Amanda Yazdani said she knew something was wrong with her body since she was 14. But it was only this past summer that Yazdani, now 25, was diagnosed with bulimia nervosa.
"When I tell people I have an eating disorder, I often hear, 'You dont look like you have an eating disorder,'" Yazdani said. "People don't really know what's going on the mind of someone with an eating disorder. If they can't see it on the outside then they don't even recgonize it."
Port Jefferson resident Yazdani, a Ph.D. student studying linguistics at Stony Brook University, has launched a campaign on Kickstarter.com to get funding for an art project she says will help people understand what it means to have an eating disorder.
She said she envisions mixed-media pieces that will utilize fake food objects with things like paint and nail polish to symbolize the anguish someone with these disorders. She said she can't bear to hear things like "she's dying to be thin" and "starving for perfection" and is eager to use art to facilitate a better understanding of eating disorders.
"I feel that art is a really good medium to try and show these things in a way that's not superficial," Yazdani said.
However, she said, fake food is really expensive – hence the Kickstarter.com project, through which she hopes to raise $2,200 for supplies. Supporters can log on to Kickstarter and donate to help fund projects like Yazdani's, and in return receive gifts related to the project from the project's originator. For instance, a $20 donation will get you a ticket to the exhibition; a pledge of $100 or more will get you a ticket to the exhibition, a handwritten letter of thanks, and a small piece of artwork in the style of the project.
Her project is called "VitaminsforBreakfast: Cura te ipsum, Nil per os pro re nata," utilizing a Latin phrase that incorporates actual medical terminology and literally means "Heal thyself, nothing by mouth as situation dictates."
Yazdani, who is originally from western Maryland, said she mostly has experience in two-dimensional art forms like drawing and painting, but has been eager to branch out into more three-dimensional work.
"Art, by definition, takes you places that you can't go on your own," she said. "It gives you an experience that you're not able to have by yourself."