Saturday, 25 July 2015

On why I'll never diet.

When I was about 18 and first serious about recovery, it occurred to me that everything would change completely. Of course, there have been many relapses since then, but the same thought has stayed with me- that to recover I'd never even be able to diet. Ever. I'd never be able to stay on the right side of the line if I dancing along it; on the back of a chronic eating disorder, the promised kiss of the diet would become an orgy of unhealthy measures. What I could do, and what made sense at the time, was to die. I could restrict, I could take laxatives, I could vomit... I could do all of that, until it killed me. It sunk in that it was down to staying ill or recovering, living or dying, and there being no middle ground in that, no room for a bikini diet. What I could do was die.

Or I could live.

I actually had a hard time coming to terms with that. I was jealous of every dieter and so compulsively fed on other people's diet stories, in a way I'd compulsively starved and binged before then. I studied up on every diet going in a way I'd never bothered before (I always felt like following even a fad diet was cheating and too slow. I also had a sort of arrogance that I could destroy myself completely alone, through something other people used to build themselves). Once, I got seriously excited about the idea of doing the cabbage soup diet as soon as I left home, before realising that that would just be an extended version of death. I was kind of bitter that getting better meant that I didn't get the satisfaction again of losing a lot of weight; it just seemed like yet another thing my mental health problems was taking from me.

I'm not being melodramatic here. Well, I maybe I am a bit- I forget that most people's dramometer (I just made that up. You couldn't tell, right?) is a bit lower than mine. A bit... but it's how it felt then and how it feels now. Maybe years down the line it's possible for somebody who has recovered from a chronic eating disorder to diet sensibly, but truth be told I don't see myself ever being able to, in the same way I know a chronic alcoholic needs to stay away from alcohol. 

Of course, dieting was never the problem. It never was or will be. The problem is the way I view life. I see it differently. I see fun house mirrors in everything you say and every way you look at me. All your nuances and quirks can be put down to a reflection on me. I mean, that sounds really self-centred. In some ways, I think EDs can come across that way, but it's way more complicated. It's blame and guilt, in the form of a grand optical illusion. It's circus mirrors. It's not you, it's not all your good and bad, but it's not my good or bad, either. It's not how little I eat or how visible my ribs are. It's a mess.

That said, your diet can significantly affect me and mine. I don't expect you to stop talking about Weight Watchers, but please, a few things-
1. Please don't tell me how much you eat (especially not in the form of your calorific intake. By all means tell me if you ate summat delish).
2. Please don't tell me your weight, or how much you have lost or gained.
3. Please don't ask me for dieting advice. The best advice I can give you is to listen to your body. No more, no less.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Curvy.

Ok, I'm going to describe the way I look, with only terms that I can qualify. No negatives, just pure fact. From the top- I have wavy hair, in various pink/reddish shades (I get bored and bleach bits every now and again, so it's a bit of a mess. No, wait, that's not objective. IT'S JUST MULTI-COLOURED, THE END). My eyes are blue and my eyelashes stick out in all directions, like my head hair and eyebrows. I have a tonne of freckles on my face and from a distance I nearly look tanned. I'm not, I just have hyper-pigmentation on reeeally pale skin. I'm pale everywhere, but have the ability to grow a dark monobrow. My boobs are on the bigger end of the spectrum for my size and that's a running joke with my mates. I'm 1.58m but often I'll lie and say I'm 1.6, which is better than when I used to tell people that I was smaller, so that they'd think my BMI was higher than it was, when my weight was low.

Oh, and I'm really curvy.

I've learnt that curvy is virtually a swear word. But I am curvy- I'd tell you my stats but I don't think you need to know. I will say though, as I mentioned before, my boobs are on the bigger size. My waist goes in pretty significantly and then my body goes out a fair bit more for my thighs than my hips. My waist is usually a size or two smaller than my boobs and thighs. Have I qualified? For some reason, when I describe myself as curvy I get a whole range of comments. Here are the most common ones that I hear-

Reaction- You're not fat enough to be curvy (usually accompanied by a derisive laugh).
How it sounds- Not. Enough.
How it feels- Not. Enough.

Reaction- Ha! You're not curvy. I'M curvy!
How it sounds- Love, you wish you had my curves.
How it feels to hear- I'm not good enough. I'm not curvy enough. Even my healthy body isn't any more worthy than my poorly body ever was, despite how much hard work has gone into it.

Reaction- Aw, babe, you're not curvy. You're still tiny.
How it sounds- You used to be tiny. YOU USED TO BE TINY.
How it feels to hear- Without any mention from me of how I was, you've just reminded me that I've gained a lot of weight, whilst at the same time dismissing that I worked hard for my current, natural, body size. Curvy is an insult, apparently, when I just thought it was an ordinary adjective.

