It is 7:16, 44 minutes before show and I’m sitting at the dressing table: Andy Peaches AKA the head makeup artist for Fafa, who incidentally is gay, is doing some sort of braiding with my hair. I look at the mirror and try to smile and lift my chin up so my cheekbones would seem more prominent in this light and my cheeks more sunken but Andy objects by firmly tugging onto a dreadlock in which I comply, sadly. All I can see right now is my face, swollen with makeup, subcutaneous fat and I wonder vaguely if Chloe next to me is skinnier than me but I don’t bother to ask how much she weighs because, duh, her forearms are like twigs and the possibility of me skinnier than her is like nil, but I fantasize anyway. Waverly, who leans forwards and pouts as she applies the second, third layer of Frostbite lipstick tells me how she skipped lunch and dinner last night and just had a diet coke for breakfast today. I contemplate the half-eaten bagel on the dressing table, and my hand stops in midair as it reaches for the melting frappacino amidst the cluttered makeup. Andy the makeup artist swears and tells me how my hair keeps falling out and how he keeps running out of gel trying to stick my hair back into place so it wouldn’t seem as if all my hair is falling out.
I hear people calling my name outside and people banging the door of my cubicle. I am sobbing and my makeup is all smeared up. The show is almost starting and people are panicking but Chloe’s size is zero and I don’t want to live anymore. But I can’t and life goes on. I unlock myself and the first thing I see is Chloe, who slams her body against me and I can feel the bones of her ribcage pressing against me while my hand on her back feels the bonebuttons of her vertebrae protruding sickeningly through skin, the slight thrum of her heartbeat and I try not to cry harder.
In my ear, she whispers, ‘hey baby, everything is alright.’ Her breath smells of artificial sugar.
V- Water 40 cals
sorry i forgot what the rest was but i wrote down the number of cals on my hand for everthing today
then dinner that i have to eat randomly over guessing
Soda- Zero cals.
Cereal- Two 3/4 cups with one cup of milk Which ends up being 280 cals.
Half a grilled chesse- Most likely 300 cals.
Two more cups of milk - 80 Cals.
16 chips- 140 cals.
3pm, I’m waking up to my hunger pangs as I walk down the stair through the duplex into the kitchen. In the freezer: fat free milk, fat free yoghurt, orange juice, diet soda, apples, grapes, mustard, carrot sticks, bread, breadstix, half eaten pizza. I compulsively open and close the fridge, then take out an apple (55cals) and a can of diet soda (1cals), close it. Go back upstairs to eat it. Five minutes later, after I’ve finished the apple and the soda, I go back down, get the pizza (160cals). Finish half of it and put it back into the fridge. Halfway back up the stairs I decide I want to finish the other half of the pizza (160cals)and so I go back down and finish it off, plus half the carton of milk (45cals). I go back upstairs to puke, but decide am too tired. So I go back to sleep.
OHMIGOD LAST NIGHT JESUS CHRIST WHAT DID I ATE.
117lbs (OHMIGOD OHMIGOD OHMIGOD OHMIGOD OHMIGOD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
At the drugstore counter, I feign urgency and tell the guy, standing at the counter, saying ‘hi, umm, my sister’s been accidentally food poisoned. I think I need some syrup of IPECAC, please?’
Guy pauses and screens me, head to toe and for one moment there, I was afraid that he would ask me are you bulimic? Or something of the like. An awkward stilted silence. Then he takes a little brown bottle from the racks. I exhale in relief.
He’s saying, accent odd and twisted up like jagged paper clip wire, ‘two fifty,’
I pay him in cents, and walk out of the shop, brown paper bag in hand.
Well I guess we all have to make a living, don’t we?
had about 600 cal for breakfast. Exercise: 400cal, which brings me to a net of about 200cal. also took 6 lax tablets
going to try attempt some crunches now.
good day today, eating-wise.
d-chicken soup @ hands-70 cals
Thomas breathes into my ears, gentle words, and for a moment there I’m moved by the way his hands rests over mine, the way he leans against my cheek skin stubbleless, smooth, soft half-lidded eyes, the way he smells of talcum and cigarettes and the way he breathes, I’m listening now, his lungs that are expanding and contracting inside his seemingly hollow chest with uneven intensity. He closes his eyes: lashes coruscating gold in the dying sunset, a resplendent slipsliver of color as he repositions his head. The scatter of freckles that populate the apples of his cheeks, spilling over the bridge of his nose: a constellation of skin. I’m slipping my hands under his shirt. He shivers under my touch and as I run my hands up and down his spine, each vertebrae protrudes sickeningly from underneath frictionless Clinique© exfoliated skin, tracing its strange lines and angles with my fingers, feeling the dents, odd niches. Jealousy rises momentarily, but recedes as my hands locate his heartbeat: ceaselessly throbbing, the bone basket of his ribcage rising with every heartbeat, warmth pooling through his being. For one moment there, every particle of his being is radiating, he is atomic radiant, infinite.
