I was sitting in Starbuck’s today while attempting to do some wondrous science homework and in the midst of the conversation I was reflecting on some ideas for my next blog post. One idea that kept coming to me was my eating disorder’s great deal of judgment. When I was mired deep in my eating disorder, I was not only very critical of myself and how I looked, but also of others. As I would walk down the street I would look at only bodies, “she’s X pounds”, “woah, that is a fat lady”, “she should not be wearing that”, “BMI of X” and so forth and so on. At every meeting, I would scan the room; I knew I didn’t have the highest SAT score or the richest parents or the most expensive clothes, but I was most definitely the skinniest and the most disciplined. My life was full of assumptions based on what people looked like from the outside. I dismissed people based on their weight or what size they were. In the midst of these reflections, the inspiration/analogy I needed for this post came from above, literally. I suddenly was smacked in the face by some tiny object that fell from the ceiling; “Oh my gosh, that thing is so tiny, but it felt like a boulder hit my head,” was my immediate thought, and then the light bulb flashed on.
Ok so has anyone ever heard of neutron stars? Well many of you may know about neutron stars but I knew absolutely nothing until I needed some evidence to support my theory. Neutron stars are collapsed cores of large stars but the coolest thing about them is that if you scooped one teaspoon from a neutron star it would have a mass of around 10 billion tons. I understand you all are probably wondering how in the world this relates to eating disorders, I swear, it does.
One tiny little teaspoon of neutron stars weighs 10 billion tons. If one were to ever look at that tiny teaspoon, they would never guess that it has a weight of 10 billion tons, nor would it be important to them. Also, if you had a ginormous bag of feathers, they’re feathers so they’re not going to weigh that much. It doesn’t matter how many you stuff into a bag, they’re not going to weigh a ton.
My point is that judging the appearance of a person, a bag of feathers, a neutron star or whatever, assumptions are rarely accurate. So much of an eating disorder (for me at least) was getting to my ideal weight because once I got there, I thought I would be happy. Once I got there, everyone would finally recognize I was skinny and they would know my weight. But the truth is, people are not very good at guessing weights. I had a four year old that I was working with tell me that she was 200 pounds and I was 400 pounds. Weight, weighing, scales etc. can be such a difficult thing for someone struggling from an eating disorder; in fact it can make or break their day. The number means I am worthy or I am worthless. The number means I am a success or a failure. The number represents what I look like on the outside when in reality, I’m not going to guess that a teaspoon of neutron star is 10 billion tons, I am going to guess it weighs a couple grams, at most. The outside appearance and the number to “what things look like” ratio can be very skewed and creates a host of insecurities and problems.
Now yes, I get that I just compared the idea of weight and what humans look like etc. to a neutron star, but I felt as if it explained my realization very well. It doesn’t matter how small I am, or how little I weigh, or how much I weigh, or how big I look, every single person is different in the way his or her bodies are shaped. So next time I have an urge to step on the scale or crave to know how much I weigh, I want to remember, others are not going to know the number based on what I look like so why do I need to know too?