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"Dye your hair suicide blonde"

Kirsten Wright
by

Kirsten Wright

on 28 February 2012

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Transcript of "Dye your hair suicide blonde"

(cc) photo by medhead on Flickr
"The way you look makes everyone hungry..
...you got the ways and means to make it all right"
A personal recollection of going suicide blonde.


Kirsten Wright


Dear girl,

This is for you. It may not be helpful. It may be silly, may just spur you on, shove you deeper into the throes of the all-consuming nightmare in which you may be lost. But I don't think it will. Somehow, I have an irrational feeling it won't make anything worse. And we're both well versed in "irrational" behavior, objectively speaking.
My dad told me that someday, once I took a final bow and finished waltzing with my monster, I would write about everything, using my words as a gentle hand to sweep you, anyone, up off of this horrific, terrorizing dance floor. My words would encourage you to remember how you’re beautiful, and, contradictorily, that appearance doesn’t matter. I would tell you that it gets better, that eventually you’ll see things in a different light. And you might.
But I can’t tell you that story yet, I can’t tell you because I don’t believe it and because I’m still dancing on the edge, just like you, almost every day. I want to promise you that eventually you’ll wake up and just be over it. Or at least believe you should be. But now, I can’t tell you that.
As a compromise, I will tell you what this dance was like for me. So that maybe you make the same decisions, maybe you avoid them, maybe you realize you’re not quite as alone than you thought. There’s nothing more isolating than sitting on the cracked tile bathroom floor staring into the too-familiar cold porcelain bowl, or hiding in your bedroom alone, under the covers, until everyone stops knocking on your door, inviting you to come to dinner. These dance steps are shockingly similar for so many victims, though we feel we’re spinning --pirouetting -- so far out of control that surely, no one else has ever comparably performed.
After long enough, my feet just got too tired to dance any longer. My monster wants to dance, and I feel the invitation with every step, every bite, beckoning through every glass-paned reflection passed on my daily path.
Right now I don’t know if I’m hanging my dancing shoes up for good or simply resizing them for a more challenging number.
Right now none of that matters, because right now I just want to tell you that you’re not alone. And I think that maybe, hopefully, you’ll simply fatigue of dancing, too.
dancers everywhere
Lose your identity,
wander in any direction
Yeah, that's the road to heaven's door
Dye your hair suicide blonde
Dye your hair suicide blonde


You know the way you look makes everyone hungry
Are you a key to heaven's door?
Dye your hair suicide blonde
Dye your hair suicide blonde

Most of today’s arguably emaciated models are over six feet tall and weigh just a few pounds more than the average twelve-year-old American. That these undeniably hungry girls might hold a bit of contempt for iconic model Twiggy would be less than shocking, as the 95 pound waif almost single-handedly kicked off the era of “thin is in” for models worldwide. Before the prepubescent-boy-figured teen caught the fashion world’s icy gaze in the oh-so-controversial 1960s, the exemplar of a ‘beautiful’ woman had less to do with pin-thin and more to do with glowing skin encasing alluring curves. In fact, just a few years before Twiggy’s underweight frame became the world’s new standard for beauty, blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe was turning heads at a substantial size 14. How scandalous! A womanly, voluptuous figure viewed as more attractive than a shapeless, sickly rod? Madness. The debut of Twiggy with her slimmer-than-life limbs, dark, hollow eyes and recognizable pout earned her the title as both the “Face of 1966” and British Woman of the Year, and ushered in a still booming movement of the craze for living skeletons in the fashion industry.
I wasn’t ever “sick” before, even though some people thought so. If you’re curious, I was always tall and extra long and more gawky and awkward than I felt I, karmic-wise, deserved. Even so, I was somehow swept up into the fashion world at age 16, and never thought once about my eating habits. My mom called me a “skinnie-minnie,” still not sure what that’s about, and friends and family marveled at how thin I looked in the newspaper department store ads that came out weekly with my face scattered throughout.











It wasn’t until college, drinking for the first time, and independently choosing my own meals that I lost the pin-thin physique I always just happened to have. My parents commented on the change-- really fun, those conversations -- but still, I was just a college freshman enjoying her year. None of it mattered until a specific correspondence left me red-in-the-face with a medium-sized rip in my typical layer of confidence.
Not long after that, a short phone call with my international agent from L.A. Models explained to me that unless I came back to L.A. looking even better than when she first booked me, I’d be, in simple terms spoken with a British flair, “out of this game, for now. You do understand, love?”


