Faculty members and students from the storytelling department performed “A Reflection in the Mirror” as part of ETSU’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week on Feb. 25.
The hourlong performance was not only filled with gripping stories, but also poems and facts about disordered eating and narratives from real people. Delanna Reed, an ETSU storytelling instructor, said that weaving in poetry and stories gave the script more impact.
“Several years ago, I taught a class in collecting and telling stories on women’s body image,” Reed said. “The first script came out of that class.”
The event was a performance ethnography, a way of telling genuine accounts of people’s stories.
Maya Angelou’s famous poem “Still I Rise” was featured throughout the performance, along with “Our Deepest Fear” by Marianne Williamson and “A Poem about my Rights,” by June Jordan. Selected lines were about overcoming issues with not only one’s body, but also one’s self-doubt, obstacles in life and negativity from others.
Fairy tales such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves,” by Anne Sexton and “Cinderella,” by the brothers Grimm were also used in the performance.
There were also facts and personal narratives gathered from the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. Two of those narratives were “Laura’s Story” and “Jack’s Story.”
Reed said that the script and narratives started out with just women as the subjects, but then they wanted to let people know that men also have problems with eating disorders.
According to NEDA, nearly 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States will suffer from an eating disorder. With treatment, 60 percent of eating disorder sufferers make a full recovery.
With the inclusion of “Jack’s Story,” the script included a perspective into male eating disorder sufferers, and showed the problem with making eating disorders an issue for women only.
Other narratives used came from Reed’s class, where students went out and interviewed women about their bodies.
However, the performers added a few new stories to direct the script more toward eating disorders. They added these changes to the same script they used last year.
Reed said that with the script evolving, she would like to add something else to it if they do another performance next year.
In addition to storytelling, NEDA also held a Nutrition Day in the CPA and ETSU alum Logan Gillen also shared her story of personal recovery and experience with an eating disorder.