At first glance it might seem that I am just a happy, normal girl who loves to bake and walk her dog. However, I have suffered with an eating disorder since I was 13. It was only in May 2014 when I realised that this Voice in my head was slowly but surely trying to kill me. And so began the long, hard, and painful journey which is recovery...

I want My Cocoa Stained Apron to be a special place...a place for reflection, memories, shared stories...and of course a little bit of cocoa-staining ;) Recovery might be the hardest thing you ever choose to do in this life. But it is also the bravest and best decision you will ever make.:)

Thursday, 31 October 2019

The Final Leap

What frightens you the most, Em?

The thought of taking that final, terrifying leap into the depths of the unknown?

Or is it the thought of remaining this insipid place they call half recovery..forever?

What frightens you more?

The leap; or the prison?

Just over a year ago I composed a short little post entitled the Beginning After the Halfway. Within it, I spoke of how in recovery one may encounter two beginnings : the first, most obvious one being the beginning of the recovery journey itself: the action "phase", so I have heard it called. Initially I thought that was the only "beginning":After that it would be straight upwards: upwards, until one reaches he end: the beautiful summit of the towering mountain.

But now, having trodden the recovery road for many years, I see recovery as having two fundamental beginnings. The actual beginning of recovery; at the very start; when one acknowledges, accepts, and takes the first few crucial steps. The beginning of the recovery journey. But then, within that journey itself, there is a second beginning: one which some travellers upon this road will never know of , because this is where their journey ultimately reaches it end.

That second beginning lies just beyond a critical point: a point where some turn, turn and go right back; whereas others remain forever, unsure as to how to go on. That point is the place of half recovery, and what lies beyond is the beginning of the final battle against anorexia.

At that place, many an anorexic's journey finds its end. They remain there, unable to commence the second beginning; shackled down by the fetters of doubt and mistrust and fear. 

But half recovery is very much like a limbo land. You're far above the hellish domain that was being immersed wholly and completely within the depths of anorexia. And yet, you are equally so far removed from that idyllic place of being fully recovered. And you see, and know it deep down; that there is something more to this. That the life you are living is a far cry from what you imagined being recovered to be. no matter how much ED might convince you otherwise. And knowing that is enough to torment you daily; like an apple being held out to a tethered horse. Close enough to see and smell; Close enough to almost taste its sweet juices. But not close enough to take from that extended hand. The knowledge, the acknowledgement made deep down, is enough to tempt and torture, but yet not enough to spur you into taking that massive, frightening leap.

I said..back in that post just over a year ago now...I said that I would make some sort of beginning , after the halfway. But did I? Did I really throw myself into the deep? A difficult question to which I struggled to properly answer. Because I think...I think it's more complex than a simple yes, or no. I think that I both did, and did not. I took the leap but instead of kicking hard when my body entered the water, propelling myself further into the deep - instead I lingered, hesitant and reluctant to swim away from the jutting rock upon which I had so long been stuck, the rock that served as that crucial milestone which marks having reached a place of half recovery. For that rock had replaced the grim cave of being entrenched within anorexia, as the much hated, yet irresistible familiarity which I found myself unable and too frightened to leave.

It's a struggle. It's a messy, agonising struggle. And every day the same question spins a slow orbit in my head. Are you going to swim yet, Em? Or are you just going to flounder aimlessly around this rock, forever?

At first I saw that rock as a milestone: one which, having reached, I would commend myself for reaching, and then move on. On with recovery. But it feels instead that I paused by this rock to take a breath, and then decided that, well this rock ain't so bad at all. I think I'll take a rest here, now. Just a little rest. I wont let myself become stuck here, though. I will take the next leap and swim on.

One year later, and still, here I am. Still waiting, upon that lonely little rock.

Waiting. For what?

To right time, the right place, to take the dive into the deep waters? To have the courage fight the hardest and most gruelling battle of all: to win back complete freedom, rather than some sort of half freedom which doesn't really feel like  true freedom, at all? To finally feel ready to break every string attached to me - including the subtle, implicit ones which noone else can see?

But if I wait; won't I simply sit and wait here, forever?
Isn't it time to simply stop waiting; and take that final leap?

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

A Quick Foreword...!!! :/

Hey everyone, I just wanted to post an apology for the untidy presentation of my last post..the font sizes are all over the place I know and I have tried again and again to fix it, but when I press save the changes I make just aren't saved and it goes back to the way it was..! Im really sorry for this, I reqlly don't understand why it's like that  - not sure if it\s because I wrote it on my boyfriend's ipad and the fonts on that arent compatible with blogger's or something. Anyway I do apologise profusely for this. 😓

I know..that this is the Write Time.

