Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Changing the culture, one heart and mind at a time

Last night a friend told me that since my daughter Kitty's illness, her daughter had become very outspoken on the subject of anorexia. She said that whenever other teenage girls joked about it, she "set them straight"--a commendable act of friendship.

But what really made me want to stand up and cheer was when she told me about the day her daughter--Kitty's friend--came home and headed straight for the refrigerator. Apparently someone had told Kitty's friend she looked like she'd lost some weight. "I can fix that," she said, reaching for the whipped cream.

Here's what blows my mind about that: In a culture where all of us are so conditioned to think that thin is always good (and thinner is always better), it's hard to go against the stream. We parents of anorexics are shoved right up against this cognitive dissonance when we re-feed our ill children. It took the gut-wrenching experience of watching my child nearly starve herself to death to open my eyes and change my reflexive thin=good, fat=bad mentality. But Kitty's friend, who is still in high school, is a much quicker study than I am. She's learned from Kitty's nightmare and is already applying the lesson in her own life.

Her insight and perspective give me hope that although change seems to come slowly, it does come, one heart and mind at a time.

1 comment:

Laura Collins said...

Oh, give that girl a golden fork!

I admire Kitty's friend, and her family for their open hearts and minds.