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Diary entries from a City Girl - Power Struggle

Apologies for being away for so long and thank you to the 'lurkers'. I've been writing in my notebook meaning to post it up... :

Friday 23rd September

Playing games. I've been trying to stop myself all week. Every time I wanted to call Chris, email, message, accidentally bump into him in the kitchen... I kept having to keep myself in check, kept having to remind myself that I was only doing it for attention, only doing it for The Game. It wasn't fair on him or right to play with a person in that way.

I restricted all week and rounded it off with a triumphant binge.
Paraded around the office all day flirting and flitting from one guy to another, fake and bouncy, charming, pouting, batting my eyelids. Walked out the office door at the end of the day, scraped back my hair and walked the walk of shame to buy a weeks worth of food and shove it down my grotesque throat. Disgusting.
The little girl wants to call the 30 year old man, wants to feel his arms around her, wants to feel his love, any love, anyone. Love. Attention. Stopping herself because she knows she only wants to use him, doesn't really care, only wants to use him.
Sitting on the train, counting down the minutes until she can throw up.
I only ate because I know I can throw up.
Why could I just not starve.
Am running a race.
Must eat carbs. Can't eat carbs. Or rather can't keep carbs down.
Want to call him and tell him.

I spent all day flirting with all the other men in the office in front of Chris. I know he saw and I know he was pissed off and I know he knows what I was doing. But its his fault.
It must be, because it’s not my fault.

I want to put a new plan together.
Tony. One of the big swinging dicks. I sat in the front row of his presentation today and imagined undressing him.
He knows I'm attracted to him, I make it as obvious as I can. But that's not enough, the girlish giggling and blushing is not enough entertainment for me. I want to push for more, I want a real game here, I want a real challenge- and the second I know I can win, I'll back down I won't go all the way, I swear.
I have to play this one.
"I'm a banker - I like risk."

I love risk. I love putting myself in dangerous situations, playing Russian roulette with my body, pushing myself to the limit, reaching for extremes.

It makes winning so much sweeter.

Tony is the only man in the office that I do not feel more powerful than. He is the only one I cannot flirt and ooze confidence with. I want him because I want to overturn that. I want the power.

I will tell you I have an eating disorder, that's not a secret, but no one understands the extent to which that evilness inside me extends.
I am not thin enough. Don't tell me I am, because I'm not fucking deluded, I am a harsh critic, and most of the world is just too fucking soft.

I am obsessed with ambition and I do not understand anything else. I do not understand people who are not ambitious and driven by adrenaline.

If you are not getting up off your lazy arse and fighting to win, I do not understand you. The fight will almost certainly destroy me in the end - I will crash and burn in flames soon - but I understand destruction, I understand putting my mind and body through hell and pain. I have never just sat and been happy. Comfort makes me hurt more.

My eating disorder is part of that fight - because I believe that in order to win I must be beautiful. Getting up at the crack of dawn is part of that fight. Working late in the gym is part of that fight. Studying all weekend is part of that fight. Spending time networking and building a strong circle male city friends is part of that fight. Putting my body through late nights, overwork and under eating means I'll probably be dead by the time I'm 30 - but that's ok. Because I will have won - or died trying.

Think Nina in Black Swan. Except I am not a dancer, I am a City Girl with a deadly and evil ambitiousness out to destroy no one but herself.

And you know what the most frightening this is? - that girl should be so frightened - but she isn't. She is so consumed by ambition that she only sees the end goal and cares for nothing beyond that.

Friday 30th September 2011

“I hate that women derive so much power from their looks. But you know what I hate more? That I know that and I play to that anyway. I hate that I use my looks for power.”
He nodded. Another new boy in the office that I was flirting with as much as possible at Friday’s after work drinks – Henry – a poor Cambridge grad who had to listen to me going on about my ambition and desire to reach the top. And then there was Gareth, sweet, bumbling Gareth, finally talking to the girl he had seen around the office in the pretty dress with long brown hair.
I lapped it up. I loved it. I loved it so much. I loved the fucking power he was laying at my feet.
I stayed because I fucking loved it so much.

Chris was pissed off because I wasn’t flirting with him. But I didn’t care, he knew what I was, he knew that I’d been flirting my way round the office long before he’d arrived. He had no reason to be jealous because he’d always known he couldn’t have me – I wasn’t that type.
I am – I suppose – what we would call ‘a cock tease’. I flirt outrageously to give men the impression that I’m all over them- but I only flirt because I love their attention and being able to hold the power.
It’s just fun. This is the game I play – my hobby – my pastime. This is how I get my kicks. In the long-term, I’m waiting for my lawyer, my banker, I’m waiting for the man that challenges me, the man that I have to work for and fight for.

