So, if you’ve been hanging out with me on Facebook, you know that I’m having a fun time playing with WordPress’s web analytics tools and seeing where all of my readers are coming from and how you’re finding me.
It is honestly so amazing to see that so many people can at least identify with my story, whether they’re a long-lost friend from high school or an internet stranger from the Republic of Malta. (Seriously, according to WordPress, people from more than 60 countries have at least clicked on my page. To me, that is incredible.)
On the flip side, however, it’s heart-wrenching to see some of the Google search terms that people have used to find my blog. (Don’t worry–it’s 100% anonymous, so not only don’t I know who typed those terms in, I also don’t know where they came from or when.)
Sometimes the searches are benign: “bikram yoga 30 day challenge.” “are organic apples healthy.” “bikram yoga fall over sweat.” Others, however, are heartbreaking: “friend looks emaciated exercise bulimia.” “is my body fat or skinny.” “hiding exercise bulimia.” “thinspiration i can’t do this help me.”
It’s heartbreaking, because I know what it feels like to type those words.
I know what it feels like to hear those voices in my head.
I know what it feels like to watch friends and family cry out with similar problems through social media.
I know what it feels like to search for a website that will justify the behavior, reinforce the stereotype, explain away the pain.
And I just thank god that the people who typed those queries found my blog instead.
There is so much damaging media out there–whether it’s the pro-ana thread tucked away into the deeper folds of the internet or the major news sources posting disordered behaviors (and tips on perpetuating them) on their front page. There are so many ways to starve yourself and feed ED, and they’re all at your finger tips…but then again, there is nourishment for your soul just a few search terms away.
I wish there were a search engine that could flag cries for help, disorder detectors that could crawl the net. And instead of bringing up the content that can cause more damage, this search engine would bring you here. And here. And here. And here and here. (I could go on and on…) And show you only a world behind your computer screen that could reflect how beautiful you really are.
I want this for you, just as much as I selfishly want it for me. I’m tired of reading articles that talk about the ways in which we use the internet to hurt ourselves. Even when we’re not searching for negativity, it pops up in our Facebook feeds. There are apps dedicated to quantifying our worth in terms of calories and pounds. Well, where are the recovery venture capitalists? I have an idea for a new business model, and when it saves us from starving ourselves, it will be sure to go viral. I call it:
SEO* for the soul.
There may be no immediate return on investment, no quick way to build the network, no surefire way to hide the self-hate and the negativity from the top web hits, but if enough of us take to the web demanding websites tagged with self-love and positive reinforcement, I think we can make it happen.
Until that day, I just hope against hope that the internet keeps bringing you back to me. Because I promise that here you will never need to hide. Here you will never need thinspiration. Here, you can do this–because we’ll get through it together.
Please reach out.