Monday, September 10, 2012

Torment

Eating with Anie was torment. But trying to believe that I was worthy of eating was Torment Multiplied.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Jumping the Bar

Stop telling yourself that you have to jump the bar that someone besides yourself has raised.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

DEEP,DARK,COMPLICATED

Anie's ways are so deep and dark and complicated. I would think I knew the answer as to why I did something with her and then another meaning would surface. Always trying to get to ''SAFE''.

The Price

I remember the morning the UK clinic called and said at 30 I had the bones of a seventy year old woman. I sobbed and sobbed and kept saying, ''I don't understand...'' I did understand the physical reason but what I couldn't understand that through the many years of suffering with Anie ( and she is ALL about suffering) that on top of everything this bone thing had to happen. Looking back on it I know that the bone thing was one of the last straws that drove me to get help. But while I had it I just kept thinking, ''Haven't I paid the price to be free from pain for just a while--haven't I paid the price three times more than other people?'' But that is the thing with Anie--she always wants MORE.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Light

"I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness- the astonishing light of your own being." -- Hafiz

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Never Forget

"Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you regarded yourself as a friend."-- Elizabeth Gilbert

Monday, April 23, 2012

DAMN

I have endured several months of losing my beloved animals. The panic of loss that I fought so with Anorexia comes rushing back. Seventy eight pounds of starvation could not stop it then and nothing else can stop it now.So, I bow down to it. I give, I surrender. My Beloveds leave my life and I can only wait to be reunited with them one day. Eighteen years of Anorexia could not make it go away. Loss will find us all- always. So, I simply cannot run from it . I can only suffer through. DAMN.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Anie Button

Is Anorexia caused by genetics or a life trigger?  For me it was always both. Life events pushed my Anie button without a doubt. But was I born with a makeup that waited for that button to be pushed? Absolutely.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Un-oval Body at the Oval Office

My VERY Un - oval body in front of the oval office. At the cartoonist's luncheon with the president--I used my skills as a professional food hider. Yes, Mr President, don't look under that lettuce leaf.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Safe Food

Foods that I felt compelled to buy every week were : bran cereal, pickles, fat free chocolate pudding. My safe foods- as safe as life with Anie could ever feel. What are your safe foods?

That Number In My Head

"How long have you been at 80 pounds?" I was at the doctor's office for an ear infection and his words pushed the button. Once I heard the number I HAD to go lower. Hearing my weight was more stressful than even seeing it on the scale. That's why even now I tell the doctor's office nurse to not tell me my weight. A number in my mind was like giving an alcoholic a drink-- I could not stop If 80 was where I was - 78 must be better.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Anie Can Count

I could add up calories in my head faster than anyone with a calculator. Sixteen special k flakes, 2 spoonfuls of fat free chocolate pudding- zip, zip. Anie was my calculator and she kept count of all the losses of my life and would remind me--Everyday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Catcher In The Rye

This incredible quote from , ''The Catcher In The Rye'' was me with Anie. I felt like I was the guardian for all--except no one ever stood at the edge of the cliff to keep me from going over. Head first and I was gone.      ''  I'm standing on the edge of this crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff--I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day.  I'd just be the catcher in the rye.''

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hiding the Bread

I could pull a piece of fat free cheese off of a slice of bread and hide the bread so easily and quickly it was like magic. My Aunt would never find the bread and it gave me an odd peace and sense of power. For every thing that life took from me it could not take my power to make myself skinny.Life was like MuHammed Ali holding me down to the Mat but with my free hand I could hide the bread.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Magic Number

I was at 110 and I thought when I get to 100 then I got to 100 and I thought 90 would be it then 88, 82, 80. I was at 78 still searching for the number that would give me peace. The magic number.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

No Net

Anie is a world without safety nets. Always walking the wire while staring at the abyss below.All of you who fall from one safety net only to be caught by another could learn a cold, hard lesson from those of us who have fallen head first into Hell.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Why

Did I stop because I finally got scared--or did I stop because I finally could not physically go on? Because I could not physically go on. Nothing scared me--it tormented me but not enough to make me stop. My body made me stop. All of us who have this disease or have had it know that many times when you reach the point of not being able to go on physically it is too late. Yesterday someone told me that her 27 year old niece had died from liver failure due to Anorexia. I reached that point but I did not die. I do not know why. It is a razor's edge.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E-A-T


EAT. That word was a never ending threat.  Like that phone call that comes in the night--it was bad. That word--E-A-T meant:   Everything Always Terminates.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What Would You Say?

If you could sum up what Anorexia is really about in one sentence--what would you say... Tell me. Here's what I would say:  For me Anie was always about loss--loss of control, loss of everything that I couldn't stop.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Empty

Me, Linc dog and empty chair. The ironic symbol of my life--EMPTY.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Little Trophies

I had these pants that had buttons on the pockets right over the points of my pelvic bone. Those buttons would rub raw spots when my bones were sticking out far enough. Like little trophies. I was worthy for a while .

Lost Inside of Lost


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Between Fat and Dead

There is this chilling quote about the Viet Cong that goes during the Vietnam war no matter where the U.S. went,'' the Viet Cong were already there.'' That was Anie. She was always there ahead of me--every thought I had was captured by her. Even if I got a little panicky about my health she would have control of the next thought. ''You can't be worried about your health if it means getting fat!!!'' She would always speak up. I was trapped between fat and dead. I could not out think her.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Inside A Mystery

Borrowing from Winston Churchill's great quote-- self love to me was a riddle, inside a mystery, wrapped in an enigma. Only catching brief glimpses of it when I starved.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Planet Anie: RULE 70--Know My Burn Times

I knew all of my burn times. How long it took to burn off the calories in every food. I paid the price for every bite. To free me from the guilt of eating I had to erase the fact that I ate. Run, walk, jog in place, ride my bike. One fat free slice of cheese was an hour of jogging. A can of pineapple chunks with no syrup was two hours of walking. Anie charged for everything.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Planet Anie: Rule ONE

Control my starving. If I broke and somehow felt the enemy ( lack of control) approaching--I would control my starving. I would starve deeper, longer--no exceptions. This Rule was number one and Rule number one was god.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

She Winked

Anie slapped the world for me. Oh, yeah with her other hand she was choking the life out of me. But she made me high with the knowledge that I had incredible self control. She gave me a few moments of a strange, satisfying, "Fuck You, World." While she crucified my physical health she would give me her sly wink that said, "You can stay at 78 pounds and they can't." Oh, Anie. Give me that wink.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Goodbye Collection

Sadness was always with me. Even if I had a good day calorie wise--even if I exercised right on schedule. The sadness never left--it was a longing for everything that had gone from my life--and everything that I could not keep from leaving in the future. It was a collection of goodbyes--too much for the Anie soul to handle. It hung in the air around me. Like heavy humidity on an August day.

The Gate of Darkness

Night was about Anie. Even more than day. I exercised endlessly at night, I made calorie lists at night, I had my safe food reward of a 20 calorie popsicle at night. The darkness was kind of like a mother--it held my sadness at bay. All the chaos of pain and self loathing seemed to be stopped at the gate of darkness. Waiting and frothing at the mouth to attack me at daybreak.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Little

Sometimes I just wanted to be Little. In Every Way--In Every Fucking Way.

