Monday, 29 June 2015

Making the best.

You may need to be seated whilst reading this (I don't know why you wouldn't be, unless SBIWYB is your toilet reading and you're a man. No, wait, wouldn't- never mind), because this is hard to say so unbelievable, no doubt, to read.

I was nearly southern.

Honestly, I epitomise the north. Apart from my use of 'epitomise' of course. I say it with a northern accent and sound a bit thick, but I know long words an' that. I am also disgusting. Just in general. And I talk to strangers on the street; tell sales people my life story and still wonder about that little old lady I met on a bus, who told me she won't support cancer charities because they don't focus enough on brain tumours, which is what her son had died of in his teens. I know this is all very stereotypical, but it's true. The thing is though, my parents divorced whilst my mum was heavily preg with me and she moved from Milton Keynes (where they had somehow ended up after my dad graduated), back up to Scunthorpe. I was born in Scunthorpe General, lived in a council house with my mum, grandma, auntie and brother for a year or so, before my mum got her own council house for her, my brother and me. Apart from my brother, who moved to London years ago, my family are all up north. I know this assumes a lot, but I probably wouldn't be anywhere near as close with my family had we stayed down there. That's an odd thing, because I am mega, mega close to some of the people who make up my clan. I mean, one of my bezzers is a (not quite) 14 year old cousin. I can't imagine that being the case, yanno?

My point is, that everything is fluid. There are no guarantees and anything can affect, well, anything. Joking aside, would being southern have  made much difference to me? Probably. Chances are, I'd have had better access to treatment quicker, if, even, I needed it. The abuse, most likely, wouldn't have happened and things may have been better. But they might also have been worse. I can sit and get angry and bitter that my early years weren't ideal, or I can accept that every decision that was made by my mum when I was tiny, was made with the best of intentions. I can accept that everything I do now will affect my future and try always to make them with the best of intentions.

Another thing that you might want to sit down for, dumdumdum, is that I went for a jog at 4am today. I've made a decision that I am going to take this 10k (I signed up whilst drunk, but usually, my drunken conversations or decisions usually are just things that I'd do/say sober, if I had the balls) seriously, because that's a decision I made and I'm going to make it the best it can be. It's been a long time since I took my future seriously, and up until recently I had never expected to have one. Have one I have though, and I'm going to look after myself, make it the best it can be. I want to be the best I can be. And I haven't got time to get ill again, there are too many wonderful and terrible decisions to  make, decisions that I haven't had the freedom to make before. I'm just realising my freedom, a few months after the end of years in hospital, and what that means. It's pretty cool, really.

Monday, 22 June 2015

10k

Alright, if you know me in person be prepared to laugh. I, Rebecca Condron, who spent years refusing to do PE in case it chipped my nails (which is actually hilarious because I'm way too lazy to always be perfectly groomed. Or groomed much at all), who pretended to be sad every time she was told to stop exercising (I never really bothered with exercise anyway) and who can't go 5 minutes before tripping over her own feet (I'm only a size 4, so it's quite a skill) has gone and...

Oh God, seriously, oh God...

I am terrified to announce that I've signed up to run a blumin' 10k. That's probably 9k more than I've walked in the last week. Like, seriously, my life revolves around SITTING DOWN. And watching MTV. Oh God.

Anyway, it's all good because I've running for b-eat, the UK's eating disorder charity. Obviously it's a really, really big deal and so close to my heart. I will not lose another friend. I just won't. And by the same token, I will not be lost to my loved ones. It's exciting to know that it's a fresh start- I've already thought that I need to tell my dietitian and get her to help me plan a healthier diet than my current one (I get the right amount of calories, don't worry, but usually in the form of junk. Today's breakfast was three packs of Chip Sticks, par example) and that's something I would not have done at all before. It's not going to be used by my anorexia as a way to lose weight; it's going to be used by me, the part of me that is pure Rebecca Condron, to raise as much as I possibly can for the cause.

So be prepared for odd little pop up progress report along the way. Right, it's not even until last year, but I honestly can't run more than about 5m right now, so I'm starting training today. I've also got some other fundraising ideas that I'm proper excited for, but will post about in due course and I'll whack up my fundraising page when I have everything in line. So until then, just laugh. Seriously. It's ok, everyone I've told in person is dying at the idea of it. Dear me.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Thigh gap.

Was it last summer, or the one before, that thigh gaps officially became A Thing? The dream empty space at the top of your thighs, when you stand with your feet together. All of a sudden, completely blind-siding me, my main way of judging my worth became all everybody seemed to be striving for. It put my nose out a bit, to be honest, and I got a bit weird (more than usual, I mean, if you can imagine) and paranoid, like, right, the same I get when people skip meals or go on diets. Worse, though. This was a popularised, slow suicide, a sure symptom of an epidemic just waiting to happen. I swear, I'm not even exaggerating, I really did over-think it this much. But how would you feel about everybody apparently striving to be, I don't know, some other kind of addict? Social media covered in posts of people shooting up? To have a secret you have concealed so well, the only skeleton left in your closet after it's been ransacked by professionals, and to have it seemingly everywhere?

