Sunday, 30 December 2012

From the outside, looking in

I think a lot about how other people might see me. Not because I care about their opinions, but because I'm desperate for a perspective on myself that doesn't come from me. I'm far too prone to amateur self-psych-analysis to be able to believe that I have any chance at an objective and fair look at myself, if even such a think is possible. Not that anyone else would have an objective perspective on me, not if they knew me well enough to have a useful perspective at all. But they'd have a different one. And I think probably cobwebs look very different to the observer than to the spider.

Sometimes people say things to me, about me, hints at how they think of me, and they clash so absolutely with how I see myself that it throws me for a loop. Two intrinsically irreconcilable traits. Like when someone says I seem confident, when I see myself as almost utterly devoid of that quality.

The one that always gets to me - I say always... in fact, it's not a very common comments, but I get it now and then - is any variation on 'do you have a boyfriend?' 'met anyone interesting recently?' 'any nice boys in town?'. My reaction is always to laugh. I can't help it. I laugh because the idea is so... alien. So ridiculous. I almost think they're joking even by proposing it. I laugh. I say 'no', and I expect I sound dismissive, disinterested. As though the notion of having a boyfriend holds no appeal to me. As though no one I've met has appealed. As though I'm holding out for a fucking hero. Or something.

There's nothing wrong in being almost 21 and never having been in a relationship. There's nothing wrong in being the girl who isn't interested in that sort of thing, or the girl who doesn't want that kind of distraction, or the girl who just hasn't found the right boy yet. There's nothing wrong in being that girl. But I'm not that girl.

I think they assume I am, when they ask and I laugh and say no. I think my parents probably think I'm not interested. I think my siblings probably think I'm waiting out on the right guy. I think my friends probably think I'm shy and don't put myself out there, so don't get any attention from guys.

Of course the primary and most important reason why I've never been in a relationship (which, since I'm discussing other people's views of me here, is pretty much summed up as having a boyfriend, since only two of my friends actually know I'm bisexual (which I guess is the easiest label for it, though I have certain issues concerning the somewhat binary notion, but all labels are flawed and now isn't the time for a detailed rant about the flickering spectrum of sexual and gender orientation (guess what, we're having a brackets within brackets within brackets moment (aren't we lucky?)))) - anyway, as I was saying, the main reason is simple: no one has ever shown any interest in being in a relationship with me, and as I understand it, you kinda need two willing people to head off down that path.

It bothers me that when I casually try to bring this up with people, in a joking way, of course, because we know how much I don't do serious conversations as long as I can help it, they always come back with something like 'I'm sure lots of people are interested in you, you just don't notice them because you're shy, or because you're scared, or because you never make a move yourself'. Which, I have to say, is bollocks. I may not be the most socially-competent person on the planet, but I'm hardly a walking potato. I like to think I'm reasonably emotionally perceptive. Usually I can read people quite well, family, friends, even people I don't know that well. I tune in automatically to how much I think someone likes me, if I'm interacting with them. My brain's running a constant analysis: 'are they interested in what I just said?' 'did that offend them?' 'does this annoy them?' 'should I fill that awkward silence?' 'should I give them an excuse to get away from me?' I am fucking desperate to read signals from people that they like me, that they like interacting with me. I think it's probably one of the reasons I smile so much (apparently I do, people tell me). I'm not socially oblivious. I'm the opposite. I'm obsessed. I over-analyse and re-analyse and counter-analyse, trying to work out what people mean, what they think about me. And I doubt I get it right, at all, but the point is that I'm looking, I am out there looking for the bloody signs, I am right there whenever they want to show their faces. And sure I don't have much experience in the world of sex and relationships to be too acutely attuned to that type of sign, but, fucking hell, this is life, not a cryptic crossword. If there really were so many people who were interested in me, surely I would have caught some hint of it? And if anyone was interested in more than a passing sense, surely they would have made a bit of effort to make sure I got the hint?

Empirically, all I can conclude is that I have not yet met anyone interested in having a relationship with me.

I guess I kinda maintain the facade that I don't care, that I'm not interested. Because shrugging it off as though it's not a concern is easier than launching into the 'nobody loves me' shpiel. Spending years keeping an unrequited love secret has laid quite a precedent for me just not talking about my 'love life' (man, I hate that phrase, but you know what I mean). I guess people assume that if you're at all interested in having a relationship you'll have at least a few failed ones under your belt, even if they're just mistaken kisses and drunked regrets. I don't know if I should be glad I've never been in a relationship because at least then I've never gone through a break-up, or anything. Of course, they say 'tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, but then I don't know if we should pay any attention to such pithy nothings. And anyway, the issue isn't that I've never loved, it's that I've never been loved. So is it better to have been loved and then been dumped than never to have been loved at all? Who knows. My every instinct strains towards the conviction that I'd rather feel it, however briefly, however shallowly, than never know. Christ, when it comes down to it, I just want to know what it feels like to be wanted.

I guess that sounds kinda sad and pathetic. To be honest, it is. But that's the thing... no one has ever wanted me. Even the guy who raped (though I still have issues about calling it that, but this isn't the time for semantics, as I've said, so we'll go with that as a term for now) me, he didn't want me. He wasn't attracted to me. He had no interest in who I was, I remember the boredom on his face. He had no desire for my body, I remember the disgust in his eyes, in his words. It was about power, about using me because I was there, about convenience and expediency. The only two other sexual interactions I've had - both taking place whilst I was asleep or partially-asleep, waking up in the middle and being too disorientated (the first time, years ago) and too paralysed by flashbacks (the second time, last month) to do anything other than pretend to be asleep still and pray for it to stop (which, as a psycho-analytic note, is also how I reacted to the entire situation of the rape - I shut off inside myself and waited for it to be over, I disconnected. Even more psycho-analytically, and man this post is getting off the rails, this is largely how I deal with every problem I have - I retreat behind my walls, aided by the numbing coping mechanisms of pain, bingeing or restricting, sleep or sleep-deprivation, alcohol, curl up inside a burrow of self-pity and wait for it to be over.) Anyway, both those times too, the person in question didn't know me at all, could barely even see me, evidently had no attraction to me or interest in me beyond being an amusement, a tool, a plaything.

I know there's no objective scale for these things, but still, I know that these things that have happened to me aren't 'that bad' in the grand scale of what could have happened. For the most part, I deal with them moderately successfully. Hell, I still have most of the people who know me convinced that I'm an emotionally-stable and non-fucked-up person, so I can't be that close to a full scale break-down, however much I might sometimes feel as though I am. But sometimes I think that it'd just be easier to deal with, all of it, if I had one experience to draw on where someone actually wanted me, was actually drawn to me, actually interested in me, not just in using my mouth or groping me while I'm asleep. Maybe it wouldn't help as much as I think it would, but it does just seem to me sometimes that if I had one good experience, just one, it would somehow soften the bad.

Because one of the scariest things about the whole deal is that not only do I come to conclude that no one's ever going to be interested in a relationship with me, but that I get the feeling that if anyone ever does show the slightest attraction to me, it'll be like this, it'll be as a thing, as a means to an end, as a passing fuck, as someone to screw with. And it's not so much that I'm afraid of that happening, it's that I'm afraid that I'd let it. I'm afraid that I'd be so desperate for someone, anyone, to want me, to show any interest in me at all, that I'd follow the first person who did, and so long as they wanted me, I'd stay with them. I can't imagine myself having a boyfriend, or a girlfriend, in the normal, healthy sense. But sometimes I think I can imagine myself ending up in an abusive relationship. In a sense it's a good thing no one seems to want me, because it means no one's going to take advantage of my insecurity this way, because I swear, in the state of mind I get into sometimes, I would slip so so easily under the thumb of some bastard and I definitely wouldn't have the will to get myself out.

Someone very close to me was in an abusive relationship for at least four years, though this was about five years ago now. I still don't think I've come to terms with it. The knowledge screws with my brain, because I knew the abuser very well, looked up to him, idolised him even, and I certainly idolised their relationship. I'd grown up around it. This was all way way before I had any inkling of the abuse, which I only found out about three years ago, when the abuser turned up again as a stalker and a threat and certain things, certain perceptions, that I'd believed and relied on up till then, well, they all came crashing down. Given how hard I'm finding this to write about, it's pretty clear I'm not over any of it., or any of the implications of it. But I guess what it did fundamentally was to bring the idea of abuse to roost very close to home. It stopped being a concept out in the ether of violent anonymous crime, and became a reality, something that happens to people, to people that I love, that could happen to me.

I'm fighting hard against the voice in my head that tells me I'll probably end up in an abusive relationship somewhere along the line. I'm fighting hard against the other voice that tells me I'll never be in any kind of relationship because no one's interested. I am trying - believe me, I am - to believe that there's hope for me to find someone who likes me, and to believe that I deserve that. But, for Christ's sake, can no one just throw me a bone here? Am I really meant to try and sustain this hope and fight these voices in the face of overwhelming silence? Would it really be too much to ask for someone, anyone, to show a little interest? Just to reassure me that it's possible? That there is reason for hope?

