Thursday, 19 March 2015

"Here I am, sane and dry"

"I stayed there, staring at myself in the glass. What do I want to cry about?.... On the contrary, it's when l am quite sane like this, when I have had a couple of extra drinks and am quite sane, that I realize how lucky I am.
Saved, rescued, fished-up, half drowned, out of the deep, dark river, dry clothes, hair shampooed and set. Nobody would know I had ever been in it. Except, of course, that there always remains something. Yes, there always remains something....Never mind, here I am, sane and dry, with my place to hide in. What more do I want?....I'm a bit of an automaton, but sane, surely - dry, cold and sane. Now I have forgotten about dark streets, dark rivers, the pain, the struggle and the drowning...."
Jean Rhys, Good Morning, Midnight

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Love. Sick.

And finally, today, I cried; soaked the tissues and pillowcase like I had been longing to do for weeks. The most I had been able to manage recently had been dry crying with a scrunched up face and aching heart. Such relief now to be able to physically release emotions other than vomit.

What words do I use to write about the last few weeks? Crippling, torturous anxiety, studying for finance exams, exercising and exercising, bingeing and vomiting, seeing Gareth, fucking Gareth, hating Gareth, exercising and exercising, bingeing and vomiting. Overcome by the fear and confusion and heartache. Studying for finance exams, but really just exercising and bingeing and vomiting.

By Banksy - a perfect representation of how I felt

The exams are done now and I have been free from those chains for a week - definitely alleviating a great deal of the pressure from my mental crumbling. I was close to slipping back under into the darkness. The darkness of having complete loss of control, complete loss of everything to the sickness in my brain.
days when it's a struggle
and the reoccurring thought is 'what's the point? why carry on?'
feeling helpless, recurringly helpless, empty, lonely, lost

Staying late to study after work or going in the office at weekends led to taking my illness to the office, emptying my stomach metres from the desks of my colleagues. On study days off from work, for the fourth time that day I stood, overcome, staring at the piles of protein bar wrappers and bread crumbs in dismayed horror. The wreckage, like the remains of my brains, splattered across the kitchen. I'm not going to lie, I was so frightened. I couldn't believe or understand how I had spiralled so quickly and so devastatingly. I thought I might die.
I haven't thought that in a very, very long time.

Somehow I am at a new low weight, incredible when you think of the amounts that I was bingeing on, even if I was constantly throwing up and exercising. I can't lie that's it's wonderful and liberating to walk around in tiny denim hot pants and not feel sick with embarrassment.

***

Since I last posted, Gareth and I have gotten together three more times: the week after that first time on another night out with work colleagues, and then twice this week since my exam has been over.
There's such a lot to fill you in on with Gareth, but I find myself with so very little to say. I kept trying to tell him that I didn't want to do it, calling him out for being a liar, for using me... and then just letting myself be used by him. Because I kept fucking wanting it, like the fucked up, lonely, desperate child I am. I feel like I should record the hours of talks, the anger I spat at him, the ignorance and confusion he feigned... but it seems so pointless, recording shitty conversations, words of no power.

Anyway, I think it is over now - although he is still desperate for us to remain friends. I stayed at his last night after some of us went to his place to watch the England football match, but I slept in another room despite us having his flat to ourselves. I think it had finally sunk in for him how much it was hurting me, and how serious I was about wanting to stop my feelings for him. In an ideal world I'd cut him out of my life and never see him again - but of course because he is at work that will never be 100% possible, and he is so adamant that he wants our friendship to continue just as it has before.
 
I really wanted to believe him, I really wanted to believe it could work out. But of course it can't. It would have burnt out anyway. He knows everything now, my history, my fragility, I told him it all hoping it might make him understand - or care.
It's like something finally clicked today, watching something on TV - a death, loss, hurt and sadness - which triggered the tears. The trigger is all I needed to remember what matters to me: to love and to be loved.
Gareth - shit, he's so cold, his heart is so cold. He's never laid a hand on me to give affection, he's only ever laid a hand to feel pleasure. He's a child who can't ever give me what I need: love and stability and strength.
 
It made sense: he thought I was a feisty, tough alpha-female, capable of eating men for breakfast - because that's how I talk and act. So I set him straight about who I am: "Through my fear and fragility I create the opposite image of not wanting the only thing I've ever wanted. It's so sad and ironic. It's sad that the tough girl act that's supposed to protect me from hurt, really doesn't protect me at all." It just makes people like him think that I don't need love and care.

I don't want to let another cold bastard near me again - the act just keeps attracting them. I have to drop the fake pretence and make it clear who I really am.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Wanting

We both knew what we wanted - of that there is absolutely no doubt.
We didn't have to say anything, from the start of the week, right up until the point where I was naked in his bed; we both knew.

About two weeks ago Gareth and a few of our colleagues had arranged to have a night out this Friday. We had a pretty tight knit group of 6 who often lunched together at work, but this was one of the few times we were actually going out together. From Monday Gareth was pestering me like he had before: 
"Are you coming out on Friday, are we going out out, are we gonna have a big one..." 
"Yes", I had replied, "of course." And I booked my waxing appointment and blowdry for Friday lunch, my mind made up about what I wanted. 
I had been thinking what would I regret more; sleeping with him or not sleeping with him. I decided on the latter. I'd not been with anyone since Joe left in January and more than that, thoughts of Gareth were continually running through my head. In meetings I would suddenly come to with a jerk having dozed off into reminiscing about his clothed body rubbing against mine two weeks ago.

When he came back from Barcelona it was terrible, I was wracked with anxiety and stress, wondering if he had slept with Naomi. I was snappy and highly-strung, lashing out at every little thing. Gareth noticed and kept asking me what was wrong. I knew he knew why, so I didn't feel the need to respond. 

When I messaged him about it later he said that nothing had happened between him and Naomi (don't worry I don't take his word for it) but having spent loads of time with her had made it difficult. 
I was exasperated more than angry. So I asked him, "Why don't you just tell me to forget everything that happened in the last few weeks? It was clearly just a mistake. That's fine."
"No, why do you think that?"
"Because all you keep telling me is how you might like Naomi! What am I supposed to take from that?!"
"It's not like that."
"I know I pretend to be a brave, hard bitch that doesn't care, but I do."
"I know you do. You don't have to tell me."


On Wednesday we had lunch together and I took the opportunity to speak to him about it face to face. He talked candidly about how tough he was finding it all. Of course I shouldn't have sympathy for a lying, cheating waste, but I understood to an extent. He told me this year had been the worst of his life, how he didn't know what to do, his girlfriend wanted to move in, etc, etc. I told him there was no point in life being perfect, that lessons were good for us, the more shit you go through the stronger you are: just like me.
Just like a mess like me.
"You really fucked things up between us you know," I said bluntly. 
"Did I!? Did I...", he bit his tounge not knowing what to say.
"Yep." I paused to wait for an apology or acknowledgement. None came. "You shouldn't have said the things you did to me. It was really unfair."
"But it was all true."
"NO. You said you knew what you wanted and your mind was made up. That isn't true!" 
I waited.
"Yeah, okay..." He said humbly, "I'm sorry."
I swallowed and looked away. "So I think we should go back to being just friends..." 
He nodded, clearly unable to speak/not knowing what to say.

And it could have been left just there. I cancelled my blowdry on Friday. But then it went back to "Are you coming out on Friday, are we going out out, are we gonna have a big one..."
And I rebooked the blowdry again. 
What would I regret more? 
 
The game, I still loved playing the game. Whatever happened, the aim of the game was to be the one on his mind on Friday, for him to want me. Always, I just wanted to be wanted.

And so Friday came, and I got my wax and I got my blowdry (Gareth loves curls on me), and I put on my pretty dress. And out we went with our group of friends. Throughout the evening there were moments here and there when I would catch his eye and we would give each other a knowing look. It's terrible that there was never really any doubt in my mind that we were going to sleep together that night. Finally, the others dropped off and Gareth, Kevin, Matt (both work colleagues that were good friends with Gareth - but not part of our original group that evening) headed out to our new favourite haunt - Cargo.

By the time we arrived it was gone 1am so we didn't have much time. The dynamics were quite strange in that Gareth was good friends with Kevin and Matt and made it clear that we would all stick together that evening. Also, I was having a harder time than usual crossing over the drunk line - obviously not stone cold sober, but with a lot clearer head that the last time we had been out. But then our problems were solved... in the middle of the dance floor, Kevin and Matt suddenly disappeared into thin air and we couldn't spot them anywhere. Before I knew it, Gareth was leading me over to the side and pulling me in to kiss. Of course I didn't relent.

Before closing at 3am we started looking for the two lost boys. Despite sending several messages, Gareth was getting no reply so we left and started walking back South. Neither of us mentioned the situation until I finally piped up: "So, would I be able to sleep on your sofa?" He said yes, one of his flatmates was away anyway so I could have his bed if I wanted. 

Shortly before we got to his flat, Kevin called to see where we were. Gareth told him and added that he could come and stay at his too. I was somewhere between shocked and confused. This must mean that I really WAS going to sleep in his flatmates bed and Gareth genuinely had no intention of sleeping with me. I am not going to lie, a part of me was disappointed, but a part of me respected this. When I had asked him if he was going to sleep with Naomi in Barcelona he had said "I'm not doing anything with anyone until I know what I want." I had also told him only a few days ago that we should go back to being just friends. 
It made sense. 
But it didn't make sense. We both knew why we were here, why we'd gone to so much effort to go out and go to Cargo - only 30 minutes ago he was kissing me up against a wall...

