Emily Timbol

Fiction Author. Good at making stuff up.

We Are As Sick As Our Secrets


There have been a few people in my life who have, through various means, affected me so much as to propel my life into a completely different direction. As much as the picture to the left would suggest, Meatloaf was sadly not one of them (and, sorry for the giant nipple.)

Obviously there are my parents, my friend in college Francine who nurtured my spiritual life, my ex-fiance who broke up with me months before our wedding and taught me how to overcome great pain and reach forgiveness, and most recently, the incredibly talented and hilarious author Susan Isaacs.

A lot of you know the story, but for those who don’t, last year before encountering Susan I had no idea that I wanted to be a writer. Sure I had written a “novel” while in middle school, penned a few of my friends term papers/college admissions essays simply because they didn’t share my enjoyment of the task, and yes, even wrote a screenplay while in college. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s say it was about a short, chubby girl with curly hair who finally told the boy she had a crush on for the past 7 years she loved him. I have no idea where I got the idea from, but “D” is now very happily married to a tall thin brunette. With straight hair.

Before encountering Susan, the idea of writing as a career, or at least a serious passion, never really occurred to me. It was just something I enjoyed but never thought I was that good at( if you have read my screenplay you would undoubtedly agree.) I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, in my life, aside from not doing whatever job I currently had.

After reading Susan’s incredibly moving and hilarious book, I’ll admit because I thought the cover was pretty, I sent her an e-mail telling her how much I loved it, and how much it freaked me out to read a book that I could have sworn was written by me. With the exception of a fan letter to Elijah Wood at 8yrs old and a few emails to Hanson in middle school, this was the only time in my life I had ever attempted correspondence with a “celebrity” (while Susan would deny this status, she was on Seinfeld, and she’s on Parks & Recreation this season, so she’s wrong.) Fully expecting no response at all, or at best a nicely worded reply written by an assistant, I was shocked to get an email back from her a few days later. In it she was funny, smart, and very sweet, and basically told me I was a writer, even if I didn’t claim to be one. We communicated over the next few months during which she encouraged me to write, helped me, and doled out some very helpful relationship advice. The fact that I have the few articles published that I do is a direct result of her kindness and encouragement.

Now, what in the world does that have to do with Bob’s man boobs? As you can read in Susan’s book, she benefited greatly by attending AA meetings, once she realized she had a problem with alcohol. I’m not a huge drinker. But I do have issues with food. While I always just attributed these issues to “lack of will power”, “not trying hard enough”, and “my sister likes to force feed me cheesecake for fun” I have come to accept that no, it’s a bigger problem than that. Which is why, at the encouragement of Susan, I have decided to start attending OA (Over eaters Anonymous) meetings. I know the whole anonymity thing is kind of lost when you blog about it, but as the neat 1989 pamphlet tells me, “our sickness is in our secrets”, so I’m going to try to not hide anything. One of the cool things about OA is that it is simply AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) but with the word “food” substituted for “alcohol” and “compulsive over eater” for “alcoholic” and, since I intake movies and television with the near voracity to which I intake french fries, I know all about AA . I’ll admit to getting way more of a kick out of saying, “Hi, my name is Emily and I’m a compulsive over eater” and having everyone say, “Hi Emily” than I should have.

All this to say, I feel like my life is taking another turn. For the past 9 months I have taken the scary, amazing, and empowering journey towards becoming a writer, and last night, at my first OA meeting, I took the first step on the journey to being in recovery.

Thanks Susan.

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