Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
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Why would a talented young woman enter into a torrid affair with hunger, drugs, sex, and death? Through five lengthy hospital stays, endless therapy, and the loss of family, friends, jobs, and all sense of what it means to be "normal," Marya Hornbacher lovingly embraced her anorexia and bulimia -- until a particularly horrifying bout with the disease in college put the romance of wasting away to rest forever. A vivid, honest, and emotionally wrenching memoir, Wasted is the story of one woman's travels to reality's darker side -- and her decision to find her way back on her own terms.
diet. What do you call that? One word that comes to mind: “suicide.” Factor in, here, that most people have a funny habit of sleeping. I did not have this habit. Certainly not in Washington. I was afraid I'd miss something. I was manic, and starving, and starving explodes mania into a sort of psychedelic passion for wakefulness, a deluded disdain for such base needs as sleep. Most people sleep seven hours a night. That's seven hours where their bodies are essentially at rest and don't require as
would make me into a different character, a character who might, finally, be all right. I learned very early to choose my lines carefully. I still have a terrible habit, when people pause too long between words, of feeding them their line. I know my lines in advance. I dress for occasions, for personae. There are women in my closet, hanging on my hangers, a different woman for each suit, each dress, each pair of shoes. I hoard clothes. My makeup spills from the bathroom drawers, and there are
I had always feared it would do: It defected. Without my permission, and without warning, my body began to “bloom.” I woke up one morning with a body that seemed to fill the room. Long since having decided I was fat, it was a complete crisis when my body, like all girls' bodies, acquired a signify- cantly greater number of actual fat cells than it had ever possessed. At puberty, what had been a nagging, underlying discomfort with my body became a full-blown, constant obsession. With fourth
singular entity that we're all after. The trouble is, I think we are after that one body. We grew up with the impression that underneath all this normal flesh, buried deep in the excessive recesses of our healthy bodies, there was a Perfect Body just waiting to break out. It would look exactly like everyone else's perfect body. A clone of the shapeless, androgynous models, the hairless, silicone-implanted porn stars. Somehow we, in defiance of nature, would have toothpick thighs and burgeoning
felt a split in my brain: I didn't recognize her. I divided into two: the self in my head and the girl in the mirror. It was a strange, not unpleasant feeling of disorientation, dissociation. I began to return to the mirror often, to see if I could get that feeling back. If I sat very still and thought: Not me-not me-not me over and over, I could retrieve the feeling of being two girls, staring at each other through the glass of the mirror. I didn't know then that I would eventually have that