So we got to his, went to the kitchen, made a cup of tea and sat soberly in front of the TV. I felt awkward, unsure if he wanted me there, unsure of what had happened before and what to do now.
So I downed my cup of tea, stood up and asked if he had a spare t-shirt for me to sleep in as I was off to bed. He seemed subdued but I didn't know what else to do. I wasn't going to sit there drinking tea waiting for Kevin and Matt to arrive. He bought me a t-shirt and I thanked him and said goodnight, closing the bedroom door behind me. I got changed and got into bed.

Almost immediately, a methodical thudding began. Gareth was kicking a football against the wall of the corridor outside, thud, thud, thud. Two things - frustration and attention. I knew he was thinking about why I had just gone into a different bedroom on my own when we were alone in his flat together. I hesitated for a minute, and then decided I was sure enough in my thoughts and so was he. I poked my head round the door.
"What are you doing?!"
"Having a kick." He carried on, barely looking at me.
"Why?"
"Getting rid of steam."
"Well, go watch TV or something."
"No," he replied almost sulkily.
"Seriously..."
He stopped and came into the room, and I crawled back into the bed, aware of my state of half undress. He started playing with some of the things in the room, and then started joking and playing with me the way he did when he was trying to get close. Suddenly he paused at the end of the bed and looked at me for a moment.
"I'd like to cash in on the promise you made me about after Barcelona."
"Ohh." I looked at him intently, half smiling.
"You remember that don't you?"
I nodded, "Yes," and he grinned, climbed on to the bed and started kissing me.
"But Kevin is going to turn up at any minute!" I protested, genuinely anxious about him turning up on the doorstep in the middle of the situation.
"They're a good half an hour behind us," Gareth said confidently, "Don't worry."

We'd barely even started to get undressed when the doorbell started buzzing. It was Kevin, a lot earlier than anticipated.
"You've got to answer it," I said.
"It's ok, he'll go away," said Gareth, carrying on.
The buzzing persisted, and after getting no response with that, banging and clanging started. We tried to block it out, but it continued, more and more aggressive and frightening.
"You have to answer it," I insisted again. "He's your friend."
"It's fine, seriously, he'll leave in a minute."
But he was clearly not going anywhere.
"He's going to wake other people up!" I said, genuinely fearful of the absolute racket that was being made.
Buzzing and buzzing, banging and clanging.
I pushed Gareth off me. "I'm sorry," I said, "I can't do this while he's outside making this racket."
It was almost funny; what we'd been thinking about for so long, was so close to happening, and then foiled just as we'd decided to make the leap.

We agreed that I would stay in his flatmates room and he would say that he had been asleep and not heard the noise. He turned the light off and went to let Kevin and Matt in. I hid down under my covers and dozed off.

I was woken up shortly afterwards by my phone buzzing. It was Gareth calling. Confused and half-asleep I answered.
"Well that was bad timing," he said.
I laughed softly, "Yeah.." I asked where Kevin and Matt were and he told me they were asleep in the living room. He told me to sneak into his room next door.
I had fallen asleep before even having had the time or energy to think about what had happened and whether we would get the chance for it to happen again. Gareth had clearly gone back to his room and thought out a plan to get round it easily.

So I sneaked into his room.
"So are we going to do this all over the bank holiday?" he asked. (Gareth, Kevin, me and a few others were planning to go away on a trip at the next weekend.)
"That's the only reason I'm going". I replied.
But all the time he kept holding back - he didn't want them to hear - didn't want Kevin to know - can't go crazy - I just can't relax....
And he asked me to sneak back out  of his room again when it was over - in case Kevin should walk in.
"In the morning, after they've gone, we can go crazy," he said.

But the morning came, and by 11am, I could still hear voices. I wasn't going to try and out-wait Kevin and Matt like a fool. So I got dressed and poked my head round the kitchen door where the voices were coming from. As it was, only Matt was still there, but it was clear that he had no intention of leaving anytime soon. I immediately announced that I was leaving, wanting to get away as quickly as possible. Gareth and I looked at each other. "Ok", he said, clearly both wanting to say more but unable to with Matt there. He said everything he needed to with the sorry look in his eyes.

Then, Gareth asked me if I'd heard any banging last night. "No?" I replied as innocently as I could, and Matt told me how they had been ringing and banging to be let it. "Oh no..." I said, acutely aware that my acting skills were terrible in the heat of the moment. So I backed out as quickly as I could and said goodbye.

A few hours later Gareth sent me a message:
"Hope you got back ok. I am off home for the weekend to see the parents, girlfriend and co. Enjoy your weekend :) "

I chose this with my eyes fully open. We both knew what we were doing.


 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

"Just another stage - pageant the pain away"


"People always leave." That's what I'd told my therapist in one of our last sessions together. "Men always leave. They will die or leave you for someone or something else. That's what I've seen from my life."

There was never a man standing by my side to hold my hand or look after me. Even now I make it clear that is neither what I expect or even want from a relationship. I've never been anybody's little princess. I could never be. The thought of someone looking after me and doting on me and treating me 'like a princess' feels so wrong. It feels WRONG?! 
I want to be an equal. I want to split the bill for dinner. I don't want to feel owned or controlled in any way. I want to know that he isn't weak and needy. Because however weak and needy I am, I will never, ever display that side to him. 

And that's where it goes wrong. Sure Gareth knows I have issues with food and how I look (note: 'issues' not bulimia). But the girl he has hung out with for the last 6 months is also outspoken, bold, strong, fun-loving, tough, independent and takes no shit.
Sound like me?
Or sound like my favourite role play? 
Damn the stage. Why can't I get down off it.
 
He thinks I'm the type of girl who will go out and have a bit of fun and not give a damn about the consequences. He thinks I'm the type of girl that HE can have a bit of fun with. Cos I'm THAT type of girl. 
 
And I'll hold my hands up. It's totally my fault he thinks that. Because that's the role I play. 
And the award for best actress goes to... 
 
Why do I act? Cos I'm the opposite: fragile, lonely, frightened, bruised and hurting. And oh my god, how desperately  I don't ever want a man to see that. I don't ever want a man to know that he can hurt me so easily. I want him to know that when he leaves I won't give a shit because I've got it all sorted on my own. Men always leave. 
 
I like Gareth because I know he'd leave. He'd cheat and lie and ultimately leave. Successfully fulfilling my prohecy. My therapist had said that's why I chose them. 
 
Even that stupid boy Joe. I tried to do the right thing and date the straight, boring good boy. And he fucking left me anyway. Fucked off on a tour of South America for 4 months while my brain and body were breaking down. Ok, I could have kept up the pretence if I'd wanted to and stayed with him for this time. But almost as soon as he'd got on the plane the love had been completely drained. He wasn't my boyfriend, he was a stranger, sending me sporadic whatsapp messages. A stranger, indifferently typing: 'I miss you' or 'I love you'. When I broke it off he didn't fight back. He just said, "I suppose it's for the best right?" He didn't want to fight for me. 
He let me walk away and didn't look back.
 
Gareth gets back from Barcelona today. I had set myself a challenge of not mesaging him. Unfortunately I broke. And he hasn't replied (granted he probably doesn't have wifi for whatsapp). But still it was enough to make me spiral. Yesterday was a three time binge and vom. Sneaking off to the corner shops to buy cake and stuff it into my face before I came back. Purge, purge, purge. Purging myself of all the pain - no, of all the numbness, of all the sickness. I've also been exercising like crazy - obviously - since Gareth and I both both work out in the bank gym together. I want to be the super hot girl with the abs in the crop top and tiny shorts.


Yes. Just another stage.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

"Feeling 22, acting 17"

Except at 26, neither feeling 22 nor acting 17 is okay.

All the secrets I have to keep.

I can't tell anyone what I did last night. Except the whole world here, with my anonymous face.
Hiding.

Because I know I should be ashamed.

In Pieces: a Collection of Surrealist and Silent Short Stories, Inspired by Everyday Life and Human Relationships

Marion Fayolle

All week I had been thinking about Gareth. Thinking, longing, dreaming - at the expense of my work and my sanity.
But the strangest thing happened to my eating. No binges, no starving, no vomiting, just level-headed control. Was it the faux joy?

We spoke every day: whatsapp, office messenger, lunches in the bank restaurant and 'meetings' in the bank coffee shop, sessions in the gym and runs along embankment. No sense for being sensible and holding back, getting closer and closer. I wanted to be closer and closer. I kept thinking about having my hands on him. Fuck him. Fuck him for literally putting those thoughts firmly in my mind. And damn me for going back to being the fuck up I'd suppressed for so long.

It's no coincidence that my one-year hiatus from the blog coincided with my one-year relationship with Joe. No drama, literally no drama, no trouble, no distractions, just calm: A falling asleep of the senses.

Look at me now, behaving like the girl I was at 17, at 22. A flirt and a mess, choosing the pretty boys over everything else. I should be a fucking grown up.



I didn't go on my date with Josh. Instead I went out with Gareth, his flatmate and two of his flatmates friends. There was something fateful in us ending up in Cargo (club in Shoreditch) again. Like some crazy deja vu - except this time we could do it all the way we wanted to: we could kiss.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry for feeling the thrill when I was getting ready, putting on my dress and heels, looking into the mirror and knowing it was still going to happen however I looked. I'm sorry for wanting it.

