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" Academic achievement was something I'd always sought as a form of reward. Good grades pleased my parents, good grades pleased my teachers; you got them in order to sew up approval. "
" Me, I walk along and feel quietly defensive, a recluse in the Land of We. That's quite the loaded word, 'we.' "
" Tiny slices, no frosting, forty-five minutes on the StairMaster: These are the conditions, variations on a theme of vigilance and self-restraint that I've watched women dance to all my life, that I've danced to myself instinctively and still have to work to resist. "
" You'll reach into your wallet to brandish a photograph of a new puppy, and a friend will say, 'Oh, no - not pictures.' "
" When you love somebody, or something, it's amazing how willing you are to overlook the flaws. "
" The hard things in life, the things you really learn from, happen with a clear mind. "
" I'm 38 and I'm single, and I'm having my most intense and gratifying relationship with a dog. But we all learn about love in different ways, and this way happens to be mine. "
" Women are actually superb at math; they just happen to engage in their own variety of it, an intricate personal math in which desires are split off from one another, weighed, balance, traded, assessed. "
" Fall in love with a dog, and in many ways you enter a new orbit, a universe that features not just new colors but new rituals, new rules, a new way of experiencing attachment. "
" By definition, memoir demands a certain degree of introspection and self-disclosure: In order to fully engage a reader, the narrator has to make herself known, has to allow her own self-awareness to inform the events she describes. "
" Before you get a dog, you can't quite imagine what living with one might be like; afterward, you can't imagine living any other way. "
" Our culture thrives on black-and-white narratives, clearly defined emotions, easy endings, and so, this thrust into complexity exhausts. "
" Anorexia is a response to cultural images of the female body - waiflike, angular - that both capitulates to the ideal and also mocks it, strips away all the ancillary signs of sexuality, strips away breasts and hips and butt and leaves in their place a garish caricature, a cruel cartoon of flesh and bone. "
" Before you open the lunch menu or order that cheeseburger or consider eating the cake with the frosting intact, haul out the psychic calculator and start tinkering with the budget. "
" What is this drive to be thinner, prettier, better dressed, other? Who exactly is this other and what does she look like beyond the jacket she's wearing or the food she's not eating? What might we be doing, thinking, feeling about if we didn't think about body image, ever? "
" Around the time I began starving, in the early eighties, the visual image had begun to supplant text as culture's primary mode of communication, a radical change because images work so differently than words: They're immediate, they hit you at levels way beneath intellect, they come fast and furious. "
" Solitude is a breeding ground for idiosyncrasy, and I relish that about it, the way it liberates whim. "
" Mastery over the body - its impulses, its needs, its size - is paramount; to lose control is to risk beauty, and to risk beauty is to risk desirability, and to risk desirability is to risk entitlement to sexuality and love and self-esteem. "
" Desires collide; the wish to eat bumping up against the wish to be thin, the desire to indulge conflicting with the injunction to restrain. Small wonder food makes a woman nervous. "
" Cottage cheese is one of our culture's most visible symbols of self-denial; marketed honestly, it would appear in dairy cases with warning labels: this substance is self-punitive; ingest with caution. "
" Who has the best features? This was a little game, conducted several times and always with the same results, in seventh grade, the time when so many of life's little horrors begin. "
" My recipe for bliss on a Friday night consists of a 'New York Times' crossword puzzle and a new episode of 'Homicide;' Saturdays and Sundays are oriented around walks in the woods with the dog, human companion in tow some of the time but not always. "
" I've always been drawn to solitude, felt a kind of luxurious relief in its self-generated pace and rhythms. "
" Happy and alone, you say? Reclusive and merry? How oxymoronic! Pas possible! Alas, the concept is lost on so many. "
" These are big trade-offs for a simple piece of cake - add five hundred calories, subtract well-being, allure, and self-esteem - and the feelings behind them are anything but vain or shallow. "