Book Jacket

 

rank 1469
word count 17146
date submitted 19.06.2012
date updated 31.03.2013
genres: Young Adult, Non-fiction, Biography...
classification: universal
complete

Glossed

Kate Mikhaylenko

To create is to destroy; to lose is to gain.

 

Wander in, wander back.


 
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anorexia, autobiography, biography, depression, eating disorder, eating disorders, fiction, illness, media, mental hospital, mental illness, non-ficti...

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35 comments

 

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Chapters

1

report abuse

No time for introductions, scenes, characters. No time for taking it slow. No time for being kind or gentle with words; there is only time to be rash and brisk.

I am a girl who got tired of the world.

I am a girl who got scared of the people.

I am a girl who, like many others, went looking for answers.

I am a girl who, like many others, found none and became desperate.

I am a girl who became half - or, more accurately, two thirds - of the person I used to be.

I am a girl who started smoking, then starving, then cutting, then drinking to -

To what?

I still don’t know.

 

All along, it made perfect sense in my head. You feel bad? You drink. You feel anxious? You smoke. You feel hated by others? You cut. You hate yourself, as well? You starve. It helps.

I feel anxious, using the word ‘starve’. I never starved, at least not in the way people think anorexics do. I didn’t live on a diet of lettuce and Diet Coke and ‘an apple a day’, and I never weighed less than six stone, I never dreamed of being a model, I never looked at ‘thinspo’ on the internet, I never planned ‘ultimate goal weights’ for myself.

I got sad. That’s all.

I truly believed the lies, like many others before me -

Be thin, and be loved. Be thin, and be in control. Be thin, and be happy.

Lies.

 

To this day, it’s impossible for me to explain that particular jump from ‘life not going well’ to ‘lose weight to no end, that’ll fix it’, though. There are theories, sure – I’m insecure, my life is unstable – but people are still left standing and asking ‘why?’

It’s a fair question. Why? Why would a well-off, passably pretty, passably talented girl dream and dream of destroying herself in the way that I do? After all, I don’t have ‘problems’. I am not disabled, or terminally ill, or physically bullied, or sexually abused, or starving to death in Africa. I am starving to death in Europe, where I have plenty of food available.

This is the point where most people make an inexplicable jump of their own. On hearing the words ‘anorexia nervosa’, they go to ‘self-induced starvation’, which is reasonable, but then they veer off into a ridiculous direction. Anorexics are vain. Anorexics are shallow. Anorexics want to be bony and skinny and they just want attention. Anorexics want to show off their skinny bodies on beaches in France, Miami, Ibiza and sit smugly in size 0 dresses. Anorexics want to be models and socialites and, hell, they just want to be skinny. They want all this. They want glamour and skinniness. They want the holy grail, the prize. They want their ‘illness’, or is it really an illness? ‘I could use some anorexia,’ people sigh whilst they eat skinny muffins and drink Diet Coke. ‘Oh, they’re so thin. They’re so lucky, I wish I could control myself around food like that.’

Wrong, on all counts.

Anorexics are miserable, insecure and weak. Anorexics are tired and lost and fed up and angry, desperate. Anorexics are all looking for something, for happiness, for acceptance, for love, and somewhere, somewhere in their mind all of that can be found in weight loss. In controlling food, in restricting food, in purging food by vomiting, exercising, compensating - in food, food, food. Anorexics are hungry. I hope I’m speaking for all of us when I say that we hate the way we are.

We wish we could stop, and we wish we could wake up happy, or normal, we can’t. We just can’t. This is no matter of choice.

We are not doing this ‘to be skinny’, to ‘look good’. We know we don’t look good, and we certainly aren’t doing this ‘to be skinny’. We’re doing this to be happy. Somewhere, ‘skinny’ equals ‘happy’. Maybe ‘skinny’ means ‘happy’ in your mind, too. Be careful with that. It’s wrong, and it has the power to drive you insane.

Here is the story of how it drove me insane.

Chapters

1

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R. Dango wrote 418 days ago

Your writing is sharp, poignant, and comes with an icy and transparent scent. I don't think I have read anything so powerful on this site. Your phrases pierce my heart.