Before I left the house I made the decision I wasn't going to have sex with him - and ensured that I wouldn't be tempted by not doing my usual preparations.

And so I finally got to do what I'd wanted to do a month ago - I kissed Gareth in Cargo. Kissed and kissed him. I nearly died of joy when he lifted me and kissed me - like I'd only seen in movies before. I could let go, I could be, I could live and feel and breathe...

I went back to his, asking to sleep on his floor. The sofa was taken up by the flatmates friend. Gareth's floor was hard and cold. So I got into his bed. And so did he.

I kept myself clothed - my underwear and one of his t-shirts. He kissed me, and tried, and I relented a little - but I refused to allow his hands under my clothes and refused to sleep with him. I thanked myself for my forward thinking.

And then he let me go and poured his heart out: How he didn't want to break up with his girlfriend and make a mistake, but how he could never propose to someone when so many people knew what he'd done, how it felt at the bank with everyone knowing, that it would only be acceptable for him now to be with Naomi - the girl he'd been sleeping with at the bank (she has a boyfriend so this is not a simple solution either), that he'd have to leave the bank, that he'd been so distracted and substandard at work, that he didn't know how he felt about Naomi and if he had stronger feelings for her. And then the best bit: he, Naomi, Kevin and a number of other their friends at the bank are going on a holiday to Barcelona on Wednesday (yes I know, fucking hell), how it's expected that he and Naomi will sleep together because everyone knows, how Kevin encourages it, how Kevin is jealous of him and Naomi, how it's all a mess, Ophelia, it's such a mess...

I felt utterly deflated.
Two things weren't as true and clear as he had made out to me in his messages: he was not going to leave his girlfriend for me, and he was not going to forget about Naomi so easily.

"Why did you say the things to me that you did?" I said sadly and quietly.
"Because it's true, if I were single..."

And then he seemed to think it was ok to carry on kissing me more, like I couldn't hear and couldn't feel.

And I seemed to think it was ok to say I'd sleep with him when he came back from Barcelona.




Saturday, 26 April 2014

...good things come to those who wait

Funny, the way things work out.

I got sick of waiting for Josh to text me, so on Wednesday I tracked him down on facebook, added him, messaged him, and set up a date for next Friday.
Life is SO much simpler when the woman takes initiative.

Gareth - the hot 22 year old working in my department - is also one of my best friends at the bank, so obviously I'd been discussing the situation with Josh with him a great deal. On the few occasions when I'd been out in a bar or club together with Gareth and other work mates, the sexual tension been between us had been unbearable. However, considering the fact that he has a girlfriend and I also knew he was sleeping with a girl in another department of the bank, I stayed well enough alone. Since the time we were in Cargo a month ago though things had gotten more tense - he'd been keen to keep going out (with other work people too of course) and I'd kept pushing back for fear that the next time would be the time we overstepped the line.

On Friday we decided to go the gym for a workout together - normal enough, we'd worked out together before. We were joined by another of our friends Kevin and worked our way though a routine of weights, deadlifts and boxing before heading for a casual chicken protein dinner at Nando's. The banter of course with Gareth and Kevin is great, I get along with them really well. Jokes were flying around about Gareth and the girl he's sleeping with, and we laughed about the date I had set up for myself next week.

And then when I got home, Gareth and I started messaging - again, reasonably normal. Until he started saying "you can do much better than Josh"... and "you're a catch"... and "if only I were single"... and "basically telling you I fancy you"...
I didn't know how to respond until it got to the point where he was point blank asking me to respond. So I told him the truth: "At Cargo, all I wanted to do was kiss you."
He replied that he had felt the same. And then he hit me with something completely unexpected:


Well, unexpected, yes. Genuine? Apparently so, after speaking again today. It's not a bad situation in a way - Gareth and I are close work friends - to the extent that there's not much he doesn't know about me - he knows I've struggled with depression, he knows I have image and self-esteem issues. He's even seen me with the terrible rash on my face recently and still considers me attractive.
I mean - what's not great about that situation?

What's not great is the other girl at work he's been sleeping with. Although he claims that is over and he doesn't like her anymore, it doesn't change the fact that my colleagues and I have been bitching about him behind his back - and I definitely haven't been quiet about my disapproval. If Gareth and I were to start dating - and if it got to the point where it was serious and official - telling our other work friends would be both devastating and humiliating.

I've bitched about Gareth behind his back - A LOT. And here I am. Going to do this.
It's going to be another three weeks at least until he sees his girlfriend again to break up with her. I just have to hold off until then. And hope that this works out okay...

To be honest, I'm not really sure what I'm doing...









Sunday, 20 April 2014

Super cool, laidback chick

Well, it has been a year since I came here to write.
I put the blog to sleep - made it private - couldn't bear to delete it permanently of course (it would be like deleting pages and pages of my life - pages that have made me who I am today).

Why am I back? I suppose I was feeling my mind start to disintegrate again, the edges wearing down, another day spent not able to get out of bed, another night of bad dreams and waking up in a sweat, another binge and purge too many...

So the last time I saw you, I had got everything I wanted - the boyfriend, the job. You'll be pleased to know that I still have the job at The Bank. But the relationship with Joe crumbled. He decided to take a 4 month trip to South America to 'travel'. I don't know what I thought would happen - but at any rate, it happened that I fell out of love - or perhaps it confirmed I wasn't in love.

Since he left at the end of January, my weekends turned into long, dark days hiding in my room. He was the only reason I usually got out of the house and now that he was gone there was nothing to replace him, nothing to distract me from the vortex of my brain. To top it off, I developed a horrible rash on my face that still persists today - at its worst, bright red and burning skin enveloped my eyes and forehead, forcing me to go to work in glasses and no make-up. I felt disgusting - and logically justified in my sentiment.

It felt like God was teaching me a lesson and punishing me for being so obsessed with how I look. I had no choice but to turn up to work and go to meetings looking like an ugly mess. I had to hold my head up and pretend that I didn't care how I looked. I had to pretend that I didn't care. But fuck, how I fucking cared. How it fucking ripped me up everyday to look in the mirror and despair that I couldn't fix it. On top of this I had started weight training sessions with a personal trainer - too ashamed to tell her my eating disorder history, she put on me a manic high-protein, low cal diet, making me write down everything I ate - I mean obviously I just spiralled completely out of control. The reigeme pressed every single big red button that I had and my head exploded with the pressure. I stopped the personal training.

I was supposed to go and visit Joe in Peru at the end of February. I didn't go - I didn't want to waste the money on seeing him, I didn't want to have to have sex with him, I didn't want to go and pretend that I loved him. He wasn't here when I needed him.

I pulled the plug officially 3 weeks ago today. I didn't cry and I don't miss him.

I miss having a boyfriend, but I don't miss him.

Two weeks after the break up I found myself sitting in a bar by Bank with my work colleagues to be 'set up' with a friend of one of the guys I work with. It had seemed like a great idea at the time; so exiting to have a reason to get dressed up again, so thrilling to feel the buzz in my body and my pulse racing. When it came to it though I choked. Aware that all eyes were on us all the time, I found it impossible to flirt or be my usual forward self. What was wrong with me? Flirting was my forte, this was what I loved to do...

His name was Josh. Tall, tanned, lovely dark eyes and dark hair, a bit too on the skinny side for me, but hey, you can't have everything. We spoke briefly - the usual things, what do you do, where do you live, etc. And then I left it. I couldn't do it. It didn't help that he was also extremely shy, so if I wasn't going to get the ball rolling, he almost certainly wasn't. This has been proven by the fact that although he has my number, he still has not contacted me. According to my work friend Sam, this is because he was busy all last week - so will text this week. Right...so a message to me saying that would have been far too difficult?

As usual, being the super-cool, laidback chick that I am, I have been mental about it. Barely able to sleep for the first few days afterwards hoping that a message would come in the middle of the night, dreaming that my phone had vibrated, hating myself for being so useless and such an undesirable failure. Fuck. Why could he not just message me. If he had ANY idea of how mental this was making me...

So let's see what happens...

Oh I forgot to mention, I'm not actually even sure if I even like him yet.


So the last week has been particularly hard on the old mental health. Thursday was the first time that I threw up in the toilets at The Bank - having made it a good 6 months at my new workplace without this occurring was pretty good (I'm pretty much exclusively an evening vomiter - apart from weekends where anything goes).

I feel at this point, I should mention goings on at work a bit. On Thursday I was due to be going out for some drinks, etc with a few people at work - more specifically a dreadfully good-looking 22 year-old called Gareth who works in my department and is notoriously cheating on his girlfriend. Basically the eating of chocolate and then vomiting in the basement toilets at work put an end to that - but I was also conscious that it was an extremely bad idea to go out and have a wild night with a guy with whom there was some (albeit fucked up) sexual tension. We had gone out just over a month ago to a friend's party at Cargo in Shoreditch and were the last two left at the end - dancing way too close and way too provocatively - and God help me, I don't know how we didn't end up kissing.

And Sam, the work friend that set me up with Josh. Not drop-dead handsome like Gareth, but (somebody help me!) I feel myself getting more and more attracted to him every day and it SUCKS because I can't go there and would never go there.

So like I said, chilled, laidback. Nothing going on here.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

What is wrong with this picture?

Two months ago a wonderful guy asked me to be his girlfriend.
Three weeks ago I got my dream job at my dream bank.
One week ago I ran a marathon.
I painted on a bright red smile, zipped up the tight red dress and strode in sky high red shoes.