Rihanna and I have become firm friends with Mils in the last few weeks – and no – it isn’t a case of keeping your enemies closer – she is a genuinely nice girl who I get along with fantastically. She was as amused as Rihanna at my office antics and as a fellow single girl flirting her way though life, she has since become a close friend and great confidant.

The evening ended with more drinks, dancing, a walk through London, Rihanna and Mils doing crazy shit, trying to break into Rihanna’s house after we arrived and realised she had forgotten her keys, drinking a vintage bottle of wine Mils had swiped from somewhere, me passing out at Rihanna’s kitchen table and finally waking up at 7am with all three of us in bed together.

Thursday 6th October

This week I was abroad on business. It’s been a great experience for me, getting more business meetings under my belt and networking as much as possible.
Yesterday I received a random email from an Italian analyst called Cassio who I had met briefly in training – a friendly but formal email asking me for the contact details of someone I was connected to on LinkenIn.

Well, what can I say – he’s Italian – beautiful, glowing and utterly out of my league – I’d look like a fat, flaky, greasy pale slob of a human being next to him – not something I had had any interest in pursuing. But hey – part of my long-term strategy involves networking my way though every and any potentially valuable male in The City of London. At the end of the day, sure, I love flirting, but that’s not my only agenda – I want to know everyone and be known by everyone – popularity can open doors. And I’ve had doors shut to me my whole life because I didn’t know the right people.
So I responded to the email politely, leaving it open for a reply – and before you know it, a multitude of chatty emails have passed between us and we’re good friends attending a business conference together. Wait – ok – he mentioned the conference to me in one of his emails and added “join me”. So I seized the opportunity and ran with it, emailed the contact and got myself on the attendance list too...

I hate business travel. I hate that I need energy for meetings. I hate that we have hotel breakfast, that I have to go out for dinner, that I can’t eat what I want, that I can’t spend all evening in the gym, that I lose the strict and safe routine that I need to keep myself remotely sane. Every evening after dinner I came back, cleared out the mini bar of junk food and threw everything up.
I just wanted to be beautiful – and I couldn’t do that if I couldn’t be in control.

Back in the London office and the emails between Cassio and I continued so I decided to add Henry and Gareth to my emailing list. Although Henry dwindled off, Gareth was keen and I started to become drawn by his awkward sense of humour and sweetness. His emails made me smile.

Saturday 8th October 2011

I met up with an old friend from university who was passing through London and told him about my recent exploits. He encouraged me to think about Gareth
“That’s the type of guy you should be with,” he said, “a nice, geeky, genuine guy who will look after you.”
I nodded, “Well we’ll see. But you know the way I am, you know I play with men and you know why I do it. For all the times my heart was broken and I was made to feel worthless for not being good enough, pretty enough, thin enough – I was always the weak one, trodden on and used. This is my revenge now: I am the one they want, I am the one who breaks hearts and walks over those foolish enough to fall into my trap. I’m the one that makes them feel worthless for not being good enough to hold my interest after I’ve won the chase and played the game.”
He shook his head sadly and I just shrugged in reply. “I know I’m a bitch. At least I’m honest about it.”

Monday 10th October 2011

The effects of being abroad for work last week with a shit diet, bulimia, no exercise and almost no sleep had finally caught up with me. Over the weekend, my face had broken out into a plethora of spots which even my dedicated make-up routine could only partly disguise. As a result, I went to work with my self-esteem in shatters – I was unable to look anyone in the face and hid behind my computer screen in shame. Thank God all Cassio and Gareth saw of me was the words I sent them over work email.

It was days like this that I cried tears knowing that I would never be able to carry on much longer with this head on my shoulders. The only prevailing thought that I couldn’t break free of was that I was hideous and unlovable. Tears streamed down my face as I hid in the toilets and I walked past people with my long hair shrouding my face like a curtain, covering my ugliness. I was shaking and tense, pulling at my hair in anguish. At one point during the afternoon I crept into the kitchen to get a drink only to find Chris there doing the same.
“Hi Ophelia! How’s things?!”
“Fine thanks.” I kept my back to him and made my drink without another word before rushing out again as quickly as I could. I felt awful. I’d been a bitch to him because I couldn’t bear him looking at me. So I sent him an email apologising. He understood and was kind to me. I appreciated the kindness.

