Where I Am Now…

FullSizeRender

Trigger warning: This post is about self/body image, eating disorders and depression. Please chose carefully whether to read or not.

Please know this writing reflects MY perceptions about ME and not my views on weight/appearance in general.

I have no intention of hurting or upsetting anyone. This post is about me, for me. 


I can’t do the “self love” thing.

I see positive quotes and affirmations everyday on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter and, although I think they are lovely sentiments, I simply cannot relate to them.

I do quite like myself… insofar as I think I’m a basically good person and I can be funny and smart and creative.

But love myself? No. That’s not a thing I can do.

I have an unhealthy relationship with my body.

I am not sure I was ever happy with it. No wait, that’s not true. As a young teen I was blissfully free of body issues. If anything, I was precociously aware of my sexuality and its power and I enjoyed dressing in a way that raised eyebrows or had some shock value. I could probably have been described as jailbait!

At 19 I settled into what has turned out to be my lifelong relationship. I was a normal, healthy weight for my height of 5′. I had curves in all the right places and was relaxed about diet and exercise. It simply wasn’t an issue.

Somewhere along the way, after getting married at 26, I gained a lot of weight. It happened to both of us, slowly but steadily until, one day, it hit me that I had reached the weight of 144lbs, which was, (for me), too heavy for my short height. I was physically tired from carrying the extra weight and felt bad in and about myself.

It was around this time that I also realised our relationship had been coasting along. We had grown into an “old married couple” that took each other for granted and lived a very ‘unconscious’ shared life.

This was when I entered what I called my “rage years”.

This is when everything changed.

I began to exercise with a furious energy and started to very carefully watch what I ate and drank. Food became a necessary evil… it was fuel I needed in order to function and nothing else. Food became the enemy. It had to be consumed in order to live so I consumed the bare minimum that I needed to exist.

Food was no longer about pleasure or comfort or enjoyment.

I hated, with a burning, raging passion what I had become. It symbolised to me how out of control I had ‘allowed’ my life to become. (In retrospect, it’s clear that, amongst other things, being diagnosed with a life changing and incurable illness must have played a massive part in my sudden need to rest establish control over something.)

I kept a strict daily journal of every single thing that I ate, complete with its calorific content, (which I still have to this day, as a reminder to myself of where I was at that time).

I woke early to exercise before breakfast, then I would walk for miles, return home and exercise again. I pushed myself to the extreme and beyond.

People asked me if I was anorexic and I scoffed at them. Me???? No! I was just being healthy!

I said this whereas, in reality, most days I didn’t reach anywhere near 1000 calories by bedtime, usually taking in between 600-800. Coupled with the intense activity I was doing I can’t imagine what my actual calorie intake was.

My periods stopped for three years.

I had to have bone density scans.

I was constantly cold. I wore jeans and a fleece whilst on holidays in The Canaries for three years in a row.

I had panic attacks at the thoughts of having to eat any food I did not have 100% control over, to the extent that it impacted on family gatherings and events. I recall clearly one day, feeling so incredibly hungry and craving something substantial so badly that I agreed to go for lunch with the OH. I ordered a burrito and, as it arrived, I began to hyperventilate and cry because I wanted it so badly but simultaneously felt completely disgusted at myself for wanting it. He was at a loss for what to do with me.

I reached my lowest weight of 88lbs.

I was always sporting bruises because my hipbones protruded to the extent that they constantly knocked off things. My stomach was concave. The bones of my spine, with no body fat to protect them, made sleeping on my back uncomfortable. Sleeping on my side required a pillow between my legs to prevent my knee bones grinding off each other.

Was I happy?

I never believed I was ‘slim’ enough! I looked at my profile in the mirror and saw my ribs and hipbones standing out but my eyes would wander to the area under my navel. I now know there was NOTHING there but I remember somehow seeing what I called a belly… I had no belly… I had internal organs, a digestive system and a uterus that had to go somewhere and my frame was so tiny I mistook them for a ‘belly’.

It is clear to me now that, although I thought I was exercising some form of self-love by ‘being healthy’, I had in fact simply found a new way to hate myself. I was punishing my body by denying it nourishment, pleasure and rest. Even as I achieved every weight loss goal I aimed for, I was never at peace. I saw an ugly, disgusting person in the mirror. One who would never be good enough.

I was referred to an endocrinologist to investigate my amenorrhea. My GP did her best to convince me I was underweight and in need of more food, “Ease up on yourself Kat, have a snack in the afternoon.”

I am not sure at what point I began to try to stop my rigorous regime. I can honestly say that period of my life is blurry at best. But, scared at the loss of my periods and the prospect of osteoporosis, I did relax my exercising and extreme calorie counting.

Last year I reached a happy weight of 98lbs.