I am finally the girl who has everything.

This was what I had been dreaming, praying, wishing, working, crying and dying for since I was a girl.


And you think that's it, that's the end of the fairytale. Except you can't be a fairytale princess when you're black inside.
Black from the rot and the vomit and the pills.

You look at me and see the girl who has everything. Oh god, if they knew the truth.

I can't stop it. At the end of the fairytale, I can't let go of the eating disorder. I can't stop it.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Joe


"Why did you ask me out?"
He paused for a few moments and considered his words.
"Because I think you're really pretty. And I wanted to get to know you better."

And on our fifth date, with those words, he dealt me another death sentence.
Something inside me was desperately crying out for him to like me for more than how I looked. But of course I knew. It always is. Always.

In my heart of hearts I know he is not the same, not as bad, not as soulless as the other men I'd known. But still, same enough in that respect.

He tells me he thinks Miranda Kerr is really beautiful. Visions of her pencil-thin legs haunt me. I look at pictures of her and see I am twice her size.
I choke.



I have written about all the guys I've fallen for since I've been blogging but as yet have told you very little about Joe - the 'nice boy' mentioned in my last few posts. When I read my old posts about Theo, Alex, and all the others, it has served to give me peace and relief and I love having my memories and emotions collected so fully. I am a product of all my past experiences.

Joe. I want to make sure I have chronicled him too. He makes me smile, makes me feel grateful and blessed. Because he is so completely different to any of the boys I have ever known, ever dated. And only now can I appreciate how wonderful it is.
I have always gone for the stereotypical good-looking, charming, arrogant boys. The ones who I had to fight for and work for. The ones who burnt my lips when I kissed them and caused sparks in the bedroom. Joe is not that boy - because he's not a 'player', 'womaniser', 'chauvinist', 'lad'...

His respect towards me was mind-blowing. I have never taken things so slowly before. I have always kissed a guy, and usually slept with him too before I spend quality time with him. In the beginning, things seemed so slow that I thought there was something wrong and was convinced it wasn't working. We didn't kiss until the third date - when as my tube train approached and I said goodbye, I decided I had to move in and make it happen. The train came and left, we carried on kissing until the next one came along.


Although our first date was in mid-October, due to us both having exams and then him going on holiday for three weeks, our dating momentum didn't start to pick up until mid-December. Whereas before my feelings for him had been lukewarm at best, he started to melt me bit by bit - taking me to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and Ice Skating at Somerset House - the kind of things that I had always wanted to do with a guy, but had never, never found someone to do them with. In comparison, Theo was hands down, 100%, not the type of guy that would ever have taken me to do fun things - if it didn't involve alcohol, sex or food, we didn't do it. Whereas Theo would routinely ignore my texts and calls, Joe never once let me down. I kept expecting him to ignore me or push me away. But he never let me down.

As we started to talk more about our past, I knew it was time to take the plunge and tell him about my eating disorder and recovery. He barely reacted. "I still like you", he said. I am the thinnest I have been in years, so I guess it doesn't matter if I still throw up and over-exercise.


After these dates I had no doubt in my mind that Joe was a keeper.
But nothing is that simple.

Sure, he was ten times the man that Theo was. But. I was crazy about Theo, he infected me, we sparked and burnt and made fire together.
I didn't feel that with Joe. Sure, I liked him, but I knew what it was like to have a passionate connection with someone - and I didn't feel that with him.
"Give it time", my friends said, "Often the best love and relationships take time to grow".

Following date number six, we were comfortable enough together and had made out enough that I determined it was time to take it to the next level. Maybe if we spent the night together it would bring us to the place I wanted.

So on Friday, I booked us into a hotel. We went out for drinks and once things had heated up, I led him back to the room.


---


Joe is not Theo. They are two completely different men, and I have to accept that. I cannot love in Joe what I had loved in Theo - the passion, the animalism, the deep conversations, the excitement...

But, I can love in Joe, qualities that Theo didn't even posessess - the honesty, the kindness, the heart, the smile.

I have to wonder though, what Joe likes about me, and I worry that I know the answer all too well.
"You're really hot."
"Is that the only reason you like me?"
"No.... Yes... I'm kidding..."

It's funny, the years I starved and threw up and cried, wishing and wanting to be pretty enough for a guy. In the end it's not what you really want. You just want him to love you for who you are inside.


.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Happy

Being thin and beautiful does not make you happy.

I rarely like to talk about other people I know in this blog, but I think this is a great case in point - an image of everything I do not want to be, and was so very nearly close to becoming...

Two Friday's ago I went to catch up with a girl I worked with in my old job, Millie. She has long spiderly legs and a beautiful face. In a nutshell, she is thin and beautiful. I wrote about her first day in the office here.

She can get any guy she wants, has men begging to take her out, dates a different guy every month, sometimes every week.
This first time I saw her again since leaving that job, and she had invited me to a dinner party with some posh public schoolboy bankers. I don't want to write so much about the evening (which was a real non-event in terms of men) but more about her. She is 29, only left university the year before, had been very lost in life, and is still very lost in life.

If God allowed me to name three people I knew who I wanted complete happiness for, she would be one of them.

One of the things I understand most about Millie is her need for male attention. She has to be adored by men (and usually is) in every situation she is in. For all of the show and charisma and charm, I can see she is insecure and full of pain. A lot like me when I am on 'the stage'.
The ironic thing is that she wants a man so much - and indeed can usually get any man she wants - but can never keep them, because they can never deal with the craziness and instability and neediness.

I left that job in the City at the end of July and started in commodities trading in Mayfair. I swapped the big bustle for the small and secure. My office now is tiny, with a number of middle-aged men - no drama, no dressing up. My life is so much quieter and I am so much more at peace now. I wear flat shoes in the office. Sometimes, I don't even wear any eyemake up. Yes, dammit, I look plain.

But it's ok.

When I left my last job, one of the guys in the department I had wanted to join told me:
"Ophelia, keep working hard, do what you do with passion and you will succeed. And remember, you are fighting for a place in a man's world - I'm sorry but it is - and in a man's world, no one cares how expensive your shoes were, they only care about your brain."

I took that on board.

I worked incredibly hard to move departments in my old job, and because of office politics was denied the great opportunity I was right for. However, I got this new opportunity off the back of all that hard work and off the back of great recommendations from those in the office I had impressed. I did not get this job because of how I looked. I got this job because of my brain. I am respected and valued by those I work with because of how well I perform.

As I sat with Millie that Friday night, I listened to how she had taken clients out for lunch, flirted, how he complemented her on her tight dress:
"Damn right you appreciate it, I wore it just to get your signature on the paper!"
That was her life. Entertaining clients, flirting with them, making them feel special. Expensive dresses and shoes. Cocktails and sushi at the City's most exclusive restaurants.
And to talk to her, you would think she was living the dream.
But I know that she is not. I know she survives thanks to alcohol and cocaine. I know how much she cries every time another man walks away. I know how lonely she feels.

Being away from that world has been very good for me. And talking to Millie, I thanked my lucky stars that I had gotten away. If I had stayed, I could see myself turning into her. And that life is NOT what I want anymore. I do not want men that see me as another piece of ass. I do not want to have to dress up, vie for attention and receive it only when I look good enough. That life fucking destroyed me.

When I left that job I was distraught, because I really wanted 2012 to be the year I made it - the year when I was beautiful, thin, and extremely successful. Fuck, you know what, I have made it, I'm at peace, have a fulfilling job, and I don't feel the emptiness that I used to feel from putting everything into my looks.

Neither am I interested in the guys that I used to go for.

I went out with the nice boy again. He took me to the cinema to see Skyfall. It was the first time in a year that I went out with a guy in flat shoes and without getting my hair blow dried and styled at the hairdresser.
And he didn't even try and make a move. Usually that is the first thing a man does before even asking my name.

At first I didn't think I could be attracted to a guy like that, I didn't think that he would excite any passion in me. But maybe I am growing up. Having spent all day wishing I could muster up the courage to make an excuse and cancel on him, I was so glad I didn't. I smiled all the way home.
I could definitely love a man like that - safe. I think he would make me very happy - or happy in the way the usual definition of happy - safe, secure, content, loved.

You see, before, I thought that happiness was feeling high, feeling lust, feeling glamorous and adored. But I've found a new spot inside me now, in my heart, where I am feeling something for the first time - from quiet weekends, from enjoying work, from having time to relax, from being comfortable in my own skin, from being so much more me. For the first time, I almost feel blessed.

As Mary J Blige sung:

No more pain, no more game, no drama - no more drama in my life, no-one's gonna make me hurt again
No more tears, no more fears, no drama - no more drama in my life, I don't ever wanna hurt again...











Sunday, 21 October 2012

September and October in a sort of nutshell

I am fat.
And yet, I'm the same size that I've been for a year. I'm not fatter.
Shut up Ophelia.
I have actually really been fatter than this - and I survived it.
But I'm sure when I was fatter I was just as anxious and unhappy as I am now.

My unhappiness is not a function of my weight.

Oliver has disappeared off the face of the earth and while any boy would be likely to disappear off the face of the earth during his freshers at university, it left me feeling like a fat old woman.

