what if, for me, it’s always you?

(This piece of writing eventually evolved into the poem I posted a few weeks back – two paths)

I miss him. I miss you. I don’t know who I’m writing to anymore.
I’ve realised I’m burying a lot of it so the memories don’t hurt me. And I’m forgetting parts of you, but I don’t want to forget.

I don’t want to forget that first night we got together. The intensity of those feelings. The electricity between us. The static. The chemistry. How it all just fell into place. Kissing you felt so right, so natural.

I don’t want to forget the night you accidentally told me you loved me for the first time. You said something like – I don’t just love you for what you look like. And I said, what did you just say? And then you said it. And I said it too.

I don’t want to forget the sounds of you playing your guitar for me. You are one of the most talented and modest musicians I have ever known. And I’m glad you’re doing solo gigs now. I really hope that goes well for you.

I remember the time when I needed to change the gauze on my leg and I was in agony, and you sat by me and played for me to distract me.

I remember lying in the bath once, with a cup of tea, listening to you play, thinking “I’ve made it”, and “How did I ever get so lucky?”

How did I ever get so lucky?
And I ruined it.

Or did we just grow apart? Like you said, maybe it was never meant to be. But it really felt like it was. I could picture our wedding and our first child’s name. I could picture you playing them lullabies to sleep. And us taking them to folk festivals when they were older. And they’d be musical too, because we were.

Maybe I put you on a pedestal, but I think you deserved it. Maybe no one will ever quite live up to you. But that’s okay. Because for three and a half glorious years, you were mine. We were a team. Adventure buddies. And I will always treasure those years. No matter how many years go by now without seeing each other. Maybe some time in the future we’ll go years without even contacting each other. I dread those years to come.

No one will ever come close to what we were, what we had, and how we loved each other.

Maybe you’ve already started moving on. Maybe we’re already on different paths now. Maybe we were on different paths long before I knew it. Holding onto each other’s hands barely by the fingertips. But I didn’t realise. And I didn’t see the warning signs.

Now our paths have diverged. It’s not our story anymore. It’s mine, and it’s yours. But for almost four years, it was ours. And it was magic. We were solid gold.

I just miss my best friend. But I’m not sure he misses me in the same way. It’s always harder being the one on the receiving end of a break up. Being blind-sided by it. It hitting you like a tonne of bricks in the chest, every morning when you wake up and realise you’re alone again. A cold side of the bed next to you. And stuffed animals as some sort of childish replacement for human affection. It doesn’t help that one of them you sent me in the post for my birthday, after we’d broken up.

I live with my emotions close to the surface. I know that now. I feel things more acutely. And you don’t. You bury them. You always have. That’s how I know that you’re moving on just fine and I’m periodically crying my heart out into the pages of my diary.

I just wished you missed me the way I miss you.
I’ve been trying to distract myself, but no one compares to you. I’m worried no one will ever compare to us.
I’m worried I’ll spend my life wishing it was you I was sat across the table from, you who I was falling asleep next to, waking up next to, making cups of tea for, returning home from work to, kissing.
I’m worried I’ll spend my life with your name on the tip of my tongue, and images of you leaving me at Chiang Mai airport playing behind my eyes.

What if that feeling never goes?
What if, for me, it’s always going to be you?

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.