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Marya Hornbacher Quotes

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  • Bear in mind, people with eating disorders tend to be both competitive and intelligent. We are incredibly perfectionistic. We often excel in school, athletics, artistic pursuits. We also tend to quit without warning. Refuse to go to school, drop out, quit jobs, leave lovers, move, lose all our money. We get sick of being impressive. Rather, we tire of having to seem impressive. As a rule, most of us never really believed we were any good in the first place. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  • You never come back, not all the way. Always there is an odd distance between you and the people you love and the people you meet, a barrier thin as the glass of a mirror, you never come all the way out of the mirror; you stand, for the rest of your life, with one foot in this world and one in another, where everything is upside down and backward and sad. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  • You begin to forget what it means to live. You forget things. You forget that you used to feel all right. You forget what it means to feel all right because you feel like shit all the time, and you can’t remember what it was like before. People take the feeling of full for granted. They take for granted the feeling of steadiness, of hands that do not shake, heads that do not ache, throats not raw with bile and small rips of fingernails forced to haste to the gag spot. Stomachs that do not begin to wake up in the night, calves and thighs knotting in muscles that are beginning to eat away at themselves. They may or may not be awakened at night by their own inexplicable sobs. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  • There is never a sudden revelation, a complete and tidy explanation for why it happened, or why it ends, or why or who you are. You want one and I want one, but there isn’t one. It comes in bits and pieces, and you stitch them together wherever they fit, and when you are done you hold yourself up, and still there are holes and you are a rag doll, invented, imperfect. And yet you are all that you have, so you must be enough. There is no other way. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  • By November, you wish you were dead. You want nothing more. Every day, every fucking day, you run up the steps of the house, breathing hard, swing open the cupboards, thinking: You pitiful little bitch. Fucking cow. Greedy pig. All day, your stomach pinches and spits up its bile. You sway when you walk. You begin to get cold again. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  • My god!, people say. You have so much self-control! And later: My god. You’re so, so sick. When people say this, they turn their heads, you’ve won your little game. You have proven your thesis that no-body-loves-me-every-body-hates-me, guess-I’ll-just-eat-worms. You get to sink back into your hospital bed, shrieking with righteous indignation. See? you get to say. I knew you’d give up on me. I knew you’d leave. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  • My bones are brittle, my heart weak and erratic, my esophagus and stomach riddled with ulcers, my reproductive system shot, my immune system useless… I’m not going to have a happy ending. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  • And so I went through the looking glass, stepped into the netherworld, where up is down and food is greed, where convex mirrors cover the walls, where death is honor and flesh is weak. It is ever so easy to go. Harder to find your way back. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  • I wanted to kill the me underneath. That fact haunted my days and nights. When you realize you hate yourself so much, when you realize that you cannot stand who you are, and this deep spite has been the motivation behind your behavior for many years, your brain can’t quite deal with it. It will try very hard to avoid that realization; it will try, in a last-ditch effort to keep your remaining parts alive, to remake the rest of you. This is, I believe, different from the suicidal wish of those who are in so much pain that death feels like relief, different from the suicide I would later attempt, trying to escape that pain. This is a wish to murder yourself; the connotation of kill is too mild. This is a belief that you deserve slow torture, violent death. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  • There is, in fact, an incredible freedom in having nothing left to lose. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  • It is, at the most basic level, a bundle of contradictions: a desire for power that strips you of all power. A gesture of strength that divests you of all strength. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  • It is not a sudden leap from sick to well. It is a slow, strange meander from sick to mostly well. The misconception that eating disorders are a medical disease in the traditional sense is not helpful here. There is no ‘cure’. A pill will not fix it, though it may help. Ditto therapy, ditto food, ditto endless support from family and friends. You fix it yourself. It is the hardest thing that I have ever done, and I found myself stronger for doing it. Much stronger. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  • Something had been confirmed: I was worth giving a shit about; I was getting to be a successful sick person. Sick is when they say something. Of course, I had been sick for five years. But now, now maybe I was really sick. Maybe I was getting good at this, good enough to scare people. Maybe I would almost die, and balance just there, at the edge of the cliff, wavering while they gasped and clutched one another’s arms, and win acclaim for my death-defying stunts. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  • Hospitalizations in general are blurry. The days are the same, precisely the same. Nothing changes. Life melts down to a simple progression of meals. They become a way of life fairly quickly. . . You may welcome this transition. It may seem inevitable to you. You have been removed from the world. . . It is all right, in a way, because there is nothing so sure, so safe, as routine. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  • I began to measure things in absence instead of presence. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  • I was used to sleeping with people because I endlessly found myself in identical situations where it was easier to just fuck them than to say no. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  • This is the very boring part of eating disorders, the aftermath. When you eat and hate that you eat. And yet of course you must eat. You don’t really entertain the notion of going back. You, with some startling new level of clarity, realize that going back would be far worse than simply being as you are. This is obvious to anyone without an eating disorder. This is not always obvious to you. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia (P.S.)
