Tuesday, February 9, 2010

An Insecure Excerpt

Ickies. Sorry I was such a frowny face yesterday. But we all have those days, yes? So today, rather than wallow in the miserable, I thought I’d share a couple things I am grateful for:

1. …I am setting up a meeting with a counselor at the U of U in a day or two because this broad is finally going back to school to finish her degree! Do we understand how B I G this is???
I think it’s time to make something of myself. Don’t you?  And I am so very excited to go for yet another dream of mine...
2. …and, just to tickle you, here is a small, small portion of the book I am writing: I know a lot of you are interested, so I thought I’d post it here. Let me know what you think, ‘mkay? (Note, most of this is factual (BUT NOT ALL, and names and certain dates have been changed to protect others privacy.) And and a big big BUT: this is majorly a rough draft, so there is a good chance that most of what I am posting will be revised again and again and again and again…this is already my 4th draft…If you'd like, lemme know what you think:
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[Insert date:] the day I walked into the [treatment center] for my assessment – that is, an appointment with a therapist who asks extensive questions about my oh so scintillating past and my eating disorder behaviors to see if I actually do, in fact, need to have inpatient treatment for my anorexia.

I was nervous. I remember I was wearing some pink capri’s with little lavender flowers on them and a pink shirt that was a girls size ten. At 5’11”, I looked like an overgrown, gawky, eleven year old boy. I’ve seen that shirt since and am in awe of how I even fit my arms into the sleeves. My girls size twelve capris hung loosely on my butt, and as I sat in the lobby awaiting a therapist I knew nothing about except that her name was *Beth, I remember feeling fat. I picked at my manicured nails which had grown out and needed a fill. My mom was sitting next to me pretending to read a magazine, and as she watched me nervously jiggle my leg up and down, she asked,

“Do you want me to go in there with you?”
“No, I think I’ll be okay on my own.”

If I had any opportunity to lie (see, the lies: they’re already coming) in my assessment and get out of inpatient treatment, then I was going to do it. Hell yeah! My mother being in the office would provide me with no opportunity to work on my drama skills.

I looked at my watch. I was impatient. This Beth was fifteen minutes late. I remember thinking her delay was so unprofessional, and now, looking back, I smile to myself. I didn’t yet know that Beth would proceed to be late for EVERY SINGLE SESSION we would ever have. And that was just Beth: sweet, distracted, can’t-be-punctual-to-save-her-life Beth.

The door opened. There she stood. She was wearing a yellow shirt with jeans, and her long blonde hair was in a braid. This wasn’t what I was expecting. I was expecting some old fat lady with an old lady fro ‘do who would be wearing a suit and holding a briefcase or something. Anything but this cool looking person that had the kindest eyes I had ever seen.

“Meg? You ready?”
I smiled and stood up. I was trying as hard as I could to appear normal, sane, not-crazy. After all, I had decided, you needed to be certifiably mad to land yourself in a treatment center for eating disorders, and I. WAS. NOT. CRAZY. And I wasn’t too thin, either. Shit. Was the entire world blind?

Beth led me down the hallway to her office. As I walked down the corridor, I noticed hanging on the walls masks made of paper mache. I looked around me, horrified. These were the scariest, most depressing things I’d ever seen. They were all painted with black or dark colors with words all in capital letters like PAIN and FEAR and FAT and SHAME. How LAME, I decided. Expressing my emotions – positive or negative – especially in a creative way was something I was not familiar with. Where were the flowers and rainbows? The pink and yellow paint? Where the hell were my parents potentially thinking of putting me? You really DID have to be crazy to be in a place like this. Black paint and low self-esteem? Shit, dude.


We stepped into her office, and I was grateful to get away from the rows of masks leering at me. I looked around me. I was in a small office that was, undoubtedly, the messiest, most cluttered place I had ever been. Again, my idea of an all business, no-nonsense woman looking down her nose at me (thinking I was fat, no doubt) asking me questions in her spacious, sparsely furnished office was shattered. This woman obviously wasn’t an obsessive-compulsive perfectionist, and I liked that.


I sat down on the sofa. I checked myself: sit up straight, keep hands in my lap. I wanted to shake my foot (my anxiety was through the roof) but I knew better than to do so in front of her. I was sane, well put together. I needed her to see my fa├žade. Suck in my stomach. Smile. Will the tummy not to growl with hunger.
She looked at me and smiled, asked me how I was doing.
“I! Was! Great! Thanks for asking!”
She just looks at me.  Smiles a sad smile.

