On the Road Again

Getting on my bike today for the first proper time in 8 weeks felt absolutely amazing.

My legs certainly didn’t know what hit them when we left for Alderly Edge averaging 19mph and pushing up any sort of ‘hill’ we came across. Riding with 14 people instead of being alone made all the difference too and I just came home with this massive sense of satisfaction.

We ordered pizza to share for dinner as neither of us could really stand in the kitchen and although a couple of negative thoughts swooped into my mind I think I handled it really well. I think doing the exercise meant I was more relaxed with my food choice and the fact we had really pushed in the ride made me feel happier.

Theres always a massive link to me being happy and me being far more relaxed with my food choices.

I know that if I rode alone I wouldn’t have ridden that fast and I feel so proud of myself. Its always so hard to get back into the group rides, its always so easy to stay in your comfort zone and trundle along by yourself but riding with the rest made me push so much harder and it even felt great to meet some of the new riders as well as my old friends.

My legs, after having a 8 week break, kept struggling occasionally but its amazing just how much we worked to motivate each other. It really does go to show that no matter what the situation is, if you’re with other people you can really push for more or get further. Motivating and helping each other out is definitely key and I’ve always noticed that in regards to my eating disorder.

I’ve always noticed that having more people around me who know about my situation and my struggles just makes me come on leaps and bounds. But in regards to today, being able to ride, and knowing it was just so unfortunate I broke my foot and my ribs, made me want to make the most of it. I have disabilities that prevent me from doing things, disabilities that make me susceptible to injuries and so I just need to make the most of it. No point wondering when something bad is going to happen and if I have the time to work out then I should.

Make the most of things. I have lots of opportunities open to me that others simply don’t have and if I’m able to be on the road again, then I’m going to make the most of it.

Special

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I’ve written it before and I’m about to write it again. Over-achiever, Striver, Never-Satisfied, whatever you want to call it, I am it and once again it came up in my therapy session to discuss why we think i’m still relapsing.

It all came down to something quite straightforward, something I’ve briefly touched upon occasionally in this blog.

I’m not special anymore.

And I want to feel special.

But I’m not.

I’m no longer the athlete with World Records to her name. I’m never going to hear my name announced or have other athletes look up to me when I give speeches. I’m nothing anymore. I’m a nobody. A has-been. I feel invisible, I feel like every other person walking down the street and I hate that. Not from an arrogant perspective but from the perspective of the person who always used to stand out.

I’m no longer doing something that no other law student has managed to do. I’m no longer being asked how training is or how my last competition went. I’m no longer a role model, I’m no longer anything worth mentioning.

I’m just normal. And I can’t stand it. I’m not happy simply being me and I don’t know how to accept that I simply am me. This is who I am right now but I can’t accept it. I wont accept it.

Being the best in sport kept me sane (to a certain extent).

Initially, it made me feel better about my weight, better about the bullies, better about me. I was able to say they were all simply jealous of me, but not anymore. Not now. Not ever again. I’m fat but I’m not an international athlete. I don’t have that status to cover up the issues I bury deep inside me.

I want to be special. I want, to a certain extent, to be admired.

Always second best, never even equal to my brother growing up. Bullied. Called stupid and fat by ‘friends’ and teachers and coaches alike. Never allowed to be satisfied with just being me. So i always pushed for more and I most definitely still do. I was never good enough for anyone so I reached for high grades, good university and challenging career. I pushed to become a better athlete and to win more medals, break more records.

I pushed to lose weight.

To become that ‘ideal’ I needed to be, at least, what I thought I needed to be, but it was never good enough. No one ever praised me or let me enjoy any success. It always had to be more. One more percent, one more second, one more pound. Never allowed to be satisfied with me. Never allowed to let myself be happy with me.

Always second best. Never good enough. And now I’ve lost something that, whilst contributed greatly to my eating disorder, still kept me happy…well…it didn’t did it. Thats a lie. This year it didn’t make me happy and thats why I left. But theres that voice lying to me in my head telling me that if I go back I’ll be happy again.

I know thats not true.

Problem is, I don’t like me at the moment, and I don’t know how to make myself like me at all.

A little pick-me-up

This week’s been tough. I’ve been having one of those weeks where each day I become sadder than the last and I don’t really know why. All I know is that every evening I’ve just cried my eyes out. I’ve almost burst into tears each time I’ve been alone in public and not been able to control it. I’m not sure why I feel sad. I’m back at uni but I’ve not been able to train so my routine isn’t that great but I’ve noticed that when I’m feeling down like this I really fixate on my weight, purging increases and I get even sadder as a result.

