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!  

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!

file-19-01-2017-17-02-19

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?

Life on top of the Snowball

Stepping into the lives of just one member of the Brown family and you’ll soon realise that everything is done at close to 100 mph. 105 mph if you’re my Dad because still being as competitive as ever, he will always ensure he has the edge over each and every one of us. Perhaps more like 85 mph now for my Mum (no offence), though she’d definitely still attempt just as quick given that her hips allowed it. 160 km/h if you’re my sister living half way across the world and then me, probably there struggling to reach 130 mph because I’d most likely just be thinking about the bloody extra calories I could be burning going that little bit faster. So generally speaking you get the picture that the four Brown’s in my immediate family, live life fast, or not at all.

There are heaps of advantages to living life in the fast lane: such being actually getting shit done on or ahead of time, being more or less on a permanent adrenaline rush that makes for a great calorie burner or the more unfortunate facade of looking like you’ve just dabbed the last of the white stuff, and another advantage being that days off or time spent on holiday doing absolutely sod all are actually appreciated and well worth waiting for.

On the other, more negative hand, though we may be living our own lives at such a speed, you forget that everything else is happening at a lot less slower, more humanly average speed. As a result, there is the ever impatience of why things can’t happen any faster and at the speed we want them to happen. Almost similar to that feeling of driving in a rush and the roads only seem to bear the old, stubborn hoarders of their ancient paper license who drive close enough to the screen to be able to have their face cleaned by the window wipers, or driving through the postal code that is due for their dustbin collection that day. You’re only ever slowed down when you’re in a rush!

For the past year I wanted to get better. More specifically speaking: completely flip my mental attitude, feel comfortable about eating again, be able to exercise less and not feel guilty about it, leave university with the least upheaval and disruption possible, reduce my anxiety, be sociable again, feel happier and not dependent on ‘happy pills’, have a career prospect, actually have a career, feel confident enough to date, be discharged from hospital, gain weight and the list goes on. So when this extensive list wasn’t materialising to be promptly successful in the first few weeks and months of trying, I’d just flump back into a negative sense of failure and resume life in the comfort zone of things remaining the exact same.

Realistically, this wasn’t going to happen at the 100 mph speed I would’ve wanted and expected because looking at the grand scheme of things, that was some mountaneous list of goals that gear 5 wasn’t going to get me up and over. I just probably should have realised that sooner. So instead I decided to take my foot off the pedal and approach each goal individually and at the same speed at which it takes a sloth to realise the hilarious punchline of a joke – you need only watch Zootropolis and you’ll understand.

Focusing on just one goal with patience and time, lead to the success of another, then another and another until I’ve now been left smugly perched on top of the rolling snowball, thoroughly enjoying the rate at which things are now starting to take off.

Facing a yogurt, lead to facing eggs which lead to pancakes which lead to omelettes, which lead to cheese (in very small doses) which lead to sourdough bread. Before I knew it, I’d reached the ends of 2016 and the beginnings of 2017 following step-by-step guides from Clean Eating Alice’s cookbook, trying and testing new recipes and ingredients that would have been completely overlooked by me and my shopping trolley only a few months ago.

It has been so exhilarating and so exciting to see my goals achieved, metaphorically become a huge snowball and I can’t wait to start living the original life I know with the other Brown’s in the fast lane now that I’ve accomplished almost all of these original goals.

Especially now with the dawning of 2017 and the resolutions kicking in and no doubt failing already (we’re only human here), just remember certain goals will require a lot more time and patience and won’t always be accomplished on 2nd January!

Dry Insta-Jan

‘Tis the season and the time of the year where we will undoubtedly start seeing 101 of our social media friends reel off the fruits of their labour that came with 2016. “I met some amazing people”, “Saw some incredible places”, when we really all know that half of these are just clutching at straws for likes and comments, and they actually just took a trip to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland and stumbled across one of Made in Chelsea’s’ finest celebrities along the way.

I expect no less than 30 “New Year, New Me” endeavours from different people, with 99% of these not showing those actual written words in the boxes of their Facebook status, instead showing what these people feel is a unique take on what is practically the same motive; “Turning over a new leaf” being one of my personal favourites because we know full well that leaf isn’t going to be any greener on the other side and they’ll remain the same person they’ve always been. You can’t blame people for trying though eh?

Maybe you’re wondering why I am so okay about downgrading and insulting these past-loving, future-changing, epiphany-encountering people…?

…Because believe me, I once was one of those and only did TimeHop just remind me of being one only three years ago. What was a boastful status about how amazing my 2013 was, accompanied with bullet points listing everything that was great about it, was enough of a cringey reminder of how YOLO I thought my life was. So all offence aside, I’m really just insulting myself!

As for marking a new year and overturning the brown tinge that’s made its way over one side of your leaf, change happens and should happen at all times of the year, and not just at the turning of some other wretched year towards our death bed. Now how’s that for a happy New Year.

There’s a lot to be said about my 2016 and although it progressively got better, I by no means feel regretful bypassing all that was good about the year and saying that I can’t bloody wait to see the back of it. Thinking about the year ahead, I am so excited to make it a New Year because it will by all means actually be a completely New Year and not just some empty New Year, New Me garbage. I am fortunate enough to be starting in a brand new London-based job (shit, is this me boasting now?) officially starting on the 3rd, finally being able to dust away the dark cobwebs of a previous job, university study and select people, that only remind me of a darker time suffering with anorexia and distorted eating. My yearly gym membership has also passed its expiration date so the dawn of 2017 in a brand new gym will no longer remind me of the treadmills and other equipment where I’d spend an endless, miserable amount of time, relentlessly exercising on tired, skinny limbs. I hope that a new gym won’t scream all the past energy depletion I once felt and gives me a fresh new way to fuel my love for fitness – but I will miss Orange Theory desperately.

