*By Lisa Whalen
*Some guest blogs may mention eating disorder behaviors or thoughts. Keep in mind that everyone has a unique road to recovery and that this is one person’s story.
“I didn’t know you had an eating disorder,” a coworker I’ll call Jane said when she learned that I’d written a book about my recovery. “You don’t look like you do. I’ve always thought you look… normal.”
Before I completed treatment at The Emily Program, Jane’s comment would have boomed in my head and created an echo that followed me everywhere. It also would have sent me careening back into the starvation and compulsive exercise that had hijacked my 20s due to my need to be anything but normal. Back then, I’d equated “normal” with “average” and was terrified of being average. Who will love, respect, or want me if I’m just average? I’d wondered. So I’d wanted to be much more than average: I’d wanted to be perfect. Being perfect had included being thin, tiny, and delicate—a butterfly among birds.