Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One More Lamb to Slaughter or Celebrity Success: We'll See



What is on her mind?


Tonight, the Matron had the choice of returning to grading papers, cleaning bathrooms, or watching a Dateline special on Kate Middleton and Prince William. Guess which won?

Oh. She could have spent quality time with the children but that's sort of not on her radar.

Now, the Matron has not written about this, but as a teenager she spent a solid year in the hospital for anorexia. Actually, she bounced back a couple of times but that's a memoir and not a blog post. Many long stories--and many, many years and recovery under her wider belt.

During one of these hospitalizations, Princess Diana and Prince What's-His-Name (okay, Charles, she knows), were married.

The wedding took place early in the morning, U.S. time. The hospital staff -- caring for all the wee anorexics -- woke everyone up at some ungodly hour (what? 4? 5 am? ) to watch the festivities. The Matron, then a Very Young Miss, will never forget the profound sense of irony as the emaciated teens watched the fairly tale wedding from their hospital perch, all wondering what their next meal would entail. At like 5 in the morning (trust her, many had been up all night doing push-ups in the closet).

If it wasn't so late, she would paint a stronger prosaic picture of a group of anorexic and bulimic teenagers watching this drama in the day room of a hospital, in pajamas and various stages of waste, watching Diana, the doe-eyed icon of femininity and grace who was also bulimic herself.

Digression: if she's ever in charge of an eating disorder program? No teenager will be woken up at 4 am to watch a wedding that focuses largely on the appearance and demeanor of the bride. You can quote her on this.

So yesterday's news that Prince William and Kate Middleton are to marry? Well, everyone -- including yours truly -- loves a spot-on narrative. Superior narratives include love stories and fairy tales, and even stories of the ordinary that supersedes (Kate). So she stood glued to the television watching preliminary celebrations of the nuptials.

But one part of her remains 16 and scared. Watches Kate and William do the required television round and notices the emphasis on fashion and body (uh . . .why isn't anyone talking about Prince William's fine choice of and fit into clothing?), and returns to an earlier, complicated time figuring out what being female meant. Remembering the first wedding, the life of the irrepressible Princess, her death (when the Matron had already recovered and become a mother), and all the young women watching in between.

15 comments:

Navhelowife said...

I too, remember the wedding. And getting up early to watch it. And I remember the sense of sadness as you could see that marriage dissolve before the world.
My only sense of hope is that Diana and Charles' sons have had a much broader range of 'normal" experiences than Charles ever did, so perhaps he has a slightly firmer grip on the realities of relationships.
And she seems much more outspoken than Diana did at the beginning.

Suburban Correspondent said...

Oh, do write the memoir - I'm sure it will be much better than "Girl, Interrupted." And start with that wedding-watching scene...

MJ said...

I was up early that morning to watch the wedding on my own volition. I also had the Lady Di haircut.

I haven't been paying too much attention to the news on Will/Kate but the little attention I have given it made my stomach churn when I heard a reference to the similarity betwen Kate and Di. I wish Kate all the best for the difficult media/paparazzi relationship she has ahead of her. I already feel sorry for Kate.

kcinnova said...

I had a lump in my throat when I saw the clip of Kate wearing Diana's ring, because this young woman is stepping into the same shoes. I hope that being more mature and having a long-term relationship with William already is going to help her immensely. I've read enough history on the British Royal Family to fear for her future.

And I agree with Suburban Correspondent!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I didn't watch the wedding. I did see the announcement yesterday and I just thought how horrid it would be to have all those flashbulbs popping in your face.

The parallel of your watching from an eating disorder clinic the wedding of a woman who went on to develop bulimia is more than a little ironic.

*m* said...

Another early-morning wedding viewer here. At the time, I loved the pomp and glamour of it all.

It creeps me out to see that ring on Kate's finger. I know it was meant as a gesture of tribute -- but to wear a symbol of a terrible marriage, so indelibly associated with its previous owner, dead too soon? Bad karma, if you ask me. But all the best to them.

Write that memoir, if it's not too painful to do.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Somehow I think this won't be as tragic a story.
Now, go write your memoir!

trash said...

There is a mahoosive difference between Waity Katie and Lady Di.

Kate is a tertiary educated, independent minded woman in her late 20s. Di was an under-educated girl with sparkles, diamonds and fairytales in her eyes. Britain is a very different place since the saga of her divorce and death and William is very definitely not his father.

I think it is safe to assume that many lessons have been learned from the car crash that was 'that' royal marriage .

As for waking hospitalised teenagers to watch the whole event?! Lack of practice and procedure doesn't even begin to cover it, surely.

Mrs. G. said...

I set my alarm to watch the wedding with my mom and our neighbor Cathy, both of them obsessed (still) with the royals. So strange to think the you I didn't know then was in such dark and lonely place.

What a moving, bittersweet post.

cndymkr / jean said...

As I watched Princess Di get married I dreamed of my own Prince Charming. Now I know, there is no happily ever after. There is reality. I hope the new Princess will be ok.

Deborah said...

Wow, we are all travelling this road together but our milestones are so different.
I didn't watch the wedding but I remember 29 July 1981 VERY well. I was in labour with my older daughter...and missed the whole thing! Every year on her birthday (yes, she's 29, and I am old)I give a thought to how sadly that story ended.
I am sorry that your 29 July 1981 was not such a happy place.

Annie said...

I, too, watched the Big Event. Took the day off of work and curled up on the couch with my coffee ...


Oh, and what trash said ...

Xtreme English said...

Surely a unique memoir of watching Charles and Di get married. You've come a long way, as have we all, but on a different, difficult path. Congratulations! I remember sitting in our den in Iowa that morning, with the sun streaming into the east window. Shortly after that, my oldest daughter, a Navy recruit, called to tell us she was getting married to her pistol marksmanship instructor. Such is the power of a uniform, especially after seeing the romantic footage from the UK.

Daisy said...

I hope young Kate is more mentally and emotionally prepared for the fishbowl life of royalty than poor Diana was. Here she is wearing Diana's ring....

Anonymous said...

Please do write about your eating disorder. I picked up on a reference to it on TWC and immediately wanted to know your story and how you got better.