I was a dancer before I was anorexic 

Myself being a dancer today was sadly discouraged by many, including the personal people in my life, like my loved ones and friends, to my recovery team: therapist, nutritionist, doctor, and plenty of hospital staff... not to forget the gigantic storm of social media users and people within the ‘dance world’ themselves, even my dance teacher had moments of trying to ‘talk me out of going back to it’.

I have always loved to dance, however in my Anorexia my passion for dancing began to fade as my anorexic thoughts grew stronger. Each day I was given the opportunity to eat and be allowed to dance or not eat and not be allowed to dance... at the time there was only going to be Anorexia winning. It’s so devastating that Anorexia not only sucks away our health but also our passions, thrills and dreams.

I believe in many ways that dancing and the dance world was a trigger in my Anorexia and was definitely one of the underlying factors to why I developed Anorexia in the first place... however reclaiming my love for dancing has been one of my brightest ropes out of my black anorexic trench.

The expression: “Your personality loads the gun and the environment pulls the trigger” explains the development of an eating disorder better than any others. My personality was born within my genetics, I was a certain person at my first breathe, my gun sadly was already loaded, I was naturally vulnerable to developing an eating disorder before I knew it. My environment (dancing, pressures, people, etc) pulled the trigger making my bullets fly. Only a certain type of person develops an eating disorder which means that you could of given my identical life to one thousand others but only the ones with loaded guns would have become ill like. me. What I’m trying to say is that it wasn’t so much dancing that ‘made me anorexic’ but just how I coped with the pressures. Anorexia was my coping mechanism for dancing and it wasn’t dancing that was my ‘Anorexia’.

In my Anorexia I had lots of time in and out of dancing, but if anything going ‘all in’ for dancing now has been paramount for my recovery.

I was a dancer before I was an anorexic. I learned to pile before I learned to purge. I learned to skip around a room before I learned how to skip a meal. I learned stand in fifth before I learned how to stand on a scale.

Returning back to my roots was a part of finding myself again.

Today I am a dancer and I am honouring who I have always been. Even behind my overpowering shadow of Anorexia my passion for dancing was still burning strong. I was still Margherita behind it all and I was still a dancer inside. My Anorexia simply wanted me cold, emotionless and numb, that was the problem: Anorexia doesn’t care for passions. But Margherita did: bringing back my passions was a vital role in my recovery.

The people in my life understand now why I simply couldn’t close the door on dancing, even after all the pain and pressure it had caused in my life. They now only encourage me to follow my dreams, I too now encourage myself.

Besides dancing I have many other passions which have all been reborn from my recovery. Having passions are a crucial element of true happiness.

So what are you waiting for?

Photography by: Daniel Brookman

Photography by: Daniel Brookman

Margherita Barbieri