Sunday, February 25, 2018

Not Eating 1997

 As a lonely child I ate for comfort, usually while reading a book, devouring entire bags of potato chips and many many candy bars.  Then, as a young woman, on my own, I found myself seeking out food when I was distressed or upset, which, it seemed, was most of the time.  In the mid to late sixties, there was no information about eating disorders.  I just knew that I was eating too much, always sweet or salty foods, and that I was gaining weight.  I couldn't control it, and it caused me terrible distress. I told no one about it.

Years passed, and I learned not to use food to avoid my problems, instead, dealing with those problems directly. In 1997 I did this painting.  At the opening of the exhibit that included it I noticed a young woman standing in front of the painting, rocking from side to side, clearly distressed.  My memory is that she was very thin, slight and probably in her mid twenties.  I asked her if I could help her, and she turned to me, and said, in a very angry voice, "Why did you do this?  Why?  And what does the red mean anyway?"*.  I don't remember how I replied, only that later I found out that she was from a very wealthy family in Canada and came to live at a resort in Tucson every winter, which is where the exhibit was.  She was, of course,  struggling with her own overwhelming and destructive eating disorder. I wished I could have helped her in some way, but, of course, I never saw her again.

*The red path refers to the cessation of periods in women with eating disorders

2 comments:

  1. Wonderful painting and the story behind it is very meaningful to me. My ex also had an eating disorder.

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  2. Powerful and meaningful. I think we al relate on some level.

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