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hi there

hello.
i’ve inadvertently used writing for a long time to process things.
i want to use this platform to share somethings i’ve scribbled down, with the hope somebody may feel the same things.

i’m not a writer, or a poet. it’s just therapy.

a rant about weight loss

TW: weight loss (with numbers), disordered eating, body image

I’ve lost weight. Not healthily. Not intentionally. But as a by-product of extreme anxiety and stress-induced IBS. I haven’t had an appetite. I was gagging every time I tried to eat. And when I did eat eventually, I’d only eat about half of the food on my plate before feeling sick again. And I’d have an upset stomach up to 6 or 7 times a day. It was unhealthy. (I’m using past tense because I am now back in the UK and my appetite and metabolism seem to have returned to normal.) I would get head rushes just standing up. I’d feel weak and unsteady. I’d had to stop running because I didn’t have the physical energy.

I have lost a stone and a half in about 5 months. This bothers me. For numerous reasons:
a) People feel the need to comment on it
b) People automatically assume it’s 1) intentional and 2) a positive thing
c) Do I like it, secretly?

a) People feel the need to comment on it.
I’ve had several people openly make comments about my body in a public space where my colleagues or acquaintances are within earshot. It is not okay to openly make comments about a person’s body size, shape or anything else. It draws attention to the recipient, usually unwanted, and also draws the attention of everyone else in the room to start scrutinising your body and making their own silent judgments. Or that’s what it feels like.
I had a (male) colleague say “Wow, have you lost a lot of weight? You look like you have!” in front of a staff room of other colleagues. Now, I get it, he thought it was a compliment. He’d assumed I’d been intentionally trying to lose weight and therefore had been successful and wanted to express some backwards and unsolicited form of congratulations. BUT THAT IS NOT HOW IT SHOULD BE. No-one should ever think it appropriate to make comments about perceived weight loss to another person, especially in a public setting. You don’t know what that person is going through. You don’t know whether they’re ill or not. You don’t know if they have a history of disordered eating and distorted body image *raises hand*. If you don’t know for absolute sure, you don’t comment. I wanted to respond with something cutting like “Yeah, I’m actually trying this new weight-loss program called “my life is being rapidly overtaken by anxiety” paired with a complementary program of irritable bowel syndrome. You should try it – if I recommend a friend you can get a 10% discount”. But, embarrassingly, I just said “Thanks” and I hate myself for it.
That particular comment made me very self-conscious. I thought – did he think I needed to lose weight before? Was I perceived as being overweight before? Should I strive to maintain my new body shape, or worse continue to shrink it?
I also had a (now very recent ex) boyfriend, in an intimate moment, say he could actually feel it on my body, the weight I’d lost. (Although, to be fair to him, he was upset by it because he knew how ill I’d been.)

b) People automatically assume it’s 1) intentional and 2) a positive thing
I’ve had friends make comments that suggest I should be pleased with my weight-loss – despite me explaining to them the toxic causes of it. I even had my Dad say – when I told him I’d lost over 10kg – “Well, that’s not a bad thing!” Implying that I had weight that needed losing? Implying that it’s a good thing that I’m smaller now, and should be happy to be so?
I’ve had friends say “I wish I could drop a stone and a half that quickly”. No. No, you don’t. Not by the means I’ve lost the weight. I don’t want congratulations – when I confided in my friends about the weight loss I wanted support and sympathy. Not jealousy. I was terrified I’d keep losing the weight like I did when I was 14, that I’d become dangerously underweight again. I didn’t want a pat on the back.
And I know, women have just internalised all the messages we receive from the media about how our bodies should look, so can I really blame my friends for responding in the way they did?

c) Do I like it, secretly?
And finally, the hardest part of all – do I actually secretly like it? Am I secretly glad I’ve lost the weight, even if it was unintentional and achieved by very unpleasant means? Despite of my new found feminism, body positivity, health-at-every-size attitude, I can’t seem to shake that lingering shadow in the corner that whispers “Skinnier is better and you know it. Skinnier is sexier, and sexier is more power and control. And that’s what we crave, isn’t it?” It’s insidious. But it’s still there and I can’t overthrow it with all the bopo-insta in the world. There’s something hard-wired into me, that says I should always strive to be physically more attractive. I know why. But that’s not something to get into right now.

