Happiness will be found in my head, not my wardrobe.

I have fought with my weight my whole life. I am one of those women who moan about the way I look, who claim they have nothing to wear and how everything makes me look six months pregnant.

When I was in school I was too thin for my body. I hit 5″ 10 around fourteen and I didn’t fill out until about five years later. I was taller than everyone and my arms were too long for my body. I was gangly. I had braces and was covered in spots. I never had the right shoes or rucksack and I walked around proudly in my Gryffindor scarf. I was bullied for three years about the way I looked, the things I wore, the things I said, the things I did.

Then at nineteen my first long term relationship ended and I realised that in two years I’d gone up three dress sizes and began waddling instead of walking.

It all came off pretty quickly, as it does when you’re young. But I was never happy. My boobs were too big for strappy tops, my belly too round for fitted clothes and my shoulders were too broad for… anything. I was a comfortable size 12 for a good six years and I liked that. I liked being able to go into any clothes shop and not have to worry about whether it would fit or not.

But I still wasn’t happy.

Then I met someone else and my second long term relationship began. He was built like a rugby player and ate like one. And I did too. I didn’t stop to think that perhaps this person who was naturally twice the size of me could eat this much, and I could not. I stopped working in hospitality and sat behind desks filled with snacks.

Offices are good places to work, especially when you have good people around you. The one I’m in now is fun because of the people I work there. But they are a nightmare for someone who gains ten pounds just by looking at a cake. It’s always someones birthday or someones leaving do or a bake off day or a Tuesday.

The weight piled on. Whilst you’re in a relationship, it’s easy to forget it and put it to the back of your mind because you have someone who loves you and still wants to have sex with you. And most of the time, they’re putting on weight too. (Not in my first relationship, you bastard).

I’ve tried diets. I’ve tried shakes, I’ve tried 5:2, I’ve tried no carbs, I’ve tried no dairy. They don’t work. Not for me.

Recently I joined Slimming World with a very good friend of mine and thought that I might have finally found something that worked. But as time has progressed I’ve failed at it.

Losing weight is hard. It takes a huge commitment and it means you have to make a change to your lifestyle.

The trouble is I like eating out and I like ordering take away and I like sitting on my bed eating chocolate in my pjs whilst I watch episodes of Castle and think about Nathan Fillion in ways that aren’t PG.

And then I started to think about my weight and how much it really meant to me. I struggle a lot in my day to day. I mean, I have good days and days that aren’t so great. But the reasons for those days are nothing to do with not being able to fit in my size 12 skinny jeans anymore.

It’s a whole bunch of other things, that will be saved for another post. But they are the things I need to work on.

I’ve been thin. I’ve been curvy and I’ve been a little bit chubs. And through each of those stages, I’ve still had the troubles in my mind that are there now.

So am I using my weight as an excuse? As a scape goat? I can unload all my problems into that one category. When people ask what’s wrong I can say “I’m so fat. I’m so ugly.” instead of having to delve into the real issues.

Maybe.

I don’t think it matters how much I weigh, or what size clothes I wear, or that I hate clothes shopping because I don’t know what size I am because no bloody shop is the same.

I know that happiness, my happiness, will be found in my head, not my wardrobe.

Repeat.

I have just purchased an exercise bike.

Here we go again, right?

I’m trying to take small steps to improve my general attitude towards life and towards myself. I’m a very negative person and I didn’t grow up that way.

Yes, my Mum left when I was young and yes my Dad wasn’t exactly a parental influence and yes I was bullied as a child etc etc. But what are these? They’re not reasons to hate my life or hate myself or lose all faith in being able to achieve anything or make it anywhere.

I’m going to a drama club later, that I used to be a part of and loved. I stopped because I had an old boyfriend and I was young and more concerned about that than keeping my own hobbies. I love being on the stage, but I know I’d be very aware of the way I look now, whereas before I didn’t care, get me dressed up in anything and put me in front of an audience – love it.

