“Anorexia starved my mind, but I’ll always remember the darkness.” –Emily Wierenga
Darkness blocks imperfection.
Darkness allows us to be invisible.
There is something about darkness that can draw us in, wooing us with its inky, murky being. Darkness, when dark enough, becomes an entity of itself. Rather than seeing it as an absence of light, it can become a presence of evil.
I have wandered into the semi-darkness of an eating disorder, into the complicated and tempting world of calories and control, of pride and perfection, of hiding.
I have walked with others, holding their hands and hearts and leading them toward the light. I have helplessly stood by as the darkness grew strong arms and hands, clawing at the hearts and souls of those who wandered even deeper into its power.
I have looked at toothpick arms and legs, folded up underneath themselves to be as small as possible, with hollowed eyes that stared back at me, empty; mouths that spoke “healing and health” but a body the betrayed the truth.
Eating Disorders are more than just an illness or a phase or a “problem.” Eating Disorders aren’t diets gone wrong or mothers gone bad or teenagers gone crazy. They are one of the most insidious forces of evil assaulting so many sensitive souls today. And chances are, someone you love is dancing near the darkness.
Or perhaps you are.
My friend Emily Wierenga has just released a book called Chasing Silhouettes. Something about Emily’s spirit just draws me to her. She is sensitive and strong because she has walked through the darkness–no, she’s lived in it, she’s hidden in it, and she’s found her way to the light. And because she’s journeyed through those darkest of places, I believe God is using her as a wise sherpa, a traveling companion for others who have visited the darkest places of an eating disorder. I cannot recommend her more to you. Please, if someone you love–or you–are wandering into the confines of anorexia, bulimia, binge eating or any other difficult relationship with food–pick up her book. You can also find her blogging about embracing the imperfect at her blog, Imperfect Prose; or on Twitter and Facebook.
Here’s a few other quotes from the book:
“At night, I dreamt of food. Mum would find me, hunting for imaginary chocolates in my bed. I wanted her to hug me and make the fear go away, but was worried that if she did, my guard would be let down and I’d eat real chocolates. So I stopped hugging her for two years.”
“It was not intended to be an eating disorder. The anorexia started innocently enough, as it does for many. For me, a beauty-seeker, it began with wanting to be found adorable and lovely. Yet as the illness worsened, it turned into an attempt to control my immediate surroundings in an otherwise haphazard world. ”
“Some days are easier than others. Some days I catch the enemy speaking lies into my ear, lies about self-worth and body image, but I refuse to believe them. Having learned what his voice sounds like—the slithering, deceptive hiss of a snake—I drown it out with Scripture, letting God’s holy, healing word mend the parts of me still broken, asking Him to give me the strength to focus on others, not myself.”