skins

No Longer a “Cassie”

skins-cassie-10This time last year I was back in residential treatment for my eating disorder. During that time I wrote a blog post entitled “Life as a Cassie,” talking about how I related to the Skins character of Cassie Ainsworth and the struggle with her anorexia.

Skins romanticized Cassie and her condition and her “I didn’t eat for three days so I could be lovely” and her savior Sid who wooshed in her life and inspired her to eat. I was so desperate for my own Sid I didn’t begin to think that maybe I needed to be my own savior. I didn’t need someone texting me “EAT” or spelling the word out with French-fries. I needed to fight back to that voice in my head telling me not to. It’s time for me to stop looking for my Sid externally. It’s time to turn that inward.

I openly admit that I glorified my eating disorder. It took me nearly two years for me to acknowledge that being a diagnosed anorexic made me feel special. I felt powerful. It made me unique. But most of all, it was something that I was good at. Life as a “Cassie” isn’t pretty. It’s hell. It’s only eating enough to stay out of the hospital. It’s lying to yourself and others 24/7. It’s lonely. It’s sad. It’s nothing anyone would want. I have no enemies, but if I did I wouldn’t wish this on them in a million years.

I’m sitting here in quasi-recovery, sipping my signature Americano with sugar-free vanilla syrup, trying to convince myself that I didn’t want that chocolate-covered graham cracker square I saw at Caribou. I’m fighting the urge to go to the cupboard and grab a handful of chips. I’m scrolling through Instagram and seeing the photos of those I met in treatment who are now living full, happy lives. I’m so jealous I can’t even describe. I hate how weak eating makes me feel when it should make me feel strong.

I’m no longer a “Cassie,” and I’m equal parts happy and sad. My eating disorder isn’t fun anymore. It means spontaneous ER visits and weekly weigh-ins. It means a loss of trust from my parents and those who care about me. It means crying over that scoop of froyo or fighting hunger cues even when my stomach is screaming at me for nourishment.

“I’m not where I used to be, but thank god I’m not where I used to be.” I’m no longer in denial and every day I’m clawing my way out of this hole. I’m no longer a “Cassie,” I’m a Kate, and I’m trying.

Life as a “Cassie”

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Fasten your seat-belts kiddies because I’m about to throw you ball out of left field. That’s right, I’m actually going to talk about my feelings.

As a kid, I basically had to light someone on fire to get attention from my parents. I was a well-behaved, A student with the average moral compass of a straight-laced teen . I generally flew under the radar and due to my handy-dandy perfectionist personality, rarely approached the parentals for help. Their attention was mainly focused on my tornado of a sister and as someone who generally thrives on being a wallflower, this situation worked to my advantage.

Due to the lovely economy and the thrifty thing known as the journalism field, I became unemployed in January 2013. And in its absence, my body decided that it needed to create a new profession, a new way to pass the time, and it surfaced by way of an eating disorder.

I’m the girl who had to run out of her psych class because she couldn’t handle the video where the bulimic listed everything she ate in her last binge. I’m the girl who looked at pictures of anorexic models and scoffed at how anyone could think that was healthy. I was the girl who basically thought, “I’m way too smart for that to happen to me.”

Well, it did. And I spent six months in and out of rehab in an attempt to kick ol’ ED out for good. My first rehab facility should have been subcategorized as a prison because their no phone/laptop policy nearly killed me. As someone who hates to be inside their own head, music, movies/television, have always provided the perfect outlet in which to escape. I can safely say that these three things have helped keep me sane. I was officially diagnosed with anorexia (binge/purge subtype) and orthorexia in July and it’s been a downward spiral of misery.

A character I’ve been relating to a lot lately is Cassie Ainsworth from generation 1 of Skins. The oldest, mostly forgotten daughter, Cassie is introduced as fresh out of rehab for her eating disorder and still struggling with her urges to not eat. She goes as far as hallucinating the boy she likes giving her messages telling her to, “EAT!” Eccentric and stubborn, she would later flee to New York after the death of a friend. She’s always been my favorite character from the series, and one of my favorites in general. Her eating disorder is romanticized (which I don’t agree with, beeteedubs), she claims not to have eaten for three days so she “could be lovely” for a date. But I appreciate and understand her struggle.

