Note: These are Aslan’s words, tightly transcribed.
Spark was fourteen when I first met her. We were on a popular eating disorder forum that will remain unnamed, and she was a lot like me—there for the community, but not very active on the forum. She was also too political to be widely accepted. The things she took an interest in on the forum were the music and the other kinds of “fun games,” especially since the forum wasn’t exactly opposed to illegal music downloads. She turned fifteen about six months after I joined the board.
She was anorexic with orthorexic tendencies; she would only eat foods of a certain color if they had “too much” sugar in them, and she refused to eat anything that “felt” stringy in her mouth because it made her feel unhealthy. Her eating disorder didn’t include anything bulimic, though—for Spark, “binges” consisted of eating a normal amount of food. Spark was also vegan; she posted in a thread posted about vegetarian recipes, I private messaged her, and we started talking.
Spark lived in Washington State and had a controlling, narcissistic mother; she was an only child and her father was a cop who died in a car crash (off-duty) when she was four. Her eating disorder first showed up when she was five. She was still underweight at the time, at 103lbs. at 5’4″. So despite the whole “severe eating disorder” thing and being on the eating disorder boards, the reason I kept in contact with her was that she wasn’t the stereotypical “ana,” as they like to call themselves. Spark was relatively happy (or at least cheerful) and she didn’t use her eating disorder to make herself a martyr. She was self-analytical. So we started talking.
Her eating disorder started getting progressively worse over time because her mother wanted her to graduate highschool by the time she was sixteen, and to go to a hoity-toity college by the time she was eighteen. Spark didn’t want to go to college; she wanted to drop out and get her GED. Spark liked the idea of living a life that was simple—but her mother wanted her daughter to be rich so that she could hold Spark up as a status symbol.
So when Spark hit 98 lbs., she shared with me that she’d found out about this new and awesome thing called fruitarianism. (I’d been raised by a vegan Buddhist, my brother, and a fruitarian Marxist, my cousin, so to me, it wasn’t new information.) She told me she’d stayed up all night reading the Wikipedia entry on fruitarianism and going onto forums to find out how she’d do it.
She told me that, it being Seattle, it might be a bit hard to do, but I told her to just be careful and not let anyone bully her. And to not eat a lot of nuts, or her teeth would go to shit.
Spark laughed and told me that’s why she liked me—because whenever she talked to me, there was no condescension and that unlike everyone else, I never told her that her veganism was a bad thing and that if she’d just eat meat or a slice of cheese her eating disorder would just magically go away. I understood that there was a reason she was doing everything she was.
I didn’t hear from her for another two months after that, but that was normal for me. I wasn’t online all that often—still don’t do it much, ’cause I like living my life in the real world.
Next time I got in contact with Spark, she was 108 lbs. and she told me that it felt amazing to actually gain weight for once in her life instead of being in a constant battle to lose it because it made her too much of herself to actually have weight on her. She said that she’d been eating a fruitarian diet and she’d been following my advice and not eating nuts, and that her hair was shiny again and that it wasn’t falling out in clumps anymore. She told me that most of her obsessions with food and all that were gone. She was able to eat without crying, and even though she started out eating only 1,000 calories a day because the idea of more scared her so much, she’d actually been able to work her way up to eating 2,500 calories a day. On fruitarianism, her anemia was gone. That was just in two months.
She said, however, that her mother had started to become more violent towards her since she went fruitarian, because she was fruitarian, and that her mom hadn’t liked the idea of Spark being vegan in the first place because she said that Spark being vegan made her look like a bad mother. Even though there was no reason for her to worry about that, since everyone thought she was just a normal mother.
It took about another month, but Spark had gotten to the point where a lot of her really strange eating behaviors (like having to separate food by color, or having to cut it up into extremely small pieces) just stopped, and she gained another ten pounds. By the time she turned sixteen, seven months after she became fruitarian, and she told me that she now had a heatlhy BMI according to the doctor. Her period hadn’t yet returned, but she didn’t care, and it was basically fine because she wasn’t anemic and was still gaining weight. She had gone up to 120 lbs. and told me she’d stopped having mood issues where she would switch from one mood to the other. Spark said she used to have issues where she would be hanging out with her friends and just snap at them for saying something completely inoffensive—and Spark didn’t know why; their voice just irritated her. Then about ten minutes later she’d feel okay again and be acting like it never happened. She stopped doing that, and she stopped being depressed any longer; and she didn’t obsess about her dad being dead any longer.
She felt good. She told me that; she said she just felt good for the first time since her dad had died.
So what happened was, she said it just felt good. And I said that was awesome and asked her what she was eating. Spark said that her main diet during the winter was mainly bananas and oranges and sometimes kiwis when they went on sale, and that she ate about two avocadoes a week, because she liked them.
After that, she PMed me and asked me, “What do you do if your mom is going to refuse to feed you?” And I told her, “A hunger strike usually works, and if nothing else… get her angry enough to hit you just once and call the police on her.” Her mother was known to hit her, so it wouldn’t have been very hard. She said, “Okay, because my mom just tossed out all the fruit in the house and she said I had to eat her food, because this was all part of my eating disorder and I needed to get over it.” And so I told her that I didn’t really know what you could do in that circumstance except just refuse to eat… because that’s what I used to do when Kelly tried to starve me into eating non-vegan too, even though it would kill me because I’m allergic.
So she did. Spark went on a hunger strike and after about a week and a half her mom relented. But she wouldn’t let her be fruitarian. Spark’s mom said that she could be vegan and have fruit juices but, “she couldn’t go back on that silly little diet she had been on,” the one that had been curing her of her eating disorder.
Spark was willing to deal with that, but she was drinking mostly fruit juices at first and subsisting off of mostly those because she still hoped she could be fruitarian, but mostly because she’d tried to eat a bowl of rice and it had given her crippling stomach pains. And so she started eating gentler cooked foods at first, like cooked potatoes, and she subsisted mostly off of mashed potatoes for a couple months. And she started eating more cooked foods and dropped back down to 110 lbs., and she became lonely and depressed again. And from there her and I lost contact except through MySpace pages because I had moved out on my own away from my abusive step-dad and left the eating disorder forums because someone was ranting about veganism and I told them they were stupid and the mods told me I needed to be “nicer” and I don’t do that.
The next time I saw anything of her was when she was seventeen and she told me she had moved out and that she was going to college and had her own place and her own job. And she broke contact with her mother and it was just her and her ferret. She moved from Seattle to a suburb of a fairly large college city elsewhere in WA. I didn’t check my MySpace again for two more years because I living in a tent with my best friend and I was like, “screw you, civ!” So, came back, and the last picture I saw of her was when she was nineteen and she looked like she was on death’s door.
And that’s what happens when you mistake what’s normal in our culture as what is right and everything else as an eating disorder. You kill teenaged women who never even read The Vegetarian Myth. Fruitarianism would have saved her life but her mother thought she was right because she was the mother and Spark was the child and animal products had to be consumed to the detriment of everyone. And that what’s Lierre Keith believes, that’s what Atkins believes, that’s what these paleo-dieters believe, that’s what WAPF believes. That if you’re at the top of the totem pole, you get the right to kill whoever is not you and whoever disagrees with you. Because might makes the property status, and that makes you right. They don’t see they’re hurting people and killing people because they only want what they want and they want everyone else to agree with them that it’s right. So they killed Spark.
And that’s all really.