Came back to read from chapter 5 to 9. I am speechless and motionless after reading. It's not just the contents that shocks me, but it's a combination of the tone, the rhythm as well.
Whatever the number you have now, I hope you survive to continue pouring the world with your beautiful writing.

mr.shelley wrote 668 days ago

Wandered off-board and crashed into this. I couldn't put it down. Brilliant million-miles-an-hour writing. And the numbers, so many numbers... 56 48 45 310 2000... mesmeric. And we always know what they refer to, what's kilos, what's cals, what that means. Terrifying way of reading a story but it so-ooo works.

You make us dance on your thin veil of self-loathing, share your starved-out spaced-out prozac-like separation from the world all around you, then snap into cool clear jagged attacks on your parents and friends. That's an adult dose, and if you really are 16, you've certainly got a future as a writer.

I'm glad you've recovered. Good luck as a phat phuk like most of the rest of us. It's fine here. Really...
:-)

janiemw wrote 670 days ago

This is outrageously good. The style is spare but richly detailed, the internal voice utterly true - the desperate feelings expressed in gasps of pain and despair. Small, descriptive details that are greater than the sum of their parts, like... looking at the calorie numbers printed on a food container: "...until they grow and dance and stick their tongues out at me."
Somebody said on some thread or other the other day something to the effect that, "non-fiction has to get it's facts straight, but fiction has an infinitely higher burden: to be honest."
A compelling read that moves in every sense of the word. Highest possible rating.

Jill Stoking wrote 316 days ago

I need to comment on your book but I'm finding it hard. It is the only insight I've read into the mind of somebody who has Anorexia and it had made me ashamed of my assumptions and stereotyped misconceptions. This is a beautifully crafted book, whether it was taken and expanded from diary entries, I don't know, that's the way it feels which gives it that powerful day by day, minute by minute impact. The indication at the end is that this is not an illness from which you ever fully recover, but that control is possible, a little like alcoholism.

I've recommended this book to my brother, from Amazon. His wife has anorexia and is also an alcoholic. He has such anger towards her and has given up on her and she has been unable to articulate any of what she feels and to the onlooker just seems determined to kill herself.

This book should be on the shelf of every professional who is involved with mental health. I can't do that but I can back it and put it on mine. You are an articulate young writer and on this subject, a voice for all those who have no voice. Well done. xx Jill Stoking - Joan's Descent.

Edward Gardner wrote 356 days ago

Very well written and straight from the heart, this book is so raw! I Started reading the first chapter and was drawn to read more. Good luck with getting this published, I will be back.

Edward
The Black Dionysia

Cathy Hardy wrote 362 days ago

This is brilliant, straight to the point, no messing about and I am blown away. Yet is is somehow poetic and you write in the present tense very well - not many people can pull it off.

I have got to chapter 4 and the mad dieting etc, something I know only too well. I can in fact identify with almost all of it and yes, I knew I looked awful - even now I won't go on the beach if I think I look too thin, which is not from dieting incidentally, I seem to have developed a ridiculously fast metabolism after menopause :)

I will read on, riveting stuff top stars x

Grace Lyssett wrote 400 days ago

Oh my goodness Kate, what a beginning. I want to wrap you in a warm blanket and hold you close until you stop hurting inside. I am two chapters in and will read to the end. Glossed will be on my WL as soon as this internet connection will allow.

I just wanted to let you know that I am with you, I care, and I hear your pain. I want to know more about your journey. You write so well, with a true rawness that takes courage. Yet (I think) I know that you couldn’t stop it pouring out. The world needs to hear your words. They will surely help so many.

The phrase ‘report abuse’ sits there under your pitch and at the top of each chapter as if providing a safe place for you to express yourself. I really wish that it had been available to you when you really needed it.

If internet on the Costa del Sol doesn’t allow me to comment again I shall return in two weeks when back home. Meanwhile take care of you.

Love
Grace Lyssett
SORRY

Harper True Life

Andrewallen82 wrote 413 days ago

I am a new author and would greatly appreciate a quick read it is only 5 chapters and think it a an a decent story so far and will return all reads will give me a chance. I am looking more for pointers than anything else if you love great, but if not please tell me all the same I WILL return the read and back it if I like it. Thanks David It is called Forsaken a not so human man who banished himself to the shadows for 60 years until now. Please consider I am new here and anything would be appreciated

R. Dango wrote 418 days ago

Your writing is sharp, poignant, and comes with an icy and transparent scent. I don't think I have read anything so powerful on this site. Your phrases pierce my heart.

