Cross-Posted from my entry in The F Word.
I was so busy running around in preparation for Christmas yesterday, that I didn’t even know that actress Brittany Murphy died of “natural causes.” My first reaction is utter shock. For years, tabloids have rumored that the actress has had anorexia, and the fact that she died of a cardiac arrest seems to support such rumors. I don’t know if it is because she’s close to my age or if it is because I love her as a comedic actress. In any case, my mentality—which, even in recovery, still vacillates daily between wanting to be unconcerned with weight and wanting to be not-anorexic-but-just-thin-enough (whatever that means)—has just received a huge dose of reality.
Within a few months of moving back to NYC, I accidentally lost quite a bit of weight, because I went from driving everywhere to walking everywhere. It just happened, really. This triggered my anorexic mindset, which has not been present for years. While I like how I look and don’t ever want to look “sick” again, my mind has become obsessed with the possibilities of losing more. What can I say? It takes years in recovery to recover from the ED mindset… at least for me.
My point in mentioning this, and why I am so shocked by Brittany Murphy’s death, is that the ED can kill you (or me) when one least expects it. You’re eating a little less here, exercising a bit more there, and then, oops, you accidentally kill yourself. Honestly, I didn’t mean to send myself into cardiac arrest… I was just trying to fit into my skinny jeans. Now I know, obviously, that there is so much more behind EDs than trying to look good in clothes. But, a notion as innocent as wanting to try to look good in an outfit or feel more comfortable in your own skin can actually be deadly. While my playing around with food is at a manageable or even “normal” degree, if I let it continue, which will eventually shift my behavior to a status of unhealthy and unmanageable, this could potentially happen to me.
Now, we don’t know the specifics of Brittany Murphy’s “death by natural causes”—the ED rumors have not been medically confirmed. We never received confirmation of an ED on rail-thin Michael Jackson either… but that doesn’t mean he, nor Brittany, didn’t have one. I’m not trying to scapegoat Hollywood, but the ridiculous standards that celebrities have to maintain if they want to continue to gain employment is just that—RIDICULOUS. How many more celebs have to die? When is Hollywood, and society, going to learn that public figures and celebrity role models need to start resembling real people, instead of real people trying to fit into these unrealistic and life-threatening ideals? Now, I know that we all make choices; but, at the end of the day, most people want to feel like they fit somewhere in the world. Hollywood anorexic iconography in the human form just doesn’t help and needs to stop.