Wholeness: How Our Friendship Grew Because of Anorexia

January 14th, just before 8:30 pm. Earlier that day, I knew that I would somehow tell her of the eating disorder I had dealt with. She arrived at about 7 pm looking thin as usual, but not knowing the fact herself. Our chit chat lacked truth for the first hour and a half. Then, over tea, I brought up the subject of secrets. I told her that, while few people know, I had a secret about something that I wanted to share with others, personally. The subject faded until it came back more specifically: how much we eat as to how much we used to, how petite we are as individuals, and the subject of menstrual periods. "Alright, I'll just tell you," I began--knowing that I was about to light the match for a very warm, special friendship.

She took my hand with glossy eyes. "I've been in the same place," she said. I had told her that I began hanging out with girls quite thin, that I first saw my body negatively after a boy commented on my "buff" arms, that I wanted to be less masculine (yet I wasn't masculine) and more ladylike--that I wanted, at first, to measure just in between my petite size and the skinny girls' stick-like size. A 1/3 cup of cereal or nothing for breakfast, a half PB+J sandwich or 100 calorie granola bar for lunch, and a picking at dinner became my usual day's worth of food. I also compulsively exercised--every day, I loved to see my sweat drip to the floor and my face colored bright red.

I've been in the same place, she said. I had known that positively for a year. I suspected the day we met, but time passed and my dear friend said too many things that I could identify with myself. And, I had this vision that we would not just "be in the same boat," but we would row it to safety together. But she never suspected me. She felt alone. Her parents didn't know. I listened to her story then. Even what she said "she could not tell me," I learned, for I confessed myself. I told her my details, and she responded by giving hers--the same ones but to a larger extent. She volunteered her own information after that. I well understood.

My friend told me how happy she was that somebody noticed. We talked about depression, about how I knew, about how we easily compare ourselves to thinner girls, and how we did or still do value routine. I listened with "compassionate neutrality," and when I felt pain from her words, I remembered how I felt 6 months ago but continued with the eye contact and listening. Today, I am recovered, but part of me still carries that obsession with my weight. My friend and I can help ourselves by fighting together. Time heals things, and I'm not about to control or manipulate her--I spoke of choice, of acceptance of one's self in order to make one's mark on the world. I spoke of her beauty and how she could free herself to see that in her reflection. Choice.

We agreed to meet every other week.

--To, I believe, fill our friendship with the truth and wholeness that it lacked before.

TangibleDragon TangibleDragon
18-21, F
Jan 15, 2013