National Eating Disorders Awareness Week will take place from February 26-March 4. Learn more at the to the NEDA website.
I'm eight years old and in the third grade at School #2 in Linden, New Jersey. I’m waiting in line with the rest of my class. We’re all being checked for signs of scoliosis. And we all have to step on the scale.
I can’t remember I if dreaded getting on the scale. But after the heavy thunk of the big weight, and the tinny back and forth of the smaller one, I heard a number. Eighty-nine. I weighed eighty-nine pounds. And somehow, I knew that eighty-nine pounds was a terrible weight to be.
In retrospect, that “somehow” isn’t so hard to trace. It’s a messy confection of family, hunger, love, food, power, unrealistic cultural standards of beauty, and how annoyed I felt when I started to grow breasts, because they got in the way when I played soccer. (That was a bit later. And I’ve reconciled with my breasts and now I like them.)
Knowing that I weighed eighty-nine pounds didn’t stop me from playing hard, from running up and down the soccer field in 100 degree heat. Usually, my body wasn't something I thought about; it was something that did things. It moved. I rode my bike as far as my parents would let me (sometimes, a little farther). I went rollerskating up and down the biggest hills in my neighborhood.
As I grew older, I didn’t stop moving my body. But I did start thinking about it a lot more. And not in a nice way. I hated my body. I hated how my clothes fit, or didn’t fit. I started to diet, and went to Weight Watchers a few times. I lost weight. I gained weight. I was not at all unusual.
My sophomore year in high school, I auditioned for the school musical, and as an enthusiastic chorus member, I started to hang out with the “theatre group." I knew that other girls made themselves throw up, because sometimes there were two or three of them together in the bathroom closest to the auditorium. I’m sure it wasn’t just a theater thing, or just a girls’ thing.
Super Shitty Art is extremely similar to my 80% Manifesto, but so much more fun to say. Check out my friend/hero Eri's Instagram feed, supershittyart, to experience the drawings that started a world-wide wide movement. Well, a Durham movement, that's sure to break out soon. My attempts to comprehend/explore my relatively new passion, astrophysics, through super shitty paintings, were featured in the Mercury Studio Instagram feed. I'm so proud. And so grateful to be a part of a community of such an amazing group of people. Best-coworking space, ever.
Dawn Dreyer + special guests
Project Updates, Musings, Manifestos, Queries + Conversations
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
— Leonard Cohen
Thank you, Carolina Partners, for supporting CRACKED [the blog] and Bipolar Girl Rules the World.
For over two decades, Dawn Dreyer has worked as a writer, mixed-media documentary maker, and teacher. Since 2005, Dawn has been an outspoken advocate for herself and others with the lived experience of mental illness. Her current project is the animated documentary Bipolar Girl Rules the World.