I can physically feel the grip of my eating disorder again. I can feel her hands around my neck, the all-consuming presence of her face in my mind, conscious of my fat body at every moment, seeing all the rolls, the spread, that face.
The fear every morning when I have to get dressed, the fear of wearing trousers, a skirt, my bra digging into my back fat, my arms, my belly. Bend over and pinch the roll. It's not bigger...and yet it FEELS disgusting and out of control.
I brush my teeth at the sink, the house echoing with loneliness. The one thing my mother forced upon me was extreme loneliness.

I came across this description of mental illness and I thought it was possibly the most perfect description I had ever seen:

"Most of these patients ain't dumb, they ain't crazy, they just have had crazy things happen in their lives and couldn't handle it, and that's why they're here."...The best way I can describe most patients' situations is that crazy things happen in their lives - a kid is witness to domestic violence or is abused (verbally, physically, emotionally, and/or sexually), a teen feels out of control when her parents divorce and start restricting her eating, an adult couldn't handle the pain from multiple surgeries and turns to drugs - and their minds just can't take it. Something inside breaks and they snap. These people try to resolve things and find an outlet for the trauma of their minds and find themselves repeatedly bashing their heads against a proverbial wall."
http://tmww.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/ending-with-crazies.html

That's it. I am not a bad person. I am not evil or possessed. Things happened that I couldn't deal with, things that, for all my intelligence, my brain couldn't process, because there was never anyone around to love me and comfort me: the wires in my brain overheated and fried, burnt out.
And nothing connected or worked properly anymore. Thoughts became illogical, emotions became irrational. I became wrong.
I was not born this way. I was born normal and happy. I just unravelled.

I know that if I was broken, I can be fixed. I went five days without a binge/purge this week - the first time since May I've managed that long.


So what's been going on? I've been staying pretty safe. Apart from my birthday in which I got dreadfully drunk and cried for three days straight.
I cried it out with my therapist. I suppose I got so upset because I felt so unworthy of being loved and so frightened of losing my friends and being alone. I felt like I had abandoned them by getting drunk. Theo turned up that night and I told him I loved him and why didn't he love me. He told me he wasn't ready. He wasn't ready. He wanted to get drunk and high and fuck whores. He wasn't ready to be loved by me; he wasn't ready to be a man.

A week later I saw him again at a friend's work leaving drinks. He could barely look me in the eye and could only give me one word answers. He hated being seen talking to me. It was like he hated me, couldn't bare to be around me, couldn't run away fast enough.

I hated him. I hate him. I hate myself for giving up so much, trying so hard, having the feelings that I did/do.

I saw Alex on Tuesday at a club reunion - it was the first time I had seen him since we broke up in August 2010. I had just heard a few weeks ago that he had broken up with his girlfriend after cheating on her with the girlfriend of one of our mutual friends. I was more saddened than shocked. When I had met him, he had been the most kind, honest, genuine boy I'd ever known. The Club had turned him into another stereotypical arrogant, obnoxious, mysogynistic, white, privileged public-schoolboy dickhead who think it is their RIGHT to sleep around.

I told him this when I saw him (in much less offensive and aggressive language.) But added that I would always hold him in high esteem because I remembered the lovely boy he used to be, and I knew that he still existed underneath.
He told me he was now getting counselling. I was so pleased, so genuinely happy when he told me this. He was going to be ok, he was going to learn from this mistake and he was going to go back to being the wonderful man that he had been brought up to be.

I was moved by the love that I still had in my heart for him. So different to the love I used to feel, but an overwhelming desire for him to be happy and to be a good person. I did not want to hate him.

My strongest feeling, however was in wishing that Theo would do the same - face up to his problems and get help. He was so the opposite - it was almost as if he wanted people to hate him and think he was an arrogant playboy bastard. Everyone I know thinks this about him. I shake my head at them: "The Theo I know is insecure, awkward and unhappy."

But you know what, it is not my problem to try and help him anymore. I would love to meet him in two years - like I have just done with Alex - and find him on the path to becoming a man. But I know I will find him on a path worse than the one he is on now. But I have done everything I can to try to help him and love him.

There's the difference: those of us who hold our hands up and say "I'm a disgrace and a destructive mess, please help me," and those who give in and say, as Theo often did to me: "I will never change."

I had bigger balls than him, stronger spirit, greater courage, conviction and passion. I didn't want a man to lean on and provide for me - I will always do that for myself. And I don't think he could deal with me being stronger than him.


Anyway, I went out with another guy on Friday. Here's the brief I sent to my friend (who is always lamenting my boy-chasing behaviour):

- I meet cute boy at friends birthday two weeks ago
- I think about asking him to my birthday. But I do nothing.
- Boy comes to my birthday with my friend. I am overjoyed. I speak to him.
- I leave without saying goodbye to him (ok admittedly I left without saying goodbye to anyone because I was bundled half-conscious into a taxi)
- I think about searching for him on facebook. But I do nothing.
- Boy adds me on facebook
- I wait a while. I accept.
- I think about messaging him. But I do nothing.
- Last night boy messages me.
- I think about how right you were.

Ok - not gonna lie - a lot of my inaction was largely due to my crying over my birthday/Theo. But it was pretty cool and did perk me up somewhat to be chased for a change. (Men are the biggest boost to my self-esteem/happiness).

So he asked me out for a drink, and after some debating (I typically stop fancying a guy as soon as he is in to me and I've won 'The Game'), I decided to give the whole 'nice guy' thing a go. After all, I have to grow up and have a proper adult relationship with someone sane at some point...right?

We went to a bar in Covent Garden. It was raining manically so I spent the whole evening trying to sneak a view of myself in a mirror to see if my perfectly coiffed hair had turned into an afro yet.
Sigh.
soooooooo.
Look, the guy is really nice - so nice and down-to-earth he's never been out on the Kings Road. Sigh. What was missing? The fact that I didn't want to push him up against the wall and have incredible sex with him. That was what was missing. I mean. Do nice boys do incredible sex?

I'm doubtful.


I want a challenge, I want a guy who I am not good enough for. I want a guy I can push myself and hurt myself for. A guy who accepts nothing less than perfection.
But I have to stop now. I have to stop and give in to mediocre in-between. content. Dying for perfection, for the wonderful game, for the thrills and challenges and dramas. Is still just dying.



Sunday, 2 September 2012

In bed

I started to cry as I forced another spoonful of cereal into my mouth.

I am too scared to stand on the scales. I am too scared to go to work tomorrow. I am too scared to go to my therapy session.
Oh God, I don't want to do it. I want to believe this is just the depression talking. I don't want to feel like this anymore. I don't want to... it is so frightening. The way I felt at the end of 2010, I swore I'd never feel it again... In my first post of 2012 I wrote that this would be the year. It's just another year of failure. My career thrown off the rails, my eating disorder back to its worst...Everything...I failed.

I can't start to comprehend how I did this.

How the fucking hell did this happen. I want to say it's not fair. But deep down I can only blame myself. I mean, it has to be me, it has to be me, what else is there, it must be me, evil and tainted and cursed.

I want to stop myself from sinking under, I know that I am a fighter, that I always fight my way back up to the surface, kicking and screaming for air. But, knowing that isn't enough. The here and now is too much, too painful.

God dammit, I just don't want to go to work tomorrow. I cannot bear it. I cannot bear to sit in front of my doctor again and try and tell her how awful things are. I can't.


I want to run away again, like I did last time, but further. I want to run away from the pressure, the memories, the people who remember me, the shops and the money, the men and their eyes, the application forms and failure, the women and their fucking judgement.
I feel so suffocated by my identity - because it is not connected to the heart beating in my chest.

I can't go away, I can't run, because I am tied here by my mother. As she has done for 24 years, she ties me down to my identity. I can't run away and give up because I have to prove THEM wrong, I have to show them how great I did without them and despite them. THEM. Alex, Theo, the girls from school, the pigs from university, the bastards I used to work for, the privileged City Boys I hate but don't even know.

"What did you do over the Bank Holiday weekend Ophelia?"
"Oh nothing really... I just lay in bed for three days." I shrugged my shoulders casually.
They looked at me almost confused and said nothing. My reply had been truthful and matter of fact; to them it was sad and awkward. They had asked the question politely with no expectation of receiving that sort of answer. And only when they looked at me in that way did I realise how sad and inappropriate it had been to say.
I have wasted so much of my life curled up in my bed unable to bear my life and my identity.



"As psychologists we believe that memory is the essence of who you are. We believe that unless you know where you've come from, you cannot place yourself in the present and then you cannot plan things going forward."

Monday, 27 August 2012

"Rigid, the skeleton of habit alone upholds the human frame"

I have neglected to talk about my eating disorder for a while.
In some ways I feel like I don't have an eating disorder anymore because it has become so normal it barely hurts. On average I am throwing up once a day - of course at weekends this can often be up to three or four times a day.
Being off work for two weeks between jobs was dreadful. While I had time to run between 6-20 miles a day, I also had time to eat and throw up several times a day.

There was a period - April to May - when things really started to settle down. I was throwing up once or twice a week, my weight was stable, I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner... but I was also going to bed at 9pm and getting up at 5am, studying and staying safe, never going out, never drinking, never getting on to the stage...

Weight wise I'm actually exactly the same. I have not lost or put on anything. But it all unravelled after I finished my exams, applied for the new position, got turned down, quit my job, begged for Theo...

Sure, I made progress for about two months, really started to get back on the road to health... but then, I just came back again. I'm exactly the same as how I have been for so long. Bulimic,

But it isn't the eating disorder that makes me cry or makes me fearful of getting out of bed. The eating disorder is just this thing on the side, a reaction or response to my pain, but not the cause of the pain.