In her centric episode in season two, Cassie voices this to her exam proctor, I stopped eating and then everyone had to do what I said. That was powerful…I think it was the happiest time of my life. But I had to stop before I died because otherwise it wasn’t fun. This exchange has been in my head for several days now and I’ve been working through why it’s resonating with me. I don’t consider myself a petty person, but I am stubborn as all hell. And as much as I hate to admit it, I got more attention from my family this summer than I’ve probably gotten in my entire life. This attention was completely warranted, and as an independent person I found it irksome, but underneath it was appreciated. Greatly appreciated. I am not suicidal. I do not have a death wish. And yet I still refuse to make the changes that will save my life. I’ve had enough therapists, dietitians, doctors, etc. giving me countless reasons over the course of the past year, but nothing has cemented. Nothing has permeated this shell. And it’s a thick shell. Cassie’s relationship with Sid helps her to focus on her recovery. I don’t have a Sid nor do I want one at the moment, but I haven’t found my symbolic Sid either.

Hi Kate’s Symbolic Sid Jenkins. It’d be great if you’d make yourself present. I’m a bit clueless these days so I’m going to need you to wave neon signs. I’ll be right here waiting.

[EDIT: As of April 16, 2014, I am making the decision to check myself back into inpatient treatment. Maybe my Sid is closer than I thought…

Follow-up: No Longer a “Cassie” ]

25 Favorite Television Characters

My intense love for certain fictional characters generally stems from four reasons:

  1. I wish they were real so I could marry them,
  2. I wish they were real so they could be my best friend,
  3. We’re the same exact person except they have a significantly better wardrobe and a hot boyfriend,
  4. Their life is so shitty that all I want to do is reach through the screen and give them a hug.

There’s also a line between characters I genuinely like as characters and not because their portrayer was obviously created on a day that God was channeling The CW Network. Is Ian Somerhalder good looking? Uh yeah. Do I worship the altar of Damon Salvatore? No. Stefan5eva. And it goes both ways. So, taking in no (or as little as I could) consideration of how much I love/hate the actor or their face, these are my favorite television characters: In alphabetical order…

Andie McPhee
“Don’t play dumb. When dumb people play dumb, it’s very disconcerting.”

You’re going to see a lot of Type A personalities on this list, because I have a great love for the straitlaced constantly stressed workaholic who is always on the precipice of a complete mental breakdown. Enter Andie, the future Harvard medical school grad who finally cracked under the pressure of being a severe perfectionist and started hallucinating her dead brother, Tim.

Annie Edison
I’ve been worried about how uptight I am and how I’m no fun. And then I was worried I wouldn’t fit in here or be able to hang out with you guys. But you know what? Why don’t you ever ask yourselves whether you can hang with me? Why am I always the one who has to adapt?

Forced to attend community college after suffering from a nervous breakdown and narcotics addiction, book-smart Annie has always been my favorite member of the Greendale 7.

Caroline Forbes
“So youre saying that now I’m basically an insecure, neurotic, control freak on crack?”

Prior to joining the League of the Undead, Caroline Forbes was my least favorite character on TVD. Seemingly shallow yet overwhelmingly insecure, the future vamp was not my cup of tea. Since being turned into kick-ass Vampire Barbie, that title has been passed on (congratulations, Bonnie!) and Caroline has become my favorite. Who knew all it took was becoming a night-walker to make me like you…

Cassie Ainsworth
I stopped eating, and then everyone had to do what I said. That was powerful. I think it was the happiest time of my life.

Generation 1 of Skins will always be my favorite, thanks in large part to the eccentric but lovably innocent, Cassie.

Chandler Bing
I’m not great at the advice. Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?

Each Friends character is amazing in their own right, but Chandler is hands-down my favorite. I’d never want to date a Chandler, but as my BFF4LYFE? Hell. Yes.

Chuck Bass
“So you’re finally learning there are upsides to pissing off your family?”

Chuck Bass is an ass. He sold his girlfriend for a hotel. He wears purple sparkly suits. Worst of all, he bumped uglies with Jenny Humphrey. And I could seriously care less.