And I wish that people would stop assuming that I'm not getting anywhere because I make no effort. Fuck it, I am trying. I am doing my best here.

The actual tragic thing is... I kinda think I'd be quite a good girlfriend, if I ever got the chance.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Over the Irish Sea

The last litre of rum hasn't even lasted a week.

This is probably not good. I don't really have a frame of reference. I don't really care. As coping mechanisms go, drinking is hardly the worst thing I could be doing. Hell, this is probably the most normal, the most socially-acceptable, coping mechanism that I have.

Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. But the burn in the back of my throat is a sweet partner for the burning behind my eyes, and somehow it's easier to be broken when I'm wrecked to pieces.

I've often wondered which is the worst to deal with, insomnia or nightmares. Of course, sometimes the universe decides to throw both my way, just so I don't have to choose. It's a neat little love triangle we have going on. I haven't slept properly in over a month now. Even when I manage the hours, I still wake up without much inclination to drag myself out of bed.

Monday night the insomnia kept me up until half five, and then I woke at seven shaking and so drenched in sweat that at first I thought someone had thrown a bucket of water over me. The worst part was that I had no recollection of what I'd been dreaming. Sometimes, dreams, they slip away from you as the day goes on, and sometimes they come back to you in more details, but to not remember a thing, to have no idea what provoked that kind of a reaction, it's terrifying, it really is. And it leads to the hideous guessing game where I try to dredge up anything I can imagine such a dream could be. Last night at least I remembered the dreams, even if they woke me every couple of hours.

I am just so tired.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Fear

If I could search my mind for 'most common thoughts', I think I know one that would rank pretty high:

I'm scared.

It's an odd thing, fear. I don't actually have any of the 'normal' phobias. I'm not scared of spiders or heights or enclosed spaces, insects or blood or clowns, the dark or aeroplanes or snakes.

The thing I'm probably most scared of is hurting people.

I practically have a professional qualification in guilt, and whilst I have enough self-awareness to know that I blame myself for lots of things that probably aren't my fault, I also know well enough that some things are. That there are many, many things I could have done, or not have done, in my life that would have made the people I love happier, or less sad. I can name people who would undoubtedly have had a much less screwy time of it if we'd never met. I am scared that in the end I just end up hurting everyone I touch.

It's probably part of why I find it so hard to get close to people. It's not that I'm not friendly, or that I don't want to spend time with people. I do. Christ, I am desperate for friends, and there are so many people I would dearly love to be with. The problem is that: a) I genuinely believe at a very deep and psychologically stubborn level that people do not want to spend time with me, they do not want to talk to me, or know me, or have to waste their time on me, and why the fuck would they because I'm pathetic and cowardly and needy and insane and blah blah blah etc. etc. b) I will only end up making them awkward or offending them or hurting them or telling too much truth or confiding too little or coming across as fake. c) I have zero social skills and no idea how to communicate 'I think you're awesome and want to know everything about you can we stay up all night being ridiculous please?' without being creepy (see b), or flat out rejected (see a).

And I'm scared that I'm right about this. I'm scared that if I do put myself out there and try to get close to people, they'll not be interested, thereby confirming my fears and sparking that well-travelled downward spiral of no-one-is-ever-going-to-want-me-I'm-a-worthless-human-being-and-I'm-going-to-be-alone-forever etc. etc.

I'm scared that I'm just an inconvenience, and that if I try to push myself further into other people's lives, they'll just push me right back out. Or, perhaps worse, that they'll suffer the intrusion politely, but secretly hate it and resent me for it. And I'll sense (or imagine that I sense) they feel this and oh hey let's take another guilt trip.

The most ridiculous thing about all of this is that I KNOW how ridiculous it all sounds, and how pathetically insecure I seem, and how obvious it is that I should just get a grip and trust people to be nice and take a leap of faith.

But that's the thing about fear, isn't it? It's irrational. And knowing that it's irrational doesn't make you any less terrified.

Someone Else's Song

There are so many words inside my head right now, and so much silence too, and I don't have the energy to sort the one from the other. I feel like, bit by bit, I'm exploring all the possible paths of insanity.

So here are someone else's words. Someone far more eloquent than me, somehow managing to voice a handful of my crazed little thoughts.

I Think About This Sometimes 
by Mila Jaroniec
October 18, 2012



"I think about this sometimes, how much of life is really just comprised of aptly timed accidents. How we work so hard planning and strategizing and everything else when those skills are illusory life tools at best. How we like to believe we’re in total control of our situations, but when things start to happen, really happen, when things suddenly start to pulse and detonate all over the place, what we really need to know how to do is adapt, fall off the ledge and land safely on our feet. I think about this too, how nearly every valuable thing I’ve hit upon in life has been the result of some kind of lucky or horrible accident. And how completely awesome yet unflinchingly absurd that is.

"I think about this sometimes, what it would have been like if we had worked out. If I had chosen you instead of not-you. Would you still be saying all those sweet things and making large-scale projections about our idyllic future? Would you still be sending me new songs to listen to every day and notebooks through the mail? Would I still idealize you just as much? I don’t know. Part of me likes to think we could have been happy if given the option but the other part has a feeling we would have cracked right down the middle, your neuroses were what I liked about you but maybe your neuroses plus my neuroses would have been too many. We’ll never know at this point, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about it.

"I think about this sometimes, what it would be like to have a second, completely separate life to live alongside this one, just for fun. Just to test out the various potentialities present-day me will never get to realize, like becoming an Olympic gymnast or finishing my neuroscience degree. I wonder if leading parallel lives would eventually get too crazy or whether I’d be able to switch between them, flip cleanly over from one to the other like a light switch. I wonder if parallel me would actually do anything different than what present-day me is doing. I wonder if parallel and present-day me would eventually converge. I wonder if wondering about this means I have too much time on my hands.

"I think about this sometimes, what life would have been like if I had never met you. What it would have been like if you never came along when you did, never gave me whiplash, never crawled into my heart, if I hadn’t fallen for you or for anyone at all, just stayed blissfully unaware of love and heartbreak and their sides of horrible and delicious feelings. If I had never met you, I think I would have turned out different. Not better, but maybe more careful. More stable. Or maybe more clueless, relegated to making those high school mistakes in college and beyond instead. What I don’t like to think about is the fact that a part of me will always love you, and it’s nothing that logic or time can starve out. It’s like autumn happening in October or the recurrence of a particular time of day. It just is. And that’s it.

"I think about this sometimes, what it would be like to start over, just shut down and reassemble, shed every single layer and do it again, differently. Quit everything, sell everything, pack up and disappear without a trace or a last goodbye. It’s a tempting idea that’s constantly in the back of my head, but I never actually act on it because I have a pretty strong feeling (or strong literary evidence, rather) that that kind of move usually and/or always ends in disillusionment. But that doesn’t mean I’m not tempted. In fact I’m pretty sure the temptation has evolved into a sort of coping mechanism: when things get really awful all I tell myself is “you could leave if you wanted,” and for some reason knowing that, repeating that makes me feel more capable."


Saturday, 1 December 2012

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Well, this is new.

I still don't know exactly what's going on, and it might be nothing.

But even if it is, I still feel happier and more hopeful and more alive right now than I have in a long time.

I need to be brave, and I think I can be.

I can be.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Step by step...

Yesterday, I didn't hurt myself, even though I desperately wanted to. Yesterday, I didn't starve or binge, even though I could have. Yesterday, I didn't put myself in danger, even though I was longing for it.

A lot of things were not so good yesterday. But I managed those things.

So long as I can do that again today, everything is going to be okay. And I can.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

I am losing my mind.

I honestly think I have driven myself insane. I have meticulously destroyed any shred of normality in my brain. I have turned every facet of behaviour into disorder. I have poisoned every part of myself that I ever had the slightest affection for. I have become an obnoxious, selfish, hideous, warped... thing.

I think maybe this is what a breakdown feels like. I am tired. I am so tired.

I can't do this.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

A See-Saw Named Coping

A few years ago, I had a nightmare where I was in a long canoe boat with someone else at the other end, and we were rocking up and down in the rough sea like we were one  see-saw, and then suddenly, as I was high up, the other person vanished, and I came plummeting down, broke the surface of the water and plunged under. The water rushed over my head, the weight of it somehow keeping me from pushing upwards. I still remember really clearly trying to flail my arms but hardly being able to move, my throat beginning to burn, desperately trying to push up towards the surface. I woke up then, with my face pressed so hard into my pillow that I genuinely couldn't breathe, in real life, until I flipped over and lay panting in great lungfuls of air, my chest aching as if I had actually been drowning.