And I’m lying down I feel the overwashed cotton of the picnic cloth scraping my skin thinly, the sky above gyrates on its axis, air pressure repositions itself in gusts of wind and I could feel goosebumps forming as I turn over, face up, back against ground for contact (heat conduction). With the other hand I reach behind and feel my back, a familiar gesture: chicken skin, mottled with cold; my fingers pressing against the sharp rises of ribs alternating with deep declines, thrusting forward through skin, a wordless pride.
Thomas says, ‘your hands are so cold, are you made of ice, or something?’
Ten digestives (purged)
Diet coke 355ml x2 (3 cals)
Grilled cheese sandwich (670 cals)
2 fruitips (purged)
Funsized crunch x1 (purged)
Total calories: 673
115lbs( OHNO. OHNO. OHNO. CRAP. MUST HAVE BEEN THE ICE CREAM OH MY GOD NO I SHALL ELIMINATE FAT FROM MY DIET FROM NOW ON)
As evening slides down and smothers us with night, we get in the car and go to this little town nearby and surreptitiously look around for the paparazzi, park our car at a cheap motel in which we check in, Thomas mulling around impatiently saying that we should drive the car but I whine and say walking is good for the body (28 cals/15 mins for 100lbs). We walk downtown in our Ray Bans©, look around surreptitiously for the paparazzi, light reflecting off camera lens and avoid walking too close to the pavement to avoid pinhole cameras or recording equipment aiming to record our conversation despite the fact that we’re not talking, not that sort of comfortable silence but an awkward silence, as we walk, head down. And as he holds my hands I feel awfully conscious of my bones, fractured hand held together by skin, the prominent carve of bone perpetually jutting outwards, the hollows in between pooled with shadows. So cold. So cold. It’s thirty degrees and I’m wearing a Elle© hoodie while Thomas wears a black cotton print Diesel © shirt, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. We settle down at Café De Morrow at 30 Bull Street where there are an assortment of tulips in the flower boxes arranged according to color surrounding the neatly aligned tables on the outside, the way tulips on promotion DVDs are when they play them in LCD screens in shop windows, tints and chromes corrected to perfection, the way the buds blossom like gasping fishmouths, then reverses, a perpetual cycle of life, recycled perfection; but on closer look they are fake, textured in plastic and someone even took the effort to spray on fake plastic beads for the dew. For some reason this sickens me and as Thomas looks at the menu I drag him inside. We sit down on faux leather chairs and Thomas sinks down with a sigh, says, ‘You look so pretty, in this light,’ ‘Aha,’ ‘I love the way the shadows of your cheeks carve out your features. You are so photogenic, you know?’
And while I flip through the menu I panic, Thomas is asking, ‘which set are you having?’, I flip through and find the salad menu screaming out the words Caesar, chicken salad, adrenaline rushes through my being as the notion of eating thousand island dressing flashes through my brain. ‘Umm…’ An instinctive gesture, pupil dilation. I’m kicking into flight or fight and as the waiter comes, Thomas orders, and I stutter, my whole body practically shaking caloric values of salad dressing: fat free thousand island: 21.1 per tbsp; reduced fat: 30.9 ; full fat: 59.2 ohmygod flashing like binary across my brain, a panicked cascade of digital data perpetuating through white and grey matter the speed of light. ‘what are you having?’ Crap. ‘Set B, please,’ I force a smile. Arrange my features into something remotely resembling internal dilemma or just plain electrical panic.
‘Miss, what are you having?’
‘Hey can you turn down the air conditioning?’
‘But – it’s already twenty six degrees – ‘
‘Umm sure, I…I’ll have – I’ll have black coffee…no cream…no sugar (3cals/12.6oz),’
‘You sure you’re not having our weekend special order - ?’
He recedes, confused. Thomas stares at me.
I stutter an incoherent excuse.