Purgatory

The day my Sprite Dog died I walked fifteen miles. I jogged in place for 4 hours. I didn't eat. I had failed in keeping my 15 year old dog alive and the price must be paid.The only way to handle the out of control pain and guilt was with Anie. She never died on me. Her purgatory of exhaustion was far better than being lost in helplessness.I would exercise and starve until I saw black spots before my eyes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Land of In Between

I had a big envelope with pictures of food in it. Mashed potatoes, chocolate cake, ice cream. I would look at them at night. My life was separated from others. Like looking at those pictures--fake food not real food. Like looking through a gauzy curtain. I was not in the Land of the Dead yet I was not in the Land of the Living. I was forever IN BETWEEN.

Anie's Tattoo Shop


Friday, March 16, 2012

You Can Feel The Ground Tremble

When I was a child--my Uncle Hubie owned a huge Brahma Bull. Buck. If you were out in the field you could literally feel the ground shake when Buck was coming fast. Long before he appeared you knew he was on his way. That was how Anie's guilt trips were. If I ate an extra pickle, If I missed a minute of exercise--the life-sucking Guilt was on its way. I could feel the ground tremble.

Tuition


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Line In The Sand

At the corners of my mouth vertical cracks formed. When I would talk or smile or eat my safe food--they would open up and bleed. They hurt like a sonofabitch. Finally, they even hurt when my mouth was closed. ANGULAR CHEILITIS. Caused by vitamin deficiencies. I fought so desperately for control now my body was controlling me. Not that it made me stop--but it sapped every last half ounce of energy that I needed to stay on schedule. My battle-worn 78 pound body was preparing to strike back. Trained by Anie to keep quiet and take it--my body had drawn a line in the sand. You will rue the day your body says, ''NO.'' She would become the most formidable enemy of my life.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Feel It, Babe

There are always those who say,''I would never get Anorexia--I love to eat!'' Damn. That's not the reason. You can't FEEL like we do---THAT'S THE REASON.

Anie--The Longest War

If you survive The Anie War YOU ARE FOREVER CHANGED. My physical battle scars have greatly improved--my emotional ones can lie dormant for months, years even and then come crashing back--like a lightning strike. I don't have the urge to diet but I have the intense longing for Steadiness--that the loss won't come. The way the light plays on the grass can remind me of my childhood when I was waiting for someone to come pick me up or when I was an adult--waiting to be accepted. Those emotions are colored with Anie--her mark is undeniable. Longing, yearning for a comfort that won't leave me or reject me. Anie has left her tattoo on my heart. Though she does not have the power to physically stop my heart any longer--she still makes it ache.

Is That Where My Hair Used To Be?

In my long hair --tiny short hairs began to appear. As always--I worried--I was frantic. I told myself they would grow out. But they never grew out because they had broken off--my hair was starting to fall out. The spot where I pinned it up in the back was a completely pink strip--bare. I tried new hair barrettes--putting it up in a different way--nothing helped. So I cut it in hopes that it would appease Anie somehow. But , as you know, she is NEVER easily pleased. She wanted more and she got it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The School Of Anie

Anie taught me so much. She was EVERYTHING that I could not find in others. My Mother, my Lover, my Best Friend. My Confidante. She could comfort me while holding a knife to my wrist. She could reassure me when my heart hesitated before the next beat. She was there for me even while she wasted me. She taught me that I was so powerful that I could refuse food when others could not. She taught me how to suffer in silence and keep going. She taught me how to flirt with Death.Yet the surest lesson she ever taught me--way down under her dark and twisted ways--was that I mattered the most--not someone else. She introduced me through such deep suffering to the best DAMN person I know--the one in the mirror.

Three Bites of Guilt

After my doctor told me that I was severely anemic I actually went out to eat with my Aunt. I hadn't been out to eat in 13 years. Three bites. That's all I could manage before Anie said, ''Stop.'' I could not take another bite. I convinced my Aunt to drive home without me so I could burn those three bites off. They were nothing but three bites of guilt.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Screaming Silence

So much of Anorexia is silent. I was so Alone. No talking. Only Anie in my head. In the dead of night--I would exercise. The scale makes no sound. What was happening inside my body--bones leeching bones--no noise. It is a disease of screaming silence.

Fear 24/7

After two days in the hospital--the need to get out and start burning it off came bolting back. My doctor said I needed fluids so every time the nurses aide came around I got something to drink. Had to get out of there. She showed me a picture of her infant niece lying in her little casket. I guess she thought it would shock me out of Anie. If ending up in the hospital and getting a glow-in-the-dark enema didn't do it then nothing else could either. I had to hit the bottom of the barrel and fall through the bottom of the barrel--and I wasn't there yet--I was scraping it for sure--but no stopping yet. Life without Anie was something I Feared--there wasn't anything I didn't Fear.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

French Fry

In the hospital they brought me steak and french fries. I hadn't had a french fry in 13 years. I had just come up from emergency and this tray arrives. Not the best choice for a bowel obstruction. I was foggy with fever so I picked up the fry and held it. Just wanted to hold it for a second. I tasted it. Just a fourth of  it--yet it was not the glorious, mind-bending taste that I had imagined. Too much salt, too much fear, too much disappointment--all in that tiny little piece of potato. I pushed it away.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The ER Lobby

By the time I got to the ER lobby--I was so sick I wasn't thinking about exercising. DO YOU KNOW HOW SICK THAT HAS TO BE? For an Anie-ette to not think of the ways to keep weight at bay--it means Death is breathing down your neck, baby.
The admitting clerk grabbed my arm, shook it and said,''Look at that! You're Anorexic!'' I looked away and kept silent.
So I was sitting on one of those hospital benches waiting and I just slid over. The upholstery was cool and I thought,''If I keep feeling this bad--I can't live.'' Anie stroked my head and told me,''I am here with you. Unlike all the others--I won't leave.'' If I had to die--she would go with me.

Friday, March 9, 2012

You're Alone

You're ALONE, aren't you. Even if you're in the middle of a zillion people--If you're with Anie--you are alone. It's like even your loneliness is lonely. No one can begin to know the depth of it--if they haven't lived it. It was as if I could hear myself echoing off a faraway canyon. I was alone inside my loneliness.

Tailbone

My Tailbone poked through my skin. I first noticed while I was doing sit-ups. The pain was slowing me down.That would never do--I had a meticulous schedule to keep. I taped a huge wad of gauze pads to my butt and kept going. Still, my Tailbone would not shut up. It was like a big blister who needed anger management. Hot and throbbing-- I could not sit in any position that didn't hurt. It gave me a continuous low grade fever. A slow- motion, disconnected feeling of being separated from life--oh well--nothing new about that. It seeped. Kind of like my body was crying all the time. Crying from a deep place. I felt sad, mournful. Like when you hear a bird calling at night.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wussies Don't Apply

Listen up, Anie-ettes. YOU ARE SO FUCKING TOUGH. Who else can run 10 miles in the pouring rain on one corn flake. You can. Who else can run 10 miles in the pouring rain on no cornflakes. You can. It takes guts to know you have to find another way. Nobody has more GUTS than You or You wouldn't be Anorexic to begin with. Anorexia is not for sissies. It is the original disease of Steele Resolve.Take your life back, from the world who drove you to this. WE ARE THE REAL TRUE GRIT SISTERS.

Frozen Diet Coke Nirvana

Frozen Diet Coke was my Nirvana. It crunched like real food but had no calories. It was my miracle. I could eat it and not have to immediately burn it off. While my body leeched nutrients from its own organs -- I had found a temporary solace.