Meanwhile, every email I received from Gareth melted my heart a little bit more. My friend was right - he was exactly the kind of guy I should be with. So I made a decision: I was going to ask him out for a drink. I wasn’t sure if this was part of the game or not - all I knew was that I wanted to spend time with him.

So I asked. And he agreed. We were going for a drink after work on Thursday.

Thursday 13th October

I sat at my desk, my starving stomach doing somersaults.
My face and confidence were hardly back to their best by Thursday, but it had to be good enough.
At 6pm I stood in front of the mirror in the toilets knowing that he was sitting at his desk on the other side of the office waiting for me. I reapplied the makeup, redid the hair, checked my figure from every angle. Starving stomach doing somersaults.

He suggested a bar round the corner from where we work and so we went there. I was extremely drunk very quickly. Too much alcohol in an empty body. I can’t remember what we talked about too much, but I’m convinced it hadn’t gone well. He didn’t like my ambition; he didn’t need to be explicit about it. We were opposites. And yet I wanted him.
I took in the toned forearms showing under the rolled up sleeves of his pink shirt, the brown eyes, the awkward quirkiness, the humour, the smile. I started to feel the weakness seeping through my body. I was too drunk, shit, I was too drunk, it was too obvious. I was so tired, hadn’t slept properly for weeks, I was breaking, in front of his eyes. He didn’t know me, he knew the confident, fiery, strong girl that I performed. He didn’t know my beauty. And I couldn’t show it to him. I couldn’t drop the act, even though I knew he didn’t find it attractive. I texted a friend: “I wish someone like him could love me but he won’t and I can’t change who I’ve been for so long... He would never love me, they never do. I’m never enough, there are prettier, nicer girls.”

As I walked away from him at the tube station I felt the pain rise up from my heart. I cried and stuffed my face with food because I had lost the power. I liked him, so now he could destroy me.
I can’t even put down in words anymore... I can’t even drag this emotion out of me. It all went so wrong.

Friday 14th October
All day I had not heard not a word from Gareth. I expected something, I had a good time last night, or fancy going out again? Fuck, just something. I wasn’t going to speak to him first, it had to come from him. I’d initiated everything, the emailing, the drinks. He had to give me something back now, he had to prove that he liked me. I got nothing.

Today I’d arranged to go for lunch with Cassio. He was as good as his word, at 1:15pm, as Mils was perched on my desk chatting to me about my men, I saw him appear at the end of the floor, walking towards where I sat. I looked down covertly and whispered, “He’s coming.” Mils looked round and jumped off the desk with an elegant flick of her legs, “Have fun, tell me all about it when you get back!” I gave him a warm smile as he came over, “Ready to go?” I stood up and immediately cringed, I was wearing my highest set of heels and was noticeably taller than him. Although slightly thrown by his Italian accent (I’d never actually spoken to the guy except over email) the initial awkwardness quickly wore away thanks to my easy acting. To him I was like every other front office girl, confident and strong, so I played that part and everything was easy, I was chatty and fun and there was nothing to be awkward about. Despite his undeniable good looks I felt nothing for him. I found it impossible to connect with someone who I couldn’t fully communicate with. As English was his second language, I could never give him the depths of my emotions and fears and passions. I needed to be able to give that and feel that back, and I’d never be able to have that with him. Perhaps the situation would have been different if I had not started to fall for Gareth the night before. With my heart and mind so preoccupied it was impossible to find room for Cassio in my affections.

At the end of the day as people began to leave I was talked into going to the local Friday night drinking spot for one drink. I wasn’t really in the mood after the stress of the week and the last two days in particular, but found the temptation of being able to see Gareth and talk to him too hard to resist. He wasn’t there, he’d gone straight home. I couldn’t hide my disappointment. I hadn’t heard a word from him all day and I couldn’t let go of that. Cassio was there, talking to some others in his department but I wasn’t bothered, I ignored him. I began speaking to Bill, the guy who had introduced me to Gareth at the same Friday night drinking spot two weeks ago. I told Bill that I’d gone out with Gareth the night before and that I liked him. He gave me advice.
“He’s a really nice guy, but he’s shy - he’s not confident and outgoing like you. Plus he recently split up with his girlfriend so he’s probably been out of the game for a while and doesn’t really know what to do.”
Mils chirped up, “No, but a woman should be chased, she shouldn’t have to make the next move.”
I agreed, “At the end of the day, I’ve done all the work up till now. I intiated everything, I need to get something back from him, I need him to show me that he’s keen.”
Bill shook his head, “No, trust me, from what I know of him, you’re going to have to give him a push, he isn’t that sort of guy. You’re going to have to help him along, because he won’t make a move. If you want my opinion, you should just ask him and then you’ll know either way. Just say, I had a really good time yesterday, would you like to do it again? And then at least you’ll know and you can move on.”
It made sense. I was neither shy nor scared of asking him, I had just refused on principle. But at the end of the day, all I needed was to be able to break free of the sickly feeling inside my heart. I either fell for him and got the love I needed, or I found out that there was nothing there and no point caring about him and erased him from my memory.
I resolved to message him when I got home.

