TRIGGER WARNING: The following content mentions eating disorder symptoms and may be triggering for some individuals - please read with caution.
My husband and I were in our mid 30s when our first daughter was born. Although we were elated to become parents, we were also shocked into broad sweeping life changes. We both had successful careers, a vibrant social life, a variety of athletic activities that we enjoyed together and individually, and practically no limitations on our time. Now, as parents, our hearts and lives were changed forever.
The link between the ballet world and eating disorders is fairly well known— articles about problematic and harmful practices are in abundance. Several clients have told me how ballet directly contributed the onset of their ED (be it due to body image issues, themes of perfectionism, weight/shape bias in the professional sphere, and so on). Suffice to say, for some folks living with an eating disorder, ballet has painful and/or harmful association. This got me thinking: what can we, as folks in the “eating disorder world”, do to facilitate re-claiming ballet?
How many tools do you use to cope? I don’t know about you but I use many. Depending on the situation I may journal, call a friend or support, distract, confront; I take walks climb trees, draw, color, and play games. However I would say the thing that has been the most help to me is writing.
I used to feel betrayed by my body, like she was constantly trying to undermine every effort I made to change her. I always thought that if my body loved me, and was working for me, then why wouldn't she do what I wanted her to do? Why didn't she look the way I wanted her to look? I was never taught that she was on my side.
In a world where there is so much comparing, judging, and analyzing of what we eat, what we wear, and how much we weigh, I think many of us could take a page out of this woman’s book. Self-acceptance is a gift, and not one easily given or received. No matter where we are with our relationship with food and weight, a little self-love (and some sparkly shoes) could go a long way!