1Light english muffin toasted (100 cal)
1/2 serving of egg beaters, scrambled (15 cal)
1/2 slice Fat Free cheese (15 cal)
(maybe I should just stop weighing)
(but it doesn’t necessarily eliminate the truth)
(the scale is wrong)
(and that I’m heavy)
Grocery shopping more or less goes like this: at the gas station parking lot we park our cars in separate or consecutive spaces, depends on the day, and go to Target©. Grab a shopping cart. Next step: Thomas screens the drinks aisle, lugs six packs off the racks while I get diet soda, sugarfree Snapple© and Lipton©. And as we go to screen the junk food aisle Thomas flips down jumbo packs of Doritos, funsized Milky Ways and Twixes, while I compulsively read the backs of packages for nutrition facts, wavering undecided over this and another, while he either taps his foot or goes home first or goes screening another aisle himself while I remain indefinitely in the same aisle, reading, fantasizing about the taste of sugar and citrus and double fudge chocolate thick against my palate, yet being simultaneously terrified at the figures and facts, fat percentages, the caloric consequence between each and every bite and swallow of food. A continuous struggle. To buy or not to. The decision isn’t easy, but it’s more or less variations of ten packs of sugarfree extra gum, coffee and grapes, (natural laxatives), occasionally the fat free yoghurt. I tell him there’s no point in getting Kit Kats because I don’t eat them anyway but he just shrugs.
Back at the hotel after groceries, in the slanted light of the Venetian blinds, Thomas shimmies out of his jeans.
His lips crushing mine as he slams me against a wall. Brain interprets signal: pain.
‘Hey hush, darling,’
He stops now, my finger pressed against his lip.
‘Let’s not be too aggressive now.’
I’m thinking of the way how the hair is sprouting over the expanse of my body, down the geography of my chest down my waist to the deep of my pelvis. Thick and gray and matted, from the skin of my spine spreading outwards. I’m a bear, the shape of a soft (f)pear hairy and dimpled with fat.
Don’t see me naked.
I’m tired, weary worn down like an old woman. Bone pale bloodless sagging skin. The epitome of repulsivenes.
A trickle of crimson, it curls around the pale curve of my finger around the joint.
‘No, your lips are chapped, you’re bleeding.’
‘And it’s so cold.’
‘Isn’t. You should go see a doctor or something.’
‘No way. I’m not sick.’
100 sit ups
100 leg ups
10 push ups
Don’t know why can’t reach orgasm whenever I masturbate
I’m kneeling down, chin pressed against bony kneecaps (cold) and sticky elbows digging into sides of my waist clicking into place like lego pieces. Tense, shuddering kind of. I’ve just finished a jumbo pack of Nacho Cheese Doritos© (250cals) and ten fun sized twix (300cals) and I’m purging this.
Silence now, a pause. The tap, it’s dripping very slowly. I close my eyes. This, there now, a familiar feeling of bulk in my stomach, squeeze squelching up with inverted peristalsis, a desperate hysteria. Catharsis. This compulsion this obligation to have it out, cleansed sterile immaculate. It is constricted in my esophagus. Pumping out. The foodpipes are rusted and creaking with strain. Dorito torn up chocolate fudge churned acid. It screams out of my mouth like an impulse, past my acid-washed blister-lined throat (agony). A odd cathartic sound coming from the back of my throat.
Then: a layer of brown crap on the floor. Chunks of mustard yellow. Coagulated brownish cotton watery chewed-up-then-spat-out (Doritos). This is modern abstract art, there are swirls of psychedelic orange and brown. pulsating, alternating between bright and dark. Smells nauseous. Flaking nail-painted toes peek out from under like dead floating baby mice.
A pause, now, again.
My heartbeat throbs heavily against my ribcage and it’s like I’m hollow, hollowed out and cleansed. Breathing: even, loud pounding inside my lungs of which they inflate, deflate with reassuring regularity.
The fluorescent light shines intensely, too bright. So exposed.
I close my eyes.
This, there now, a familiar feeling of bulk in my stomach, squeeze squelching up with inverted peristalsis -
Fill me up. Bleed me dry. Like the tide, oh, like high tide.
The aftermath of purging. When I look at the mirror I am a total trainwreck disaster. Cheeks: swollen with too much purging, teeth enamel all rotten, acid ridden. Eyes threaded bloodshot with hate, longing.
I’m wide awake and it’s morning, my stomach is rumbling and I have a headache. Thomas is in the bathroom brushing his teeth saying the bathroom smells and the drain is clogged up and I feel vaguely worried as I go back to sleep.
At dinner mom asks me about what my roadtrip with Thomas was like while I push my food around in my plate with a fork.
Thomas the poet is telling her about the neon signs and cheap motels, how we flipped coins at crossroads. He’s telling her about the beauty of decay in the abandoned shacks of North Dakota, broken windows staring out hollowly like sunken eyes and the robin blue kitchen tabletops in an abandoned kitchen, wild horses, dresses in the wind, cornfields, wanderlust.
Mom says, ‘well, what I can say is, your view on beauty is extremely extraordinary and wonderful.’
‘Jodi is really lucky to have you,’
Thomas stutters a thanks while I cautiously fork peas into my mouth, chewing them slowly, savoring every grain of salt (2 cals per pea).
‘Jodi, why aren’t you eating?’
‘I have a show tomorrow,’ I say this looking at my mom straight in the eye while I chew my pea. Between the words: I’m not lying.