Cristina Yang
“I have an MD and a PhD. I’m a freaking cardiothoracic surgeon. I’m supposed to be studying for my boards, the most important exam of my life. And I’m locked in the bathroom crying because of a boy!”

It took three seasons for me to appreciate Cristina Yang. I was a big fan of her and Burke, but after he left her at the altar and she was so happy to finally be free, that moment made me a Cristina fan. Yes, she can be callous, emotionless, and, well, a bitch, but she always means well.

Debra Morgan
“We can play who’s the better asshole. But I guarantee you I’ll win.”

Deb is a character that grows on you. Her dropping an F-bomb every five seconds was initially annoying as all hell and her bitchy, cold demeanor seemed impenetrable. But I guess falling for a serial killer aka your adopted bro’s real bro and then almost becoming a victim of his tends to soften people up…spoilers?

Hannah Rogers
“I’m not beautiful. And that’s okay, because I’ve got other stuff. And eventually I will remember what that other stuff is and why it’s more important. It’s just taking longer than I thought.”

As much as I wanted to like Amy, the lead female character of Everwood, I never found her particularly relatable. Her “nerdy,” deer-in-the-headlights bestie on the other hand? Instant favorite.

Jack Shephard
“But if we can’t live together, we’re going to die alone.”

I have a tendency to like characters who are hated by the general viewing population. And it pains me that Jack is one of them. The Man of Science turned Man of Faith had one of the most compelling arcs on LOST and if his ultimate sacrifice didn’t make you cry the Pacific Ocean, we can’t be friends.

Jason Stackhouse
“Sometimes you need to destroy something to save it. That’s in the Bible or the Constitution.”

He’s pretty. He’s dumb. He’s pretty dumb. And it’s one of the many reasons why I love him. A serial ladies’ man with a heart of gold, Jason always has the best of intentions even when he eventually effs everything up.

Jesse Pinkman
“For what it’s worth, getting the shit kicked out of you? Not to say you get used to it, but you do kind of get used to it.”

I’ve never wished happiness for a character more than for Jesse. Poor guy has had it rough. Yeah, he’s a murderer, a drug dealer, and an addict, but he’s also been playing the role of Walter White’s bitch for far too long.

Jim Halpert
“A lot of people told me I was crazy to wait this long for a date with a girl I work with. But I think even then I knew that I was waiting for my wife.”


Oh Jim Halpert. You have set the bar for my future husband so impossibly high. I would brave the Dunder-Mifflin offices to work alongside Jim.

Matt Saracen
“You don’t care about me. You left me for a better job. Your daughter left me for a better guy. Carlotta left me for Guatemala. My dad left me for a damn war. Everybody leaves me. What’s wrong with me?”

Thrust into the spotlight after the first string quarterback is paralyzed during a game, Matt Saracen overcame all odds to become the starting QB the small, football-loving town of Dillon, Texas, needed. He navigated thru the perils of wooing Coach’s daughter and the arrival of his MIA parents. And he was a good friend to the ever-annoying Landry, and that more than anything makes him a hero.

Michael Scofield
“Preparation will only take you so far. After that you got to take a few leaps of faith.”

He may hold a serious grudge and talk like a serial killer, but the guy’s kind of a bamf seeing as he broke out of two prisons, successfully broke his wife out of a third, and helped clear his brother of a murder charge.

Nathan Young
“We had it all. We fucked up bigger and better than any generation that came before us. We were so beautiful!”

A smart-ass with an even smarter mouth, vulgar-mouthed Nathan was my favorite Misfit from the start. Let’s hope he wiggles his way out of prison soon so he can return with all his immortal glory.

Phil Dunphy
“I’m the cool dad. That’s my thing. I’m hip. I surf the Web. I text. LOL: laughing out loud. OMG: Oh my God. WTF: Why the face? Um you know, I know all the dances to High School Musical.”

He knows all the dances to High School Musical. ‘Nuff said.

Quinn Fabray
“I may not look like the head cheerleader anymore, but I’m still her on the inside.”

