, I think, “Fuck, again?” Although I don’t normally think of it this way, I “practice” eating normally several times a day, and I enjoy eating–I love the taste and feel of food–but I can’t stop wishing I didn’t need it.
I’m so much better off than I could be, given how dangerous and tenacious eating disorders are. But it’s not just about the symptoms. It’s about the ways in which certain thought patterns–entire belief systems, really–take root in your brain, seemingly for good.
I don’t think you guys know just how powerful this scene was. Literally when I was in the audience I could just see a lot of the women of color affected by this scene. A lot of us have gone through this self denial and self hate through the effects of white beauty standards and beliefs forced down our throats.This was the first time I had ever seen something that I had personally felt before portrayed on the screen and it put tears in my eyes. If you haven’t seen this movie, go see it. It’s out on dvd/bluray/streaming