On Saturday last week, YouTube musician Dave (a.k.a Boyinaband) teamed up with the YouTube animator Jaiden Animations to released a song called “Empty”. Accompanied by a video documenting the behind the scenes of the song, “Empty” discusses Jaiden’s struggle with her eating disorder; a topic Jaiden talked about fairly recently on her face reveal video.
After hearing the song and watching the accompanying videos, I noticed how well Jaiden and Dave approached the subject matter (unlike some other more mainstream mediums), and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts.
In both the song and her video, I’ve seen Jaiden make some very interesting and effective analogies about her eating disorder. One of my favourites is the lyric, “Just because you’re colourblind doesn’t mean you can see the colours.” This line talks about the grasp an eating disorder can have on you and the lies it can tell you. She’s saying that just because she knew that she had an eating disorder, didn’t mean that she could see it’s dangers, or comprehend and accept the effect it was having on her body.
One of the things her song and video focus on is how Jaiden gives her eating disorder a voice. She talks about how it has a beckoning call, promising her control, saying that not eating would solve her problems and help her. This is something important that I haven’t seen others talk about when discussing this topic. There is a lot of focus in the media about the physical attributes of eating disorders, but I hardly ever see them talk about the mental aspect. As Jaiden discusses in her song, the “voice” the disorder has has begins to entrap you in a vicious cycle, whispering lies into your head. This is why a lot of the time it is hard for people to stop the dangerous behaviours, and
why they can be the most fatal psychological disorders.
Something that I really liked and appreciated about the videos and song was the overarching theme of help. Jaiden said in the BTS video that she asked her therapist what they thought the most important piece of advice for someone dealing with the disorder was. From this, Dave and Jaiden came up with the repeated line “I can reach out / to someone not like me”. This has a couple of layers of meaning. First of all, it obviously talks about how Jaiden was able to reach out to others, and talk about her problems, and encourages the listeners to do the same. Secondly, this line also implicitly talks about the pro-anorexia tumblr community, a horribly toxic community of people who encourage each other to continue their eating disorders. The addition of the “to someone not like me” tells us to avoid these communities and make sure that everyone involved with your healing process is okay.
Overall, this is a song that openly and healthily talks about a mental illness and I would recommend everyone to give it a listen.