Ooh La La

If you’re yet to spend more than 80% of your time getting ready, dancing naked (or at least giving yourself a full on Joey Tribbiani, “How you doin’?”) in front of your full length mirror, then you are either far too composed, missing out, or it’s actually really 90% of your time.

Though you may have long ago decided that such prolific, tribal activity is best left for a soul cleansing, man-defying ritual to the gods of love and relationships around a bonfire, dancing naked for me however, has become somewhat of a pinnacle indicator down the ol’ Recovery Road.

I may not have mastered the dance floor debarring shuffle made popular by a generation I’d never be cool enough to integrate with, or the tantalising twerk that upon my attempts is probably best left to the Miley Cyrus’ of this world, I have however, almost certainly mastered my own rendition of ‘The Body Confidence Movement’. More often than not, a movement that just contains slightly lax forms of the different exercises you’d most likely find in a circuits class at the local gym. Who doesn’t love a good Jumping Jack on the dance floor anyway?

When once crying in front of my mirror, desperately unable to see anything but a huge elephant staring back at me, was but a daily occurrence, if not a bi-daily occurrence, to now being able to bop, bounce and big fish my way to liberation, completely starkers, is almost definitely a good thing. And certainly a big step… Even if my neighbours don’t quite think so.

Realising that some form of acceptance of my body and genetics, albeit relatively small, started to happen just the once in a blue moon, to happening twice, to now happening almost every consecutive day I don’t ram my greedy gut full of Whitworths dates, I knew instantly just how much I was getting over all the body image debacle. I’m learning to understand and accept that I was never made to be skinny (unless I bloody starve myself again) and I’m naturally just a bit of a muscle, macho man. And eh up, I think my butt is making its debut (Read: Ready or not bum, here I come). Thought that doesn’t mean I’ve fully accepted my naked dance moves. I think that still needs a bit of work.

To all the other naked mirror dancers out there… You’re looking good.

Advertisements

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.)

 

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!