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.:)
Wednesday, 29 July 2015
The Girl who was Left Behind.
For as long as I can remember, I have compared myself to other people around me and believed that next to them, I am more or less a nobody. I created an imaginary gap between myself and my peers, a gap over which I would never be able to cross; or even, reach over.
Like the majority of my problems, so it seems, this all seemed to evolve from my early days at secondary school. On that fatal first day when I first put on the cream-coloured blouse and green skirt of the convent school where it all began, I was a changed girl, in many respects. The difference between me and the girls around me was painfully obvious in my eyes. I was desperate, so desperate to make myself fit in, become one of them, to reduce this awful crippling sense of inferiority; a feeling that up to that point in my life had been alien to me; for in my primary school years, I was the confident, bubbly, smiling girl with limitless amounts of energy and rosy glowing cheeks, who did not, at any point, stop and contemplate about just how much better every one else was than herself. I felt equal, respected, and so, so perfectly content. But of course, this idyllic sense of tranquility was never going to last, and last it did not.
I didn't want to leave the happy, innocent little world of my childhood. But growing up is a cruel, cruel thing.
I did everything, everything I could possibly think of, to integrate myself into the new, unfamiliar, and undeniably frightening new world in which I now found myself, lost and alone and afraid, trying desperately not to drown. It was all I could do, to merely keep my head abbove the water, to stay afloat.
I rolled up my skirt at the waist so that it hung above the knee, even though I wasn't even really that sure why I was exactly doing this, at first: but all the other girls did it, so it didn't really matter if the meaning behind such an action was not clear at the present time: all I had to do was mimic them without question, and then, I believed, I would be that one tiny bit less inferior. I abandoned my childhood stories of animals and adventures which I had been working diligently on throughout the summer; projects which at one time had given me so much joy and pleasure. But, once that golden, glorious summer ended and my time at secondary school began, I forsook them entirely, terrified that such a hobby was plain babyish. I resolved to study as hard as I possibly could, anxious to achieve high grades and not become a class clown; desperate to make myself become more than the boring, ugly, stupid girl which I saw myself as being. Who I thought, that surely everyone esle was going to see me as, too, if I did not make some sort of radical change. And then...another thought, a seemingly so innocent, wonderfully simple, uncomplicated little thought came to me. How about if...if I made myself thinner? Then, perhaps, I would feel less inferior? If I replaced what I regarded as being my dumpy, unattractive, plump figure with one which was slim and toned and slender. Which was beautiful.
My eating disorder beckoned with a hand which was as inviting and as shiny as silver. Just as shiny, and just as cold. But I took that hand, and hence allowed anorexia to lead me along a path which appeared, at first, so smooth and shiny and oh, so perfect. But in reality, of course, that golden path soon became strewn with thorns which tore at my skin and left me bleeding. The world moved on, the friends and acquaintances I knew in school matured and grew and shone like stars. But I was the girl who got left behind, trapped on a road strewn with thorns and pain and tears.
When I left school and started my new life at Trinity, things did not improve, of course. If anything it got worse.
And now, I am haunted by this sense of worthlessness, inadequacy, inferiority. For example, on the very brief night out I had at the weekend, I was too deeply immersed in the depths of my own self-criticism to even begin to enjoy myself. And there was a boundary there, an invisible boundary which noone else could or would ever be able to perceive. In a way it feels as if I am in an entirely different world; trapped, isolated and alone, in a desolate, hostile universe of my own making.
It is so hard, so hard to even try to put my finger on it; to describe the way I feel. I suppose...it is as if the girl who is me, the girl who is Emmy, it is almost as if she should have been born in a different world, in a different time, in a different place. I probably should have come into being in an age when women and girls did not have the independence and the equality that they have now: as I am simply useless at taking advantage of those two things, for one thing. I am unable to make my own decisions - the Trinity one still hangs above my head, undecided and unresolved - and as for independence, well, its virtually non-existent; all because of myself. There is such an enormous difference, between me and other young women of my own age. My personality, my mindset, the way I think and feel about myself, the way I look, the way I live my life...it probably would have been more suited to a world like that protrayed in my beloved Morokia, or maybe even, that of Arthur Ransom's Swallows and Amazons, with the children playing innocently on boats and builidng fires and tents in the woods. A simple, tranquil, innocent world.
If only I could bridge that gap, that gap I have made for myself, from all those around me. But I - nno one else, just I, by myself - have widened and deepened that gap so severely over the years. And I fear that I am too afraid to make that leap.