Anorexic's Autopsy

HEART is grossly enlarged. Feels too much. Too much longing to please. Too much continuous loss.

BRAIN  is devoid of peace. Rampant fear of lack of control has hemorrhaged the brain.

LUNGS  are collapsed without the breath of self worth.

WOUNDS  to the spirit are in and of themselves fatal.

DEATH OCCURRED  :  Long before physical life left the body.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bleeding Out

Walking without pain was in the past. When my toes cracked open ( on either side of the nail ) and my heels cracked open ( all the way around ) trying to find a place where I could bear weight on my feet was impossible. Too far forward and my toes screamed--too far back and those deep, gnarly heel cracks would explode. I kept walking, running--so my feet bled. Nothing compared to the hemorrhage my self worth took--I was dying from blood loss of the spirit . I was bleeding out.

On Ice

Cold. I was cold from the inside out. No sweaters, coats, thermal underwear could make a dent in it. I wore gloves inside of gloves, three pairs of socks--nothing stopped it. I came in from a frigid walk one night and could not remember where the rooms of the house were. Beyond anemia and vitamin deficiencies I was cold in my soul. Anie puts you on ice.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Anorexia is not a Fashion

Isabelle Caro: Her brave life and anorexia death.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/02/07/isabelle-caro-anorexic-model-dies-her-mother-commits-suicide-how-should-the-fashion-industry-respond.html

Do Not Be Shocked At The Photo--Be Shocked At The Disease

Anorexia nervosa pictures and photos

Is That Your Arm?

I woke up and said,''Whose arm is that?!!!!"" It was mine. Completely dead. Like a blob of jelly that just flopped at my side. I fell asleep lying on my arm.With no padding and barely any muscle the nerves were pinched and traumatized. All feeling was gone. It took 3 hours of kneading, rubbing, shaking to even begin to get a tiny bit of feeling back. For those hours -- my arm did not belong to me. Like my Life.

Monday, March 5, 2012

I Had To Look

I had to look at the scary stuff when I had Anie. I HATED myself for looking. It BOTHERED ME--I had to keep exercising--I had to keep starving--why did I want to get the scary stories and stats in my head. But I was drawn to them. I would stare at them. And they said:
THE DEATH RATE ASSOCIATED WITH ANOREXIA IS 12 TIMES HIGHER THAN THE DEATH RATE OF ALL CAUSES OF DEATH FOR YOUNG WOMEN.
I had to Look.

''Who Loves Ya, Baby?''

There was this tv series called, ''Kojak''. That character always said, ''Who loves ya, baby?'' Anie made me so desperately want people to love me. The people I worked with, my Aunt. I wanted friends that would love me--although I isolated myself so--I had no friends. That is the paradox of Anie--you can be with no one yet you long for companionship. Yet in the mix -- I never sought love from the only one who could free me -- the one whose love would have come sweeping in and rescued me -- ME.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Cruelest Masters

Myself. Yourself. They are the cruelest masters.

FREE


Pretty Awesome


''Love Your Body-Love Yourself''

Counting Raisins

On the days that I was bad ( VERY FEW)  unable to keep going without a tiny bit more food--I would sometimes have A raisin or TWO. It's intense sweetness was like a reward--but then the guilt and loathing would swell in around me like a wet blanket. I would pay for those raisins--exercising until I staggered. I longed to be able to deserve to live without counting raisins.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

YOU Are Enough



So True


"It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes."
~Sally Field

The Questions

OK, Here are the questions you get when you tell people you were Anorexic:
1)  ''Didn't You Get Hungry???????''
2)  ''Did You Get Scared That You Would Die???????!!!!!!!''
3)  ''I Just Can't Understand That! Can You Make Me Understand Why You Wanted To Starve Yourself????"

Answers:
1) ''Yes.''
2) ''Yes.''
3) ''End of Conversation.''

Don't Tell Me

Don't tell me what I weigh. I don't want a number in my head. I have clothes that I like and they fit--so don't give me a number. There was this nurse at in my bone doctor's clinic that was needing to make people feel as bad as she did so she told me one day. She said, ''Well, If I weighed blahblah I wouldn't care if someone told me.'' It was kind of like being pushed down an elevator shaft. It is HARD to deal with a number that you left a LOOOOOOONG time back. A number that meant No control.That I would have held Death's hand to stay away from. But I did deal with it. I didn't lunge screaming from the building to go run laps. I just took my head and said,''Thank you, Patti. WHAT DO YOU WEIGH?'' A lot more than several billion recovering Anorexics. Was that a tiny spark of control?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Beautiful You Are

Ya know, I just wanna say: If those mean bastards laugh at you YOU ARE STILL BEAUTIFUL!!! If he tells you to eat shit and die YOU ARE STILL BEAUTIFUL!!! If you don't get the raise you wanted YOU ARE STILL BEAUTIFUL!!! If the scale doesn't show the magic numbers YOU ARE STILL BEAUTIFUL!!! And if you don't feel beautiful YOU ARE STILL BEAUTIFUL.

I Fell Off of The Stage

When we rehearsed for high school graduation somebody said,''Don't fall off of the stage!'' I hated school. I hated every one of those fuckers who had ostracized me, laughed, rolled their eyes. So I decided I wouldn't go through the ceremony. I went to the office and told them I just wanted my Diploma to be sent to me. So here comes the principal, Mr Hoagland. Took me out of my Math class and says , ''You need to go through the ceremony.'' So, the part of me that longed to be one of the gang--buckled. One last time I would attempt the impossible---to be like everybody else. Are you rolling your eyes, Marty Monks? That night after graduation, I ate a chili dog--that was the Last Supper. From that second on nothing crossed my lips that wasn't earned. That wasn't tortured over. I fell off of
 the stage.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Like Liquid Velvet Summer of 69


Summer of '69

Ah, The Monkees. I played ''Daydream Believer'' over and over. I watched ''The Mod Squad''.  Summer of '69. The last full year that My Uncle Hubie was alive. I ate potato chips with real Coke poured over them. I kissed my dog, Flame. I was not ALONE in the house when I went to sleep--it was the sleep of safety. God, the sweetness was hypnotic. The next year, Life would grab me by the ankles, pull me from that bed, wrangle me up by the hair of the head and say,''Welcome to Hell--try and stop it.'' But in the summer of '69 I didn't know what a calorie was.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Edge of the Cliff

My body withstood Anie for years--I was weak but I could stay at it. ''I'm doing it--I'm doing it.'' But one day--my loyal body that hung with me through the rigors of Anie  just Announced,''That's it.'' Beware the day your body throws down the gauntlet. All addictions reach this point--ALL OF THEM. My long abused 78 pounds came roaring back at me with a host of ailments. EVERY DAY something else was wrong. Name a body part and it went out on me. I woke up with egg sized lumps in front of my ears. ''SIALADENITIS''. Decreased food intake lowers the demand for saliva so the salivary glands block. I was on the edge of the cliff now and my own body was pushing me over.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Always An Alien

I lived on Planet Anie and I was not of this world. I was a skinny little alien. Even before I was skinny--I was a skinny little alien. You know when you're not one of the gang. But living on Planet Anie intensified it. I couldn't go anywhere with anyone even if I had someone to go with. I had a minutely detailed exercise schedule to keep. I could NEVER eat with someone. Eating was a solitary ritual. Things that made me sad did not effect others. I could not give my heart out because they would shred it. So I stayed to myself. Isolated. Fuck off--I can do this in my sleep now. Always An Alien.