Of course, it wasn't actually the skinny revolution I feared. It wasn't everywhere, on the whole there was no ED promotion and it had nothing to do with me; you might not even have come across it and I never told anybody about how important the gap was to me. A permanent obsession for me became a temporary goal for some. Then life moved on.

But not for me, not then. I finally stopped measuring the gap when I last did re-feeding, this time last year. I am a year clean of thigh measuring. It was mostly because I committed to weight gain voluntarily (ish. Eventually), and so I knew the gap would get smaller. It was also because I was tired. I was tired of it all. The measuring, the counting, the striving each day for a higher number when measuring the gap and a lower one for measuring my weight. And lowerlowerlower still for any form of measurement of my self-worth.

You know what? As of this week, I don't have a thigh gap. I am officially the biggest I have ever been as an adult. But you want to know a secret? I am far, far happier than I have ever been. My relationship with my body isn't great and I get sad and mad and bad, but it's never tinged red any more. I have my grey days, but I don't have black ones with red cuts. Sometimes, just sometimes, I have glittery days and glitter IS my favourite colour after all. 

Measuring my worth by my thigh gap- A GAP- really underlined a lot of what was going on. See, I was measuring myself by an absence. Not by my good features, or even my not so good features, but by nothing at all. By air and space and nothingness; everything that isn't myself. I was, to myself, worth far less than nothing and as that nothingness between my thighs increased, that became more apparent. I didn't deserve that. I don't deserve that. I am not nothing. I don't deserve to be reduced to nothing, to be measured by my absence or to have my humanity ripped away for the sake of air. Air can exist anywhere, but I can't. We each come around once and there's more than enough space already around without creating more room for it between my- or your- aching bones.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Sadness, depression and Avril Lavigne.

I'm sad a lot right now. I'm not petitioning for a higher dose of my anti-depressants or owt (side note: I've been asking for a higher dose of my anti-psychotic. The answer so far is that I'm already on higher than average. Like, love, if I'm psychotic and not on the maximum dose, hit me up. Plus, really, I don't think the average person takes anti-psychos at all, if that's what we're playing), I'm just sad. I think people confuse being depressed with being sad a lot. It's two completely different things. Sad is waking up and realising you have another day of wading through treacle to navigate. Depressed is waking up and wishing that you hadn't woken up at all. Don't get me wrong, both are crappy and mean different things to different people. But I'm going to give distinguishing the two a shot. Here is the Ultimate Guide on Am I Sad or Depressed (or maybe just a bit Avril Lavigne circa- early 2000s)?

(just in case this wasn't obvious, this isn't a diagnostic tool. If things aren't right, TALK TO SOMEBODY, YOU)

1. You've just woken up. What's your first thought?
A. Here it comes, another long day. Proper cannot be arsed, but really need to move my bones from my bed. I'll move, but it'll be slow and I'm going to complain as I do, ok?
B. Blank. Blank, blank, blank. Not again, please not again. I'm pinned down. Stuck. It won't move off my chest and I can't bear the weight of another day. Please, not again.
C. I wake up in the morning
Put on my face
The one that's gonna get me
Through another day.

2. You finally manage to focus on the task ahead- getting on with the day- just long enough to realise it's lovely and bright and you're accountable to only yourself. What do you make of it?
A. At least the weather isn't reflecting my mood. Maybe a summer dress will feel better than pyjamas. Maybe I'll absorb some brightness. Maybe, if I want it enough, I'll feel content then. Maybe I won't. Maybe this is it.
B. No day is lovely. Seriously, not like this. The seasons could all come and go in a day and still I'd feel nothing.
C. It's gonna be a bitchin' summer,
We'll be livin' fast, kickin' ass together

3. In an attempt at a bit of normalising, you made a to-do list a while back, and you've yet to tackle it. Will you tackle anything on it today?
A. Nope. Well, probably not. If I force myself, maybe I'll distract myself. Nothing I do will be my finest work, but I have to shake this feeling somehow.
B. I can't even think about it without hyperventilating or finding myself staring into space for 20 minutes, whilst my brain goes on holiday.
C. Why do you have to go and make things so complicated?

