Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution that you kept?
I don’t remember ever making a New Year’s resolution, so whether I kept one is a moot point. I do remember toying with the idea when I was of an age where NYE was supposed to be The Big Thing, but since my NYEs had all the impact of damp squibs, I tended to go to bed before midnight resolving to think about it in the morning. So the fact that I’m late answering this prompt is all part of a well-established pattern.
Giving things up for Lent, now – that was something else. At an Anglican boarding school where suffering was good for our souls and deprivation during Lent meant Brownie points in heaven, it came highly recommended, presumably as an exercise in moral, mental and emotional discipline for 9-17 year-olds, demonstrating the euphoric purity of sacrifice. What other reason could there be? There wasn’t a lot of scope for down-and-dirty wickedness in an all-girls, all-boarding school in the 1950s, so anything we gave up was pretty footling in the general scheme of things, though deeply significant in an environment where luxury came down to getting a shower before the hot water ran out.
Looking back, though, it does make me wonder whether extolling the virtues of disciplined self-deprivation is good for pubescent girls, particularly when a decent proportion of them are already deeply unhappy. It’s the perfect training for anorexia, when you think about it – but to give them their due, the powers that were back then had never heard of anorexia and didn’t recognise it when they saw it.
The same can’t be said for today’s pro-ana groups, who are toxic pits in the virtual landscape. I can only think that those who run these sites are not really anorexic. Anorexia as a ‘lifestyle choice’ my arse. If you can say that, you haven’t’ been there. Offering tips, tricks, diets, deceptions and competitions (competitions, for God’s sake!) to those poor benighted souls who are truly suffering should be regarded as a criminal offence – GBH? Inciting suicide? – and totally negates any claims that you are providing a sympathetic support group for those who feel deeply alone. Bollocks. You are encouraging them, telling them recovery is a ‘personal choice’. Double bollocks, for a whole lot of reasons you clearly know nothing about – one of them being that your tips and tricks may well kill them stone dead before they have time to choose anything.
Sod the lot of you.
I had no idea that my intention to waffle on about NY resolutions would bring me to this point. (My subconscious is obviously mulling over news of a friend’s granddaughter.) And now that it has, I’m tempted to delete the lot and forget I started. But what the hell. I am happy to eviscerate any leaders of these groups who pop their hypocritical heads above the parapet. But they’re probably too immersed in their own self-righteousness to bother.