You know how sometimes mere words can not describe the significance of an experience?
This is where I am at with this book. As I was reading it, I knew that something precious is being shared with me, something that comes from a place that is deeply personal, deeply vulnerable, yet deeply beautiful. Emma’s story, of a life that was almost lost to anorexia, moved me to the point where I had no words. All I wanted to do is find this brave woman and hold her.
Eating disorders is a tricky subject to write on. Writing about eating disorders from a personal perspective is even more trying. How do you share your story without passing on the blame to parents, to friends, to oneself? How do you reveal the secrets you kept hiding for so long without feeling naked and vulnerable?
Emma Scrivener is a brave woman. I have said it before, but it bears repeating.
In A New Name she tells her story. The story of a child growing up in a loving family, of a teenager terrified of school bullies and of the unpredictable changes in her own body, a young woman longing for love and approval, of a woman who overcomes even if she has to fight the same battle every day. Emma shares the story of her taking control over her body and her weight, only to discover that they rapidly took over, threatening to take her life, too.
Anorexia is usually well hidden under a mask of perfection, of fitness, of beauty. All of which I strive for myself: flat stomach, long and lean legs, toned muscles – yes, please! In the face of the growing demands from a woman, I find myself lacking, an easy pray to promising diets, demanding workouts and costly beauty products. I needed someone to tell me – I have been there, I have sacrificed all I had for the sake of perfection and it is not worth it. Thank you for the courage to tell me this, Emma.
A New Name is a sobering read. One that opened my eyes to the reality of thousands of girls who give up their health and ultimately life for the sake of keeping up with airbrushed standards.
It left me wondering – how many girls do I know that are struggling with eating disorders right this moment, without realising it or telling a soul? More so, it left me asking – what can I do about it, if anything?