EDITOR'S NOTES: Meeting the artist behind the words and images

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I am about to meet the woman behind the words and images - a woman whose world I may never understand.

After reading so many blog posts of Meghan being "always so fucking cold," crying from the pain of her sporadic period and suffering from persistent insomnia, any person without an eating disorder has to ask, why? Why would someone do this to themselves?

She sounds so intelligent in her writing - her style, her syntax, her diction. Then I meet her, and yes she's intelligent. So why would she continue down this path?

I have some understanding that this is a habit and that feeling in control is rewarding. But from the sound of Meghan's blog, she realizes she's not necessarily in control.

When her father passed away, Meghan lost interest in food and then lost weight. The compliments that followed were enticing, and so the weight loss continued until she was 86 pounds.

I know it's not good to mention numbers when discussing eating disorders, but let's face it, that is a scary number.

She managed to hide her secret from her family because she was living on the other side of the country, and she received professional help. Then she became bulimic.

I asked her how this transition happened. In her blog that night, she wrote about our interview and how she struggled with that question:

"But - and I have been trying to think hard about this all day - I don't know why I thought becoming bulimic would be a good choice. Why I didn't just recover from the anorexia, and stay healthy. Why did I switch disorders? I know I used to barter with it, telling myself that even if I purged after a binge, not all the food I consumed would come up so, at least I had SOMETHING to eat that day. However, as I was saying all this out loud to the journalist, I realized how moronic that sounded."

"Actually, a fair number of my answers did just seem rather "stupid." Not because I wasn't being honest or coherent (I don't think anyways...) but because my reasoning for staying stuck in this lifestyle is so...childish. Regardless, I am now on this journey to understand how I went from A to B, and why it's okay to stay active in the disorder...because it's not, and I know that, yet, here I am..."

Near the end of the interview, it was her turn. She asked me why I worked so hard to get her contact information for this story (I was trying for two weeks, but it was simple in the end).

Well, I thought it was an interesting and unique project. It's not every day that you find someone so willing to discuss their eating disorder and put themselves out there in order to raise awareness of such a serious issue.

Secretly, I had one other motive... I wanted to hear how the project impacted her. I had heard about her work, but not how it affected her personally. Even though I didn't know Meghan, I had this fantasy in my mind that the photographs had shocked Meghan out of her eating disorder.

I've had too many (one is too many) friends and family who have suffered from eating disorders and I guess I wanted to hear good news.

I'm glad to hear Meghan plans on receiving professional help, although I understand that there is no guarantee it will be effective in helping her overcome bulimia. Regardless, I view this as a step toward progress, and look forward to hearing more good news in the future.

 

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