‘You’ve lost weight,’
‘Tomorrow’s show is extremely vital to my career path, it’s a Valentino and if I – ‘
A strange silence passes over the dinner table.
Went out with friends to a karaoke bar
dinner and drinks included
Ate about 700 ish cals today but burned 800 so I guess I'm okay with that.
In the shower, as I massage in the hair conditioner there’s hair curled upon my hands. As I weave my fingers through more hair disengages from my scalp. Hot water cascades from the shower as I stand under the water, watching the hair gradually slipslide down my skin onto the bathtub and converge into a chaotic tangle not unlike that of electric wires. I watch with a strange detachment as it slides down the drain.
As I sit on the crapper, my faeces come out hard and modest, the color of duck crap, scraping my butthole and I can feel the bruises forming in neighboring areas.
Jesus Christ it’s cold.
I finish off quickly and catch myself in the mirror and flinch at the fact that I’m so ugly and vaguely wishing I was prettier.
D 2tacos, 1/2c soy mince, salad (240)
S 1c irn bru(100) asian pear (100)
Mom: Has Jodi been behaving strangely lately? She seems…sick
Thomas: Don’t worry, m’m, she’s been as fine as a feather.
(an od pause)
Thomas: I won’t let anything happen to her.
Mom: (sobs) I’m just…worried.
Mom: And our drainage keeps getting clogged up whenever she’s home, I’m worried –
Thomas: I swear I’ll take good care of her, I swear.
2taco shells (100)
1/2 cup soy mince (90)
salad- lettuce, spinach, cucumber, red onion carrots and soy sauce (50)
90lbs (I hate me)
Back at work, in the dressing room of the Valentino show people are talking about sex, men, et cetera.
While fitting into a plum colored sequined strapless backless kneelength dress (gorgeous), class black heels, Chloe says, ‘Waverly, how many men have you nailed?’
‘You’re kidding me.’
‘Fourty,’ Someone pipes in
‘To be quite honest, I haven’t kept count,’ Waverly winks, ‘but I think it’s around that number,’
‘You must be good.’
‘Well what about you, Jodi?’ Waverly tosses her hair backwards, blond curls artfully disheveled, directing her attention to me as I wheel around, unexpectedly, a cascade of words stuttering out of my mouth
‘I – well – I …’
‘Come on, who’d nail her? She’s so skinny guys would actually piss themselves at the sight of her naked carcass of a body and take her for a skeleton – ‘
A silence falls over the room, heavy and weighed down with awkwardness as everyone looks away, avoiding my gaze; in my corner I bite back a smile.
In retrospect I don’t think it’s true. What they said about me, I mean. At the end of the show, at the party, I’m sitting out dances on the wall trying to erase everything in my mind that’s related to food craving. Over my glass of sparkling Evian I could see Waverly waving coyly at Bobby Hughes, holding hands with Johnny Depp and Chloe curled into Victor Ward’s arms. Bridgette is leaning against Edward Cullen at the sofa while he feeds her champagne and she’s all cross-eyed and fazed, apparently unperturbed by the rumors of his vampiric tendencies, as reported by the paparazzi, of which information are often reliable. I feel vaguely pathetic and as I scrutinize my shallow reflection on the champagne glass: cheeks too soft and dimpled, fat ridden and misshapen. Repulsed, I turn away. The ballroom is filled with people I’ve met or haven’t met. Valentino is coming over this way and people are starting to converge towards his direction. Feeling the imminence of a disaster in my bones and that he might want to talk to me once he spots me here, I stand up, steady myself as the world whirls, a psychedelic blend of color, and escape to the restroom.
For some reason I remember Thomas and I think I kind of miss him but he’s doing a show in Paris for Dior Homme©
In the restroom I see Jessica and Ashley Simpson exiting who looks the other direction pretending to not have registered my existence; but further down the corridor I hear them whispering. At the end of the corridor, past the Picasso duplicates that peer out eerily from the wall I lean my weight against the door: it swings open heavily. The restroom is empty. I walk inside a cubicle, flip open the porcelain toilet cover. In the peripheral of my vision I see something red, which turns out to be discarded napkins in the bin, bloodstained and still glistening. For one moment there I try to remember when the last time I had a period was but I couldn’t, maybe it could’ve been a year ago, something like nine months? It doesn’t really matter anyway. I c press two fingers against the back of my throat and feel the familiar bitter rush of bile rise at the back of my throat. I do this a few times but nothing but acid and bile comes out. I panic for a moment but then I remember I haven’t eaten anything today, so my heart calms, I stand up and hold myself steady, overcome by a sudden pang of vertigo.
