Monday, 21 November 2011

Hope - Recovery

I am not an alcoholic but I thought I would share my source of strength with all of you. Above is my favourite photograph - I took it in the woods behind my garden a couple of years ago after a three day fast and thought I was hallucinating something as beautiful and as pure as a daisy. I sincerely wished I could be that daisy, that I could bloom into perfection for one day and then wither away satisfied. 

This is what keeps me from returning to that place -

The Promises ©1939 Alcoholics Anonymous

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. 
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realise that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

I find the twelfth sign of recovery the most inspiring and is what I remind myself of everyday I wake up:
We are restored to sanity, on a daily basis, by participating in the process of recovery.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

"I am so proud of you, like, when I look at you, I'm like 'God, Daisy has really changed, you seem so happy, so stable, so content. It's wonderful see."
"It's lovely that you think that... I really do feel so much better these days. God, I sound so bloody self-righteous these days. I must have changed!"
Joking around in the kitchen with my housemate I realise just how obvious last year's apathy and general disgust must have been to everyone. Giving up drinking seems to everyone like my latest attempt at reforming myself. In a sense it is. I'm sick of waking up with no memories and a rising sense of guilt. I'm also conscious in 25 days I will be in a bikini on a beach and I can't afford to be wasting calories on alcohol. That said for the first time in my life I'm restricting without counting calories, without purging and without obsessing over binges... too much. It's so fucking hard.

A year ago I slept with a complete stranger an hour after meeting him. We had great sex, although at one point during foreplay I text the American, who at the point I was also sleeping with. As he walked me to part of the way home I kept forgetting his name and when he asked me for his number, I answered: "why? so we can meet up and spoon some time?" and left him. He was in the bar last night. As he walked across the opposite side of the room, our eyes locked and I felt that pure libidinal rush I thought had simply dried up. He came over, we talked. I had a few drinks. I felt old Daisy resurface. I called him a cunt. I insulted him repeatedly. And as we flirted at the bar, people kept coming up to us, interrupting, girls obviously cockblocking, and it was only when a girl I'd been briefly chatting to came up to him and kissed him on the mouth, I realised.
"Is that your girlfriend? Well done, you've done better than I'd have expected"
So as his girlfriend and all her friends swarmed around the bar, he carried on flirting with me. And whilst I know she has a better body than me, I had the arrogance, the scorn that kept him there, leading me to a dark corner of the bar to evade the observation of their friends.
"How long have you been together?"
"Don't ask. Too long. Tomorrow is our anniversary."
Watching a man make the moral decision whether to cheat or not whilst his girlfriend is in the room is an extraordinary thing to watch.
"Daisy, are you propositioning me?"
"Perhaps, if I couldn't see your girlfriend"
I made my excuses, and left. I'd seen enough of the male ego. He offered to walk me to the gate. At the gate, he told me he wanted to walk me home, passing a club he sees his friends in the queue, and in full view of them, hugs me. As he turns to walk away, I tell him to enjoy his anniversary. He grimaces.
I go home and cry.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

"If you don't want to fuck me, you must be straight"

After my last post - another awful night out. Three hours of blankness, absolutely nothing, just waking up with terrible, terrible guilt. Lots of crying and friends shouting about how crazy, out of control, selfish I am. So I decided to give up drinking. Decided that was impossible. Decided to give up getting drunk. Somewhat easier.
This weekend I was meant to go away and stay with the Beautiful One for the weekend to celebrate her birthday and make up for that disastrous weekend in which I got with her not-ex-boyfriend and slept with some guy I went to school with. When she called to cancel I wasn't exactly distraught having spent the last week contemplating the appropriate social etiquette when in a room with three people you've had sex with in recent memory.
I've been so good recently. Virtuous even. No sex, not even a kiss. The other night in the bar, a beautiful girl tried to seduce me. As she told me how much she wanted me, how fucking hot she thought was, as she drunkenly groped me, I felt that familiar shudder of anticipation knowing that here was sex. As she told me I was the reason she felt comfortable coming out knowing how well respected I was, I felt that other aspect of sexual anticipation I find impossible to ignore - contempt, scorn, disdain. I could have you, and I could leave you, and no one would know. And I saw myself in her. She couldn't believe that I'd rejected her. I made out with her, bored, for a while. And then I told her she was too drunk and greedy and to go home.
This weekend I just wanted to get drunk and get fucked.
I ate instead.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Tourist

