Photo by Tom Newby

The pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia cyberworld is like a family. Sisters standing beside sisters, whispering “stay strong,” sharing bracelets, trading secrets. Texting buddies, challenges, comments, twisted poetry reaching warm tendrils deep inside our hearts. We belong. If we could just be sick enough, they would be proud of us. But it’s not a family. It’s more like a cult, choking and drowning its members. “Stay strong” sends girls into hospital beds. Twisted poetry sends girls to suicide. We sucked the life from each other in order to keep our own selves sick. We fueled the darkness in each other in order to snuff out our own last stubborn stains of light.

When I was pro-ana & pro-mia, I encouraged a 12 year old girl to keep starving herself. She was 80 pounds. Recovery was in her grasp, her family was supportive, the hospital was fresh in her memory. But I encouraged her. “Stay strong,” I whispered. I stole from her all I could with my words. “Stay strong.” Nothing can express my guilt, my sorrow. Darling sister, if you read this, know you don’t have to be strong anymore. You don’t have to fight this fight. Recovery is so much sweeter. Bones are just another cage. Abundant life is at your fingertips.

Companionship is healing. Strangers standing up for each other, anonymous screen names leaving a precious word of encouragement, fragile friendships blooming. So let’s continue to create a community of pro-recovery. I’m already so encouraged at the wonderful blogs I’ve discovered here. Let’s continue to email, talk, blog, post, journal, speak just as fervently as we did when we were gripped with the fever of our disorder. Let’s flood each other with light. Let’s use language to split open lies. Let’s leave long, heart-open messages on strangers’ blogs. Let’s reach out until our arms are aching with fullness.

We fought with darkness. Now we will burn with light.

I love you all, my sisters in recovery. Thank you for your journeys, your honesty, your lives. You give me hope. And you give hope to everyone around you.

Rebekah Burcham


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