Came back to read from chapter 5 to 9. I am speechless and motionless after reading. It's not just the contents that shocks me, but it's a combination of the tone, the rhythm as well.
Whatever the number you have now, I hope you survive to continue pouring the world with your beautiful writing.

YGPAC wrote 514 days ago

Wow! Right from the first chapter you broke it down, no explanation, excuses but straight to the point! I like that. Its a very intresting book with some insightful parts as well as it reads with ease. Great work on this insightful topic.

Tod Schneider wrote 574 days ago

In reading this I am particularly struck by your honest and insightful voice. You do such an admirable job of getting to the heart of the matter -- that we all want to be loved, we all want to be happy, and we all will do whatever it takes to get there, often in a manner that's delusional or self-destructive. For some people, anorexia; for others drugs or religion. But I think your writing brings dignity to the conversation, and I think that's a magnificent contribution.
Best of luck with this!
And if you have any interest in children's literature, do drop in on the Lost Wink.
Thanks!
Tod
http://authonomy.com/books/40646/the-lost-wink/

SusanHooper wrote 576 days ago

"What makes us different is that in our quest to be happy, we end up the unhappiest of all."
Absolutely..I just read your entire book.
I'm glad I gave it six stars a few chapters in.

SusanHooper wrote 576 days ago

I'm only a few chapters into this. My daughter is asleep on my lap. If I stay here, she'll wake in an hour and be running around until midnight. If I put her to bed, she'll sleep.I can't leave the computer. This is a brilliant read. Vivid imagery, very well written. I'm a recovered anorexic who was in treatment for years. You're spot on. And put 'it' all into words, and good ones at that. I wish you well in life and with this book. Six stars from me.

Peter Peverelli wrote 576 days ago

Hi, this makes interesting reading, on one hand I feel a little held back by the large number of short sentences, but on the other hand I feel an urge to continue, because I want to know what happens.
This is a genuine story, with the personal feelings and perceptions of the author/narrator as the main story line. However, once you start finetuning this text, you could consider to turn some of the stretches of short sentences into more coherent texts.
Moreover, some of the themes seem to deserve a little more expansion. For example, for me as a China specialist (have a look at my manuscript, in case you are interested) at one moment I read that you go to China and only a few lines further you are already on the plane. Food takes a central position in Chinese culture, so that part of your travels should provide an intriguing environment for a major struggle between your desire to lose weight and a culture than is set to feeding you.
Anyway, I hope to see this in the bookshop, physical or virtual, soon.
Best, Peter (One Turbulent Year)

MrsGray wrote 618 days ago

A HBJ (hottest books June) review

Kate,

I found this poignant to the point that it gave me goosebumps. Would that we could all express ourselves this way, with words so honest and potent, and be brave enough to bare our souls. Perhaps then, we would not spend so much time pointing out one another's shortcomings.


High stars.

April Gray
The Illusion

Sara Stinson wrote 619 days ago

A shocking, yet honest account of the pain and agony suffered by you through this devilish disorder.

Your memoir is truly a must read!

Good luck and I do hope your book finds its way to the public.
Sara Stinson

Su Dan wrote 625 days ago

deep subject, which you write very well indeed; honest and true...
l have backed...
read SEASONS...

LianneLB wrote 625 days ago

Brilliantly eye-opening. I never gave much thought to the mind of an anorexic - I always thought it was about benig thin - this taught me it is so much more.

scargirl wrote 626 days ago

this is a good eye-opener and i am so glad you have written this book. your sharing this memoir is exception, and it is good to do something positive with your pain. with a good command of the written language, this books has a strong foundation.
j
what every woman should know

Jim Darcy wrote 646 days ago

This is the kind of book that should be discussed in PCHSE type lessons in schools and colleges. Tried offering it to the NHS?