I have a problem with my food and my attitude to it and I am just getting bigger and bigger. In the last two years I have gone up two dress sizes, slowly but surely I am getting somewhere I never ever wanted to be, or thought I would be. I suppose it was a slight arrogance because until about the age of 18/19 I had a very good metabolism and ate and ate and ate…

I’m not 18 anymore, I’m nearly 27 and I don’t have that metabolism and I have just gotten lazy and fat. It is habit to come home and eat some chocolate and some crisps, have a big meal and then eat pudding and sweets all night.

I could sit here and list all of the things I do I know I shouldn’t and all of the reasons I want to lose the weight.

But at the end of the day – I just need to fucking do it.

There are dark days…

  1. I don’t like folding laundry or talking about my emotions. I’m likely to leave both scattered all over.
  2. I’m not much for cooking but there will always be coffee.
  3. I’ll wear anything of yours with sleeves. I love when they’re long enough to wrap around my hands.
  4. Sometimes the world is too harsh, too big. It’s hard to leave the house on days like those.
  5. When I was sick as a kid my mom would run a bath for me and wash my hair. It was always so soothing. Maybe you could do that every once in a while.
  6. I find it difficult to finish most things. My room is home to countless journals of incomplete thoughts.
  7. I won’t love you any less in December. I think my heart just wasn’t meant for the cold.
  8. I never truly know why I’m crying so don’t bother to ask, simply be there.
  9. There’s whiskey in the medicine cabinet.
  10. If things get terribly bad, please don’t give up. Get me in the car and drive to the sea. The waves beneath my toes will wake me up and I’ll be yours again.  “

I know that he doesn’t understand my dark days, I’m not sure he can get depression or true, inexplicable sadness into his head. He’s too care free, too relaxed. 

But he makes me laugh when all I want to do is cry. He holds my hand and takes me with him when it’s too much for me to go on. He will put on my favourite tv show or something stupid. He’ll wind me up with his annoying ways to make me feel something again.

He doesn’t know why I feel suffocated sometimes, any more than I do. He doesn’t know why I feel like it’s raining and I’m choking with all there is in the world. He always manages to see the sun and he’s only ever sad for three minutes and then he can let it all go. I can’t do that.

But he’ll bring me ice cream and cake. He’ll wrap me up in a blanket and run his hands through my hair. He’ll tell me some dumb ass story from his day and he’ll wipe the tears away.

He doesn’t get that it’s not that I don’t want to get out of bed, I simply can’t. He doesn’t know why I become entirely absorbed and obsessed with what I don’t have, why I get so scared that I can’t see the light anymore. Every day is good for him, it’s easy, it’s calm. I envy him.

But he’ll ask me what my favourite book is and why, just to get me talking passionately about something again, even though he’s heard it a thousand times before. He’ll fetch that Tigger I’ve had for years because it’s comfort and it smells like home. He’ll ask me about my Dad, he’ll buy me pizza, he’ll put on a song I love.

He has no idea why I get so sad, but he stays.

All shapes and sizes.

So for about a month I was doing the slim fast diet – look it up if you don’t know what it is.

I lost about 10lbs in the space of three weeks and was going mental at the gym. I’d never been more determined to do it and it was pushing me like crazy. I was obsessed with being skinny. I was torturing myself with all these “perfect” bodies, all these toned babes all over everything.

And then I got so freakin depressed. I hate calorie counting and I wouldn’t eat something unless it was all green on the little nutritional counter and wouldn’t have a snack that was more than 100 calories. I pushed myself so hard at the gym I’d feel sick and dizzy and couldn’t catch my breath. I hated my clothes, I hated my stomach, I hated everything.

Then I read some quote that someone put on facebook, just about what would happen if you woke up one day and you were 82 and you’d not lived your whole life because you were too worried about your belly or your thighs being wobbly.

I just, I sat up and I said “fuck this.” I’m 26 years old, I don’t need to be obsessing over what I eat or sweating it out at a gym that costs me £40 a month that I don’t enjoy.

