"Thank you so much," I had said to him, and he smiled and assured me that it was no trouble. I had got a lift off him into Portlaoise to start the big food shop for mum. I had an hour to kill before I headed into Tesco as it wasn't until half 4 or so till mam would be able to get out of work.
Usually, whenever we did this of an evening, I would cycle into town and make my own way. But, on being offered a lift from James, it suddenly occurred to me that this was the perfect opportunity to test myself. Because that morning, it had rained heavily, and I had forgone my usual romp with the doggies for a quick five minute potter around the daisy field.
An hour to kill, Em.
Anxiously, I looked to the sky.
It was long past mid afternoon at this stage; and the pale yellow orb of the sun was now beginning to slowly inch its way towards the western horizon. The sky was like an endless expanse of pale blue velvet, interlaced, here and there, with wispy, peach-fringed clouds of lilac-grey and creamy pink.
One more hour of daylight...
I have shopping to do, things to get..
But you haven't done any exercise today. Oh it's going to rain tomorrow! Aren't you going to make the most of this lovely dry afternoon?
But...I said that..
But you haven't done anything...the shopping can be done tomorrow, sure...you are lazy, you need to move, imagine how anxious you will feel later if you don't do anything now...
And then you will be all moody and surly..you won't be able to focus on your college work tomorrow morning..the anxiety, oh, Em, you know full well you won't cope with it...
And so I bowed my head in acquiescence, adjusted the straps of my bag upon my shoulders, and walked.
Looking back now to that evening, I know that it was wrong.
it was compulsory, it was what ED wanted me to do. I love to walk. Walking with Benny and Daisy upon the heather-covered boglands; trotting alongside them along woodland tracks scattered with pine needles.But here? Upon the concrete streets of Portlaoise; alone, with a heavy handbag slung across one shoulder? No. In this instance, I did not really want to go off power-walking: I wanted to go to Home Store and More and buy some picture frames; before then proceeding to the pound shop to purchase wool and gift bags and Weetaflakes. Did I really want to be wandering the streets of Portlaoise in endless circles for forty-five minutes? No, I did not. But yet, because I had not been able to walk that particular morning, I felt absolutely compelled to do so.
Em, why are you afraid of not exercising..when you have some weight to gain?
But that is the point, isn't it, after all. I am afraid. So, so afraid. I am so scared to gain weight again even; despite all the times when I did so before.
I know that I have to do it.
And so I cast my mind back to that moment when I raised my head to stare up into that beautiful sky; on that cold, pearl-bright December evening, no more than a few days ago.
Up there, birds had been wheeling together on the wing; the jet black crow with his harsh grey beak; a bottle green starling with flecks of silver upon his nape.
So free, up there; in that endless blue infinity; so far removed from all the troubles in this world.
If only I too could grow my own wings and join them. If only I could fly, and soar, and be free. Be free like I have never been for so, so long.
But I am a human; not a beautiful bird. I have to work with what I have.
I have lungs and a heart and a head in which a mind is contained. A mind which, I realise now, has the power to set me free from this snare.
I think, for my next post (and I really, really hope that you will do the same too if you are in a similar position as I am ) I will compose my Reasons to Recover list...
Because I truly believe this is such a worthwhile exercise to do; if you find yourself in this state of ambivalence. When you are teetering on the brink between recovery and relapse, perhaps; or if you have embarked upon the road upon the mountain, only to have fallen down upon the stony ground, overcome with the fear of where this road is going to take you.
You are not alone.
This is me right now and I am afraid too.If there was some way I could make this road easier for us, I would cross the oceans of the world to find it..
But there is one thing that I know I posses: I have my words, my voice.
So perhaps, through reflecting, and writing, and sharing, and exposing, I will help both myself and others to recover...