- You're the only person I've ever cared about apart from myself - I think.
- How is your girlfriend? - I ask.
He smiles, laughs, we chat about their holiday in St. Tropez. I remember having sex with him in the early afternoon and the way he'd tell me how much he loved me just before he would come. I tell him about my summer and how I think he's too posh to function. He laughs and makes a joke about what a champagne socialist I've become. I remember how we used to be friends before we fucked that night.
I've slept with so many since you and still all I remember is being told how much you loved me and how much I wanted to believe you. And I feel like I'm going backwards and never forwards and the scale follows me charting each failure, each step away back into myself.
There's nothing here - just hunger for attention and desperate overwhelming need. Nourish me, nurture me, please fucking love me I think and let me starve until I deserve it so I look for annihilation wherever I can find it. Sex, alcohol, starvation - it's the same thing. Familiar pain - the kind you can open the wounds and look into it, like welcoming a forgotten beloved friend, remembering you could feel.
My holiday romance hasn't contacted me since my return back here - I've given up on that one. I realise I was just a tourist passing through, which is kind of how I feel about my life right now. I want out and I don't mean in the death sense of the word. I'm at one of the best universities in the world. This, as my grandmother repeatedly tells me, is the best year of my life. Never will I be more beautiful, intelligent and privileged, and all I can think of is sex. And calories.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

I know the bottom she says. I know it with my great tap root:
It is what you fear.
I do not fear it: I have been there.

Sylvia Plath.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing - Sylvia Plath

I fucked up again.

I went to visit the Beautiful One (remember her? My impossibly beautiful best friend from school - the one all the boys were obsessed with) and we ended up getting very drunk at a house party. This was the third time I've been up to stay with her so I know all her (mostly male) friends quite well and things felt amazing - being surrounded by attractive men buzzing I remembered what it felt like to be the centre of attention. Mine and the Beautiful One playing our roles to her perfection - the men swarming around her, she smiles and pulls me to her in front of everyone and kisses me hard on the mouth to the alcohol soaked cheers of her friends. She goes into some dark corner to flirt with a guy, I start flirting with the nearest guy.
Minutes later, I'm leading him to the nearest empty room - the bathroom. Then we're stripping, he's lying on the floor, I'm kissing him against the wall. We can hear people banging on the door, yelling, we laugh hysterically. Then we emerge and I go to the Beautiful One's room to collect my stuff, we're all going out but the Beautiful One won't look at me and then she turns to me in front of all her friends -
You just fucked my ex-boyfriend.
Everyone leaves - I follow them. See the boy in the club - Nothing happened I whisper, he nods. But the Beautiful One won't look at me, won't talk to me, and her male friends are lining up to shout 'you filthy cunt' & 'treacherous slut' at me. The low point was crying on the pavement outside the club as the bouncer gave me a hug. And then the Beautiful One's house mate comes to my rescue and she takes me  back to the house, and we weep in the kitchen as I tell her about my eating disorder and how I felt that the Beautiful One just didn't care and that it was the only way to validate myself as worthy of being her friend - being thinner than her. And she wept as she told me about her anorexia and we cried together in the kitchen about wanting to disappear.
Then two men strolled in through the front door looking for the after-party - two guys from school who I hadn't spoken to since the end of sixth form. We drunkenly cry some more as we tell them about the whole situation and they invite us back to theirs - I can make my shameful retreat to theirs clutching my possessions. We dance in their living room throwing back shots - the Beautiful One's housemate goes into one of the guy's bedroom, I go into the other. I'd got with all of this guy from school's friends, why not him? We have sex. As we shower, the light is coming through the window, we collapse into bed and in the morning I leave.

The Beautiful One got with my ex, I got with her's.

Her housemate tells me that guy I made out with in the bathroom was not an ex-boyfriend - he was the only man to ever reject the Beautiful One. I feel victorious, and hollow and hungry.

The Beautiful One and I made up today over breakfast, more crying. We're the same person, we couldn't be apart - on this, we agree.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Clear as a crystal, sharp as a knife, I feel like I'm in the prime of my life