While taking a piss in the men’s room, I stare into a thin, weblike crack above the urinal’s handle and think to myself that if I were to disappear into that crack, say somehow miniaturize and slip into it, the odds are good that no one would notice I was gone. No... one... would... care.
In front of the sink I stare at my reflection and instinctively uncurl the hair behind my ears: a cascade of hair that falls over my face, obscuring the flab grostequely festooning in the hollows of my cheekbones. Zoom in. lean closer. I close my eyes and run my hands over my cheeks and it is as if I am truly skinny. Emaciated. A warped sense of satisfaction occupying its tiny niche in my brain. Open my eyes. I’m leaning so close my body is half in contact with the washing basin, the wet porcelain staining my dress with water stains. Forehead leaning against glass. I exhale, breath fogging up the mirror as my face is momentarily obscured in mist, and as it clears up my moonpale face emerges, too wide, skin peels off like paint upon contact. Imperfections populates my face here and there, a freckle on the bridge of my nose, a eyelash out of place. And as I examine my face I start picking the peach fuzz growing above my lip with a strange annoyance.
. . . In fact some, if they noticed my absence, might feel an odd, indefinable sense of relief. This is true: the world is better off with some people gone. Our lives are not all interconnected. That theory is crock. Some people truly do not need to be here.
For one second there, now, I feel dreadfully inadequate, as if I was never meant to be a model. My features that I have placed such time in honing, sweating buckets at StairMaster©. It is as if I had never been beautiful all along. I just haven’t thought about it. It is as if I’m caught in the eye of a storm where everything comes in a strange clarity, a sort of retrospect that shows you the past – a vacant passage of time. I’ve done nothing. Accomplished nothing. I’m basically nothing.
The swollen buds of my eyes, they are tearing up as I’m ripping out strange jagged patches of hair from my upper lip, the pain blurring my vision into a sort of delirious distortion, it’s searing with a certain unsurmountable intensity, but my hand proceeds with the same gesture regardless of the tears that are starting to slide down my cheeks, tracks of salt dissolving skin and filling me with this unwavering self hate that I harbor for myself, my existence down to the most miniscule particle. Some people truly do not need to be here. I’m simply a young woman who calls herself a model, regardless of the common standards of beauty that a model should possess, whose youth will gradually wither away with age, the ability to fend for myself wasted away with time, my life spent in a perpetual state of placid nothingness. Salt slides down my face, gets caught on my lips (clumsy lashes of swollen skin, grostequely thick) corroding through lacerated skin through flesh, muscle and bone, nerve endings screaming sending spasms of PAIN! PAIN! PAIN! Yet insufficient to justify the unnecessary space that I take up. And as I rip open the seams of my dress I stare at horror at my body, the jagged flowers of purple bruises dulled behind my skin adorned with an afterthought of yellow, the hair, accumulating thickly on the expanse of my torso and I’m screaming, nails scrabbling on skin wrenching apart everything within reach. Blood splattering on marble. There is this odd satisfaction as I slowly disintegrate myself into an intangible for of pain. An invisible thing. An abstract thing.
A simple thing.
Flecks of dead skin and blood, they are scattered sparsely on the surface of the mirror. Blood weeps down slowly. The screams like glass carving my throat into fragments of nothing; I’m being gradually dissolved by my tears, my head is light, floating above everything while my fragmented melts and seeps into the miniscule cracks of the bathroom floor. And then, the water of my blood will evaporate into the steam as I rise above and become a convergence of water droplets, fall back to the earth, a ceaseless perpetual cycle as part of nature. A particle of paint on backdrop of the world stage that’s playing out before us and the world shall go on as if I’ve never existed.
Two hours later at clean up Waverly comes in and sees me lying on the floor, and it basically goes like this:
Waverly: Oh god, Jodi. What are you doing here?
(I scramble to stand up, stuttering feet, a hollow ringing in my ears. I almost slip but steady myself against the wall (marble, cold) while she hesitates to touch me.)
Me: I – um
Waverly: Everyone was talking about some sort of dead corpse in the female’s restroom an hour ago and I figured it was you but Valentino was there and I couldn’t extract myself, you know?
Waverly: Well….we’ll get you out of here and we can get you something to drink, kay?
Me: *nodds wordlessly*
Waverly: God, you look like crap. You gotta get yourself together soon. We have a Gabanna show tomorrow. Remember?
Here is the point where I inexplicably break down into tears.