Let me give you some context here, girl, to help explain why we care so much.
First, know that most of this is Twiggy's fault.
Don't let that face fool you.
I had never been a "light eater". Food is just too delicious -- I think most humans agree. A summer of dieting to return to model-worthy shape was not only a daunting concept, but also a completely foreign one. Thankfully, I had the convenient aid of my parents' new network marketing business to carry me through: a diet plan called Medifast. I got to eat 5 packets of pre-made food per day, plus one "lean and green" meal of lean protein and green vegetables, or sometimes spaghetti squash. The goddmamn spaghetti squash.

Behold, packaged goods on the go!

The thing about Medifast is that it puts your body in a (semi-dangerous) fat-burning state called ketosis. That's when the pounds really start falling away. This is only achieved, however, after 3 perfectly consistent days of the "five and one." (You know, five packets and one 'lean and green'. You really have to talk the talk in the diet world).

If you cheat at all -- that means one square of chocolate, one bite of an apple,
anything
not prescribed by the plan -- your body is thrown off and jumps out of the ketosis state which took you three days to enter. And here's the other catch: You're supposed to stop feeling underfed and tired after those three days. So there's a huge incentive to not cheat.

I vowed to do the diet perfectly. It's so simple, I remember thinking. Just eat the right shit, I wrote in my journal. It' SO simple. No matter where I went, out to meals with friends, around town or on road trips, I brought my packets and packed up a lean and green. People said I didn't need to diet, but I told them they didn't understand. And at that point, it was true. The modeling industry is different. You can't be a 140 pound model anywhere, anymore. You just can't.
At home, in the more relaxed Portland fashion market, I could still model at my larger size. During a two-day photo shoot at the summer's beginning, the photographer, Kevin, wanted raw, pained emotion to permeate each shot. I came home after the first work day and mentioned to my parents that Kevin had commented that I looked "so thin" compared to my last booking with him. Both of my parents were (I admit) justifiably surprised: "Well that's funny, isn't it? Huh! You were so much skinnier last time - you agree, right?"
I suppose I did agree, but that didn't stop me from running up to my room and crying like a ten year old right afterwards. I slammed the door, pouted, and harnessed all of it the next day at work. During a break, Kevin innocently offered me a Red Vine. But I obviously couldn't accept it, not after the embarrassment of the night before. I promised myself to work as hard as I could to never have conversations like that anymore, ever again.
The tear-filled photographs were completely authentic. Hungry, angry, definitely pained. Most of all, though? Not skinny.
play.
typical daily 8 mile route at Oxy
I ran far, I ran fast, and I ran harder and further than I ever had, ever before, every day. On a Medifast diet, when you're taking in about 1,000 calories a day, you're not supposed to exercise very much. But speeding the process up couldn't be a bad idea, I argued. I thought it was clever. And when I got back to school, I felt disciplined, not sick, I felt accomplished, not victimized. I could play in a frisbee game for 90 minutes, I was in such good shape. But I was also tired.
daily 8 mile route at home
Is it suicide is if takes five years?
The ‘average’ woman in the world is only five feet, four inches tall. Though seven inches shorter than the average model, so-called ‘regular women’ still carry around an extra 35 pounds. Awesome. Eating disorders have developed, thus, both within modeling industry and as a reaction to it, and have become the highest cause of death from mental illness. Not depression, not illnesses that produce a byproduct of intentional suicide. No, more women are in fact incidentally killing themselves through a slow, painful process to ‘fit in’ than the depressed-stricken kill themselves on purpose. About 40,000 commit depression-influenced suicide every year. 70 million people in the world suffer from eating disorders, and of those who don’t receive treatment, twenty percent die. With many impressionable young girls watching and idolizing these runway models with ribs poking through their backs, and still more impressionable young girls walking the runways with their protruding bones, many activists have tried desperately to alter the norms of the modeling industry. It is a life or death matter, after all.
Lose your identity, wander in any direction
"Bones.
The phone call in June, when,
In beautiful irony,
You demanded I be little smaller,
For your bigger market in L.A.,
I was standing in the bathroom, looking in the mirror,
Holding a magazine whose cover I was on.
I dropped it. I said, “okay.” I meant it."

