Firstly I’d like to state that this post will be in relation to an eating disorder I developed last year.
I wanted to forewarn anyone before reading, as this is not necessarily something that is classed as ‘easy’ or possibly ‘light reading’ for some and this way you can choose whether or not to continue reading; I wont be offended if you stop here and wait for the next post. In fact I would prefer that than to never read further posts as a result of this one.
Last year I went through an eating disorder.
I realised I had an eating disorder possibly four months into it.
I lost nine pounds in the immediate seven days following my break up. That in itself was fairly extreme but nothing new considering the pattern I develop after a break-up is loss of appetite as I ponder my thoughts and feelings. Eating slips my mind and the thought of continuing with regular meals when something so drastic has occurred in my life feels abnormal to me.
So after each break-up I usually lose a few pounds and gain them back naturally within a few weeks.
This break-up was different.
I lost nine pounds from an already small frame and liked the way I felt and looked.
I had gotten over the break-up in a few weeks; new for me entirely. The following weeks I began working on my happiness. I believed I was the happiest I had ever been – in fact I possibly was at the time. Looking back I was superficially happy. I loved how I looked – how many people, especially women, can say that in all honesty? I was lucky. I felt comfortable in new and old clothes, attractive in my body. I liked the way my face looked – sunken cheeks and raised cheekbones – however I would never be seen without makeup. I would rarely be seen showing my flesh. On the hottest day of Summer last year I have a photo of myself in A’s garden drinking wine wearing a long baggy black top, thick jeans, and chunky black boots. I was melting.
The day after my birthday in August of last year I can be seen in further photos with A wearing a long-sleeved top pulled up to my elbows, black jeggings, and long boots. I was my thinnest; I felt attractive in my body, and yet I hid it under layers entirely in spite of the rising temperatures.
Out in America I have gained weight with a vengeance. My UK size six shorts cut into my thighs and pinch my stomach when I attempt to wear them. My size eight shorts (a size I envied just a few years ago) are now comfortable for me. When discovering my size eights were needed I almost burst into tears in disbelief; ‘Please! I can’t possibly be this big!!’.
I am not fat. I have fat on me, but I am not in any way fat.
I know this. Thankfully.
My thighs wobble in some instances, they are dimpled in certain lights from certain angles. My stomach does not go inwards, yet it doesn’t protrude outward too much. It wobbles when prompted and I often feel as though I am ‘leading with my stomach’ when I walk but it, again, isn’t fat. My arms no longer show the definition they did – oh my gosh I loved my arms. And yet I hid them.
In America I have had no choice but to wear shorts. The heat when I arrived in Boston, New York, and Washington DC was too much for my English-frame to handle in anything but shorts and vest-tops.
I have also had no reason to wear make-up in the day. The heat meant any make-up would show on my top more than my face, and so make-up has been scarce. I had thought this would mean my skin became flawless; quite the opposite. It seems the less make-up I wear the worse my skin becomes.
A few days ago I was walking through Hollywood with a friend I made in Santa Monica the week before. SL and I spent a total of twelve days together as roommates in both Santa Monica and Hollywood Blvd. She came to Hollywood because I was going to Hollywood and we enjoyed every minute together. During a stroll down Hollywood Blvd one day last week we turned onto Sunset Blvd. We had no idea what was on Sunset but considering so many songs have been written about this particular street we allowed our curiosity to lead us and went for a walk.
Five minutes into our walk I was complemented by a complete stranger walking past me by himself on my legs. He went out of my life as quickly as he entered. He chose the 20 seconds it took to walk past me to simply complement my legs and continue with his day.
Around an hour later SL and I found ourselves back on Hollywood Blvd. We were collared into signing up for a club-night by some of the people on the street.
Myself wearing no make-up and having not done my hair I paid little attention to the attractive guy taking our money and promising us an amazing night. With SL enjoying the sound of his voice enough for the both of us I simply handed over my money and took the ticket. He stared a little longer at me than SL which I passed off as looking at my bad skin. He was looking at my eyes though. I never saw his eyes see the cluster of blemishes on my chin. He continued to smile at my eyes. I believed he was well trained in seducing all kinds of ladies to the club-nights and continued on with our adventures in Hollywood.
The next day, the afternoon of the club-night, we passed him again looking just as glamorous as we had the day before. He hadn’t recognised us and tried to get us to sign up again. We faked insulted responses and laughed that we would see him tonight. SL commented a few moments later “He lights up when he see’s you!” to which I replied that he hadn’t even recognised us.
The club-night wound up being a huge let-down.
When we passed another representative for the company two days later he attempted to get us to sign up again for that night’s club-crawl. We laughed that the last one had been dreadful and we wouldn’t do it again. So he gave us free tickets…and we went again that night.
While SL won the drinking competition and I laughed from the sidelines and batted away the attention of a guy telling me he was a rap producer, K, our original sign-up rep, came to my rescue. Asking if I was ok because I looked miserable I replied that being hit on was fun a few years ago but doesn’t interest me now. I was simply happy to watch SL work the room like a PR genius.
After a while of talking K asked me the type of places I actually like to go to, as the clubbing scene he had gathered was not really my thing. I described my perfect night out to be a game of pool in a dive-bar laughing with friends and singing and dancing to good rock and alternative music on the jukebox while drinking beer. He then told me about a bar he wanted to take me to; a dive-bar lots of rockers go to where there’s a pool table, good music and an amazing atmosphere.
Still holding my invisible wall in front of me I took each word with a pinch of salt.
It wasn’t until I asked him about his story that I realised he may be being sincere. He instantly opened up, he didn’t have any walls; having watched guys at play for a few years now I can see the players from the nice guys – call me naive, a dreamer, delusional, whatever. I believed his sincerity.
When he was handed the company camera from another rep that needed to use the restroom he tried to take a photo of me; my instinct kicked in and I ducked from the camera and said “No I don’t like my face!” I hadn’t even realised I had said that until his reaction.
He repeated it back to me as a question wearing his stunned reaction without awareness. He then scrolled through the photos on the camera and came across the first photo of the night. One of myself with two other English girls I had met at the first bar. He zoomed into my face and showed me the photo. In a very cheesy and sweetly sincere move he then said “How can you hate this face?! You have beautiful eyes and look at that smile!!” – the two features about me I hear repeatedly to be my best. Now anyone can take from this conversation what they like. They can consider him to be a very good player. They can consider me to be a gullible child. In those moments, knowing that this guy had seen me makeup-less, having not done my hair, wearing shorts and a tank top over my growing frame, sweating in the LA heat, and was looking at me in the same way dressed-up as he had in that earlier state, it melted me.
Nothing happened. Well actually a lot happened. In me.
I was stood in front of an attractive guy telling me I was beautiful. I told him about my weight-gain and that I don’t usually go out in the day without any makeup whatsoever and he laughed then said that the lines from a Drake song were perfect for me; “Sweat pants, hair tied, chillin’ with no make-up on, That’s when you’re the prettiest, I hope that you don’t take it wrong”. He was good.
Since meeting K I’ve felt a lot more comfortable. I still don’t like my weight-gain. But I am too happy to starve myself, so I won’t.
A workmate wrote on my social media photo album of LA “You look so happy and glowing in every pic”.
I can now say I am the happiest I have ever been.
Last year I really was the happiest I had ever been, and looking back that makes me smile and also saddens me. I have been through a lot in my years; you might get to know more about that as I discover further more about myself. I was truly growing in happiness then.
As Buffy Summers stated during an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer “I’m cookie dough, I’m not done baking.”
I’m not done yet . . .