Time for me to Write, again. 
Time for me to again find my Voice. 

Not really sure where to begin, with this. As I anticipated, the things that have worked to inhibit me from blogging in the first place - namely doubt, lack of confidence, and that all too familiar fear of being judged - are taking their places in that audience in my head right now, ready and eager to start their boos and heckling. As I sit here my eyes are scanning over the words I just wrote, seeking out flaws, feeding the hungry inner critics that reside within my mind. They're all poised and ready, now - ready to judge, ready to knock me down and smash the flimsy fragments of my fragile confidence, to unretrievable, tiny shards. Ready to cause me to once again do the thing that always follows my every desperate attempt to write. To close my laptop with a frustrated snap, push it away from me. Let one single tear fall upon the ribbed black cover, as I do so. A tear born from a awareness of defeat.

Im rereading and criticising every single syllable that I just wrote, there. But this time Im not quitting the stage. Im looking that scornful audience in the eye. Doubt sneers back at me, fear leers like a grotesque jester, mocking me, trying to make me feel small. Stand down, Em. It’s past time for you to stand down!
Another tear falls as I write. Not with anguish this time. It’s a tear for what I might have lost, alot of: but which has not completely died.

Amidst the cold and the harshness
Upon the bare branches something beautiful may blossom, again.. <3

Its true alot has changed. I believe I have  lost alot of my skill, if you could have ever called it that, for writing. I never believed that I had that much in the first place - despite being praised, back in my younger days, at school, for my descriptive essays, and despite of course going to Trinity College to study English. Despite my former love of writing, making a start on my own novel, and not being physically able to go out the door without bringing one of my many notebooks with me, and a camera for taking pictures, for my blog. Ah, yes, my blog. for me, an untilmate sumbol for my love of writing. My blog symbolised for me, the residing of two powerful passions of mine in the midst of a serious eating disorder: baking, for one thing, and of course, more implicitly, writing, itself. And for years it remained that way - through the storms, through the landslides; the soaring highs and the plummeting lows. My blog was there for me - through all of that. It was the lighthouse, shining a beam of light throuigh the stormy night; the sheltered hollow on the slippery slope, into which I could retreat and take sanctuary from the cold. My blog was all of this to me, and more. It symbolised hope, and strength, and resilience; it reminded me, when the clouds gathered thick and i could not see through the driving rain, what it was I actually was really fighting for, what I had to keep on pushing towards. It reminded me of whao i was - the real Emmy. Who I wanted to be. Writing here became a key mode of expression, for me. it was here where I would channel the emotions, the feelings that were too painful or difficult for me to put into speech. And, having transcribed the pain, the frustration, the fear and the hurt I felt, out onto paper, I would attempt to make some sort of sense of them. Writing had become, for me, an integral part of my recovery.

But it seemed like ED is intent on taking every last scrap of everything that ever meant anything to me.

Many years ago, when I first became sick, it was my body which initially seemed to occupy ed's  core focus in its bid to callously distort, weaken and destroy. My mind and brain, from a cognitive point of view anyway, seemed  at first mercifully unaffected by Ed's taint. Not content, however, with the devastating physical impact it had wrecked upon my body, Ed began to turn its attention to the psychological and cognitive facets over which it knew it could have some sort of control. And just like the physical effects, the process was slow and gradual. At first, I didnt really understand what was going on: why I was suddenly crying over my lecture notes which made as much sense to me as a book written in double Dutch would; why I suddenly could not write a single sentence of my novel in the space of 30 minutes; whereas once, back in some other distant time, I could have written a whole page. Why? I used to scream to myself in anguish. Why? What’s happened to me? How did I dumb???

And by the time I realised what it was that was actually causing this, it was much too late to do a simple u turn, and go back.

Slowly, slowly and painfully, I teetered from the path towards destruction and ruin; onto a wholly different, but equally difficult, road. The road of recovery. And gradually, with every tentative bite and onerous meal; with every gruelling day of grinding my teeth together and forcing myself to keep on eating, while the Voice screamed like a livid Fury in my head - my body slowly began to heal. Heal what it could after years of trauma and abuse. Heal, what actually still remained, to be healed. I learnt the hard way that you cannot always reclaim what has been lost.

If only I could just walk away 
and leave you behind, ED; forever... </3

One thing though that I was confident would be restored, would be my former ability, to write. But to my horror and dismay, this did not seem to be the case. And instead of writing becoming easier  - and more “natural” to me as it once had been - as I progressed further with my physical recovery, it seemed to become, on the contrary, even the more difficult, tedious, and frustrating. And there came a point, perhaps around January of this year, when I suddenly realised that I didnt want to try anymore. Not even with my beloved blog; not even with the journalling that I had up-kept throughout the strain-filled days of anorexia. Your ability has gone, Em, the voice of doubt and self-loathing mocked. You cannot write anymore. Youve become heavier and uglier and stupider besides. You - are - worthless!!!

