I have never found myself in the grip of an eating disorder, however, that is not for lack of people trying to convince me I definitely did have an unhealthy relationship with food. I know you must be thinking ‘well there’s no smoke without fire, what did they witness to lead them to say that to you?’ The answer is they decided I had an eating disorder not based on my interaction with food, or with my outward behaviour but based on the way I looked. Which wasn’t, in reality, dramatic enough to warrant their ‘concern’.
Growing up I was naturally slim, no sorry, I wasn’t slim I was ‘skinny’ and skinny must be said with a tone of disgust and/or (faux) concern otherwise you aren’t saying it probably, at least that is certainly how it appeared to me as a young teenager. I was then, as I am now, a great lover of food. I love to cook it, I love to eat it and I love to share those experiences with the people I love.
Anyone who knew me well, my parents, family and my friends were well aware that I had no eating disorder. People who didn’t know me as well, but were close enough to be able to comment never let up on the opinion that I ‘could only be that skinny if I was anorexic’. As a result of their continued jibes, which were continuous between the ages of twelve and sixteen, I began reading books written by people who had personal experiences of eating disorders. I was so scared that they were right that I thought reading about eating disorders would show me the areas in which I needed to change.
What I learnt never left me and I began to realise how reckless and damaging the comments aimed at me were and also that they had very little to do with concern for my welfare or knowledge of eating disorders and everything to do with them being unpleasant people. The sad truth is that they very nearly won.
My view of my body growing up wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t brilliant either and more often than not I saw myself through the eyes of the ‘oh my god you’re soooo skinny’ brigade. I hated eating out with certain people who would comment if I ate a salad … ‘christ why are you ordering a salad it’s not like you need to’ – Maybe I just fancy a salad Karen, did you ever consider that? But would also comment if I ordered a dessert … ‘oh it’s alright for you getting to eat dessert and not feel guilty about it’. No, maybe I wouldn’t feel guilty in terms of calories consumed, but I did feel judged and ridiculed with every mouthful I ate.
Luckily for me their ignorance and nastiness didn’t take full hold, but could you imagine if it had? This would be a very different blog post that is for certain.
Discussing my own body image or body image in general is not something I relish doing or do often and it is why I am keeping this post short and I am very much writing it to support the Sex Bloggers for Mental Health meme and to add to the conversations that will be happening surrounding National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. If you’ve never had any experience of eating disorders but you think you know what they are I would urge you to visit the National Eating Disorders Association, I am certain you would find information there that would fill in your knowledge base.
In terms of how this experience shaped my experience with sex and my own sexuality, I’d love to say it didn’t but in certain ways, I think it did. I never felt very womanly, I was always smalled boobed and had a straight up and down body, I was skinny, not curvy and I had sexy bits for anyone to grab hold of as they fucked me.
When I met my ex-husband he was always complimentary about my body, and it was only when I met him that I stopped considering all the ways I could surgically enhance my body to make it what I saw as ‘better’.
Life has seen my body go through many changes, pregnancy being the main one and now as I reach my mid-thirties I can see and feel other changes taking place too and I’m not hating them, even if I do spend some time pondering over them. I had a period of time after I had my medical termination where I hated my body, I despised it for letting me down and failing to allow my baby to grow properly. Over the last 4 years though I have had serious talks with myself about that attitude and part of the journey back to loving my body came from kink. My adventures as a rope bottom and later finding my sexy through FemDom gave me huge confidence boosts and I began to see my body as a tool for kinky fuckery and that breathed new life into my body confidence.
Part of the prompt for this weeks #SB4MH is to support NEDA’s #ComeAsYouAre challenge by creating a photo that combines an image with words you would use to describe things you like about yourself. I chose all the words in black that I placed upon my body. The words around me in colour were chosen by Bakji, I asked him for five words that he thoughts described me and they were what he came back with.