May 31, 2011 § Leave a comment
This is one of my favourite photos of the last few months. Taken whilst speeding down a leafy avenue on my bike with one of my housemates. My desire to exercise is coming back, eventually, despite my body’s resistance.
I can cope with taking it slow. Sure, it’s frustrating and it hurts but my head wants me to be zooming down this avenue at top speed, or better, running full pelt and feeling everything melt away. I know it will return but I am still stuck in the halfway point of being between somewhere between wellness and fitness. Trying to balance motivation with obsession. Health with balance.
Once I start to resist something, a food or an activity, it’s very hard to break out of the battle. It’s still hard to tell whether resisting is restricting. Still, I have hope that letting the push and pull do it’s thing will balance in the end.
May 30, 2011 § Leave a comment
If the last couple of years have taught my anything, it’s that you can’t ever start afresh. No matter what you do and when you decide to change, you can never cut off from what’s brought you there. That’s the whole reason for starting again. Learning to change direction in the middle of something is never easy but is just as good as the idea of beginning again.
So. In media res it is.
It’s been a very strange couple of weeks of hard, hard work. Deadlines, volunteer assignments and my part-time job did me in and instead of resting, flu knocked me out of the game for a full week. I’m back on the mend but all that time laid up staring at the walls (and The Wire) gave me ample time to think about things.
The Disordered thoughts are waning again. It’s a huge relief to feel more in control of that side of things but the flip side is becoming all the more apparent. As less space in my life and my time is taken up with those thoughts, the space they leave is gaping wide open. And it’s pretty scary. All this free time, the possibility of progress, the realisation that I am not who I thought I was (again), that’s all quite disruptive. And being knocked down with illness didn’t make things better.
I realised how much my health means to me. How much it affects every other aspect of my life and self-esteem. I realised that it really is just about choices, one after the other, and that I want to commit to making things better.
I still have another couple of months of study, work and trying to manage a life and my health. One of the reasons I came here was because I felt strong enough to use this time to change for the better. I know that I can continue with that now.
So, long story short, that’s what I’ll be trying to do here more. Make this little life, with all its flaws, glories and tiny budget, glow a bit harder. Make it fluorescent.
May 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
Well here we are, after a good few weeks of silence. After a couple of weeks of steadiness and improvement, a Bad Food Day.
It’s hard to write about when things are as good as they have been. I made a decision to change and I started to make it happen. Something shifted, or clicked, or dissipated. But for a while there, I was coming up for air. Honestly, there were a couple of days when I couldn’t remember the past few months of my life. That amnesia is always a sign that things have changed.
Today, I could feed a cloud coming. Due to an increasingly stressful list of things to do, I stopped moving. Literally, skipped my daily cycle and fresh air, my daily yoga, my daily check in. Three days in and I feel queasy. It feels so off-balance already to have stopped moving and just given in to consuming. I understand how I got here. I’m tired. A bit stressed. I let myself off because the scales dipped a few points. But right now, I don’t feel good. I’m not melting down, but I’m not good. Not as good as I have been. Which, tellingly, has still been stressed and uncomfortable, but at least about some more pressing issues than what I put in my mouth every day.
Today I didn’t listen to the signals. Today I am going to remember how this feels.
Tomorrow will be better. Not a bounceback from the bottom, but a foot in front of the other because that’s all it takes.
May 9, 2011 § Leave a comment
I had moment yesterday. Yes, another. Brought by the most honest, wonderful person I know. In our conversation I realised that I wasn’t trying. Recognising what’s been going on and trying to identify some of the steps to get me out of this problem have been my main occupation over the last few weeks (months) and yesterday I realised that I just wasn’t trying. I have been taking the easy route, identifying problems and running scared, learning to explain problems and blame them on things I just can’t get past, whithout acknowledging that I really can. If I try.
Frustrated, I went for the first run since my last injury and took some steps to starting again. Having to stop running meant the loss of a very necessary release. The loss of something that I had wanted to define myself as. The loss of the only thing I knew could pull me out. Yesterday, I dropped all of that and prepared myself for another tear. I prepared myself to be out of breath by the end of the street, to be in pain and spasming a couple of steps in. To have really lost something. But I set out and gradually, my body remembered. Speed and distance were set aside and I enjoyed just being able to do a little.
Okay, so I might be back to square one with speed and distance, but knowing that my body has remembered and will remember how to be fit, if I do most things right, is a revelation. I don’t have to be perfect and run every day and be rail thin. Knowing that I can cover some ground, spend half an hour out of breath after a month off, know that my body wants to relearn how to do this, well, that’s incredible to me.
Forgiving myself, just a little, was the first little step in learning to love myself. There’s no denying that sometimes I’d love someone else to be able to love me enough so that I don’t have to. But it doesn’t work like that. I need to be on my own side. And I’m going to do that if it kills me because I will not let this stop me.
May 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
Up and down, up and down. Such great intentions. So. Much. Hope.
