This is going to cause a lot of controversy…
i don't know how many of you readers are religious. i have to say, i'm atheist. we'll get into that perhaps at another time, but just making the point, i'm not a believer in deities.
but have any of you noticed, sometimes we treat our eating disordered lifestyles like religions, and that omnipresent Ana (or Mia, for some of you) like a god?
religion is defined as "a set of strongly-held beliefs, values, and attitudes that somebody lives by." and isn't that exactly what ana is? in the pro-ana community we have our shared beliefs, values and attitudes that we all live by, devoutly.
if you think about it, we have religious texts (a lot of people call the book "Stick Figure" the "Ana-Bible"). we have "hymns" (see my sidebar, "Ana's Playlist"). we may not go to a church every sunday, but don't we sure as hell pray sometimes, "ana, give me strength..."? i know i have. lately, the term ana for me has become more and more personified. i know she isn't a real person, and i am not that schizophrenic (once again, a topic for later discussion), but i almost feel that when i am fasting, there is ana watching, and i must prove to her that i am strong, that i can make it, that i am deserving to be thin. when i found out the a few months ago that i'd lost 6.5 lbs during my intense 5-day fast, i honestly whispered, "thank you, ana" without even thinking about it. an automatic reaction. as if my weight loss were a blessing from the ana deity.
i know there is a commandment in the bible saying you must not worship other gods. i'm not asking you all to sin, i'm simply telling you my opinion, and what has worked for me. normally, i make it three or four days on a fast and quit. because i was fasting only for myself, and half the time i'm too lacking in the self-confidence department to feel that i deserve to be thin. a day or two into my fast, i made the connection, and i made it five. whole. days. i had never fasted that long before. i'd tried, and i'd failed. this time, i'd succeeded.
some people define ana as a disease, and some as a lifestyle. a disease means that it controls you. a lifestyle means that it is just the casual norm for you, a choice. but think about it: if you see ana as a religion, how much more determined would you be to be devout to your fasting, to your diet plans, exercising, restrictions? how much stronger would you be if you saw Ana as a sort-of person, as more real, and by staying true to her path you are being faithful to her?
stay strong, think thin, live ana