One drink turned into several and before I knew it I was one of the last people standing – again. As the numbers dwindled, it became impossible to ignore Cassio and we started to talk again. Soon we were in our own little conversation and one or two people had started to give us suggestive looks. I scowled back at them and shook my head, even though I knew deep down what we were doing. Eventually we were the last two left. I suggested we leave and he suggested we went to get something to eat. We walked to Leicester Square and found a Chinese restaurant that was open late. By the time we were finished it was half past two. I was exceptionally drunk from being bought drinks all evening and had probably been chatting shit to him the whole evening. However, he hadn’t seemed that phased by it and I was incredibly impressed that he seemed to like me enough to spend so much time with me and even take me for a meal. I was worried though. He was Italian, and he’d said it himself, he liked women. I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t going to try and pull him, but I couldn’t be untrue to my feelings. I didn’t want anything to happen between us. So before anything could even become suggested, I made it clear that I was getting a night bus home after the meal. He walked me to the bus stop in Trafalgar Square and waited with me giving me a hug and a peck on the cheek when my bus eventually came. “See you Monday, have a good weekend,” I said, just as I would have to any of my work colleagues on a Friday night.

By the time I got back home it was 4am. Remembering Bill’s words I logged on to facebook and sent Gareth a message. (We had not exchanged phone numbers and other than work email this was the only was I could contact him). "So I've just returned from drinks and dinner slightly worse for wear. Am going to sleep for two days straight! Anyway I enjoyed spending time with you yesterday and if you fancy doing it again soon let me know x"
That was his push. If I got no response asking me to go out with him then I was shutting the door on him and fixing the little wound that he had reopened. One chance, handed to him on a silver plate. If he doesn’t take it, that’s good - I will not spare another thought on him.

Monday 16th October
After leaving me to feel shit all weekend, he finally responded to my message yesterday afternoon: “enjoyed myself too the other night so would certainly be up for doing it again.”

I was livid. Even though the response was positive, I couldn’t believe that he’d still left it up to me to arrange everything again. I needed him to ask me out, I needed  him to show me that he was interested in me. Once I was back in the office I sent him an email giving him my number and telling him to let me know when he was free. I gave him the benefit of the doubt for simply being a shy guy.

As painful as ever, the rubbish reply came flying back two hours later: “I’ll let you know then. Things  are still pretty frantic with house searching this week so could be a bit spontaneous.”

Rihanna was blunt: That is a shit response and he has no idea how to flirt – LAME”
I agreed. It was ridiculous. As if I had time for this, and as if I had time for someone who I had more balls than.

I emailed Cassio and told him I wasn’t going to the Conference with him on Wednesday – there was no point – I was not bothered or interested in spending time with him, especially if it meant taking time off work to go.

The excitement here has fizzled out. New target needed.
I’ve been invited to a Charity Ball on Saturday – if I don’t hear by then Gareth, you will have lost me.

Thursday 20th October

I went out for a long run in a tiny top in the freezing cold yesterday evening to calm my anger. This was my new method of ‘self harming for calming purposes”. I was angry at the world again, angry at my face, at my body, at work, at Gareth.

By the time I'd got back from my run, he had texted me. “Fancy hooking up after work tomorrow then?”
Perfect, I replied and immediately took three laxatives, worked out some more and glugged down as much water as I could manage. It was fine, I had today off work so I could take ages getting ready and cleaning my body out.

Thank God though, he finally asked me. I smiled for the first time in days.

Today it was the usual. Laxatives, coffee, water, a cheeky apple and some juice. My body looked good, I liked looking in the mirror and smiling at my body when it was so empty. I hit a new low on the scales – a number I haven’t seen since I was 16, no word of a lie. I was pleased, good work, Ophelia, you’re getting there...
I was glad that I’d already chosen to take today off work, it meant that I could pamper myself all day and make sure I looked perfect, just like I used to when I was a student.

