Saturday, December 20, 2014

Super Star: The Karen Carpenter Story

I saw this movie back in the 90s, and was fascinated with it. I always liked The Carpenter's music quite a bit. Of course this being a blog about a 500lb woman, the anorexia world is an inverse and a price the other side pays for the lies and pressures about weight given to women. So many young women and celebrities fall prey to bulimia and anorexia. In this society, you can see why this happens given the abuse for every extra 10 pounds.

Eating disorders are rampant. Karen's use of Ex-lax is nothing I am a stranger to. One of my female relatives swore by them and her bedroom was full of the pink packages of one famous brand. She would shove them into the trash hiding them. Sometimes I think my sister who got very thin by her late 30s developed a late life anorexia, perhaps to avoid my shame with the family? It makes me wonder. The thinner she got the more the family laid on accolades. Anorexia can strike later in life. I still remember the sickness of my grandmother dying of pancreatic cancer losing some weight and people praising this, "She looks so good!"

One thing said about anorexia, is that many of the young women who fall to it's pressures, are brought up in controlling households, where pressure for perfection is never ending. I do not know if the movie portrays the life with the Carpenter's realistically, perhaps it does, but this is a known facet of anorexia. Often these are not the women who are "rebels" but who seek to please parents and authority figures with their "perfect bodies". Imagine being in the public eye too.  It does not surprise me one rude comment sends Karen off into anorexia, as she fears appearing "too chubby" and failing her family and public. I wonder if the parents really did keep them living at home into adulthood?

The scene where Karen collapses on stage and she is in the hospital bed and her family is there telling her "no more dieting", "no more laxatives" and "We will all be together again" with the scary music, shows Karen feeling engulfed by her family.

She had a beautiful voice, but sadly she suffered so.


  1. I probably would have fallen prey to the Ex-Lax except I couldn't abide the horrific abdominal cramps. I've had issues with bulimia, but it was making myself vomit rather than poop. Also, I was an orthorexic.

    1. I already had IBS and pooped like a goose, it didn't seem to ever take any weight off. LOL Yes I understand the cramps. I attempted bulimia during the early stages of my weight gain for normal meals but got too sick, from asthma. It was just too gross. It is hard to make yourself throw up and painful too. When I throw up from illness I feel like I will die it hurts so much. Yes I understand orthorexic.

  2. I had a friend years ago, (she moved far away) and she told me she had suffered from anorexia. She looked normal to me but she told me of a time she only weighed 75 lbs and still felt fat. She could not see the bones sticking out.

    I can't imagine that. But everytime she would come to visit me, I couldn't keep any magazines around or a bathroom scale. She told me these things could trigger her and it was a lifelong condition.

    I told her magazines only show women who are airbrushed, the pictures are fixed, that no one looks that way. But she told me, but who believes that? Everyone looking at them only sees the perfection, and that is what is expected.

    Everywhere she goes there are magazines, even a doctor's office, so how to stay away from them is impossible, I think. But it can kill her.

    I guess my point is that an alcoholic can stay away from booze, but the anorexic is continually bombarded with tv, magazines etc.. So entrenched in our society, and an anorexic can't filter their mind to separate themselves.

    My friend said it was torture.

    1. Yes they are bombarded by the images. Hey it hurts us fat women too, we are so far away from the "ideal" it makes us feel less then human. Most of those models are air brushed to the hilt. I hate women's magazines, even the be a perfect housekeeper one make me sick. Everyone has the shiny wooden floors, perfect new furniture, new kitchens and other Martha Stewart accourtements in those magazines. There's no childless women and everyone is married. Everyone is thin. Every issue has the newest diet to take off weight, what a joke. Yes they would be bombarded night and day and it would be exhausting and torture. Many do believe they are fat inside, when they are super-thin, that is one of the problems that accompanies the disorder. I hope your friend can recover--praying.

    2. Those images never bother me. I can look at them and say, "Pass the nachos please, lol." I'm not joking.

      But there is lots I'm not impervious to. Clean house, I feel like I have to always be cleaning, its constantly in my head, and I just can't so guilt takes over. It's crazy.

    3. LOL I don't read the women's magazines anymore. At my weight I am so far gone, their thin and Stepford wife dreams are way behind me. The cleaning crap drives me mad. I suck at cleaning. I look around at a million undone tasks. I feel like we have to constantly work in here to keep the health department away and to keep from being evicted for hoarding at bay. The laundry and other crap never seems to end. If I had money I'd pay someone to clean this place out. It feels way beyond me.

  3. Karen Carpenter's death was so sad. Yk, when you feel you have no control over anything in your life, food intake becomes about the only thing the individual can control while concurrently beating yourself to death in plain sight. I've also wondered if the desire to "disappear" (making yourself literally smaller and smaller) in conjunction with the inculcated burdens of Perfectionism/"A Bad Case of the Good Enoughs" all conspire to literally kill the feeling of "Less Than" by killing the self.
    I've already written about the Failure to Thrive as an infant, starvation in adulthood and years of hyperthyroidism (and the very hurtful comments people made to me about my weight) so we're not gonna revisit that whole mess ;)
    It's so hard to know people's lives, isn't it? No matter how good it may look on the outside, I'm convinced none of us leave this world unscathed: Some of us more so and/or more overtly than others. How much those unexamined "beliefs" steal from all of us in every way.
    These CB Parent(s)/Families-they do us a number don't they? IMO, there's a little Karen Carpenter in all of us: Even when no one else is aware of it, even when it manifests in so many different ways as unique as each one of us, we know it so intimately, we live with it, we shadow box with it, with that Legacy every day of our lives in some way.
    At least I do: The best I've managed is a respectful De Tante relationship, neither "Good" nor "Bad," just a fact of life. I wish Karen Carpenter and every AC/neglected/abused person who struggles so valiently and so alone could internalize this reality: It was not about you, it never was about you and it never will be about you.
    You are fine just the way you are: No abuser/bully/conquerer expends their energy/resources to expropriate or destroy the ugly, the "unworthy," the "Less Than" etc. Their frantic attempts to extinguish your very personhood underscores their fear of being exposed for the frauds they truly are as long as your Light shines.

  4. Hi TW, yes her death was very sad. I think she tried to take control of the only thing she felt she had it over. I think defnitely the "desire to disappear" is there, beaten down by an engulfing and perfectionistic family. Even if I am not an anorexic, I can feel some of what she went through, where I know I was never good enough and never accepted by my family. I think the stupid holidays bring me endless grief watching people surrounded by their loving FOOs and not having my own family or children. Sorry you went through that with hyperthyroidism. I know all sorts of physical conditions are commented on. Yes the CB families take a massive toll. A family is supposed to be a place of support and love not constant demands. Also you think of her pressure having fame and fortunes based on her so if she failed, it'd literally take money out of their pockets. Yes we need to internalize the fact it wasn't about us, they'd do it to whoever was sitting there. Mine don't even know me. I find myself wishing that Karen Carpenter had gotten out and away from her family. I have read the brother was extremely controlling in one biography.

    Yes they want to erase us, because our light and personhood shows what frauds they are. I am not willing to play their phony games or be their Stepford robot or Stockholm victim so they definitely wanted me destroyed.