Weetabix x 2.
Wholemeal toast x 2, butter.
Chicken in gravy, mashed potato, baby carrots.
Blackcurrant frangipane, custard.
Cheese sandwich (wholemeal), 5-bean salad, side salad.
Ice-cream (2 scoops).
Sultanas and raisins.
…& the usual PINT of milk.
HEADLINE NEWS: YASMIN BRAVES A BRA.
I LOVE a day of sunshine as much as the next person! And what a gorgeous weekend we Brits have had.
All good on a mental/spiritual level… I always feel that there’s a silent sense of hope lingering when the sky is a bright blue, available to any human under it’s sunny umbrella.
I’m sorry that sounded as cheesy as my sandwich today…
On a body image level, I’ve found myself REALLY struggling with the heat this weekend… in fact, whether I’ve been trying to distract myself/haven’t been quite accepting of the changing process my body is beginning, or I haven’t come across heat like this to make me physically aware of it… it’s the first time the body stuff has hit me.
Perhaps it doesn’t help that the ward is pretty warm anyway, but it’s made me feel a LOT more conscious of my body.
The general sense of stickiness under my tights, on the back of my neck, for some reason triggers feelings of ‘fatness’. It suddenly feels like there’s ‘too much’ of my body, that it’s taking up too much space, that there’s too much flesh on me causing me to sweat. And I know how far-fetched it sounds, but for some reason it triggers feelings of guilt/greed?
(I feel strong enough though to detach myself from that, not get too worked up about it and ACCEPT that how hot it is, does not equate in any way to food/weight/guilt. Thank you very much Anorexia, now please pack your bags and take your business and your sunglasses elsewhere…)
Sweat is another sign of being human after all? And ultimately, if I’m aiming at becoming a ‘woman’, becoming ‘human’ would be the first obvious step, do you not think… ?!
You may have read in one of my previous blog posts about how much of a child my Eating Disorder has made me feel. I think it does a similar thing to many of people with Anorexia, subconsciously takes you back to childhood – mentally, physically, emotionally, behaviourally. But I won’t generalise this point, as I can only say from my personal experience.
Physically, I have felt I could hide away the smaller I made myself – that life and all it’s daunting prospects/uncertainties. That I’m not deserving of all the things it has to offer and am not capable of all the challenges it will have to offer. My body’s way of saying ‘I can’t do this’ to life.
There were financial perks to this – being able to buy clothes from the kids’ section – the adrenaline of buying a top for a few quid less than something similar in the adult section, a pair of jeans. They never quite had the ‘mature’/feminine fit about them though – they weren’t of course made for hips. Anorexia loves that sense of achievement.
I feel quite disgusted/embarrassed at myself. One thing I have on my goals list is to throw away/take to a charity shop/sell/save if the material is any good for some kind of crafting/sewing, my stash of kids clothes. In a way, I feel that will be quite a sad and mourning experience. Almost like grieving for a child I no longer have in my life. I’m quite scared of that ‘letting go’ prospect… but it’s also an excuse to buy new clothes when I have a healthy, new body!
The next time I plan to shop in the kids section is for my own children! (hopefully!)
But this morning was a bit of a battle with my peeking breasts… I’m beginning to ‘feel’ something there, a natural feeling of resistance on my chest. More aware of gravity. Like something is making itself at home in what was two saggy bits of skin. Those two saggy bits of skin didn’t need support, they didn’t need to be acknowledged by a bra because Anorexia took pride and security in a flat chest. A flat chest that told the world ‘I’m not capable to be an adult, I don’t know how to handle the messy emotions that come with being an adult and I can’t face making myself bigger when I am not comfortable in myself’.
I can tell there’s going to be moments that I want to chop off my changing and developing body parts as my body not only goes through recovery, but a re-take of puberty. But that’s because of how my brain has been conditioned for so long. To see things getting bigger on myself as a BAD sign, like I’m doing something wrong. Like I’m failing.
