Strong caution for discussion of disordered eating patterns, body image, and gender dysphoria.
I’ve been sitting on this post for a while, trying to figure out how best to approach it. It’s been difficult because our weather has been very unstable and it messes with my fibromyalgia and leads to brain fog.
Anyway, it recently occurred to me that my recently embraced gender identity might have something to do with my eating disorder. I came out to my friends (the ones who didn’t know already!) and family as genderfluid (feminine pronouns — she, her, hers, etc — masculine honorifics — brother, son, etc — and refer to me as “person” rather than man/woman/lady/girl please!) a day before my birthday (April 10th) after doing a lot of soul searching and having finally picked out a name that suits who I am better. The initial reactions from my father and younger sister were great; very supportive and affirming. But as time’s gone on, they’ve become less supportive. My dad even told me that he’ll always use my old name and said some pretty insulting things when I told him that B (my fiance) knows and is supportive (“who’s on top?”). It triggered a mini relapse with my eating disorder. I hadn’t considered the connection seriously until I read “Please Don’t Call Me Ma’am” on Disrupting Dinner Parties (which is a great blog and you all should check it out!), which I had done before I came out but only just got around to fully analyzing.
This part really hit home and spoke to me:
I would’ve considered skipping breakfast, hoping to starve away the traitorous curves that evil motherfucker, estrogen, stuck me with.
It’s like a part of me I’d never fully listened to woke up when I read the words that Logan (who prefers feminine pronouns and masculine honorifics!) wrote. There were several times that I was literally pointing at my screen and shouting “this is me!”
Over the last couple months, I’ve had to take a hard look at myself and what it means to be me and it made me realize that a part of the reason I struggle with food is because of my gender-differentness. When I was really sick and super thin it was easier to be androgynous like I’ve likely subconsciously leaned toward for many years. It was easier to present however I felt like presenting at the time; I didn’t have much in the way of breasts or hips to contend with, my waist curve was barely existent. In fact, when I was thinner and had short hair several years ago, B’s coworkers thought I was a guy, which filled me with a thrill I didn’t understand at the time. My cis-gender friends were insulted for me when I told them but being “mistaken” for the “wrong” gender made me giddy.
So, it’s an interesting realization. Hopefully my self-acceptance will help me on my road to eating disorder recovery!