Denial oil pastel self portrait by “F”
This oil pastel self-portrait was inspired by an introduction to Freda Kahlo, a Mexican artist who lived with daily pain and sorrow. The part of Freda’s story that impressed this patient is the way Freda includes her emotional and psychological self in her portraits. Freda painted more than what she looks like; she regularly shares what’s on her heart and what’s on her mind. This includes chronic physical pain and painful relationship obsessing.
This spot on self-portrait is typical of eating disorder art. Pursed lips, eyes wide shut, floating head, no neck or body and the squirm to escape her own life. I can feel her holding her breath. This is a look at denial. It is also a fantastic picture of restricting. Anorexia is about restricting food. About the power of refusal and passive control. Of living in your head. Of starving the senses/body. It is accompanied by the illusion of control and a deep sense of having a trump secret. It is important to know that restricting food is just one manifestation. There are opportunities to withhold, deny, refuse and disappear all day long. A restrictor can restrict her words, sex, affection, breath, time and money. Eating disorders are not just about food and body image. It is a whole way of thinking. I am reminded to open my eyes, breathe deeply, enjoy my senses and be present for my life.