“you’re not dead, but you’re not alive, either. you’re a wintergirl. you’re a ghost with a beating heart.”
just let them resonate for a few seconds before you continue to read on.
over the weekend, i read laurie halse anderson’s novel: wintergirls.
now before you click out of this window, stop.
this isn’t a book report.
this isn’t a book review.
i had been a little apprehensive in picking up this particular novel.
it is incredibly popular among my followers and i was honestly very curious what all the hype was about.
before i started reading, i asked my lovely twitter followers what their opinions on the book were and all of them raved about it but warned me of how triggering it was.
yes, the novel is extremely triggering.
yes, the novel made me cry multiple times.
yes, the novel is incredibly accurate and well written.
but beyond the pages, i felt a certain connection with everyone who’s ever suffered from an eating disorder.
in my own experience, having anorexia was something i tried to hide from the world.
through the excuses of “why i’m not hungry” to the “reasons why i’ve been losing weight,” it was a very internal and personal struggle.
wintergirls did exactly the opposite: it melted the ice around such a personal topic and has allowed me to feel not so alone.
after finishing the novel, i was able to understand completely why so many of my followers have fallen in love with this book: for once you feel as if you aren’t alone.
in one scene, the main character, lia, is having an anxiety attack.
her anorexic thoughts have completely taken over, for almost no reason, and she is cutting herself in the bathroom.
the quick pace of the writing allowed me to go back to these exact moments in my life, some of which were as recent as august, and they brought me to tears.
i felt her pain.
i felt her frustration.
i felt the broken pieces of her soul crumble to the floor.
lia looks in the mirror and thinks:
“i am locked in the mirror and there is no door out.”
how many times have you thought this?
often times i allow the mirror to dictate how i feel on any given day.
the mirror is often your worst enemy holding you captive.
the mirror is often my worst enemy holding me captive.
yet, you build a bond with lia, and allow yourself to root for her own recovery.
a monumental step for most of us if you really think about it.
how many times have you tried to not “get better” and continue in your own patterns?
for me, this book allowed me to observe someone struggling with something so personal to myself, and i actually wanted to see her make it out.
wintergirls allowed me to see my disease from a personal, yet outside perspective.
but for me, wintergirls was more than an opportunity for me to feel connected with others battling the same issue:
it was about seeing just how close i came to not writing this post.
i was in the “dangerous” 85 pound zone less than two years ago.
i was starving myself to the point where i didn’t feel safe driving a car.
i remember the feeling of standing next to baked goods and watching everyone else “get fatter” while i displayed self-control.
i remember pledging to myself, just as cassie and lia did, to be the “skinniest girl in school.”
i remember it all.
for months i’ve tried to block out those memories and pretend they didn’t happen.
pretend i was “normal” for all those years.
for me, wintergirls helped me come to terms with who i was and who i’m learning to be.
if you are interested in purchasing a copy of wintergirls, i’ve provided a link to amazon.
please leave a comment and let me know how this book has impacted your life.
i’d love to know.
like lia says, “i am thawing.”
winter is over.
you are beautiful.
you deserve to melt the ice.