I slept in, took a long bath, used all my special body scrubs, body butters, etc, went to the hairdressers, went to the beautician, looked perfect, sitting on the train, on my way to meet him at the office...
got a message...
“I’m really sorry but I think I might have to bail on you tonight. Just been called for a second viewing (I know, ridiculous!) on a house I saw a couple of days ago and am pretty keen to get this sorted as it’s been a massive pain in the ass. Hopefully things should be less manic next week if you are ok to ‘take a rain check’ until then?”

I barely reacted as I got off the train at the next stop and turned around to go back home. I was angry that I’d wasted my time. I had so much work for law school to do. I’d been so keen to waste my time on him, to waste my time trying to look good for him. Fuck him.

I sent him four words: “Of course, no problem.”

And those are the last four words he’ll ever hear from me, even if he is stupid enough to try and rearrange things for next week.

I am the one with the power. I am the one in control.

...Which is why I just ate my body weight in food and then threw up. And then ate my body weight in food and threw up. Every last bit.
Because I’m the one with power, the one with control. NOT.

He’s the one in control. Even though he doesn’t know it and doesn’t have a clue, he causes me pain that pains my body. My body won’t last it. I know I’ve been lucky so far, I know, more laxatives tomorrow. I hate myself for eating. Good girls don’t eat.
He’s the one in control. Because now I have to be so thin, so beautiful, so perfect that I can make him hurt more than I do, I want him to hurt because he can’t have me and I hope it kills him the way it will kill me.

He’s probably just some normal, nice, innocent guy. And look at what I’ve turned him in to here.

As for me,
I’ve turned into a monster, I can make guys want me, but can't make them love me.
I’m a monster, I’m a bitch, I’ve turned myself into a City Girl caricature, an unfeeling actress who can’t remember the girl she buried deep down inside.

At the end of the day, perhaps I just want to make a statement. I want to faint at work, I want to die young, I want to be tragic and painful, but I want everyone to know.

My hair was so beautiful today. My skin was so soft. My body was so empty.
Tomorrow I will be back to being a bloated ogre again.

No. I will not let that happen. I will do whatever it takes now. I will not be the one that feels the pain. I will be the one with power, the one with control.


  1. I missed you! Too many times reading your blog I've had the old familiar sensation of reading my own words, my own thoughts. Fuck, considering the circles we both flirt our ways through in London, we probably have crossed paths in our pursuit of nothing much, and then perhaps when I saw you, I would have hated you for being the skinny, pretty, popular girl who held those men in the palm of your hand.
    You can't be with a man like Gareth. He is the antithesis of all you are. I don't think you could be with a weak man, and neither do you deserve that. For all your belief in your destructive capabilities and selfishness, I don't really believe you. We both pretend to be hard, to be ruthless and that that we can use men in the same way we see them use other people.
    I only speak for myself, but I cling to those beliefs as mantras. Even while I'm purging or crying in the aisles of Sainsbury's because I'm so fucking hungry and sick. And I'm pretty sure hard women don't cry or purge.
    That's why I keep reading your blog. You're so human and vulnerable and empathetic and incredibly intelligent and beautifully eloquent. But you don't see that and you won't accept that part of yourself. I really hope you will one day because otherwise you really will utterly destroy yourself. No one deserves that and especially not you.
    With all my love

  2. you know... thing is you need to realize that to be loved you don't need to change a single thing about yourself, just love yourself. If you can't love your own imperfect body you can't love anyone truly and you don't believe you can be loved, so you behave in a way that causes people to restrain from you. You will never be perfect, the way you imagine it. There's always going to be beauty and ugliness about yourself that you can't control. I've been there.. for 8 years.. lost so much time counting calories.. In case you wanna talk write to me at morigann83 @ vp. pl Take care of yourself sister!

  3. Your prose is beautiful.


  4. i was wondering what happened to u... but i go on and off too, so figured u'll be back.

    yea i don't like it when people say i'm thin, i don't believe it because it's all empty words anyway - coming from someone thinner than me.

    and i chase around this middle aged man right now. i'm almost 24, he's 35. and i'm THE ONE chasing him - it's retarded and sad. he has other girls he tells me about. like u, i don't know why i do this to myself.

  5. Still reading, a lot to catch up on.

    ~ H


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