Eating Disorders Awareness Week (EDAW for short) in Canada, the USA and the UK is usually celebrated sometime in February.
And in Canada, apparently, the appropriate color to wear is purple, although I have no idea why. Was everything else taken? Or is there some significance between eating disorders and purple, or awareness and purple? (I instantly think of purple or violet as a spiritual color, based on certain readings about chakras, or more commonly, as a color worn by royalty.)
While I’m happy to wear purple during EDAW, I can think of a more representative color scheme for eating disorder awareness.
Here’s my idea. Gray. And here’s why. Being a food addict, compulsive eater/overeater most of my life (and thankfully now in recovery), I know that I used to think in black and white absolutes. This food was good or bad. I saw myself as good or bad (mostly bad, in my binge eating heydays). I expected life to be simple, and for things to fall into easy black or white categories. And it isn’t; and they didn’t.
Over time, I learned that there are a lot of gray areas. Things change, are fluid, flexible. And I often need to adjust or adapt to the situation as it is, not how I want it to be or wish it was. I need to be kinder and more compassionate in my judgements, towards others and towards myself.
Life is often messy. Things don’t fit into neat little boxes. Or sizes. No one is perfect. Perfection is an ideal – to be aimed for and not necessarily reached, a direction we step toward.
Another thing about gray – it’s how I felt after every binge. After every pound regained. Not blue, or sad. Not angry or red. Not spiritual or regal or purple. But gray. Numb. Nothing. Which is what I was aiming for. Gray oblivion.
Gray is a reminder of how things used to be with binge-eating, and at the same time, how complex most things really are in this world.
Today, as I look out my window, I see a gray sky. Cloud-covered. That, too, reminds me of recovery from an eating disorder. Things may look bleak in the moment, but once those clouds disappear, the sunshine and blue sky are right there, waiting.
And so, while I’d prefer gray, purple has already been chosen. So be it.