Way Too Skinny

Dear NoteBrooke,

As a person who talks more openly than she arguably should about deeply rooted issues that are generally best reserved for flannel pajamas, a bucket of ice cream, and the company of one’s mother on a particularly pathetic Saturday evening (in the unlikely event that you haven’t been keeping up with NoteBrooke – WHICH I KNOW YOU HAVE BECAUSE THIS SHIT IS RIVETING — I’ll provide you with the abbreviated version here: I’ve never met my real father, I’ve experienced debilitating anxiety attacks since around the time that I was conceived, I have a generalized fear of abandonment that’s on par with the sensation that most people experience when they think for too long about harrowing forms of death, I once cancelled a grand scale wedding at the Plaza eight months prior to its actual date,

I’ve had five different all-consuming careers within a span of seven years, none of which ultimately fulfilled me save for my time as an investigative reporter, I’m moderately medicated, etc.), I am continuously dumbfounded by the fact that certain people — including former friends and perfect strangers alike — insist that I’m inevitably struggling with an eating disorder.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not one of those giggly supermodel types who chooses to answer weight related questions with responses like, “Well, I usually just inhale a bucket of KFC before bed, replete with complimentary buttermilk biscuits, followed by meatball pizza, ice cream, and Sour Patch kids, and then, you know, call it a night,” (throws hands up, shrugs shoulders, as if to suggest, you-don’t-say-I’m-just-the-ultimate-genetic-wonder) —  arising the next morning baring an uncanny resemblance to Kate Bosworth.  Now that would be an absurdity and a falsehood because despite the fact that my Grandfather most closely resembles Gumby, with long, lanky limbs and wide set eyes, and that I have a lineage of strongly ingratiated Eastern European roots and a medical history of hyperthyroidism on my mother’s side, to boot, there’s no ‘magic’ that I’ve discovered when it comes to maintaining my weight.

I simply eat in moderation — nothing more, nothing less.

While I never starve myself, I don’t overindulge on a day-to-day basis either. If I have a huge lunch (which I often do because I live in New York City and WHO THE HECK AM I to say no to a thin crust focaccia at Amaranth), I’ll skip dessert and then try to eat a relatively healthy dinner that evening. Yes, I have a preliminary understanding of what my caloric intake should be if I want to stay at or around my current weight, and I try to use that knowledge as a benchmark for maintaining a body type that I feel comfortable with. While some people automatically assert that such awareness is tantamount to the obsessive-compulsive nature of a raging eating disorder, I perceive it as possessing a generalized understanding of my own body and the way that it works. If I’m especially stressed or if I’ve encountered an emotionally draining situation, I lose my appetite, and as such, I tend to drop a few pounds by default, which I then gain back when the difficulty passes. I’ve been to the gym twice in two years. I’m deficient in multiple vitamins and I don’t drink nearly enough water.  In short, I’m a work in progress.

At the outset of the summer, I put up an instagram post (@brookecarriehil) asking my community of followers what they wanted me to write about. The overwhelming majority of responses had to do with my diet and exercise routine, but truthfully, I don’t feel equipped to dispense read worthy advice in that department because like I said, the only thing I’ve ever done to maintain my weight is to eat in moderation.

But I do have some body mentors – women who make time to nurture their bodies by going to the gym on a consistent basis and who maintain a diet that’s rich in all of the right vitamins. Erica, one of my closest friends, who is a successful model and a health guru, is probably chief among this group of goddesses when it comes to strength training and looking great.  She eats well, boxes, does yoga, rides horses, and runs.  The ladies who I’m referring to here have swoon worthy physiques that are noticeably strong, fit and healthy, and that they’ve earned through a great deal of hard work.  While I’m completely open to the idea of devoting myself to such an admirable, health based regimen in the future, candidly, I just haven’t done it yet. When I do take that initiative, I’ll write about it zealously and earnestly, telling each of you about the vitamin rich foods that I’m consuming and how good (and bad — because… let’s be real) it feels to breathe in cool, crisp air while racing down the FDR.

But as of now, I’m just not one of those women — which again, doesn’t automatically mean that I starve myself either to stay thin.

And, strangely, I’ve received more than a few comments about my physical experience being “painful to look at.”

“Toooo skinny!!!   OMG, is she dying? I feel bad for her!” one commentator quipped.

“The worst body ever!” another person immediately chimed in.


What are we doing to each other?

I’m generally unfazed by this kind of dialogue. As previously mentioned, I’ve written about a repertoire of intensely personal issues that are at times extremely painful for me to grapple with, but thankfully, this just isn’t one of them. Still, I find it endlessly troubling that as a society, we tend to throw around comments about anorexia and bulimia as though they’re self induced absurdities — vain little trivialties which can, after all, be rectified by the simple consumption of a cheeseburger.

The only solution that I have to this epidemic is to own my truth, but I’m hoping that you’ll leave some better suggestions below so that we can get a meaningful dialogue going on here because as women – I know that we can do so much better than this.


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