It’s a vicious cycle. Thinking that, that one little pound of weight lost will make you happier and resorting to extremes to lose it and you feel more relaxed but never for long enough. I feel like I’m still not good enough. I’m never going to be good enough. Just as one thing goes right for me, something else goes wrong and I focus on losing weight to distract me, to comfort me, to make at least one thing seem okay.

That’s the thing, I still constantly feel that for every leap of joy I experience something comes crashing and pulling me down. Something’s going wrong with me, with my body and I don’t know what. A few possibilities were ruled out this week but the last thing I need is something else. I know I need to sort it, and I have made an appointment, but when everything goes wrong I just don’t want to sort it. I want to ignore it and hope it’ll get better.

It happened last year. In one single week after my bike got stolen, I was diagnosed with vitiligo, my arthritis had damaged my ankle, and they thought I had my dad’s heart condition. And I couldn’t handle it. I am the girl with a list of things wrong with her as long as her name and I can’t cope to keep adding. And now I feel like its happening again, more family heart problems indicating I might have inherited it from my dad and mum wants me to go get tested, I need to, I know I do, but I just can’t handle it right now. I can’t handle something else.

I’m broken and faulty. I’m damaged goods and I can’t handle any more damage. I can’t handle having to fix something else. I’ve wanted my best friends so bad this week, and as always it took me too long to speak out. I feel like we’re so distant but its not because we are deliberately being that way. We’re all genuinely busy and stressed and not enough time for everything we need to be doing. And I wish we weren’t. Second year already seems like such an easy ride compared to this.

I miss them. I feel as if I miss them more because they’re here, in Manchester, and I can’t hang out with them. Well..not as much as I want. But its no ones fault, its just the way life is. And I know that, I’m not looking for attention, or sympathy, I just want us three to be back together, just for one day, just to make me feel happier.

The way that us three being together has always made everything better.

They’re always there for me, I know that, but like I said, it’s just been one of those weeks.

And then tonight, when I got upset again, I remembered. I remembered the present S got me for my birthday. A box full of envelopes to open on certain occasions. A present to last me all year. So, today, I opened the envelope for when I ‘need to smile’…

And it definitely did the trick. All the memories associated with the message and card came rushing back and I smiled. I smiled more than I’ve smiled all week. And then I started crying again, but not out of sadness, but just because it overwhelmed me to realise I have friends who care about me so much. It made me overly emotional to think that people could care about me the way they do and I am always going to be lucky to have those two,

Some days are hard and full of darkness but you just need to remember in order to find the light.

Old Habits Die Hard

When did it start? If I’m honest, there were a few times towards the end of my first year of uni that I made myself sick. Never enough to be a habit though. Just after a cheat meal to make myself feel less guilty for the foods I wasn’t meant to eat. It was a cheat day but I wanted to punish myself and thought that I’d soon associate bad food with being sick and that in order to not be sick I’d stop eating the bad food.

Didn’t quite work like that did it? Eventually it didn’t stop me eating the bad food but ended up justifying it because I’d go get rid of it later. It didn’t even only apply to bad food, but even healthy food didn’t stay down long.

The purging really took hold towards the end of my second year though, when I started living alone…after the London team had been announced…I remember thinking that my two week summer break would help. That I had developed a bad routine of being sick. A bad habit. And that having two weeks with my mum would make me stop it. I was obsessed on that holiday though…I took my scales…who takes their scales on holiday? A girl with an eating disorder that is…I refused to admit I had issues, even mum just thought I was being careful so that I went back to training in the best shape I could whilst enjoying my break from training.

So that was the end of 2012, vomiting on and off but nothing to make it frequent in my opinion. It really was just when I’d over indulged or felt too full. Compensating for slip ups. Eating super healthy then getting rid of my cheat day. As if it had never existed.

I remember googling eating disorders but convinced myself I didn’t have one. I

I convinced myself I was in control.

That I could eat three meals a day.

That I could stop purging whenever I wanted to.