I'm thinking about it now, because that's sort of what I feel like.

I feel like I'm on a see-saw, alternating between riding high and plummeting so low that I'm trapped and helpless, and hardly able even to keep my head above.

One of the most hideous things about being a complete mental fuck-up is that my first priority has always been to hide the fact that anything is the matter from pretty much the rest of the world. So it's like drowning, but not letting anyone see you drown. It's like drowning while everyone around you is breathing and swimming just fine, and you feel like if you ever had the nerve to call out to them for help, they'd laugh at you and say 'Just swim to shore, you idiot.' But even more perversely, it's like drowning yourself, just like there was a part of my brain that was busy transforming my sub-conscious self-suffocation into a drowning dream, instead of kicking in an instinct to change position until I could breathe again.

Drowning is a good simile too, because it's being overwhelmed, swept under, engulfed. I don't know what is terrifying me more at the moment, the course I'm doing unexpectedly well in and will therefore inevitably soon become a failure and a disappointment, or the module in which I'm already a disappointment and have to push up my marks before it just looks like I'm not trying at all. I have to give a presentation tomorrow. I have to give a fucking presentation tomorrow. I don't even have the words to express how much that terrifies me, because I know I'll fuck it up, and I know I'll panic and talk too fast, and it'll be like I know I'm doing it, but I won't be able to stop.

I'm scared I will never shake this feeling of never being good enough.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Enough.

I could write a lengthy post detailing how shitty the past few days have been, and how much I have loathed myself, and how much my mental states have terrified me.

But screw that. That's enough. I'm am so utterly through will all this bollocks.

I am an adult. I am the only one who can sort out my pathetic little life. I am the only one who can implement change. I am the only one who can take back control.

I think I've been hoping for someone to notice, I mean really notice, me- someone who'd break me down to my deepest core and barest bones and then put me back together again. I've been hoping for someone who'd turn my world upside down, make me see everything, especially myself, in a new way. I've been hoping for all the things that I've been craving for years upon years, all the things that only seem to happen to other people.

But the thing is... hope doesn't last forever.

I think I hope for too much. I don't think I should fling myself the other way, into despair. But I do think I need to face the facts.

This is my life. This is the way it is. I can't spend it waiting for things to change, I can't spend it hoping. I need to grow up, to solve my own little problems, to fix my own little broken brain, to just get on with it. I've had enough of being this way.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Just...

Feel so overwhelmed at the moment. I don't know what's going on.

I have so much work but whatever I do never seems nearly good enough.

I can't even with my eating. So so screwy at the moment.

My moods are back and forth like a slinky on a rollercoaster.

How can everything seem so easy one minute and then suddenly become the hardest thing ever?

I don't understand, and I'm scared.

I feel so tiny in this world, like I'll never make a difference, like I'll never really be valued for what I am, least of all by myself, like I'll just be trapped in this petty struggle with myself forever.

Pathetic.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Fucking ridiculous.

Is it really too much to ask that there exist someone in the world who would quite like to fuck me?

Or am I actually going to spend the rest of my life lusting after all the beautiful people I know who wouldn't look at me twice...

Seems a distinct possibility.

Dear people. Fuck me, or stop being so fucking fuckable. Deal?

Fuck.


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Hello and welcome to ketosis

This feels amazing. My life, I mean. My life at the moment seems so amazing.

I've been on and off low-carb for the past five weeks, and I can't even tell you how much better I feel when I am, and how shitty I start feeling when I start on the starches and sugars again. I really feel like this is the answer. No grains, no sugars, limited fruit, limited starchy veg, unlimited other veg, dairy, meat, fish, eggs, herbs and spices, water water water water, and occasional very dark chocolate. I'm not counting calories. I'm not even tracking macronutrients. I have enough of a sense of the energy contents of foods, and enough diligence reading labels, to roughly know what I'm eating. But I don't plan out my meals any more. I don't stress over reaching or not reaching arbitrary numbers.

I eat when I'm hungry. And I eat varied, delicious, balanced meals of proteins, fats, and vegetables. And my blood sugar is so ridiculously stable that I often only end up eating twice a day, because my satiety lasts so long that it can take a good six hours or more to get hungry again. And when I do get hungry, it's not the stabbing, urgent, crazed hunger that makes you want to grab the nearest thing and scarf it down, it's just a gentle reminder that I should start thinking about food again. I'm losing my phobia of decent sized meals. I'm pretty much over my phobia of fats.

And do I crave carbs? Not really. Yeah, sure, sometimes I feel like something starchy would be amazing, but actually I know it wouldn't be. Because carbs actually aren't all that interesting. They have little taste, little texture, little interest value. We use them to bulk out meals, because they're cheap. That's the only thing they have going for them, really. I am spending a heck of a lot more on food. But that's fine. My health is worth more to me than money. And since I don't buy processed foods, or eat out often, or drink anything other than water except very occasionally, or waste food, I reckon in the end I don't spend much more than anyone else.

I have so much energy for life. My body feels happy with me. If I take in starches and sugars, I almost instantly get bloating and digestive issues, not to mention zippy blood sugar and fuzzy mental state. I actually think maybe I'm a bit gluten-intolerant, since wheat seems to give the worst reaction. So grains are completely out for the moment. I think in the future, when I'm no longer trying to lose weight, I might try adding back potatoes and other tuber starches a bit more frequently, but I don't hugely miss them. I made the most fucking amazing cauliflower soup yesterday, and it was so thick and creamy that I don't think I'll bother putting potato in soup ever again.

I guess it's all about finding what works for me. It's about not restricting my life according to what societal dietary norms, or conventional/governmental wisdom, or 'common knowledge' thinks is right. Because once you start actually researching the nutrition, you find out that most of the things we think we know about a 'healthy' diet are actually complete nonsense. As a history student, I deal with experts talking bullshit for a past-time, but that we're bullshitted to so comprehensively about something so personal and fundamental as out own health sickens and horrifies me. But I'm not out to force-convert anyone. Health is a personal journey, and what works for one person is disastrous for another.

For the moment, I'm just happy with how I'm doing.

And I beat my best long-run this morning, taking my longest to 9 miles, or 95 minutes. Felt amazing. Just... yeah. Good times are here again.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Square One... Thousand

I got back to uni this weekend, following the worst week I'd had in a while. Nothing happened, no disasters, no nothing. I just made some really bad choices. I fucked up. I stopped caring, and then it was so easy just to not care at all.

But it's no big deal, because I'm learning from it and moving on. It's sort of like this summer, these past three months I've been away from uni... to be honest, I've had better summers. Last week I was feeling like I was back to square one, that everything I've achieved was melting away, that really I was a failure and every success had been illusory. I felt like I was going round in circles, because I was relying on university to snap me out of my funk, just like I was this time last year when I started to lose weight, just like I was the year before when I... achieved very little beyond isolation. I felt like I kept having to start over.

But the thing is, right? It's not the same. This time last year I was obese, now I'm a healthy weight. This time last year I could only just run one mile; this morning I ran six, and although it's an effort, it's not hard. This time last year I had barely anyone I wanted to meet up with when I got back to uni; this year I have handfuls.  This time last year I was testing out exactly how few calories I could eat in a day; this year I've learned what I should be eating in terms of nutrition, as well as to listen to my body and what, when and how much it wants. I know how to do this, even if I don't always do it. Last year I wouldn't have had a clue. When I look back at myself a year ago, I barely recognise myself. The way I think about myself has changed so much, and though I'm still far from having a confidently positive self-image, it's better than it's ever been before, and that's no exaggeration. What I've achieved in terms of general happiness and peace of mind is of immeasurable value.

Even this summer, when I've had so many slip ups and so many set backs, in lots of ways I've still succeeded. I've started learning to drive, something that has been terrifying me for years, and actually I really enjoy it. I've pushed my longest run up from one hour to one hour 25 minutes, and I know I can go further, and I want to. I've been very very scared, several times, but I've made myself go for honesty over evasiveness, and I don't regret any instance of it. I've realised that some things are not my problems to solve. I've worn dresses and shorts in public and of my own volition and felt good in them. I've been abroad on my own, and proved to myself that whatever I want to do, I can do it, on my own. I've found a way of eating that feels natural and intuitive and logical to me, after deciding that societal mores and governmental guidelines can sod right off and I'll do my own research thank you very much.

I've proved that all I need is to take care of myself. I'm the only thing standing in my way.

I may be starting a new year, but I am the furthest from square one I've ever been. And the game is on.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Ch-ch-ch-changes...