We dove right into the questions. Beth asks me things like, Tell me about your family, how is school going, what are your hobbies, how long have you been having eating problems? It’s huge, I have nine siblings. School’s great, I get straight A’s. I like to read and write. And play sports. And model. I don’t really have eating problems per se, I just need to watch my diet because I model. You understand, of course. It was working. I appeared calm, cool, collected. Maybe I was a little too skinny, but once she realized how very fine, how very stable I was, my weight would be overlooked. Perhaps I had a fast metabolism; perhaps it was genetics, whatever.

Just so long as she believed the lie.

Beth asked me about the sports I liked to play. I told her how much I loved volleyball, and she enthusiastically told me that her daughter loved it too. We started talking about the sport, about what position I played and how long I had played. I found myself relaxing despite myself. My previous experience with a therapist had not been good or even mediocre and I found myself thinking that I could actually talk to her. I mean really talk. Woah. Weirdness, here. Stop. Put up the wall again. This woman is not your friend.

She looked at her watch. We had already gone fifteen minutes past the hour. Again, this was something I was not familiar with. The therapist I had been seeing out-patient set a clock that dinged when the sixty minutes was up. I’m serious. It really mothereffing dinged, though I didn’t mind. I was always hoping I’d hear the ding long before I actually did, cuz therapy S-U-C-K-E-D. Music to my ears, baby. She was a fifty-something woman who was short. I mean really short. As in, oh, about a foot shorter than me.
This gave me a serious inferiority complex. Can you take somebody seriously whose legs are so short that they swing in her office chair? Really?
She wore plaid one-size-fits-all dresses and moon-boots. And old grandma shawls.
This is not a lie.
She also drew fat people on her white-board, with round little tummies and arms and a round smile.
This freaked me out to no end. Everyone draws stick-figures when trying to represent a person. I was anorexic. She drew fat people. It was just weird. And her glasses were big and made of plastic.
And really, I could keep going.

But Beth, well, she seemed cool. I seemed important enough to be kept past the hour even though she had other appointments. She didn’t seem even a little odd and she certainly didn’t seem like someone who would draw fat people on a white-board, no kidding.

“Oops! I’ve gotten so caught up in talking to you I’m forgetting to ask you questions.” She for reals seemed to get side-tracked easily, but in a good way. I was having fun talking to her. “Let’s keep going. …Okay, have you ever been abused? Physically? Sexually?”
I smile. “What an odd question to ask someone whom you’ve never met before.”
“Okay….,” she says slowly. “Is there anything else you want to tell me? Any other eating disorder behaviors that we haven’t covered?”

I pause. There is something, but no. What the hizell am I thinking? Why would I tell her this? Why would I tell her something that would more than likely help lock me up? She looks at me, waiting. Those eyes, so kind. Deep breath.

“Yeah, there is something.” I proceed to tell her about how much I had been abusing Ipecac (everyday, I couldn’t stop) and that it was making my heart beat erratically. I often couldn’t stay conscious after ingesting it. She seems so concerned about it, so worried. I am not used to this. To me it wasn’t a big deal.

My mom is called back to her office and Beth tells her that I need inpatient treatment immediately, that the Ipecac coupled with my extremely emaciated BMI was putting my life in jeopardy. That one truth, that slip-of-the-tongue fact about my Ipecac use, well, that one reality more than likely was the last nail in the coffin putting me into treatment, and going into treatment was what started all the lies, the problems, the how-to-stay-sicker list I would keep in my head. In other words, telling the truth brought on the lies.

This I call the Great Irony of My Life.

My mom sighs. She already knows this truth: that her daughter will die without help. “Okay. We’ll do it.”

My admit day was set for the following week, on [insert date]. I had a week to prepare, a week to say goodbye to my friends and family and teachers. I would be missing high school graduation, missing speaking at my seminary graduation, missing the end-of-the-year parties, missing my boyfriend going into the MTC to begin serving an LDS mission.

My life was about to change. I thought for the better. How could it not be? I was supposed to be getting help, gaining weight, recovering from anorexia. {Insert treatment center] was supposed to make me alllll better, give me some bad ass bandaid that was strong and could keep all the pain at bay.  How wrong I was. It was all about to get much, much worse.
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Bah!  Momma feels insecure about sharing this...(and sorry this post was so long; I rarely post long ones because I know they get boring.  It's TOTES okay if you didn't finish it!)

