Be kind to you

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The beauty of blogging is in the freedom to write or not write. I have not been writing lately for no particular reason other than it just has not been the right time and I have not been in the right mindset. That said, my struggle to “be” continues. At times the fight is harder and in rare moments I am able to find some peace. I cherish those moments. Walks by the dunes, staring at the beach, the sky, the stars, drawing, designing, making clothes.

Then, there, I fell free, connected, one body, one soul. My physical appearance no longer matters. My bulging stomach becomes an insignificant worry and the XXL clothes? Well … just another thing of this world.

Since I last wrote, I have moved away from London, traveled to Africa and now back in the Netherlands. It has been a long long journey. I started a new job, a tedious, toxic one, but that was my choice. Now I need to work on getting out of it and finding something better. Living a well deserved life demands effort.

When I am not drained of energy, I motivate myself towards my freedom. Towards being the person that I really want to be. Although that remains undefined, I know aspects of what brings me peace within. Creativity being one of them. Self-expression, whether confronting a small conflict or asserting my ideas is another.

Since I have been denying myself of that right to “be”, it seems easier to give in and settle with the mistaken habits, of being someone else; until I realize, all I am doing is giving my power away to invisible influences. Quickly, I lose myself.

So, the struggle continues. I suspect, there is a high probability that  this will be a lifetime struggle. Though I hope, it will become easier with time.

I used to think that I needed a break from the World because it was so mean to me. Truth is, I was cruel to myself. Then I had another realization. There will always be bitter times, the trick is to live it. Feel it. I do not want to forget or escape anymore. It has not worked. Bingeing, over-exercising, starving, trying to be perfect has not worked. Self-torture has failed. Self-love is surely the answer.

I hope to have a little more of it today, tomorrow and in all the other days I have left on this earth.

This I write to you and myself, so we both remember to “be”.

izaotee

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From bingeing to sleeping

Sometimes I wonder if I am clinically depressed. I know I am dealing with some lows, disapointment and insecurities. To the point where I never want to get out of bed. I procrastinate my work. If I am out, I cannot wait to go home, hide and escape under the covers. Sometimes I cry. On my knees in my bathroom floor, in my bathtub, curled up under my covers. I cry out of desperation, grief for my father’s passing, impatience, hopelessly dreaming for a better life. i cry. This is my week, my month. Am I depressed?

Gladly I am not bingeing so much anymore though. May be twice a week. I don’t fear food but the excess of it. The loss of control. At the same time I never want to go back to being too in control.

Today while talking to my therapist I thought I had figured out why I would not get out of bed. Not couldn’t but wouldn’t. Last night was I only fell asleep at 3 am. i just could not stop the thoughts, worries and feelings. They tormented me all night. UsuallyI would eat and eat and eat. Then fall asleep from the guilt, shame and physical pain. These days. My body is so broken. It cannot take anymore of the abuse. So while I tossed and turned. I was sure to have figured out why the abuse of sleep. I thought I had the answer: “i am scared to move out of my appartment, to travel back home”. But when I started my little summary of the week attempting to reach that conclusion. My argument lost its logical sense. He, in his trained professionalism, immediatly said that the sleeping, overeating, seeking for security is all a way of escaping the major decisions I need to make. The changes that my mind and body is longing for buth that I keep denying. I love arts, creativity but I never learnt it. I like law because I studied it and I am attracted to the theory of justice, of upholding the rights of citizen. Unfortunately the legal profession has been toxic to my mind and thus my body and soul. Arts on the other hand makes me whole. So even though it might be easy to say: then be an artist, be creative. I am terrified that O have wasted my life studying and dreaming about law. Was that all a waste? Or does God really have a plan for me? As my mother believes strongly he does, at least for my legal career.

The decision pending for me is whether I want to do the bar exam. Whether spending that time and energy is worhtwhile and something I honestly want to pursue. All I know is that it might be. I also know now that I cannot live without art.

Sleepless night

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23 43 – sleepless in my London appartment.

Thoughts invading my mind. Suprisingly I am not drowning in the urge to escape them. I had my dinner and am satisfied. Ignoring that little voices accomplice to my food splurges. The one that says well it is only just another muffin, you went a whole year without one.  That may be so but an extra muffin is only temporary bad quality plaster to my wounds.

I had an interesting afternoon at the Victoria and Albert  museum visiting an exhibition on the glamour of Italian fashion with my shortcourse classmates. Negative thoughts, guilt, regrets and sadness was still more present than ever. The fifth student actually, as I tried my best to concentrate on the research process. The class was uplifting in the end. Here I am at home, tireless but stronger against the urges to binge.