Reaction- You have to stop putting yourself down.
How it sounds- Curvy is fat and fat is what you fear. So I'm saving you from yourself, but you need to start saving yourself.
How it feels- I'm really boring you with what you think are my constant self-doubts, when really I'm stating a fact that I need to get used to, for my own future.

There's so much wrong here. When did a simple adjective become so laden? Curvy is either a club to aspire to ('only a dog likes a bone') or lumped with a heinous insult (as when nearly anybody says the word fat). I'm currently a bit obsessed with plus-size blogs, because the bloggers there seem to be able to call themselves curvy. I know that sounds a bit daft, but it's a bit like how I'm 'allowed' to tell you all those other things about how I look. You won't try to persuade me that my eyes aren't blue, you wouldn't even think to. But you are quick to dispute and dismiss my body shape. I know it's with good intentions and I'm not cured- I'm still petrified that I am hideously fat (which is something I DO hate about myself, as it happens. Why do I say hideously? I'm not really sure what's wrong with fat, I just know that it's ok for anybody but me) and sometimes, you know what? Sometimes I need reassurance. I hate my body, as it happens, I really hate it. But that doesn't change the fact that I AM curvy. Not even my sexuality is bloody straight.

(I have really great boobs, btw)

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Work tutus.

THINGS ARE COMING UP CONDRON. I have work. Grown up work where I'll pop down to London (after my interview I drank beer with an old, very posh man called Quentin, in Kings Cross. It would have been very London if we both weren't northern. And if southerners ever talked to strangers. But we judged people queueing up to get to Platform 9 3/4 so it was pretty London) for meetings and have a Royal College of Psychiatrists ID. The job is pretty exciting, but the ID? Insert some kind of heart emojie, right here. The whole thing is a bit bloody exciting and I'm all set to kick arse, going into units and making recommendations and talking to patients and just generally trying to improve services, which is pretty perfect. It's amazing I even got it, to be honest, because before I even introduced myself to the interviewing panel, I got really excited about the chairs in the interview room and told them I would steal one if they were a bit smaller. Seriously. I only just got there too, because my train was cancelled. then I got lost on the tube. My brother never used to travel with me, because my trains are always dead late or cancelled. 

The only problem so far has been the fact that everyone keeps telling me that there is no such thing as a work tutu. In fact, before I even really thought about it, a few people popped up to ask what I would wear, and my best friend immediately told me I couldn't wear a tutu. Harsh. Work tutus ARE a thing, but I'll maybe wait until I have a tenured job, before I introduce the world to them and just hope that by then I'm not, like, dead by then. My best friend also went as far as to buy me a blouse and skirt for my induction next week, because she didn't trust my taste, hahahaha. Apparently, if you talk about tutus enough, people buy you clothes. It probably works even better if you're a man.

I finally, finally, feel like I might be moving forward. My weight has been steady and healthy for about 6 months. I eat. I jog 5 times a week. I have a job. I AM A STRONG, INDEPENDENT WOMAN (and that's a bit weird to say. Good weird, but still weird).

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Fundraising update #1

This is going to be brief because I'm in the middle of working on my Hoedown Showdown. No, literally. As in the Hannah Montana Movie dance thingy. S'all good. But anyway, not here to brag about my lack of dancing prowess. but to tell you that Stage 1 of my fundraising is up and running. Running. Oh, running (I'll get to the running part in a sec). Quick catch up; I'm running a 10k next year- which I still find hilarious. I run as well as I dance- for b-eat, the UK's ED charity. When I signed up for it, I kind of thought 'in for a penny, in for a pound' and so I may as well go at this hard. So that's the plan and I'm just getting started. Phase 1? Well, I've made a shop on Etsy, selling homemade owls with a little positive twist. Here's the link... OwlAlwaysBePostive. Shop, buy, share, do your thang, my beauties!

Running. I'm not kidding, because of my sort-of kind-of agoraphobia (I'm not classically agoraphobic, I'm actually scared of being out on my own in Scunthorpe, because I'm convinced I'll run into one of my abusers. Get me on a train out of town and I'm fine), I decided that it makes far more sense to set an alarm for 4am, go for a run, come back and go back to bed. I know it seems really backwards, but actually it's a lot cooler and nobody is about and it's nice to be alone and free. This last week has been the first time that I've been out alone in Scunny for years, so I'm actually enjoying it. Not so much the running part, although I enjoy my shuffle up the road far more than I thought I would, it's the first exercise I have ever done that isn't for the sake of losing weight, too, so it's weirdly exciting. Speaking of, I got my sporting injury- well, a blood blister- EVER so I'm feeling pretty hardcore.

But back to my owls! All profits will be going to b-eat, and they have positive notes and the collective noun for owls is parliament, so they're really bloody cool. Take a peak at my parliament!