I get the hate that Quinn gets, the former HBIC of McKinley was needlessly cruel at first to pretty much every member of glee club. But Quinn hasn’t been season 1 Quinn since well….season 1. At her core, Quinn is someone who was dealt a super shitty hand and just wants someone there at the end of the day. And I don’t think anyone can argue with that.

Ron Swanson
“I’m not big on charities. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Don’t teach a man to fish and you feed yourself. He’s a grown man. Fishing’s not that hard.”

Ron Swanson is my best friend. But seriously. If my best friend worked for the city government and grew a mustache (amongst other things) she’d be Ron Swanson.

Schmidt
“Schmidt happens.”

Douche-bag characters are often one-dimensional and they remain only douche-bags for the entirety of the series. Luckily for Schmidt, douchey as he may be, the New Girl writers took a trip to the Wizard and blessed him with a brain, heart, and courage.

Seth Cohen
“Dude. You’re a Cohen now. Welcome to a life of insecurity and paralyzing self-doubt.”

Unabashedly nerdy and self-deprecating,  leave it to Orange County to make the tousled-hair, pop-culture enthusiast the laughing stock of the Harbor School.

“Stiles” Stilinski
“I’m 146 pounds of pale skin and fragile bone, okay? Sarcasm is my only defense.”


Stiles may be one of the only true “humans” left on Teen Wolf, but he has the super-human power of sarcasm to get him thru the day. And it’s not like every other word I say is sarcastic…not at all. Clearly, we were not meant to be bffs.

Summer Roberts
“Ew. But I like it.”

As Marissa started get more and more annoying with her drug and drinking problems, Summer got more and more endearing by falling for the nerd and showing off her geeky side (Princess Sparkle, helloooo). A tiny whirlwind of shopping bags and boho dresses, Summer, thankfully, easily overcame her rich bitch trope to become the best female character on The O.C.

Veronica Mars
“Congratulations, you’ve been named World’s Biggest Cockroach. This award is given in recognition of your unparalleled lack of humanity. Bravo. You’re going to die friendless and alone.”

If the voice inside my head manifested into a person, it would be Veronica Mars. Shamelessly snarky and unbeatably honest, it’s easy to see why she was either revered or abhorred by her peers. The teen sleuth had her character flaws: she was easy to piss-off, meddled in everything, held grudges like whoa, and served payback like a bitch. But in tandem, she was fiercely loyal to those who upheld the Mars Code of Ethical Behavior and was never afraid to put it all on the line for a friend.

Wes Mitchell
“I am way too hungry to be mature about something like this.”

I started planning my nonexistent wedding to Wes immediately after the pilot of Common Law aired. A former lawyer who swapped depositions for an LAPD badge after sending an innocent man to prison, Wes is a classic OCD-level perfectionist. He constantly clashes and bickers with his partner and (arguably) best friend, Travis, because of his laid-back stance on life. And while I feel like the show presents Travis as the guy we’re supposed to immediately root for, Wes’ personality is much more to my druthers. It also doesn’t hurt that he likes flashy cars and dresses like a GQ fashion spread, either.

Five Artfully Awesome Opening Credits

As I continued my summer’s journey of television mania, (this week: Eureka) it just reinforced my love for clever and artsy main title sequences. I truly miss belting out “CALIFORNIAAAAA” every week with Phantom Planet. I understand that by just using titlecards it can save a precious minute of airtime, but I overly enjoy having a catchy theme to sing or hum along with before all of the laughter and drama starts.

Now, I have many favorite main title sequences, they range from themes you have to jam out with to the boldly graphic. But these are my favorite main title sequences, visual aesthetics and general design being the main factor. Like always, click through the banners for video.

Nip / Tuck, “A Perfect Lie”- The Engine Room

Yes, it’s creepy and the scissor noise in the background is mildly disturbing, but I’ve always appreciated how well the song fits the series. It’s pretty minimal but catches the nature of Nip / Tuck in 45ish seconds. For some reason, my favorite part of the credits is the finger twitch at :09, although I also enjoy watching the lips blow up like collagen balloons at the end.

Six Feet Under, Original Theme

I’ve come to the conclusion that cable shows just automatically have better opening credits. And I think it’s time for the primetime networks to step it up. Six Feet Under’s opening sequence automatically sets up the premise of the show and its tune is delightfully catchy for a song about a funeral home family.

