A Joyful Journey...

Join Doris Smeltzer, critically acclaimed author/educator, as she muses on topics from eating disorders to the mysteries of life. Often "Featured" are select, astute observations made by Andrea during her all too brief 19-year life…it is she who taught us: the joy IS in the journey!

Andrea's words of wisdom

 

Please forgive my lack of postings...it's been a stressful and busy time. Things should improve by mid-December. Wait. That's right before Christmas. Let me reassess: Improvements will come after the New Year!

We celebrated Andrea's birthday this week. She would have turned 34...hard to imagine her at that age--as I've said before, for us she is forever 19. On her birthday, her sister emailed us a photo of the Winnie-the-Pooh (WTP) items our grandchildren crafted for their Aunt. Due to the numerous WTP accoutrements in Andrea's bedroom, they had no doubt as to the theme of their beautiful handmade gifts:

As bday

On Annie's special day, I took time to prep five paper white narcissus bulbs, a remembrance from a dear friend. The pudgy bulbs have now begun their foray into a darkened space to trigger the growth of roots followed by a return to light and eventual production of lovely blossoms.

The practice of "forcing blooms" is not unlike the process of grieving (as well as so many other intense experiences in life): entering a time of darkness followed by powerful growth/transformation and a return to the light of living with (hopefully) beautiful new "blooms" of awareness and understanding. 

I wish that sort of evolutionary growth process held true for our cultural attitudes around weight. The fear-mongering abounds no matter the mounting evidence for the harm done by its “war on obesity.” Two recent "proofs": the need for a rallying of the HAES® troops to prevent the First Lady from making an appearance on the obnoxious “Biggest Loser” program and an article, published on Andrea's birthday, about how soldiers are turning to liposuction to pass the miliary's "fat test"(i.e. a comparison between tape measurements of neck and waist, which somehow determines fitness). A quote from the Associated Press article:

Some service members go on crash diets or use weights to beef up their necks so they're in proportion with a larger waist. [Dr. Michael Pasquale of Aloha Plastic Surgery in Honolulu] said liposuction works for those with the wrong genetics. "I've actually had commanders recommend it to their troops," Pasquale said. "They'll deny that if you ask them. But they know some people are in really good shape and unfortunately are just built wrong."

The article ends with a quote from Marine Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Smith, who has experienced the ramifications of failing the "tape test" firsthand:

There's got to be something better for Marines who are working hard but just born like a tree stump.

These two events make me wonder ...

How much "darkness" will it take for a cultural shift to take place and return us to the light of "doing no harm?"

Our weight-focused cultural attitudes contributed to our daughter not being here to celebrate another year of life. Yet we are the culture. Each of us contribute to and hold its beliefs. We have the power to make a difference by changing our view of health and fitness to a weight neutral one. Referring to self-love and self-care, Andrea once wrote this message in her journal, "It is not easy. Do it anyway." Her words apply in this situation as well.

[Originally posted on the Gürze Books Eating Disorders Blogs]

 

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