MY HANDS ARE SHUDDERING AS I WRITE THIS I AM ORGANIC WASTE AND I DESERVE TO BE DESTROYED AND SCORCHED INTO CINDERS OH GOD I’M SO SCARED SO SO SCARED I AM ORGANIC WASTE AND I DESERVE TO BE DESTROYED AND SCORCHED INTO CINDERS OH GOD I’M SO SCARED SO SO SCARED I AM ORGANIC WASTE AND I DESERVE TO BE DESTROYED AND SCORCHED INTO CINDERS OH GOD I’M SO SCARED SO SO SCARED I AM ORGANIC WASTE AND I DESERVE TO BE DESTROYED AND SCORCHED INTO CINDERS OH GOD I’M SO SCARED SO SO SCARED I AM ORGANIC WASTE AND I DESERVE TO BE DESTROYED AND SCORCHED INTO CINDERS OH GOD I’M SO SCARED SO SO SCARED I AM ORGANIC WASTE AND I DESERVE TO BE DESTROYED AND SCORCHED INTO CINDERS OH GOD I’M SO SCARED SO SO SCARED I AM ORGANIC WASTE AND I DESERVE TO BE DESTROYED AND SCORCHED INTO CINDERS OH GOD I’M SO SCARED SO SO SCARED I AM ORGANIC WASTE AND I DESERVE TO BE DESTROYED AND SCORCHED INTO CINDERS OH GOD I’M SO SCARED SO SO SCARED I AM ORGANIC WASTE AND I DESERVE TO BE DESTROYED AND SCORCHED INTO CINDERS OH GOD I’M SO SCARED SO SO SCARED I AM ORGANIC WASTE AND I DESERVE TO BE DESTROYED AND SCORCHED INTO CINDERS OH GOD I’M SO SCARED SO SO SCARED I AM ORGANIC WASTE AND I DESERVE TO BE DESTROYED AND SCORCHED INTO CINDERS
Morning. I’m so sick of myself I take a piss in the garden so to not look at myself.
At the sight of butterflies, I cry.
At backstage, behind the lights are glaring, an incandescent white as they scorch patches of cindery purple on the back of my retina. I had a cup of coffee this morning and nothing else, it’s 6pm in the evening and there are vague grainy patches of light in my eyes as I stand up, or attempt to walk. On the catwalk I see Waverly wagging her butt as she walks in a perfect straight line, back straight, maroon lipsticked pout, eyes resplendent with glitter and as the cameras flash she is the media’s baby, an endless seduction. At the end of the catwalk, she poses for the cameras, turns swift and heels landing precisely on the center as she winks at my general direction. In my six pound canary colored sequined nightgown I wobble on my knees as Dolce or Gabanna whispers encouragements in my ears; I reciprocate with a watery smile towards his general direction. And as Waverly slips, catlike, through the threshold into backstage amidst a flurry of oohs and ahhs emitted by admirers of various shapes and sizes, I’m propelled forward, onto the catwalk, semi-stumbling. As I walk on the catwalk techno vibrates in my ears, a relentless buzz of bass stirring up the fluid in the water in the ear cavities. A sudden pang of vertigo as cameras flash at my general direction, an arrest of spontaneous explosion of magnesium flares. I feel myself wobble and general silence pass over the crowd (or did I imagined it). Voices in the vague distant, crying the words Jodi Moscone. I’m blinded by light, stumbling forward, the last thing I see being the wretched grin on Pete Wentz’s face as I tumble forward into nothingness, the moment seemingly suspended as I crash through various photographic equipment, triggering onslaughts of profanity, the voice of Pete Wentz saying, ‘You know? The time when Jodi Moscone slept with me it was a one night stand and she was still wearing cheap perfume without a guilty conscience – ‘, and I pass out before I hit the floor overcome with a sense of strange relief.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Luckily the cameras seated my fall and all I had was a broken wrist, which hurts like hell, at the moment. But the fact remains that they are still going to cart me in the hospital.
There is an interminable sense of gloom, coming in spasms, waves of it, stacking up in my limbs as I am pressed against the backset (corduroy) trying to prevent the gush of fluid from escalating the back of my throat, flooding the wasted bed of my tongue with the taste of acid and half digested food. Blood flow is sluggish. And as I write this I am leaning against the window, and the fingers clasped over the side of my head feels the pulse on my temple: a dull, ceaseless throb, pressure forcing through the endless network of veins and arteries, encountering friction. The cardiac muscles contracting and relaxing in a series of movements, valves snapping shut, opening. Too slow. There is a sense of my sinking further and further back into the cushion of the seat as the car accelerates, I’m receding backwards. Disappear here. For some reason adrenaline prickles under my skin and as I catch a brief glimpse of my reflection in the rearview mirror, I see myself sallow gaunt and wasted, the apples of my cheeks shriveled into sagging sacs of skin loosely hanging on bare bone. While I briefly ponder when the last time I had a normal meal was my PR taps at my shoulder and points at the tinted glass: the paparazzi armed with their cameras, lens flashing, coming in swarms as security guards stand, a pulsing wall. And while my PR tells me they can’t see me through the tinted glass, I don’t look at her and feign disinterest, press my face against the glass which is vaguely warm – the thermostat’s twenty six degrees and the temperature outside is thirty something but I’m so so cold. I’m pressing my thighs together – my kneecaps knocking against each other hollowly, but my thighs don’t touch - a relief, or not.