Dexter, Original Theme

Okay. Yeah this one bugged me at first. It’s hella long and the opening shot of the mosquito sinking into Dexter’s arm isn’t particularly my favorite visual. But after a while it definitely grows on you. And the last shot of Dexter’s innocent smile after all these violent shots of a typical morning routine made me laugh out loud the first time I saw it.

Skins, Original Theme

The series 1 Skins opening is my personal favorite. You can’t help but feel ridiculously giddy whenever it plays. The theme is upbeat and just puts an automatic smile on your face. I also appreciate that each season and generation gets a new mix…even though I feel like they’ve all paled in comparison to the original.

Chuck, “Short Skirt”-Cake

You gotta love Cake. And the opening sequence was surprisingly creative and artsy, no complaints here.

REVIEW: 2010-2011 Television Season

I have always watched a crap-ton of tv, but this year seemed particularly heavy. I had at least two shows per day Monday thru Thursday and I discovered the brilliance of British television. It’s been a busy television season and on the whole, I’m satisfied with the finales we got.

Shows That Premiered This  Season…

After watching the pilot episode, I stuck with only four shows this year: Being Human, Shameless, Happy Endings and The Walking Dead. I always bitch about how much I hate American remakes of British tv shows…and yet two of them made the list. However, unlike Skins, these remakes are actually good. People have been listing Happy Endings on their comedy Emmy wishlists, and while I think that is a wee bit of a stretch, this show surprised me. Any sitcom revolving around a group of friends is immediately likened to, well, Friends. I found the overall premise of Happy Endings to be relatively weak, but the show definitely improved over the course of its short season.

FAVORITE NEW SHOW: Being Human, hands down. The show just gives such a fresh spin on the whole vamp-werewolf dynamic and it totally holds its own against the U.K. counterpart. Although, it’s official, I can’t stand the Josh/George character aka the werewolf in either version.

Discovered shows already on air…

This year, I discovered so many wonderful programs that are already on air. I love this, because then I have oodles of episodes to watch without an annoying hiatus. Thanks to blogs and mostly Tumblr, I had heard only high praises for the British shows, Misfits and Skins. Misfits is by far one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen and I kind of have a crush on Robert Sheehan. I also randomly stumbled upon The Big Bang Theory bloopers on YouTube and even those made me crack up, which gave me the incentive to blindly purchase the dvds. And it’s amazing. I am making it my mission to attend a taping before I leave LA.

While I am still making my way through Parks and Recreation & 30 Rock, I have to say, I love NBC’s Thursday night comedy line-up. I know I am so late to The Office party, it’s not even funny. Within a course of 4 days, I watched every single episode on Hulu. What can I say? It was a boring finals week. And unlike other fans, I don’t think the show has necessarily lost its mojo, I for one, loved season 6. I caught the last few episodes of season 7 on air and while I do agree that it will be a different program, I think the show has potential to be great without Michael Scott / Steve Carell. One of my roomies always sang the praises of Chuck, so I gave that a try, too. It’s a great dramedy and I kind of have a crush on Zachary Levi, too.

FAVORITE NEW SHOW ALREADY ON AIR: This is such a tough decision because I love each and every one of the programs shown above. But it has to be Community. If Glee gets an Emmy nod and Community doesn’t, there’s officially no justice in the world. Even Community‘s “weaker” episodes are better than most shows’ best. And it’s two-parter paintball season finale was damn near flawless. Community‘s comedic style is exactly my cup of tea and I am officially the biggest Jeff & Annie fan ever. I would normally find a relationship between a 20-year-old girl and a guy who is nearly 40 to be disgusting, but they are absolutely adorbs. And to think I only discovered this gem because it was on sale at Target…I have so much love for Target.

Returning shows…

FAVORITE RETURNING SHOW / BEST OVERALL SEASON: This was really not a tough call, as a lot of these shows had lackluster seasons, The Vampire Diaries. Now, I am not one of those crazy TVD fans who stakes out polls on Entertainment Weekly until TVD reigns supreme, but this season was very strong overall. I am such a fan of Tyler & Caroline and I cannot wait to see where the writers take this storyline. We finally saw some progression in the Stefan / Elena / Damon triangle and Jeremy finally got some lovin’ and a relationship I approve of. No sophomore slump here.