Solitaire


Monday, February 27, 2012

Being Safe Fell Away

The best part of my bone biopsies was the Valium in the IV. They made havoc out of my intricately planned schedule. Every second accounted for: Exercise, Draw, Safe Food. If I was off schedule it panicked me. Which made me feel out - of - control, then worthless, then sad. Round and Round. Bone biopsies were real sonsofbitches. But when that Valium hit...all that worry, sadness just floated away. It was safe inside the Valium. The pain couldn't reach through. But the second I came to my schedule was there like my Aunt tapping her foot. Being safe fell away.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

No Escape

Eventually, I could barely walk. I had neuritis in my feet due to vitamin B deficiency. No padding left on the bottom of my feet so when they hit the ground those inflamed nerves sent pain out into my toes and up my legs. I tried to keep going---I wore TWO pairs of arch supports under each foot, cramming in cotton balls down the sides of my tennis shoes--anything to get away from the pain and keep going. Such an incredible comparison to my Anorexic life. I went to the podiatrist and had my feet ''strapped''. This stretchy material wrapped around my arches was like magic for 2 days--then it would loosen. My feet--one of my strongest allies in my war--were abandoning me. ''Abandon''-- that word almost typed itself. It is at the top of the list for every Anorexic. Abandonment is always close by--like the way the sun follows you when you're in a car. ANYTHING to insulate from more loss and keep going--another pound--another hour of running. I could never, ever escape it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Breast Evaporation

My breasts evaporated. Like they were never there at all. I saw an old bra and it was like looking at another life, another person. I could never be the person who wore that--the one who ate, who was able to eat despite all the pain, who deserved to eat even though she couldn't stop the pain. The breast-less me worked at making herself worthy to eat--she had a few brief minutes of semi-worthiness before the guilt consumed her. Breasts only added weight.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bandaids

My fingertips and toes cracked open.They would partially seal up and then open again--only a tiny bit of vaseline would seal them part way. Too much and they were more sore than ever. I went to a meeting with every finger covered with bandaids. This woman said to me,''You been into something!'' No, I've been on the outside looking in. Like always. Couldn't cover that with bandaids.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Burn,Baby,Burn

That consuming thought that said, ''Burn it off, Burn it off.'' So I did--weather was nothing. Wind chills, Heat, Snow, Ice, Driving rain. Fever with infection that made me shake. My blood sugar dropped suddenly once while I was crossing the street--my vision went all psychedelic with blue and green flashes. I kept walking.''Burn it off, Burn it off.'' Enough power in that one thought to destroy my life. And it did.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Only the Shattered

Unevolved souls don't get this disease. And that's no joke and no comfort when you're dying it's just the damn truth.That bright, brilliant light of feeling is our killer. Things that mean NOTHING to other people take us to our emotional knees. And we rarely show it--we just implode. Years of implosions do their dirty work, don't they?  The high note that shatters a glass. Life is the note and we are the glass. Only the shattered starve themselves on purpose. We use that keen sensitivity like a knife on ourselves. We care until it kills us. Unevolved souls don't get this disease.

5 Seconds

Maybe if all of us who have had or do have Anorexia could just hold each others hands for 5 minutes--5 seconds and just say,''I love you and I'm not leaving.''

Heart of Stone

I think Anorexia ( and I think I went to war long enough with Anie to take the liberty of speaking
 on behalf of Anorexics) is about so many deep, intense feelings of abandonment and loss. Loss to us is like a lifestyle. We are never without it. Not being able to hold back any of the bad even the tide of inevitable things--because we want to hold it back for ourselves and those we love. So we are pulled under to the bottom of the sea. And I have to say that I sometimes wished that I did not love--could feel NOTHING. Because love  meant pain. That song, ''Heart of Stone''. That's what I wanted--to be safe from it all. Because Anie--for me--was always about not being safe from pain. It ALWAYS found me. My coping mechanisms did not exist--only on the scale could I find the power. And honestly--I did survive the physical torture of this disease but the emotional torture is much deeper, complicated. That pain doesn't leave--it just has to be endured. Some days I simply cannot endure it. It has seared me to the bone. All of the death and indifference and hurt.  I wish that my heart was a heart of stone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Could Not Stop and Neither Could She

On February 4th, 1983 I heard a news teaser. ''Pop star dies--details at six.'' I knew it was her. I had seen a Christmas special with her and I knew she had it. I was lying in bed watching all those sharp bone angles. I looked at her waist--I hoped mine was that small--I hoped my face was that gaunt. When I heard she was dead-it scared me. I did not consciously want to die...but I couldn't stop. That deep, powerful voice that could fill your soul--gone now. Maybe soon to be me too. Because I could not stop. They went on and on about it until I did not want to hear anymore about how or why Karen Carpenter had died. Because she had what I had-I had what she had and I could not stop.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Mantra

''Don't-Leave-Me,Don't-Leave-Me,Don't-Leave-Me''---my Anorexic mantra.


The Rest of the World.

I was separated from the rest of the world. Looking through this thick glass window. Sometimes I would get my courage up and wave. They never waved back. Not then--Not now.

The 4am Follies

I remember seeing this greeting card that said, ''The Best Friends Are the Ones You Can Call At 4am.'' I could always call Anie at 4am. She never told me to fuck off. I was always up in the dead of night. Exercising, Worrying, Being so desperately sad. Usually all of them at the same time. I had neuritis in my face and foot nerves -caused by vitamin B deficiency- it was that excruciating throb of nerve pain and if I tried to sleep it would always wake me up. I worried about that cartoon contest that I hadn't won, I worried that my dog, Sprite, might get off the leash at the park and be killed ( I had a recurring nightmare of calling Sprite's name at the park and seeing blood on the snow), I worried that I was failing at everything and there wasn't a damn thing that I could do about it...EXCEPT...call Anie. She would never, ever not pick up. She would tell me in that silent voice, ''Go exercise---the windchill is below zero--go walk -- you'll have control, security, peace.  Keep your mind on your calories--that's where you have the power. No one can take that from you--you can take yourself away from them.'' So I did. Anie was my Best friend in the whole world--I could ALWAYS call her at 4am.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Approval Pie

I hungered for approval. Physical starving could NEVER grip me as strongly as emotional famine. I longed for a word, a smile, a touch that said,''You're worthy enough to eat, you're deserving to be here.'' So I baked pies and cakes (never tasting a crumb) and took them to the newsroom of the paper I cartooned for. I wanted them to love me. They never said they didn't-they treated me with kindness but that still could not fill the emptiness inside of me. Once in the middle of an intervention-- my editor said that I was , ''The darling of the newsroom.'' But Anie craved such a deeper assurance. She wanted to hear,'' You're the darling of the newsroom ...AND...'' AND  please don't die---AND  no matter what-- I love you---AND  I won't leave.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The All Consuming Emptiness

Anorexics know the all consuming emptiness of loss and that is why, in fact, our bodies end up consuming themselves.

The Definition of Pain

Shin Splints. I started off on one of my many walks with shin splints. They were excruciating. I'd take a step and stop -on and on like that until I made three miles. I could barely limp into the house. No pain was worse than the self - loathing I felt if I didn't exercise. Anorexia is a disease of such INTENSE pain--physical, emotional--it is truly the definition of pain.