On a positive note, in the three days since my return to the UK, my appetite has returned, and my IBS appears to have abated *touch wood*. And the sensible, rational part of my brain knows that the healthy thing to want is for my weight to stabilise, or even increase.

Oh, sensible rational brain, please come through for me this time.

1000 more goodbyes

You’ve just left. After the most emotional night.

You just texted me saying “I’m breaking”. I am breaking too. Shattering into a million tiny pieces.

My heart hurts.

This evening, just before the rain came thundering down, you hugged me from behind as we looked out across the city. We could see the high-rise of the apartment complex you’re staying in. I asked which way your window faced. You said the other way. And we both sobbed.

I wish I could’ve just stayed there forever in your arms. Suspended in time. Just the two of us, Just how it should be. Just how it should always be.

But you had to leave. I’d made you tea. You said you’d leave after you finished your tea. Then the rains started. You said you’d go when the rains stopped.

I said I didn’t want you to finish your tea and I didn’t want the rains to ever stop.

But they did. And you left.
After another emotional goodbye. Where you told me it wasn’t my fault. Where you told me not to blame myself. Where you told me you’d always be proud of me. Where you said you’d be there for me if things got really bad and I wanted to hurt myself. Because you still love me. And you still care for me.

We kissed. Which we shouldn’t have. But I pressed my body into yours and I felt the earth fall away beneath me. No floor. No apartment. No Thailand.
Just us. Joined. One team. One unit. Together.

It physically hurt me to stop kissing you. To stop holding you. And to let you go.

We’ll see each other again. Probably, unfortunately, in work tomorrow. But it won’t be the same.

I hope we have another night like tonight. Even though it hurts. Another night where we bare all and cry into each other’s shoulders.

Where we say all the thing we should’ve spent years saying.

I’ll part with you 1000 times more if it means 1000 more nights like this with you.

I am heartbroken.

dancing

We’re dancing on the edge of a precipice
Except you have both your feet
Planted firmly on solid ground
And I keep pirouetting closer to the edge.
Light-footed
And fragile
A swift breeze would do it
One loose rock under foot
It would be quick.

But there you are
Still.
Both my hands in yours
And your feet
My anchors.

There are daises growing in the cracks of this landslide.

the in between things

Memories keep coming back to me.
Bright flashes of nostalgia.
Just normal things,
but normal things that I’ve not thought about probably ever.
Since they first happened maybe.
(It just so happens that I can’t recall any of them right now)

But it’s things like the smell of warm summer air walking home from the rugby club.
Or watching the carnival week parade from the bay window of Mum and Dad’s bedroom in Malvern house.

Or the feeling of warm sand between your toes when you have to put your trainers back on at the end of a long day on the beach.

Normal things.
Easy things.
In between things.

In between the crying and screaming and sleepless nights and multiples of 7 or 49.
Do these things make up for the other things?

The in between things.
Chopped banana and grapes and Rosie and Jim.
Forts made from bushes.
Wind breaks.
Lemon-top icecreams.
Over-sized hand-me-down clothes.

A plaster on a scrubbed knee that you’d wear with pride
LOOK
someone took care of me.

Uprooted

I wrote this back in November. I realise the locations may give away my identity, in a blog that I’ve tried to keep largely anonymous, but they were important to keep in there.

I didn’t know what it meant to feel “at home” until I was made to live without it.
I thought home was a solid thing. A permanent feature. Something you could go back to and instantly know your place.

