#7D4H - Guest Blogger Hayley MacMillen #MCH

7 DRESSES 4 HEALTH: Day 210 - Day 216 ~ July 29th - August 4th ~ 

Guest Blogger Bio: Hayley MacMillen graduated from Northwestern University in 2012 after studying philosophy and global health. As a fellow in GHC's 2013-2013 class, she served as LifeNet International's Communication Officer, traveling to LifeNet clinics across Burundi to speak with medical staff and patients and translating data into proposals, reports, and other communications materials. Now a journalist based in New York City, Hayley writes about feminism, end-of-life issues, and sexual and reproductive health for the website Refinery29.

The follow except is from a piece Hayley wrote for Refinery29. To see the full article please visit the original posting. ACI thanks both Hayley and Refinery29 for allowing us to re-post part of the article here for purposes of 7 Dresses 4 Health. 

Title: My Athletic Body Concealed A Crushing Eating Disorder 

The first time I made myself throw up was an experiment. Sophomore year of high school, a girl in my class described to me how she'd tried to but couldn't. I could do that, I thought. That afternoon in my bathroom, I proved that I could. I'll stop throwing up after a few times, I told myself as days went by. I’ll stop after four times, or five, or seven, or nine, I thought, until I lost count. I'll admit I felt a certain pride in myself, in the beginning. Suddenly, I had something that set me apart – something serious and secret and, it seemed to me, grown-up.

Better yet, the new me could surrender to the incomparable comfort of bingeing without weight gain, since food now left my body as quickly as it entered. I hid out with a six-pack of jumbo cookies, and seven minutes later they were gone. I dumped spoonful after spoonful of dry, yellow cake mix into my mouth, alone in the kitchen late at night. I didn’t wear the evidence and disposed of packaging discreetly – and since I lived with three teenage brothers, I escaped the blame for food gone missing by default.

I made the varsity boat of my rowing club not long after I started throwing up. After that, my body was no longer just a body. It was the body of a rower who would lose her seat in the boat if she hit 130 pounds. It was also the body of a girl who had just discovered that she could consume limitless quantities of food without gaining weight, as long as she threw them up. Before long, “could” ended and “had to” began, and I added binging/purging (“b/p,” as eating-disorder blogs taught me to call it) to my list of extracurriculars. Reeling from 4:45 a.m. practice, I ate peanut butter and raisins on bread until my stomach churned and I emptied its contents and flushed them away. At home after school, before afternoon practice, I inhaled slices of leftover birthday cake only to eject them before another 2,000-meter time test on the erg. I was exhausted, I was ravenous, and I was embarrassed. I was 5'10" and 129.9 pounds.

To read more, visit the original post on Refinery29

Call to action: Do you have important information around one of our seven causes: HIV/AIDS, Mental Health, Nutrition, Heart Disease, Maternal Child Health, Cancer, Disability, that you want to share with a wider audience? Do you or a loved one currently live and/or struggle with one of these causes? Do you work in research, advocacy, prevention, treatment or care? We want to hear from YOU! Write to us today: 7dresses@artsconnectinternational.org to become a featured blog writer. Another way to get involved is to wear the color of the day in solidarity. Take a picture of yourself in the color of the day and Tweet it @ArtsConnectInt, tag us on Instagram @ArtsConnectInt, or send it to us on Facebook.   

About 7 Dresses 4 Health (7D4H): 7D4H is a year-long arts and health education campaign lead by visual artist, Marian Brown, in conjunction with Arts Connect International. The objective of the campaign is to promote inclusive community practices through adDRESSing health artistically and collaboratively. To learn more about the genesis of the project, read Marian’s New Year Blog

About this week's look & location: All of the dresses for 7 Dresses 4 Health were designed and sewn by Kim's Fashion Design. Love the look? Visit Kim at 100 Huntington Ave, Boston MA 02116, call her at (617) 267-9299 or email her: info@kimsfashion.com. Mention 7 Dresses 4 Health for a special discount! 

Campaign Update (2017): All 7 Dresses 4 Health blogs were migrated from a former site, so the sharing analytics are inconsistent from when they were first published. We apologize to our guest bloggers, and readers, for this inconvenience. That said, the campaign garnered an average of 5K hits per blog, over 500,000 readers throughout 2015! Additionally, the average number of shares per guest blog was over 150x on social media (through Facebook and Twitter). Thank you for making this incredible campaign possible - and for all that it was for so many. With gratitude, Marian & the ACI Team