My Hopes For My Film About ED Recovery
As a filmmaker and African American woman in recovery from an eating disorder, this year I decided I was going to do something radical. I was going to make a feature film about mental health, trauma, and eating disorder recovery featuring a black woman.
The reason I use the term radical is because after years of waiting for someone else to do it, I realized this type of movie was not going to be made inside of mainstream Hollywood. So I decided to make my upcoming feature film, "Me Little Me," independently with the help of the recovery community.
Here are my hopes for the film:
1. First and foremost to speak my truth. People of color get eating disorders; we don't just have "food problems". I struggled with bulimia for 10 years and when I finally told people about it, it was automatically assumed I was a binge eater or just someone that was uneducated about health. There was no way I could have had a "real" eating disorder. My hope is that by telling this story it will educate others and also encourage more people of color to speak up about their EDs without feeling ostracized.
2. Second I would like to show that eating disorders are a mental health issue, not a choice out of vanity. By mainstream films always focusing on how thin someone gets because of their ED, it only perpetuates the myth that eating disorders are not a real disorder; just a bunch of vain people trying to get "pretty". My eating disorder was definitely exacerbated by diet culture and our societies obsession with thinness, but at the core that's not what it was about.
3. This brings me to the third thing I'm hoping for which is to tell a story about ED recovery through the lens of trauma. For me, using eating disorder behaviors was a way to deal with the pain from unresolved lifelong traumas. This was also the case for many other people I met in treatment, especially people of color.
4. The final thing I'm hoping for isn't eating disorder related. I'd like to see more people of color in films in non-stereotypical roles... because it's just time.
About the Author: Elizabeth Ayiku
Elizabeth is a filmmaker and editor based out of Los Angeles, CA. To support Elizabeth's upcoming film, "Me Little Me," please visit www.melittlemefilm.com