Who is ‘me’?
What a question?!
In fact, so difficult a question is it to answer that I have just spent an hour writing here only now to delete it all!
I think it will serve us well to give some context to this posting. Here are some pertinent excerpts from my journal:
“25 June 2012
Day 1. This is my umpteenth “Day 1”. A day when I feel empowered, motivated, in control. The day I’ve chosen to start making changes (…for real this time….no really, I promise).
It’s 4.15pm and this Day 1 has consisted of me doing two exercise videos, which I haven’t touched for weeks, restricting my lunch to two Ryvita with pastrami and 1 Ryvita with marmite.
When I walked upstairs before and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror “FRAUD” was stamped over it. I dismissed it (denial is one of my strongest abilities and one of my greatest weaknesses). Even as I pushed the screen of my laptop open, I readjusted it downwards so that I couldn’t see the reflection of my face.
The reflection evidences a truth which contradicts my feeling of empowerment and self-control today. The reflection is one of a girl dressed in a black tracksuit, with her hair drawn back off her un-made up face. So, if that’s the truth I don’t want to see, why aren’t I making real changes?
I just can’t quite find the real me, the one I want to fight to bring back. All I come up with is a girl who is confused, unsure and doesn’t really feel like she’s worth bringing out to show the world. How do I find the answer? How do I find the real me again? Why am I worth it?”
27 June 2012
Yes, I admit that I am in denial. I don’t believe I have a problem. I don’t associate this word ‘anorexia’ with myself. I use it, because other people around me do. But, I’m cutting back again.
I went out yesterday in my lovely white Capri trousers, heels, bright top and a smart jacket. Getting dressed up used to make me feel a million dollars, irrespective of how the rest of the world saw me; that never crossed my mind because I felt great.
Yesterday I’d put the smart clothes on but my heart wasn’t in it. I kept my eyes trained to the pavement in front of me and only dared look up every now and then. If I caught somebody’s eye I wondered why they were looking at me. It was probably because my hair was looking messy and they thought I looked ridiculous.
Every time I walked past a group of women I waited to listen for their comments, waited to hear them say how skinny and terrible I looked. When I caught the eye of a couple of guys looking at me, I wondered why? What did they see? Do they think I’m attractive? Do they think I’m weird?
If I’m truthful I want back that old feeling of ‘who the hell cares what you think because I think I look good today!!’
Whether or not I was smiling on the outside, I used to smile on the inside. I felt there was a world of possibilities and opportunities out there for me. I was hopeful and excited about the future, the future that I was in control of.
But, to stay ‘sane’ (!) I don’t dwell on those thoughts. I bury my head in the sand and love the peace that denial affords me. How long can I keep doing that for and what will the impact be?
28 June 2012
I’ve been deceiving myself and worse, I’ve known it and I haven’t had the strength, or the will to change. I’ve been a coward. I’ve favoured denial over the scary truth.
I haven’t liked the reflection of myself that these diary entries have been showing me. I didn’t used to be a coward. I used to fight for myself. In fact, along this road, sat in the mental hospital, I fought for them not to section me. I was the real me again. I spoke with conviction and strength and the old me dominated.
This may be self-indulgent but perhaps it’s worth it. Hell, it is worth it. I’M WORTH IT!!!
Let me introduce you to me: She’s tall, slim with blonde hair and blue eyes. When she gets the giggles, boy, does she get the giggles! She’s a little bit ditzy but she’s clever. She’s a snob and will readily admit it! She’s a lady and loves being a lady. When she steps out she smiles inside because she’s taken time to do her hair and make up and she’s thought about what she’s going to wear. She feels pretty.
Inside, she’s now got the confidence and inner peace she never had when she was growing up. She doesn’t walk with her head down anymore thinking that everybody is looking at her and thinking she was ugly and strange. She knows herself; the good, the bad and the ugly sides (ugly in the sense of those character traits that we really should try and get rid of or at least not let raise their heads so often). She has direction and she knows what she wants from life: a stable, good, challenging and rewarding career; a family of her own that she can love, nurture and care for, like the family unit she grew up in; and quiet contentment.
That’s the me that I want to be again.
This other girl is ravaged by a sense of worthlessness. She’s let herself be lost to all her doubts. When other people have hurt her she’s not allowed the wound to heal into a faint scar, to just be another one of life’s lessons. Instead, she’s done everything to keep the wound from healing, she’s let the wound consume her body and she’s let an infection slowly spread through her. That infection has now taken a form of its own and has infected each cell of her body.
Now is the time to start healing.”
So, where am I and who am I right now? I don’t know. I’ve moved on somewhat from the place where I wrote those entries.
On the one hand, I now feel confident, happy, optimistic, engaged in my life and in control. I walk down the street with my head held high and a smile on my face. I am engaging more with people, I’m not scared of catching their eye. I’m beginning to believe that I count in this world, that I do have value, and, more importantly I don’t need any outside influence to make me feel like this. I’ve had to put a lot of work in to feel like this and I’ve had to step out of some of my comfort zones in order to get here.
But, on the other hand, there are wobble days; days when something throws me off kilter. It can be the number on the bathroom scales, a bloated feeling in my tummy making me think I’m fat, or my own guilt. A niggling doubt that I’m deceiving myself again, that I’m not who I think I am, that I’m not worthy of the things other people have.
I have one strong voice telling me that I’m in control, happy and healthy and it’s ok not to have lunch, or just have a yoghurt or Ryvita for lunch because I feel fit and well and my body doesn’t need the excess calories.
I have another voice telling me that I’m deceiving myself, that I’ve still got a problem, that I’m still engaging in anorexic behaviour. Today, I thought I’d try lunch out (for the first time in months). I trawled around the cafes, lingering far too long and asking too many questions about the content of their salad boxes. There seemed to be nothing that I considered safe, or that I felt I wanted. And eating out at lunchtime, on my own?! I don’t need or deserve that!
The confusing thing is that I’m letting myself believe the first voice to be the real me, and I want it to be the real me because I don’t want to go back to the Dark Days. So that’s the one I’m listening to.
But, if I’m utterly honest, I suspect the other voice is my conscience letting me know that although I feel happy, I’m not looking after myself the way I should.
Whereas once my anorexic voice wasn’t allowing me to be happy, she’s now changed tack and relinquished some control but is still keeping me strictly in check. I feel happy with this, this is my comfort zone. It’s like me and anorexia have reached a compromise: I’ll be good and restrict, if she lets me be happy.
I don’t know what the reason is for changing this status quo.