Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Back to uni.

I go back to uni, back to Essex, on Saturday and I have waaaaay too many feelings; nightmare-ish because as a general rule, I mock anybody with any feelings at all, hahahaha. But right now, I'm excited and a tiny bit melancholy and nervous and a bit more excited. So much has happened in the last year, so many ups and downs, and I think I'm maybe put off a little bit because I know how it's not easy. I mean, I'm not nervous about the usual leaving home stuff, because despite all the disasters last year, I know what I'm doing. I know what the work is like, I know what living with people is like. I know the pace of life at uni far better than I know the pace of life in Scunthorpe. But knowing and living is very different and it's not the uni lifestyle that bothers me. It's, unsurprisingly, the mental balance.

Realistically, I know that I just need to aim to do better this year (by year, I'm talking academically in this entry) than last, rather than expecting that I'll manage perfectly and won't have any police/hospital slip-ups. But that thought divides me a little because I actually think I did really well last year. I'm sure there are plenty who would scoff at that, or wonder how bad I was before, if last year was considered good. But considering the year before was spent mostly house-bound or in hospital and the year before that and before that and before that, for the last several years, wasn't a lot different, when you add up all the times I was in hospital/in the cells over the last year, it probably doesn't even add up to two months. And when I wasn't in, I was generally living.

So we'll see. It's a bit intimidating knowing that I have to aim to go forwards, to BE better, when I think I did as well as I could have, last year. But then, at least I have something to build upon. I'll be ok.

In other news, yesterday afternoon my number 1 Essex girl became a MILF. And I think the fact that in 3 days I get to meet her beautiful son accounts for a fair bit of my excitement, hahaha :D

Saturday, 24 September 2011

A week without scales.

There's a whole book of things doctors and laypeople, diagnostics and textbooks and articles, and those people on the streets who would have you believe they've been there and seen that, would have you believe that must be done and must be avoided and must be remembered and must be forgotten to meet the criteria for eating disorder recovery. Generally, they're very general. You know, you have to eat, but not too much. You must avoid avoiding 'bad foods'- in fact, you must dispel the idea of bad foods. Forget weight, but only as long as your weight is healthy. Forget calorie counting, but only as long as you're eating the correct count. Basically, emulate the ideal.

Let's ignore the fact that the ideal, like the norm, is a bit of a wide concept (which is actually an especially difficult thing to forget when you're in the position of attempting to emulate it. Attempting to emulate something you're not entirely sure of is a bitch for anyone, but because to end up with an eating disorder, you tend to be the obsessive type ANYWAY), it still gets more complicated. I believe in full recovery, but I'm not actually EXACTLY sure what I mean by full recovery. I believe in working towards maintaining a steady weight, by eating a steady and very similar amount, day after day. I believe that's possible. Do I believe that I'll be able to do that without daily monitoring of my weight and calories? Probably not. Suppose I need the scales and the calorie contents to ensure that they numbers are all as they should be, for the next however many years... does that mean that it's not full recovery?

Some would say that no, that's not recovery. I could show you a million supposedly inspirational pictures (usually black and white and involving girls with scene hair, hahahahaha) of people smashing scales. But this is an example of how general it all gets. For some people, not knowing is key to their recovery and that's lovely and perfect for them.

My recovery doesn't work this way.

I went away for a week, I spent some days and my dads and some days at my boyfriends and every day having to take benzos because of the lack of scales and the not knowing. Alright, I'm not recovered; I've still a long way to go, but whilst I'm fighting nobody can take away from me that I'm in the process, I'm on the journey, of recovery- despite my utter reliance on scales. Compared to where I was a few years ago, I eat a similar amount day-in-day-out and maintain a healthy weight, but I'm just as reliant on my scales for stability. I'm not sure how I feel about this, because it makes going away extremely difficult and I hope that I WILL eventually be able to go at least a few weeks without them, just for convenience. I won't, however, let that part of the generality take anything away from how well I KNOW I'm doing.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

The myth of the beautiful corpse.

There's one false idol that I fall for again and again... the imagery and the myth of the beautiful corpse. Let me explain. You read something and the words are so beautiful and they paint a picture that seems to capture everything you didn't even know you felt, sentiments like newly discovered colours, words you want to cover your skin with. A written portrait, maybe, of something completely mundane in an unexpected medium, or else something grand and sweeping about everything and nothing. I'm a pretentious fuck, I'm under no illusion and I won't attempt to deny it. But to give context (I don't want to add to the title of 'pretentious fuck' with 'patronising fuck' so bear with me), I think it's like a lot of people seem to get when they put on Capital FM- I think it's a more pretentious form of the compulsion to post Taylor Swift or Rihanna lyrics as a facebook status.