I've been reading up a lot recently on eating low carb and I've decided to give it a go more seriously. I've cut back on carbs before, but only as a means to cutting calories, not because it seemed best for my health. I don't want to become a carbphobe to the point that it makes me reduce the amount of vegetables, beans and legumes that I eat. Fibre is my friend and vegetables are awesome. But I want to try eliminating starches and sugars. I also hope this will help me overcome the fatphobia that has been drummed into my brain all my life. Low-fat is part of our zeitgeist, but I'm increasingly convinced that it shouldn't be. As something as simple as my GCSE in Food and Nutrition can tell me, fat has numerous vital roles in the proper functioning of the body. And what is the role of carbs? They provide energy. Yeah... I have enough in storage I think.

So we'll see how it goes.

From the sublime to the ridiculous (and not connected to the above since I only started low-carbing properly today)...

This morning I went for a run. I was pretty sore from strength work yesterday, and I only got about five hours of sleep. But I thought I'd get out there and get it done. It was a beautiful morning.

I decided to try a new route, or rather... to head out in one direction and just keep going without a fixed circuit in mind. In the past I've found that I tend to stop not because I'm actually exhausted but because I've covered whatever distance I'd planned on.

So I started out. About mile 2 I was going up a hill that never seemed to end. It wasn't steep, but the constant incline was draining. My legs were aching, I was already sweating buckets, I really felt like giving up. So I stopped my timer and I walked to the top of the hill. And then I took a breath and started my timer again and ran. I ran down the hill, and then I kept going, and then I kept going.

I had an idea that I'd like to try for about 5 miles, since I hadn't run that far since my 10K in May. By the time I was at mile 5, the ground was flying so easily beneath my feet that I just kept going. I passed one hour, and one hour five minutes, my previous record for longest time run.

I kept going, because I found I could, because why the hell not?

I finally stopped my timer again at 1 hour 25 minutes, having covered just over 8 miles, and walked the rest of the way home. I have to say, I felt kinda weak and exhausted and seriously thirsty and my stomach was all "umm... what the fuck? Where's my breakfast and what the hell was that?"

But I made it home, immediately drank about five big glasses of water, then took a shower and made breakfast. And I was still tired, but I also felt pretty fucking fantastic.

I have a new mantra, to be repeated to myself in times of crisis and self-doubt:

"It doesn't matter if you can't, but... you can."

Sunday, 5 August 2012

You want a lift anywhere?

I live in the middle of nowhere. Or, let's say, my parents live in the middle of nowhere. I refuse to refer to this as my actual permanent residence. That would be far too depressing.

I'm not completely ungrateful. I know that many, many people would give their right arm to live in a place like this, but to be frank, this is the kind of place you come for a week's holiday to get away from the world. Living here, well, that's another story.

The nearest shops are five miles away, the nearest gym six miles, the nearest actual sizeable town is fifteen miles away. And the public transport system is shite. And by shite I mean mostly non-existent. But none of this is a huge problem, because I like walking. But I don't like it so much in the torrential rain. Moreover, crazy country drivers are far more likely to run me over in the rain. Which is not so good. Drivers don't seem to understand the concept of pedestrians round here. If you're wondering about pavements, you may be assured that they do not exist within a five mile radius of my parents' house.

Last week when I was out walking, a car pulled up beside me.

Woman: Do you want a life anywhere?

Me: No thanks, I'm okay.

Woman: Are you sure? You're in the middle of nowhere.

Me: I know. I live here.

I can't wait to get out of here. Again. I wonder why I keep coming back. You may have noticed the three times in the past year when my blog has taken a distinct turn for the worse, when it's become filled with self-doubt and failure and bingeing. These three times are Christmas, Easter, and Summer. Which are, not so coincidently, the three times I've spent time at my parents' house.

This summer has been the worst. These past few months... I don't know what's been wrong with me, but I feel like I've taken about fifty steps backwards. Hideously, I've gained weight. My fitness has worsened. My confidence has dropped. My self-control has been weakening.

I need out of here.

I kidded myself that a couple of days' escape to another country would make a difference. Nah, I lie, it made a difference, but in the end, it wasn't a revolution.

I try not to blame my circumstances instead of myself, but it's too much of a coincidence that I find everything so much harder when I'm here. Partly I guess my childhood home makes me feel like a child. I associate memory with place very strongly, and the place where I spent all my adolescence is bound to have a fair few bad memories. But partly it's because I come back here to see my school friends and my brother, and I barely get to see any of them because - guess what? They all have lives of their own and are off doing exciting things. While I'm... well, sitting around at home breathing in the stifling and distinctly poisonous atmosphere of my parents' completely disfunctional marriage.

I have my fair share of social anxiety, emotional immaturity, and dodgy inter-personal skills. But my parents and their complete lack of empathy with each other, their passive-agressive snideness, and their avoidance of communication as though it were the plague... it baffles me, it really does. I don't understand how two people can have been married for 32 years and yet know each other barely at all. I don't understand how they can live in the same house day in day out and yet communicate with each other so little. I don't understand how they can't manage the simplest and most innocent of conversations without finding some way to wind each other up.

Moreover, I don't understand how they can have so little understanding of who their children are and what they feel. I don't understand what went so fundamentally wrong in our relationship, and when it happened, such that I can't imagine ever confiding in either of my parents any of my private thoughts, problems, or circumstances. I cannot even imagine such a conversation. It saddens me, this. But it also frustrates me. Because there are lots of people I do feel I can confide in if I want to, people my age, and people younger than me, and people much older than me. But not my parents. Because all I see is the distance between them and me, and the distance between the two of them, and the distance between them and all other functional relationships and friendships. And I do mourn the lack of closeness, but also, I can't help thinking... would I be less emotionally fucked up if my parents had been just a bit less disfunctional? Would I be an opener, more confident, more trusting person, if my parents had ever had a conversation with me more serious than what's for dinner? If I'd ever seen them having an open and honest conversation with each other? Philip Larkin was right, as we know.

This is the last summer I'm spending here. I can't handle this sort of length of time stuck here in the middle of nowhere. I feel like I don't have my own life here. I don't feel like myself here.

You want a lift anywhere?

Yes. Please.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Illness and Insomnia

Well isn't that just magical?

I've been consoling myself all day that if I can just trudge on through till the evening then conk out and sleep away whatever vile little virus is wreaking havoc in my respiratory system, I'll wake up feeling better. There could only be one fatal flaw in such a plan, and that would be not sleeping. Well done, brain. This is self-sabotage at its finest.

At least it hasn't been a totally wasted day. I taught myself HTML, of all things. I worded an email to my useless ex-landlady about the deposit she still hasn't bothered to refund. I found a site with links to every single episode of Friends.

But now I'm just left enjoying a paradox of complete exhaustion and boundless restless energy.  Oh insomnia, has absence made the heart grow fonder? I thought I was rid of you.

The moths keep dive bombing my laptop light. And the death-watch beetles that live in the wall behind my bed won't give it a rest tonight.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Let's do this thing.

Okay. The new thoughts are these:

1. Set and stick to daily targets. Use deficit not intake, since you know this works better.

2. Low carb. Not crazily, but let's ease into it.

3. Exercise. Every day. Without fail. Lots. And enjoy it. Remember the frustration of injury or bad weather? Make the most of what you got.

4. No bingeing. This should go without saying, but needs to be said, just so you stop and THINK.

5. Work on strength and flexibility.

6. Weigh in once a week. Restart charts and tickers. Stop the self-delusions.

7. Water. Water water water water water.

8. There is no number 8.

9. Water.

10. Cheer the fuck up.

Monday, 16 July 2012

My favourite hobby

Talking to myself.

Dear Mind,

Hi. Hello there. This is your Body speaking. Yes, I do have a right to do that, so quit your bitching and listen for a change.

I know we're not great friends. I know there've been times when you've hated me almost as much as you hate yourself. I know you know every single one of my imperfections. I know you've stressed me and changed me and put all your will into trying to morph me into something to your tastes.

But can you just give it a rest for a minute and listen to me? I'm not just a wobbly sack of matter for you to jaunt around in. I'm an incredibly complex and sophisticated organism with abilities and talents and opportunities that many people would envy. I am a beautiful work of nature.

No, shut up, I don't care if you don't want me to use that word, you don't get a say in this. I'M the one talking here, so just pipe down okay?

It always has to be about you, doesn't it? I just have to sit here while you prod me and poke me, while you deny me food or stuff god knows what down my throat, while you hurt me or let others do so, while you criticise me, while you wish me away, while you constantly try to hide me, while you act like I'm shameful and wrong.

Just shut the fuck up for once. You pretend it's all for my own good, but it's not. It's always about you. Do you ever stop for a moment to think that maybe I have wants and needs that you should be paying attention to? Do you ever consider that if you actually took care of me and gave me the help and the attention and the nutrition that I needed and devoted some time to anticipating just what those needs might be, then we might actually achieve some sort of healthy equilibrium here? If you were actually doing some fucking work to figure out what was best for me, instead of being a selfish, domineering, parasitic, self-destructive maw, grasping with broken fingernails after control at any cost?

