Ana Gets Wrecked

I’ve wavered between telling y’all more about my horse-life, or more about my life-long struggle with anorexia….and decided that I’d give Ana one more round for today, and then on to more horsey adventures!

After we moved too far away for me to get to the stables, I fell into a deep depression.  I wrote maudlin poetry, drew frightening pictures, and read dark books like The Death Ship by B. Traven, all of Herman Hesse, and anything I could find to satisfy my morbid fascination with concentration camps, which had burned up most of my ancestors.

I took long walks in the fields with my dog Honey, and would lie on my back in a grove of pine trees for hours, listening to the sigh of the wind in the branches, inhaling the resinous fragrance, losing myself in the sensation of floating out of my body in trance.

On Saturdays, I went to art class at the important art college where my dad was a professor.  Since the age of five I had attended Saturday Class.  It was Mandatory. The only allowable excuse for not going was to have a fever.  Otherwise, I went.  On one hand it was part of the culture of my family, to be immersed in the arts, and on the other, I think it may have had something to do with my being out from under my mother’s feet.

As a fourteen-year-old, I attended the Teenage Class, which encompassed the entire high school age group.  This was both good and bad.  There were many older kids who came with enthusiasm for art and an ambition to get into college-level art school at the prestigious institution where we studied.  Then there were others whose main ambition was looking to pick up chicks.

I was so naive, I couldn’t tell the difference between a lamb and a wolf, or a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Pardon the cliche, but it was true.  I knew nothing about sex beyond Caroline’s parakeets and what I had seen the cows and bulls doing in the pasture next to our house .  It was horribly bestial, and I ran off whenever I heard the bellows and hootings of the bovine mating ritual.

So when Richard, a lanky seventeen-year-old with shoulder-length honey-colored hair and a shaggy beard approached me, I thought he was just the coolest thing. He talked sweet and said I was beautiful and went on about all kinds of high-falutin’ philosophical bullshit, and asked me out.  My mother said no, but he could come over to the house if he wanted to.

He wanted to.  I don’t know what was going on in my mother’s head, but she allowed Richard and I to visit in my room, with the door closed.  Years later, looking back, I see the scenario and admire Richard greatly for having the self-control not to pounce on me like a cat on an unsuspecting mouse.

But he did have something up his sleeve, and that something was a joint.  Oh boy!  What a thrill!  I had heard all about pot from my dad, who regularly cussed out his students for coming into the studio stoned, and I was dying to see what all the shouting was about.

We lit some incense–a lot of incense, like four sticks–to cover the smell, and then we lit up.  It was good stuff.  I coughed my brains out.  Richard laughed.  After I recovered, he gave me another hit.  And another.  Pretty soon we were both giggling uncontrollably.

I’m wrecked,” I said, nearly choking with hilarity.  Richard exploded into laughter and lost his hit, spluttering.

I’m hungry!” I said, puzzled at the sensation and the thought.  I wasn’t hungry.  I was STARVING.  I had to have something to eat.  NOW.   I got up and ran downstairs to the kitchen, leaving Richard upstairs to finish the joint.  I opened the fridge.  AHA!  There was a container of cold spaghetti and meatballs from last night’s dinner.  I grabbed it, got two forks, and ran back upstairs.

We giggled and gobbled spaghetti until it was gone.  Still hungry, we both tromped downstairs to raid the kitchen.

My mom was lying on the couch reading.

“Glad you guys are having such a good time!  Help yourselves,” she chirped.  I guess she was happy to see me interacting with another human being, and apparently enjoying it.

We went for the ice cream, took it out to the back stoop, and polished off a half gallon of butter pecan.  By then my stomach, unaccustomed to being so stuffed, was complaining loudly.  It was time for Richard to go, and I was glad, because I was really afraid I was going to throw up.

Richard very kindly left me a couple of joints for my solitary smoking pleasure.  And that was the beginning of my dope-smoking days, and the end of Ana.  Sort of.

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  1. gracielynne62013

     /  October 19, 2013

    Well, it is good to know that marijuana is beneficial for something. I have struggled with anorexia also as a teenager and a college student. Although I didn’t think I was fat when all I saw was bones sticking out everywhere. I looked back at a picture from a college annual once and I looked like a skeleton. Scary time for me. It had to do with so much criticism and rejection from my mother and also my father as well as being the target for bullies in high school. People can be so cruel with words, it is such a shame.

    • It’s terrible, trying to make yourself so small that no one will notice you; or so thin you will fit somebody else’s idea of attractive; or just try to quietly disappear. Have you recovered from your eating disorder? I have on the outside, but not on the inside. Always this little voice that I would like to strangle.