The type of words I fall for are almost always laced with something somewhat melancholy, I suppose it's no coincidence that those are the words I connect with. And at the end, there's always the realisation, then evidenced, that whoever wrote such beauty must have suffered. I'm not sure why, but it's almost always the case. I don't know whether beauty in this form is synonymous with suffering, but throughout literary history and, I suppose, art history, too (although art is not something I'm even going to pretend to know anything about. I can't even colour in the lines, which I'd like to pretend is due to a rebellious streak, but is in fact due to me being a bit crap at everything), the people creating such beauty as I'm writing about, are usually those who are suffering or who have suffered- the line at which it passes is a necessary blur in perpetuating the myth- usually at the mercy of a chemical imbalance; some sort of mental distress or other. And so this kind of suffering, addiction and compulsion and so forth, is suddenly ascribed value and everything is upside down. What was before a simple fight for better, to BE better and to GET better, becomes an argument between a melancholic beauty, an inexplicably arrogant idea of the world's glory only being realised by those suffering; and the world of the rest- the world of the grey. Simply, to not fight becomes a very real option.

Of course, it can't end well, it's not a fight that can ever be worn when put into those terms. You fight, you enter the grey. Theoretically, you could dance for so long in the melancholy, churning out beauty at the sacrifice of all that makes you human and then enter the grey later on, but that relies on a control akin to asking the tides to change. Or you become a martyr to the cause, a superior to those who chose not to suffer- a beautiful corpse unmarred by mediocrity.

But no, wait. This is the myth, the illusion, the falsity of the idol. Not all suffering produces beauty. In fact, from experience, all suffering produces in the moment is, well, suffering. The darkest days have no words and absolutely no beauty; any possible creativity comes later, after the fight, with hindsight, where the expected grey world becomes brighter than anything the suffering offered. But this is the danger of the myth and where I often fall- when the dark seems all encompassing, the credibility of a world where to suffer is to bring colour can't be brought into refute, for fear of exposing the lie. There are the times when to fight is harder than to accept the fate of the mythical beautiful corpse. When the superiority of the suffering ideal is needed to feed the self that is starved of worth.

Perhaps you thought this was obvious, but let me say it anyway... there is NO beauty in becoming a martyr to the cause of beauty. In any form, whatever beauty may have been amassed is automatically annulled by the loss of the most beautiful thing- life. Whether it's a temporary loss due to the suffering, or a permanent loss to becoming a 'beautiful corpse' (put now in inverted commas because I think I've disproved the notion), there can be no beauty. There's no glamour, no poetry, in any of it.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Waves.

Oh God, it comes in waves. Sometimes I'm ok, sometimes I can handle my weight and I genuinely believe that all I need to do is to work out a way to maintain, and then I can be healthy and happy. And then sometimes, suddenly, it all seems to engulf me; I feel massive and all I want to do is tear my flesh off. I want nothing inside of me, not water nor food nor even vodka, I just want to wilt and to wither.

I'm afraid to leave, to go outside, but I don't want to be contained, either. I want to be away, but I'm terrified of the exposure of leaving this cocoon. I want to clean, I want to be clean, but the thought of facing my body in order to do this is enough to bring on the fast-breathed terror. And I want everything around me clean, as though to have everything environmental clean is to clean all that is internal. I feel so dirty. I feel so fat.

But it's not just that. Every thought, every typed or said word; every gesture, movement, I make... I don't know how to word how I feel about myself right now. To put it mildly, I'm annoying myself. I'm trying too hard, I'm over-compensating with people I hardly know, to attempt to make up for it, in a kind of 'please-don't-hate-me-because-I-have-enough-hate-myself' kind of a way, and to make up for how I'm feeling like I just can't connect properly.

It's no coincidence that this goes hand-in-hand with the waves of fat feeling- I can't separate any negative feeling from the feeling of fat. If I'm sad or mad or just generally a bit of a mardy bum, that translates in my head into feeling fat. Besides the whole mardy thing (I can do mardy VERY well, God bless my mum) I don't really stay angry or anything like that for long, before the feeling of fat takes over and whatever I was angry at is replaced by anger at my thighs or whatever. I'm not sure what the feeling is now, the original feeling, the one that the fat is masking. Or maybe there isn't another feeling. Maybe I just really do need to lose some weight.

