Thursday, February 9, 2012

The most memorable thing from last semester...

        One of the most important things I learned last semester was the ability to synthesize a piece of literature given to me, then write efficiently and quickly on it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Recommended? RECOMMENDED!

This was a fenomenal biography of Portia De Rossi's battle and win over anorexia. Not only does it teach the dangers and warn readers, but it was entertaining. I couldn't put it down. It kept me on the edge of my seat as my heart broke for her in her darkest hour, but was put back together when she triumphed. This was a great read and is recommended to anyone who enjoys lots of description and imagery.

Shrunken Unbearable Lightness

Portia De Rossi began counting calories at age twelve. With modeling and acting putting a spotlight on her life, she felt she had to be fit for her pictures and roles. She also used self punishment to deal with her ashamed and fearful feelings of being a lesbian.

Everyday was a difficult and tedious process of making sure calories were at an exact 300 and trying to get rid of the intense feelings of guilt and self-betrayal. Special containers and utensils had to be used for eating. Exercises were to be done a certain times. De Rossi pushed herself to the breaking point by not only starving herself, but by turning to compulsive physical exercise and eventually to purging. She also exhausted her spirits by thinking worthless and critical thoughts about herself and struggling with the fact that she is a lesbian.

While family and friends were noticing a dramatic decline is her appearance, she collapsed on a movie set in Toronto and knew she needed help. At first, Portia was not dedicated and it took an alarming message from her brother Michael to snap her into changing: that she would die if she didn't get help. Portia weighed only 82 pounds. She was extremely malnourished, she hadn't had her period in over a year, her liver was one level away from cirrhosis, her organs were malfunctioning and were in danger of failing, and she was diagnosed with lupus. Without recovery she really would die.

After struggling to put on weight but finally making her way to a healthy life, De Rossi met Ellen Degeneres in 2004. Ellen was accepting and loving. Just what Portia needed. Ellen helped her through recovery and "showed her what beauty is." De Rossi felt comfortable at her highest weight ever, 168 pounds, with Ellen. De Rossi was finally comfortable to be openly gay also. De Rossi says that Ellen saved her, along with recovery, and owes her life to her.

First is Best

Choosing a single part of the book that was good was difficult, but it would have to be the Prologue. After reading the book, the part that I can still remember is the very beginning. At first it is a mystery. De Rossi uses very cryptic words and doesn't make anything clear. As you read on you begin to understand that she is referencing her anorexia. "He doesn't wait until I'm awake, he comes into my unconscious to find me. He seizes my logical mind an disables it with fear", she refers to the "voice of anorexia". She uses fantastic description and intense imagery. It is like you are her or you are watching her. The prologue is what stuck with me.

What's the Tone?

Page seven would break any one's heart. De Rossi describes her intense ritual of making her weekly desserts. After putting the "delights" into the freezer De Rossi describes her loss of control using a quick paced, forthright tone. She is in a daze, and eats every cup of the desserts in three minutes. She uses words and phrases such as "Before I knew it" and "relentless". After she realizes what she had done, the situation description is quickly changed to a deeply remorseful and gloomy tone. She uses words such as "hate" and "regret".

One to Ten

1. The Cold Sheets

Portia wakes up in her cold sheets of her bed to the daily question What did you eat last night? so she can start yet another pain-staking calorie count, all part of her anorexia based ritual.

2. Bye Bye Mel

Portia De Rossi's husband left her. This made the fact that she is a lesbian more real to her, which started her confusion and self shame.

3. Good News

Portia called her mom after she landed a role on Ally McBeal. She started off her call with "Good news!" and went into further detail of why the saying meant more to her. At age twelve, after proving her mother wrong about not being able to get a job as a model, she got into her moms car and said "Good news. I'm going to be a model." which was an opener to how and why she started becoming so self-conscious, which eventually led to her anorexia.

4. Kali the Fashionista

When De Rossi got a role in Ally McBeal she wanted new clothes to help impress her casting directors. So, Portia called to her fashion-savvy neighbor Kali to help her with shopping. While shopping, the sensitive and vulnerable Portia was made more aware of her "fat" body. Native to Australia, De Rossi asks Kali all about US sizes and what is a "good size to be." Kali helps instill much needed confidence in Portia, but the experience stayed with Portia, fueling her desire to be thinner.

5. In Goes the Runnin' Machine

De Rossi installed a treadmill into her office on the set of Alley McBeal. Between scenes she would vigorously work-out on it. This is the point where her life began to spiral out of control.

6. Suzanne to the Rescue

When co-workers and family began to see dramatic changes in Portia's appearance, they called for Suzanne, a nutritionist, to aid Portia in gaining some weight and being healthy. However, Suzanne becomes an obstacle. Portia seems to ask herself how she will make Suzanne happy, but continue with her old routine.

7. Junk Food in the Passenger Seat

At one point Portia is so low that she has to come up with a sort of "master plan." She had to time when her brother would be home (since she lived with him) and how long her "errand" would take. She then drove to 7-eleven and bought a bag full of junk food. She drove with it in the passenger seat until she parked a block from her apartment, ate it all, then threw it all back up within a fifteen minute period. This is one of her most extreme purging experiences.

8. Porshe, You're Gonna Die

After her family and friends encouraged De Rossi to go to rehab, she was angry and closed off. Michael, her brother, finally sits down with her and burts into tears as he begs her to get better. He looks her straight in the eye and says "Porshe, you're gonna die." This was the spark that made her turn around for the better.

9. Recovery Feels Like S*it

De Rossi explains recovery as feeling like s*it, but she is still in it to win it. Everyday is a battle to put on some weight, but she kept fighting.

10. The Future Wife

In 2004 De Rossi met Ellen Degeneres who was accepting and loving. Just what Portia needed. Ellen helped her through recovery and "showed her what beauty is." They eventually married in 2008. The book itself is dedicated to Ellen.

A Place or Two

One very important place is De Rossi's room in her Santa Monica apartment. This is where day after day she awoke asking herself  What did you eat last night? She would toss and turn in her cold sheets trying to ignore the pounding voice in her head telling her to "Eat it. You deserve it." then to "Throw it up you ugly fat nothing." Her room is where she would weigh herself, a huge part of her anorexia-controlled routine. Every morning she would do 150 lunges accross the wood floor of her room until her knees were bruised. She would use the bathroom connected to her bedroom to purge when she would eat a lot. Portia De Rossi's room is where some of her darkest of times were.

Another significant place is Portia's office on the set of Ally McBeal. This is where De Rossi installed a treadmill inside of its tiny walls. Carpeted and made to feel like home this is where, between scenes, Portia would run to burn as much calories as possible. It has a couch and this is where some intense discussion took place, some that turned out to be lifesaving.