When did you begin to experience dramatic weight loss?
The spring I turned sixteen, after experiencing
a dramatic desire to lose weight.
What fueled this desire? Did you believe others considered you overweight?
I believed others didn’t consider me very often. I felt
too much, burdensome. In the window beside my bed,
a hole broke through the mesh screen. I used to write
help me on scotch tape across pennies and poke
the coins through the hole. One day I decided
This is stupid. There are other ways
to ask for help. Thin was one of them.
How did you hope to be helped?
Someone would take my shoulders in their hands
and shake. They’d say Look what you’re doing to yourself—
You have so much to live for. Or they’d promise You’re safe now.
No one will hurt you again.
You desired attention?
Rescue. Attention didn’t always get things done.
Do you acknowledge your life was privileged?
I attended expensive schools. My face was pretty
enough that men sat next to me on the train, even if other
rows of seats were empty.
What made the weight loss dramatic?
I left for summer camp and came home. Ten weeks
I ate only rice, fruit, and small bites of fish. Castaway
on an island, only it was New Jersey. At first
everyone acted happy for me. I dressed up
for school, tried out for the play.
At first, others seemed to approve of the dieting?
On the first day of school, he followed me from class
to the lockers. We signed out scripts for the play
in the library. He took more time to look at me.
Everyone took more time to look at me, all of a sudden, then.