The Blog

Beyond Eating Disorders: What's Below the Surface?

We are all icebergs in one way or another. We often reveal certain things about ourselves to some people and not to others. Sometimes, this is smart. We are creating boundaries to keep us safe.
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I have heard that 90 percent of an iceberg lies below the water. I saw this phenomenon firsthand on a recent boat ride near Juneau, Alaska. Traveling solo, I signed up for the boat ride, in part to think and reflect on the next steps in my life, specifically in regard to my career.

After fully recovering from anorexia/bulimia, I have felt a calling to do more -- to go beyond my work with eating disorders. In true black-and-white form, I used to think that I had to dissect that part of me and start anew. I thought I could either talk and write about eating disorders or not. What I realized clearly on the Alaskan boat ride (specifically after seeing the iceberg below) is that I do not have to do either/or. I can do both. My work with eating disorders is deeply fulfilling, and I don't have to let that go in order to "add to it." I am an iceberg.

So far, you guys have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my writing and speaking. You have seen the part that is above water, which is mostly about food, body image and eating disorders. In branching out, I will be revealing more to you (what's below the surface). For instance, soon I will post that piece about dating. And I actually have a guy to write about now. I know -- gasp! Stay tuned. This process of sharing more is definitely scary for me. So, if you notice that I am not doing what I say here, please bug me about it. I give you full permission to keep me accountable. (Find me anytime on Twitter, Facebook or comment below.)

In writing this, I am realizing that we are all icebergs in one way or another. We often reveal certain things about ourselves to some people and not to others. Sometimes, this is smart. We are creating boundaries to keep us safe. But sometimes, we get stronger and don't actually need old boundaries anymore. This happened with me in my eating disorder (Ed) recovery. Toward the beginning of my recovery, I set strong, necessary boundaries in my life. Ultimately, when I became healthy and more secure in myself, I didn't need such ironclad walls around me anymore. It took a while for me to let my guard down and to let people in on a whole new level, but I finally did it. (See Smashing the Box: Letting people into our lives.)

I have learned that, for me, the most important thing is to be true to myself. Whether I decide to reveal a part of myself or all of me, I must be authentic. You have known the real Jenni for years. Now, you are just going to know more. (When you think about it, the tip of the iceberg may just be a small part of the whole, but it is still 100 percent iceberg. I have always tried to be 100 percent me in my writing, speaking and singing, and I thank you for supporting that.)

I would love to learn more about you, too. If you feel comfortable, please share something about yourself here -- possibly beyond Ed. It can be as simple (or complex) as your favorite color or food, to deeper thoughts on love and happiness. Feel free to share thoughts about what you would be interested in hearing me talk about as well. (What would help you in your current life?) You can share these thoughts on my Facebook page, too. (This new page is becoming a place of positive support and getting to know one another.)

Thanks in advance for your support in my new endeavor.

Wish me luck,


P.S. For information about eating disorders and to read comments regarding this post, visit Eating Disorders Blogs.


Photo by Jenni Schaefer