And there isn't anybody that knows. I suppose my therapist does, but it feels like we've all but given up on the physical eating problems now - "You know all of this." Yes, yes I do, I've been in treatment for two years. Like a crutch. A crutch that I put away in a corner and forget about until the time comes for me to walk through the hospital doors and sit in the waiting room to see her again. I don't deal with it inbetween sessions.

So, nobody. Mum doesn't know.
"Have you been sick again?" "You still have eating problems don't you!"
"No Mum." End of conversation.
None of my friends know, especially none of the friends I have made in the last year. I mean... it's just not done when you're a 24 year old adult . What the hell would they say to me?
Maybe Theo knew. Ah, but then he is a man, he would only think I were ill if I were desperately stick thin... if Theo knew he just let me get on with it.

Nobody, and I've barely even written about it here very much. And this is what I mean. I feel like I don't have an eating disorder any more. It's just a part of my life. I just do it and carry on. I just do this. i just do

I'll stop next week, I say. I'll stop after I've seen Theo for the last time, after I go out with Oliver, after this weekend, after, after,
I'll look at some thinspo this evening. And then I'll stop.
He'll love me if I'm thin. I'm a wonderful, intelligent, kind, loving woman. But he'll love me if I'm thin. They will love me. I will love me. Love or something.


http://opheliaflowers.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/write-now.html

My therapist is making me go through a book called 'Overcoming Perfectionism'. In it there is a chapter on procrastination - putting things off because you are scared or convinced that you are going to fail. And failure is the most scary, sickening, self-destroying thing.
"If I had my way, I'd sit in my room and write all day." I've written about it and explored it so many times, battled with it for so long. If I carry on with this route in the financial services I'll spend so long working and fighting for something I don't even want to do. Not really. And yet I'm quite set on doing that.

It's the same old arguments and internal conflicts over and over again. I have to be brave and cut away from these cycles, these habits, these ridiculous conceptions of success and identity... I have to stop wanting to be an actress on a stage. I have to stop being afraid of who I really am.

"Love, love, the low smokes roll / From me like Isadora's scarves..."

Perhaps I was never in love with Theo, perhaps I was in love with a character I had created from the pages of the novels I had read and dreamt of. Part Heathcliff, part Sebastian Flyte, part Hamlet perhaps (though it feels sacrilegious even comparing them). But the passion and the fire and the pain were just... wonderful. God damn if I ever can experience that again...

I wonder why I had loved Alex so much and clung on so desperately to him when it seems so glaringly obvious now that he could never have satisfied me? He is with a girl now, so perfect for him. I suppose, when I look at it from his point of view he had his fun, he ticked the box of going out with a wild one, then he went his way - the way he knew he always would. A lovely girl, plain, simple, safe, obviously lovely. Someone he can go on romantic walks in the countryside with, who will eat eggs and bacon and sausages with him in the morning.

But Theo would never have satisfied me either. Satisfied my yearning to be in the middle of wild, romantic, terrible tale of heartache - yes. But not satisfied the happy ending I so vehemently claim to desire. That little Alex's ending right there. Although I know I am not the girl who can ever do that or be happy doing that.


I went out with a guy on Monday. I had met him at some classes for the finance exams I did before the Summer. He was the only guy in the class I had been attracted to, so of course, I made my resolve to have him. I messaged him the other week, pretending to ask advice. He offered to meet up with me. So we did. And by the time I left him an hour later, I had him wrapped around my little finger. All week he has been trying to get me to go out with him again.
He's a great catch: 27 years old, cute smile, grounded, well-paid, works in Investment in the City...
Of course. But I got what I wanted, played a little game, had my little kick. No. There is no passion there. I don't care what the good girls say, I only want passion, I only want intense feeling, I only want adrenaline. I don't want nice, or well-paid or grounded.
I don't want to see him again.

But Oliver on the other hand... I want to see him again. I sat there opposite him last week trying to imagine what it would be like to have sex with him. There's no way he'd know how to touch a woman, how to excite me or make me burst with desire. I'd like to be proved wrong but I doubt I will.
But I am going to have sex with him. Because I decided I would. And after that it will probably be over. I cannot let myself fall for an 18 year old.
And that's obviously why I'm doing this, playing out a little One Direction fantasy, being a little bit bad, doing something that everyone tells me not to do. Cos it's fun; cos I'm bored.
The more my friends told me to walk away from Theo, the more determined I was to have him,

You know, sometimes you have to write things you don't want to admit. I'm holding my hands up here. This is what this blog is for. No fabrications, no lovely frilly stories. This is not some fucking entertainment. This is the dark/sad/pathetic reality of who I am.
*shrugs shoulders*
I wish that the truth were nicer. But I cannot make it so.
But then, perhaps I know that in writing this I am trying to make it ok to myself, trying to make an excuse - rightly or wrongly. It's ok that I have failed at love, for I decided that I wanted to, deep down I was always in control... I was in a fright one scarf will catch and anchor in the wheel. Don't want to be hurt my therapist says.


Oliver is a musician, at music college, will probably spend his life playing in orchestras. It's already his life now. And I admire him for it so very much. He knows it is not a stable, well-paid career, but he has made his choices based on what he loves, and it's very clear from his dedication that he loves it deeply.
I told him I admired it:
"I think it's wonderful. If I had my way, I'd sit in my room and write all day," I told him.
"Really?!" He seemed shocked. Naturally so, since the girl he'd met was so openly hell-bent on her career in the City.
"Yes, of course, I studied English Literature, I loved it, I love words, I love art, beauty... But I wasn't as brave as you. I wanted a career, a steady job. I was too afraid to do what I loved."

Even now, if I could go back to University and have my chance again, I'd study Economics. How sad is that.

There is no room for love in the world. At least, no room for it in the world I want to live in.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

So maybe I'm a masochist



I went out with Oliver last night.

Wait, I'm starting the story too quickly. Let me take a step back.

On Monday I started my new position. I am an 'intern' at an energy fund. At the time it seemed like a good idea. But of course it wasn't. I sit in a tiny office, with a few other people, all doing their own thing, all talking in another language... Most of all, I miss the markets, I miss the macro, I miss reading the newspaper in the morning and being exited to see how the latest crisis in the eurozone is going to make my day ahead interesting.

Oh God, no one has ever broken my heart like the people who made the decision to turn down my application to move departments in my last job. How can it be that I work so hard and give so much and all I do is fail and fail and fail. How can they sleep at night knowing that they broke the heart of a girl who had been broken so much?

What am I going to do, what am I going to do. No, really, what am I going to do? Get another job I hate, go back to school and do a masters or another course that will get me nowhere, stick it out in this place alone and interning, pack it all in, give up?

How can you be a City Girl when you don't work in The City anymore. My new office is in Mayfair. I need buzz, I feed off the energy of the square mile and the pink paper of the Financial Times. It's part of the identity that I need.


When I handed in my office pass for the last time three weeks ago, I stepped down off the stage again, that goddamn stage. Yeah, that was it, just another show I'd put on, just another pair of heels I had strutted across the stage in.
And you know why I'm unhappy in this new internship that I've started? I don't have a show to star in. I can wear cardigans and flat shoes and no mascara. I felt that old feeling that there's no point in living if there is no-one in the audience to admire you. This was never about being happy, this was always about the goddamn show.

http://opheliaflowers.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/game.html
http://opheliaflowers.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/interim.html



One of the guys I had worked with was leaving to work in the New York office so I went along to his leaving drinks on Friday. Theo was there of course. Yes, I was probably going because I knew he was going to be there. But it was different this time.
I wore a new dress - bold red and so tight I could barely sit down. I pulled out all the stops and put on my most beautiful face. And I did it to show him what he was missing.
"You look incredibly hot," one guy told me.
"Do you think Theo is killing himself with regret?"
"I hope so."

I didn't look at Theo once, ignored him when he passed me, chatted and laughed and shined with everyone else around him. And did not look at him once.
Yes, I saw him looking at me though. And God it was so wonderful to feel the balance of power turn at last.
But then if I'm honest there was another motive: I wanted him to come crawling back to me. I knew now that what people said was true: playing hard to get was sexy and more appealing than being available. I wanted Theo to go mad with jealousy and regret and come crawling back to me.

But as things started to wind down, I put on my jacket, grabbed my bag and headed outside with my friend to leave. Theo was outside, leaning against the wall. I couldn't stop myself.
"Hi Theo."
"How are you bubs?"
I frowned at him. What the fuck was that. He never called me an affectionate pet name in his life, and now he was making out like we were close?
"I'm fine."
I looked the other way. He was so drunk he could barely stand. I didn't understand how he could get himself into such as state.
He staggered back into the bar without another word.

I looked at my friend who was busy on her phone.
"Hang on," I said, "I'll be back."
I rushed back inside the bar after him. Thinking back on it now, I'm not even sure why. I just wanted to talk to him, I wanted to... talk to him... ask him how he was, make small talk...something
He hadn't gone far, he was asking the bar girl for something and she looked troubled, shaking her head. He was so fucked. I went over and put my hand on his back, "It's ok," I reassured her, "I'll look after him." She smiled at me gratefully.
Theo swayed, staring at the ground.
"Theo, Theo honey, how the fuck did you get so drunk? You need to fucking drink less, seriously."
"I know, I've been told before."
"Babe, sit down..."
"No."
"Fucking hell..."
"I need to eat. I want a McDonald's..."
He was in such a state I didn't even think twice. "OK, shall we go get you a McDonald's?"
"Yes!"
I escorted him out of the bar and into the nearest taxi. He held my hand tightly like a frightened child.

