I am a support person for a friend struggling with an eating disorder. Part of the initial support process was attending education sessions for parents & friends at the clinic. People in treatment would be there with their support groups, and one of the clinic staff would run a discussion group with all of us. It had a huge impression on me, and impacted in particular Mizha. In part, because I could not help but think, “There, but for my art, go I,” because there was very little that separated us outside of the coping method, and the consequences of those actions. What struck me even more was how amazing so many of these people were, and how not a single one of them could see it.
The people at that clinic were by far some of the most interesting, intelligent, creative, kind, and brave people I have ever met. But they all considered themselves worthless, bound by the numbers on a scale, their self-perception tied to trying to achieve a weight that they were never “good enough” to get to. I couldn’t understand how they could not see how beautiful they already were, in every way that mattered. In every way that is guaranteed to last. I found them so amazing, and they thought of themselves as nothing. It made me realize how often I had thought the same thing of myself. How little good I could see in myself. And it made me start to question my own poor opinion.
Mizha’s arc was heavily influenced by these experiences and realizations. So in many ways, her arc is dedicated to the amazing men and women who can not yet see in themselves the worth that others do. And I hope that someday they can see the incredible strength and value that exists in them, even if they don’t believe today that it is there.