Well, I say happy…

I understood, logically, that for my body to function I needed the extra pounds, but I still struggled with the idea of gaining weight and watched my intake very carefully and still worked out. I was still wearing clothes from H&M kids section. I could still wrap my fingers around my thigh with room to spare as it measured 12″ circumference in my age 11 jeans.

But…

Somewhere along the course of the past year I have… You guessed it…

I have found a NEW way to hate myself, yay!

I have been comfort eating and drinking more wine than I should. I eased up on myself gradually; allowing that extra glass of wine, that lunch out, that afternoon snack.

I noticed some weight creeping on…

My age 11 jeans were no longer comfortable. I, for the first time in years, had to shop in the adult sections and moved up to size 6.  (I can hear the pissed off groans now as people voice their scorn… Yes of course a size 6 is still small… but from my warped perspective I had failed.)

I am currently, in my opinion, carrying too much weight at 128lbs. I feel uncomfortable, unattractive and very unfit. I am breathless and overheated almost all the time.

Most of all I feel that I have let myself down. I feel disgust and shame about it.

I have been torturing myself by looking back at photos of when I was thinner… it is making me feel worse, like even more of a failure.

So… I need to finally address this.

Why do I hate myself?

Why do I find the concept of self-love so alien?

Why do I think I do not deserve inner peace, acceptance and happiness?

My self-hatred is deeply ingrained in me from an early age.

I can trace some of my unhappiness back to my childhood. Hang on, I can trace it all back there…  I never felt comfortable or relaxed as a kid. I toyed with some self-harm as a teen and made an unsuccessful suicide attempt at 17. I just didn’t want to be here.

I had what most people would consider a ‘good’ upbringing. I was never hungry, there was always food on the table, I was sent to very good schools. But there are other things a child needs beyond those.

I suspect I know where this self-hatred originates but to face that feels just too overwhelming.

What am I to do?

Will it ever change?

Do you hate me for writing this?

💋

Copyright, k1kat.com

All rights reserved.

The Girl

FullSizeRender

She looks broken, the girl framed in the coffee shop window.

Woman really… but there’s something about her slight frame and the air of vulnerability that shrouds her that makes me think of her as a girl. Always friendly when she orders her drink, but I’ve noticed that her smile never quite reaches her eyes.

Those eyes! Deep green, with tiny brown flecks, and long dark lashes contrasting with her porcelain skin. I see the pain in them and want to know what’s causing it. I want to fix it.

I watch her as she sits at the small table, lost in herself, using her spoon to play with the foam on her latte. The blue circles beneath her eyes look darker today, her cheeks more hollow than last week. I suspect she isn’t sleeping well or eating much.

I know her name is Tracy, thanks to Head Office’s stupid policy of writing the customers name on the takeout cup. Even though she always sips her drink inside, I pretended to mistake her order once and asked for her name. I remember her surprise, the way her eyes opened wider and the tilt of her head, the tiny crease between her eyebrows as she answered me, “Um, Tracy… why?”

“Pretty name! Sorry, I thought you wanted takeout, my mistake,” I replied grinning like a fool.

“Ah… well now you know…” she leaned in to read my nametag, “Jack,” and smiled. A real smile that time. Fleeting, but real.

She checks her phone, mouth downturned and sighs.

Screw it’, I think and put a chocolate chip muffin on a plate, grab a fork and napkin, walk over to her table, and I place it in front of her.

“On the house. You’re a regular, you deserve a freebie,” I say.

“Oh! Um…” her mouth drops in surprise and she looks flustered momentarily and I see the tears pooling in those eyes that have captivated me from day one.

“Shit! What’s wrong? Tracy?” I panic and sit across from her, watching her try to gather herself together, “Are you ok? Tracy?”

She sniffs and blinks the tears away, not allowing them to spill down onto her cheeks, “I’m ok, I mean I will be. Sorry for that… I just… That was kind of you and I sort of can’t cope with kindness right now, you know?”

I nod, “Yeah, I get that. Anything I can help with? I know we don’t really know each other, but I’m a good listener.”

Her eyes search mine and I see her consider my offer. I see her struggle with the desire to unburden herself and her need for privacy.

“Thank you, but no. Talking won’t fix it. I just need to get over it.”

“It?” inwardly cursing myself for overstepping, but it slipped out before I could stop myself.

“Him…”   /   “Sorry, none of my business.”

We both speak at the same time, talking over each other.

“Oh! A guy, I should’ve guessed…” I reply, feeling my gut twist with jealousy that she loves someone. Irrational and stupid, but I want her to be mine.

She nods her head and looks down, “I better get going. Thanks for the muffin, but I’ve no appetite. And, thanks for caring…” she stands and picks up her bag. I mumble a goodbye and watch her leave.

I wonder if she will come back next week. I wonder if her heart will mend and if I can ever have a chance with her.

Maybe I should be grateful to the idiot that broke her heart? At least in time, she might, one day, look at me and see more than just a barista.

