She was your typical Barbie doll; she had long blonde hair that flowed past her shoulders, deep blue eyes the color of the sky on a sunny, cloudless day and a figure that most girls could only dream of. She had the perfect family- one brother, one sister, a father and a mother. She lived in the largest house in town and attended the best school in the state. Her friends all came from families just like hers that lived in houses like hers. From the outside, she seemed to have the perfect life. And she did. She did have the perfect life. But there was one thing wrong, one tiny flaw in her otherwise flawless life. She suffered from a disease that affects .5 to1 percent of young women in America. She suffered from anorexia nervosa.
It was not something that was immediately evident. For those who didn't know her very well, it would seem she was just any other healthy young girl. She didn't dress in clothes that would bring attention to her body shoulders and elbows. No, she thought they were much too fat to flaunt in public. She didn't walk in the typical way that those who suffer from anorexia nervosa tend to walk. She seemed confident and happy. She always had a smile on her face, like there was something about the world that she couldn't help but laugh about. For those who didn't know her, she seemed to be one of those simpler people, one whose problems could be easily identified and solved quickly.
Of course, from an outsider's prospective, most problems are pretty easy to solve. At first. You will see a woman whose husband is cheating on her, and it seems pretty obvious that she should leave him and go for someone who will devote his whole heart to her, not some demented fragment. The reason it is so easy for you to solve is because for you, there are no feelings attached to the dilemma.
You do not know the whole history of the situation. You don't know that she has been friends with him since they were two. You do not know that when she was four, and she broke her arm on the monkey bars, he carried her all the way back home, even though she was bigger than he was. You do not know that when they went to school together, they were inseparable. You do not know that when her date didn't show up for the high school prom, he was there to take her. You do not know that for five years, he waited for her. Through countless other men, he waited. You do not know that he proposed to her, he gave her a ring that he spent months in Paris looking for. You do not know that when he married her in a private ceremony barefoot in the forest, he had been saving himself for her. You do not know that when she had her child he cried. You do not know that when she got cancer a year later, he stood by her side through the chemotherapy, while taking care of their child. You do not know that when she cheated on him shortly after her chemotherapy was over, he still loved her. All you know is that he cheated on her, which, by the way, happened during the time that she was cheating on him—with the fourth man during her marriage.
Like I said, decisions are a lot easier to make when there are no emotions attached. Shelley's case was no exception. She was born into the richest family in town. She was born with diabetes. She was born14 lbs, six oz. She was immediately placed in the care of various nannies and personal chefs. They would call her The Princess, for what privilege did a princess have that Shelley did not? At the age of five, Shelley's parents began to see that Shelley was not like the other little girls. She was very chubby and had virtually no social etiquette. So, they did what any other upper-class, respectable family would do. They sent her to boarding school in Europe, where her schooling and eating habits would be monitored by the teachers.
When she arrived at the boarding school, the teachers agreed with Shelley's parents; this little girl was fat. She was put on a diet different from the other girls. She was allowed one sandwich per day, one fruit per day, one vegetable, and one beverage.
If she was a bad girl, she would receive only a half portion of the food mentioned.
Within a year, she was one of the thinnest girls on campus, one of the smartest, one of the most polite, and one of the most miserable. Her parents sent for her to come back to America, to live with them in their perfect family. She began school in a public but posh school, and within months, the weight was starting to come back. Shelley was terrified. What was she to do if her parents sent her back to Europe? She couldn't stand the thought. She began to cut back on food, slowly. Little by little, she took out anything of any nutritional value from her diet. She soon became the beautiful young girl she once was. However, the depression returned. She became hollow and lifeless.