  • But in some ways, the most significant choices one makes in life are done for reasons that are not all that dramatic, not earth-shaking at all; often enough, the choices we make are, for better or for worse, made by default. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia (P.S.)
  • Never,  never underestimate the power of desire. If you want to live badly enough, you can live. The great question, at least for me, was: How do I decide I want to live? — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia (P.S.)
  • Hatred is so much closer to love than indifference. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia (P.S.)
  • That’s the nice thing about dreams, the way you wake up before you fall. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia (P.S.)
  • And when, after fifteen years of binging, barfing, starving, needles and tubes and terror and rage, and medical crises and personal failure and loss after loss – when, after all this, you are in your early twenties and staring down a vastly abbreviated life expectancy, and the eating disorder still takes up half your body, half your brain, with its invisible eroding force, when you have spent the majority of your life sick, when you do not yet know what it means to be ‘well,’ or ‘normal,’ when you doubt that those words even have meaning anymore, there are still no answers. You will die young, and you have no way to make sense of that fact. You have this: You are thin. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia
  • And there is a weird aftermath, when it is not exactly over, and yet you have given it up. you go back and forth in your head, often, about giving it up. it’s hard to understand, when you are sitting there in your chair, having breakfast or whatever, that giving it up is stronger than holding on, that “letting yourself go” could mean that you have succeeded rather than failed. you eat your goddamn cheerios and bicker with the bitch in your head who keeps telling you you’re fat and weak: Shut up, you say. I’m busy, leave me alone. & when she leaves you alone there’s a silence and a solitude that will take some time getting used to. you will miss her, sometimes. bear in mind she’s trying to kill you – but you have a life to live. it’s an incredible loss, a profound grief. and, in the end, after a long time and with more work that you ever thought possible, a time when it gets easier. there is, in the end, the letting go. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia (P.S.)
  • All of us have theories about the world and about ourselves. We will go to great lengths to prove ourselves right because it keeps the world in our head coherent and understandable. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia (P.S.)
  • There are women in my closet, hanging on the 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 different women for different lipsticks. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia (P.S.)
  • For a long time I believed the opposite of passion was death. I was wrong. Passion and death are implicit, one in the other. Past the border of a fiery life lies the netherworld. I can trace this road, which took me through places so hot the very air burned the lungs. I did not turn back. I pressed on, and eventually passed over the border, beyond which lies a place that is wordless and cold, so cold that it, like mercury, burns a freezing blue flame. — Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia (P.S.)
  • You wake up one morning and there it is, sitting in an old plaid bathrobe in your kitchen, unpleasant and unshaved. You look at it, heart sinking. Madness is a rotten guest. — Madness: A Bipolar Life
  • I grew into it. It grew into me. It and I blurred at the edges, became one amorphous, seeping, crawling thing. — Madness: A Bipolar Life
  • When you are mad, mad like this, you don’t know it. Reality is what you see. When what you see shifts, departing from anyone else’s reality, it’s still reality to you. — Madness: A Bipolar Life
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