The UK. The North East. My parents’ house. My room.
Lyme Regis. The cobb and the sea front. The Royal Standard.
Cardiff. The village. The view of the mountains.
Home.

But it’s not just that at all, is it?

When you’re home, you feel rooted to the earth. You are part of that place you’ve always been and it is a part of you. Especially if you’ve never left.

I feel uprooted.
I feel that everything I knew has been unearthed and upended.
And there’s fuck all you can do with that.
You can’t re-plant a whole fucking tree.
The ground shifts and changes. New plants start growing in the hole you left, and there’s no space for you anymore.

So, what? Plant a new tree? A new kind of tree, in a new kind of soil?
Maybe.

I think I’ve realised that home grows with you, like tree rings round an oak. Who you are is buried in layers beneath you, absorbed into you from the environment you grew up in.

But, you move yourself and your tree of home across continents and nothing is familiar.
The tree rings inside you aren’t mirrored in the trees you find here. And you become acutely aware that this is not your home.

You haven’t heard seagulls in months.
There are few, if any, familiar accents.
The nights aren’t getting darker.
Nobody is complaining about the weather, or politics.
And you miss that.

It’s not rained in weeks.
You haven’t heard folk music in 5 months.
Or smelt the smell of pubs.
Or had a hug from an old friend – someone who’s loved you for years and been through some dark shit with you.
You don’t know the city like the back of your hand, all the cool bars and side-streets and markets and coffee shops.

Nothing is familiar and this is not your home.
And yet.

And yet, I think being homesick is more than just being away from home. It’s being away from everything that makes up the tapestry of who you are. It feels like you’ve been stripped bare and left naked.

And who are you if you’re not the girl with the two awesome feminist best friends just down the road from you?
Who are you if you’re not the girl who confidently strides into a dance class half-way through and takes her place on the floor because she knows her place?
Who are you if you’re not the girl who spends her summers camping at folk festivals? Or going to tiny folk gigs in the village?
Or the girl who single-handedly set up the Duke of Edinburgh award in her old school, and led expeditions in the beautiful countryside?

Who are you if you can’t step out of the door and be in the Welsh mountains in a matter of minutes?

Who are you anymore if you no longer have all the thing that anchor you?
Floating, adrift.

I no longer feel like a tapestry.
I feel like a vast and blank canvas.

splendid suspension

This piece of writing just came out of me quite angrily (there’s a theme occurring here). I’m not sure it makes much sense, but it helped to get it out of my head. So I guess it does makes sense, in a way. TW: self harm

I feel rotten inside.
I am over it but I am not.
I’m holding myself together but it’s an illusion.

There is a black mould growing around my heart and my lungs.
There is barbed wire inside my skull.
And bare electricity lines running through the veins in my hands and arms.

I feel I have no control.
In a desperate bid to distract myself from the gnawing, twisting feeling inside
my hands reach for anything.
Anything hard.
Anything sharp. Frantic.
Anything quickly.

To anaesthetise my head.
To focus on a pain more tangible.

Is it even a pain?
Or is it a chronic sickness?
Something that you learn to live with
like the ringing in your ears after a loud firework
or a landmine.

That’s what it feels like.
It feels like I stepped on a landmine.
I blew into a thousand pieces.
And then, miraculously, before 5am, I had stitched myself back together again.
I did such a good job, nobody could even see the scars
where I had been torn, limb from limb
heart pulverised like ripe fruit
skull shattered.
Nobody suspected a thing.

Maybe I was just so glad I didn’t die from the explosion, that I failed to notice the warning signs.
My stitches were pulling apart at the seams.
Bits of shrapnel I’d not noticed.
One in my shoulder, so I’d walk hunched and stooped.
One in my eye, so I’d never quite trust my own judgement again.
One in the back of my head, so that I always felt as though you were lingering right behind me.

Another in my heart. That one I leave there. I don’t try to dislodge it. Nor do I let anyone else close enough to try.