 –

Copyright, 2015, illicitthoughts.wordpress.com

All rights reserved.

The Affair… (Part V) The Fight

http://youtu.be/imRM080wdd8

 *

I strap my seatbelt across my hips, hands shaking.

I close my eyes and lay my head back against the headrest.

I cannot stop them again… fat, hot tears stream down my cheeks and I give in to my misery and allow myself to cry once more, my entire body shaking.

I cannot believe that our beautiful weekend has ended like this…

 *

We had showered and dressed after making love in his bed that morning. For once, my obsession with oral hygiene that he loves to tease me about, was in my favour and I used the “emergency” toothbrush I always carry in my handbag.

We spent our morning laughing, reveling in our pretend domesticity.

He brought hot buttered toast and coffee over to the table and sat beside me. My face couldn’t hide it…

“What baby? What’s wrong?” his brow furrowed as he asked me.

“Um… I only butter and eat toast once it’s cold,” I admitted. He threw his head back and laughed loudly.

“Well, another thing I’ve learned about you. I love finding out new things about you Lexi baby,” and he got up to make me fresh toast. This time he allowed it go cool before buttering it.

I loved watching him potter around his kitchen. He looked so comfortable and happy.

I knew I loved him, for real.

Everything I had hoped and dreamed about since we met and started to exchange messages and emails had come true this weekend.

I hated the thoughts of returning home to my old life later today.

 *

We played our train game again on the way back into London, giggling and stealing kisses between our ridiculous suggestions about our fellow travellers.

Hand in hand we walked from the station to our hotel. He told me about the latest project he was working on and I looked up at him, loving the passion and enthusiasm he had for his work. He explained how perfectionistic he was about it, that sometimes it slowed him down until he simply had to push through the night to get a piece finished. Completely opposite to my slap dash approach to anything I do.

Back in the room, we lay in each other’s arms on the giant bed. For once, we didn’t feel the desperate need to tear each other’s clothes off and explore each other. The inevitable sadness of our impending goodbye seemed to make us simply want to be like that… lying in each others arms, silent, listening to each other breathing, feeling our breathing synch.

His phone buzzed and he reached for it, glancing at the number on the screen.

“Sorry baby, I gotta take this,” and he rose up from the bed and answered the call. I used the opportunity to pack up my belongings, feeling sad that I had to catch a plane back to reality.

After about fifteen minutes, he covered the mouthpiece of his phone momentarily and whispered to me that he would be longer than a few minutes.

“Baby, this client is going crazy coz I took Friday off. I’ll need to talk to him for a while.”

My face fell, I did a WTF motion with my hands.

“Dave? Can I call you back in five? Cheers” and he hung up.

“Lexi I really can’t not call him back and talk this through. I’ll be an hour, hour and a half tops.”

“An hour?! A fucking hour and a half?! Are you kidding me Will? I gotta catch a plane in three hours!”

He ran his fingers through his hair and sighed.

“Fuck it! Lexi, this is my work…”

“You are seriously saying to me that you can’t call this… Dave in a few hours? Seriously?”

I heard my voice rising. I knew that last thing I wanted to be doing was fighting with him, but the feelings of despair and sadness at having to leave him that I had been struggling to contain were finally spilling over.

His brow creased and I watched annoyance and frustration cross his face.

“Do you really think I WANT to call him back rather than spend time with you? Really?! I fucking HAVE to, Lexi, I have to. I don’t have a husband back home bringing in the cash… Fuck! I’m sorry, I don’t know why I said that.”

He moved towards me but I backed up, horrified that he could take such a low shot.

I shook my head slowly, stunned by his remark.

“Go make your fucking call Will. I’ve got a husband to get back to, thanks for the reminder!” I grabbed my bags and tore my coat off the back of the chair and ran for the door, tears blinding me as I flung it open.

“LEXI! Don’t! Come here! Lexi!”

I ran to the elevator and jumped in as an older couple exited it, throwing glances of concern towards me.

I stabbed the 0 button, desperate to close the doors.

As I ran into the ladies room off the lobby I caught sight of Will exiting the other elevator, his head swiveling around searching for me.

 *

“Madam, are you alright?” the pretty BA steward touches my shoulder, bringing me back to reality.

“Yes, thank you, I’ll be ok, sorry,” apologising to the wrong person…

My face burns with shame as I remember hiding out in the ladies until it felt safe enough to risk the lobby again. Typical Lexi behaviour, hide from another confrontation. Coward!

Will was nowhere to be seen, so I made straight for the door and hailed the first black cab I saw.

I have not heard anything from Will, and now on the plane I must switch my phone off.

How could he not call me? Is this it? Are we over?

I close my eyes and accept that the next couple of hours are going to be torture…

FullSizeRender

*

Copyright, 2014 illicitthoughts.wordpress.com

All  rights  reserved.