Scorning The Shame

Today the first copy of ‘A New Name’ plopped through the door.   As they say in Belfast, ‘scary dinners’, (which, given that it’s the memoir of an anorexic, is appropriate).

As the book ‘comes out’, there’s a sense in which I’m also emerging.  Not as a debutante, sparkly and poised, but tumbling from the closet… blinking, nervous and pretty grimy too.

Against my natural instincts, I’ve started being honest about who I am.  As someone who’s used to hiding in the dark, it’s been quite a turnaround. So why did I do it? Why fix my name to something so ugly?

I wrote the book for different reasons.  To help me make sense of the world. To encourage and to be encouraged. To testify to Christ’s love and power. To remind myself of where I’ve come from, so that, by his grace, I never go back.

I hate anorexia, and I don’t want to be associated with it. But more than this, I hate its secrecy and its lies. As I write and speak about it, I’m fighting it as best I can. I’m trying to expose it, as it tried to shame me.

My temptation is to cover up and act strong. But more and more, I’m seeing that real power lies in vulnerability and openness. The grace of Jesus gives me the strength to be weak. He gives me permission to speak as someone who struggles, not someone who pretends.  As we speak with honesty about our darkest battles, that’s when the shame begins to recede. There’s hope in the messiness, not just when it’s cleaned up.


8 thoughts on “Scorning The Shame

  1. Hi Emma, so greatly encouraged by your honesty and your vulnerability. Keep writing.. Ordered TWO copies of your book as I can think of two young girls it could help at church. (I plan to read first!) Laura xx

  2. Emma, thank you for your strength to write this book and your log. I have just spent several minutes checking this out and will be back many many more times. I am the father of a 15 year old young lady that was clinically diagnosed anorexic at 13. Se is doing much better and has finally gotten to a clinically acceptable BMI. Her self esteem is finally coming back and her outlook on life is getting better and better everyday. Again thank you for your courage. Keep pressing on and Livestrong!

  3. Thanks Terence – and I’m so glad to hear that your daughter is doing better. Have you read ‘Telling Secrets’ by Frederick Beuchner? His daughter suffered from anorexia and he writes about it very movingly and with great wisdom.

  4. “I wrote the book for different reasons. To help me make sense of the world. To encourage and to be encouraged. To testify to Christ’s love and power. To remind myself of where I’ve come from, so that, by his grace, I never go back.”

    Thank you for writing. And thank you for reminding me why I write. It’s good to have running partners sometimes.

    Cheering you on – and ordering your book. Much love :-)

  5. Your book arrived to me by post this morning. I already read around 60 pages. I believe your story is inspiring not only for people who struggle with anorexia, but for people who have similar questions about life in their hearts, honour honesty and a genuine heart. I know your book will bless many people, helping them to face their demons and giving them the courage to look in the mirror and accept what they will see there. God bless you and keep you strong.

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