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.