Kim Padgett-Clarke wrote 657 days ago

I wanted to read this because my day job is working in mental health and a number of our service users have some form of eating disorder. It has taken a long time to recognise this as a mental illness and not just someone who doesn't know when to stop dieting. Your style of writing captures this painful time perfectly. You lay your soul out bare for us all to see and it has quite a haunting effect. I am so glad that you have recovered and have come to terms with those difficult times. Well done on getting your story out to us.

Kim (Pain)

junetee wrote 659 days ago

Glossed.

You've written this extremely well. Its honest, straight to the point and very explainatary.
I can't say I know a lot about eating disorders, but I know its not just about appearances or being thin. And its complicated. You have described all about it perfectly in the first chapter, and then gone on to describe your own story in the rest.. I found it such a compelling read. Its well written and fast paced. It is powerful and emotional and it must have taken a lot of courage for you to write it.
Counting calories is something I've been doing all my life, for similar reasons. Luckily my weight never went too low and I was happy with the weigh I lost - even though it yoyoed all the time. Maybe I ought to think - why am I always counting them? This book will be a great help to lots of women especially teenagers.
A brilliant read. highly starred
junetee
FOUR CORNERS.book one.The Rock Star

R. Dango wrote 659 days ago

This is a very important work. The way it's written is powerful and poetic at the same time, in a unique way.
I admire your courage to start writing about it, and to structure and continue. I've only read four chapters but it was easy to be absorbed into it.

Chapter 4 had a couple of very minor things to fix - a trace of editing, and a sudden change in font size. But they are something that you can fix in a few minutes.

I have many more comments or the impressions that I wish to make but they are all very personal things from my teenage days. I am sure many readers of this book would as well.

Staying on my WL and I will be coming back to read the rest.

Chrissie B wrote 660 days ago

This is a brave and powerful memoir. It's good to read an account of the condition which doesn't concentrate on on the influence of the media. Anorexia is a condition which takes over your life completely and becomes a total obsession - you have expressed this well.

Loads of stars.

Chrissie
Missing Charlie

Cariad wrote 662 days ago

Well done, Kate. Told in a simple, matter of fact, honest voice, it addresses the points other people often make (or conclusions they jump to) so heading them off in the first breath. You outline the reasons, the feelings and the details in plain language that has a quiet note of sadness behind it, yet doesn't come across in a depressing way. Good first chapter that sets up the premise and introduces us, and a cracking last line. Well done.

I have only read two chapters, but will read more and come back to you.
Cariad.

Karamak wrote 663 days ago

What an outstanding memoir, this is truly an amazing read. You captivate your reader so vividly and with such an honest open voice it is impossible not to feel the pain. If only we had those old shoulders when we were young how different our lives may have been.With best wishes to you, Karen, Faking it in France.

patio wrote 664 days ago

This is a moving story but you may want to increase the font size
high stars though

LittleMiggy wrote 665 days ago

Hi Kate, this is a very honest book, and i agree with all of the comments made below. It is frank, but sometimes, this can be the only way to get the message across - i am sure that many people deep down can relate to a lot of the feelings and desperation at some point in their lives, not just with eating, but perhaps self hatred, depression, self harming and the point of no return - we are quick to beat ourselves up, see failure, but not spot the downward spiral until it is too late. I think this should be used in schools, to help children/teenagers recognise what terrible damage can occur. I truly think this would help many and hopefully make people think twice. You are very brave to share your experience. I wish you all the best for your future, and for your book. High stars, Little Miggy x

Debbie R wrote 666 days ago

Kate

This is such a sad, heart-breaking memoir, yet it needs to be read. The opening pulled me straight in and I couldn't stop reading. The 'voice' you write with is engaging and so open and honest. Some of the comments are so powerful and really get the reader inside the head of someone with this condition.
'Anorexics are hungry. We hate the way we are'
'Happiness, love and perfection. It's all there, at 58.'
'I'm at my goal weight, so why is something still missing?'
You do not waste words, but get straight down to the nitty gritty.

This is a must read for all young teenage girls. I found it totally absorbing.

Top stars

Debbie
Speedy McCready

Neville wrote 667 days ago

Glossed.
By Kate Mikhaylenko.