62 comments:

Devon said...

Eloquently written as always. I was engrossed in it immediately. No need to feel insecure, my dear.

All my love

brie said...

thanks dev. seriously sounds so stupid but i feel really happy you actually go through the entire thing!

xoxo

B R I T N E Y said...

I love it!!! I'm hooked already! I can't wait to read MORE!!!

Will said...

Great writing. Sure it was long but such an easy read that it went quick...and I actually wanted to read more.

Don't feel insecure! Those experiences got you to where you are now (even though you are not in love with that or the tube at the moment!) but that experience lead you here...which will lead you to another experience. It's all connected.

It's hard to be honest- put yourself out there...share ALL of your thoughts. For someone with a ED struggle- it's very hard to put all cards on the table when you are used to hiding so many secrets/untrue thoughts.

Just remember they are FEELINGS. They are not nec. true or concrete- you might feel them today...and won't feel the same tom.

You should post more. You are a wonderful writer!

Will said...

Great writing. Sure it was long but such an easy read that it went quick...and I actually wanted to read more.

Don't feel insecure! Those experiences got you to where you are now (even though you are not in love with that or the tube at the moment!) but that experience lead you here...which will lead you to another experience. It's all connected.

It's hard to be honest- put yourself out there...share ALL of your thoughts. For someone with a ED struggle- it's very hard to put all cards on the table when you are used to hiding so many secrets/untrue thoughts.

Just remember they are FEELINGS. They are not nec. true or concrete- you might feel them today...and won't feel the same tom.

You should post more. You are a wonderful writer!

starbert said...

I like it and I think a lot of people will be interested to read that perspective of an ED so honestly. But the curse words might eliminate a potential audience. I thought it took away from the great writing. It startled me out of..the story I guess.

standing in the rain said...

it didn't feel long. seriously. waaaay into it. post the whole book today, yo! :)

brie said...

hey starbert - there are not many swear words in the book, but there are a few, and i'll tell you why:

i want this book to be brutally honest. sometimes i swear, and that's why i swear in the book. the character swears sometimes, it's just who she is. i want this book to be real, and editing out a few curse words, at least to me, would make the story not as real, not as intangible. i'm sorry if i offended you!

Kerri said...

I hope you are feeling at least a little better. We all have crappy days, so it's really not something you need to apologize for- and especially not on your own blog. :)

I am loving the little excerpt! I have a fair collection of books with the same topic, and most of them suck just because I find the characters to be annoying. I love yours simply because she speaks about therapy in the same way I view it, but without overdoing it the way many books do. I can't wait to read more. Don't feel insecure- it's really good!

Maeve said...

More please!!

You are a great writer (something I've already deduced from reading your blog), and I really enjoyed the excerpt from your book. I hope that a publisher picks you up quickly and that you make oodles of money.

The combination of something that is heartfelt and well-written is unusual and what makes this book great.

brie said...

i'm baffled! you all love it. wow...really, thank you. and constructive criticism is welcome, too.

Kerri said...

Oh and I read the entire thing and it didn't feel long at all, but I went back to look at it and realized, at least visually, it is quite long-- but it was so good I really had no idea, lol. :)

Devon said...

PS - I, of course, thought the swear words added mucho. But then...it is me ;)

Krista said...

I too liked the swear words. I think it appealed to me because it wasn't all typical molly-mormon-I-never- think-or-say-anything-bad.

I loved the story and wanted to keep reading. I also loved trying to guess at who people were and which elements of the story were real and which you made up.

The part describing your old therapist made me chuckle. I did have to read that part twice though cause at first I thought you were describing Beth. So my only constructive criticism would be maybe to make that part more clear.

I love your writing! I would love to read more if you feel like posting it.

Stephanie said...

It may have been long, but I was disappointed when it ended. I wanted more!

Can't wait for more :)

Jessie said...

Congrats on going back to finish your degree! That's huge! And thanks for sharing your book. I really enjoyed it and can't wait for more. You rock!

Samantha Kay said...

I love it. L.O.V.E. IT.
Did I mention I'm an english major?
I cannot wait to read the entire book.

Eating Alone said...

I enjoyed it. It was not long as an excert from a book. Constructrive - If you use a TLA tell us what it is!!! I have no idea what MTC. I don't think it's mountain central time. LDS I know but not the other.

I will assume that you let us know what is in other parts of the book.

