Dear Diary…

If there were ever a reason, even more than their birthday cheese cards, to spend a ridiculous amount of money in Paperchase, it will be for the cost of the yearly pledge one tries to make in starting a diary. And when choosing a diary is somewhat the epitome of starting out, you really can’t settle for anything less than Paperchase‘s gold-plated diary selection. Not that it’s even difficult to drain your pockets in that store anyway, seeing as even their wrapping paper probably costs just as much as the present in the paper, that you’ve endeavoured to keep as far under the £20 spending limit as possible. But there you are, 30 minutes later (these diary decisions take a surprisingly large amount of time), already feeling the extortionate spending blow, because you just wanted the diary that had the fucking pigeons on.

Not that a standard wad of lined A5 paper, bound together with standard ‘Dad-diary’ casing, doesn’t do equally as good a job… We all know we need those colourful, motivating, pretty pigeons on them for that diary-writing, creative flare.

Odds are, you’re probably one of the 99.9% of people that go full out *puts on posh urban voice* Hard As A Mofo, or HAM, in those initial, positive diary-intention stages. The writing motivation is there (thanks to those pigeons on the cover edging you on) and you’re finding it somewhat imperative to ensure you include an hour-by-hour account of your day and thus filling up almost an entire page per entry… Even bowel movements apparently become a somewhat essential and relevant requirement in said daily account.

Scrambling through old drawers in my bid for a productive Sunday yesterday, I stumbled across my diary that fits the bill of this entire introduction to this post – minus one or two pigeons and perhaps only briefly touching of the week’s bowel movements. (I was mid-celiac testing at the time of writing.) The diary stretched for all of 15 entries over the course of 17 days, thus slotting me perfectly within the 99.9% of trash-ridden diaries that never fulfilled its destiny. What a waste of £14.99.

Glaring back at me in between the lines of July 2016 was a pitiful, eating-disorder-ridden, shell of a human, gushing out the guilt of the 1 calorie fly accidentally swallowed, on yet another casual 12 mile run. I’d grumble that I had to go out with friends and sidestep routine, whimper that I had no energy to do anything and moan that I’d only run 60km that week. There was no expression to my entries but instead just a sorry account of someone who was seriously unhappy and seriously unwell.

It was incredibly eye-opening to read over who, what and where I was at this time last year and reiterating to myself (when times get a little tougher), of how far I really have come from then to now.

For everyone that knew me last year, apologies that it was me back then you had to get to know and deal with. I’d probably not even noticed I’d gotten to know you anyway (soz) because I was genuinely only interested in the scales, my weight and how best to get rid of all of it.

For everyone that knows me now, let’s just say I could equally send apologies, but I’m not even close to that person I was last year, so if you can’t stand me now… then well, we’ve got no hope anyway. #HaterzGonnaHate.

And shout out for everyone that’s known me before, during and after; aren’t you just a lucky bunch for having me in your life for such a long time.*

I’m sure I’ll be joining in with many more of you in the ambitious bid to start a diary again at some point soon.

*(Thank you for dealing with me.)

 

Coffee Shop Cliché

If I could give you all a perfect representation of the stereotypical depiction of white girl in a coffee shop, I’d need only turn on my laptop’s camera and you’d have the complete visionary right in front of you now.

However, for the sake of my hate for selfies and generally all photos of myself, I’ll leave it to your imagination. But here’s an edgy photo to portray said situation…

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Plus, when I went to (try) complete said selfie task, only double chin prevailed, and I was not about to set about finding the perfect angle through means of a laptop camera in a public place. That, and the fact that sweaty, helmet hair and wind-flushed cheeks are in full force right now, seeing as the second segment of the cycle ride to get here has just been completed. So let’s just say, I’m not looking at Activewear’s best.

So yes, I am white girl in a coffee shop with a fully functional, open MacBook to just add to the visionary and did I mention I’m also wearing activewear? The Macbook FYI, that was supposed to remain a tool for work, but when your personal laptop is HP’s first released version in 1999, that weighs more than a small human, this sleek device I’ve been forever missing out on sits much more comfortably in the depths of my super cool rucksack than what the other laptop would. Apparently, the only aspect actually missing from this visage, is that of the white, sugary coffee to complete the Frapalapacapuccino they serve nowadays, where I’ve instead settled for a single espresso – how it should be on Coffee Tour 2k17 (I’ll get to this shortly).