Don’t blame me for missing our first meeting that autumn,
I was attending my first round of therapy.
Forcibly.
They made me go, I told them I was fine.
Bones.
“But why?”
I remember when you asked, I responded with a shrug.
So listen now:
When your parents scan your figure, and unblinkingly declare,
“Honey, you’re not thin, like you should be, like you were.. But we can help you, we will fix you...”
Do you see?
apple 100 / 0 / 20
cottage cheese 180 / 3.5 / 6
yogurt 100/ 0 / 13
8am run 6 miles (hard!)
9am gym
drink water!!
yogurt, coffee, veggies, salmon for dinner
frisbee practice
gym
125. goal, 123. three days. Do it!
Are you being ON PURPOSE?! Look at your hand. LOOK!
500 sit ups
30 back lifts
20 push ups
30 sets on the machines
450 calories biking or run 5 miles
I am smart
I am beautiful
I am thin
I am energetic
I am glowing
I am happy
I am strong
I am stunning
I am successful
Thanksgiving:
only turkey and vegetables
one piece of pie
Do NOT overdo it
leave the table if you have to
do NOT eat more than one piece
no mashed potatoes
drink tons of water before dinner
10am workout before activities
During the summer, my dad gave me a book called the On Purpose Person. It teaches you how to focus on specific desires you have within your life and how to, then, effectively pursue them. Through a process of elimination, you select your five most important goals and work towards them through everything you do. Before you make any decision in your daily life, as small as what time to set your alarm clock to which classes you choose and what career path to pursue, you ask yourself, "is this an on-purpose decision?" Will this bring me closer to my goals or further away? Every morning during the summer and all through my fall semester at Oxy, I drew a lightbulb -- the symbol on the cover of the On Purpose Person book -- on the inside of my ring finger as a constant reminder to make decisions in my daily life that brought me closer to my goal weight and appearance. In reflection, I'm pretty sure that's not why my Dad gave me the book.
never go back for seconds
if you're hungry, do 30 sit ups
wait twenty minutes when you get hungry to see if it passes
tell everyone who asks you to eat that you've already eaten
no drinking if you haven't worked out that day
if you weigh 121 by Saturday, new pair of jeans
I...
really should have added
"I am dying."
But I didn't really think about it. Or believe it. I didn't think anyone was telling the truth, that I really was too thin. Nobody could see accurately, except for me. And I just wanted to keep my prized summer work safe, and no one GOT that. I couldn't ruin everything I'd built up. Not after all five shitty packets of fake food for three of the shittiest months ever.
Most of my days and evenings in class were spent taking notes.
My notes had little to do with lectures or academics.
But they were dilligent, attentive, and thorough enough to make any professor proud.
Washington!
Oregon!
I hoped, desired, worked to receive stares and turn heads when I arrived back in Eagle Rock -- I ran every day to "California Girls Are Unforgettable" and "Sexy Bitch," and usually fell asleep to "A Girl Like You"; I wasn't kidding around with this stuff. And in reality, upon arrival my wish was granted times a thousand! I received more double takes, classic long up-down glances and blatant gawks than I had imagined or bargained for. Unfortunately, I realized, and not quickly enough, that most of the stares were not ogles at my pristine figure, but frightened looks from people who recognized the lack of 30 important pounds on my (often trembling) frame. Worried friends commented, and even strangers at parties and concerts approached me to discuss my radically changed appearance. Needless to say, I did not take this well. Especially when my ex-boyfriend, ex-best friend, drunkenly confronted and assaulted me because I had "ruined" myself.
The day I moved back in to Oxy, I held my head high, nervous and excited, ready to show off my completed summer project. I carried in my scale in my left arm and balanced my full length Target mirror with my right. Turning to my mom, I laughed -- "man, people would think this looks really bad." Because I was not sick; I was careful, attentive -- I was just a model. And a good one, at that.
I was in therapy two days later.
This was right before that
The drunken name calling,
That was pleasant,
‘African Refugee’ might have been my favorite,
And that stung, those
Whiskey words,
from an ex-best friend.
”You will never be attractive again,
You African Refugee.
Why did you ruin yourself?”
I had no answer.