I have no desire to make any more changes now that 2017 is around the corner. I bloody well conquered and endured some of the worst months of an eating disorder, changed enough throughout the year to make it out the other side in what I feel as a now relatively normal human being. Okay maybe I’m boasting a little about my years’ achievements now, but screw hypocrisy because I had a blinder defeating anorexia and I’ve been boasting enough about it throughout the year on this blog anyway and not just now that it’s the end of the year.

Having said all that, I’ve decided a resolution should still be in order for my own personal reasons, which is where I now get back to the title of this post. No, I unfortunately am not giving up alcohol, though I’d still feel completely compelled to sponsor anyone else taking on the challenge because Dry January is certainly for a very good cause. I like alcohol, I love a cocktail and I kinda gave up far too much food and drink over the past few years anyway and just ended up starving myself to illness so there’ll be no more of that for me. Hardly one of my best decisions to date that was.

So instead of giving up something either edible, of monetary value or looking for a decent bloke that can handle me (something that seems to take care of itself) I’ve decided to go cold turkey with social media and deprive all access to Instagram for at least as long as January.

Though I’d love to state it be for a valued reason such as “appreciating life without pretty pictures” or “being less anti-social”, I’m unfortunately not on such a high moral, selfless plane as that. For weeks, months and years, I’ve found myself divulging into the filtered lives of what Instagram makes a person. Why I’ve felt the need to know that healthygal101 had turmeric porridge for breakfast in the skimpiest bowl only small flies could ever eat out of and needing to know that slimjim28’s weight loss journey saw them losing 2lb last week, which we probably all actually lost after our bowel movements yesterday anyway, I’ve decided that I achieve nothing but negative comparison in seeing the world behind these people that Instagram seems to shove in my face.

My goals are not the same as anyone else’s and everyone else’s goals won’t be the same as mine. I shouldn’t be spending so much energy and emotion scanning images of what I could look like, what I could be doing, what I should look like and what I should be doing because I am just not those people. I won’t be that thin, because I’m genetically not built that way and I actually quite like food now. I won’t be that ripped because I don’t think I’d have any femininity left about me if I was and I’m still pretty afraid of weights heavier than my handbag. And I won’t be that perfect in a picture because I don’t have the time and the patience to decide the optimum angle, background and shade of Valencia in order to look so.

Though I’ll probably never stop comparing the hatred I have of my body to the desire of other people’s, I can at least help minimise the problem by eliminating what is a potential causation of many of my underlining body image issues.

So it’s a Lo-Five from me now Instagram. Though I may Sierra you soon, I think it’s only Mayfair for my own self-esteem that we take a short break.

(You can tell I’m secretly an XX-pro on Instagram filters – that was the last one, I promise)

Learning Curve

Technically speaking, I’d like to think it’s actually closer to 103 things, but for simplifying matters, let’s keep it that so far this week I have learnt three things: hard work has its way of paying off; I am certainly at my most creative whilst running and I have no real need for a sports bra – the latter two having ironically been realised instantaneously.

Not that they need too much more of an explanation but I’ll start with those last two things because let’s face it, we surely all want to hear about my imaginative brain busting ideas and my two not-so-rounded A-grade spectacles bouncing liberally underneath my running top.

Running has so far accounted to nearly all my ideas for Christmas presents this year where I’ve so far lacked so much imagination with gift incentives that I was debating whether just to run off to Hong Kong a few days early and forget about Christmas all together this year. Turns out, all I really needed to do was traipse out into the dreary dullness of December’s early mornings and late evenings, run 7 or 8 miles and voila, a book full of toilet trivia for my work Secret Santa becomes the next best thing since sliced bread for a present. And to think I didn’t think of that before…

Perhaps the reason for my sincere lack of creativity can be partly due to the extreme tiredness of me attempting to work 7-day weeks to both gain some Monday-Friday invaluable unpaid work experience while also earning essential dollar on the weekends to actually get me to Hong Kong in the first place. The extreme tiredness became more than apparent when I learnt number 3 in my list, and noticing 3 miles into a run that I’d completely forgotten to support my boobs with a sports bra – a mile number far too high to justify having anything protruding from my chest at all because it took me that long to realise. It’s a good job my way of celebrating a decent mile pace doesn’t involve lifting my shirt up over my face like the footballers do.

Those two things covered, I get to my main point to this blog about hard work paying off – both with my eating disorder and life in general. Forcing yourself to eat normally again may not seem like much hard work to some, but believe me, it’s no easy feat for someone who is still too afraid to take just one of the miniature heroes offered to you at work. Also forcing yourself to admit defeat that your energy levels are just far too low to attempt exercise for that day has also required an awful amount of hard work too, something of which people dream towards each week knowing they can finally have a rest day that day.

All the hard work of breaking routine, launching out of my comfort zone and working what feels like more unpaid hours of work this year than paid, has all paid off. For the reason I’ll be able to explain in the New Year… This is my way of keeping you hooked until my next post where I can properly explain.

What a curveball cliffhanger!