A Skeleton in the Closet : Remembering My Spirit

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9780967700908: A Skeleton in the Closet : Remembering My Spirit
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In an extraordinary personal account of her lifelong journey suffering from anorexia and bulimia, Patrizza Jimenez unveils a vivid home movie-like reflection of her inner turmoil. Unlike other books, it takes the reader into another dimension, into the chimerical mind of an individual afflicted with an eating disorder. Self-inflicted injuries and self-induced vomiting, since the age of two, placed in the nurturing hands of good ole' gramma, to make it better with a bottle of milk and a kiss on the cheek, put a band-aid on the issue. God forbid she tell her estranged mother or alcoholic father about the evil babysitter that fed her and her little brother cobweb-infested blueberry muffins. Fifteen and running from her mother's scorching words, she prayed to the porcelain queen, who forgave her every time she puked up five plates of lasagna and a half gallon of ice cream. Short, blowing up to 135 pounds and comments from family about her weight, gave her no choice, b! ut to wreak revenge. Numerous hospitalizations, twenty-one, sixty-five pounds and counting, she is destined to be in control. Five years have passed and she is f.i.n.e., so she thinks. Forced to leave her job after a visit to the ER, she decides to give it one last chance, to battle the illness, by surrendering herself to participate in a research study. As her health deteriorates, she's dropped from the study and is forced to look into her heart and deal with the secrets of shame and guilt from her family.

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From the Author:

I wrote this book primarily for closure. I've always wanted significant others to see what war went on inside my mind. I've always wanted them to understand, if at all possible, the repercussions of an eating disorder. This book was not written to badger nor defame the characters of people in my life, but to tell the mere truth:the skeletons in the closet. People can judge and make their own conclusions-that's their choice. There are many families out there who suffer emotionally because a son, daughter, mother, father or friend is dying. I strongly believe that my story is like the story of millions-millions who choose to suffer in silence. For more than twenty years, I suffered in silence. Friends and significant others saw me as a sick child, who grew into a sick woman. However, they didn't feel what I felt. They didn't see what I saw. They didn't hear what I heard. They didn't talk to me. So, I chose to silence my tongue. It wasn't about putting a spoon into my mouth. It was what ate away at my mind. Now, I choose to live on the other side because I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. I've realized I can't change people, and people can't change me. But, I've made changes. I hope this book will find its way into the hands of ones that suffer, including the families. I hope that they will eventually have the faith and courage to fight the demons in their head and go on living, in search of their spirit. Because, it has always been there.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

After I sat back in the chair, the food on the plate stared me straight in the face. "Yeah. You have to eat me. Ha! Ha! You'll get so fat, your uncle will disown you. Soon nobody will want you! Go ahead...take a bite!"

I saw maggots slithering their way around in the chorizo and eggs. Every time I blinked, the worms multiplied. My eyes searched deeper and deeper, as if there was more to discover. They looked in every granule of food, hoping to come across something. Maybe mold or a cobweb. As they frantically hunted for something, my intoxicated mind became prey to another dimension.

Spots danced in front of my strained eyes. I heard grandma's distant voice, but the strength of the illusions caused my mind to succumb to them. As my eyes became drowsy, the food appeared even more distorted. As I continued to blink, fat bred off the food like cancer, until it gelatinized into an intestine-like mass.

I poked and poked at the food, until grandma got frustrated and said something: "Ay, Patrizza! Eat! Don't waste your food! Thanks God gave it to you!"

I didn't respond. I was still caught up in the mind trip. "Patrizza! Patrizza! Eat!" She placed her hand over her chest.

Yeah. Eat! Just like the babysitter demanded. Eat! And everything was peaches and cream. No problems. No worries. Just a bit of mold here and there.

I felt compelled to eat the chorizo and eggs. I felt it all slither down my throat. I envisioned fat and maggots crawling on every single organ throughout my body.

Throat muscles stiffened like thick cords. Clammy hands wiped off the sweat from my face as perspiration exuded from the pores of my skin. My heart beat so fast-I was gonna die.

"Gramma, I'm done." I spoke as my glassy eyes fixated on the plate.

"Did you eat enough? Get some more chorizo on da stove." "I have to go to the bathroom." I got up and put my plate in the sink. Grandma said something, but it went in one ear and out the other. I need a pill, but there aren't any to take, so I want to throw up! I can't deal with this contamination! I feel filthy! I'm gonna die! I'm gonna die! I walked hastily through one of the bedrooms and into the bathroom. I fumbled around for the light switch. As I flipped it on, I noticed the decor of the setting. The walls were covered with some sort of olive-green velvet wallpaper. Long lines went down the paper. They looked like bars-bars in jail. I was in jail. The paper was of good quality because Mr. Narcissus shopped at the best stores. It definitely wasn't the wallpaper grandma bought at WalMart. I ogled the shell-shaped, pink marble sink and the towels that were folded and placed on it. The gold faucet added a touch of elegance to it all. The white porcelain toilet stood mounted at the far corner of the bathroom. It was unusually large for a household toilet. The shape of it reminded me of a person holding their arms out. They welcomed me. The water in it glistened like a mirror. Grandma's face appeared. Nothing but sadness was in her eyes. I looked again. The image of her broke as a tear rolled down my face and pounced into the toilet bowl. I saw the hole. The BLACK HOLE. It engulfed all the bad food. It sucked in all of my bad feelings and took me in too.

I knelt in front of the toilet bowl, holding back my hair with both hands. I made sure I had rolled up my sleeves. All I needed was for grandma to give me one more lecture about getting my clothes all dirty. I felt the food churn into tiny bits and pieces.

All of a sudden, it donned on me what grandma had tried to tell me back at the kitchen table. "Please don't go upstairs and throw up. You better not!" She knew along about my sneaking into the bathroom and throwing up after meals. I closed my eyes. I opened them wide. I stuck my right forefinger as far down my throat as possible and gagged. Three seconds later, it came up gradually. I saw chorizo, eggs, avocado and tortillas-even dots of pepper. The bile tasted really bitter, kind of like a lemon gone bad. I stood slumped over for a couple of minutes in a complete trance.

What have I done? I need to stop doing this. God, please help me stop. I tried to stop, but the words pounded in my head like a thousand drums: "She's getting fat, she needs to go to the gym." I'm gonna die. I stuck my right forefinger down my throat again. This time, just a little bit of the mush came up. I leaned back a moment and stared into the toilet. My nose got a whiff of the stench and vomit. Nooooo! Stop! You have to stop! I'm gonna die.

I recalled again the conversation between grandma and Mr. Narcissus on a previous occasion. "She's getting fat, She needs to go to the gym." I'm gonna die.

I shoved my forefinger down my throat a third time and threw up. My watery eyes spilled tears. They were so swollen, I couldn't see a thing except for white spots. I was out of it. His harsh words stirred up in my head again. "She's getting fat. She needs to go the gym." I'm gonna die. A single tear rolled down the side of my face, as I cried. How perfect his life is. All wonderful. Wouldn't it be wonderful to capture that one happy moment in life?

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Patrizza Elizabeth Jimenez
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Patrizza Elizabeth Jimenez
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