But that wasn’t true. I look back now and I was so wrong. I lied to myself, thinking it would all be okay. Then again, the first person I sought help from did say to me, “well, if that’s what you want to do then do it, I’m too busy to worry about you”

Someone who was supposed to care clearly didn’t. I reached out for help because I was scared. I was scared I had an eating disorder and I didn’t know what to do. I was hurting and in pain. It sounds stupid but I was confused. I didn’t want to believe I had one, I mean, how could I? I was fat dumpling Eleni. I had always been and I was always going to be. No one would believe I had a problem. Why would they? And if the first person I asked for help made me feel smaller than all the bullies had done. I wasn’t worth helping. I wasn’t worth anything.

He was wrong. I’m worth so much more than I ever thought.

But I keep falling back. When I’m alone I just slip and sometimes I don’t know if I even try to hold myself up. I was rejected from a law firm I really wanted to secure today and I was alone. Just arrived in London for an assessment day with a different firm and alone. Wasn’t even in Manchester and able to postpone my journey down so that I could see someone who cared. I feel like a let down. I’ve failed in swimming and failed in that. But I know it’s not true. I haven’t failed and for some strange reason I’m not too upset.

It’s hard to explain. But it’s the reminders that burn. I’m alone and down and all I want to do is eat and be sick. The purging gives me a sense of release and relief and I feel better afterwards. Calmer. In control. Constantly seeking that control. The urge to control everything that becomes my sole focus following anything that’s not in my control. I’m just reminded of how I felt after every team I didn’t make, every grade I didn’t secure and I just want to purge. I don’t won’t to binge, I just want to eat something I don’t usually let myself eat and then get rid. Let myself have that comfort and then punish myself for being out of control.

I’ve slipped up a lot the past two weeks and I’m trying to get a grip on everything. I feel like I’ve let everyone down by falling back today. I should be strong enough on my own, but right now I’m not. Right now I’m strong with people around me and to be honest, there was a time when I wasn’t strong when I was with others. Many a day went by when I threw up in training or during uni time. So in some respects, I’ve made great progress there but not so much on my own.

I hate being so dependent on them. I feel they’re going to reject me one day, that I won’t be worth their help or, worse, that they simply won’t want to help me. I thought that securing a training contract would have made this sporting failure of a year something decent. I’ve lost Rio. I need to have a training contract. I can’t lose two futures. I can barely cope losing one future. Please, not another. I’ve lost my sporting career. I don’t want to have failed to secure a legal career.

I thought I was fine but I’m not. And there’s that voice.

“At least if you were slim you’d be happy. You’re fat. You’re a crap athlete and you’ve no chance of being a lawyer. No wonder no one wants you. No ones ever wanted you. You’re fat.”

I’ve focused so hard on these applications that I’ve not trained and my weight has gone up. This summer was meant to be spent getting in shape, but I’ve not and I feel like a failure. I’m so focused on doing well tomorrow but I have so much riding on everything and that’s probably where I’m wrong. Too many of my body confidence issues were dependent on Rio. I thought if I made Rio I’d be happy about my weight but that’s probably not true. I probably would have been under even more pressure. So when that was taken from me I focused on the education side of things. Judging my self worth based on grades and progress with these applications.

I feel they’ll be mad at me. I’m scared to tell them. Scared to say those words. To admit I’ve fallen. To say I’ve failed at something else. One big failure.

You can tell me I’m not. I mean, I know I’m not, but right now I won’t see it.

I’m close to breaking it, but old habits die hard.

Raw

They wanted to weigh me and I hadn’t anticipated that. They sat me down and oh so casually said they needed my weight

I haven’t seen my weight for more than two months and the instant panic made it impossible to speak, I could have told them I didn’t want to see it, or that maybe I didn’t have to, but I couldn’t. So I got up and I stood on the scales.

64.5kg

That’s what the skinny girl weighing me called out.

And the voices came running. The pain struck me and all I wanted to do was cry. I’m sat in the waiting room waiting for the consultant and the tears are burning, trying to burst and run down my face.

I haven’t seen my weight for more than two months and all those doubts were right. I’m fat. I’ve gained weight and I’m so fat. I need to lose it. I knew I needed to lose it but I ignored the voices and let myself eat. I allowed myself to eat similar amounts to everyone else and whilst I haven’t trained I have paid for it. Oh have I paid for all that over indulgence and wrong choices.

Why did I eat what I ate?

Why did I drink what I drank?

Why did I not train as much?

It’s my fault. I’ve gained so much weight and its all my fault. I feel numb and broken inside and it hurts. When that number was called out I felt as if a thousand knives stabbed me at once.

I just felt raw.

