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

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

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.

I pray today will be different

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Those were trigger muffins i used to make 😦

Yesterday was not too bad. I did not punish myself with food but i did eat too much and not sensibly. 65kg and just 4 weeks ago i was 48 kg. Self destruction! Hitting the best of me. Attacking one of the things I cherish most: my body and my mind. So today? I pray to hang on. To get in touch and be aware of those feelings. I do not want to ignore my wound and numb it with my drug. I also know this is one aspect of my life but not all. I am not just about bingeing and restricting. I am so much more.

Good morning to good day I hope
It starts with hope right?

Frustration = Progress ?!?

These days I get frustrated at myself for all the self sabotage.

I am in Italy, on a course for specialists in my field. A honor one might say. It boosts my self-confidence a little to know that my potential is recognised for something. It is also an opportunity to make friends, to network. I do not know most of these people. I am trying, trying to make friends. But I seem to expect too much. They have all paired up now. Set new ground, have a buddy and stick to their buddy. They paired me with a room mate. Once again we don’t fit. We do not share the same interests. But it does not stop me from doing what I want what I like.  I am just a little disappointed regardless. I never get the social aspect right.

Eating in Italy is obviously a highlight of this trip. Eating is also my worst fear at the moment. I wish I could enjoy a freaking plate of pasta without fear. Fear of gaining the weight back, of becoming bulimic again if I ever let myself enjoy the taste.

My therapist worked up some courage in me on monday night and I went for dinner. It was a disaster.

My second dinner was around a table with friends I enjoyed talking to. I though I had built a close relation with them, but again I was disappointed when I saw them already paired up. Already set in their new friendships. I wasn’t. What is wrong with me that noone would want to pair up as a friend even for a few days. It saddens me.

I was sat next to an Italian girl, she ordered for me, I had grilled King Prawns, Zucchini and Aubergine. I guess the calories of the grilled prawns, didn’t finish it. But I was proud and happy for having sat through that dinner.

There were lies, many lies actually. I invented that I was allergic to Gluten so I can’t have too much bread or pasta and that I don’t drink. The not drinking is quite true. I gave it up because of my religion, but also because of the calorie content.

At least I had dinner that I did not cook, around a table with people that is a little victory in itself I think.

I walked home in the Siracusa wind, tired but somewhat proud.

This was the last time I had dinner with others during my trip. It became all too much.

First Overeaters Anonymous Meeting

Yesterday I went to my first ever OA meeting. I was a complete mess.

It was a rainy day, after strength training at the gym I had planned to attend an OA meeting I found online. Bus 24 which would take me there did not show up. But since getting to this meeting made me sacrifice running on the treadmill. My saturday had to be worthwhile. In the rain at 10 45 a.m I knocked on a black taxi’s window. I stepped in, stressed, irritated, pointed to the address and coldly asked the driver to take me there.

He said he knew the way, but in my stressed state, I was rude to him. I kept asking are you sure you know the way. The meeting was to start at 11 00 a m.

I called earlier and was told to come a few minutes before for some explanation. When I stepped in, two ladies was standing at the door. One with a cigarette in her hands. I cannot stand smokers anymore. My ex-boyfriend smoked and my Dad was a chain smoker. It killed him. Clearly annoyed at her smoke, I unconsciously waved my hands around to get the smoke out of my face. It was a rude gesture, but I was stressed. In hindsight, worried, scared about this meeting.

A tall Dutch woman, friendly and direct asked me about my past. I was a little shocked at how direct she was. But I guess, she is entitled to because you have to actually have a problem with food to be there. I started talking about my anorexia, the sentence was not even finished when I burst into tears. An abundance of emotions surface. I could not believe I was there. I felt pain, shame, fear but also pride and relief.

The woman reassured me that I was not alone in this anymore. As I peeked at the people in the room, I realised how even the most ordinary looking person was there too. Compulsive eating does not choose its prey. Young, not so young, women, men, tall, short, slim, not so slim. Food was our love and our enemy.

I cried all through the meeting. I am not giving up. I will step in there again next week. This time I’ll bring tissues.

I am not alone in this anymore. There are others out there. Together we are determined to recover, even if not completely at least to manage a little.