Saturday, 21 May 2011

The best version of who I am

When I was 15, I used to wear a laminated tag around my neck, tucked inside my school blouse to remind me of how fat and worthless I was. I must still have it somewhere, hidden away in my cupboard, even though a few years ago I made an effort to throw out all my old notebooks and memories of self-hatred.
I made the tag myself, put a picture of the beautiful Scarlett O'Hara on it, wrote about how I could be like her if I tried hard enough, laminated it, ran a long piece of string through to make a necklace. I wore it every day for months.
When I was 13 I had to get dressed in the dark, never exposing my body while I changed. I had to lie face down in the bath - I couldn't stand and shower. I had to wear jumpers everywhere to swamp the curve of my growing breasts.
When I was 8 I cried alone and in agony because I wasn't pretty. I decided I was the fattest in my class and I never let go of that.

However high I hold my head, the truth is that this eating disorder has destroyed me. It destroys me now, it will destroy me further. And yet I believe, I will always believe, that it will bring the happiness that I've longed for my whole life.
In all the years that I've had an eating disorder in one form or another, I have never gotten better. Even though at 23, I have never managed to reach this glory of happiness, I cannot help but fall for the promises that my evil angel whispers in my ear.

Clytie summed up something perfectly in a comment a few posts back saying: "You are the unattainable in view, but out of view you are so alone and fragile."
When I put on my dress and make up, when I perform on my public stage, I am powerful, smart, strong, brave, confident, aloof, desirable, fearless, envied. But it is an act. I tortured myself to play the part. The other side of me cuts everyone out, exercises, avoids people, never smiles, never chats, never socialises, never goes to meals, weak and shy, dark, tearful, nothing.
The people I work with here at the school would never recognise the bold and shining girl who has been interviewing back in London this week.

Yes... I'm going back to London in one and a half months.
I was born to wear a suit and high heels.
It felt so good to be out of cardigans.
I am desperate to go back to London, absolutely desperate, So much of me wishes I had stayed, that I was working in the great shiny Investment Bank, being taken out on dates by bankers, working out in the swankiest gyms. So I'm interviewing again and I'll be back in July, thinner, fitter, stronger, fuck it all, I BELIEVE in the unattainable. I didn't take the job in the Investment Bank back in December because I was fat and suicidal. I'm not fat and suicidal anymore - I'm thinner, fitter, stronger.
I will never stop being ambitious. Most jobs won't give me the adrenaline and pressure that I need. Being happy and enjoying my job has nothing to do with the girl you see at interview in a polished suit and polished hair. My job at the school has made me realise that content, comfortable, relaxed and average isn't what I want. Ambition, competitiveness, drive, pressure, hunger, materialism. I shouldn't have tried to change who I was and what I wanted. Being those things didn't make me a bad person. I'm sick of my therapist trying to make me believe that it's good to be average. I'm sick of it. Why the hell should I change who I am and who I want to be. I worked so hard at school to be the top of every class, I work so hard in the gym to keep my body toned and strong, I put myself through hell so I don't get fat. And doing those things are who I am, who I understand and who I need to be to achieve my ambitions.

I was supposed to come here to work in this boarding school to 'recover'. From a medical point of view, I've got worse. I still have a full blown eating disorder, just a different kind.
The latest piece of paper stuck on my bedroom wall reads:
"For as long as you maintain any of your BULIMIC characteristics, you will always be FAT and SECOND-RATE."
I had a period of bingeing last weekend because I ran my 10k race on Sunday. Although I'd done most of my training over the last two months without any carbs, getting a good time in the actual race was paramount to me, so I made the decision to eat well and fuel my muscles for race day.
I ate well. I fueled my muscles. I even replenished them afterwards. I ran the best and most comfortable I'd ever run. It was simply fabulous, having glucose in my body made such a difference to my stamina and I ran the whole circuit comfortably in 53:30. Although I had been aiming for 45-50 mins I feel happy because it was just so comfortable and I loved every second of it. I've got a half marathon set for September, but I might do another 10k before then just to meet that target of 45-50 mins.

Now that my race is over I've decided to cut back on the treadmill and running slightly and branch out a bit more. This week has also included a Ballet Class, Tennis Lesson, Swimming, Spin Classes and Bike, and the only word I can possibly use to describe it is glorious. Exercise is the greatest cure for feeling like shit - which in all honesty is how I feel most days. Once the endorphins kick in I feel invincible.

Nothing will stop me or change me.
I am who I am - and my eating disorder and ambition are a part of that.

The morning walk I miss so much...

9 comments:

  1. Great post. Inspirational. I see that piece of me that is similar to you... ambitious. Can't wait to hear of your adventures all suited and polished in the big bad swanky bank London!

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  2. Ive just found your blog and read it from the beginning.. i feel like your the most motivating and honest blogger.. i live in london and at uni at the moment while reading your story about alex i found myself in the exact situation...i spent so much time and money on my ex ensuring he never leave me bt they always leave we're never enough so after 3years im 19heart broken and fat....my ed's coming back i find myself turning into that weight obbsesing caloriee counting exercise addict i use to be in high school and the worst part is hes in my uni class for the next 4years...bt why isit that for the first time in a long time i feel happier..evn tho its just me and me ed x

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  3. You're so inspiring. I feel like whatever you say could match exactly what I'm thinking in my head. When I was young, I felt all those same things, and no one ever knew. Today, I hide it all so perfectly, but the pain is always there.

    I support anything you choose. And if this is what you yearn for, then follow what your heart tells you.

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  4. My parents decided on my name after seeing Gone with the Wind, I randomly thought of that when you mentioned Scarlett O'Hara. I'm really sorry to hear that you hated yourself in your younger years, it breaks my heart thinking of young girls, like my little sister, spending their childhood with insecurity and loathing themselves, when they should be carefree and alive.

    I loved this post, you have such a way of writing your thoughts with clarity and beauty. I hope everything goes well for you!

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  5. I can relate to everything you say. Everything/

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  6. This is such an inspiring post. You are so passionate and you're right-you don't need to settle for average. Don't take no for an answer. Obviously settling on 'average' hasn't gotten you to where you are, and whatever you're doing is definitly working for you.

    And all you exercise classes sound amazing!

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  7. your life in london... is me in new york....

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  8. You sound self assured yet you give some much credence to your frailty. You alluded a little in your other posting to addictive behaviors and how you felt that sort of factors into our body image as a whole picture. That rush after the run is like nothing else and after a meet I would always go through the up then down on me cycle. There seems to be alot of evidence mounting about chemistry
    http://www.dailyrx.com/news-article/compulsive-eating-has-same-addictive-biochemical-drug-abuse-1775.html
    and rewards centers in the brain and how they tie into Easting disorders. Very inspiring, and thanks..- J.

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  9. i see myself in your beautifully honest posts so many times. I too have had my eating disorder as long as i can remember, and i too can't stand it when people try to tell me that it's alright to be average. I want to be the best of everything, and that is part of who i am, as is the disorder. I don't think i'll ever be willing to give that part of me up because it makes me happy every bit as much as it makes me unhappy. Hold on to yourself and your happiness, my dear, and someday perhaps we really will reach the perfection we are aiming for,

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