‘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…

Water Baby



24 years ago my mum took me swimming and 22 years later I surprisingly left the pool. Two years following that I found the courage to take the plunge but my strength didn’t last long at all. 6 months after I last donned my hat and goggles I was asked to be someone’s girlfriend, and although it took me 24 hours I was never happier to put aside my fears and take the plunge in a different way.

However, one month ago I was triggered and 3 weeks ago I relapsed. 1 week ago I went for help and we all know that because that’s what my last post spoke about. So what’s happened since? I came to Thailand to fully live up to the whole cliched expression of finding myself and majorly because I need time away from a lot of the shit I have to deal with. I was with a group at one part of my journey because I had so spontaneously planned this trip during exams that I was more disorganised-ly organised than usual.

Problem was, I met girls who came to Thailand to get wasted, laid and sunbathe. I didn’t come here for that, I wanted to experience the culture, which I did, I wanted to experience the lifestyle, which I did and I wanted to chill on my own at times,which I did. But I was given glances and thoughts said out loud that should never have been spoken. I don’t want details but I felt judged.


I was in this beautiful national park, Koh Sok, and I promise you the pictures don’t do it justice and I just wanted to cry. They made me feel that the fat girl once more and the emotions were building and the pain just burst through my heart as I couldn’t suppress it anymore. I couldn’t stop the tears but there was one girl I knew was kind, I knew was genuine, the one who I knew didn’t judge me. There was no network or wifi, I had no one to talk to but regardless of that I’m so glad I went to her.
We sat at the back of a floating bungalow with the back door open onto this beautiful lake, our feet in the water and the mountains as our back drop and I cried and opened up my heart to her. I basically told her everything and she simply listened and helped me work through some things. I was scared to stand around in my bikini, water calling out to me, calling me back to it like a long lost love but I was so scared. In love with something that once hurt me so bad.

But it was never the water that hurt me was it?

I have fear associated with the water but that was never what really hurt me. It was simply used to hurt me.


Emotions spilled out into the bungalow, into those mountains, into that lake and just like that I jumped…it only took five minutes for the smile to arrive and two days later it’s still not left. It’s something so small but took so much courage and I’m so happy I had the strength to do it.

Reunited with a long lost love.

I don’t quite know why I came to Thailand, but if it’s to ‘find myself’ then I did. Because I’ve been a water baby since the day I was born. The water truly made me happy and yes some people took that away from me but two days ago, I took it back.

Falling in love over and over again as I jumped from the boat, from the rocks, from anything, into that water. And the love is still there. Today I went island hopping and took full advantage of any opportunity to jump in and swim…I also did something I did every single summer as a child, I went searching for shells and admittedly I only found two but this is one of them…

Finding that shell made me stupidly happy just like shell searching did all those years ago. Swimming and searching for shells in the water that I could genuinely call my home.

Shell searching in Thailand…shell searching….soul searching…

Soul searching in Thailand.

Forever soul searching. Forever unpicking parts of myself. Forever working myself out.
Forever falling in love with myself slowly but surely, day after day.

 


I got so emotional because I was incredibly proud of myself for quite a few steps I’ve made and my heart genuinely beat so fast for the water I fell in love with…I never stopped being in love if I’m honest. I just needed strength to jump.

I needed strength to jump in a whole different sense two weeks ago.
I’ve never been happier that I did jump in both situations…

I once wrote something along the lines of I hope my future daughter never lies alone in bed at night crying her heart out…I can’t ask for more than for her to have friends like I have. The ones who help me eat when I can’t, the ones who give me beds for the night when I need them, the ones like I’ve met in Thailand. I had one of my nightmares last night. I woke up screaming, convinced I was getting…being…still can’t say that R word, again. Shaking and sweating but K (the girl I opened up to) came straight over to calm me down, tell me it was a dream and suddenly the world stopped spinning, my tears stopped running, and my heart wasn’t choking any more.

Baby steps…but then again, it’s hard to take steps on land when you’re a water baby at heart…


Twitter: @elenip92

Instagram: @elenipapa92

Hey Boy, Hey Girl

What’s that saying? A problem shared is a problem halved? Well, let me tell you, that’s never felt more true for me this past week. About a month ago I came across someone I didn’t want to see. There was no verbal exchange between us but the look in his eyes and the fear in my heart were more than enough.

It triggered me.

One month later and I’ve only just woken up to the fact that I need help again. I felt ashamed. The dirty feeling I had last year and three years before crept up and infected me before I could even attempt to create an antidote.. Riddled with memories of fear, the nightmares started again.

Family drama swiftly arrived just in time to make an already difficult time twice as deadly. I tried to bury myself in work to hide the pain. To avoid confronting it and then it all came crumbling down.

It all triggered me.

And boy, I fell hard.

But I eventually asked for help.

And boy, did I get more than I expected.

A text to ask for some company so I wasn’t alone with that bathroom calling out to me. A phone call to ask for dinner and a bed for the night and all of a sudden the fear subsided, the shame calmed down and the screaming in my head became a whisper.

And boy, did I cry.

I was all curled up on my bed and I let it all out. I ended up curled up on his bed and I let even more out. I went to her bed and let It all out again.

And boy, did that help.

Coming to London has been more challenging than I gave it credit for. I left Manchester and the people who had helped me over the years and I was in the City with no one to turn to. No idea who I could trust. However, I can safely say I have two people who have helped lift
the pressure.

And boy, do I appreciate them.
And boy, do I love them as my best friends.

I couldn’t be more grateful for the other half of El-squared (a name that was born because we realised if we combine our names we get Eleni or hers). I couldn’t be more grateful for such a wonderful human being who has entered my life and I sincerely hope she is here to stay.

I also couldn’t be more grateful for the guy who has recently entered my life. I’m incredibly proud of myself for letting my vulnerability come out. I do believe that allowing ourselves to be vulnerable with someone is a strong decision. He’s amazing, you know…and yet I’m still keeping him quiet. I really don’t need nor want anyone’s opinion and I’m enjoying keeping him all to myself. My special safe bubble. All mine.

In my little world of happiness both of these people have helped me create.

And boy, am I getting emotional just writing about them.

I suppose that shows that they truly mean something to me.

I have relapsed and I’m no longer scared to admit it. The hard truth is that if people do not know they can’t even begin to help me. If they don’t know my story they can’t begin to understand exactly how I need them. The other day I just needed his arms around me as I cried, I just needed that safe space he creates. I just needed her to help me eat dinner, I just needed that comfortable atmosphere she creates.

I’m sat on a plane right now and my emotions are considerably high. A slight tear of happiness drawing out the love I have for them both. Where am I going? I hear you ask. I’m off to Thailand, on my own little independent adventure. Two weeks to help me clear my head, two weeks to help me appreciate how strong I am and how proud I actually am of myself. Two weeks I am unbelievably excited for.

And boy, am I gonna miss them both.

She sent me a text before I went and it made me cry a bit. It genuinely did. God am I emotional for all the right reasons today?! Not only did she wish me the most amazing of adventures she told me how strong I am. I’m not about to go into details but she made me feel proud of myself and truth me told I feel exactly the same way about her. I feel as if she will be a constant in my life. A constant I truly need right now and I do hope I can give her just as much support as she gives me. A truly beautiful human being.

And oh boy does that make me lucky?

Signing off from God knows however many thousand feet in the air..

Laters taters ❤️