I wish I could turn myself off for a bit.
No, I wish I could have a holiday from myself.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

'Dieting' for uni.

First of all, let me just say the word 'diet' doesn't sit comfortably with me, not in this context- there's a very big difference between a diet and a disorder, more of an emotional connection- a compulsion, if you will. But what else to call it though, how else to explain to you? I promised myself I wouldn't do this, but here I am. Restricting so that I don't start my second year of uni feeling like the fat girl. I don't know why it bothers me so much, but I just hate the thought of meeting people for the first time and having a bit of chub on me, so here we go. I'm chugging the Pepsi Max and munching on pills and altogether being a complete and utter turnip. Being and doing everything I worked hard to avoid. I did the same thing last year though, and the months between October and January were my healthiest, the months where my eating disorder was most under control so in the mid-term I'm not too worried. It's just a bit annoying now because when I don't eat I feel like I'm failing myself, destroying some sort of longer-term future, and when I eat I feel like I'm failing myself in the moment.

My mind is pretty much taken up by the battle between the disorder and, I don't know, I suppose myself. But that's a positive thing, I think. The fact that the battles even exists is a progress from when the disorder WAS me, rather than now when I can differentiate, even if I'm struggling right now to actually fight. But maybe that's just my eternal optimism, 'cause it's actually just doing my head in.

Friday, 2 September 2011

21 (and post birthday blues).

It was my birthday yesterday, and it was lovely. Well, I had about 4 birthdays really- a day in Colchester castle with MG and Willis, dinner with my dad and step-mum, a day out in Magna (hahaha, google it. It's a disused Yorkshire Steelworks made into a kids' science museum, ever appropriate) and then an impromptu family party last night. Gooood stuff. I'm currently in the middle of a sugar coma/hangover from all the crap I've consumed though, hahahaha. The rule about there being no calories on birthdays is excellent, until the day or so after when they suddenly creep up, whooops.

I think I wrote maybe this time last year, about post-birthday blues. About how a birthday isn't a celebration of your birth, not for yourself, but more a marked day every year, a day where you actually chronicle your actions in a way you don't do on less significant days- it's an anniversary of so much more than one day, it's an anniversary and a reminder of the good and bad from years gone by. The specific day is symbolic of the weeks and months around it, in this way. I was born on the first of September, 1990. But what I remember is where I was and how I felt on the 1st of September every year since about 1994 or '5, whereas I'm not sure exactly what I did on, for example, the 18th of June every year. To the people present at your birth (or, even if not in the room for it, remember the day you entered the world), it IS an anniversary of that one day, they're more likely to remember where they were on that day in that year, than where they were on that day in others. But given how you don't remember your birth but remember more the celebrations years later or whatever, I don't suppose many people dwell much on the day they were born itself.

So this is all fine and good, mostly. In fact, at the risk of contradicting myself, I'd say most people maybe DON'T dwell so much, not consciously at least, on previous birthdays because there's something about us, maybe societal or psychological, that makes us dwell more on the bad, I think. Given that your birthday is supposed to be a day to celebrate and so, chances are and to put it simplistically, each anniversary is part of a vague mental collage of happy memories, I suppose people don't think so much. But there's always a bit of, 'oh, when I was a kid, on my birthday...' or maybe a thought about how drunk you were on your 16th or whatever- always a memory.

I have struggled on previous years over memories of previous birthdays. How I know my weight from every 1st of September from 1999, to the present. The birthdays spent in terror of that weight; of having to eat cake; of having to do the happy, social thing when I'd rather stay in bed and not dwell on another year wasted, always the waste and the seeming lack of progress.

But this year was different. I'm happy. Well, right now I'm feeling huge and my head hurts and I feel grubby and generally shitty. But the 1st of September 2011 was not a sad day, it wasn't a day to lament a wasted year, or anything like that- in fact, it was lovely because 21 feels so fresh. I've had blips, time that adds up to months on hospital and the police station, over the last year. I've had horrific days, nights, weeks, months. I've wanted to die. But I haven't. In fact, I actually lived, truly lived... and now I'm 21 I feel no different, of course I don't. And this year will also have blips, I know it. I KNOW it- that's what's reassuring, I'm not expecting any great eureka moment as I did when I turned 13, 16, 18 and 20 and I think that's the eureka in itself. Yesterday was a cause to think about previous 1st of Septembers, but this year there wasn't the feel of it being out of my control, of a lack of progress. I AM better than I have been. My eating disorder has been better this year than ever before; I've mostly managed to live away, mostly independently; I've taken responsibility and I will continue. More progress, page turned.