So much went right today, so much went wrong. I’m in full-blown slashed tires territory tonight. But I can’t even see that right now. At this moment, I may as well be looking outside in on someone entirely different. I don’t feel the triggers of today. It’s these days which are really dangerous. There were triggers. Big ones. Not getting enough done. Feeling the space of doing something right and really not know what to put in that space. Thinking of those people who make my skin crawl and make it not my own.
So I blew it. I know where I am when I fuck up. I’m exactly where certain people expect me to be. So the truth is, I had a bad day. And because I’m not upset, I know it was really, really bad. I don’t even care. I’m not really thinking about the bounce. Not really thinking about everything I learned this week. If I was to swim through the blankness of my brain to arrive at a thought, I would remember walking, for an hour, somehow obsessed with the same old fear that I will bump into someone I don’t want to. That I lose it, let out all my anger and shout, hit and cry in the street. It’s what I would want to do because I never got the chance. It’s not that I didn’t feel it. It just didn’t go anywhere. All that hate is still in here. And I hate that more than just about anything else. I don’t want to care so much for the hurts of the past. I certainly don’t want them to be part of a very special present. But they crept in. It was all true. I gave up.
Down the rabbit hole again.
May 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
So this morning saw me drink my first ever green monster smoothie. Which means spinach for breakfast. More importantly, for me, it meant starting the day by throwing random amounts of banana, flax, soya milk and spinach into a blender and drinking it. On paper, that sounds like exactly the kind of thing I should be doing. In practice, I have no idea what the calorific ‘damage’ of one of those things is and therefore wouldn’t normally touch it with a bargepole. But the fact is that my rules haven’t served me so well. Not just of late, but for about a decade. A whole decade, maybe more. Truth be told, that’s ridiculous. So I tried something new. And I liked it.
There’s another rule I’ve broken. The often cited ‘throw out your scales rule’. I have never been a weigher. There was a time, admittedly, when I would weigh myself a lot at my grandparents’ flat and want the number to be less and less and less. I can vividly remember wanting to round off at 8 stone (because round numbers are perfect), then under it, as far as i could go. I must have been 16 or so. And utterly rail thin. Since then, I’ve never been too focussed on my weight, other than knowing roughly what my ‘spectrum’ was. I’m also aware that the first weight I would pick in my head for myself is below the healthy BMI range. And I know that I would be somewhat bony there. Thankfully, I can rationalise enough to know that the midpoint between there and here is healthy and maintainable.
While I have absolutely no desire to start obsessing about this, I also know that knowledge is power. Not having any idea of my current weight and then hearing it told to me by a stranger was frankly distressing and shameful. I would rather have the facts as I work through this. If it comes to it, and I hope it won’t, I’ll know if I’m making progress or making things worse.
The last time I stepped on a scale in front of someone I cried. I wept with shame that I am a stone into the healthy BMI index for my height. No, my health is not where I would want it to be right now, but if that is my greatest grievance at the moment, I really need to sort this out.
Another monster to shame.
May 4, 2011 § Leave a comment
‘There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and shame the devil.’
I certainly couldn’t claim to be a journalist. What this is is an explanation of sorts, for myself and anyone else who cares to read it. I used to find that telling other people my thoughts was something of a reductio ad absurdum process. The snag is when what I feel is too shameful to open my mouth and speak about it. Sometimes it’s even more of a quandary. I can get my jaw wide enough but the sounds don’t come out and something inside me wants to muffle them with anything they can lay their grasp upon.
It struck me, over the course of the last week or so that those thoughts, those hands, aren’t really mine. Well, they are, but they are possessed. I went away for the weekend, to a new city, a new country. Thinking about spending two days in a new place with old friends in the days before I left filled me with crippling fear. Enough of my brain could scrape together the rationality to realise that that is the exact opposite of what I want to be.
When I think of what I want to be and become and do with my life, I think of travel and adventure, in whatever way I can find, for as long as I can find it. What I had started to think, in the grip of this possession, was that the unknown would kill me. If I didn’t (or couldn’t) prop myself up with control of what I ate, I would be exposed as without control and crumble to nothing. In that realisation, I found that something else had taken control. What I turn to for the comfort of control is leading me in exactly the opposite direction from where I am trying to head.
Today I talked about how I view my actions. How I feel I will be judged as greedy, needy, out of control, exposed as someone who can’t control their eating and judged as weak. If I was to see someone else do the same thing I would not think anything of it. While I know that naming this thing is at risk of giving it form and therefore power, I know that it already has that. It doesn’t matter all that much what the name is, the criteria is for what I have. Knowledge might be power for determining whether a doctor would call this disordered eating, binge eating, non-purging bulimia or even bulimia (And frankly I’m still scared witless of it ever, really really, being one of those things) but for the moment the hold it has is still the same.
Whatever it is, that whispers in my ear that I am not enough, I am going to expose and shame until it shrivels and dies. It is not me.