‘Full of Joy’


I haven’t written for almost a month, in fact, I think it’s been almost exactly a month since I last wrote. Most of the times when I go silent it means something’s up, something I’m not quite ready to tackle head on but I’m pleased to say this time it’s quite the opposite.

To the north of mainland Greece there’s a teeny tiny island called ‘Skiathos’ and it is by far my favourite. I first came here when they told me I was too fat to represent my country at a Paralympic Games and whilst I arrived all doom and gloom I definitely left, yet again, quite the opposite.

So where else would I head to when I had about a month to myself? Where else would I go where my friends are more like family than my own? So yes, you guessed it, here I am in my favourite place in the entire world. 24 days down, 2 to go. 

I thought I’d get bored or lonely at least once because just under four weeks is a long time. But fact of the matter is, I simply haven’t and I’ve loved every single minute. I’ve been meaning to write but I’ve just been so distracted with sun, sea and my family that I wish was my own. The only reason I’ve finally managed to sit down and type something out is because it’s stormy and windy today that I don’t really have any other option!

The first weeks were tough. I couldn’t help but compare myself to everyone else I saw around me. How flat I perceived their stomachs to be. How I perceived myself in comparison. I restricted and I purged but I also did get it under control. 12 weeks…2 episodes of purging. I tried to deal with it healthily and I will admit I struggled but being around old friends and adoptive family filled me with so much joy – there’s a phrase Greeks use in response to the question, ‘How are you?’ – mi hara – ‘full of joy’ and I think that in itself is a beautiful response. 

One day I woke up insanely happy, I felt some sort of spring in my step and I even later in the day cried over text to my bestest. I simply felt happy. I’ve tried to change how I word things – I would say ‘everyone is so much skinnier than me’ and today I noticed I wrote ‘how I perceived…’ . Trying to develop my awareness of my eating disorder symptoms. I used to write I missed who I used to be before my ED and during this trip I realised I should never have focused on becoming a past version of myself because, simply put, we all change. And, yes, I’ve experienced some horrible things but that doesn’t mean I won’t become the best version of myself as a result.

I told him I loved him. The three words slipped out after weeks of me trying to hold them back. I knew I wouldn’t hear them said to me and that was okay but naturally not the greatest feeling. It got to me a bit but now? I’m completely different. I knew I wouldn’t hear them but I still wanted to say how I felt. I didn’t need to hear them back regardless of how much I want to hear them one day. I was brave enough to put my heart on the line because I cared about being honest with my feelings – for myself as much as for him.

Working really hard to separate my inecurities from reality. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a scary sorta limbo. I know we’re pretty awesome and the fact he’s made a noticeable effort to text more as I’m more of a ‘communicator’ so to speak, the dedicated weekly face time slot and the simple fact that if I need him, really need him, he’s there…and yeah, we’re pretty awesome together…there’s no need to worry. I don’t want to reach that stage where I may have to deal with a guy who decides he’s never gonna love me but I can’t live in fear of something that’s only got a 50% chance of occurring. I’d probably self-sabotage it all that way anyway.

He does say something to me though – ‘I like you an absolute lot’ 

I think I like that more than ‘I love you’ 

Bit like how I prefer the Greek saying of ‘I’m full of joy’ rather than ‘I’m good/fine/okay’ because when I say the latter, some of it is a lie…but I’m always full of joy so to speak as I’m one of those people who finds happiness in the simplest of things, always happy even if I’m not okay with my body shape or my perception of myself.

Maybe I’ll start focusing on trying to be full of joy. Focused on the little things that bring me happiness rather than the things that make me feel okay about myself…

A Beautiful Paradox

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She was broken but never hopeless. Alone but never lonely. Her eyes reflected pain but projected courage. She was a beautiful paradox

I really like that quote and feel like I can massively relate to it. It always feels weird to have people say things to me like, ‘I love how confident you are, you don’t take crap from anyone!’ when deep down, I know I’m filled with self-doubt.

The look on people’s faces when they realise what I’ve gone through and what I’m currently going through can really say it all for me. They genuinely have no idea the happy, chatty girl with the infectious smile can be so broken inside. The problem is, I’m not pretending to be that happy person, I know that person is me. It’s just that beneath it all there is the girl struggling to glue herself back together.

All it takes is one nightmare from that night…one glance from a girl skinnier than me…one more family argument, to tear down that smile and the tears come running. I really am a confident person, definitely personality confident and definitely NOT body confident but I really am getting there with being comfortable with the way I look.

