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 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.