So maybe it’s not quite the stereotypical, white girl visionary I was intentionally heading towards – that obviously just comes naturally – but instead more just a dorky cyclist that’s decided to spend a rare, free Saturday stamping two of the independent coffee shops in London’s Coffee Guide Book, 2017.

I’ll first touch on ‘rare, free Saturdays’, then the exciting and thrilling journey that this ‘Coffee Tour 2k17’ is going to take. Let me stress, this isn’t actually its given name, I’m not sure I’m that sad…

After a truly wondrous (think I can still say that) afternoon was recently spent, Boris Biking through the not so bike-friendly roads of London, demolishing chocolate, on top of chocolate mochas, I’d never felt more of an incentive to finally side step trying to do a full-time Monday to Friday job, as well as a weekend job elsewhere. However, when you want to live and work in London and still afford to eat (yes I actually do that shit now), sometimes having a life gets somewhat sacrificed in the process; hence the 7 day working weeks.

But as of August, this will be no more! As I’ve finally bitten the bullet, realised I liked life on weekends, and instead sacrificed the extra dollar for a bit of caffeine, cycling-filled fun… You’d have thought I’d want to start potentially weekend city jetting to make up for all those lost weekends, but no; just bikes, brews and solitary bantz.

Combining this new found love I’ve got for cycling my way around London, with my love for black coffee – a love that was only really discovered because I’d run a terrified mile away from any added calorie during the worst parts of my eating disorder, I’ve now formed this somewhat ambition to try every independent coffee shop mentioned in ‘The London Coffee Shop Guide’, which was recently passed on to me. The cycling only comes in as a means of transport to get between said coffee shops, where each week I will visit two more located in opposite parameters of London.

Though I by no means claim to be a coffee connoisseur, I can at least pluck out the instant coffee from the Barista-brewed (I think?), even when you are paying top dollar for the Nescafe Gold Blend coffee from Tesco. So although some form of rating system would be a top notch addition to these little weekend adventures, I’ve decided I’d much rather just soak in the atmosphere, the people and the achievement of actually making it alive to the coffee shop without being knocked off my bike en route. That and the fact that I’ll probably be paying a small fortune for each one of these little gems so that will no doubt influence my tasting thoughts.

So with full explanations in order, I sit now in coffee shop number 149 in the book, ‘Coffee7’ (Forest Gate), after previously sitting in coffee shop number 3, ‘The Borough Barista’ (Marble Arch), with my MacBook in hand and a slightly worrying shake in my circulatory system. I am fully kitted out in activewear, probably looking like some sad, lonely (slightly creepy), spinster and I could not give two shits because I am feeling super liberated… and maybe possibly a bit too caffeinated.

Coffee and cycling are a great combination in my eyes and I’m pretty damn excited for the next one. So from the corner of a cosy seat in East London’s Sebert Road… Bottoms up!

 

That’s enough caffeine for one day.

Who likes short, shorts?

You bet I freegin’ don’t.

A weekend of basking in the Great British weather and we’ve seen more leg, gun and bad cases of farmer tan sprawled across the screens of our electronic devices in the last two days, than we’ll probably ever see again in 2017. I’m only too convinced we’ve already now had our summer dose of vitamin D and we can all now submerge back into the depths of our white skinned egg shells and live the rest of 2017 as a hermit crab again.

So well done if you did actually manage to find a seat in a pub garden this weekend, or a large enough patch of grass in Clapham Common that you weren’t in the background of all manner of hopeless sunglasses selfies. Though for the mere few, like me, that were not a part in said British activity, fortunately didn’t have to tackle such first world problems. Nothing wrong with a back garden anyway… There’s always space (maybe a stash of beer if you’re lucky) and top end selfie potential, that you can epitomise to your hearts content until you’ve got the right angle, with no further judgement from other London onlookers. 

You’d have thought as a runner that at any sign of heat increase, I’d be straight out that door; kitted out in clothing that in this type of weather, has practically become a small triangular band to cover ones genitals and some top half crop top that does less of a job covering your bits than what nipple stickers would do. This is actually what’s considered pretty standard attire for a female runner, nowadays. How they stand the honking horns without wanting to shoot the god damn driver of the vehicle, I’ll never know. However for me, though still exceptionally keen to still sprint out of the door towards the sun, it becomes more of a grade A organisation plan with too much thought having gone into it than I care to admit. 

