Trigger Warning: eating disorder, body-shaming, body image
[Note from the Editors: While we recognize that eating disorders affect people of all genders, we validate this particular work’s emphasis on the female body for the author’s own mission and purposes]
I’m finding it hard to know what to say about “The Secret Life of Eating At Brown,” a project of which I’m very proud, but which I fear I didn’t have time to complete properly before graduating. Now distance separates me from Brown, and time separates me from my struggle with disordered eating, but I can easily recall the desperation of those moments on campus in which I felt helpless and alone. The readings of “The Secret Life…” in April were decently attended, and many women on campus shared with me that they had been touched by the play, but my dream of a world in which people are freed from the exhausting effort of policing their bodies and appetites remains a long way from reality.
An eating disorder is a tiny seed of self-doubt that explodes into a wilderness. It is a complex system of rules and regulations that requires a great deal of energy to maintain. It is a refuge from the world, and where you go to receive your punishment. Given time, it will start eating you.
Eating disorders are entirely preventable if countered with education and healthy community. I think that once women really start talking to one another about food as frankly as they have begun to about sex, we’ll be fighting a downhill battle. I hope that the conversation on campus about eating disorders can continue, because without a doubt, people are still struggling in silence. If this play is of any value in continuing to facilitate that conversation, I invite people to use it how they see fit, or else to seek out even more voices.
I want to offer my gratitude to the people who sent in such brave personal narratives. I hope that this project made someone feel a little bit better.
YOU CAN READ THE ENTIRE SCRIPT HERE.