Something you desperately need to learn, and never fucking have learned, is that THIS ISN'T ALL ABOUT YOU.

Do you have any idea how amazing I am? How many things I could do, how many places I could go, how much life I could live if you just let me? If you just focused on something other than yourself for a change. 

Fuck's sake, you're not stupid. You know the talents I have, you know the pleasure I can give to myself and other people, you know how my presence can make people smile, you know how these hands can create things that amaze them, you know how far these legs can carry us, you know every beautiful thing these eyes have seen, and every blisteringly-raw emotion that has turned this jumble of bone, nerve, muscle, skin, and sinew in to a trembling wreck. I am so much more than my imperfections. Would you just stop to remember that once in a while?

We could be the greatest of allies, if only you would stop being my worst enemy.

Sincerely,

Your Body

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Sweet dreams are made of this

I dreamed of Fiona again last night. Both Fionas. Because my mind is that clever, and that fucked up.

Christ, I know what I need right now. Every fibre of me knows.

It's all right though. I have yoga for calm. I have sprinting for kicks. It's sort of the same.

Apart from not being by any stretch of the imagination the same.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Time flies like an apple

I have a slightly obsessive sense of time. I count the days to and from things. I see the weekly, monthly, yearly anniversaries of things that aren't even that important. I mark time passing by comparison with what I've done at that time on other days. I have the hours of the day, the days of the week, the months of the year, and the years of my life spread out in some kind of timeline chart in my head, covered with events and memories like post-it-notes.

It's a month ago today that I woke up later than 9am and actually felt, for the first time in months and months, as though I'd slept as much as my body wanted to. I kinda feel like I've spent a lot of the past month sleeping, but then there are worse ways to spend my time.

Two weeks ago today, I was eating tapas in a city full of strangers, proving to myself that I could be myself, on my own, in the unknown, that I could stand the heat, that I could forgo all my beloved privacy and just be out there, in the world, in the moment, eating peaches in the gardens of Moorish palaces and getting lost down narrow streets in the warm night-time.

A week ago today, I met up with a friend who I hadn't seen in two years. She commented on the weight loss, and asked questions, and instead of evading and demuring as I do so very very well, I actually had an open and moderately honest conversation about it. I say moderately honest, because whilst I hinted that it hadn't exactly all been plain sailing and talked a little about my history and issues surrounding myself and my weight, spilling all the beans would have been too much for her, and too much for me, and to be honest the occasion wasn't right, nor do I think our friendship really close enough, for too many beans to be spilled. I may be prying myself open but in so many ways I'm still a shy little secret-keeper, and there's only so much I can handle showing other people of myself. But it was progress.

Today is my 9th completely binge-free day this month. Somehow, I've found my calm again. I'm back in that place where I know I have control, because hey- it's only me, and if I don't have control over me, who does? I can do whatever the hell I want, and if I want to lose weight then I can - not because I have to meet some arbitrary number goal, but because it will help me be happier in my own skin. I can plan and log and control what I eat, but because I enjoy knowing exactly what I'm eating, enjoy planning out my meals, enjoy taking the time to make myself healthy and interesting meals that I can take time over eating and that will satisfy and nourish, instead of because I feel I have to restrict myself as a punishment or to stop myself bingeing. I will make sure I get my exercise, not because I neet to rack up massive deficits or because it's a punishment for over-eating or a way to earn food, but because I love it. Because walking gives me the time to think, to talk to myself, to take myself wherever I want to go. Because running makes me feel fantastic, as though I can achieve all the things I'd never thought I would, as though no one can hold me down. Because doing those push-ups makes me feel strong. Because the burn and the trembling and the aches in my muscles are like a balm to my anxious, doubting, self-critical little mind. They're a 'fuck you' to the bastard mentality in me that tells me all the time that I can't, that I'm weak and pathetic and worthless. They're my body fucking singing.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Days

Some days I hate my body.

Some days I hate my mind.

And some days I just hate myself.

These are failure days, lonely days, doubt days, nightmare days, neverending days, flashback days, weak days.

These are biro and salt water days.

These are chipped nail polish days.

These are silence days.

These are blurring, shaking, stinging days.

These are the days that sneak up on me when I least expect it.

These are the days I know without a doubt are coming.


These days are the ones I have to fight against.

Because these days are given to me by myself.

These days are the reason why I have to keep going.

They are the reason I have to make myself strong.

They are the reason I have to make myself brave.

These are the days that remind me what I'm doing all this for...

...so that one day, these days will be the days where I love myself.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

This is how I remind myself

A while ago I started taking pictures of some of my meals, partly because it gave me the excuse to be pretentious in making them look slightly artful and partly because it was another good way to keep a record of what I was eating.

Now that I need to be getting back into good habits, I want to remind myself of what I used to eat, of how much good food I can eat for reasonable calories, and how it doesn't have to be boring or restrictive.

So, dear self, welcome to your catalogue of eats. Get excited.


Prawn stir-fry, with onions, mushrooms, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, green beans, spring onion, garlic, soy and sweet chili. 341 calories, 24g protein, 11g fibre. 

Back bacon, egg, mushrooms, courgettes, with cherry tomatoes and baked beans. 286 calories, 23g protein, 4g fibre. 

Spiced carrot and sweet potato soup, with a cheese muffin and broccoli. 274 calories, 12g protein, 8g fibre.


Roast lamb with onions, mushrooms, and parsley, baby new potatoes and broccoli. 353 calories, 33g protein, 5g fibre.

Pizza with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, cheddar, grana padano and basil. 503 calories, 25g protein, 6g fibre.

Oats with skimmed milk, fat-free yogurt, apple, sultanas and cinnamon. 225 calories, 9g protein, 5g fibre.


Soft-boiled duck egg with brown soda bread toast, broccoli and courgette. 362 calories, 24g protein, 9g fibre.

Ricotta and mushroom crepe cannelloni, with tomato sauce, grana padano, cherry tomatoes and courgettes. 396 calories, 27g protein, 7g fibre.


Sweet potato wedges with boursin cheese, broccoli and mushrooms. 267 calories, 12g protein, 9g fibre.


Prawns with new potatoes, broccoli, peas, courgettes, garlic, lemon and parsley. 315 calories, 21g protein, 9g fibre.

Smoked salmon on brown soda bread with a poached egg, courgettes and asparagus. 296 calories, 21g protein, 6g fibre.

Porridge with skimmed milk, brown sugar, frozen raspberries, and fat-free yogurt. And a strawberry. 270 calories, 12g protein, 6g fibre.


Conclusions:
I need frozen raspberries back in my life.
There is a slight chance I eat too much broccoli.
There are no excuses for not sticking to calorie targets.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Little victories.

Today's word is success.

It's been so long since I've had a single day without bingeing or overeating. So long since I've set a calorie limit and actually stuck to it. So long that it actually feels like a big deal that I managed it today.

I'm so out of practice at being strict with myself. I'm so out of practice at eating a reasonable amount. My body's out of practice too... man, I was hungry today.

But I know I can do it. I've always known, actually. I just got lazy. Well, lazy no more. Habits are wonderful things, and I need my habits back.

Not only for the sake of my waistline, but for the sake of my own sanity.

Today was a good day. Today was a success.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Life. Blood.

The topic for today is blood.

On Wednesday, I got my first period since the New Year. On the whole I was relieved by this, by the proof that I haven't completely bollocksed up my body. It might sound strange to say, but it kinda felt like life again. That's what blood is, after all, isn't it? Life. It felt like that, I guess because I was already buzzing with adrenaline and floating around in 40 degree heat.

Admittedly, I feel less rejevenated and buzzy and full of life, now.

Right now, I feel like I have a six-month-build-up of hormones shattering around my tired little body.

Right now, I am crying at everything and attempting to eat the house.

I am so, so exhausted.

This will sod off soon, right?

Saturday, 30 June 2012

In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf.

There's so much I want to blog about, but, to avoid disolving into complete incoherency (at least more so than usual...), I'm going to have to make it one thing at a time. Today, it's caterpillars.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of the most popular children's picture books on the market, sells millions of copies every year and spawns endless themed memorabilia. This has always stuck me as pretty odd, since, for one, the caterpillar is distinctly creepy and appears from the state of his eyes to have smoked a good number of the leaves he's been nibbling through, and for two, I can't get around the fact that the plotline to me is about hunger, bingeing, restriction, and the expectation that this will make you beautiful. For me, the book is not just disturbing, it's pretty triggering as well. And it's times like that, when I'm feeling like shit because of the effect that the kids' book I'm reading to my nephew is having on me, that I truly wonder how I managed to fuck up my mind this much.

"He built a small house, called a cocoon, around himself. He stayed inside for more than two weeks. Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon, pushed his way out, and..."