My sister is the same age as I was when I first started writing this blog - a fact I only realised a couple of days ago when my sister and I were talking about school. She told me how she used to call my cousin and the two of them would discuss different ways to persuade me to eat and would spend hours worrying about my weight but too frightened of actually speaking to me about it. At the time it felt like absolutely no one cared. My mother is still in complete denial about that whole period of my life. Its as if she sees it as a personal vendetta against her any time I try the raise the issue responding that she didn't want to say anything because she knew it wouldn't make any difference and she would ask my brother to speak to me. If there's been a 'breakthrough' moment then speaking to him was it but she deserves absolutely no credit for that intervention.
My mother is diabetic and a compulsive eater so food has always been an issue in my family. My sister and I are banned from bringing any form of sugar or carbohydrate into the house and any baking which I used to thank her for (until I felt the need to binge) but I think this is the reason I can't find a middle ground. It's always been all or nothing. For example, today my mother bought twelve doughnuts for me and her to gorge before she returns to strict atkins and I flail around trying to find some eating plan. At Christmas I'll be spending five weeks on the beach and need to some how lose all the fat I've accumulated from endless binges and I'm determined to do it the 'normal' way. I'm just not entirely sure what that is. I'm at home for another couple of weeks and then I'll be back in my own place where I can control what food is in my fridge and cupboards. I'm already set on joining the gym as soon as I'm back at uni but apart from that I'd really appreciate any suggestions, especially for recipes avoiding carbs whilst I'm at home and sharing a kitchen with my mother...
** I'm not entirely sure why I chose this photo - perhaps it reflects my other form of escapism, ironic given that I only heard the quote when reading an article about how Lindsay got it to celebrate new found sobriety**

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Ex nihilo nihil fit

I can bang on about how much I've changed for paragraphs but it took me until this summer to realise the extent to which I'd really changed, and actually believed it. I went travelling around southern africa and ended up teaching in several schools whilst I was out there. Each day I encounterd children who were ecstatic to have access to children's books and writing materials which was an incredibly humbling experience. Yet it was their attitude to my body which ashamed me the most. The children would often compliment on being fat and on one occasion I had to confiscate my camera from a group of boys who'd found a photo of my birthday cake and were salivating over it. Most of the children I taught usually ate one meal a day, provided by the world food programme. This was often out-of-date oats or corn meal cooked at their schools.

I can't describe the feelings of shame this stirred in me. The day I got back, I went to a dinner party where the other guests were discussing the various diets they were on (the Dukan was particularly popular) and I enthusiastically joined in (I've been introduced to a model friend of a friend as 'ask Daisy anything about losing weight - she used to be anorexic). Yet I know what we spend on diet pills, diet books, gym membership and the other tools of our self-loathing could feed those children for months. That is disgusting. Similarly it disturbs how casually people euphimistically people talk about eating disorders and the way they are glamourised by the media. Clearly none of them have crouched over a filthy public toilet with their hands caked in vomit.

I don't know what I'm saying here - if you're reading this blog and you have an eating disorder then you know all too well that blend of disgust at yourself but the inability to stop. If you don't then you probably also judge those who starve themselves out of choice. I suppose if there was something I'm saying it would be - get out. Go somewhere new, preferably far away. Do something for somebody else until you forget about your body and start caring about someone else's. This trip has healed me far more than any therapist ever has simply by opening my eyes and shaking me out of the apathy and self-obsession. It's just a pity I'm back.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Narcissus so himself himself forsook// And died to kiss his shadow in the brook

The story of Narcissus and Echo is one of my favourite myths, the story of unrequited, masochistic love, the need for absolute love, self-worship. I see myself in both, the woman who wastes her life waiting to stop being invisible, the man who stares into his reflection until death. Both unable to accept reality and instead long for what they will never have.

It's exam term and I can't work. My supervisors repeatedly accuse of superficiality - being more style than substance. I retorted that depth was something one had or one didn't, I can't help myself. My supervisor told me that being shallow was the easy choice most people made in order to not think or explore their minds or lives, then she smiled and told me she knew I wasn't superficial, I just needed 'to get to know my mind'. Oh, I know my mind. Food, plan binge, binge, purge, terror I haven't purged enough, a bit of self-loathing, sex, silence. Except that I haven't thought like that for months now. The man from the counselling service emailed me to ask when I'd be free for my next appointment. I panicked, procrastinated and left it so late that I can't go back and speak to him again. I loved telling him about myself, all the things I couldn't tell my friends, go wallow in pity, not feel guilty for ranting about my childhood, not lying. Yet, now I feel so uncomfortable remembering the things I told him. The 'dark' stuff you leave lurking below the surface so it won't drive you crazy. He brushed off the bulmia when I told him it was so that people would notice me. That I would stop being the fat girl at school and be the beautiful girl. And it worked, but no one ever commented that now I was the skinny one in the group so I had to carry on because to give up then would have been worse than anything. He wanted to explore my need for absolute attention. Absolute love. And why I despised people. Why I thought I was so much better than the men I had sex with. I just thought he hadn't been listening. I was better. And thinner. And smarter. But now I'm not so sure - which one came first? The narcissism or the eating disorder? Can you leave an eating disorder and keep the narcissism? Or are they both so inextricably part of each other and therefore me?

Saturday, 9 April 2011

No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself & another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true

Hey everyone,

I couldn't find any photographs to put with this post - I haven't taken a photo in months and haven't yet scanned in the negatives from my diana mini. I've debated giving up this blog a hundred times but I find myself coming back here most days, but most times it's to remind myself that I'm not sick anymore.

