08 April 2009

Dem Bones Dem Bones

Last week I read Laurie Halse Anderson's new book Wintergirls. Anderson's book Speak is one of my favorite books of all time, and I think Wintergirls is the best thing she's written in the intervening 10 years. HOWEVER, Wintergirls is about anorexia and anorexia creeps. me. out. If I think too hard about elbows or ankles (they're so boney), it reminds me of anorexia, and I feel disturbed. In college I took a yoga class, and when we had to lie on our backs with our hands on our stomachs and relax, sometimes I couldn't, because my elbows were touching the mat and making me think about teenagers starving themselves to death. Even writing about elbows right now is distressing me. Ever since reading Wintergirls, I've had difficulty falling asleep at night. I'm very aware of my bones. Usually if I can't sleep, I lie on my stomach and scoot down until I can hook my feet over the end of the bed, but now when I do that, I feel all of my ribs touching the mattress. The other night I was trying to distract myself from bone thoughts, and told myself, Sing a song, sing a song and what did my enterprising little mind come up with? The toe bone's connected to the foot bone, the foot bone's connected to the ankle bone . . .

[Late additon: I just read this poem by Laurie Halse Anderson about Speak in VOYA, a ya review source. This video is Anderson reading it.]

7 comments:

rebekah said...

if i could, i would secretly take pictures of a couple girls i know. seriously, they're all bones. both are at least 5'7", and can't weight more than 115.

Kirsten said...

I guess that means I'll have to return Mr. Bones to the skeleton store. He was going to be your birthday present.

CSIowa said...

Try resting your arms on the floor at your sides in corpse pose. Arms straight=no elbows bringing attention to themselves.

I think anorexia is about body image. I was a tall and thin college freshman, 9 pounds below recommended weight range, but I knew I was thin. It's just the way I was built. Five children later, I'm a couple of pounds over my recommended weight range. It isn't my favorite thing, but I'm okay with it for now. I don't think anorexic people understand that they are not fat.

Heidi said...

What about fat, pudgy, dimply elbows? :-)

Amy said...

Didn't you write a paper for Dr. Call about eating disorders, inspired by that Dar Williams song?

MBC said...

Amy--Kind of. I wrote a paper for him in our Eden Themes class about eating disorders as a fall motivated by the feminine ideal and I used the quote from "You're Aging Well" about body image and the reference to the apple.

Now when I was fifteen, oh I knew it was over
The road to enchantment was not mine to take
'Cause lower calf, upper arm should be half what they are
I was breaking the laws that the sign makers made

And all I could eat was the poisonous apple
And that's not a story I was meant to survive

chou said...

Have you read The Fashioned Self by Finkelstein?

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