I felt the self-hatred come back. It seethed through my body and it burned my insides. My head started spinning and I had a lump in my throat. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I almost didn’t want to breathe as if I could pretend I wasn’t there. As if I could pretend it wasn’t true, but it was. Almost 65kg and yeah I had my clothes on, but that doesn’t really add much on, does it?

No point hiding from the fact that I’m fat. No point trying to comfort myself and soften the blow that I’m so fat right now. Its blatantly obvious. No point denying it.

One year since things went downhill with swimming and I’ve gained 9kg.

I feel like a disgrace and I need to get my anger out. I just want to scream and shout and just cry…I just really want to curl up and cry away all the pain.

As if crying would make it better anyway.

I can’t even describe how I’m feeling with my words in any sense that is actually an adequate representation. All I know is that I am fat and it hurts. I used to be 55kg and I want to be that weight again. I don’t care if I was purging at that weight, I just want to get there without purging.

I want to be that tiny girl again.

I need to be slim. I need to be better than what I am and I want it now. I don’t like feeling this hurt, I don’t like the pain that burns in my head and my body and I’m sick. I’m sick of being this mess. I’m sick of my life revolving around my weight and the sooner I sort it out the better.

I feel so raw.

I need to sort it out.

I feel so numb.

I just need to lose weight.

I feel so broken.

I just need to be slim again, that small again

I’m so scared that I can’t do it. I’m so frightened that I am always going to be this fat.

I want to do it healthily but I’m scared that that option won’t work.

I just feel empty inside. I feel so hurt and depressed when I look at myself. I want to be more than this. I want to be slimmer.

I feel so broken and numb, but it doesn’t feel like there’s anything I can do about it.

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Over-Achiever

Head down, keep pushing, never stop until it’s over.

That’s a mantra I have had for as long as I can remember. It’s always been drilled into me, and especially in sport. You simply don’t give up. No matter how much you need to breathe in your last 10m of the race, you don’t. No matter how much your arms hurt you keep them moving, you don’t stop, you simply don’t. But most importantly, you don’t let your head get the better of you. As an athlete, your mental attitude can make you or break you. You need a mental attitude of steel and whilst I might never have made the top, my attitude was my strongest feature as an athlete.

And I suppose that transferred into other aspects of my life. I always wanted high grades, or a high flying job in the future, and I constantly pushed for more. I was never satisfied with OK, never happy with mediocre and it’s no surprise that in 2012 and indeed, this year, that when my sport felt out of my control and my grades had lowered, that I ended up focusing on my weight.

It became an addiction. I always wanted more. Others criticised me and so I criticised myself even more. I ended up loathing myself, hating every inch of fat constantly striving for more.

Always striving.

It’s a great attitude but it’s also a curse.

In a recent training contract interview I was asked, what is my biggest weakness. I knew immediately, I told them that I am myself’ biggest critic. I am never satisfied with any success and more than often it sees me pushing myself to even higher limits. It just means, that if I fall, I’m even harder on myself then. I undervalue any success and overemphasise any failure.

I can be better. I can always be better.

I’ve worked so hard all summer on these applications. I have literally had next to no time to myself and genuinely feel like my summer has just gone. But I’ve pushed on. I had a goal, kept my head down and kept pushing. It’s what I do best. It’s all I know. It’s how I, as a person, operates.

Naturally, there’s been so many rejections but a few interviews as well. I’ve actually progressed more than I thought I would and made the final stage of quite a few firms. I felt pleased to have progressed, but just as soon as I try to praise myself, I stop and tell myself it’s not good enough. I’m convinced I need to secure one, as if to just secure my self worth.

And it’s tough. The amount of candidates I am up against and the sheer amount I have to do to secure a contract is immense and so damn intense. I entered the process quite naively and I’ve been shocked at what I’ve found out. I underestimated just how many and the diverse range of people who would be applying. I didn’t think I’d be up against people who’ve paralegaled for up to 6 years. I was told it was rare for a second year law student to make it so far with the odd firm or so. And, therefore, I should be proud; proud that I’ve made it so far.

But with that sense of self-accomplishment comes doubt. It’s like the demon never lets me win. I’m never allowed even the smallest victory. But it’s not the demon, it’s me. Years of over criticism has turned me into a self-doubter. I will push and push and I will be proud but I will never be satisfied. I’m not a hard person to please, until it comes to me.