"I can't pay for a taxi!" he whined.
"I'm fucking paying ok. Just get in." He sat in the taxi with his head hanging, eyes closed. I put my hand on his thigh and rubbed it. It was pity. What I felt for him was nothing more than pity.
We got him his McDonald's and sat on the steps outside Liverpool Street Station while he devoured it silently. I stroked his back and smoothed down his hair.
There was so much I wanted to say, but I was afraid of him when he was like this. I didn't want him to get angry and fly off the handle. But I ventured cautiously, "Theo, you know I don't want anything from you, I just want you to be happy."
He said nothing but put his arm around me and pulled me in close to his chest and kissed me on the top of my head. "It was good to see you again," he said.

I wasn't going to throw myself at him this time. I wasn't going to tell him I loved him, I wasn't going to go and have sex with him. After being away from him in the office it had given me the space to appreciate that it was really over.
"Ok let's get you in a taxi to go home honey."
"No, leave me here."
I rolled my eyes. "I'm not fucking leaving you sitting here in this state. Come on, let's get you a taxi."
"No."
"Do you want me to leave you alone?"
He shook his head, and quietly whispered, "no."
I sat there silently, staring at him as he sat with his head in his hands. My eyes were dry. I was going out with Oliver tomorrow. I wasn't going to cry and make my face puffy for it. I had been true to my word in my last post, I had forced my heart to go cold when I thought about Theo. And yet I was sitting there, knowing that I was missing my last train home. I was sitting there, holding on to him tightly in return, the poor little boy who I wanted to save so desperately.
"I'm sorry I was so mental before," I said.
"It's fine. Really. I made you mental."

We agreed that he would get a bus. We looked around for the right stops, his hand still tightly in mine. The wrong buses came and went. He held me close and looked deep into my eyes. I could see how much he wanted me. But he'd made the decision to end it, and now so had I. We kissed once or twice, on the lips but just pecks. I wasn't going to kiss him properly. I didn't want to.

I didn't want to.

I knew that if I let myself melt in his arms and let my heart go warm that I would end up crying all the way home and crying all weekend again. I was done with it. I had my weekend planned away from him.

When the bus came, it turned out it wasn't going to the right place. He flew off the handle, slammed the bus stop post repeatedly, swearing loudly and violently.
"Theo," I tried to put an arm around him to calm him down, "Stop it, it's ok."
He didn't listen to me and pushed me off. I backed away shaking my head. I could feel people watching me. I wasn't going to let them shake their head in pitying me too because they thought I loved this fool.
"Fuck it, I'm getting a taxi. Fuck this!" he yelled.
I gave him a £10 note to pay for it, and he ran off into the street and into the nearest taxi. I watched it drive off, Theo in the back seat with his head in his hands.

I walked towards London Bridge numbly. He was not my problem anymore. Thank God, he was not my problem anymore.
I had missed my last train and the last tube so had to wait for a series of night buses. I'd done that for that stupid boy. But you know what, at least I wasn't crying and at least I knew I was the bigger person in being able to send him home.



I didn't get into bed until gone 3am. I slept for most of the day, knowing that I had to go out with Oliver that evening and had to look perfect. It's amazing how easy it is not to eat when there is a boy involved.

So I was finally going out with Oliver. I met him outside Covent Garden tube station and took him to a noisy bar nearby.
Oliver. Ok let me try and make this interesting...or well, ok, let me just tell you what happened.
Let's recap - Oliver is the guy I met when I went on a night out in Brighton, who after a bit of Google-stalking, I realised was only 18-years-old. Now, as far as I had remembered, he was the most good-looking boy I had ever met, obviously, I had slightly overdone this estimation. Don't get me wrong, he was very cute, very cute indeed, like a slightly more angelic looking Harry Styles. But the feeling of wanting to rip his clothes off and ravage him wasn't really there.

He gave me a peck on the cheek when I arrived, which I thought was nice, and we spent most of the evening chatting away quite happily. We talked about his music studies, music in general, my work, travel, families, all very stereotypical first date stuff. He was lovely, and easy at talking, and we got on well enough.

I suppose there were two things that I found problematic:
1. The first time we had met we had been snogging the face of each other and dancing inappropriately in a dark corner of a club. This time we were sitting, drinking, chatting and on impeccable behaviour.
2. It was like the most painfully stereotypical date ever. A "lets go out, have a few drinks and get to know each other" type date. And um, quite frankly, that's not something I do very often. And it was just weird. For me, being on a date like that, was just weird. The "snogging the face of each other and dancing inappropriately in a dark corner of a club" stuff - I get that. (Which I guess speaks volumes about me.)

He was so sweet and lovely. I could tell he'd never been cruel in his life, he was wonderful. I wonder what he thought of me. Definitely none of those things, I swear too much and pout too much.
I would like to see him again, I would like to sit and laugh and chat with him again, I'd like to kiss him.
And I hate that I compared him to Theo as we sat there. The terrible burning passion and chemistry between me and Theo, I hate that I wanted that. I want sweet and lovely. I'd like to see Oliver again because he's sweet and lovely.
When we departed ways after four hours of chat, I gave him another hug and he gave me another peck on the cheek.
"I'll send you a text," he said.
"Cool, I'll see you soon, enjoy the rest of your weekend!"
I found it difficult to behave in the way I usually would - in other words I found it very difficult to be my usual forward self. I would have liked to have kissed him properly again. I don't know if I held back because I knew he was only 18 or because I didn't want to have anything with him.
I genuinely don't know. Would I have had sex with him? Yes. But I'm not sure if that's because I actually wanted to or because I felt like I had made up my mind that I wanted to when I first met him.

And you'd think that was it wouldn't you. But no. Even with an 18-year-old boy who I'm not sure that I like, I am still mental. I freaked out when the light on our table was pointing in my face. He's going to see my blemishes, he's going to think I look old.. had to go to the toilet to touch up and re-touch up my make up, had to sit back in my chair when he lent in too close, please don't think I'm ugly, please don't think I'm ugly.

He said he'll send me a text. When? Like a foolish teenager I look up on Google: "When will a guy text after a first date?"
You see. I knew this would happen. Like, whatever happens, or whenever it happens, it is not going to work out between me and Oliver, it's just not. And when it doesn't, I'm going to think that it's because I'm too fat, too ugly, and now something new: too old.

If he doesn't text me I'm going to think it's because I didn't look good enough.

My therapist was right: "You need to get out of the cycle of choosing men who you know it won't work out with." Was it because I didn't want to be with someone, was it habit, or do I like the pain? Do I like being able to use these failed relationships as proof that I am not good enough - not thin enough - not pretty enough. I only go for guys who I think will reinforce this belief. Why? I must like the pain. I must.

Friday, 10 August 2012

When I am an old woman I will read these stories from my twenties and laugh

17/07/2012
Thank you for the supportive comments, it has certainly been a tough few weeks.
A tough few weeks, handled without care on my part, but surprisingly, I have very little regret.

So I packed away the CFA study books, I handed in my notice, and I went back onto the diet that I never failed to fly me away to the outskirts of outerspace: Fit men and alcohol.

On the first weekend after quitting my job I went on a weekend trip to Brighton with two of the girls I worked with. We kicked back and enjoyed the scene, miles away from the commercial towers of London, just sea and wind and no ties to hold us down. After doing a round of the little town, we made our way to a club called 'The Honey Club' along the front of the beach, my friends and I standing the queue with a bunch of men on a stag do, me feeling decidely dejected by the severe lack of male talent on offer. In fact, I had not met one guy who had even slightly raised one of my eyebrows in interest.

Until he walked past me.
Straight past me, in the guestlist queue on the other side, 6'1, dark messy hair and one of the most beautiful faces I had ever seen. My eyes bored into the back of his head, willing him to turn around and lock eyes with me. He was with a group of lads, and they all looked pretty young, at a guess I would have said there were about 18, but he stood out from them, his looks marking him out as more than just a silly teenage boy.
"Oh look! It's One Direction!" mobbed the guys in the queue beside us. "They must have got their guestlist entry on the back of cereal packet!"
I did not react.

Once inside I pointed him out to my friends and brought them over to dance in the area where the boys were. He was with his friends, he wasn't even looking at anyone else, let alone looking at me. So my friend pulled him over and shoved him at me. Awkwardly grabbing at her to stop and feeling a little ridiculous and pathetic I squirmed.
"Hi", I shouted
"Hi!", he shouted back.
I stared at him with a forced smile... what the fuck did you say to some random guy your friend has just shoved in your face?
"What's your name?" he continued,
"Ophelia.... Are you having fun?!"
"Yeah!" came the reply. I nodded at his answer and smiling again like an airhead, started dancing, assuming that he would turn around and go back to his friends. As he started dancing too, I began to feel uncomfortable - this was not the way I usually met guys - ever. He was still staring at me, and I began to wish I hadn't met him in such an awkward way. I stared up at him, making my eyes as big and as round as possible, a little smile on my lips, we had started to break away from his friends, as one rushed up behind him and shouted - presumably in a loud whisper, but what was very audible - "Kiss her!"
The boy obligingly wrapped his arms around my waist, and smiling sweelty, pulled me in for an embrace.