Being on that diet made me such a boring person, I hated myself and I was angry and low. It made me so unhappy and I never thought that would happen.

I’m not skinny, I don’t have a toned stomach and my arms wobble and my thighs rub together.

But who fucking cares? 

When I want chocolate, I eat it and don’t think about it. When I want seconds, or thirds, I damn well have them. Etc, etc. 

I just thought, I could throw my life away exercising and forbidding myself from the things I love to eat, but it won’t stop me from dying of something anyway.

I’d rather live a happy, curvy life than a skinny lonely one.

And it has changed the way I look at people completely. I used to look at them and find something to hate, their stomach, their legs, their skin, their hair. Now I look at them and am happy for them being so beautiful. It’s all different. It’s all about perspective. 

 

Don’t get comfortable.

The infamous words of a band who make me feel seventeen and full of hope and wonder again.

I’m often criticised for moving from job to job, a job hopper if you will. I’d rather have 100 jobs in my lifetime and be challenged and learn new things than have the same job that I hate for fifty years.

You know they expect us to work until we’re like, 65 now? I had my first job at 12. So you want me to spend that long miserable and bitter for the sake on consistency? Screw that. 

I love learning, I always have. But for some reason or other I feel like I never gave my educational opportunities my full attention. And I should have. Another trinket for the shoulda, woulda, coulda chain that sits so heavily on my wrist. 

But now I’m getting on some, I want to be challenged every day. I don’t want to hate my alarm and I don’t want to stretch my walk to work out as long as possible. I want to wake up before seven and look forward to my day. It’s not a lot to ask.

People love their jobs and I envy the shit out of them. 

I have chopped and changed throughout my fourteen years in employment and my CV could be pages long. But I have stories to tell, so many stories.

So to you who criticise me for moving on when I get bored, more fool you.

Does it mean I’m lonely, when I’m alone?

Love.

It’s always been a funny concept to me. I’ve believed in it with my whole, well, with my whole heart since I was old enough to understand what it was. 

When M and I broke up, my whole world crumbled. But my belief in love remained, and grew fiercer with every single month that passed.

For five years I was single, with one night stands and flings lasting a matter of weeks before I threw them aside. I convinced myself that I was alone and had nothing in my sights. Truth was, there were opportunities, there were interested parties but it wasn’t for me.

I wondered for a while if I was being fussy. I remember toward the end of my first year of uni that I just wanted a boyfriend so badly, it didn’t matter who it was. This guy came along, we’ll call him S. He was on my roommates course and was . . . well, nothing about him really stands out.

S was quiet and shy, he knew everything about anything that didn’t interest me, he was studying IR, he was four years younger than me. But he liked me a lot, he paid me a lot of attention, he did whatever I told him to do without questioning it. So we got together. We went into the summer holidays as a couple and I went to his house three times. I never invited him to mine, but that was because I was ashamed of my house and my family, which is another kettle of fish all together.

The more time we spent together the more I heard everything my friends were telling me. He was nothing like me. We had nothing in common. He was boring. He didn’t even like Harry Potter for goodness sake.

Inevitably I ended things. 

You’d think he’d have taught me lots about not settling for less than I deserve, and waiting for the right guy instead of just being with someone for the sake of being with someone. I know I hurt him and that was unnecessary. 

Alas, there was another, let’s call him R, last year, who I met on a night out and who continued to booty call me on random nights at midnight. Yet he’d leave it just long enough between calls that I’d think it could be more.

R was a small, sweaty man who wasn’t at all interesting. But it had been so long since I felt anything that I let it be. And because my roommate at the time was a complete whore with stories to tell, I said to myself; this is okay, this is what’s done.

Needless to say, that stopped. 

A good four months went by before I entered a cafe in which I used to work to see a friend. I was served by a guy, let’s call him Rob. (Because that is his name.) 

