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There has been a firestorm of discussion and emotion since the release of Black Swan that has me rereading Lauri Apple’s poignant article back at JEZEBEL and rethinking. once again, the subtle but profound impact that media, culture, social; and familial arenas play and interact into our consciousness, whether they are actualized physically-mentally or not.
Since my daughter has suffered from Anorexia Nervosa and was a classically trained ballet student-dancer since the age of seven, as parents you may, unfortunately, get to see the side of ‘cygne noir’ – black swan that is layered within the walls of the dance studio. When eight year old girls are talking about having stomach surgery or that they are ‘fat’, or when you realize you are in the bathroom and a dancer in the adjacent stall, is intentionally inducing vomiting, it can become more than a bit disturbing.
While I don’t ‘blame’ the media, advertisers, etc. as the sole ’cause’ in perpetuating Eating Disorders , I find it simultaneously an act of denial to disregard the power and pull these mediums have and do carry, some more than others; and of course, within varying degrees for individuals and their set of environments, circumstances, genetic traits-pre-determinants, towards tipping a scale (no pun intended) sometimes in dangerous directions.
While I’m happy my daughter chimes in that she would rather see ‘True Grit’ vs ‘Black Swan’ I do believe the conversation happening is one worth continuing and deepening.
What are your thoughts and feedback? Please feel free to share…
Kicking off today is NEDAwareness Week Feb 21-27. NEDA has created a daily calendar of ideas to help spark the conversation and theme: It’s Time To Talk About It. Find ways to get involved within your community and help the continuation of support, research, edcuation and improved treatment resources for those who suffer with Eating Disorders!
The mission of NEDAwareness Week
Our aim of NEDAwareness Week is to ultimately prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses — not choices — and it’s important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder.
What is NEDAwareness Week?
NEDAwareness Week is a collective effort of primarily volunteers, eating disorder professionals, health care providers, educators, social workers, and individuals committed to raising awareness of the dangers surrounding eating disorders and the need for early intervention and treatment.
How NEDAwareness Week Works
This year, NEDA is calling for everyone to do just one thing to help raise awareness and provide accurate information about eating disorders. NEDAwareness Week participants can choose from a huge range of ways to contribute: Distribute info pamphlets and put up posters, write one letter for Media Watchdogs, register as a Volunteer Speaker or host a Volunteer Speaker, coordinate a NEDA Walk, or arrange interactive and educational activities such as panel discussions, fashion shows, body fairs, movie screenings, art exhibits and more. As an official NEDAwareness Week participant you can be involved in any way that works with your schedule, resources, community, and interests. These events and activities attract public media attention – on local, national and international levels.
Outside of the word ‘Ma’am’ there is another word — the ‘F-A-T’ word that I despise quite vehemently… it’s been refreshing to be rid of at least one of those words this week!
So many great happenings during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2008 – hope everyone is able to partake in some NEDAW events in your corresponding local areas. This year’s theme, much like last year’s, is still quite pivotal and we can all do our share to spread awareness, gently and compassionately encourage those who need support and treatment to take those vital initial steps with our love and backing.
Reach out, celebrate all our diverse shapes and sizes, EMBRACE each other, and share our stories- spread the word, be heard, dispel misconceptions and myths that still surround eating disorders and those that suffer- change can happen even with the simplest and smallest of steps!
Laura Collins, as always, an incredible inspiration, advocate, and Mom has posted some great commentary on the Congressional Briefing for the Eating Disorders Coalition with Dr Cynthia Bulik’s wisdom- Power to the People!
It’s a day filled with LOVE-
Voltaire wrote: Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination which is such an eloquent phrase, and so affecting to me having a daughter who is courageously challenging her anorexia- and winning back (embroidering) her true self each day.
Those of us with a child, family member, and/or friend who are suffering with an eating disorder know we have to be both Head & Heart for our loved ones; it’s a duality that few seem to have the discernment and wisdom to forewarn us about on this journey to wholeness and health. Most in the medical community still keep us at arms-length when it comes to offering up the most humane, balanced and adequately researched strategies to implement within supporting our loved ones that emphasize such an expanded “imagination” or creativity that not only empowers the sufferer, but works towards healing the entire family/support network of the sufferer- metaphorically this would require the most sophisticated embroidery needle and elevated imagination that can stitch a warm, comforting Love quilt for anyone to find shelter, solace, comfort and wisdom (and most likely made with fleece).
I also think it’s imperative, absolutely crucial to Love thyself unconditionally, and that dear friends, includes the parents, the extended family members, friends, etc.- your entire collective clan, blood-linked and other surrogate compassionate souls- Tending & Befriending- embracing life as it stands, even making peace with pain, uncertainty and discomfort; all of which we most certainly are no stranger to.
So on this Valentine’s Day I wish for all of you to embrace yourselves, your loved ones with the deepest sense of honor, open-heartedness, self-acceptance and Love-
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your
love and affection.”