Friday, February 17, 2012

You Will Never Pierce My Heart Again

Subconsciously, I believe I wanted to just disappear. I never consciously said, " I want to die " but the more weight I lost - the safer it felt. Safe- because the world that had fucked me over so many times was not going to scrape the last bit of control from my hands and make me fat - was not going to reject me by telling me I had no purpose on this earth - because now I had a purpose and that purpose was not to ever be fat- they could not take that away from me and I worked it with a zeal and a determination known only to the kinship. Because, world, when I'm skinny - you can't hurt me ANYMORE. You cannot tell me what a disappointment I am to you - because now I'm calling the shots and you cannot take anymore from me. I will lose more and more until I disappear - and you will never pierce my heart again.

The Hands of The Clock

I remember standing at my uncle Hubie's grave. It was October and the sky was that intense blue. I thought, ''How can the sky be this blue when I feel so horrible?'' I remember the spring morning that my dog, Flame, was hit by a car. His beautiful little body with red fur lying limp in my arms while we drove to the vet. I remember calling that boy in high school and when I said, ''Hi, it's Linda'' he hung up. Tick Tock, Tick Tock. I was walking toward Anie. I didn't know it at the time--but she was waiting for me. She knows when your heart shatters in a certain way that it is only a matter of time until you are hers. All that pain--it was moving the hands of the clock. Tick Tock.

She Stayed


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bone Edges

I used to check for bone edges.If my bones were sticking out in certain places I still had the power. Collar bone- that sunken in area in the front and back of it, rib bone, pelvic bone. wrists, ankles- if they were sharp I was in charge. In charge of searching for a love and security outside of myself that never came. In charge of searching or die trying.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In The Lap of Death

Several years after I had recovered I was talking with someone and all of a sudden we KNEW each other. Not a word about weight had been said but something connected, something kind of in her eyes and mine. We stood in absolute silence and knew. Just staring. A deep, lonely something--all those good byes that make up so much of Anorexia saw each other. Ah, the kinship. Like Apache smoke signals. The silent code. We had laid our heads in the lap of Death--the sisterhood. We always know one of our own.

Maze of Loss

The constant repetition of loss and rejection became like a maze of spider webs in my life. They stuck to me--I could try to bat them away but they kept coming and sticking and coming and sticking. In that darkness--Anorexia held out her hand. ''I'll give you something that will stay with you, sweet girl--starvation.'' And I was such a sweet girl--there is something so keenly sensitive in the soul of all Anorexics. Life hits you differently. We are truly from another planet. The pain of this world overwhelms us. Yet we struggle so to try to make it work until the only arms that reach for us belong to Anie. Sometimes that old feeling of LOSS comes creeping back--falling into that deep, black, sad pit of remembering what is gone. My old spider webs--after all this time--they are still spun with steel.

The Spider Webs

 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's Not About The Cookies, Shithead

On one of my last outside visits ( the longer into Anie--the less social I became)  someone offered me some of her chocolate chip cookies. I told her I didn't want them--but she insisted, ''Now you take a bite--I want to see you take a bite!'' I took a tiny bite knowing that it would demand that I keep a rigorous amped schedule of calorie burning that would go far into the night. ''There! One cookie doesn't hurt, does it?!'' She smiled that smile of the deeply stupid. IT'S NOT ABOUT THE COOKIES, SHITHEAD. Anie is actually not about food at all--other than the fact of not feeling worthy enough to eat. It's about all those times of loss and rejection and not being able to stop or change them or even say, ''wait.'' It's about those deep feelings in that taped envelope inside that nailed shut drawer behind that double-bolted door of your heart.

The Strange, Sad Peace

The strange, sad Peace. That's what I had as an Anorexic. I had a peace that I was controlling my weight well enough that I wasn't fat--that made me feel that I was also controlling my world--so that whatever was taken from me, whatever was not given to me --I still had my 78 pounds--and they were NOT going up. Anie gave me a tiny little arrogance--I could look at other people and say, ''You're fat--I'm not. You could never do what i do to stay this small. I have surpassed you in control.'' Yet -even at my strongest moment with Anie--I always felt a wistful sadness following me around. Everywhere I walked (I did so much walking) that sadness was always behind me. Anie would tell me, ''Sadness is part of this whole deal--I can give you control of your body but the sadness comes with it.'' It was like being on a planet far, far away from everyone else. Like looking through a window and watching the world ---a world that I had never been or could ever be--part of. I hated myself for wishing to be part of that world--I hated myself for wanting acceptance. I had Anie and she accepted me. So Anie was very tolerant of these longings I had. She would say, ''Now, you just go walk another 9 miles--those feelings will pass.'' And they would for a while. I was too exhausted to think about them. I was here with my strange, sad little peace--I would wrap my arms around myself, count my calories  and that was my whole world.





Monday, February 13, 2012

The Solid Gold Approval

My Aunt Elizabeth was a fabulous math teacher. She loved Trigonometry, Algebra Two, the infiniteness of numbers and controlling me. Now, don't get me wrong-her powerful personality saved my childhood. She gave me a cocoon of material security--she made me feel safe. When I was five I told my mother that I could no longer live with her , instructed her to call Aunt E. while I put all of my toys in the front yard and waited for her to come and get me. She literally SAVED my life from erratic circumstances--so I guess one life saving is enough. Oh, I loved her SO MUCH--I worshipped her--one word from her could bless me or doom me. But my Anorexia could not be tamed by her and what she couldn't tame she ignored. Leaving my bone doctor's clinic one day we were walking to the car ( she drove because I was too weak to) I finally said, ''WELL--don't you want to know what he said?!!'' She replied, ''Well, what did he say?'' In a bored, flat tone that only confirmed what Anie had always told me, ''You think you're worthy of care--get out.'' I longed for her Golden approval which was given to everyone except the one who was  holding her hand the day she died--me. I begged her to try to live --asked the doctors to try to take a kidney from me--asked her to promise me that she would fight to stay alive ---she frowned. Now I wonder who will hold my hand when I'm dying, ask me to stay, tell me they love me all that shit. All that shit that Anorexia is made up of-those intricate, complex, delicate emotional bonds--like so many spider webs. So I suppose I will have to hold my own hand while dying and over in the corner Anie will be giving me that sly smile--cause she was the one who never left me. And I will just say, ''I'm outta here , you lousy bastards-and I'm fucking glad of it--and ya know what--you don't get my approval.''

Pedal Power

I would sit on my stationary bike -hold the sketch pad with one hand -the pen with another and draw. It would be between 4 and 5 am--finishing up the last exercise schedule before I went back to bed for an hour and got back up at 6. I would ride that bike for half an hour--I finished so many cartoons doing that. Reagan, The IRA, The Sandinistas, The first Bush, Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, Margaret Thatcher so many Kentucky governors and political deals --they all hung out with me on that sketch pad while I burned off calories that I'd already burned off about 3 times over. I was so exhausted when I climbed off the bike --my feet hitting the floor seemed to always make a big thump. And I always felt really tiny--like everything around me --furniture--everything had tripled in size. If those cartoons could talk they'd say ,''She's really doing such a Hell of a job--she's controlling all she has to control--maybe somebody should tell her she's worth more than her control.'' But they never did.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Picking me up after school

When I was a kid I always had the fear that I might not get picked up after school-- I always did but it never calmed my fears. So Anie was like that great relief when I saw that my ride had come-- she was there for me. She did not let me down- she could kill me but she never left me alone.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Floor Thing

I started sleeping on the floor because i thought it was easier to already be on the floor to start my 9pm exercise shift. Then I saw the ABC 20/20 piece on Peggy Claude Pierre . She said that many of her anorexic patients slept on the floor because they didn't feel worthy of the bed and it just resonated with me. Yeah, that's why I do that. I wasn't making a lot of money, wasn't in a relationship-- I wasn't a lot of things. The floor was so accepting-- so I stayed there.