But they’re the rules that Anorexia put in place. (…remember yesterday’s post?) and now that I’m embarking on this recovery, it means committing to make NEW rules for myself that take into account the real Yasmin’s attitudes and values. I will succeed at me and fail at Anorexia. It feels excruciating to say that out loud to myself, because Anorexia has wrapped itself to my identity for so long – so all those years feel wasted, if it never served me any good. And now I’m saying to myself that it’s actually OK to fail at it.
So anyway, it took me a good while and a few clothes changes before I could suss out what my BODY wanted to wear. Not Anorexia. I chose one of my ‘safe’ strappy tops at first – since coming to the Unit part of me has wanted desperately to cling onto the bones on my chest – before they disappear, before I lose my security blanket, before Anorexia is no longer visually there for me, a reminder of my betrayal when there’s more flesh on my chest. It sounds so incredibly vain, but it was nothing about ‘looking good’, ‘being proud’ and so on… it was almost a reminder to myself that I am not capable or ready for woman-hood. I’ve felt terrified that every day they will disappear a little bit more, and that anything else I wear that covers my top chest up will automatically make me look chunkier and bulkier.
When I put my strappy top on, I had to pull myself together – I’d been putting this moment off for as long as I could, but I knew I was going to have to say hello to my bra. I felt like I was back in year 8.
Putting it on was very difficult – I can’t even make this sound all fancy and creative, but to Anorexia it was a big sign of failure for me. Like scribbling a neon highlighter on my subtle weight gain. Telling me who was I to just suddenly put on a bra and accept I deserve to expand and grow my body in this way?
I was reminded of the folds of skin under my armpit that will become inevitable as my body gains health, and the fear of folds of skin on my back where the bra line meets the skin. I felt a bit traumatised by my memories of puberty and body image self-disgust as a teenager. All sending feelings of dread for the permanent cell I might eventually feel trapped in.
But this time round is about CELEBRATING being a woman… and just because I felt one way before, doesn’t mean next time, THIS time can be different. If you want something to be different, it will. Because you have the attitude and the focus to make a change.
So yes, and breathe… it’s the first time I’ve wore a proper bra in a long time, and it’s one step closer to ‘shopping for feminine underwear’ which I’ve set for a lot later on in my recovery. Not settling for basic black briefs that Anorexia settles as all that’s needed for the job. It’s scary to think about how eventually the knickers I currently wear in everyday life will no longer fit. One big whole weird mourning process!
It won’t seem like a big deal at all. And it may seem very daft. But also, by wearing a high-neck t-shirt today, it was a big break-through and challenge for my body image today. I’ve had this top for over a year, still with it’s tag on. But ever since Anorexia has manifested in my everyday decisions, I’ve feared it not being ‘fitted’ enough – adding bulk to my frame. If too much of me was covered up, what if it looked like there was more of me underneath?
But this particular top went well with the shorts I’d picked out for the day, so this was very much a YASMIN decision. And mentally cemented to myself the acceptance of the grief I will have to go through for the Anorexic, safe, childish body that falsely promised me peace and security for many years. Years too long. Very falsely for many years too long.
It’s felt difficult today (again, no fancy creative way to put it…) and especially seeing visitors as I thought they’d notice a massive difference in the way I looked, because of the change of top-style and added bra. In fact, I wrongly assumed when my mum was looking at me that she was ‘analysing my figure’, and looking for the weight gain. She wasn’t – but I had felt vey paranoid all day so far, so I guess my ‘unhealthy’ thoughts were looking for evidence to support them.
I’m GLAD it felt difficult. Because that challenging feeling now feels very positive to me. I see it as an achievement… because it means that I’m going in the right direction. I would worry if I felt at peace every day… I wouldn’t feel like I’m moving. And I’m not a fan of arriving at brick walls. I know in my heart of hearts that I truly WANT change… and to WANT change, doesn’t mean familiar thoughts and feelings…
…wearing a bra today meant one step closer to finding myself. And I guess literally, ‘growing’ into my true body.