Such a plan involves tactically deciding what time of the day to run, to ensure I match a temperature slot that means I won’t actually die from dehydration and sun stroke as well as the time of the day where there are fewer people about. All because I’m too god dam afraid to swap my leggings in exchange for shorts – something which would certainly help minimise the above issues of potential death by running.

Shorts would of course be the most sensible and practical option but with the saggy, undefined skin that sits under my bum, the stretch marks and the wobbly cellulite that is slowly itching its way down the side of my legs again (I’m told it’s age, but I disagree), I’d have no energy left to run anyway because I’ve just spent it all mentally picking myself up from all the utter deflation that came with seeing myself in a pair. It’s all too easy to just conceal problems with a nice pair of black leggings that fool definition at every corner. Hence why running at 06:30 poses no problem at all – the time I chose to go running. Leggings are more than fitting for the temperature occasion and no god forsaken person is generally alive at this hour anyway. 

To think as an u20 track and field athlete, so full of Lycra dreams, you wouldn’t find me in any other clothing that wasn’t another pair of Adidas’s black swimming bottoms that we’d all pass off as running shorts. Now I can barely stand the sight of the things. At least on me, anyway. You other girls carry on rocking it. Though I can practically see the inside of your butt cheeks in such attire, you at least have the balls to do it and hey, kudos to you and your butt. 

In an ideal world, we’d have sun like this every day, I could go out running in shorts at any time of the day and just hope that people have no eyes for the hour or so I’m out running. I’m well aware that people have better things to do and don’t actually take any notice, but that idea seems to just go over my head where I feel like any person passing, just sees a chunky wannabe runner that doesn’t exactly fit the bill. 

Then again if we are asking for things, I’d probably just like a pair of legs that I feel comfortable enough to flaunt around on the streets of London. Perhaps that’s still further down the recovery line for now!  

We get it, you run

Swings and roundabouts, which apart from very much summarising my feelings towards relationships and just my general opinion towards the male species, is a phrase that actually perfectly summarises my feelings towards social media.

Apart from life’s number one tool for discovering the GPS coordinates of your ex back in 2011 or getting to the bottom of the mystery nail polished hand that appeared in the background of their most recent photo, I’ll reluctantly admit that social media is and can be good for a number of different things. Not merely just a stalking tool. However, where my main indecision on social media comes from whether or not to post another upload of the run I did that morning, I don’t actually feel any real need for its use anymore, coupled with the fact I pretty much now resent the thing. So it’s clear I’m probably currently in the ‘swings’ phase in my relationship with social media.

As it goes, all I really needed was STRAVA anyway and I probably could have a saved a lot of people’s efforts in what was probably the likely press of the unfollow button because, “She’s uploaded another fucking run, again”. I just evidently needed all the ‘gram fans. I’d say sorry, but it got me those all important likes we all so desperately strive towards for that affirmation and social clarity.

Recently stumbling across a psychology article, titled ‘Social media uploads and what is says about our personality’ has only gone and heightened the now direction I want to take from the persistent use of such sites. That being, far, far away from its use. Though given my relationship comes in swings and roundabouts, I’ll probably just end up mapping the running route I’ve taken away from social media and just upload it to Facebook anyway.

So the article, which can be found here, indicated that given the above description of the types of things I post on social media, puts me into the narcissism category. Now isn’t that just a complimentary enlightenment of how I seemingly appear as a person and user on social media. I’m a vain, attention-seeking grandiose of a woman. What a cracking and punchy Tinder bio.

If I’d known I was going to come across this way, I would have just gone full-out Narc and taken the standard, minimal clothing ‘before and after’ shots in front of the gym mirror. Undoubtedly known by us all that it’s probably just a person with slightly more air in their lungs and less space in their stomach, helped along by a slightly better lighting angle in one photo compared to the other, rather than it actually being any real physical body changes. Probably would have got more likes though and apparently that’s the kind of attention I need anyway…

In this instance however, I’d probably have opted for such mind trickery as this, in a bid to fool and minimise the impact of all my weight gain of the last few months. Except I’d be far from likely to do that kind of thing on the regular anyway, albeit proud of actually where I’ve got to from the skinny alien I once was.

Perhaps it’s now time to side-step social media a bit and leave all that profound vanity of mine to just be discovered in reality instead.