I felt very still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo. There is no hysteria this time. I’m closing my eyes and waiting for the flurry of noise to recede, the jolt of the speed bump as the car rolls into the dimly lit confines of the hospital car park. And as I try to keep my tears from sliding down my cheeks I recite the words, ‘I am saved. I am saved. I am saved – ‘ A silent prayer, to keep the screams inside the voice box while it shatters into a thousand million deadly pieces, shrapnel stuck in the back of my throat.
‘You said it was just going to be for the cast.’
‘But you’re sick.’
‘BUT YOU SAID,’
‘YOU SAID IT WAS JUST FOR THE CAST ONLY. I AM NOT GOING TO STAY HERE. I HAVE MY HUMAN RIGHTS. YOU STUPID TWO BIT WHACK JOBS YOU THINK YOU CAN KEEP ME HERE HUH – ‘
For one moment there I thought I was being bound and gagged but it turns out that I’m blacking out, and for a moment there I steady myself but I pass out anyway.
In the dead of night while I sleep the cardiac monitor frequently beeps out a warning, slicing open the silence as a nurse comes in and changes the lower limit to thirty. I wonder what it would be like to die in my sleep. It would be really peaceful. I wonder what it’s like to be a ghost because it would be nice to know who came to your funeral.
On the 8th floor, east wing
I tell Thomas, ‘I hate myself,’
‘Well, dear, you can’t deny the fact that self-hate is essential to perfection.’
‘You are not ugly. I love you the way you are.’
He looks towards the general direction of his left.
‘The way you are.’
The daily routine: at 7:30, you are roused awake and someone sticks a thermometer clumsily into your ear and wraps a piece of plastic around your arm which inflates and crushes you to half death, and deflates when you are a second away from it. The nurse in kinky uniform and its matching shoes with squeaky rubber sole squeaks away and takes down the digital reading from the screen. Fifteen minutes later the same nurse comes back, asks you what you ate and how many times you went to the toilet, what for, last night but you don’t remember but she persists, you make up something. Then she goes away. Someone brings you breakfast. You respond with a glare, which she deflects with false cheeriness and you basically give up. You don’t touch your food.
Doctor comes. Tells you about the seriousness of your situation. You sit and listen, occasionally respond with sarcasm, fantasize about squeezing her to death and despite the fact that you nod you secretly plot mutiny.
Weekly weigh ins, the other ana patients, they tell me they put you on the scale on Sunday mornings, six o’clock. I adjust my alarm to 5’oclock so I could fill myself up with water weight first. Fill water bottles the night before. 5 o’clock. My tummy is so full you can actually feel the distinct shape of my stomach, I drank about a litre half water. I lie down in bed and realize how much I want to urinate. 6’oclock, I’m on the verge of bursting and my heartrate on the cardiac monitor shoots up to eighty-ninety something as the nurses fetch me. In the diagnoses room they tell me to change into this papery gown but it’s so urgent I can’t stand it I piss myself.
The nurses kind of laughed.
Breakfast: a yoghurt, chocolate milk, breakfast bun, fruit. As the nurse hands me the tray I ask her if the yoghurt is fat free. She shakes her head, say, ‘no fat free’ and, ‘you’d better finish your food,’, while she attends other bedridden patients. As she goes she hangs the sign that says ‘restricted to bed’. I ask her what it means and she says, ‘you are not allowed out of bed’, I say what’s the meaning of this? She doesn’t answer. Doesn’t look back.
And ohmygod my hands are shaking and as she goes away, I stuff the bun down my throat, three bites, down the yoghurt, chocolate milk, apple. There’s a repulsive feeling in the pit of my stomach, an all consuming fetidness of contamination but oh god I was so hungry but I shouldn’t have eaten and despite the fact I’m in a shared ward, I stick two fingers in the back of my throat and purge, a flight of frenzied hysteria. Someone presses the bell and I secretly curse as they pull me back up and strap me here. Someone calls the doctor.
Doctor says, we will have to feed you with intravenous tubing if you don’t cooperate, you understand?
OH MY GOD I AM SICK OF THIS PLACE. I WANT OUT. NOW. OH MY GOD. NO.
FML FML FML FML
In my hospital bed I am screaming for cop out. Nurses come. Try to talk me down. Say I am being irrational. Dying. Blah blah blah. The cardiac monitor on my right shoots up to eighty while I scream my voice hoarse, windpipe drawn and exhausted. Adrenaline pulsing through my tired bones like electricity through a dead body.