      You’re actually fortunate that you saw the bones for what they were. I worked on a hospital ward for adolescents with eating disorders, and so many of them would point to a bone sticking out of their leg and say “See? That’s fat. That needs to go.” There was always a hypercritical mother in the equation, and usually a critical father as well. I starting seeing the poor kids as symptoms of family dysfunction.

      Laura P. Schulman, MD, MA “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”–David Farragut, at the Battle of Mobile Bay

      • gracielynne62013

         /  October 19, 2013

        Oh, I so know that voice that you want to strangle. I am reading a book on narcissistic mothers that rings true to some of the traits that my mother had.
        I find it ironic that my parents constantly berated me for eating all the time (snacking) when I was skin and bones.
        I became a track star and when I came home from a run one day I remember them telling me I was going to get fat because I was eating an apple.
        It gets totally crazy to live in that kind of family.
        My mother was the one who told me 7 years ago that she thought I was getting a bit “chunky”. I was angry at first because I thought “there we go again.” But I realized that telling me that scared her as much as it scared me. She was terrified that I would die when I had starved myself into a skeleton as a young lady. The problem that I had when I was going through that stage in my life is that the damn scale was my God. If I was 120 or lower I had a good day but one pound above 120 and I was down. So I threw that stinking scale in the trash one day and when she said I was chunky I actually was, I had no idea how much I weighed.
        I bought a scale and found out that I was close to 180 lbs. I was so shocked. I am 5’9″, so 180 lbs is too much for my light frame.
        This time though I didn’t want to kill myself with dieting. If I ate a large meal then I would skip the next meal.I lost 50 lbs. I was dating a toxic man also during that time and whenever he would verbally abuse me I would stop eating.
        God, it seems like the ruts of negativity that I grew up in just keep pulling me back in.
        I am still battling the demons but I am at a healthy weight and I guard myself diligently from getting too skinny.

        • Wow. You’ve had a long and painful struggle. May God give you the strength you need to keep moving forward, in the right direction, without pressure from yourself or others.

          • gracielynne62013

             /  October 19, 2013

            Yes, now it is myself which constantly criticizes me. Oh, how well I learned from others. Yet, I have not heaped that sin upon others, only myself and I am learning to stop killing the soul that God so graciously gave me.

  2. Natalya

     /  October 19, 2013

    I can relate to being physically recovered from your eating disorder but never quite getting rid of the ED’s voice. I wasn’t anorexic for more than a year then got my period back and never lost it even when at a very low weight (high 70s-low 80s). Maybe my body just adjusted. I’m naturally slim anyway but I didn’t think so for a long time. So I had an ED-NOS for around 15 years and “recovered” two years ago but the thoughts haven’t vanished completely; although I am pretty good at ignoring them now 🙂 I’m still not used to women’s sizes though since I spent so long in children’s sizes. Thanks for sharing your struggles with anorexia.

    • Wow, you struggled with the ED monster for a long time. Congrats on your ongoing recovery. I still consider myself in recovery even though it’s been maybe 10 years since I last restricted/exercised. I still think about it almost daily. Yeah, wearing adult sizes is a shock to the system, no???

      • Natalya

         /  October 19, 2013

        Yeah, I think of my ED as an addiction so will always consider myself “in recovery”. For me, it was an addiction as much as smoking or alcohol can be. Just how my brain works. Some of us have greater propensity for forming addictions 😦

        LOL, I think it’s comical when I think about myself but only because it’s too painful to cry about it. I’m happy you have managed 10 years of recovery-that’s awesome! Hopefully I can get there without relapsing. Stress always makes it an “easy” coping tool for me even though it’s unhealthy.

        • Yup, it’s “just” another addiction that we have to learn to manage because it never really goes away. My 86 year old mother still watches every calorie (or thinks she does LOL) and gets very distressed if she gains a pound, and stuffs herself into my old tiny jeans. Oh well.

          • Natalya

             /  October 20, 2013

            Wow, that’s sad an 86 year old is that concerned about such things. Why isn’t she enjoying her final years more fully? Eating disorders suck the vitality out of life. I’m sorry you’re mother is like that.

            • OMG she has a very fast metabolism, drinks these milkshake things at the fast food joints, but at the table she will only take the smallest piece of chicken, half of a potato, etc. In part I think it is a show, still competing with her sister who is 90 and weighs about 80 lb and crams her feet into size 5 shoes….I think for my mother it’s more about that than true anorexia. So I say, if it makes her happy, have at it. She has been a healthy weight for 50 or 60 years. I think her obsession with food did affect me, but not as much as being called “fat ass.” Oh well.

              • Natalya

                 /  October 20, 2013

                Wow, still that is kind of sad two elderly ladies are so concerned about their appearance. Aren’t we supposed to give some of that up as we “mature”?


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