I feel like second-hand goods.
Used, broken, less valuable.
Dirty. Unclean.

But I can feel my seams splitting now.
And this darkness oozing out.
Covering my clothes and hair with thick black tar.

Everyone can see.
They give me a wide berth.
Don’t want to get any of it on them.

I’m trying to stitch it back up, I really am, but I’m running out of thread and I’ve been sewn up so many times before that there isn’t any material left without a puncture wound already.

My hands are slipping and I can’t even see my needle and thread through tear-filled eyes. I tried.
Like a mouse on a wheel, I am not making any progress any more. I’m tired.

I’m just holding the fabric now.
The fabric of what was,
what could have been,
and what never should have been.

Sewing was futile. I can feel myself, covered in that viscous, black tar.
Tarnished.

Landmines only explode when you take your foot off them. I wish I would’ve paused.
Splendid suspension. For just a fraction of a second more.

a birthday card i’ll never send

(context: it was my ex’s birthday yesterday, and i still can’t forget the date, as much as I’d like to. This is the birthday card I’ll never send him. Writing it last night was beautifully cathartic, even if it still made me shake with rage.)

HAPPY FUCKING BIRTHDAY
(I HOPE YOU ROT IN HELL ♥)

Oh, there’s no need to be so rude, is there?
People know, you know?
Maybe you thought I’d told everyone immediately, but I had a lot of therapy to get through first.
(Just let me know how best you’d like to pay. I’d take PayPal.)

No, but people know now.

I only told two people at first.
No, three.
No, actually, four.
But people talk. And a rumour like that isn’t going to stay a secret.
Guess it’s not a rumour though is it?

I mean, I had to give a reason for having you removed from that group chat so quickly.
And yes, I could have lied but
I have no interest in protecting you anymore.
I don’t give a fuck about your reputation.
You deserve what you get.

I hope it plagues you everyday.
I hope you lose sleep over it.
I hope you’re terrified of bumping into our old college friends.
I hope you’re wracked with guilt.
I hope it’s a secret that’s destroying you from the inside out. The way it did me.

I hope your new girlfriend finds out.

Raise a glass to the birthday boy!
And many
many
happy
returns.

a shit scrabble hand of mental health diagnoses

I don’t like to subscribe to micro-labels when it comes to mental health, i prefer to think of it as a sliding scale. like sexuality or gender. thankfully my therapist also shares the same opinion.

however, sometimes a diagnosis is necessary. sometimes putting a label on things can help you breathe a sigh of relief, or connect with those also suffering from the same branch of mental illness.

i have personally tiptoed around this diagnosis for a while, for almost a decade. but to have a therapist finally say “yes, that’s what i’ve thought from our very first meeting” is a relief. but it’s also a source of great upset because i have already been met with prejudiced attitudes from people who i thought were on my mental health “team”, if you will.

my diagnosis is bpd. and histrionic. as well as what i already knew; ocd, gad, and mdd. that looks like a shit scrabble hand of mental health diagnoses.

so there you go. a brief and unimaginative life update.

waiting

i wait.
because i’ve waited so many times before
stupidly
blindly
for a text, for you to come through the front door

you’re not like them, i know
but 8 years of being treated otherwise
obsolete
is hard to unlearn
harder to let go

years of
nights without texts
still,
mornings without texts
all the next day without texts
i guess i should’ve known this was a precursor
to my calling you “ex”

foolishly waiting like a puppy at the door
your absence
an abscess
i couldn’t ignore

i guess that’s because you’d lost all my trust
and i was right
these inklings
these nagging sensations in my gut
because two years ago i found out what i already knew
and i was just painting over rust

regardless of who it is
i still feel the same
i can’t sleep til they’re home
i won’t switch off that part of my brain
because i’ve lost this before
my sanity
and
this game.

how do you mend a trust universally broken?
i can’t say it out loud
“fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself”

best left unspoken.