Ariel Tonkel, a junior at Anthony Wayne High School, explores "a friend's" journey throughout her talk on eating disorders, who she later reveals to be an representation of a different part of herself.
She starts out by explaining that her friend had a deep fear of gaining weight, so he took part in incredibly unhealthy practices that eventually caused him to be emitted into a hospital. As he was so thin, some of his vital organs stopped functioning properly. As a result, he was left with the choice to either let his anorexia consume him, or do everything he could to fight it so that he could get better and move forward.
Due to his unhealthy obsession with his appearance, Tonkel's friend lost track of his identity in a sense, due to the only thing on his mind being his appearance. As Tonkel's talk on eating disorders reveals, one's struggles aren't what should define them, and there's much more to someone's identity than their diagnosis. In personifying her illness by describing it as a "friend," Tonkel demonstrates this by distancing herself from it throughout her story.
Maintaining Identity Through Struggle
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