A hand lined and spotted with years of living and wisdom slowly reaches out to grab the quart of strawberries from the display in front of me. I move to the side to allow her room as I continue searching for the perfect quart for myself.
“Expensive,” she seems to say to everyone yet no one at the same time, “they were two for four last week and now it’s $3 each.”
I nod, “Yep, seems like the price goes up every time you turn around.”
“I quit smokin’ twenty years ago ‘cause they kept raisin’ the price of my cigarettes, and I just couldn’t ‘ford it any more. If they keep on a raisin’ the price of food, I’m gonna have ta quit eatin’ too” she laughs as she examines another quart of strawberries through her tortoiseshell glasses. I put the quart I had in my hand in my basket, and walk to another area in the store as Ed yells at me to wait up for her.
Was I really mad at an old lady? Looking back. No. I was not. I could never be mad at an innocent old lady. I was simply upset that her perception of a joke was my every day life. It was at that moment that I remembered I am going to face ignorance of eating disorders on a daily basis. I cannot let it add fuel to Ed’s fire, and I cannot use it to tear myself or others down. The ignorance of others is not an excuse to further my eating disorder. Let’s face it. Eating disorders are a very misunderstood disease which baffles most people. Therefore, many people do not have a working knowledge (or any knowledge, really) on what eating disorders are, what it is like to live with one, or how they effect every aspect of an individual’s life. Sometimes that knowledge even eludes me, and I have been dealing with this for over half of my life.
The thing that we have to remind ourselves, though, is that we cannot let ignorance negatively affect our recovery. People are going to say stupid things. It is inevitable; we cannot change the fact that people will say stupid things out of their own ignorance. I am one hundred percent certain that I, myself, say stupid things out of my own ignorance sometimes. However, what we can change is our reaction to that ignorance. Ed would love for us to use the ignorance of other people to further her corruption of our lives and exert her power over our bodies. She would love to use the ignorance of others to convince us to self-destruct. Recovery wants the opposite. Recovery wants us to use the ignorance of others as an opportunity; an opportunity to educate, to reaffirm our beliefs in our strength, to fight the stigma of eating disorders, to stand up to Ed, to do the next right thing, and any other number of healthful thoughts or actions. Recovery wants change. Recovery wants us to love ourselves. Recovery wants life. And I want life too!
“But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His Holy name. May Your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You.”