I see this book as being a wealth of advice to the young—If hope they heed your mistakes.
I say ‘young’, because seldom do we hear of any elderly person suffering from anorexia nervosa.
Could it be that they don’t consider it to be a necessity to walk around like a bag of bones to get on in life? Or are they just sensible to realize that the body needs sustenance in order to carry out its daily demands.
I agree with your story, there’s too much emphasis today, on being like a model on a cat-walk…over twenty’s are out!... Unless they can appear younger looking.
I can see that it is a mental problem that stems from wanting to satisfy the wishes of the media for one thing. We are bombarded from all angles regarding obesity and the need to be ultra slim.
I’m pleased that you have come through all this and able to sit down and discuss it through your writing.
You certainly know enough about nutrition, calories, and body fat.
It’s a deep subject that I know little about—I’ve learned something though from your compelling book.
I’m a little bit wiser now!
Take care and keep writing.
Star-rated!! Backed!!

Kind regards,
Neville. The Secrets of the Forest – The Time Zone.

mr.shelley wrote 668 days ago

Wandered off-board and crashed into this. I couldn't put it down. Brilliant million-miles-an-hour writing. And the numbers, so many numbers... 56 48 45 310 2000... mesmeric. And we always know what they refer to, what's kilos, what's cals, what that means. Terrifying way of reading a story but it so-ooo works.

You make us dance on your thin veil of self-loathing, share your starved-out spaced-out prozac-like separation from the world all around you, then snap into cool clear jagged attacks on your parents and friends. That's an adult dose, and if you really are 16, you've certainly got a future as a writer.

I'm glad you've recovered. Good luck as a phat phuk like most of the rest of us. It's fine here. Really...
:-)

LostinHere wrote 668 days ago

Honestly, I did not think I'd enjoy this in the slightest. I was prepared for whinings of 'I am too fat and I want to be thin' all the way through. In fact, I don't know what I was expecting.

Certainly not this. I take it all back.

Read the first sentence, and don't regret it. Get hooked. 6 stars.

PenInHand wrote 668 days ago

Wow, a very powerful memoir. As somebody who struggled with eating disorders for most of my high school years (feelings of helplessness over my thyroid disorder caused me to develop "restrictive bulimia" which is like bulimia with anorexic tendencies) I can personally say that this is an honest, true to life account. I was struck by your writing, and think that a lot of girls out there will be able to relate to your case.

hce95 wrote 668 days ago

This is one of the most tragically accurate accounts I have read of coping with trauma like this. The pitifully sparse style only serves to accentuate the severity of your affliction. A truly moving read, and one I think is increasingly relevant in today's ever-more-materialistic and consumerist society, where Photoshop has created a new, false gold standard to which far too many aspire, with disastrous consequences for them and their families.

scargirl wrote 669 days ago

this is a richly written story on a hard-to-read subject.
j
what every woman should know

AudreyB wrote 669 days ago

I teach struggling readers (age 12-14)--they would love your courage and your story. They share many life experiences with you and may be headed in a similar direction. I think reading a story like yours would help them cope with their own issues.

I think the diary approach is a good one. We become aware of the many incidents and issues that influenced you in much the same way you did. I also like that it provides the bare minimum of details; I'm a fan of fewer words.

The only thing that struck me as out of place is the description in your pitch of this as 'punchy.' Though you are using it correctly, it has the wrong 'feeling' to me. I think I'd search for one with a connotation that fits better with the anorexia. Incisive?

"...so why is something still missing?" Wonderful line.

Best wishes to you here on Authonomy!
~AudreyB
Forgiveness Fits

Tod Schneider wrote 670 days ago

It takes tremendous courage to lay out our greatest vulnerabilities for the world to see. This book does so, and does it well. Your writing is well put together, and provide extensive insights into a whole host of disorders.
Best of luck with this!
Tod
http://authonomy.com/books/40646/the-lost-wink/

janiemw wrote 670 days ago

This is outrageously good. The style is spare but richly detailed, the internal voice utterly true - the desperate feelings expressed in gasps of pain and despair. Small, descriptive details that are greater than the sum of their parts, like... looking at the calorie numbers printed on a food container: "...until they grow and dance and stick their tongues out at me."
Somebody said on some thread or other the other day something to the effect that, "non-fiction has to get it's facts straight, but fiction has an infinitely higher burden: to be honest."
A compelling read that moves in every sense of the word. Highest possible rating.

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