I finished reading the Hunger Games trilogy today. I really enjoyed it, and the last book in particular really moved me. But there was one passage in particular from Mockingjay that stabbed at me quite apart from the narrative. I'll print it here. It's not a spoiler for anything from the books.

"Swathed in silk, I feel like a catepillar in a cocoon awaiting metamorphisis. I always supposed that to be a peaceful condition. At first it is. But as I journey into night, I feel more and more trapped, suffocated by the slippery bindings, unable to emerge until I have transformed into something of beauty. I squirm, trying to shed my ruined body and unlock the secret to growing flawless wings. But despite my effort, I remain a hideous creature."

I think that, despite how much I've already changed, mentally I've trapped myself in a kind of cocoon which I won't let myself out of until I'm a success, until I'm beautiful, until I'm 'done'. Without realising that these are qualities I will never apply to myself.

I like to think I have enough self-knowledge to recognise that this is just one more instance of my mind being a dick to me. But I guess a part of me blames imagery like The Very Hungry Caterpillar, where transformation from ugliness to beauty is an instant, tangible, and unquestionable thing. And where it actually happens.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Every cloud.

I'm not going to pretend my eating hasn't been horrendous today, that I haven't failed at the first hurdle when it came to not bingeing. But that doesn't have to be the most important thing in my life.

Despite it, right now I'm happy.

Because it was sunny this morning.

Because I have my first driving lesson tomorrow and I'm excited, not scared.

Because my parents were nice to each other today.

Because I've managed decent 3 or 4 mile runs for the past four days in a row.

Because I have lots of interesting cooking to do for next weekend.

Because I managed to resist some pretty scary thoughts this afternoon.

Because I dragged this day back from being a complete disaster.

Because I've booked my escape. Because I'm brave enough. Because I deserve a treat. Because I want it, and it's okay to give myself something I want. Because it's okay to be impetuous, once in a while.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

One day I'll fly away...

Fuck.

Fuck this. Fuck all of it. Fuck my little life. Fuck my screwed-up little mind.

I don't even care anymore. I want out of here. I've spent the evening googling last minute cheap flights. I'm seriously considering just upping and leaving. Somewhere in the sun is sounding so very good right now.

I just need a break. I need something to shake me out of this. I need a wake up call. Or a revelation. Or just to be somewhere new, where no one knows my name.

I need this miserable, rainy, grim little week to end. I need this pattern of mindless, sickening little binges to end. I need out of this narrow-minded, stifling little place.

I want somewhere where I can breathe. Somewhere to feel free.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man

Bake me a cake as fast as you can,
Pat it and prick it and mark it with P
And put in the oven for me, for me, for me, for me...

Here's the thing. I love baking. I love all cooking, actually, it's almost an obsession. But I really, really love baking. Any excuse really- cakes, buns, biscuits, scones, pastries, pies... Cooking is one of my favourite things to do. It keeps me busy, it keeps my mind off things, it lets me create, it lets me make other people happy, it's fun.

Unfortunately, it is also one of the biggest binge-triggers I have. Maybe it's because I feel I need to taste-test everything before I share it with people, to check that it's all right. Maybe it's because I feel the need to destroy the evidence of when things go not quite to plan. Maybe it's because baking is almost impossible to do for one person only. Baking comes in batches, and then I worry about wasting it, about things going stale. Maybe it's because it tastes so good. Baked goods, I have discovered, are pretty much the easiest ridiculously-high-calorie things to eat too many of. If I ate 500 cals of chocolate, I'd know about it. If I ate 500 cals of bread, I'd feel it. If I ate 500 cals of sweets, I'd probably pass out from the sugar. But 500 cals of cake? Or biscuits? Easy. I'd barely even notice.

Baking is dangerous for me. And I hate this so much, because I love baking so much. But I can't seem to stop it. Even if I only have one of something when they come out of the oven, even if I stop myself there and then... I always come back later. The next day. Just to check they're still all right? Just to eat them before they go stale? Just because it's so fucking easy to lose control?

I really need to get a hold on this. It's been a month since I hit 10st and I'm still here. I'd like to say it's because I've been trying to maintain, but it's not. It's because I've been stuck in a vicious cycle of maintain-binge-restrict which has somehow ended up equalising.

So here are the new rules:
1. Track everything. Everything. Every day. No exceptions. If you don't know how to log it, don't bloody well eat it.
2. No bingeing. This means no eating when you are not in control, even if it's a tiny amount, even if it seems insignificant. It's not about the food, it's about the mindset.
3. Keep a count on binge-free days. First goal is one week.
4. Exercise. Every day. Doesn't matter if it's raining. No excuses.
5. Try and keep a 500 cal daily deficit.  

There is sun today, and no rain yet. It's a good day, despite what I've eaten.

You see, this time, I was baking cookies for a dear friend of mine, who I met up with for an hour or two this morning. Bless her, I'm still not completely sure if she's just being tactful or if she genuinely hasn't noticed, but she's now the only one of my close friends and family I haven't had a weight-loss comment from. But she did say that I was looking really good and she couldn't work out what it was, I had a 'glow', was I pregnant? I think the fact that she hasn't noticed exactly is more touching to me than anything. Maybe it means she never saw me as 'fat' before. Maybe she genuinely hasn't noticed, because she doesn't bother to notice my weight at all. Maybe she just sees me, and sees me more confident, happier, healthier, and responds to that. Maybe. I love her for it anyway.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Death by Pak Choi

"Fucking hell, this is ridiculous."

My thoughts as I dramatically choke on pak choi in a chinese restaurant.

It would have been a suitably hideous end to a hideous day full of casual racism and religious bigotry over chocolate cake. How I do love visiting my grandma. Though there were no comments about my weight, so we must be grateful for small mercies.

And the rain has stopped, like a weight off my chest. The sky is still grey, and there's more rain on the way, but for now it's calm. I think I've found the eye of the storm, in my storm-in-a-teacup of a life.

So long as I steer clear of vegetables, which are clearly out to get me.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

All you who sleep tonight

Far from the ones you love.

Or unbearably close. But still unbroachably far.

With a mind full of dreams where they reject you and turn away in disgust.

With a mind waking full of your dilemma.

Slowly eating cherries like nothing is wrong.

With a mind full of thoughts, like...

There's a bruise growing in the middle of my back.

I want to learn to drive but I'm afraid.

Even the decreasing number on the scale isn't satisfying anymore.

Why am I such a coward?

I haven't had a period in six months, nor a regular one for ten months. This should probably worry me more than it does.

There are birds singing outside the window in the grey morning.

Please please please let me let me let me get what I want...

But I never will until I go for it.

And I'm too much of a coward, aren't I?

I don't want to hurt you.

I don't want to hurt us.

I'm fucking scared, okay?

Friday, 8 June 2012

If I told you...

What if I told you who I really was?
What if I let you in on my charade?
And what if I told you what was really going on
No more masks and no more parts to play.

There's so much I want to say
But I'm so scared to give away
Every little secret that I hide behind
Would you see me differently?
And would that be such a bad thing?

I wonder what it would be like...
If I told you.


The thing about keeping secrets is that you get used to it. And after a while, after six years, you can't even imagine what it would be like to come clean, to tell them.

I honestly don't know if it would be the best thing I've ever done, or the biggest mistake of my life. And I don't know if it's worse to take a chance and take the risk, or to keep silent and carry a heart full of regrets for the rest of my life.

Oh I wonder what it would be like...
If I told you.




Thursday, 7 June 2012

And the rain...

This is hard.

I'm full of excuses for eating crap. Staying with my sister, celebrating a birthday, having my other sister to stay, party food, home baking, stress, concern, fear, boredom, sadness, loneliness.

It's all bollocks. In fact, I've been eating crap because I've been letting myself eat crap. It's very easy to say, when I've come so far, 'oh it doesn't matter'. It does matter. Not because eating bread and cake and biscuits and chocolate is BAD, but because any eating done in a mindset that doesn't care or doesn't have the control to stop is dangerous and harmful.

I can eat whatever I want, there is nothing to stop me. But what I cannot, what I must not do, is eat without thinking, without control, without good reason.

These are what I consider good reasons to eat:
1. I'm hungry.
2. I'm not hungry but I haven't eaten anything today.
3. I'm not hungry but I won't have the chance to eat anything else today.
4. I'm not hungry but I have the chance to try something new or interesting that I can't save until later.
5. I'm not hungry but I'm with friends or family and the food is special and forms part of our celebrations.
6. I'm not hungry but I'm treating myself.

That seems a bit permissive, I'm sure, but I'm not of the school that believes that Food Is Fuel And Nothing More. Yes, fundamentally, food is necessary to fuel our bodies, but since the earliest times of human history it has also been strongly linked to our human interactions and relationships and to our emotions. I don't want to see food just as fuel. If that's all food was to me, I could eat nothing but grilled chicken and steamed vegetables for the rest of my life. But I love food, I love reading about it, I love planning it, I love cooking it, I love sharing it, and I love eating it. And I don't want to exclude any food from my diet for the rest of my life. I want balance and moderations.