Rob got my number from the aforementioned friend, and texting led to drinks, which led to drinks again, which led to a date, with a film and dinner and everything.

Nearly eight months later and we live together and I can’t believe how happy I am. I’m so in love with him and I feel like I’ll burst whenever I think about him, see him, talk to him, kiss him… everything.

I’ll stop before I get too soppy…

But, I guess the point of this post is that those five years felt like my whole life until I met him. I’m not someone who believes you need a significant other to make you happy, I believe you can find happiness in yourself, or in a career or a place or a pet. 

For me though, it did take a man. It took Rob to show me that I can be happy. I miss him when he’s not around. 

I used to be fiercely independent, and I was okay with that. In fact it made me, me. I was outspoken with how independent I was, with my ability to be by myself and enjoy my own company.

Now though, I am used to having him around and when he’s not, it throws me. I’m all for an independent woman and all, but have no shame in admitting that I am lonely when I’m alone these days. 

Does my bum look big in this? Or, my ongoing battle with self esteem.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had this issue with my appearance. It mostly stems from being bullied in school and constantly comparing myself to everyone around me. 

No matter who they were, or where they came from, they had something I didn’t. They were prettier, thinner, more talented, richer, had nicer eyes, nicer legs… whatever. It was all better than me. 

Every friend I’ve ever had, I’ve hated in some respect. I’ve hated their perfect smile, their tiny waist, their flawless skin. 

For years I’ve looked at other people and burned in my very veins because I just can’t match up. My heroine is JK Rowling and I even hate her a little bit. She came from nothing and got everything she wanted and I hate her for getting there. 

I have such an obsession with other people’s stomachs. My life has been plagued by bad skin, wonky teeth and a wobbly belly. Until I was sixteen, I was taller than all of my friends and so skinny that clothes just hung off me, I was gangly and it was something else for the bullies to call me out on.

But now, nine years later it’s all caught up with me. I don’t have that wonderful metabolism my Father so kindly gave to me, it’s been snatched away and I’m left with an ever increasing tightening of all of my clothes around my hips. 

I’ve always pushed it away by saying it’s what that other person has, but I’m okay. And I have a boyfriend now, which is something I haven’t had in the longest time. And so it’s so easy to push it to the back of my mind, because he loves me, and I can pretend my belly isn’t hanging over my jeans because he still wants to have sex with me. I can eat chocolate and sweets and cake and pasta at midnight because he does, so it’s okay. 

I ignore that he’s over six foot and built like a rugby player and can eat twenty four hours a day without adding a single bloody ounce. 

My problem is that I have zero self discipline when it comes to anything. I can’t make myself stick to anything. I’ll eat well for a couple days, I’ll go for a couple jogs, and then before I know it I’m back eating brownies and muffins and pizza and not moving from my bed all day. 

Today I put on a pair of shorts that I’ve owned for years. They were comfortable before. They were baggy around my thighs. But today? Today they hurt. They rubbed on my skin and were tight on my legs. And walking home I caught sight of myself in a shop window and wanted to cry. I was, I am disgusted with what I’ve become. And I know I have absolutely nobody to blame but myself. I am the one who has sat and stuffed my face. I’m the one who stopped my gym membership. I’m the one who sits in night after night and eats fatty, sugary foods and drinks fizzy drinks. I’m the one sat here almost in tears because of how much it bothers me.

Yet I’m the one who came home and ate another brownie. I shoved it down like it didn’t matter. And I’m fuming with myself because I did so. 

Why, when I know how important this is to me, why can’t I stick to sorting it out? I’m not huge, it wouldn’t take a massive amount of time to lose it. And yet I don’t? 

I’ve spoken with a good friend about wanting to write, but not bothering because I’m scared I’ll fail, I’m scared I won’t be good enough. 

Is it the same with this? Do I just not bother because I’m scared I still won’t like me when I lose weight? Will I still be an insecure little mess? Will I just find something else to hate about myself?