I met the other trainees this week and they were so skinny. They really were, no lumps and bumps, no chest like mine and I felt so huge. They were like sticks and there I am…most definitely not a stick. I felt so self-conscious…I’ve not felt like that since i was half-naked in a swimming costume. They were all talking about how great their lives were and are, their family background and their wonderful boyfriends. DOn’t get me wrong, every single girl would have been through similar shit like me and to be honest, they were lovely and I don’t think I met a single person I disliked. No one commented on my looks or weight, or made any hint or suggestion.

No one except me. I was so down that day and I relapsed when I got home.

The next day my latest gym delivery arrived, protein etc. and a new (complimentary) gym top. Its silly but new gym kit? That is most certainly the way to motivate you to go! I felt so good, I went and worked out for an hour, did my weights and finished with a run and I looked in the mirror and felt…proud. Staring back at me was the girl who (yes, I relapsed) but woke up today determined to continue on my journey of becoming the best possible version of myself.

And I was not skinny.

But I looked strong.

#StrongNotSkinny seems to be trending lately I suppose

And it felt good.

I want to be so skinny at times but I’m also happy to be strong.

I feel so inadequate as if I don’t deserve anything or anyone but I also believe I deserve special because I do believe I am special.

I want to be loved but I know I still don’t quite love myself so…as my favourite drag queen quotes… If you can’t love yourself how in the hell you gonna love someone else!

Haha here I am quoting Ru Paul (she is the best though).

I really am happier. I’m getting less focused on skinny and more focused on strong. My housemates seem to love me for me…I’m sure my new friends will love me for me and I’m sure that one day someone else will love me for me.

I really am a paradox. I feel simultaneously not good enough and too much. I suppose I need to keep journeying for the happy medium where the outside smiles and confidence truly reflects the inside smiles and confidence.

I’m not broken anymore, because I’ve already started to put myself back together. I am simply currently undergoing my re-construction.

The best of me is yet to come.

Working It Out

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Today’s been a bad day but on the same hand one of my better ones. It’s so contradictory, I know but I’m pleased with where I am right now in this very moment.

As usual my day started off with the standard family stress but today I couldn’t take it anymore. I’m in the middle with my mum breaking down to me on the phone and my dad pressuring me to send him all my money. We had an agreement that I would look after that money so me and my brother could have deposits for houses in the future but now he’s trying to take it and I will happily support my mum but I’m getting fed up of my dad. Strictly speaking he’s been paying for that whore for 14 years…14 years of his and mum’s money being spent elsewhere…14 years that has led to him taking mine and my brother’s savings, the inheritance meant to help us start our own families one day.

I feel like I can’t cope with it anymore. When I hung up on mum I ended up crying in the middle of the street and I couldn’t stop. I tried to find a place that was quiet so I could try hide from the masses around me but I couldn’t and I felt like I was suffocating. I couldn’t breathe in this crowd and I was fighting to keep the tears from falling but in the end I couldn’t. They burnt and they stung my cheeks as they started to come and I desperately tried to find an empty corner or side street to run to but there wasn’t anywhere, so I lowered my head and made my way home whilst the tears kept running.

I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I can’t do this anymore, I can’t cope with this stress, I want all my family to leave. I want them to stop pressuring me, I don’t want this financial stress, they can take the money and fight between themselves, I don’t want anything to do with the money anymore, its caused so many problems sitting there and I wish, oh i wish I could just fuck off and leave them all behind. That’s my inheritance…my mum’s hard-earned cash and savings that is meant for me and John but dad is trying to take it and once he takes it, it’ll go to that fucking whore.

I was sick. I didn’t even try not to be. I just went to the bathroom and put my fingers down my throat. Its so bad that its not even to be skinny…its turning into a coping mechanism again. Something to take all the pain away because its the only way I know how.

But then, I went to the gym. I went to the one a few streets down and opened a membership and after 2 hours I went for a bit. I only managed 30 minutes cardio but considering I’ve not been able to do any real exercise for a long time I think that’s alright. I do know its not the best idea seeing as I purged. But I went to the gym, made sure I drank a lot and afterwards I went for sushi. Expensive food for my bank account right now but at least I ate something. At least I exercised. At least I got the remainder of my anger and pain out on the treadmill and not down the toilet.

And I’m proud that I finally went. It’s silly but because I feel so fat most days, I’m almost embarrassed to go to the gym. It’s so contradictory, we go there to better ourselves but it also acts as such a self-conscious environment. I’m pleased with myself. I’ve drawn up an exercise plan for the rest of the month and yeah, it might be too much, but hopefully I can find where my fitness is and start building myself up again. Not just physically but mentally too.