Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Quotables...

Some suffer from the disease of writing, and it becomes chronic in their sick minds. -Juvenal

It is impossible to write a poem, or perhaps even to really enjoy poetry, without a certain unsoundness of mind. -Macaulay

It's hip to be miserable when you're young and intellectual. -Carly Simon

Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth. -Pema Chodron

The greatest miracle I know is that even when it appears love can't conquer all, it does. -Anne Lamott (I love, love, love her!!! She is at least part of the reason I'm still here.)

All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. --Julian of Norwich

What you did to me made me feel myself something awful / a voice once stentorian is now again meek and muffled / it took me such a long time to get back up the first time you did it / I spent all I had to get it back and now it seems I've been outbidded... -Fiona Apple

Don't give or sell your soul away 'cause all that you have is your soul. - Tracy Chapman

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Minimalist poetry time!

This morning the clouds
were shot through with gold
as if someone had sewn up
a wound in the sky with
glowing thread
-AG

Jumper

It would be so easy
to step from the ledge,
Like stepping off the diving board
When he was eight years old,
His eyes shut, wet eyelashes
brushing his cheeks
and his fists clenched
against the impact—

and he would fall
as he always had,
like a pebble worn smooth
by the lives rushing over
his own,

and finally tear through
the surface,
of the water
and of his small pains.
-AG

becomes you

and then suddenly that identity consumes you, devours you, becomes you. And you and it are one and the same, melded completely; and what was once only a soulless noun (or a gerund maybe) has become your entire being.

I have ‘become’ in blinding flashes, have become “gay” as solidly and surely as a ten foot tall cube of granite, and as difficult to ignore; have been christened “epileptic” and so assumed it, so become it, no longer a woman with a face or a given name, only the name given to me, only seizing in wild spasms, limbs arcing through space and meaning.

and now, the meat of the post:

Recovery from anorexia and bulimia is like moving to another country—exhilarating and terrifying, fraught with anticipation and doubt. After ten years in the lowlands of compulsion, I am traveling towards the hills.

I am reminded of the struggle everyday, not least when I sit down to eat. There are other more subtle temptations and tortures, however. The grocery store is a maelstrom of contradictory urgings—potato chips glistening with grease share aisles with low-fat whole-wheat crackers. The produce aisle, my old haunt, is backed up against the snack food aisle’s decadent bazaar of pastries, chips and crackers. In the checkout line no fewer than a dozen headlines scream at me from the womens’ magazines assembled there—‘the crash diet that actually works,’ ‘drop a dress size in ten days,’ ‘eat more and lose weight,’ ’10 exercises to sculpt that flab.’ I will myself not to look at the article on crash dieting, tightening my grip on the shopping cart instead. The lanky redhead on the cover of the magazine casts a look in my direction that would put a siren to shame—“You know you want to look,” she coos softly. “Just five, maybe ten more pounds. My, my, look at those hips…”

In a culture that elevates thinness to the pedestal previously occupied by moral purity (both have been equated with ultimate happiness, in any event) it is impossible to escape the pounding surf of explicit and implicit judgment. Going out to eat with friends, I hear them lament their naughtiness at ordering a fudgy dessert, as if a sweet tooth were a moral failing. “The calories that must be in this!” they exclaim. I watch them eat it, refusing the offer of a spoonful, and tell myself not to run to the bathroom (despite my wishes otherwise). There is no respite from the maddening repetition of the new tenets of the American woman’s faith—that calories are bad, fat diabolical, and thin the Holy Grail.

Some days it seems like too much. I feel as if my skin has been peeled away, and each advertisement and conversation is like lemon juice in the wound. Mere existence seems too painful, and I feel too sensitive and vulnerable to live. But I keep breathing, and my heart keeps beating, and each day I survive to fight some other day.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

There's an article in my college newspaper in which I am featured. Witness:

http://www.cornellsun.com/media/storage/paper866/news/2006/05/01/News/Survivors.Stories-1897479.shtml?norewrite200605040237&sourcedomain=www.cornellsun.com

Yes, it's a long address; just click on it, all right?

I got out of full-day treatment and am now eating dinner on my own. It's a fucking struggle, but I have to believe that it will ultimately be worth it. Anorexia is a cast-iron bitch, no denying it. Apologies for the language, but it feels like the shortest, most adequate way to convey the depth of needless, pointless, fruitless suffering this disease causes. And some days the cure feels worse than the disease. Case in point: today I feel so bloated and full that I'm wondering if perhaps I accidentally ended up pregnant; this feels like, oh, the eighth or ninth month.

I'm also reading a great book called "The Wisdom of No Escape" by Pema Chodron (there are umlauts over both of the O's in her name, but I can't figure out how to make umlauts show up; I usually choose the 'special characters' option in Corel, since I regularly have to summon up those weird sideways colons for German literature papers, but no dice here). It's about just sitting with feelings--negative or positive--not judging, simply being.

Just be.