He was a sweet kisser, very soft, very delicate, not like anybody I had been used to kissing before. We managed to speak a few words - I asked him how old he was.
"Twenty" came the reply. I stopped myself from saying "you look so much younger" thinking that it probably wasn't a very nice thing for a guy to hear from a girl. Ok, so he was young, but twenty was old enough... after all, I am only twenty-four.
We spent what seemed like forever making out in a dark corner. He was so very beautiful that it was very easy for me to touch him and dance with him. I stroked his face and hair like I used to do with Theo and gently bit his ear to let him know there was more if he wanted it. We took a break outside and he asked for my number. I smiled and gave it willingly - like us, he was just in Brighton for the weekend and happened to live very near me in London. I promised to take him out in London when we got back. He told me that he was in his second year of Music College in London - I asked him what he played, expecting to hear that he was in a fledging rock band
- he plays the trumpet.
I laughed, this boy was cute inside and out.

Eventually, he had to go back to his friends and I had to go back to mine. He had my number and I had little doubt that he would be in contact.

Sure enough, on Sunday evening he messaged me:
Hi it's Oliver from the club in Brighton. It was nice to meet you x

I shook my head and laughed. Nice to meet you? So young.
We decided to meet up on Friday, I would take him out somewhere good in London, show him a good time... get Theo out of my system once and for all.
But curiosity got the better of me, I typed his name into google wondering if I could find out more about him. What I found gave me the shock of my life and sent my friends into fits of hysterical laughter.
There he was, in his school newsletter, Oliver, Head of Music, Upper Sixth...
He was still at school - well, would have just finished school when I met him - but still, fantasically, had lied about his age. He was not twenty, he was eighteen. I was right. He did look young - because he WAS.

I was not going to worry though - a pretty guy was a pretty guy - I only wanted him for one thing - for one distraction - it was never going to be anything serious. I was going to go ahead with it.
Until on Friday he was no longer replying to my messages or answering my calls.
I went to get my hair done anyway - there was no way he was going to cancel on me. He had told me only yesterday he was still up for it.

His phone was off. All day.
I cried.
Twice on the trot - first Harry, now Oliver.

I didn't give up. On Monday, determined for him to face up to speaking with me, I continued trying to call. Still off...
Maybe he had lost it or had it stolen? Why else would it still be off.
Finally I got through. He apologied profusely, begging me to believe that he had lost his phone. He seemed genuinely upset by my coldness and I couldn't help but be understanding.

I knew he was going away that week and wouldn't be back until the begining of August, and he promised to contact me as soon as he was back to arrange a date to go out.

***

Meanwhile, I'd been busy attracting attention elsewhere. News had spread that I had handed in my notice at work, and suddenly one of the IT guys, Jay, piped up and started chatting to me. I'm not going to lie, he was cute. Yes, he was very cute. And I liked him. But I didn't like him enough. I couldn't imagine kissing him let alone wanting to rip his clothes off. While my friends in the office were delighted (he is reknown for his cuteness), I warned them that I didn't want to take it anywere. I would walk all over him, I would never be faithful...
But I loved the attention, I flirted back, I messaged him all evening, he left me little chocolates at work, and come the following Friday, as another part of the office were going out for drinks, I said that I would join him.

I stood in the office toilets staring at myself in the mirror, turning this way and that, butterflies in my stomach, touching up every square milimetre of my face to make sure I looked perfect.
Jay. I was going because I wanted to hang out with Jay.
Or was I going because the day before Jay had told me that the last time we were out, Theo had been "watching him like a hawk" when he was talking to me. Was I going because I thought that Theo was going to be at these work drinks and because I wanted him to see me with Jay and get jealous.

It turned to be the latter.
Sure, I stayed and chatted to Jay and those he was friends with, but I never lost track of where Theo was. And then, as the group thinned out and drinks neared their end, those remaining started to talk about moving on to a nearby club. It was me, Theo, and four others. I waved Jay off as he went to catch his train, standing next to Theo as I did so. Everything else was as it always was. We chatted , we drank, we danced, I did my best to pretend that I wasn't there for him, he did his best to pretend he wasn't there for me. And then it was just us two left in the club - Theo and me. And then we were kissing, and then we were all over each other, and then we were having sex again.

I spoke to him straightly about our relationship - he answered me straightly.
"I know it's a cliché," he said, "But it's not you, it's me. I don't want anything serious."
"I just want you in my life in some capacity."
He shook his head.

05/08/2012

I stopped writing. And I didn't come back to finish the story. I have to finish this chapter of my life off.
I'm not going to carry on writing about that night, it was just another like all the others Theo and I had had earlier in the year: sex and no commitment.

My last day at work was Friday 27th July - Theo had done all of the usual things the week before, not answering any of my calls or text messages. So I sent him a text on Friday morning:
"If you don't answer this I am going to come over to your desk and embarass you. Not a threat, just a fact."
Oh that made him answer. We went for a coffee before work and started to battle through the conversation with him.

Every question I asked him I was met with the answer: "I don't know."
He didn't know how he felt about me, he didn't know what he wanted,
"I'm not good at talking about my feelings."
"I noticed."

I became frustrated but we had to be at our desks. Let's finish the conversation later.
He does not reply to my messages or calls. He does not fucking reply to my messages or calls.
I sent him a message on Saturday night: "It is humiliating and embarassing every time you do not reply and I have to send you another message. Grant me some fucking dignity and reply."
He finally called on Sunday.
"I'm not good talking over the phone."

So we met up on Thursday. Ironically went to the little bar in Clerkenwell where we had had our first date.
Drank the same cocktails.
I couldn't stop crying, I couldn't help myself. "I'm sorry, I don't know why I'm crying, I'm not sad."
He didn't want it. He didn't want me.
"I love you to pieces Theo."
"I love you too."
"I just want to make you happy. I'd do anything to make you happy. Why won't you let me in? I'd love to meet the girl who would love you as much as me. You know she doesn't exist. You know this is your loss don't you."

He hugged me tight and kissed me as I left him for the final time. The following night, at my leaving drinks with other people from work, I asked him for the final time. He didn't want me. He didn't even want to have sex with him. He didn't want me. He got angry and shouted at me. "You don't know what makes me happy!" "Because you won't tell me!"

He ran across the road, jumped in a taxi and left me, tears streaming down my face. My phone had run out of battery, so, convinced that he would return to me, I put my final pennies into a phone box and called him. He hung up on me.

When I got home I found he had posted this link on his facebook: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/04/18/110418fa_fact_franzen?currentPage=all
and the words: At the time, I’d made a decision not to deal with the hideous suicide of someone I’d loved so much but instead to take refuge in anger and work.
I was certain that this reinforced my long-held belief that he couldn't let me in because of some deep-seated emotional pain that he had. So I collected together select extracts from this blog and emailed them to him saying:
Hey hun

Sorry again about everything, I know I’ve been painful. I got over it before so I should have just left it!

Anyway, have a read of what I’ve attached, I thought it might be helpful and that you might relate to some of it.

Despite what I may have said before you know you can always reach out to me. If you do ever just need a friend then I can be that and will be there for you.
xxx


I wanted him to know that I could understand whatever pain he was feeling. I wanted him to know that he could let me in.

Of course he didn't reply and I sent him a final email:
I'm just going to write what I wanted to say and save time: (I mean how much damage is one more message going to do!)

1. I have a ridiculous desire to look after others. I was convinced that there was a sadness in you that you were suppressing and that you always pushed me away because of it (now of course I get it was because you just didn't like me, duh!).
Maybe I handled it the wrong way but I thought that if you could relate to anything I had written it would help you relate to your own emotions. I desperately wanted to help you find a way to be happy that I completely ignored whether you wanted my help or not. And perhaps I had convinced myself that you were unhappy when you were not too.

2. Because I had failed so much in the last few weeks, I didn't want to believe my love for you had failed too. This was purely selfish. I know I should have left it but I really didn't want to lose you.

I was stupid, I know I caused you so much unnecessary anger because of it. If I got it completely wrong that you were sad and unhappy I'm sorry, and I'm really sorry for being so full on.

If you want to be friends, great, but if you don't that's fine too. I just wanted to say sorry and wanted you to know x


The pain I feel in losing Theo is nothing like the pain I felt in losing Alex. I never loved Theo - he would never let me close enough for that. Theo never loved me, never doted on me, never gave me time or affection.
I'm actually not losing anything other than a guy who destroyed my self esteem, made me cry, made me feel worthless and ignored me when I needed a shoulder to lean on.
THIS IS A GOOD LOSS.

I spoke to my therapist about Theo for the first time this week. She asked me to sum him up in three words:
"Unreliable. Difficult. Closed."
As I said them it dawned on me. I didn't want a relationship with that person - who would? But I had subconsciously chosen to try and love him for those reasons.
"You need to get out of the cycle of choosing men who you know it won't work out with," she said. "You're so used to people leaving that you choose men you know are going to leave or treat you badly. You have to get over the belief that you can change them or help them get better."
She was right. Theo was the opposite of what you would want in a boyfriend. And that's why I wanted him. If he had been loving and doting and showered me with gifts and love, I would have hated it. I would have thought myself not worthy. I would have thought he was wasting his time. I would have thought I could never give him what he wanted and deserved back.

As it was, I was the loving and doting one. And he was the one who hated it and told me to find someone who deserved it.



How do I feel about this whole thing? I don't want to feel anything anymore. I am done thinking and writing about him.