According to the popular story, Lady Godiva took pity on the people of Coventry, who were suffering grievously under her husband’s oppressive taxation. Lady Godiva appealed again and again to her husband, who obstinately refused to remit the tolls. At last, weary of her entreaties, he said he would grant her request if she would strip naked and ride through the streets of the town. Lady Godiva took him at his word and, after issuing a proclamation that all persons should stay indoors and shut their windows, she rode through the town, clothed only in her long hair.
Lady Godiva had stood up for people less fortunate than her and bared all in the hope that they might find some relief of their suffering.
I had just caught a glimpse of the chicken breast out of the corner of my eye as it hurtled towards me at what seemed like a gazillion miles an hour. I was able to move oh so slightly in my best Ninja style so that it just missed me and splattered against the wall behind me. (Picture the scene from The Matrix when Keanu Reeves is dodging the bullets in slow ‘mo)
“I’M NOT FUCKING EATING IT! ARE YOU FUCKING DEAF? I AM NOT EATING ANYTHING!!”
My daughter was screaming at the top of her lungs, throwing her dinner at both my husband and myself.
In as calm a voice as I could muster I said:
“We love you and we care about you more than anything in the world. This isn’t up for negotiation. We are all going to sit at the table until you have eaten everything.”
With that she picked up her plate and overturned the contents on to the floor, put her head in her hands and began sobbing. My husband got up for the third time that evening and prepared a fresh meal to put in front of her. I could feel the blood rushing to my cheeks. I had to keep calm. Meals at our house could literally go on for hours, with all three of us remaining at the table until she finally cleared her plate.
This wasn’t the first time that anorexia had paid a visit to our home. A close friend of my daughter had begun to lose weight at a frightening pace and had begun an out patient program at the local hospital. She came by the house to visit, as she often did, and it was shocking to see this beautiful athletic girl deteriorating before us. Her eyes where sunken, her clothes hung off scrawny frame. Her hair was brittle.
She was slowly dying.
Eventually, she was admitted to the hospital where she spent more than two months. My daughter was her true friend and champion during this hellish time. She had made herself familiar with the disease, reading online about the very real dangers of anorexia. She was practically an expert, and so were my husband I as we listened to her speak of the challenges her friend faced in getting healthy again.
As a result, we were well aware of the danger when when we started to notice small changes in our daughters eating habits. It started slowly, with slightly smaller portions. Snacks then became non existent. She started to exercise. She would read food labels relentlessly. My husband and I were absolutely terrified, and thus began a journey of many months that I would not wish on anyone.
It was an all encompassing hell.
Nothing can prepare you for the fear that comes with having a loved one that is battling an eating disorder. It is the first thing that you think about when you wake up, and it is the last thing that you think about when you lay your reeling head upon your pillow at night for what is sure to be a restless sleep. Without a doubt, it was the most difficult thing I have ever had to experience in my life.
I can only imagine what it was like for my daughter.
After many nights of dodging plates of food that were hurled my way, and after all of the tears and the hurt and the pain and the hugs, my sweet gorgeous daughter is OK. We may have been battered and scarred, but we all came out the other side intact. Through facing the monster that is anorexia together, we have become well aware of the pain, fear and despair that accompanies an eating disorder.
And this my friends is the reason I am posing naked. On a horse, like Lady Godiva.
An amazing, brave group of bloggers have come together to bare all in a calender in order to raise money and awareness for the National Eating Disorders Association. I am thrilled to be participating along with Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess), Tanis Miller (Attack of The Redneck Mommy), Mary McCarthy (Pajamas and Coffee) and many more.