But it's so much easier said than done.

What I want is to be able to bake a huge chocolate cake for a birthday, and feel no qualms whatsoever about the quantities of sugar and butter and chocolate and cream involved. And then I want to be able to have a small slice, enjoy it to the full, and then stop. What I don't want is to find myself paying more attention to the leftover cake than the people around me, I don't want to be sneaking tastes from the tin when no one is looking, I don't want to be obsessed by how and when and by whom the rest of the cake will be eaten, I don't want that sickening feeling of shame when they go to get the leftovers and there's significantly less than they thought was there, and I don't want that moment when I snap and think 'it doesn't matter', and start eating cake not because I really want it and not because I'm really enjoying it, but just because it's there and I can.

Sometimes I manage it, at least for a while. But more often than not, recently, I've failed.

And after every binge, when my stomach is aching and full, and I feel sick both physically and mentally, and I hate myself for my lack of self-control, every time I swear I'll remember this feeling, that I won't let it happen again. But it does.

It's going to be a constant struggle, I guess.

So often I look at other people and I'm consumed with envy at how simply they eat. They don't give their food a second thought, beyond enjoying it. They don't spend their lives obsessing over what and when and in front of whom they're going to eat, they don't worry that everyone around them is constantly judging them for their food choices, they don't binge or restrict, they don't freak out about situations with unfamiliar or calorific food, they don't punish themselves for eating too much, they don't have a head full of constant calorie calculations. And I envy them so much, and I wish they realised just how lucky they are.

And then I remember that they have their own issues, their own struggles, their own obsessions, too, just as everyone does.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Knowledge from a junk shop tray

I take a jewel from a junk shop tray
And wish I had a love to buy it for.
Nothing I choose will make you turn my way.
Nothing I give will make you love me more.
I know that I've embarassed you too long
And I'm ashamed to linger at your door.
Whatever I embark on will be wrong.
Nothing I do will make you love me more.
I cannot work. I cannot read or write.
How cam I frame a letter to implore.
Eloquence is a lie. The truth is trite.
Nothing I say will make you love me more.
So I replace the jewel in the tray
And laughingly pretend I'm far too poor.
Nothing I give, nothing I do or say,
Nothing I am will make you love me more.
'Nothing', James Fenton

At least I know that you don't know. Because if you knew, you would know how raw I'd be, how much it would hurt to hear you say what you said.

So at least I know that you don't know.

But, it did break my heart, again.

Because I also know that you definitely don't feel the same, secretly. And I can't believe you ever will. Why would you? Why would you look twice at someone like me? Why would anyone?

No matter what I do, no matter what I change, no matter how much weight I lose, no matter how much crap I put myself through... in the end, nothing will make you love me more.

I wish there was something could make me love you less.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

140

This morning I stepped on the scales and they told me 140.

140lb is 10st, it's 5 stone down from my highest known weight of 210lb. Seeing that means I've lost 70lb, or one third of my highest body weight.

I never thought I'd be here.

I picked it as a sort of goal, because it was a nice round number, because it sounded nice, because it was so far away that it barely mattered what my goal was, I didn't really think I might get here.

Yet here I am.

Huh.

Don't think it's quite sunk in, y'know. But I think maybe I'm allowed to feel secretly, silently, pretty pleased about it, for a little while.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Onwards and upwards!

So, as you might have anticipated, nothing was as bad as I feared it would be!

The 10K yesterday went really well! I was running with a couple of friends and we all had a really great time, despite the rain, and were all pretty proud of ourselves. My time came in at 59.50, so I just scraped by inside the hour, which makes me so glad that I made myself speed up in the last km and really push myself as hard as I could on the run-up to the finish line. I was walking back across the park afterwards to where we were meeting up, just walking along in the rain and catching my breath, eating my banana, and I was in such a happy daze I couldn't help laughing at myself. This time last year- hell, nine months ago, I could barely run one kilometer without struggling. And I just ran ten. Yay me!

And neither my calf nor my Achilles played up, though I'm laying off running for a few days now just to be sure I don't do anything silly to them. Success!

My first exam went over okay, and my second is tomorrow. I'm feeling okay about it- que sera, sera, and all that. Then my last one is on Thursday, and then I am freeeeee...

As for the binging... I don't know, I'm still working on it. I had a really shitty morning on Saturday where I was incredibly stressed about all of this and I kinda felt like a bottomless pit and just kept eating and eating and it was vile. Yesterday I ate quite a lot but it was all controlled and non-guilt-inducing, so that was all fine, and no binges today, although I have been really hungry. I'm pretty sure it's just boredom-hunger. I'm kinda stuck in the house at the moment because I should be revising, which leaves me with a lot of time just sitting around procrastinating and paying too much attention to my stomach. I'm still going to have to work hard and stay focused to get on top of these binges, but I think it'll help once exams are over and I can be more active again.

Not perfect, but better. Onwards and upwards.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Let's confront this

I'm in a bit of a funk at the moment and there's a lot of crap spinning around in my head, so I just want to try and set it all out and hopefully that will make it easier to deal with.

1. I have a philosophy exam tomorrow and a history one on Tuesday that I am shit scared about, yet can't motivate myself to study for.

2. I can't do my normal running even though I'm at home with plenty of time because I'm meant to be resting for Sunday.

3. I'm running my first 10k race on Sunday. And have to negotiate stupid Sunday public transport at ridiculous hours of the morning to get there early enough.

4. My right calf is twinging. Again. And I'm such an idiot with this, because whenever it starts feeling a bit odd I just want to push through it, and then I get so impatient trying to rest it, and I hate it, it just stresses me out and makes me feel like I can't do anything.

5. My housemate's boyfriend randomly showed up this week to stay for a while, which is fine, but in my weird present state of mind having someone else is the house is stressing me.

6. I'm full of crappy self doubt over my weight loss, given that the scales gave me a STS this morning, and I had a bit of a breakdown yesterday evening about how nothing has changed even though I've lost the weight, I'm still insecure and pathetic and alone and I still feel fat and disgusting.

7. Been binging a bit. Not massive prolonged binges, but just impulsive uncontrolled grab-and-eat here and there, which I feel really shit about, especially in conjunction with not being able to exercise and basically being stuck in the house all day trying to work.

8. Fuck it, I want the summer. The weather is being so miserable and rainy and cold at the moment, and it just makes me feel gloomy.

9. I'm just sick of everything. I want it all to fuck off and leave me alone.

10. But the problem is that I feel so alone anyway.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Flying without wings?

This is going to sound very strange. Because it felt very strange.

I was out running just now, and I was thinking how some days my jogging pace feels really easy and some days pretty hard, but I know I cover the same ground in the same times so I do run consistently at roughtly 6 m.p.h.

So, just for a laugh, I thought I'd try sprinting for a bit, so I pushed myself faster... and it was the weirdest feeling, my legs were going faster and faster underneath me and it kinda felt like they were just carrying me. I hadn't sprinted in ages, but it just felt totally different from any sprinting I ever remember doing, ever. Because I felt... light. Like I was flying.

It was so surreal that I actually stopped because I was worried I might be a bit light-headed, but I wasn't, I was fine. Just not used to not feeling heavy all the time.

WEIRD.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Not the End of the World

I just ate 250 calories worth of marzipan chocolate bar. It wasn't even that nice.

Ugh.

I bought it from a posh sweet shop in town, and had a cheeky bite to see what it was like. But when I found it wasn't all that nice, suddenly I just wanted to inhale the whole thing. Almost like I was trying to get rid of it. I don't understand why I do that, but I definitely do. Whenever I binge, it's always on things that aren't nice, things that are disappointing.

But it's okay. I'm cutting the unnecessary carbs from my dinner later and loading up on six different kinds of vegetable in a prawn stir fry. And in a moment I'm off to a zumba class to burn off that stupid binge.

It was stupid.

But it's not the end of the world.

And I actually feel okay about it.

And maybe next time I'll find it in me to stop.

Because, while it's not the end of the world, it's definitely NOT WORTH IT.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

You know what?

One day I'm going to meet someone who actually finds me attractive.

One day we'll go out for lunch together, and order whatever the hell we want, and talk, and laugh, and afterwards we'll get ice cream and walk along the beach or through the woods or just down the street.

One day we'll wake up lazily and late on a weekend morning, and spend the day baking, and reading, and lying around in each other's arms.

One day we'll get up in the middle of the night, just for the hell of it, and get in the car and drive far far away in any direction that comes, and keep on driving until the sun rises, and then stop and watch it.

One day we'll get home late and run in out of the rain, order a take-away, strip off our wet clothes and fuck before the food arrives.