I had one slip up recently. I went to the doctor's for a routine prescription and she weighed me. Every nerve in my body felt taught with the strain of not looking down at the abstract figure. And the stupid bitch muttered some obscene, shocking figure. I could hear the surprise in her voice and then the concerted effort to appear nonchalant. I smiled, clutched my prescription and fled. Walking home, mantras hollow in my ears, I'm fine, I'm healthy, I'm fine, it's a number, it's only a fucking number. Once my door was locked, I could feel the hot bile in my throat, the rising panic, the overwhelming heaviness in every limb. My friend called me, she came to see me. I've never let anyone see that side of me. The irrational, the really crazy, psychotic me. She usually only emerges after a litre of vodka. You're possessed. This isn't you speaking. This is someone else, she kept saying. After a night's sleep I realised how right she was.

I found a list I made when I was nine. Powerful, interesting, an Oxford degree, beautiful, loved. That was what I wanted to be when I grew up.

My friend showed me a photo of a girl she went to school with, she's now been sectioned and been in hospital in for the last three years. Everyone's moved on and she's stuck, regressed, weak, dying. I used to think eating was the weakness. As long as I believed that hunger validated me I was absolutely trapped.

I'm the largest in my group of my friends. I haven't had sex in two months. I'm not a size 6 anymore. I still care.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

fear no more the heat o' the sun

Do you ever look back at who you were and smile? Just remembering what it felt like to inhabit that skin, however it felt? I read through all my old posts and it's like looking at someone else, not just a smudged reflection. I weigh about a stone and a half more than I did the first time I posted, and I've eaten about... well, I'm not sure how many calories I've eaten today. The girl living next door has an eating disorder. I hate her for it, but she doesn't trigger me anymore. We bake together - she purges, I don't.
This all sounds horribly smug. It's grim a lot of the time and I still flick through magazines longing for skinny arms, tiny thighs. I had those once. I also had a beard, the shakes, constant hunger pangs and rotting teeth. And I couldn't even look at that tiny body I spent so much time perfecting. I still think about the ex-Boyfriend all the time and when I'm drunk I end up crying outside the American's house, hoping he'll open the door and forget I dumped him and tell me he loves me. I dream about being touched, about fingers tracing my silhouette and being held. About being loved. I've done casual sex, I've done anonymous sex, I've done crazy sex, I've done irresponsible sex, I've done in love sex and it still didn't stop the loneliness. So I made myself a promise the other day - no more sex until I'm in love. I kept my other promise - no more hating - and it took me a few years but I'm still here. And I'm so fucking grateful.

Monday, 7 February 2011

There's a phantom in my bed// And I'm all alone now

I'm not sad or numb, just paralysed by inertia. And a man is the cause of it all, or maybe he's the symptom. Or men. Or sex. I started seeing the American again. Originally he was just a body to numb the loneliness and make the drunken wander home that little bit shorter. Except he wasn't into casual sex, originally, and he became one of those challenges. Daisy vs Morality had a certain ring to it - it seems that persuading 'moral' men to have sex with me became a way to prove that in this chaotic world I have power. It might just be the power to destroy someone's moral integrity followed by the brief satisfaction of winning. But then again, as my psychologist pointed out, I've stopped seeing men as people. Objectification. Revenge. Every man is revenge on the ex-Boyfriend, every time they fuck me, your touch is forgotten a little bit more. The American started off like that - just, he held me tightly after we'd had sex, told me how amazing it felt, how grateful he was to be fucking a teenager. And when we fall asleep, I fall asleep with his arms wrapped around me and pressed against his chest. And I feel safe, I know he'd never hurt me. But as I finally told him last night - our relationship is entirely disposable. I feel like the time has come to end it - this casual sex, this make believe relationship. I want the real thing, what I've always wanted and what I keep losing and destroying. I'm just terrified of being alone. Inertia//terror.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

I couldn't stay away. There's something about writing exactly what you think and feel and knowing that somewhere someone is reading your words and for that moment you're not alone. For months I carried on reading your blogs but it was like having my tongue cut out. So I went to therapy for a bit just so I could talk to someone. But it meant very little. I binged and purged. Binged some more. Felt apathetic about it all and hated myself for a bit. Purged. Read a blog. Binged. Tried to fast. Felt hopeless. Binged. Felt apathetic. Couldn't purge. Stared at the toilet with my fingers in my mouth unable to move. Felt stupid. Binged. I think this is what recovery feels like. I stopped counting calories. The numbers feel irrelevant. I can't really remember hunger. Free, and still disatisfied.