Friday, 24 May 2013

Things that aren't funny

Today I scrolled past a post on tumblr that said "Reblog if you started worrying about your weight before you were even 16", and I laughed a little to myself. Not because it was funny, but because the entire bloody thing is so fucking ridiculous that I don't even know what my reaction is.

I have no idea when I started worrying about my weight. I know that I was referred to as 'chubby' as a child. I know that by age 7 I considered my best friend 'the skinny one'. By age 10 I consistently skivved off school on Wednesdays to avoid swimming lessons because I was too embarrassed of how I looked in a swimming costume (odd the details that stick with you, I remember that it was how large my thighs looked when I sat down that really bothered me). By age 13 I'd begun to consciously reduce the amount I was eating in order to try and lose weight, only to give up when it never worked. By 16, the yo-yo-ing of attempted weight loss and self-hating weight gain had become normal.

I still think of myself as fat, a lot of the time. I think I stopped, briefly, after my 8 or so months of drastic weight loss, when I finally hit my goal, almost exactly a year ago now, I think maybe I thought I'd escaped it, that I didn't have to think of myself as fat anymore. Of course it didn't last. I've gained weight since then, so in my mind, I'm fat again.

But the bizarre thing is the idea that other people might not see me this way. For the whole of my life up until the drastic weight loss, it had been an unspoken truth that I was 'fat'. I rarely brought it up, because I never wanted to put people in the position where they felt they had to deny a plainly-obvious truth in order to be polite when we would both know they were lying. I had basically been overweight (and for a long time actually obese) all my life. It wasn't a matter of opinion or insult, it was fact.

A few weeks ago, I jokingly called myself fat in front of a friend. He's a genuinely lovely person and also aware that I have self-esteem issues, so I could have expected him to come to my defence. What I didn't expect was the bafflement with which he repeated: "you think you're fat?" and the certainty with which he said "you're not fat", and the elaboration that made it really sound honest: "you're not a stick, but you're not fat".

So who knows anymore. Sometimes I think I don't know what it is to think of myself as not-fat. Because I think that ever since I've been self-aware, that's a description I've applied to myself.

The same friend asked me where my self-esteem issues came from, and I had no idea how to answer. If something has always been with you, how on earth do you work out where it came from?

Monday, 20 May 2013

Because dreams are dreams, and progress is progress

Bad dream last night. First one in absolutely ages, so it kinda took me by surprise.

The sensation of being unable to control my limbs, unable to escape, unable to fight back... yeah, that's still about as terrifying as you might expect. The feeling of being unsafe, vulnerable to attack, isolated from help... yeah, that still had me sweating and shaking in the dark at 3am.

But, in the dream, I tried to fight. And the more I tried, the more I found I could. The angrier I got. The more determined to get away. And I knew where my safe places were. I knew how to escape.

And when I woke up, instead of giving in to the panic attack, I drank a glass of water, found headphones and put on a music album, and let myself go back to sleep.

Because dreams are just dreams, and they can't hurt me.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Something like an epiphany

So get this.

I can do whatever the fuck I like.

I can say whatever the fuck I like.

I can wear whatever the fuck I like.

I can think whatever the fuck I like.

I can feel whatever the fuck I like.

I can eat whatever the fuck I like.

I can be whatever the fuck I like.

And I am enough.

I have worth.

I am a good thing.

I am me.

And I like who I am.

And maybe I won't feel this way tomorrow.

But that doesn't matter.

Because I feel it now.

And it's real.

And this is progress.

And it came from me.

You just gave me permission to accept it.

But it's me.

It's me.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Back to the playground

So it turns out that the days where I really fucking hate myself are even harder to deal with, now that I also have days where I feel kinda great about myself.

Swings and roundabouts, I guess.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

The higher you climb

I am happy.

I am so very happy.

But I'm also feeling the nigglings of doubt, of dread, of inevitable downward spiral. Because I still don't think I think I deserve to be happy. I still think I will make a fuck-up of anything good. I still think I will ruin things and hurt people and deny myself for the sake of isolation and cowardice and self-sabotage.

This is such a hard balance to find.

On the one hand, I have never felt so good. But on the other, I have to be prepared for it all to suddenly disappear, because it could. It very actually could, quite apart from anything I might do to ruin it. There is no guarantee here. There never has been. I can't depend on this. The very last thing you want is for me to depend on you.

On the one hand, it's so completely simple. But on the other, it couldn't be more confusing.

On the one hand, I'm okay.

On the other, I'm just waiting for disaster.