I had one of my final interviews on Monday (my official last assessment day is in two weeks) and I’ve been sad ever since. I’ve my been this down for ages and all I could think about was my weight. I looked in the mirror and saw fat. Such a fat girl looking back at me and I hated her. God I hated her. She’d been here for 9 months and was yet to leave. My focus on my purpose had switched so much this year, bouncing from sport to academics to sport to personal life to sport to future work. And now, now there was nothing. No structured training programme to sink my teeth into, no essay to study for, no law firm to research. Nothing. And I came down. I came crashing down from that hard working wave I had been riding.

No upcoming interview.

No upcoming race.

No upcoming visit home.

Nothing.

And yet, I needed to strive, and with nothing to distract my focus, I fixated on my weight. I know I did, and I noticed. The hatred came back with a passion and I withdrew. I stopped talking to people and I questioned why B was with me. I told him I was fat, that he deserved more but found it so hard when he tried to convince me otherwise. I love him, I know I do, but how can he love me when I don’t love myself. I felt so unhappy that my weight wasn’t changing. I had no scales but could see in e mirror. And that’s another thing, I know weight loss is long term, but I almost expect it overnight. The reality of life doesn’t seem to apply when I’m striving.

It never has.

But I’ve noticed. My therapist said to focus on the fact I’m well aware I’ve withdrawn and that I’m trying to fix it. I arranged to visit a friend and went out for lunch with B. I’m still moving forward. Still pushing on but trying to take it slower. He said that I’m in a state of threat; I constantly push forward because I’m scared and I refuse to let myself be self-considerate and almost self-passionate. He’s told me the state of threat refuses to let emotion in because it thinks it will only survive if it’s strong. He’s told me to allow myself to be self-compassionate and that I will need others to help me along the way. I need to allow myself some consideration so that I’m not as critical. I said that I felt justifying stuff was a weakness; it was an excuse.

He disagreed. He said I wasn’t justifying the possible outcome I might not get a training contract but allowing myself to appreciate just how far I have come.

One month and only one relapse.

And if I don’t get a training contract I will apply again next year, and the year after that, and again and again until I get qualified. I’ll take every day as it comes, and yes I’ll get knocked, yes I’ll feel as if it’s the end of the world. But I’ll get over it. I always do. But this time I’ll have a certain group of special people with me. I won’t just get over it by being sick and starving. But I’ll get through it, healthily and happily.

That sounds like a much better option

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Old Quotes but New Meanings

I remember when I was growing up there was this specific quote I loved:

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.


I don’t know what it was but I lived by that quote. I would be lying if I said the bullies’ words didn’t hurt me but I used to deal with them so well. I used to be able to laugh them off and stand my own ground. It was when the demons began to emerge when I was older that I would look on the past and that’s when the words hurt me.

They called me fat when I was younger and I really did ignore it. But when I was older and being ‘fat’ prevented me from making the Games, that’s when I looked back on the past and realised just how much they had hurt me. The truth was they had hurt me but I simply put it all to one side, so when the darkness began to grow all these comments which I had stashed away, began to creep out of wherever I had managed to lock them away, I just crumbled under their weight.

20 years of cruel comments were unleashed at once and I felt like the girl who coped with the comments was a disgrace. I couldn’t understand how she could have been so happy over the years whilst being so ugly and fat.

But I just realised why.

Growing up, I never had loads of friends because I was the type of girl who couldn’t put up with the usual fake-ness that infests the all-girls school I attended. I’ve never been cruel to people but I don’t pretend to be best friends, or even friends, if I know we’re not. In fact, I have more respect for some of the people who mutually dislike me, so much more so than the ones I actually know enjoy stabbing me in the back.

I always preferred to have a small number of close friends. People I could rely on, and I truly met these people when I was at sixth form. Before then, my close friends were from swimming…all guys…I genuinely hated the bitchiness at my school and from the girls at swimming and so I genuinely found guys easier to get on with. My guy friends never made comments about my weight. They never cared what I looked like. They liked me as a friend for me, just the way I was. The girls, on the other hand, determined their best friends from who had the latest handbag or designer shoes and yes, not all girls from my school were like that, but the majority were. I had some great friends from my girls school, don’t get me wrong, but I was stabbed in the back a lot by some of those ‘friends’ all too often and lets face it, guys are far less complicated.

(Far less complicated when you’re simply friends with them at least!)

