The movie is out. Opinions are flying, and showing up in my inbox from every possible source. Here’s my response to the people who have asked what I think:
I’m not watching it.
Do I want to watch it? Yes, for all the reasons that half the world has been counting down the days ‘till July 14th like it was Christmas, their birthday, and a Caribbean vacation rolled into one.
So why not? This decision goes down to one of the deepest parts of how I recovered, and how I’ve stayed that way.
It works like this: How far would I go to be free? And how far will I go to stay free?
Would I do something radical to ensure my freedom?
So I asked myself, "Am I willing to risk my Freedom for a movie?" And I’m not.
Will I watch it one day? Maybe. But I want to choose that on my terms, not because Netflix set the date for me. I want the chaos to die down a bit so what I watch doesn't get drawn out for days.
In recovery, I had a fully recovered friend and mentor who often asked me how far I was willing to go to be free. It didn’t really make sense the first time she asked me, but slowly, I started to realize that “low risk” things still sometimes ended up being dangerous in unforeseen ways. I realized that truly being free meant letting go of the magic weight range in my brain. Meant letting go of some friends from treatment because I wanted no part of the life where I still identified as an anorexic or bulimic. Meant getting rid of scrapbooks I’d made, books and DVDs I’d bought, even eventually my large collection of tutus and pointe shoes.
Was it easy? Hell no. But do I miss a single one of those things now? No.
I’m seeing a lot of people who watched the movie, confident that there was almost zero risk, get hit with a lot more than they were expecting. I certainly don’t want to give the impression that I never did something that unfolded exactly that way.
I chose plenty of things during my first year or two of recovery that I knew other people would consider risky, but that I was confident I could handle, and more often than not, I paid dearly for them. It was through those experiences that I learned that my eating disorder would do anything to get me back, and that I began to value those risky things less and less. But I had to fall first.
Is watching “To The Bone” risky for me? Not really. I can’t imagine anything that could possibly be in the movie that would make me give any part of my eating disorder behaviors even a thought.
But for me, any risk at all is too much risk. That’s my secret to full recovery.