I realised during the sunny days wasted in bed that fo a while I will still surely be ambivalent about the fashion industry and the legal world. What my therapist would say “one foot in, one foot out”. May be I am simply one of those who cannot choose and will not choose between two great lovers. At least for a little while. The dream is to be able to do both. The reality is the inability to do either.

The lack of satisfying opportunity to be exact. I wish my creativity took up most of my time and generated sufficient financial returns. Sadly as I enquire more from professionals and others, it seems law is my safest bet. When I make that choice, I realise that I will have to accept it. I also need the time to allow myself to start and trust the decision. As I am writing this a rush of anxiety moves from my stomach to my throat.

While comparing myself to others, as I am used to doing. Bad habits die hard. I also observed that I am able to move forward when I accept my life, choices and body. Just own it all. The trick is to stay tuned with who I am and not fall in the trap of being a people pleaser when it is neither useful nor necessary. To get to acceptance comes with its challenges. Somehow when I acknowledge my present a giant weight lifts off. Such acceptance is only felt when I am being creative.

Right now, I wish the reasons giving this inner strength not to binge. This reassurance that nothing will harm me tonight. Not even myself. I wish these reasons were spelled out. This mystery that turns my shadows into light would be exposed. Brought to the open so that I can catch it and feed off it when I am lost, disconnected and in denial.

Sleepless. I still am.

Nothing will harm me tonight.

izaotee

A thought for my father

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If you have been reading the previous post. You would know that I walked out to the nearest starbucks for breakfast this morning. You might think it would be a trigger. Yet, I learned that it only becomes a trigger if I walk in while in a vulnerable place inside. So fragile that all I would want to do is escape. Reach for that fix. Run away from emotions that make me human.  I only needed a change of scene. I stayed in my apartment all day yesterday and it smelled like regrets, guilt and binge.

No make-up on, hair like a cave woman, clothes not matching. I needed to get out. Get some perspective. Get some space from my space. Then, after my little morning outing and grocery shopping. I came back to my niche. I broke down crying while printing images for my design research and listening to music. I cried because I missed my Dad. The thought was triggered as I was processing the bad news I received on tuesday. My cousin past away and lost her battle with breast cancer. She was only 32 years old. Diagnosed at 27. She left her husband and two boys of 9 and 7.

I wasn’t really close to her at all. My family always teased me about looking like her. Especially as she gained weight. To who-else compare the newly chubby girl than with the old chubby girl? I hated that comparison. She was also the youngest and only daughter. Any death is sad though I was never very close to her. Even so, it made think about my father and his passing. The void that he had left. Times I wish I spent with him, words I wish I had said. I never allowed myself the right to grieve until I started therapy again about a year ago. I thought that just like my mother, I was at peace with his departure. A lie. I was tirelessly restricting trying to be the perfect daughter.

Now, I let myself, miss him in the comfort of my room or my apartment here in London. Away from the stares and opinions. I truly miss him. I wish he was here. I wonder how things would differ if he was. Would I have held my ground and kept myself together? Would I have continued to keep a facade, try to the best of my ability to make my parents and brothers proud? Or would the real me, denied of the rights to freely live still push itself out anyway and demand its place in my world?

In a way, I believe not much would have changed. I would still discover my love for arts, face my struggles with food, continue to doubt my abilities to deal with those in the legal field. With or without him. Even if he was and always will be a part of me and has left an unforgettable print in my life, I cannot help but become the true person I am meant to be. Denying myself the right to “be who I am” in his presence or absence would still lead me to self-abuse.

Caught up in my overthinking. I miss my father. As simple a thought as that.

xoxoxoxo

I.

If only the World was empty

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Monday after my therapy I feel back into the comfort of my bed until 10 30 a.m.

I had two goals that morning. First: internalise that I can do all the things that I am meant to. All the things that I want to do. Second: avoid a morning binge on pastries because it only sets my day into a painful spiral of obsessing about food thus leading me to overeat or binge. There I was abusing my sleep, my head pounding as if I had been out drinking all night.

I wanted to feel some sort of real joy. Naturally, it means getting in touch with my creative soul. So I woke up, put on my baggiest clothes and headed to the university of arts library. There, I indulged into some photography books. Desperately searching for inspiration for my fashion design project. I remembered days when I would stay in the library until 4 a.m at law school. I was there finishing my assignment or revising, but most time I was there to be. The library is a place of solace for me.

When I was first diagnosed with anorexia. Family, friends, and doctors had warned me about the likelihood of dying after such a long period of starvation. One of the main reasons I fought to get better was the dream of reading all those books around me. I was once blurted to my brother that I wish I could read them all. I never wanted to be a know it all. But there is just something about being surrounded by books, picking a random one and trying to understand and remember what is written. It chases my ghosts away.