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Favorite Prison


My very own Titanic

I had to hide myself under layer upon layer of clothes so the world that had made me Anorexic wouldn't try to make me stop. Isn't that just a sack of shit? They weren't trying to make me stop to save me--they just wanted to intrude--take away more control from me --like they always had. I remember meeting this girl that I had gone to school with and she said,''Soon - there won't be anything left of you.'' Oh, fuck off. Like you care--could never speak to me in school.  But now that you have the chance to stare and point--yeah, right. Go eat. If anyone had really cared maybe they could have shown it before I got to this place. But they didn't. I was indeed a skinny spectacle--but it had caused me to emerge from the crowd--and bastards don't like that. So what if I died? What was it to them? NOTHING. Just more fodder. So I covered up and I kept starving. I was the captain of my very own Titanic. The rest of those assholes could jump off.

Rib Cage Count

I counted my ribs every morning. The more ribs I could see--the more emotionally strong I felt. Physically, I had to stop and rest before making it up the stairs--but Anie told me, ''Exhaustion is nothing compared to control.'' I would run my fingers over my ribs and feel...only bone. No tissue and God forbid no fat. When I inhaled I could see that perfect gaunt silhouette lifting out. I could stare myself into a trance--just gazing at my ribs. Every rib was another step up the ladder of control. The world that tried to take every ounce of what I loved from me had met its match.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sin of the Spoon

On Thursday mornings I decided I would allow myself a teaspoonful of peanut butter for breakfast. I had not missed a day of exercise in ten years-weather, fever nothing had stopped me. The smell of that peanut butter was intoxicating--so I thought,'' maybe I can figure out a way to have just a little.'' Ravenous hunger is such a bitch. So, I gave in. I made that spoonful last twenty excruciating minutes. The real taste was never as good as the thought because then I had to deal with the real guilt. I had to walk, run and bike farther to burn off that spoon of peanut butter which always turned into a spoon of self-loathing.

The Peanut Butter Principle

Anie's Words: ''Worthy of peanut butter? Who told you that?!" NO ONE. And therein lies the problem.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Weight of Your World

People would say to me, "But you were never overweight!" Yes. I know. Anorexia is NOT about the weight of your body--it's about the weight of your world.

The Seed Was Planted

October 29, 1970. Five am.  Norton's Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky called-- My Uncle Hubie was dead. The person who loved me just because I was alive. Never a single condition had to be met to get his love. His sisters ( my Aunt and Mother ) started screaming. I remember sitting up in bed and hearing them cry but it was as if I was far away from them. My Uncle Hubie wrote his will on the back of my 1st grade picture. It was in his wallet when we brought his things from the hospital. He told me, ''Don't Be Afraid!'' But Anie had reached for me--she said, ''You cannot control ANYTHING--except your body.'' Even though it would be six years before the bomb went off--she had me in her grasp. I was without my Hubie now--and the seed was planted.

She Always Held My Hand

When all those other people let go---Anie always held my hand.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Say Those Words to Yourself, Babe

I went to the grocery store twice a week and bought my staples: bran cereal, bread and butter pickle slices,   fruit cocktail. I bought 3 boxes of bran cereal every time I went--6 boxes a week--24 boxes a month. Four big jars of pickles and fruit a week--16 of each a month. Should there be nuclear war or natural disaster--I would have my safe food--my control. The cereal was harder to find a place for than the pickles and fruit-- I ran out of storage space so I hid them on the side of my bed against the wall. My Aunt's husband saw them once and I overheard him tell her that my bedroom was ,''The General Mills warehouse.'' That hurt me. It shredded the microscopic amount of dignity that I felt only on occasion. The grocery store clerk asked me what I was doing with, ''All those pickles?'' ''I am making something with them!'' I would never return to her checkout line.  Those sarcastic remarks and smart - ass questions are the only things the heartless and the brainless can come up with. It took me such a long time to find someone to say those important words, ''I Love You--don't do this to yourself.''  And in the end the person who finally said those words to me --was me.





By Their Eyes


Monday, February 6, 2012

DIE - it

When you tell people you were Anorexic there are always those who giggle and say, ''I wish I could get just a little of that!'' Aren't they CUTE?!!!!! Do you want just a little bit of Cancer? You know not what you speak of, shithead. The ones who say that are the ones who could not begin to touch the determination it takes to suffer with this disease. It is out of their league. It would amaze me how after I began to recover a friend of mine ( BIG question mark) ) would obsess about her weight. ''Oh, I can't have any Mexican food today--I can't even go out to eat with you at all--I'm dieting!'' An amateur dieter--they just make me tired. You really wanna lose weight? Well, I can tell you how but you won't be able to do it. Anorexics always know if you are in the kinship and if you are not. Amateur dieters (they go by many names and are disguised as many people) just want to play--at losing weight, at friendship, at life. If  Anorexia almost took your life--your real friends won't mention THEIR weight. The ones who say they are dieting when you have clawed your way up from the pit of Hell--are amateur human beings. ''Can't meet you for dinner--I'm dieting.'' You ask an Anorexic, amateur. We'll talk to ya about how to DIE - it.

Boom-Shaka-Laka-Laka!

I weighed three times a day every day. But the 3:30am weigh-in was always the most powerful. It could destroy me with guilt and self-loathing if it was even slightly over the mark. If it was over 78 I would get-off-the-scale-get-back-on over and over until I couldn't stand myself anymore. That meant that I could eat breakfast and nothing else. No piece of fat-free cheese for lunch, no fruit cocktail and bran cereal for dinner. My exercise routine would remain the same-nine miles a day of walking, then running in place, then bike riding -- all that calorie burning exhaustion with only breakfast to keep me going. I would have to suffer through because I had failed. Reinforcing all the voices that told me I was ''a disappointment''-I was even more of a disappointment to myself. But if I weighed in at 78 at 3:30?--that was different. Remember the song, ''I Wanna Take You Higher''? There's a line that goes, ''Boom-Shaka-Laka-Laka!'' If it stayed on 78--I still had the power. I was controlling all I had to control and doing a HELL of a job. Yeah. BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA-LAKA!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Yourself

Anorexia told me that MY approval was nothing--In order to be worthy enough to eat--I had to seek the blessing of others. I fought so long and so hard against the one I needed to love first--Me.

''Aren't You HUNGRY?!!!!''

Anorexics will always run into the MORONS of the universe who will just blurt out, ''Aren't you Hungry?!'' Well, now. You fucker. Let me tell you about hungry. At my worst I cut out pictures of food and salivated over them--waiting for a self worth that allowed me to eat. Yeah, I'm HUNGRY. I was so ravenous for acceptance and security and control that I starved my bones of calcium so that at age 30 they were like that of a 70 year old. Yeah, I'm HUNGRY.  I longed so for unconditional love that I slept on the floor until I could be deserving of a bed. Yeah, I'm HUNGRY. I'm HUNGRY for so much more than you morons can ever understand.