I gave up. I gave up, and agreed with Ed that there was not one scrap of a writer within me. 

But now Im looking my judges - the doubt, the self criticism, the perfectionism - straight in the eye. And this time I don’t back away from their glares, their scorn-filled jibes and jeers. Yes, its true. Im not the same girl as i was, 10, 9, 8 years ago. When I was the grade A student of her class, who could write page upon page of fluid composition. Im not even the same girl as I was in uni, who managed - somehow; God knows how I did it; but did it, I did - to write the 6000 word essays that enabled her to attain her college degree. Im not the same girl now. So much of what I had - just like that of my tenuous health which I allowed to become abused and neglected -  has been lost; perhaps, forever. I cant write like that anymore. I allowed ED to take alot of that away from me; my former confidence with writng, my aptitudes as regards composing a piece.

But there is one thing left to me that not even ED in all his seeming omnipotence cannot touch.

That is my love, my passion, for writing. And I know - as long as that tiny flame still flickers within me; that tiny golden candle  - I can write. I can write and I can reach out to others as I used to. I can write and tell my story. I can write and perhaps, some day, some where, inspire and touch the hearts of others.

And I know now that this is the Right Time. The....Write, time. The Time to Write. 

I’ve refound my Voice.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Losing my Spurs

I wonder how others see me now. I wonder if they think eating is easy for me now, that I am recovered. On the outside everything seems fine , even - and I wince as I say it- everything seems normal, or, indeed, "healthy".

 Gone, now, is the skinny bony body, the non existent bust on the chest, the cracked dry skin and stick like legs and arms. And now gone too is the one thing that I used to doggedly grasp at, whenever ed used to tell me I was normal and didn't t need to eat as much good, or any food at all.

 My periods.

 I can eat loads as i dont have a period.

But when it arrived, heralding its coming with a glorious rush of scarlet blood, I did not experience the feelings of joy and relief that I anticipated I would feel in such a pivotal and fundamental moment. Insyead of feeling like I had claimed something back, I felt like I had lost something  instead. That being. An excuse to eat. That knowing that my body really wasn't healthy; that it hadn't got enough food and energy to enable me to give birth to a child.

 For years, that knowledge spurred me on in my most difficult and darkest of moments. I'm underweight. My body is deprived! I must eat well as I haven't got a period. I must keep going on.

But now the spurs have been taken away , and I now feel like I'm riding a horse with no reins or saddle . Confused and frightened, I hang on tight with shaking hands, and allowing it to choose wherever it wants to go.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019


Today I went to see a counsellor. I emerged from the somewhat dreary loooking place some 50 minutes later enwrapped in a cloudy sort of emptiness. It hadnt quite been what I had expected. Indeed far from it. She had more or less admitted that they weren’t quite what I was looking for.
But what am I looking for?
I suppose...the quick switch to my recovery.

But from a physical perspective I am doing well, I guess. But mentally I feel the same. And I still find myself practising every day those silly little ed habits that I have long resolved to work on, and overcome. Yet they linger, as does Ed, and his harsh, whispered dictations never cease to play on repeat within my mind.

The quick switch to my recovery.
If only such a thing existed.

But it doesn’t.

But the one thing that cannot be diminished, is; the love of my babe; the support of my loved ones.
And the hidden strength within Me, to change.

There may be no quick fix; to mend these broken parts, the shattered pieces.

But instead, it is I. I who can do the slow, painful fixing of me.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Leaving the Shadow Behind

It was almost automatic. I'd get up, search hastily through my ever growing pile of notebooks and stationary to find the hardback copy with the pretty colourful flowers on the front, and then set to work, usually over breakfast, in writing down my weekly goals.

The months passed and changed, and I changed, too. And now so much is different from before, there are a few things that remained unchanged and static. 

ED's actual presence is one of these. It's true that his presence in my life is not as perceptible, as manifest, or as patent as before. Sometimes I even forget he is there; in times when excitement or joy, or simply hard work transport my mind to an unfamiliar place which ED cannot touch. But then he gently reminds me again with a cold hand on my shoulder or an insidious whisper in my ear. He's like the that thorn in your side which you can't quite prise out; that fly above your head which you keep on swatting at but can not quite shake off from your back. A thing that doesn't do enough to cause you any danger, but is there, nonetheless, and is enough to make a smile disintegrate into a frown. He is like my second shadow, in a way. Though I run and feel free at times, I look round and I can still see him attached to me, casting a space of darkness upon just some of the ground upon which I tread.

