Tomorrow (20th October) is officially ‘Body Gossip Your Status' Day – An all-inclusive, never before trialed cyber event taking place on Facebook and Twitter.
We all have fleeting body-related thoughts, pretty much every minute of the day. Everything from ‘my hair needs cutting’ to ‘my back’s hurting a bit’ – So this is an event that everyone can hop on board with, regardless of gender, race, or location.
Just to pluck an example out of thin air, as I type I am thinking ‘I wish this desk-chair had an inbuilt cushion, it’s hurting my bum bones’. Which has inevitably led to the thought ‘why don’t I have a J-lo/Beyonce style pre-cushioned arse of fabulousness, then I wouldn’t have to worry so much about my upholstery?’. (Also – ‘I bet J-lo doesn’t need that many scatter cushions in her house but has them anyway, for who can resist a scatter cushion and what simpler way is there to transform your home’s interior?’ – Although that’s not strictly body related, just demonstrates my love for cushions – Which I’m fairly certain I genetically inherited from my Mother).
The thought I tend to have every day, though, is how wonderful it feels to be healthy. I can still recall distinctly the feeling of waking up during the bulimia wilderness years, after bingeing and purging the previous day, despite my last ‘episode’ being almost three years ago. The immediate sensation I encountered on those days would be a mixture of shame, exhaustion and dehydration.
There’s a split second when we wake up each morning when we register the physical but our emotions/thoughts have yet to catch-up. Usually, it happens when you’ve split up with your boyfriend, cried yourself to sleep, awake abruptly to the thought ‘what in Bowie’s name is wrong with my eyes and why have they been replaced with tiny balls of fire in my cranium?’ and then suddenly remember ‘oh. That’s right’. A friend of mine was experiencing this on a daily basis, following the termination of her 3 year romance, and found that if she immediately pressed ‘play’ on her CD player, before she had time to wallow in her misery (in which was invariably a Russell Brand audio-book) she could dampen the feelings of dismay, the awful sinking feeling of dread where all her emotions and memories rushed to the surface in a great big tidal wave. (I’m pretty sure that the fact that she’s now convinced Russell is making a momentous mistake marrying Katy Perry on Saturday and that she is, in fact, his one true love is largely unrelated. I think).
A similar thing used to happen to me – I’d open my eyes and think ‘why the pounding head, sore throat and aching limbs. Why the sense of shame?....Oh right’.
If it never rained, we wouldn’t learn to appreciate the sunshine. In a similar way, for the past three years I’ve noted with glee the lack of constant flu-like symptoms, the absence of mental anguish surrounding food and the changes which have occurred in my healthy body. Little things others take for granted, like the presence of brand new, thick hair framing my face, and my nails no longer sporting deep ridges caused my vitamin deficiency, are things I can acknowledge and be grateful for.
I always describe the memories of my eating disorder as being rather like they happened to an old friend – Someone to whom I was very close at the time, but have since lost contact with. In recovering I rediscovered my true self. It’s a shame, then, that the stubborn notion that eating disorders are a life sentence, something to be battled every day, even in recovery, remains ever present. I have encountered some prejudice, in the same way as someone who has a previous drug addiction might, even though it ceases to have any impact of their life today.
So, tomorrow, I’ll be tweeting tweets and facebooking statuses (statii?) of joy, as I contemplate the fact that I can bound out of bed, ready to face the day, every nerve and sinew robust. I can celebrate my abundant curves and my naturally muscular frame. I can make evident my love for my body in its natural and healthy state (bony bottom included).
To get involved in tomorrow’s event, simply tweet of facebook your body gossip and tag #bodygossip. For more information go to www.bodygossip.org.