A Future


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Threaten Me With Death? You'll Have to do Better Than That

Lying on the floor one night before the next calorie burning shift at 9pm--I realized that my heart was slowing down. I could feel it beat -- vibrating through my chest cavity and bonking against the floor -- and then it paused. SLOW. SLOWER. Well, shit--if you have to stop -- GO AHEAD. Taunting me with the threat of death will not weaken my resolve. If I go down I will go down with the only control I have. I may become a corpse but in my scrawny, dead hand I will hold my calorie list for the day. BRADYCARDIA is the medical term for only one of the many afflictions that come with acute eating disorders. Take my life--but it will be under MY CONDITIONS.

Swallowing at 5:08

Starting at 5pm SHARP every night --I ate dinner. Not one second before, not one after. On the launching pad at five I waited with a rock solid self control. I took the first bite at promptly 5:08pm--the next at 5:10. Eating only on the even minutes and ALWAYS finishing by 5:28. It made my fruit cocktail-mixed-with-bran-cereal dinner last as long as I possibly could make it last. But in order to be worthy enough to have food--I could not gobble it down--Anie told me, ''You wanna eat? These are the rules.'' My wretched self was so hungry that I had to watch tv while eating --to distract myself and follow Anie's commands. I watched reruns of ''The Andy Griffith Show''.  ''Barney Fife'' never broke a date with me--he was always there. Good ol' Barn. On the even minutes I could eat and he even made me laugh. No matter how funny the episode though -- I always had a bit of wistfulness--a bit of sadness when I ate--a kind of longing for an unreachable security. I remember sometimes those old sitcom episodes even made me cry. In particular an episode where Andy says to Barney, ''Do the tears on your pillow bespeak the pain that's in your heart?'' Barney nods his head and Andy says,''Yeah, me too.'' I hear ya, Andy. But I have to haul ass and burn off these calories.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Power Gap


Thigh Wars

I am a Purple Heart veteran of The Thigh Wars--honk your horn if you are too.  As hell raising as any combat that ever took place in the Asau Valley--Vietnam.  The calorie assault was swift and terrible. Stack up the casualties--here we go: My red blood cells, My bones, My face and foot nerves, My heart, My soul. Who won? Not me. Yet at the time the gap between my thighs was as ferocious and victorious as General Patton. You don't mess with my thigh gap--now that's a fighting force every bit as formidable as the 101st infantry division.

I Was In Control, Sister

I always ate a can of fruit cocktail for dinner--and I prepared it with a zeal known only to the Anie kinship. I dumped the fruit and all that HIGH CALORIE , gluppy syrup into a strainer--went outside and sprayed her down with the hose. There's that song, ''Gonna Wash that Man Right Outta my Hair''. Well, shit--I washed that rejection and lack of control right off of my fruit.  Standing there with that spray of water--it was really just so peaceful. I was in charge, I was in control, sister. You hear me, don't you? Those sugarey covered pieces of pineapple became those bastards who flushed my heart down the toilet--became that world that repeatedly slapped me around--so I took that hose and did the same to them. How many calories in a teaspoon of that syrup? How much apathy is directed at me ? Fuck off-- you still won't make me fat.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Love Your Fucking Self, Baby.

Yeah, there's the kicker--people would say to me, ''oh, but you need to love yourself!!'' Right.
Talk to my disease--we'll pencil you in between sit-up 909 and 1,011. Maybe then we can begin to even entertain the idea of a self that deserves to be loved. This condition is not for wussies--if you have the Iron will to starve yourself--you must realize that you have a strength and a power to overcome that few ever BEGIN to imagine. This is not about convincing you to get fat --it's about making you aware that you can run the show ( the show being your life) --because this disease will tell you that you cannot. You can go without food for HOW MANY days? You can run HOW MANY miles in subzero weather? This is the force that will save you--and you ARE worth saving and you ARE worth loving.  I know, I know--can't someone --besides yourself-- love you?  First--you must feel your own power. Anorexia tells you that you have no power over anything but your body -- you can take the power that makes you count how many raisins you eat and make it count how much shit you have overcome.  Remember, ''The Force is with You''?  You ARE the Force.

The Viet Cong

EVERYBODY gave up on me. This disease was the ONLY POWER I had--and I considered any attempt to stop me as deadly a threat as if it were the Viet Cong. I would not submit--and even those who said they loved me got real fucking tired of me.''She's gonna die--I've done all I can do.'' Yeah, I was a handful--all 78 pounds of me. If they watched me eat--I needed only half a second of their inattention to hide food in my clothes--If they got on me about exercising--I exercised in the dead of night--with the fan turned on to cover any noises. I had an intervention--but the positive effects of it took years to appear. So my saviors gave up. ''I am willing to help save her life but if it's not within the next-- like two seconds-- I'm ready to take credit for trying and give a great eulogy at her funeral.'' IF YOU LOVE AN ANOREXIC--DON'T GIVE UP. Their resistance is not a personal slap at you--it is all about the only security they know.




Cracker Crumb Bones

In 1990 I had the first of two bone biopsies. My incredible doctor, Hartmut Malluche, told me if he removed the tip of my pelvic bone and looked at it under a microscope it would prove if I was absorbing the powerful bone loss medications that I had been on for a year. I was on Rocaltrol--one every night for three months and Didronel-- two a day for three weeks.  Drugs designed to stop my cracker crumb bones from any further crunching. I was haunted daily with the thought that my bones could snap, crackle, pop-- so I begrudgingly submitted to the biopsy--but what really bothered me was the huge disruption it caused in my intricate Anorexic schedule. My God, I had to be up at 3am to start the first shift of calorie-burning exercises--fitting in a bone biopsy would really fuck things up. My entire meticulously designed starvation would be shot for an entire day -- maybe longer. Now this was something to stress over! So I decided --it just WOULD NOT stop my set-in-stone lifestyle. Never underestimate an Anorexic who is forced out of their routine.  I taped the ice pack they gave me at the hospital to my chopped off bone and started on my walk. Ya know, it is kinda excruciating when you get a piece of bone removed. I made it about a fourth of a mile walking very slowly--then I had to decrease to limping carefully then finally hobbling and halting. I met a friend of a friend on my route -- but his meddling questions and odd little smile certainly did not stop me. Be gone you Eater! I have my world to control--if I don't pass out before the next exercise shift.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Flippin


The Space Between my Thighs

I used to take out a ruler and measure the space between my thighs. The wider it got--the more I could flip the bird at the world.   Reject me again--I STILL won't be fat.  The wider it got--the more layers of amor I had between myself and the pain life inflicted on me.  Take away what I love--a size two will STILL be too big for me. The universe could bomb me--I always had the space between my thighs.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

To Her

August of '89--I was sitting in a waiting room at the University of Kentucky Eating Disorder clinic with a fellow Anorex-ite. We were talking in low voices-afraid that the nurses would overhear us. She said, ''My mother yelled at me--' How can you do this to your dad and me?! ' '' Anorexics are already guilt magnets--feeling responsibility for Everything that goes wrong with Everybody. Somewhere in your upbringing someone dropped the ball. How could she do that to them? How could THEY do that to HER?