But at least on STRAVA, I’m enclosed in my own platform with a whole bunch of other like-minded, running Narcs that need affirmation of their achievements though, right?

Beauty School Dropout

From the moment I decided to leave the Brownie Guides at the age of 9, where pursuing the ambition of becoming England’s next best netballer took precedence on a Thursday evening, I knew then that I was just made for a life of serious f*** the system rule breaking. A trait that remains ever so true to this day as it did all those years ago when I impatiently decide that I’m not going to wait for the pedestrian countdown to reach zero, so instead give a bare bum farewell to the cars still waiting at the traffic lights and cycle on my merry way, all for that little dose of adrenaline. I clearly just can’t be tamed. 

When progressing through school, you’re reminded at that ripe, all-knowing age of 12, that you should probably start thinking about your career, in order to chose your GCSEs to then chose your A-levels to then chose your degree. Something I seemed to have surpassed and ignored when I thought it a great idea to keep PE throughout my time in education. A subject so far that has failed me at every corner and has just remained a somewhat embarrassing addition to my string of qualifications on my CV. But I liked to run around so PE just seemed like the obvious way to go – employers love it, I’m sure.

So while continuing to filter out your options, where for me, subjects like history and all things art very quickly found themselves at the top of such list, you’re slowly beginning to figure what it is that you really want to do. But hopefully for most’s sakes, you realised early enough and not halfway through a maths degree that actually you wanted to write for a living. 

University has a hugely strong emphasis at school and is of course a route that is encouraged to almost every pupil. So much so, that each and everyday, I continue to feel very much like a failure, an uneducated moron, and unintentionally judged because I didn’t manage to complete my university degree. Though I loved my course and learning about the rate at which water empties from a sink given the pressure that water is flowing in at, using some complex calculus (yes really, it’s fascinating), I hardly think it’s expected that I need wear a sign on my head to explain why I am really just a university drop out. 

At least once a day, I will blame anorexia for ruining my academic life, because it meant I had to leave after just a 15 month duration into my degree and every time I think this, i envy every single person that has walked away with a degree in their life and feel like a complete invalid that I have not earned such an achievement. Yes, yes, hats off to you and all that.

I feel like a university degree holds so much judgement on a person and I fear so often that it holds me back and gives off an indirect impression about the type of person I am; that I’m not intelligent enough, I’m not motivated enough and not considered particularly valuable and that I’m actually just this flyaway rebel that just wanted to f*** the system a bit. Leaving the Brownie Guides was probably as far as that trait was going to go with me really, let’s face it…*insert geek emoji here* *insert angel emoji here*

But at the age of 23, with house pressures, job pressures, savings pressures and just general life expectations, time really feels like it has run out for me to complete a degree.

I don’t exactly know the general direction of this post except it probably coming across as some pitiful diatribe of life for all the Pink Lady Frenchie’s out there. But perhaps it could be something to consider about how you’ve ever thought differently of people with degrees compared to those without. 

Brb, signing my beauty college application forms.

Oh Eff It!

Although not one of life’s most sophisticated mantras, it certainly goes without saying that we could all benefit sometimes from having a bit more f*** it in our lives. Whether that be sprinkled over your weekly coffee, in the form of soya milk and sugar free vanilla syrup to form one of Starbuck’s finest vanilla lattes; or whether that be in the form of the 8th round of beers that you know will be responsible for the inevitable late night McDonalds stop off, the sore head and the deep hole in the bank statement. Either way you decide to slap an “eff it” in life’s face, sometimes losing all sense, all rationality and all care for the consequences, can more often than not add the dash of excitement that we may all really need in our lives. Though for me, aside from excitement, it only demonstrates how far I really have come in the last few months.

Given that life does actually go a little further in excitement beyond that of a cup of vanilla coffee (though maybe not really as far as an espresso martini), there’s a lot to be said about adding such a mantra to our lives. I’m not talking going as far as “Eff it, I don’t need this kind of distaste for my job” so standing up to your manager and finding yourself hastily strutting away from the baffled expressions of an office conference room, breathing on the last of your asthma’s pump because you’ve realised what mess you’ve now found yourself in. Let’s keep the mantra within reason.