The words the bullies fired at me hurt me less back then because I was surrounded by the right people. I cared what my close friends thought about me, not what the self-proclaimed-popular girls thought. I cared about what me and my friends were chatting about, what music we were listening to (I was a metal head back then), and generally being a hyper nut-case. I didn’t care they thought I was weird or a nerd…I didn’t care that they thought I was fat.

Its funny, because I really was chubby back then and I didn’t think I was fat. It’s funny because even after my post-surgery weight gain I am nowhere near as big as I was back then. It’s funny because I’m so much smaller and yet I feel so much fatter.

As my eating disorder developed, all the cruel comments I’d been subjected to came to light and thundered down on top of me. Combined with people who were supposed to care for me making me feel worthless and disgusting, it was simply all too much. The British Team who was supposed to help me, didn’t. The coach who was supposed to encourage me, constantly criticised me. Friends who were supposed to support me didn’t. I looked back on my past and felt stupid. I felt as if every word those bullies had said was true and I was an idiot for refusing to listen to them.

But I wasn’t an idiot back then. I was happy and that was all that mattered back then.

Back then, I wasn’t worried about being slim enough for a guy to like me. I wasn’t worried about being small enough for people to take note of me. I was happy being me. I could win people over with my somewhat funny jokes and ‘banter’, for want of a better word.

The biggest thing that changed was the way I saw myself. As the eating disorder deepened I began to think worse and worse. Most of all I began to hate my smile. For some reason, I’ve always loved my smile and I began to hate it. I loved that my teeth were a little wonky, for some reason I thought it was nice. But that changed, I began to hate everything that wasn’t perfect. I think I was also scared that my teeth would give away the fact I had an eating disorder. They’ve not changed at all, in all honesty, but my eating disorder thinks they have. I used to love my smile. People actually told me a lot that they love my smile..I used to…sometimes I still do, but sometimes I’m not too sure.

There’s one thing I’m sure about now though.

I spent years with the wrong people as my eating disorder developed and that maybe accelerated its effect. But when I think about it now, everything couldn’t be more different. I’m surrounded by a few close people who try to understand what I’m going through and they do everything they can to help. I’m surrounded by people who care about me more than anyone ever has before, and it sounds crazy but I genuinely struggled to think that people could care about me so much. Even some close friends from sixth form recently turned out to be nothing of the sort. I’ve been hurt so much I’ve never wanted to open up recently, I don’t like to think people could like me…but that’s because I don’t like me. And that’s what needs to change.

I have two of the closest most amazing friends from uni and when I am with them I can’t even begin to explain that carefree feeling. The feeling of my jaw aching from laughing non stop. Listening to every detail about each other’s life that just makes me smile so much. We rant and we rave, but we laugh all the time. They make me so happy and seeing them every day makes me happier. They matter to me and I matter to them. I care what they think of me, and they like me for me. They like me just the way I am.

I convinced myself no guy would ever truly like me, but I think I was wrong. I’m ever so slowly, but nonetheless!, realising someone does like me and he likes me so much more than I thought possible. I struggle sometimes when he compliments me because I don’t believe it. Even though I know he means every word I can’t help but shrug off the compliments. I think I’m so imperfect right now that no one in their right mind could like me…but I’m wrong…because he does. He matters so much to me right now and the fact I know I matter to him makes me realise something.

I am surrounded by people who really do care. They’re a mixture of uni friends, school friends, family and new found people. But whats more important, is that I care about them. I care about the best friend who cycled with me when I was panicking about losing weight, who made sure I was eating lunch and dinner on days I was trying to refuse to do so. I care about the family member who asks me every day to list exactly what I’ve eaten…its annoying but she does it because it makes me accept when I’ve not eaten enough or slipped up. I care about the best friend who sent me information to help with my relapse. I care about the friends who check up on me daily. I care about the extended family who let me use their home as a refuge when the demons get too much. I care about my boyfriend and bit by bit every day, I’m realising just how much he cares about me.

These people matter, and therefore I only want to know what they think.

And these people care. And they don’t care about my weight. They love me just the way I am and so I should love me just the same. I wouldn’t change their weight so why should I think that mine is a major issue? Its absurd now I think about it like that. If they came to me with problems I could think of 101 things that I love about them…maybe I need to start thinking of things I love about myself.

Let’s start today then.

The first thing I love about myself…is my smile. I love my dimples, and I love the fact my teeth are a little bit wonky. I love the way all those people listed above make me smile. They make it shine more than anyone else, and I love them for doing that.

First day of happiness; the first day I finally told myself that there was something about me worth loving.

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