September 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

It’s a very foreign feeling to be able to pick up a real pen and put it to real paper at 23.59 on a Monday night. But that’s what I did last night, three days into my Life After Academia. Having the freedom to swim through a couple of days between the end of what was and the start of what will be, for now at least, a return to work full-time, has been filled with enjoying company and solitude equally. But more importantly, enjoying the stretch of time that two unplanned, unaccompanied days feels like.

Taking stock, however, is still scary.

Where was I? Ending my counselling sessions, full of hope. Where am I now? How am I? What am I doing?

The process of looking back is a fraught and dangerous one but, despite my evident…kinks… I like things followed through methodically. If for no other reason than that my brain may not be able to out things together again rationally at some point in the future.

So. Where I am: The city I moved to in a fragmentary fashion a year ago yesterday. Facebook appalls me in so many ways but I am not quite so organised with my looking back that I would have remembered the  year anniversary of my driving along, across borders and along motorways, to deliver various kitchenwares and be nearly crushed to death beneath a wardrobe that the man I fell in love with and I tried to manhandle ten inches to the left and back. The year has moved me down the road, and soon will again, but I guess the important things is that I am still here. In a city I was sure would change things.

How am I? Comparatively, a thousand times better than the start, and larger part, of 2011. If my logging is to be believed, I am far less chaotic, my concentration is improved and I am far less consumed by my consumption. How am I really? Still bingeing. Still compulsive. Still secretive. Still cheating despite all the pleas for health I make to those around me. No matter how much I learn or information I spout, I am still merely observant of the things I buy, knowing that some of them will end only one way. Mindful of my unhappiness with my figure has come from a choice I keep making over and over.

I don’t really know how to talk about these things productively. So, so much is better. I am so happy about so many things. I am perfectly capable of throwing down this crutch. But left to my own devices, I continue to choose not to.

A couple of posts ago, I was leaving my last counselling appointment, smug with my achievements. Yet I left denying the stress I felt about finishing my course and being spat out the other side. And after a wonderful weekend away, I fell back into relying on tiny green packets of gum to keep my mouth occupied and erase the taste of regret. Sugars and caffeine. Pre-empting, predicting, distracting. That’s the reality.

I’m still scared and I still don’t know what to do. There’s good stuff to share, and I will share it because it’s far more important than any of this. But I still feel like I’m cheating.


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