“What happened to you?”
Asked another far-too-open
Acquaintance with a poking nose,
Phrasing his question in the passive,
As if I didn’t choose this,
As if I didn’t work myself to the brink of death
To make myself this way.
Not everyone knew I was sick. Like the people who didn't know me before, who couldn't recognize my transformation. And often, the ones who know you're sick still cannot comprehend the magnitude, the extent to which you are ill. The extent to which every second of your life is devoted to, willingly or not, maintaining "perfection." I'm sure you know what I mean, girl...
play me
And she fights for her life
as she puts on her coat..
And She goes,
Nobody knows
play first
"K-
here's the thing: I can't stop worrying about you. and i know thats not your problem, but I need you to do a few things for me.
1) we need to call your parents
2) you need to be seeing a specialist. i found this one: http://www.thebellavita.com/about.htm that looks really good and has a good outpatient program. it's really nearby so it wouldn't have to interfere too much with oxy life. Promise me you'll call them and set up an appointment?

I know it probably feels like finding real help means admitting you have a real problem.. but the thing is you're in a dangerous state physically right now and I'm terrified and would hate myself forever if I didn't do everything I could."
So I ran.
"While still in the early stages of getting to know her, somebody had mentioned her having an eating disorder. I really didn’t know what to make of it. What did having an eating disorder actually mean? At the time, all I really had to go off of was my distant high school lecture in Psychology that briefly touched on the topic for an hour or so. But the fact, or rumor, remained.

I figured it would be best to keep an eye out and be sensitive toward anything related to food, dieting, and the general, idealized body image. The more time I began to spend with her, however, the less and less I was convinced that she had any debilitating condition. She, more than most of the people I had ever met, was cheerful, optimistic, and full of light. It soon got to the point where I forgot all together about eating disorders.

Only when she decided to confide in me and begin revealing the struggle with which she had been dealing did I learn about all the hidden turmoil. I was both furious and enamored. Who could have ever lead someone to deal with such pain, and how did she fight past it with so much strength- all the while keeping up with the whirlwind of academics and social pressure that is college. Though to many she remains only a model of beauty and elegance, she will forever stand as a model of inspiration encouraging me to stay strong and appreciate the beauty in life."
I decided that I needed a goal weight. I chose 125 because I started Occidental at an even 130. I figured I'd get back to my beginning weight, and then lose five more pounds, just in case I "messed up" during the year and gained a bit of weight. Just covering my bases, you know?
145
132
Constantly in the back of my mind was the fact that before the summer was over I would have to go back and visit my Portland agency to take new digital photos --- just "digitals" in the biz -- before I flew off to California. I had to prove that I had dutifully followed orders and "toned up my thighs."

I wanted so badly to be 125 pounds before the digitals day rolled around, but it just wasn't happening. I was eating all the right stuff and running every day, but I couldn't push off the 130 mark. I weighed myself 10 times a day, watching for changes in even tenths of a pound. When the hot August day arrived, my 130 pound self grudgingly drove to the talent office. I ashamedly took off my outer clothing to reveal my swimsuit (the typical wardrobe for digitals), and heartlessly posed for the shots. I asked my agent to send me copies so I could review them, and I solemnly drove home.
I went home, opened my email, and then bawled on the couch in fetal position for about an hour. My mom came downstairs and I, inbetween breathy pants and hot tears tried to explain to her why I was so upset. "My thighs are still carrying so much fat on them, my face is still all pudged, I have worked so hard for nothing." She sat there trying to console me, unsure of what to say. "You look so thin, Kirsten, I just don't see what you see. You look SO different than you did before, you look so small."
I wouldn't hear it. I wouldn't, and my throat went scratchy red and my eyes swelled up shiny red and I cried and cried and there wasn't a solution or an agreement to come to except I decided I wouldn't leave the house, couldn't go back to school, couldn't embarrass myself anymore until I had fixed myself.
I couldn't even convince myself get up and go on my run that day, I was too sad, too defeated, too broken.
Too sick.

In fact, I didn't think I was sick, and neither did my parents. Because we all saw me every day, shrinking just a bit more each night, none of us noticed my body wasting away. Thank god, in retrospect, for the rest of the world.

