"The final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands." --Anne Frank*

Last Friday I was a volunteer chaperone for my grandson's 4th grade class--it was a delight, but left little time for blog posting.

On this, the final day of "Weight Stigma Awareness Week," I want to jump forward a bit from the writings of Andrea while in Spain, to a poem written at 18, nine months before her death. 

Please notice that although it ends on a cheery-sounding note, its content sadly illustrates the weight stigma Andrea had internalized (i.e.: She can only be beautiful if her stomach is empty, or she's "in control"--a protruding belly, fear, chaos, anxiety, vulnerability, or shame are not a part of her beauty--no matter what that final stanza says):

Some days I am beautiful    
the days my stomach is empty 
feel the bounce of my thighs
feel the pounce of my eyes
animated, amazing me

 

Some days I am not so beautiful
the days I am small and frightened
awaiting the discovery of my inadequacies
feel the protrusion of my belly
feel the shame in my smile
defensive, vulnerable me

 

Some days I am in control
the days I am powerful and experience joy
feel the breadth of my arms
feel the warmth of my heart
compassionate, organized me

 

Some days I am in chaos
the days I am overwhelmed and anxious
feel the nervous energy of my feet
feel the confusion of my head
frantic, scattered me

 

Some days I just am
the days I cannot even define
feel the vacuum of my mind
feel the ironic humor of my laugh
resilient, surviving me

 

This is only part of me
countless other days left to be described
this life is never dull, join me if you dare
feel the curve of my hips
feel the invitation of my lips
passionate, confusing, wonderful me.

From the book, Andrea's Voice, Silenced by Bulimia (Gürze Books, 2006)

*The Anne Frank quote comes from Andrea’s journal of favorite quotations, which she began collecting, illustrating and recording at the age of thirteen.