Three may be four hours I spent in that library. Then it was time to go home. Did some grocery shopping as I felt some the anxiety slowly fading and a motivation to live a healthier life settle in. Dinner was fine. Sadly the ghost of loneliness paid a visit. I ended up almost finishing the box of pop tarts. Full and regretful. I forced myself to sleep. No day is ever perfect.

Tuesday morning, I woke up with a heavy weight of fear and shame. I needed to continue with my research. Unfortunately, yesterday’s motivation had disappeared. So, I willingly procrastinated. I left it all to tomorrow. Until then, there are hours to kill. I watched movies, ate and slept. I knew what I was doing, or not doing. I was aware of my deliberate waste of time. Regardless, I still felt guilty. There isn’t much to say about tuesday. I manage to complete two sketches and ate way too much.

Today, wednesday is a sunny one. Outside at least. Within it is still dark, filled with guilty and anxiety. I pulled myself out of bed to end up at this starbucks cafe across the road. My appartment smells like binges. It is haunted by painful memories of my irresponsibility. My throat is closing up at this very moment, my heart racing. Regretting my past dark week. I am out of bed, having breakfast after being obsessed about food all morning.

My anxiety as I understand it right now is due to procrastinating. Bills I have to pay for my shop. Unemployment. Loneliness. Guilt. Fear of an uncertain future. Worries about my arts and law. Binges. All mashed up into one. I wish the world was empty. I wish noone was here. I wish I could roam the streets aimlessly without thsi irrational fear of being watched, judged, seen.

xoxo

I.

Food doesn’t work

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Yesterday and today have been horrible. I try not to complain too much but the lack of interesting happenings in my life during those two days are taking a toll on my mood. Part of the reasons that are making me feel this way is the fact that I am still unemployed. Since I graduated I tried internships, opening a business, applying for jobs, networking. None of which worked. I tried it both in law for which I have a degree in and in fashion for which I am passionate. So these past two days I have trying to cheer myself up. But nothing ! I ended up trying to find something to do in between meals. Watching movies and spending the days in bed. I also painted but my whole heart was not into it.

I started applying for jobs again. Online and using some networking. I have no idea how long that will take. Regardless I am most worried about how long I will be in this state. I feel as if I am letting my life slip away while I fixate on my failures.

I was never the going-out, surrounded by friends type of person. Though I tricked myself into thinking that I was because it was what others did. First year of university was when I really went out there. Made friends. Unfortunately they were erasmus students, so they left the next year. Loneliness does not agree well with me. I have had trouble making friends ever since. Well, that part of my past ties in with my move to any country really. I am terrible at keeping on touch, as I categorise those I meet with different chapters of my life. Chapters in which I never seemed to be the same person. Where I would mould myself to the new environment and fail to really be in touch with who I really am.

So here I am back in London with one friend V. She has been spending time with me, but she works, so she has limited time to. Since I am unemployed I have very little social interactions. I feel alone. There is another reason for my sadness. I can’t seem to pick myself up. I want to apply for jobs. I wish I could stay here in London forever but because of my visa I can’t. The prospect of going home is painful. I don’t fit-in there. I don’t feel comfortable. I feel caged. There is yet another reason.

Right now I wish I had the courage to put on the baggiest clothes and buy some art materials. Come back and sink into my sketch book. If only I could generate money by doing that and only that. I wouldn’t even care if law was on the side. If only. In the mean time I turn to food for comfort and escape. It really doesn’t do the trick. I refuse to eat all day so when I don’t eat. I am still lost, the reasons are still there so present. I have conversations in my head to quiet the negative thoughts when I get tired. I simply fall asleep. Another day goes by.

I could write forever. I have no conclusions. Just that I am still frowning inside and out.

izaotee

New day ! Wednesday

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I was nervous about fashion class yesterday. It was a field trip. Gaining all this weight back and more reminds me of embarassing moments. Times when I couldn’t walk as fast as the rest of the class. When I would pretend to laugh and complain inside if I couldn’t enjoy hiking with my brother. When I was picked last at team sports. I had urges, thoughts about a cookies and more. I was genuinely hungry. So I had a cereal bar.

At coffee time after our retail research I had a chai tea latte. It was in a food hall at Selfridges. I was surrounded by food while stressed in class. Not the best of all situation. During our discussion I thought about a box of pop tarts. Well because I heard about them in movies and wondered what they would taste like. Buying a whole box would not be wise in this moment of weakness.

When the class ended we all walked out. I was the fattest. Embarrassed to buy that pop tart box. I walked out. In the streets on my way home I felt proud. Once again for not giving in.

One day I hope food will simply be an accessory to my life. Not the whole outfit.