Shit-For-Brains

Those with shit-for-brains will tell you, ''You don't survive Anorexia--you survive Cancer, you survive a Heart attack.''  Gee. Lemme think.  When you re-gain bone after being told if your leg bumps a table it will snap--I THINK YOU'RE A SURVIVOR. When you can walk again after dissolving all the padding on the bottom of your feet and setting your foot nerves on fire with neuritis--I THINK YOU'RE A SURVIVOR.   When you can hold a pen again after your fingertips split open--I THINK YOU'RE A SURVIVOR. When you can sit down without feeling your tailbone punch through your skin--I THINK YOU'RE A SURVIVOR. When you can dismiss your own voice and the voices of others who told you that there are conditions that must be met before you can be loved--I THINK YOU'RE A SURVIVOR. I've just never heard of surviving shit-for-brains. Sorry 'bout your luck!

Brace For Impact

This blog is about being in the pit of anorexia and coming up out of the pit. Some of those who have never suffered from this disease will not begin to understand the mindset that I have described--although we are all in the grip of some form of addiction--even those of us who can NEVER admit it. But we don't care about them -- do we? The strange, graphic conditions that I write about are written for those who ARE suffering from this disease or HAVE suffered from it. Those in the pit now may not be ready to consciously admit that their life is slipping away---but in their deepest heart--they know it.  I did.  They simply know no other way to live. It is the last vestige of control. I understand. I am here to tell you-that you CAN live another way--that your life is NOT a crashing plane where you hear the words, ''Brace for Impact.''  You can battle this disease and win--It is not easy--getting well does not make everything magical---but you can get well and NOT BE FAT--which all of us in the anorexia kinship knows is code for, ''I can control parts of my life--and the parts I can't control do not mean I'm not valuable as a human being.'' For the people who love anorexics-maybe this blog will help you to help them--and for those of you who find this disease just too bizarre--look in the mirror.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Leper Look

Remember all those P.I.G.S in high school who wouldn't talk to you ?  ( popular-inept-girls) Several years after graduation I saw some of them--and they were FAT.  Just can't keep that food out of your mouth -can you, popular girl? But I could. Anorexia gave me power over those hateful bitches--you have failed ,popular girl--and I have not. All those years of giving me the ''leper'' look in high school has not kept your ass small. And once again--starvation convinced me that he could be the substitute for SO many things. Acceptance, kindness, approval, love -- even life.

Dessert First


State-Journal.com - A hunger for meaning

State-Journal.com - A hunger for meaning

Feature in Sunday's paper.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Starvation the Consummate Lover

When my period stopped in 1977 it thrilled and terrified me.  Thrilled because it meant I had reached the status of not having enough body fat to sustain a menstrual cycle and terrified because a tiny, low voice said, ''It's hurting you.'' And it was.
My bones began the happy process of leeching calcium out of themselves--preparing to snap. Yet I was only aware that I was freed from the longing to search for my Prince Charming and his penis.
Always afraid that I could never attract the self-validating presence of the mighty dick--Amenorrhea set me free.
Low hormones, no hormones, whatever. I no longer worried that mr cock might never want me - no longer worried that he wouldn't love me enough to stand up and salute--making me a ''fulfilled woman''.
Instead of worrying about men--I stayed awake planning how many sit-ups would burn off the calories in half a cup of fat-free chocolate pudding.
The yearning for a man no longer existed for me--an alphabetized list of calorie contents--now that was SEXY.
I could look at a man like a piece of cold shit--my desire was less than zero. Oh, men were my friends--but below the belt--they bored me.
Starvation was my lover now. And although cruel--he gave me the gifts of an odd arrogance, a strange peace.
Starvation was always there for me--always accepting, never rejecting. He never said ,''You're just not pretty enough.'' He never promised to call and did not, he never rolled his eyes, he never ignored me.
Yes, he was definitely a dictator--making me serve time for every bite of food that entered my body. He could wake me at three am and force me to run in place for two hours. He could make me shake uncontrollably at the slightest breeze because I had no body fat left to insulate me BUT he always rewarded me with the feeling of control.
And this feeling was a million, zillion times better than any orgasm Prince Charming's penis could ever even hope to bring.
Starvation LOVED me and he ravaged me like the consummate lover that he was.


My Little Family

I could always remember the international debt ceiling or who said what at the summit of eight or who was filibustering in congress. While dying on a daily 200 calories --while i was out walking in below zero temps or dangerously high heat indexes-- cartoon ideas flooded to me--my brain could not figure how to live without anorexia but it could knock the shit out of political cartooning ---and it always did.
My ability to think and draw and starve were my little family--those three things never left me--never died on me, never criticized, never said,  ''That's it.'' The rest of my life could be whirling like a tornado--but my little family never abandoned me.  ''Hey, baby, you can ALWAYS THINK AND DRAW AND STARVE---we are your rocks.''  Like Jesus said--those three told me that they, ''would never leave you or forsake you.'' Yet starving would always say that without her the other two wouldn't be worthy enough by themselves--but that was okay--all of us in the little family knew that, completely understood and accepted it. Starving was the Queen--she brought worth--she had the power. She was in charge of the little family and we loved her---could barely live WITH her---but most certainly could not live WITHOUT her.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Inside my knee sock

Desperate to convince my doctor that I had gained weight--I hid a 2 pound weight in the pocket of my jacket. Before I got on the scale though the nurse blindsided me with, ''Take off your jacket!'' I was determined to make this idea work so the next visit I hid the weight inside my knee sock--i was so weak that it took a real effort to walk with that weight pulling on my leg--and in the end all it took was one look at me to know that i had not gained an ounce.




Friday, January 13, 2012

The White House

IN 1989 I attended a White House political cartoonist luncheon. I did not worry that i couldn't keep a conversation going with the President--I worried that i might be forced to swallow bread. Sitting next to the first President Bush I skillfully pretend-ate. I moved my food around on my plate, took tiny bites, hid food underneath food and said to myself, '' You are getting so good at this you can even do it at the White House.''

Thin could do it all.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Second Life-Final Shit

I find it so ironic that it took me 18 years to scrape through Anorexia---the length of a SECOND childhood, a SECOND teenhood--Because the first left me with that huge Grand Canyon of unworthiness and fear. All Anorexics know that part of the whole thing is feeling that you are not worthy enough to eat, not worthy enough to sleep in a real bed
--not worthy enough to be loved.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Starving Baby

‎''Starving Baby'' Let's begin.


The day after i graduated from high school i became a top-notch, hard -core ANOREXIC. And i worked it with every ounce of my being for 18 years. Walking, jogging, bike riding just plain damn starving i took my original 110 pounds down to a brittle, anemic, jaundiced 78. No diet pills, no appetite blocks just an iron will that said,''if you want a gram of worthiness--don't eat.'' Exhausted from having to burn off every calorie i took in of the 200 i took in daily i resorted to feasting on frozen diet coke---it crunched like food but no calorie worries. I slept on the floor--classic anorexic behavior---not worthy of the bed. When visiting friends--i would get into bed and after they were asleep--back down to the floor--the only place that accepted me.
My tail bone began to wear through my skin---no padding left . So i taped a big wad of gauze on my butt and kept going. My finger tips and toes split open--oh,well--what the hell--i was controlling it,babe-- Scraping my nails across the uncertainties of life while careening into the abyss below..
Anorexia has the HIGHEST fatality rate of any mental illness --it is possible to survive it--i did just barely---although not without many battle scars--but it is quite often swept under the rug---people cannot bring themselves to try to understand the intensity of its origin.
So , that being said--i am beginning a series of illustrations and cartoons about this disease--being in the pit of it --and climbing up from it--called ''Starving Baby''--which i was and still am kinda. Somewhere out there in cyber world i want a gal to read this and say, ''yeah--that's me--she gets it'' Because , baby, do i ever.