ONE TREE HILL: Much like Glee becoming the Kurt Show at times, One Tree Hill morphed into the Brooke & Julian Show. And I love Brooke and Julian, but it was overkill with the babies. If the network would have let Mark Schwahn & crew do the abortion storyline intended for Brooke in season 4, it would have added another dimension to the fact that she is unable to have children. It just seemed too easy to have Brooke get magically pregnant, with twins no less. I love me some Stephen Colletti, but I think the fact that he is now a series regular says enough. We all know that One Tree Hill should have ended after season 6, if not season 4. Although OTH never racked up high numbers, as a long-time fan, it’s horrible to see how its fallen not only in ratings but in quality.

LIGHTS OUT: I won’t divulge too much because it hasn’t aired on NBC yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed the finale. It was the perfect end to a nearly-perfect show. Can we get some Emmy love, pwease?

I generally enjoyed 90210‘s season 3. I think the first half of the season why stronger, but it overall was exponentially better than Gossip Girl. The only thing I really liked about Glee season 2 was the return of Fuinn and we all know how that ended. As for Grey’s, hopefully this season will be its last and it can go out on a high note. It’s already losing its magic, I don’t buy any article that claims Grey’s is having a comeback. Just limit the Calzona, give Alex a substantial love interest, bring back Addison and reunite Mark & Lexie and you’ll be back on track.

So what’s going to be my summer obsession? Well, So You Think You Can Dance, obvi, but I also started watching Six Feet Under today and I’m loving it so far. I am also planning to spend this summer checking out Fringe, Parenthood, Modern Family and The Good Wife.  All I can say is, thank God for Netflix.

Four HBIC with Big Hearts

Every television show has them: the bitchy popular girl a la Regina George who rules the school and makes the lives of others a living hell. They get what they want when they want and typically have a picture-perfect life from the outside. You’re meant to hate them right along with everyone else, but in the end, you can’t help but love them. Because on the inside, the part of them very few ever see, these girls are vulnerable, insecure and just want to be accepted like everyone else.

4. Blair Waldorf, Gossip Girl

at her bitchiest: Since we’re not friends anymore let me speak frankly, you’re not that smart. You lack focus and discipline. Charm is all well and good but in the real world knowledge is power. You wouldn’t make it past the first round of admissions at Yale no matter how hard you tried. Have fun in Providence.

at her best: I really need my friend right now. I’ve been acting like I’m okay, but I’m not. They say it’s a broken heart, but… I hurt in my whole body.

3. Mini McGuinness, Skins

at her bitchiest: I hope you die puking up your kidneys. Bitch.

at her best: I’ve been a complete bitch. To you all. Some more than others. And I’m really sorry. It’s just… well, you’re all so cool and alternative, and when I’m with you I feel like a bit like… Nicola Roberts. She’s the plain one in Girls Aloud.

2. Brooke Davis, One Tree Hill

at her bitchiest: Okay, guy in need of a clue. Here’s one. Women send signals. That was a brush off. Before you dip into your shallow pool of wit, let me paint us a picture and save us both the trouble. Here’s your evening. You are going to slink back off to your buddies, laugh this off, get wasted, go home, and make nice with yourself. But don’t be thinking of me, because even your fantasy of me, isn’t interested in you.

at her best: There’s a day when you realize that you’re not just a survivior, you’re a warrior. You’re tougher than anything life throws your way, and you are.

1. Quinn Fabray, Glee

at her bitchiest: Are you an idiot? How am I supposed to trust you to take care of our baby when you can’t even figure out how to sell a damn cupcake?

at her best: I can’t do this. This year is about me and don’t say that I am selfish because you have no idea how much I’ve been through. I’ve been down this path before, I know this feeling…like I need you. Duets don’t work for me and I don’t need you. What I need is to find a way to keep Santana off my heels, what I need is to find a way to torture Rachel and I need to start learning to ignore people.