So, as I had promised to my --literally -- life saving friend, I wrote a letter to my parents. Yes, she had asked me to call them, but the phone is so awkward, you know, and there's no way I could have faced my parents on Skype and say that I was .."sick." So I wrote.
"...One thing that you need to know is that I am anorexic/bulimic. I have been for a pretty significant part of the summer and I didn’t realize it was a legitimate problem until I got to school. I weigh about 123 pounds and while I was satisfied with that and the way I looked at home, I have received many hurtful comments about how skinny and less attractive I look now as compared to last Spring, and I don’t really know what to do about it. I thought I could stop my starving/binging/purging cycle easily, but I realized this week that I cannot do it by myself. I didn’t realize I had a “problem” until I was on a run last week and passed a wall of mirrors. I stopped and looked at myself, and realized how thin I looked, and how unhappy I was. I know I have a problem because even though my clothes fit loosely and my jeans don’t even fit right anymore, I’m still constantly on the scale and watching my weight. I look in the mirror and I don’t see someone who is incredibly thin. When I look in the mirror, all I can think of is, “I can’t imagine myself any bigger. I wouldn’t want to be any bigger. I can’t get bigger.” But I was satisfied with myself at the end of last year, almost 20 pounds heavier.

This mental disconnect is something I can’t figure out. I don’t know why I still think I look too big even though my friends are worried and my clothes don’t fit. I can’t keep throwing up because my teeth and hair will fall out, and that sucks. I need to get healthy and happy and somehow figure out what I want. I was supposed to go meet LA Models today, but instead I had my first meeting with a counselor at Emmons. Every Oxy student gets 12 free visits to an Emmons therapist for problems like this. I am going to therapy every week to get back on track. I’m so mad at myself for letting this get out of control. I thought I could handle it but I can’t. Going into the marketplace is my least favorite activity – it’s too stressful. I don’t know when to eat, what to eat, or how much. I’ve forgotten how to judge whether I’m hungry. It’s like that gauge in my brain is broken. Everyone (literally, everyone) has noticed my weight loss and it’s tough because everyone knows everyone, or at least recognizes them. When people see me, they look at me for about one second too long – a lingering glance – and I know they’re thinking something. I don’t know if they must assume I’m sick, but many do. And they’re right.

My best friends confronted me about it and I finally broke down and told the truth. I said it out loud for he first time last week. That I’m bulimic, that I have a real problem. I wish you didn’t have to hear this after all the time you put in with me this summer; I feel like I’m disappointing you. Even so, I decided this was something you’d want to know about. Everything in my life is going so well except for my eating, and that is so frustrating. I’m excited to get back on track and I think my counselor is going to be able to help me. It’s just hard because I don’t even know how I want to look anymore. I thought I wanted this, but the response I got was incredibly negative. My guy friends say they thought I was prettier last year. Someone called me an African refugee. Another person I barely know came up to me and said, “You’re so little. What happened to you?” I don’t know what happened to me, and I don’t know if I should be gaining weight back or staying here or anything. I just don’t know what I want. I’m going to see Sarah next week – well, that’s the plan – but I don’t even know if it’s worth it. If the modeling is what has pushed me over the edge like this, I don’t know if I should go back. But I want to do it. I don’t know..."
Dear body, you sent the message
I remember the hospital as well as you
I remember the veins in my arms, an electric turquoise
And yes, the shower, I remember that too,
Holding clumps of my blonde hair, crying in agony
Because that’s just not what was
Supposed to happen.
play.
"Hi Kirsten,
How are things going? I have been wanting to talk to you about a serious topic for a while and wasn't sure how to bring it up at practice...can you give me a little info/update about your health and trip to the hospital a while back? I have heard little bits and pieces from people, but I don't want to rely on second-hand information and I think it is important we be able to talk about it (if necessary) going forward. Especially as the team gets ready to start playing tournaments and having more intense practices, etc., Mark and I need to have some idea of what's going on...."
Kirsten,
Just writing to say that I'm happy to be helpful and accommodating in any way I can -- if there's anything that you need from me, or any way I can be helpful, please don't hesitate to ask."
-Professor S.
"Dear Kirsten,

I am so sorry that you are going through this, but I am incredibly proud of you
because you recognize that your health is more important than anything. You are
a remarkably beautiful girl - and you will always look great, but you are the
most beautiful (inside and out) when you are healthy and happy. And that's the
goal now.
"
Hi again,
Please let me know how you are really doing. We'll be there in a couple of weeks, but I would like to talk to you about this to see if I should come down sooner - or get something set up for when we do get there. I love you so much and only want the absolute best for you. I have no doubt that you will beat this, but we want to be there to help if you need us.