One day we'll have a stupid argument and shout at each other, and then come back and apologise, and kiss, and know everything is actually okay.

One day I'll breakdown and cry and cry and cry for reasons I can't even explain, but they'll hold me and let me cling to them, and they won't leave.

One day I'll be able to tell someone that I love them, and believe they might say it back.

One day I'll stand naked in front of them and feel beautiful as their eyes run over my body.

One day I'll realise there's someone I can tell everything and anything to. Someone I never have to hide around. And someone who feels the same way about me. So we can be simple and honest and naked together.

One day someone will find me.

One day.




You have no idea how much I wish I believed all of that, or any of that, or even one 'one day'.

I wish I believed it.

Somewhere I never thought I'd be

Approaching my goal.

Thinking about maintenance.

Whut.

When did this happen?

I still don't think it's quite sunken in somewhere in my head that I have actually lost all this weight, that I am in normal weight ranges now. I definitely still think of myself as fat. And sure, I still have fat that I'd like to lose- particularly on my stomach and thighs- but it occurs to me that maybe I should start slowing things down a little.

I haven't paid all that much attention to what is 'recommended' while losing this weight, because I think weight loss is so personal both for how you can manage it mentally and how your body copes physically that no one else can really tell you what to do, you have to find what works for you. But I'm pretty sure losing 2 pounds a week and creating 1000 cal daily deficits is considered 'too fast' a rate of loss for where I am. (I weighed in yesterday at 143lb (10st 3lb), giving me a BMI of 23.1.)

So I'm thinking I might try very slowly slowing it down, maybe decreasing my deficit by 100 cals a week, and seeing how I go. This will also be good because I've become pretty attached to the nice round number 1000, to the point where I sometimes stress about exercising more or eating less just to meet it, which I think is becoming somewhat unhealthy. What I might do is try and settle around 750 or 500 deficits, for 1.5 or 1 lb weekly loses and see how we go from there.

In other news:
-Last weekend I passed 100 miles in tracking how many miles I've run so far in 2012. Not too shabby. I can also now run upwards of 45 minutes without too much hassle, and my longest run was 65 minutes. A little bit proud of that.
-My total weight loss is now 60lb since September 2011. Seeing it written like that, I can't believe I sometimes feel like I haven't changed at all. Wahey, body dysmorphia! Oh well, I guess it's a learning curve?
-Been having some tasty food revelations. Big picture post to follow at some point.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

It's all okay.

When I weighed in on Monday morning, I was 1/2 pound above my last weigh in on 30th March.

This morning, when I stepped on the scales, I was 1/2 pound below my last weigh in.

So, right direction... now keep going!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Bingeing and Whingeing

In the past week, there hasn't been a single day on which I haven't either binged or overeaten. There is a key difference, I think, although neither are good things.

For me, overeating is the 'I don't care, I just want to eat what I want and not obsess about denying myself' attitude. It's the attitude that has me reaching for chunk after chunk of chocolate, cutting slice after slice of bread, dolling out pasta and potatoes and cake onto my plate like there's no tomorrow. I want to eat what I'm eating, but afterwards I feel stuffed and uncomfortable and fat.

For me, bingeing is 'I don't even want to eat any more of this, but I'm going to eat it all because... because...' There isn't a reason. Not a rational one. Maybe I'm stressed or worried or hurt or maybe I just feel shit about myself and about what I'm doing, so I compensate by making myself feel shitter. Good old self-destructive tendencies. In a binge, I eat and eat and eat, even if the food isn't nice, even if I don't want it, even if I'm full to bursting, it's as though I have no control. I can't stop. Even if it's stale bread that's so hard it hurts my teeth, or congealing leftovers I'm picking off other people's plates in the washing up pile, or questionable things lurking at the back of fridges. And afterwards, I feel like a hideous, monstrous failure.

So why did I keep doing it? In my months of weight loss since September, I'd only 'binged' maybe a handful of times before and 'overeaten' maybe a handful more. What was it about this last week that made it so hard to stop?

1. I was staying with my parents, which means less control over my food and the presence of a lot of high calorie foods as temptation.
2. Lack of scales, thus decreased accountability.
3. Food that belongs to other people tends to trigger me more to want to steal/overeat it.
4. Emotional issues connected to one of my oldest friends behaving remarkably insensitively.
5. Broader life worries triggered by my turning 20 years old. Being concerned that I don't know where I'm going in life and I'm destined to always be a failure.
6. Tiredness. Tiredness with being so strict. The (illogical) idea that all my effort has been for nothing, that I haven't actually achieved anything after all.
7. Laziness. Not bothering to make the effort to actually stop myself. Letting the overeating become a habit.

None of those really sounds right, although I think they all were involved, and if I do my best to avoid them or at least avoid letting them get to me in this way, then I should be in a better position to cope in the future.

I'm back at uni now, so I have complete control back over what I buy and what I eat, and I'm determined to be good and strict again. Not only because I want to continue losing weight, but also chiefly because eating well makes me feel good, both physically and mentally, and overeating and bingeing makes me feel utterly utterly awful. And that's not what we want.

I'm also kind of terrified that I've gained weight. If I have, it will be my first gain since I started losing in September. I'm waiting until tomorrow morning to weigh-in, and I've only just got home and it's afternoon already.

But, importantly, if I have gained:
a) I can lose it again. It isn't the end of the world.
b) It will be an excellent lesson in the fact that the choices I made this past week (and they were choices, even if it felt as though I had no control, I did choose to eat what I did, no one forced me) do have consequences for my health and my happiness, and I need to accept what I did wrong and accept the consequences, so that I can work on doing it right in the future.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Fucking hell.

Why can't I just have a normal relationship with food?

How do other people manage it? They eat when they're hungry, they eat what they want, they stop when they're full. They don't even consider what other people are thinking. Food is fuel and a pleasure. Food is just food.

I can't even imagine what it must be like for it all to be so simple.

Why can't food for us be as simple as it is for animals? Why all this fear and stress, why the total obsession?

Why does it have to be starve or binge?

Why does it have to be obsessing over every calorie? Why do I have the control to pare it down to a few hundred calories a day when I want to, yet some days I lose control so pathetically that I stuff my face with everything I can find? Why do I have to end up crouching in front of the toilet with my fingers down my throat, failing even to do that successfully? Why can I not accept that I've achieved something without constantly seeking ways to self-sabotage?

I just want it to stop. I just want it to be normal. I don't want to have to think about it any more, worry about it any more, I can't take it, I just need a break, a break, I want it to stop. I want to stop.

Leave me alone, food. I can't handle this all-or-nothing lottery we seem to be playing.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Slip ups and 'Skinny'

It's been a while since I posted. I don't know where the time goes really, but here's a few quick updates.

- I stayed with an old school friend over the weekend, and had so much fun, and her mum was really lovely about my weight loss, and it felt great. I don't know why I ended up having such a binge on Monday morning. I was hanging around in the kitchen downstairs waiting for my friend and her boyfriend to get up and for us all to have breakfast together, and... I don't really know, I just started eating. Randomly. Everything. I had: three slices of fruit cake, two extra chunks of marzipan, two chocolate digestive biscuits and a glass of milk, about five mini eggs, a cold sausage, about a quarter tub of ricotta cheese, and a banana. And then when we had breakfast, I had a slice of toast and butter. I felt really quite ill, but all I wanted to do for the rest of the day was eat more cake. By the evening I was coming down with a cold and sneezing incessantly, and I really couldn't give a fuck, so I ended up eating a whole pizza and a bowl of chocolate ice cream. I don't even like chocolate ice cream. Sigh. C'est la vie.

It was a stupid thing, but I refuse to beat myself up about it any more. Because after we had breakfast that morning, I went upstairs to clean my teeth, and I locked myself in the bathroom and turned a tap on and knelt down in front of the toilet and pressed my finger to the back of my throat to trigger my gag reflex. I retched and spat saliva into the toilet once, twice, before I pushed/pulled myself away and spashed water on my face and looked at myself in the mirror and told myself firmly to stop. This isn't the first time I've been to this point. It probably won't be the last. but the more I guilt myself the less likely I am to be able to continue to stop myself, and it is of vital importance than I continue to stop myself.

- In more positive news, I extended my longest run time to 41 minutes this morning, and felt like I could have kept going. I really want to try and increase my times since I've been lurking around the 30 minute mark since January. I'm staying with my parents for a week, so I've plenty of time to go running and the weather has been unbelieveably gorgeous. Literally. I have tan lines.

- This evening, my brother used the word 'skinny' to apply to me. I still don't quite believe it. In my mind, I guess, losing weight just makes me 'less fat'. I'm only just beginning to get my head around the idea that my weight/appearance is approaching 'normal', whatever 'normal' is. But the idea that someone could sincerely use the word 'skinny' to refer to me... it's beyond crazy.