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


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

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