What was being caught in a horrific trap of distorted eating for the last couple of years, if I’d ever try and implement such a mantra as this, I’d undoubtedly be completely ridiculed by my own mentality for even thinking such a thing was possible. “Eff it, I’m going to have an extra banana today”, “Eff it, I’m going to skip the 10 mile run today” and “Eff it, I don’t really care about the number on the scales anyway” , because suffice to say anorexia doesn’t listen and will slap back even harder. A life of anorexia doesn’t allow spontaneity and doesn’t allow any deviation from the “plan”, so you can imagine how restrictive (and excitement-less) such a life can be.

My trigger for this post was not expectantly imposed upon me, in fact it was just randomly mentioned in a conversation I was having with someone a couple of weeks ago. When asked by the waitress whether we wanted another cocktail with the other member of the party’s response that so easily came, being “Fuck it, why not”, just made me realise that, I need more of that too. The drinks were good, the company even better and the calories were nothing short of irrelevant, so why the hell not go for another round.

Suffice to say, though I should now probably wash my mouth out with soap after this post, there is so much more of this mantra in my life again and it feels really EFFIN’ good. It’s such a huge leap to just be able to completely side-step what was anorexia’s plan without feeling guilty and disappointed, and now being able to say “Fuck it”, really just proves how far away I now am from that plan.

Anorexia has no say any more.

Hurry up, Sheeran

So ‘Blue Monday’ has already been and gone. The day that supposedly is the most depressing day of each year, ironically falling only a mere couple of weeks after all the promising happy New Year exclamations and marking a cutting end to those bundles of optimism and motivation we all had for the year ahead. More divorces happen on this day, more suicides happen on this day and there was me thinking that I was experiencing what I thought to be a terrible Blue Monday because I got my feet a little wet from my own self-induced need to run at 06:30 in the morning. Probably only a little better than last year’s Blue Monday where I was reminded by TimeHop that I’d gone to the gym in non-matching trainers. Perhaps I’m doomed to a life of ever befitting Blue Monday’s!

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Unfortunately for both me and anyone caring to read this, you’re probably about to embark on some miserable, glass half-empty depiction of the last few weeks since my last update. So get your coffee ready because you’ll need some serious alertness before continuing to read on to my dulcet drones. Men reading this? I do apologise but I touch on the topic of ‘The time of the month’ so grab the super, jumbo tampons now because I mention the word period – just the one time I promise.

January has so far seen nothing but cold and rain which has coincided perfectly to make a shit tonne of pathetic fallacy for how I’ve thus been feeling. I’ve wanted to spend 90% of my time, curled up in a comfortable ball with my onesie and have Ed Sheeran sing to me that he’s in love with the shape of me with the other 10% still curled up in a ball just with no Ed Sheeran. Furthering that, maybe not even Ed Sheeran, more so someone just speaking those words to me and a someone that’s managed to notice I’m not just a fat ball of polkadot material, though perhaps he would be quite useful for reassuring my tan that there is still some left remaining on my skin from my Christmas holiday.

Persistent exercise and loss of weight gives women the ultimate combination for being amenorrheic – absent from periods. There, done, the word of red mess has passed. Where I was once clinging on to staying this way because it sometimes feels like the only thing I have left from anorexia, I’m now past the stage of my body ill-functioning because the hormones are becoming a bitch and I’m quite frankly fed up of being some irritable and miserable being – let’s just hope it actually is only the hormones and I’m not actually bound this way forever! My happy pills are long gone, so yes, for now I am living in hope that it is just hormones and it’s going to pass soon when my female parts burst its banks.

I have so far just not been able to shake the feelings of feeling so incredibly huge, ugly and unworthy. I hate that my mind is leading me to believe that I’m failing every day because I now have such a huge diversity of food in my once broccoli dominated diet. So the combination of feeling so repulsive and feeling like that of a failure, has just morphed me into such negativity over the past few weeks, that I just don’t seem to have the enthusiasm for anything at the moment – even including the daily 06:30, 0 degree runs, that seemed to have me jumping out of bed only a couple of months ago. Now it just feels like an almighty slog, as I wake up half the street with the sound of my now colossal body weight pounding the path, with me enduring the overwhelming effort that seems to come with lifting one hippo leg after the other.

So Ed, wherever you are, please just come and reassure me that my mirror is maybe playing tricks on me and maybe I can learn to like my shape – warts* and all.

*This is completely a figure of speech. I do not in fact have warts. What a fine way that would be to add to my negative body image if I did, eh?