4. Against the odds, you got a few bits done. How do you feel?
A. It's never enough, but at least I have sort of been a Productive Grown Up Adult. It's not enough, but it is something.
B. I'm not enough. I'm such a complete failure. Why bother?
C. I'm feeling nervous
Trying to be so perfect

5. The day is over and you're starting to think about heading to bed. Any final thoughts?
A. I need to sleep, I need to cry, I need a giant glass of wine. But deep down, I know this will eventually pass. I just need to keep reminding myself that the sun sets, but it also rises and that's ok. I'll be ok.
B. I'm so tired, but I know I won't sleep, not for a while. My body is weak but my mind is working out. I need a break, to get away. I need to sleep, and that's why it won't come. Maybe I don't deserve it. Maybe I'm just thinking too much.
C. Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh...
So much for my happy ending.

Now, you've probably guessed how this bit goes. I'm no shrink and I'm an expert only in myself, but mostly As? That's sadness. That's not a diluted form of depression, like people think, it's a whole other beast and it's pretty cack. Talk to somebody. Keep moving. You got this. Bs? To me, those are the things I feel when depression clings to my bones. It's ok, and even if you don't believe me, it'll pass. It seems impossible because that's how it keeps you; it tells you you can't beat it, that's how it catches you. Talk, write, believe. Cs? You marvellous thing, you. Avril is our queen and a bit of angst is what it's all about. Have fun with your eyeliner and, um, rock on? <3 p="">

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Oh hey, I'm gay.

If I had ever bothered going into the closet, this would be me coming out. So let's pretend I buggered off into it (to Narnia, right? I never bothered reading those books), hid for a 24 years amongst boys and fur coats, and then popped out right now. Don't get me wrong, I've identified as gay for years and am perfectly open about it, but I'm not a 'gold-star lesbian' (vom). It just turned out for me that boys were the phase and not girls, apparently the opposite to how it should be. You don't have to judge my sexuality, and I don't need to justify my attractions. I can't even imagine why you would judge or expect me to explain exactly why I'm attracted to women... unless, of course, you're a drunk man hitting on me, that is. In which case, enjoy your right to tell me that-

A. I'm too pretty to be gay.
B. I can't be gay, because I'm dressed girly/have long hair/wear make up/etc.
C. I only think I'm gay because I've not met you before (sorry, I know you think you're original with that line, but if we look at all the times that's been said to me, the numbers aren't in your favour).
D. I'm a prick tease.

I'm sure there's a compliment in all of the above, but actually it's a bit bloody scary. I mean, come on, you'll claim you're scared of bending over in front of a gay lad, but you don't realise that as a woman, I have much more to fear from you as a straight man. As a gay woman, I'm lucky to have been born where I was and not in a place that practises rape as a save. As a strong woman, I can laugh in your face but completely fail to understand your need to cure any part of me. I'm doing pretty well without you saving me, but thank you for your concern anyway.

The reason that I've identified as gay for years but have never written about it before is pretty simple- I haven't needed to. That's all. I've not particularly even thought about it, because why would I? Let me know where you got the bunting for you HEY EVERYONE, I'M STRAIGHT party, right, and I'll get straight on painting the outside of my house with rainbow paint. The only reason I'm even posting this now is that I am tired. I am tired of being told that I am not a good enough as a lesbian because I- oh my gosh- look like a girl. A woman looking the way you'd expect, given our society, a woman to look? Suspect. Can't be trusted. I am tired of hearing the troubles my friends have gone through, when they walk down the street 'looking' gay. I am tired of not being good enough as lesbian because I'm femme, but my less femme girls aren't good enough for this bloody world. I'm tired of people trying to make me feel like I don't belong in a group that is all about belonging. 

Let's all be friends. I mean come on, right, any straight men reading this. You get it. Boobs- they're great. Why would you think I wouldn't have realised that?

(I'm not stupid)

Monday, 1 June 2015

After.

A year ago, I took a selfie when I was extremely unwell in a gastro ward, and then another after I got out. I wrote a couple of posts, this one was at the start of NG refeeding and this one was when I started refeeding orally (hello, I'm 24 and I still think the word oral is funny). The whole idea was a 'before and after', but, to be honest, I was pretty screwed up when both posts were written. Even now, sometimes I convince myself that if whatever I'm currently eating is the last thing I'll ever take, then life will be simple and easy. But it won't be that, nor will it be the last thing I eat. There won't be a last ANYTHING for me for a good 60 years or so. I'm not ready to depart; there's still so much to do.

So I'm going focus on that, to do something a bit different and spam some photos on here, of amazing times, all in the 2 months since my discharge, all made possible by my health. These are the real 'after' shots. This is health and recovery. This is working your arse off. This is freedom and happiness. This is acknowledging that there's no such thing as perfect recovery and some days won't go to plan; in fact, they might seem like hell. This is life and death. And this is most definitely the start of something beautiful.










SO MUCH LOVE, YOU BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE!