The following is a piece I wrote after a very different Ellen Show. Portia, her wife, had just come out with her story of being a model and they had done an entire segment on the book and it was very emotional. The following were my thoughts on the entire thing… I have the book and have yet to read it (don’t hurt me Ellen or Portia, I will get to it, just so many books!)
(This was written right after the show, but I waited on posting it, not sure why… but written on November 4, 2010)
I watched Ellen DeGeneres today and it was different than her other shows for her show. She had her wife Portia on who had just written a book about her modeling career that started at 12. She goes on to talk about her extensive body issues and how they created her need to be anorexic and how she talked herself into it being alright. There was a point in which she even walked through her old apartment and showed us where certain things had been and how they had attributed to her disease.
One of the things that really hit me was the fact that while she was talking about certain thigns she did I caught myself thinking, “hmm… yeah that would work.” And while I would never say that I am anorexic or have an eating disorder it was unnerving how my mind was handling that information.
Another thing that was said on the show that really resonated with me was when she was talking about when she was 13 and she had gone into an audition for a modeling shoot and they had asked her to turn around and lower her pants. They needed to see her behind due to what they were shooting and one of the women actually looked at her and said, “You have quite a flabby behind for a girl of your age, do you exercise?” and this just hit hard since we are always being told now that saying something like that to that young of a person is a strict no-no, but not too long ago it was alright to say. I think to when my husband had commented on some of my flabbiness and how I had worked so hard before our wedding to minimize it as much as possible. It had gotten bad enough that while I wasn’t purging or starving myself, I was trying NOT to eat during the day at all.
There was one year when I was much younger in which I had lost a ton of weight between my freshman and sophomore year. My mother had asked if I was eating and she said yes and she had never seen me purge. I had always chalked it up to an awesome timing for a growth spirt but I know there was something else that was going on at that point. I had just broken up with the first guy that I had sex with which meant that he was much more to me than just ANOTHER guy. That summer I had pretty much shut down. Every morning I had eaten three bites of my cereal, drained the milk, and tossed the uneaten cereal in the garbage, sometimes hiding the pieces so if someone ever just looked in they would’t be able to tell. I thought it was just due to me not being hungry but that not being hungry feeling was due to the mental distress I was under and unable to handle and so my body was so wound up that I was unable to eat correctly. I would cry for hours in my room which were practically the best sit-ups I have ever done since they were serious wrenching sobs.
It was also the year in which my mother told me that I should not cry, “unless something important happens such as a funeral”, which at the time I did not understand. I stopped crying by the time school started again and through the year I gained a little weight back due to the food at the high school not being the greatest for you. My mental stress was still there so I was still not eating as much but I wasn’t eating as well as when I was at home. I wasn’t having the sobbing sessions so I wasn’t getting the exercise in that way, but I was a part of the volleyball junior varsity and while I was messing up my social life I was still getting some exercise done.
I have had my own variety of disorders along with a self-esteem issue and I think this also comes from my parents not wishing to invade my space. While they were trying not to invade my space I was going through things in which I really could have used a helpful ear. There was a time in which I asked to talk to my mother about what was going on and I had mainly wanted her to hold me and calm me but instead she sat across from me and waited for me to talk. It was unnerving to try and get her to sit next to me, after all that was the reason I sat on the couch and hadn’t taken the rocking chair myself, but I finally got her to sit down but I think by the end I was more frustrated because it felt like breaking plaster to get her to hold me and to emphasize with me.
That has always made a raw spot for me, but I think it has also shown me things about my mother that I can see in myself. My husband and I were recently talking about how I don’t seem to have a bone for apathy which would also make it understandable why one of my classes I almost failed because they wanted me to apotheosize with a group and I just couldn’t. I tried coping everyone else’s model of their projects but I just could not wrap my head around what he wanted. All I could do was be very scientific and give the facts of what I was seeing was going on with the group. Perhaps this is also why I had thought I would go into science but the numbers, for whatever reason, confused me and I decided against it.
But back to Ellen and Portia. The entire interview was very touching and it brought up good points and while it was different from Ellen’s other” interviews I think it was also more powerful too.
Posted on Orble.com on November 13th, written November 4th