This woman is 21 years old. She has her whole life ahead of her. She makes most of her living as a singer, with her own band. And most important, she’s thin, so all is well, right? I remember the song that she is singing here…”Stay with me Baby” from The Rose, a film about a rock star that drank and drugged herself to death. The connection is ironic, because, this young woman was on the way to becoming the Rose. She drank heavily and often, and was at the beginning stages of a drug and alcohol habit that would later cause her to hit a violent bottom. She struggled with her weight all of her life, and her slim figure was compliments of an eating disorder that landed her in the hospital for a month five years before. In short, self-hatred and low self-esteem almost killed her. But how can she be so unhappy? She’s thin!
This woman is me, and the sarcasm is my frustration with the notion that thin automatically denotes good health. At 21, I was 5’9” and 120 pounds soaking wet, but the Hennessy that I drank for breakfast most mornings gave me stomach ulcers. So even though I was a socially and medically acceptable size, I was far from healthy. I still struggle with my weight, but the struggle is based only in part on the desire to look good. I am 15 pounds overweight – obese by today’s standard – but I am in a better place in my head and in my heart than I was back then. Even so, that young sad girl who tried to starve herself to death for acceptance is still a part of me, So I have to protect her by achieving a healthy weight in an healthy way.
As a society, we need to redraw the limits of fitness. Until we do, I will redefine these limits for myself. Being many years on the other side of my addiction and Anorexia, I can say with complete conviction that good health is not only physical, but mental and spiritual.