Is camping still on the agenda? If so, have a wonderful time. Say "hi" to your friends, and take care of yourself.
-Mom

I was supposed to go camping at Joshua Tree over Fall Break, but the weather forecast was cold-ish, and I was always cold. But the real reason I decided not to go was because I didn't want to be in any photos that would be taken over the weekend. This photo was from the morning of the camping trip, when I gave my sleeping bag to a friend who would actually be going on the trip. I didn't see this photo until much later. With my fun-house mirror eyes, I don't think it would have changed my mind...
Kirsten-
How are you doing? With school, health & food?
Just checking to make sure that tomorrow – Tuesday- @ 5:15 ish works for you to meet?
-Nancy, nutritionist
Got your message :)
It is fine not to meet today :) but I think it would be good for me to check your weight at least every two weeks and weekly if you lose weight. So if not today, then we should meet on tues :)
-Nancy, nutritionist
Kirsten –
How are you doing?
I have not heard from you lately…
Do you want to get together today sometime? (Tuesday)
Let me know what works for you.
Thanks,
Nancy, nutritionist
Hi Kirsten,

My name is Emily Harris and I work in the Dean of Students Office with students who are in need of additional support. It has come to my attention that there are some individuals who are concerned about you and your physical health. I would like to discuss these concerns with you in person, and were hoping you are available for a meeting some time this week or early next week...
"..I am concerned about the eating disorder, though. From what I've been reading, it generally doesn't just "go away" without some outside help. You are such an extraordinary person with such a strong sense of independence that I imagine you feel that you can do this on your own. Maybe you can, but most people can't. And right now your health may really be in jeopardy. We should be looking for a counselor, a therapist, or a center of some kind. The longer we wait, the more dangerous this may become..."
-Mom
"...I hardly ever show it, and most of the time I don't even realize how sensitive I am. I write all my emotions off as these weird mood swings completely unrelated to my life. But I've started to realize that seeing you struggle with an eating disorder has been more painful to me than I can even articulate. This is not your fault at all. It's just that we know each other so well - I can see it all the time...."
Dear Kirsten,
Thanks for your note. I was worried about you over the weekend. Did you have to stay in the hospital? Let me know how you are doing.
Sincerely,
Professor G.
Kirsten, your health situation is no less serious than a person who has been diagnosed with cancer - and as a parent, I can't just let it go untreated.

I am aware of the fact that this is the hardest thing you have ever had to go through - and I also know that you can"t (even it you want to) go through it alone. Here is the problem: If we don't get the bulimia/anorexia/depression, etc. under control with outpatient treatment, we will have to bring you back here for an intensive inpatient treatment. We will do whatever is necessary to be sure that you get back to a normal, healthy life.
Love,
Mom
"...Lastly, I want to strongly recommend not discussing her weight, appearance, beauty with her. She is highly anxious about failing and not being good enough. When you tell her you care about her try to tell her other things you love about her. She has other cool and important things going in in her life and modeling is not one of them right now. She needs to know that it is really okay to not model and recover."
-Melissa, ED specialist
Dear body, I am sorry.
I’ve learned you’ll never be the same.
Gambling away my body, someone called it halfway through,
You’re gambling with your life,
And with a gaze I won’t forget until my own eyes close forever,
That was the first time I really heard it.
play it
It is hard to go places with people when you do not eat. It is hard to be around people who are eating and abstain from eating. It is hard to walk around a campus where people are staring at you. People who might not know your name but at least know that something is "wrong." It is hard to run 8 miles every day, with shin splints and stress fractures and homework. But it is also hard to wake up and realize that you are alone, almost all of the time, and that it is your fault.
It is because you constantly trying to hide. To hide from reflections, from pain, to hide from hunger, from judgement and to hide from the fact that maybe you'll wake up one day and have to eat, and then what?
Sometimes, though you are not left on your own because you are hiding. Sometimes you are left out because you simply do not, cannot belong. You are a "liabiity," you are "no fun anymore," you are at doctor appointments when you should be spending time with friends, you are doing make-up work late into the night because you skipped class to go to the gym.
Sometimes, you aren't able to study abroad in Vienna, because you are just not "fit to travel."
"Kirsten,
I know that both your health and studying abroad are very important to you, and I think you would agree that your health is a priority. For this reason, I need you to submit to me a letter from your counselor and your nutritionist with their support of you going abroad and their recommendations for your care while you are away.
-Emily Harris
Dean of Students Office
Kirsten,
Vienna looks like a fantastic opportunity - I've looked at the website and made a copy of the booklet they sent you, BUT you have to decide if it's right for you at this time. Just keep us posted, and let us know what Melissa thinks about you going to Europe.
-Mom
Slow down, you crazy child,
You're so amibitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart, tell me --
why are you still so afraid?
Where's the fire, what's the hurry about? You better cool if off before you burn it out...
Too bad, but it's the life you lead-
You're so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need...
I think it was then that I realized that there was a lot more than my health at stake.
I was losing out on my friends, my family, my opportunities -- my life. I was sick of eating lettuce, or eating nothing, while my friends indulged, or went out without me. I was sick of being left at the dinner table because I was too stressed out to take bites of my meal while my friends had already finished. I was sick of waking up and jumping on the scale every morning to make sure I hadn't gained weight. And now, I was sick of telling people I wouldn't be going to study music in Austria, and I was sick of telling people the reason. "I am sick."
Vienna waits for you....