I would read it. I would most likely enjoy it. I know that I would learn something from it. I was hooked on the part about the lies. Your not alone there. Glad you are not hiding anymore.

brie said...

david,

sorry - the MTC is stands for the Missionary Training Center - it's where LDS guys who are going to serve a mission go for several weeks to prepare - I will for sure make that distinction in my final draft!

Sarah said...

I agree - I like the swearing. I felt like swearing when I had the lovely encounter called an intake assessment--and I'm not even a swearer in real life, so I thought it added a lot.

I didn't notice how long it was either.

I liked the "great irony of my life" statement and it really made me want to read more of the story,

starbert said...

Okay, I can see why you would keep the swear words on the book. That reason makes sense. I am just not sure I would personally have it on my shelf with that content. And I am not saying it is scandalous, but it is just not something I like to hear or read or have in my home. Even with something that is not considered a curse word but still harsh would be a great substitute, but I am not you and have not gone through what you have and if you feel like it could not express the way you feel in other words that is understandable. I know you have been through a lot and experienced some really strong emotions, I just wish there were other words to express that without making me wince and well, slightly offend me. Haha! But go you on writing a book!!! That is some hard work, and it could really help a lot of people. I hope I don't come off as snotty or a "better than" attitude because that is not what I am trying to say. I am really just saying it could possibly limit your potential audience. Good luck, it sounds great and I loved reading it.

brie said...

okay starbert, i appreciate the comments. there isn't much swearing in the book, but there will be some, as there are in 95% of the books that are out there. but i can't please everybody, and that's okay! :)

t. said...

your writing is fabulous! i can't wait to read your entire book.

and i am so excited for you - going back to school. that is a huge deal! and you rock for doing it.

takeupyourbedandwalk said...

Wow, this was really good, Brie. And I agree with others: it didn't seem long, and I didn't mind the swearing. (Although I personally think that judiciously used swearing is way more effective than either none of it or tons of it, you know?) I am especially impressed that you can write something so moving, without sounding maudlin or self-pitying. That is a rare thing, in my experience.

I would TOTALLY buy this book! :)

Marste

Tiptoe said...

I think whatever you write, Brie, it will be engrossing to people. You have a great writing style that easily pulls readers in. And that marks a great writer. You already have an audience with readers who read your blog, and it will only increase from there. I see high hopes for your book!

Kudos to taking the step to going back to school. It's scary, but just as with anything else in your life, you'll get through it.

Jonny and Haley said...

As always, your honesty is what makes your writing so addicting. And I want more! Congrats on going back to school as well, I am really happy for you!

Carolyn said...

ok, i'm ready for the rest of the book!! that was fantastic-- like you read my mind :)
i think you've really hit the nail on the head with what this feels like. be proud for being able to put words to something that so many of us can't- that's a gift.

Laur said...

SO GOOD!
I cannot wait to read more!

CG said...

love it. (and love the reality conveyed by the swear words). Can we have more? please, please? xxoxo

Lindsay said...

I thought it was AWESOME. You're an incredible writer. I'd love to read more.

Gena said...

Brie,

As always I love your honestly. Being in the middle of all of this with my daughter, I am literally weeping right now.

You need to finish this book. You need to get it out to people everywhere. High school girls need to read it. AND it needs to have a happy ending, which is where I feel you're headed.

I will be behind you all way, as I am behind my daughter. ED sucks, it truly does. And I will do everything in my power to support your recovery and the recovery of all those suffering with this horrible disease.

You can write long posts whenever you feel like it and I will read them til the end. You are beautiful and strong. You are also incredibly intelligent and gifted. Thank you for sharing your life and your heart.

Gena

Mary said...

I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE BOOK! I LOVE THE HONESTY OF IT. YOU GO GIRL! IT'S GOING TO BE HUGE. I FEEL ANOTHER TALK SHOW COMING ON FOR THE BRIESTER!!!

rachel ramsay said...

beth does have a sad smile..

Melissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa said...

Okay, I wanna read more more more. That's great. You've left me wanting more.

Hmmm. That sounds a little dirty. Sorry.

bananas said...

Swear words...oh dear, how scandalous!!!!!

Laurel said...

I was taken in immediately... could have kept reading and reading...

Telstaar said...

I love it my dear Miss B, I do. I love also the fact that it's not just a "story" but has a plot... and you present it in a way that you're waiting to see what comes around the corner!

xoxox

bananas said...

