Monday, March 12, 2012

Will Miss #426 - perspective on thinness

I'm going to let you in on two secrets. First, this is a personal blog. The presentation may obscure that fact, but it is about me, my experiences, and my feelings as much as it is about Japan. Second, I have had an eating disorder for most of my life. Part of that disorder is the distorted notion that having the right body (i.e., a thin one) will cure all of life's problems. If you are thin enough, you will be beautiful, loved, healthy, and have success. In my home culture, in which many people are overweight, this message is served up early and often. Living in Japan has helped correct this distorted thinking. Almost everyone is thin, but many people are ugly, lonely, sick, and unsuccessful. Yes, even thin people get Type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, etc. I see it often here. There isn't an expansive and incessant cultural message here that thinness is a panacea for your woes (or that fatness is the root of all of them), and personal experience with people who are thin yet still have problems has been a powerful experience for a person with my history.

I'll miss living in a culture which doesn't view attaining a particular body image as the end-all and be-all of answers to life's problems and being around people who have problems despite being thin.