Easter warrior 

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My Easter was not about being with family quite the contrary it was all about being on my own.

For some this might be easy, and others, may be a little like me, it is a struggle. You see when I have space for myself and I create space for myself, I have to deal with who I am. I didn’t really know “me” before, so it’s all very new, all very scary .

I live far away from my family (12 hours flight), I don’t have friends here. I have colleagues and acquaintances but no-one I would qualify as friends. This is fine with me. If I listened to my self-abusive judgmental thoughts: I would think that not having friends is weird, pathetic and ultimately I have “failed” in that department.

My reality is that my family couldn’t care less about what is going on in my life, I used to care in way to seek for their love and acceptance. But now since I realised that it did me more harm than good, I don’t anymore. I prefer to take care of my own self love and self acceptance. As for society, well, the several billion of us have too much on our plate to care for one little soul who has manufactured rules around her little life and gets sad about it. So I decided that over Easter, I was not going to fly to see a sibling or a parent or spend it with a “friend”. I was going to experience it on my own. I did the same over Christmas 2016. It was a much-needed experience.

At the end of the day I only have myself to account for and even when I will be in a relationship, I will still always have myself to account for. I have myself to improve before I experiencing any situations around me.

Since I knew I would be emotional, nostalgic and judgmental toward myself, and since I used to have issues with food, the first thing I did was to make sure that I had the bare minimum of food at home over the week-end. So two types of vegetables, two types of meat and some pasta or rice. I call them “food with effort” which makes it more effort consuming now to binge on. I find it easier to interrupt the urge to binge and come into a place of reflection or self-examination before my brain is gone into a frenzy of making food. “Food with effort” because I cannot just reach for meat and eat it raw.

I then make a big batch, store it in the fridge and take a little at every meal. I also bought fruits, salty popcorn and sweet popcorn. Why ? Because when I watch a movie I like to have a snack. Popcorn are lighter snacks and they are not trigger foods. I avoid any trigger foods like: chocolate, cookies, cakes, chips, especially when I know I will be feeling a little lonely in my weaker minutes.

The second thing I did was to tune in, and listen to myself and listen to what I wanted to do. Since I had decided to take this time for myself, I wanted to know what I wanted and not be on automatic pilot. Friday I wanted to stay at home and do some chores around the house and I did that guilt free. I was fully aware that cleaning can be obsessive for me sometimes as well but much easier to manage. There is this light in my head that just says, hey, enjoy the couch and leave half the laundry. You did enough.

Saturday morning, I went to the beach to set myself and my dog free. It is always a fun experience. My dog doesn’t like nature, he prefers to run to where the bungalows and the restaurants and to follow people around instead of just enjoying the vastness of the beach. Eventually he enjoyed the abundance of sand, the scary sound of the water and the starling cold of the puddles around him, watching him was funnier than the Today’s show. I enjoyed every minute of it. As I drove home I felt lonely because I was judging myself again. There were families at the beach, and friends windsurfing. I was on my own. I eventually moved out of that mode and  enjoyed my moments. I thought: hey ! I’m all right been on my own and when and if I was around anybody it’s just so much work. Immediately I was back to my grounded place, I went for a coffee run, a muffin and headed home. Relaxed all afternoon, movies, writing, sitting on my terrace, guilt free.

Easter Sunday, I wanted to go to church do I went. I wanted to thank God for, well, pretty much everything. Church means family setting though, I missed my family in spite of their imperfections. I was also hoping to hang out with one of my friends but she had to go to a birthday party and kind of ditched me. Usually, I would drop her home after church and we have a laugh in the car. I don’t mind doing that. On sunday, she was just trying to walk away while I was talking to her instead of being upfront and say hey I am going to do so and so, can’t hang out today. So I  a little hurts, I brushed it off in the beginning and thought it was not a problem but then I realized that I was a little hurt. It might also have been my expectations, as I drove home I thought, this is why I should not expect anything from anyone. I went for a coffee run and headed home. I felt unwanted after that, a feeling that is difficult for me to deal with. As I drove home and I counted my blessings, and let the feeling of rejection sit there and remain with me.

I counted my blessings in that a little over a year ago, I was struggling with rejecting who I am, and materially I was struggling to get a car, to sort out my license, I was trying to move out of my parent’s house and struggling with the idea of living on my own. Now, in my world, taking care of myself is a priority. I don’t mean that in a narcissistic selfish kind of way, I mean that in a way where if you’ve been struggling with yourself and you’ve been hating yourself for years and you’ve been having self-confidence issues and you’ve been feeling unloved. Then at the end of the day none of the external things matter what matters is you, you are a priority and if a parent doesn’t give you the love an guidance you need and if significant people around you didn’t teach you much. It doesn’t matter what age you are, you can teach yourself to love you, and it is fine to want to be loved because you are human after all.

