Monday, January 3, 2011
AMANDA'S STORY: "MY DREAMS WERE THE ONE PLACE WHERE I COULD EAT AS MUCH AS I PLEASED AND NOT GAIN A SINGLE OUNCE..."
"Writer. I'm a writer by profession. A submission should be judged, not only on how meaty it is, but by how well it is phrased, and if it is marketable.
This is what I live with. This is what I've been raised to do. I freelance and am an English major who aspires to become an English professor. What I do doesn't directly put me in the public eye. But I have to "score" my submissions in terms of how effective they are; how much money I (might) make off of them. That is not to say that writing is not fulfilling and that it is not fun. I wouldn't do it if I got no enjoyment out of it. And, at the end of the day, if I do get a rejection letter, I try again. And again. And again. Like any performer, you need thick skin. It isn't easy to write, and it's harder to put your piece, your "baby", in the hands of professionals, who might not always be as skilled as you are, but who have more clout.
If you can find it in yourself to keep submitting, even if it means bypassing professional outlets, you just might be heard. I didn't always have that luxury. I don't tell others that one of the first fictional stories I remember reading concerned the dangers of overeating. Or that the first short story that ever left an impact on me was about how people have no ownership over their bodies in a superficial society.
But I do tell them that I have Crohn's Disease, that I have been living with it since I was seven, that I almost had to experience childhood wearing a colostomy bag, and that I experienced almost ten years of remission, only to experience another flare up at seventeen, suspiciously around the time that I started "dieting". And by "dieting", I mean learning to live on a steady diet of close to nothing.. I couldn't control my fate as a budding writer. I wished I didn't have to write at all. So I preoccupied myself with calories, carbs, and fitness. When I wasn't working out, I was cooking. And when I wasn't cooking, I was sleeping. I would dream that I was sleeping in a bed of chocolate. My dreams were the one place where I could eat as much as I pleased and not gain a single ounce.
The only happiness was in my dreams. My mother, frustrated at my refusal to eat more than 800 calories a day, miss a workout, or take fewer than 20 laxatives at a sitting, took me to an eating disorder clinic. I given the label "EDNOS", and shoved away as though I had become degenerate.
I spared no calorie, and gained every ounce back. I forced myself to love my body. It was either that or the clinic. And the clinic was not an option.
I paid a price for my disordered eating anyway. In January 2010, I had one third of my large intestine removed. Surgeons said that the piece had begun falling apart inside my body.. I had to take a medical leave for my second semester of college. As a result, I will graduate later than most of my peers. I have missed out on most of the hallmarks of a typical adolescence, such as dating, and searching for a job, because that meant I might have to eat ice cream.
I have told this story before, and I usually frame it in a happier tone. I frame it differently here, not for pity or to see if I can make someone cry. I do it to show that eating disorders and exercise addiction have real consequences. If you are suffering or know someone who is suffering from an eating disorder, get help today. Mistreat your body and it may mistreat you."
Link to photo:Joan Crawford in Grand Hotel: http://www.life.com/image/3170022/in-gallery/42822#index/5
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