One night, I was out to dinner and my friend bought a hamburger, and told me I should get one too. Mind you, I hadn't eaten bread-y products in about eight months. But I liked this guy, and wanted to just be "normal" for a night. I don't know what came over me but I just had it. I ate the WHOLE thing. It was the most liberating experience I'd had in months. Oh, and it was delicious. Fucking delicious.

I woke up the next morning and anxiously hopped on the scale, assuming the number would be up by at least 2 pounds from my hedonistic behavior the night prior. Shockingly, I weighed the same. And it hit me, that I could be normal -- at least sometimes -- and be "okay."
A few days later I skipped my morning run and slept in. Again, beautifully liberating. And again, I hadn't gone from size 2 to 20 overnight night. Little by little I began taking longer and longer "breaks" from my militant diet and exercise routine. Finally I could relate to people, I could spend time and not have to leave if food would be involved. I was rested, I was happy, And everyone was happy aound me, too.

Of course it wasn't overnight, and of course there were days where I had just two greek yogurts, one for breakfast, one for dinner, and coffee as an afternoon snack -- but it was progress. And girl, progress is the only thing that matters.

When I think of everything I've missed out on, particularly the three months gallivanting through the cobblestone streets of Vienna, I remind myself that once I'm completely well, I'll be able to do all of it. Whenever I'm ready. And I will enjoy it. Vienna will always be around.

Nothing was ruined, this year, girl. Everything happens for a reason. And now, at least I can tell you all of it.
Hello,
I discussed with Kirsten the significant progress I have seen over the past 14 months and believe that she is in a good place right now. I would like to see how she does over break and assess her at the return to school. I am incredibly proud of the work Kirsten has done thus far and we have discussed the work she will need to continue to do. Thank you for trusting me with your wonderful daughter.
-Melissa
play this.
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Hi Kirsten,
Thanks for giving me the call to let me know you made it home.   I can't believe how emotional I am.   I feel like I want to burst out crying! 

Let me be there for you and with you.  I don't want to lose you, and believe me, that's the risk.  We will get on a plane and come to you if you need us.  We will bring you home if you need that.  There isn't anything I won't do for you.
 
Take one day at a time.  I could tell you until I was hoarse that you are too skinny, but until you believe it, until you see it, my voice goes unheard.  Please Kirsten, please take care of yourself.  You are so precious to me.  Your friends will help you, so tell them you need their help. Be accountable.  Be accountable to them, and be accountable to me.  Let me know what's really going on."
Love,
Dad
"Hi bugaboo,
We all miss you and love you. I know this is so hard, I know you're hurting but we want to see you, so please text me back! See you soon baby, please!"

Now the white coats call me ‘in recovery’.
From an illness?
From a lifestyle?

From a world which will never let you recover.

Some die, all die.
Millions die from hunger
They don’t have the option to be well fed, well read,
Humans would not choose this if they could.

But we are no longer human; we are equipment, billboards, works of art –
We are commodities with pulses.

Except we’re losing pulses.
Which leaves us with zero.
Size zero.


Skin stretched like canvas over natural, ivory stretchers.
Hinges showing, artists painting atop living human remains,
Remains pushed five inches higher off the ground than they were meant to stand.


When you asked me
‘Was it worth it?’

I didn’t
ever
have the
energy to
shake
my head

no.
Good luck, girl.

I have no advice. It might not be like this for you. Maybe better, maybe worse. All I can say is good luck.






And this is how it happened to me.
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"..Kirsten, I love you so much and cannot wait to see you. Don't feel like you have to handle everything by yourself. Call - and we'll talk - and try to work out something that will make you feel better..."
-Mom
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oh, and hey! I used to do the Twiggy thing, occasionally.
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