Did anyone congratulate you yet on this whole "going back to school" thing? Congratu-frickin-lations!! You sexy little scholar, you.

brie said...

all this support is overwhelming, so thanks! also -- thanks all for the well wishes regarding me going to school, i'm excuited. :)

Fragile Flame said...

Congrats on going back to school that's amazing! And I totally got lost in your writing (in a good way). Very nicely written:)

p.e.n.n.y. said...

there were swear words in that? is it bad that i didn't even notice?! great excerpt. i'm intrigued and find myself wanting more.

bananas said...

P.S.: I enjoyed reading. :) I definitely can't wait for more. I want an autographed advanced copy!

Katannah said...

I honestly don't remember where the swearing was, which tells me that it was used in good context and appropriately to the character and situation. You will not please everyone with your candor or style; please resist the temptation to pretty it up for those who may not be able to handle the naked ugly truth. You've chosen to be semi-autobiographical; I think you're wise to write in your personal narrative style. Your character will possess more depth and texture and nuance because you have lived her.

Your character's voice is solid and very defined in just the first pages; most importantly, she is real - she is a liar, an addict, and a scared girl that I've met at our local facility. Nicely done.

And I am VERY happy to hear you will be going back to school. :-)

Laur said...

I absolutely love it Brie. I can't wait to read all of it. I might be retarded but is the book going to be called Insecure? Or were you just saying you felt insecure sharing some of it with your blog peeps?
Love ya girl, hang in there with all that you are dealin with.

licketysplit said...

I can't WAIT to read more!

Lindsay said...

Brie, I always read your blog but don't comment very often, but seriously, I was IN the therapy session with Meg while reading (If that makes any sense. I could just picture everything). You have an awesome gift. I am glad you are willing to share it!!

Lindsay

brie said...

i am glowing from all your praise. :) at least i know that when i publish it, all my blog readers will buy copies!

malpaz said...

Please send a copy to Mississippi ASAP AND BILL ME!!!!!! the ol slip-of-the-tongue got me in therapy at one time too.

this is wonderfully written i hope you keep writing!

malpaz said...

Please send a copy to Mississippi ASAP AND BILL ME!!!!!! the ol slip-of-the-tongue got me in therapy at one time too.

this is wonderfully written i hope you keep writing!

wendyorozco said...

i too loved it, and i agree that it didn't feel long cause i was totally into it. please keep posting, and i would definitely buy it. :)

belinda said...

<3 it, and it left me wanting to read more :)

and massive congrats on going back to school!! you go girl. x

Mary said...

I want an autographed copy as well! When are you thinking it's all going to happen? You have so many people anxious to get their hands on your book. Wow kinda like those Harry Potter books! :)

brie said...

mary, thanks. :) it certainly won't be as popular as the harry potter series, but i appreciate the enthusiasm, nonetheless. afraid the book won't be published for awhile; still have more to go. but one day, i promise you'll see a book by brie breivik!

elisa024 said...

That was great! Hurry up and finish ;) I want to read the rest!

Penny said...

I have loved your book for a long time and I am excited now that so many love this excerpt. How exciting for you. Kind of like an instant poll.(And you are the winner.) Obama would really love to have so many cheering him on! Of course I am not comparing you to him; at all; cause You have talent!And you are cute. And you are da bomb! Spoken like a true MOM.

bananas said...

I can't comment on whether or not Obama has talent (though I think he's a smarty pants) but how can you say he's not CUTE?!

Penny said...

THIS IS BROOKE - Hi Breeze..way too many swears. Ha ha! Girl, It's 12:30 a.m. and I wasn't even tired reading that post. You book is going to be so freakin' awesome.
However;I do have to say it's a little hard for me as your big sis to read what you went through after all this time. But the humor totally keeps it in check for me :)
But, believe me, I would be your first customer! BROOKE

sona said...

i read it like 3 times already...im really looking forward to reading this book when its ready!!

looks like things are getting better for you brie,

please take it easy and look after yourself,

XXXX

sona said...

: )

Melisa said...

Brie....please continue to write! You are amazing. As far as the swear words. Come on people. Yea right you won't have it on your shelf. Who hasn't sworn out loud or in their head? Don't know why it bothered me so bad that people were upset that you swore. Like you said...you are writing the truth and in real life people swear...out loud or to themselves. Keep up the good work. I want MORE!

Sheryl said...

HOLY HELL... IT'S INCREDIBLE!! I cant even tell you how excited I am for more of this to come :) WOWZERS