Impossible. Impossible so it may seem to detach yourself from something which for so long has been so intrinsically part of you, just like a shadow. Through darkness and light, through ED has been there, for every step of the way. And it almost seems like he had become part of me.

Not so, of course. The past two years have been critical for me, in the sense that I have finally begun to develop a sense of who I really am. Not the sick Emmy. The real Emmy who wants to live.

Im different from the rest, perhaps, but I'm no longer ashamed to say it. I don't drink, I don't wear ounces of make up or use snapchat or twitter, I don't choose to wear the clothes which might make me fit in a little bit better amongst the other members of my society. But I don't feel bad about this anymore. Im learning to accept, perhaps even embrace, my differences. And I can say that for my body, too.

Though I know I've got a much longer way to go, yet.

I've still got a bit to go along this long winding road.

And, contrary to my former beliefs, I know now that if I walk faster and stronger, I can leave that shadow far behind me. Detach myself from it, like a butterfly breaking free from the spider's entrapping web.

I landed there long ago, in that web of the intricate fine lines fringed with minuscule droplets of shimmering pearl and glistening silver. A thing so beautiful to the eyes of the innocent, but which, to those who know better, has long been the lair of a bloodthirsty creature; a creature which feeds off the bodies of its victims while they still remain torturously, tormentingly alive.

And back then, it was the more attractive fate for me, to be wrapped in the stifling layers of darkness and no feeling. To feel my body slowly be drained of its lifeblood, leaving nothing but an empty shell behind.

But now, for no longer. I want to free myself and learn to fly again, and spread my strong new wings.

And I believe this is where goal setting comes in again. For this, and so many other reasons.
And with this in mind I will use my next post to explore these reasons, and what goals I plan to put in place which will finally enable me to fly free. And to teach me how for the next time, I need not land back in the spider's web; But to alight, like a feather drifting softly to the earth, in the midst of the meadow of bright and shimmering flowers. <3 

Monday, 15 October 2018

A Blank Slate

Beautiful October, so radiant in her gold and copper finery; so richly adorned with the bright treasures of autumn's exquisite bounty. But yet she can also reveal a slightly more malignant side in her summoning of the first dark winter storms.

And Friday was just one of those such days when this side to her became more manifest. Walking upon the bog with Daisy it was as if a giant hand had taken a crayon to the canvas of a formerly blank virgin sky. To the north; the horizon was so clear and radiantly blue; whereas, to the south, an angry shade of steely grey, that spoke of volatility, unpredictability, and anger. And that grey was advancing with all the fury of some dark and dangerous beast.

Gazing upon it, I felt strangely unperturbed. Too engrossed, perhaps, was I in my world of anorexic-type thoughts; those ones which swell up, like some ugly bulging plant, to occupy so much space in my head that there was hardly any room for anything else. Sometimes I fail to even perceive the reality around me, so entrenched I often find myself being in this abyss of worry and anxiety, of fear and self-revulsion.

But then the wind called - called to me; so it seemed - and a flurry of yellow and crimson leaves were flung into my face before spiraling, drawn by invisible strings, in slow figures of eight before alighting to the ground like a dancer who has finally come to rest. And it seemed like the wind had called my name.

Wake up, Emmy! Wake up!

And suddenly I became startlingly, beautifully aware of the striking beauty of the world around me. The dark fingers of the birch trees holding aloft their final offerings of gold and brown. The rippling grass and the purple blue forms of the watching mountains. And, that troubled sky, with all its foretelling of a gathering storm and those furious clouds which would all too soon block out the sun.

But then I remembered that the storm would not last; and that, having blown its full course, the sky would once again take on the guise of a blank, fresh slate.

Though the storm would come it wouldn't last forever; and, once it was gone, the clear sky would reassert itself; as if making a fresh new beginning.

And even though I've been in recovery for a while, I realise that there is ever the potential for starting on a fresh new slate. For the past few weeks have been increasingly messy, with a lot of scribbles and spilt paint; alot of waste. And though I know recovery is never going to be perfect, I still felt like that I could do more. More to get myself away from this fuzzy grey zone, more to allow myself to push myself more firmly away from the Voice.

And one important thing that I want to do, is to teach myself how to pull myself away and out of that deep dark pit of sickly, cloying thoughts. The wind that morning was a blessing; for it enabled me to pull myself temporarily free, and fill my senses with the beauty all around me.

So time to lay out my blank slate, now, and look with fresh eyes upon its untarnished surface. And then to begin again. Not to begin, at the beginning of the very beginning; but, rather, at the beginning, of a renewed effort to break away; to break away from ED once and forever.