I don’t want to be force fed.
I just want out.
I pick up my pencil and says, if anyone comes near me, I’m going to pierce this pencil right into my veins. Everyone stop. But this nurse comes forward and says, no you don’t and propelled with a sort of crazy frenetic adrenaline, I feel faint livid with this anger and (truly alive) as I pierce the sharp end of my pencil into the pale unblemished skin in the inside of my wrists, drawing a pale curve. Dark red seeps out the broken seams of my skin, a elongated, jagged wound. The pain comes after, a lucid moment. I feel faint with accomplishment, perhaps it’s because I never thought I would be capable of this means of self-destruction. Simple and direct. The passive observant in torture, and at the same time the tortured. For one moment there I am transcendent, infinite. I’m a martyred saint as they bound my hands, feet, I’m a prisoner but I am atomic radiant. My mouth emits chorus of Famous Last Words as I stare into the blankness of the ceiling. And as I am delirious with happiness medics with hazmat suits and face masks come in, thrust my jaws open and stick in the intravenous tubing but my gag reflexed is so screwed I feel nothing. As they are done I snap at them with my teeth and catches one of them by the finger, as a surge of euphoria passes through my being. The medic swears.
I still win.
Ohgodno they’re taking away my pen -
In the ward, the lights are dimmed and I’m tiptoeing out of bed, loop of wire off the cardiac monitor unclipped and carefully turned off as I slide surreptitiously around the nurse station to the restroom, lock myself into the cubicle for the disabled. Feet: they are swollen and wasted with inactivity, edema, I’m slipping out of my flip flops feeling them against the cold bathroom linoleum. In front of the tiny sink, I’m feeling my reflection, now soft and riddled with fat, angles smoothened with lipids. My forehead leans against the glass now, eyes distended and sore, I'm squinting, the cool of the mirror rubbing around on the topslip of the iris, sliding back into place with every blink. Am I really there? In the mirror I see myself carefully peel off my shirt with a dreaded anticipation: cardiac contacts, two above my breast and one below my left, on the sharp thrust of my ribs. Jagged continents of bruises mark the expanse of my torso. My hands trace along the curve of my ribs, sliding down the length of my chest, feeling the softened rises and declines. Breasts are unattractive sacs of flesh, hanging by the surface of my ribs, bones between them still visible – I find a strange comfort in this. Goodbye, lover! My hands make their way to the back of my neck, feeling vertebrae and bone, tiny doorknobs as they slide down the S curve of my spine: in my mind’s eye I can imagine my skin zipped open, exposing bone while my organs hang suspended nested within tangles of tendon and blood vessels. In the mirror I can still see the ribs on my back, moving with every breath, a strange entity, its existence now smothered by newly gained layer of subcutaneous fat. There is a strange finality as my hands slide down to the final vertebrae. Fifty pounds of flesh shed like dead skin and grown back overnight. Goodbye Lover! As I slip my shirt back on, I wordlessly zip up the seams of my skin and seal off my heart.
Two weeks later, I have lost fifteen pounds. I press my fingers to my sternum: an old habit, a private gesture, an attempted wordless reply to the nervous chattering of my heart.
In the mirror, my ribs thrust themselves forward through the skin, proud, in the mirror, my hands play them, a hollow instrument. My hands make their way to the sway of my back, snake down to press the twin knobs at the base. My hands, shy as hands meeting up with an old lover, touch lightly, in that breathless disbelief: are you really here? Have you come back to me at last? My wedding ring loosens and spins on my hand.
- Marya Hornbacher, Wasted
Ms. Moscone’s parents reveals for their concerns for their daughter, a teenage model, who has lost a substantial amount of weight over the past six months. Over the past few months, she is said to have frequently locked herself in the toilet over a long period of time, bearing excuses of having showers, or a bad stomach. Upon exit, the toilet often emits an acidic pungent smell, not unlike that of vomit. However, she consistently denies that she had been sick. During early mornings, strange sounds of repetitive stress is often heard through the room above our subject’s bedroom. Mr Moscone reveals that his suspicions of her engaging in secretive rituals of exercises has been confirmed one night, as he peered through the slit of her door, carelessly left unopened. Upon questioning, the mother of Ms Moscone lets on that has observed the accumulation of unused napkins in the bathroom cupboard, leading to her conclusion of her terminated menstruation. Furthermore, her parents report her frequent skipping of meals, reasons ranging from having to diet for a certain show to not feeling well. Suspicions of binge/purge pattern eating has been aroused by the frequent clearing of food cupboards in the kitchen in time periods ranging from a few hours to half a day. Surreptitious food rituals have been observed in the increased stocking of carrot sticks and various food types of low caloric values.
Taken by Dr F. Stein