Easter Monday wasn’t an easy day, I was challenged with two emotions loneliness and contentment. Usually easter monday was a family day for me. We used to go for picnics, the beach, reunions it was always fun. So I felt like I should do something special that I should be out there at a park or the beach I should take advantage of Easter Monday because that’s what people do. I did not want to truly do any of that and instead of accepting that I wanted to relax in my appartment away from people and not make easter monday anything more special than the fact that it was another day off; I started thinking that I was a pathetic, sad, little lonely person and that spending easter alone was a big mistake.

What else do you tell yourself when you are so used to messing with your head and letting a family that is living miles away and a whole culture affect your internal, your self confidence. My compass missed out on its orientation for so long that sometimes it still points to the mistaken convictions.

Eventually, mid-afternoon I just accepted that I didn’t want to go anywhere that I want to do anything. I wanted to be lazy in bed, watch movies, play with my dog, teach him new tricks. That is what I did, guit free eventually.

The hell with : “that’s what people do”. 

xoxoxox

I.

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

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.

Unrecognisable

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Monday it rained. Charmingly grey outside.

I took the day off, because I worked all week-end. I did not binge, I was bored, I overate in the evening.

Tuesday, still raining. The grey in the exterior seeped into me.

I went out to shop for my brand. I saw a glimpse of myself in the store mirrors. I am unrecognisable. I have never been this fat, this sad. To get out of bed in the morning I have to practice a lot of self-affirmation. The “you can do it” and the “you are worth it” are my good morning kisses. It helps. Sometimes but not always. I am applying for a vacancy in a lawyers chambers. I don’t know if it worth it. I won’t find out unless I try. So here I am trying. When I want to curl up in bed. Sleep away my self-hatred and low self-esteem.

Just for today I wish London was sunny. Maybe that light would seep into to me.

izaotee

Rain

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When London rains, I reconnect with the city. The double decker buses shine their devilish red just enough below the gloomy skies. The sounds of rain drops camouflage the urban noises that sometimes clouds even the clearest summer days. Everything slows down for a breath of life. The city finds its right pace.

London was designed for its rain. They compliment each other like a dress that fits perfectly on the right silhouette. Without these tears from heaven the city  has no soul, it is out of control. Red bricks clash with the grey concrete of all too many street, too busy, too much, too harsh.

I am relieved that it rained today. I have gone two days without a binge and one overeating. The past two days I drew, collaged, paid bills looked for a new appartment and drew some more. I felt alive again. Those were sunny unfamiliar days. Thoughts did not consume me. I was shining inside. The rain drew me closer to the world. It made me want to get out of my bubble with enough safety that I could belong just for a moment in London. But I didn’t instead I used it as an excuse to stay inside one more day.

This morning it became more challenging to move past the anxiety and worries. I have not binged or overeaten. But  I need some space. Time to contemplate. I wanted to go out view some appartments and pay more bills but deep down I do not feel motivated. So when it started raining, there I found yet another excuse to stay in.

I loved the rain more from inside my appartment.

So here I am admiring the city under its rain drops trying to stitch my mind and body so that it does not tear apart and crave for an escape because of unresolved real and unreal conflicts that I deliberately ignored.

There lies the struggles today

Izaotee

Those who work at starbucks …

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Lost in deep hesitation that lasted a whole day, I stayed in my appartment.

I applied for jobs, worried  about my bills, my uncertain future, and tried to continue my design project. My body wanted to get out. My mind refused, finding the stupidest excuses. You could binge you know! You are too fat! Too ugly! Too lazy to put on some clothes and walk out! People will stare at you when you get there! People will wonder why you are still eating when you are already that large! They might wonder why you are drawing, writing and all alone! Stupid thoughts ! I ended up working on my design in the safety of my appartment. Opened the door to my little roof top. Stared at urban pigeons feeling free to parade before my eyes. London was sunny today. Beautiful and sunny. How could I let those hideous voices take over me? I walked out to the nearest starbucks, ordered a frapuccino and here I am writing on my phone feeling comfortable. As I walked in I looked around. People don’t care. They are just there some studying, others writing, franctically on their laptop, reading or tchating. No one was explicitly judging me, noone said any hurtful words to me.  At that moment, their thoughts were just theirs. I had imagined it all. Unable to hear them, they were harmless. Thoughts won’t kill me.

Today I became one of those who work at starbucks. Freed from the chains of my hideaway appartment. It felt fine.

Izaotee

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