With our #MyAfter portrait series, Body Boop is completely shaking up your perceptions about what having an eating disorder looks like, and what being recovered from an eating disorder looks like.
- You do not have to be skinny to have an eating disorder.
- You do not have to be bigger than you were previously to be recovered from an eating disorder.
- Your life experience does not have to include in-patient or out-patient experience to have had an eating disorder.
- A formal diagnosis is not required to validate your eating disorder experience.
- If you are from a marginalized community including but not limited to LGBTQ, different ethnicities and cultures, and men, your eating disorder experience is true and valid.
- If you are a white college-age woman, what everyone expects of an eating disorder, it is not just for attention or vanity. Your eating disorder experience is also true and valid.
If you say you have had an eating disorder or that you are recovered from an eating disorder, we hear you, we see you, and we believe you.
We are no longer interested in “before” pictures from when people were sick! Let’s see where you are NOW, healthy and in love with life. And even if you’re not there yet, you’re on your way.
The next person we chose to feature is Nicole Javorsky, a college student and the founder of Cubs for Coping, a nonprofit that provides handmade teddy bears for people in eating disorder treatment programs, hospitals and homeless shelters.
Nicole contacted Body Boop two years ago so that we could support each other in our efforts for eating disorder recovery. I continue to be impressed with her determination is her own personal recovery, and with her strong will and desire to help others.
It doesn’t matter what I looked like before because my struggle with anorexia does not define me. In fact, it never did despite what I believed. In recovery, I can be a better friend, a healthy student and a passionate CEO for a cause I care about.
Being in recovery means that my past can inform my choices instead of define who I am. Life is messy and, for me, my recovery means embracing that there are in-betweens, overlaps, things that can’t be categorized. Just like there are no “good” or “bad” foods, I don’t need to be defined in terms of “good” or “bad” either. Everything is messy, everyone is messy and I can enjoy the messiness, and join in it, too.
I love this photo because her expression of sheer joy shows a STRONG individual who has said goodbye to her days of suffering and false control. She is ready for all of the ups and downs that life and recovery brings her, and she is enjoying life!
If you would like to learn more about Cubs for Coping, click here. Nicole’s organization has donated more than 500 handmade teddy bears to children and teens experiencing hospitalization, homelessness, or eating disorders. They could use your support!
Please share on social with the hashtags #MyAfter #edrecovery! Are you a photographer or recovered individual interested in participating in the next installment of #MyAfter? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.