Mate, I tell you. This day has been counted down to since the minute I decided what date I was jetting off (well, originally it ’twas meant to be June 22 but changed yoga course dates meant a slightly earlier take off would be the go). I cannot even express how I have been longing for this trip – to be referred to hereafter as the IIJ (Innermost Introspection Journey). And having a break from all the Pop Yarning has been a very proactive decision; forever in self induced time poverty, it’s meant at least a little bit of “must-do” stress has been alleviated the last six or so months.
So. Status update.
The past year since hocking home from Europe has been an interesting one. There has been so, so much good; arrival of the Nephew, Hank III, the – extremely unexpected – formation of a relation with who shall from here be referred to as The Pedaller (not a “peddler” as in a lad who sells off stolen goods,I must clarify; he is a cyclist, you see), the goodbye to blind mate Schnauzer Angus and hello to constantly-retrieving Clyde, the meeting and deepening of some very special friendships. I’ve made bounds ahead in setting up my celebrant business, wed a good 14 more couples and have set some situations in place on the professional front for when I return. All that considered, a pretty smashing bloody 9/10 I must say. (I mean, having business cards to hand out ups the marking by a good 2 points in its own right, even if they were self purchased through Vistaprint).
But then there are the things that seem to still somewhat entrench me.
The three struggles of the past year?
Fuck me, 25. (Though I feel September 6 will see me turn 22 again for the fourth year in a row). And mate, am I struggling. It seems all the characters in my Marian Keyes books that I used to smugly register were a good half decade older than myself are now a mere one or two my senior, or else on par. (?!$@-&:??!!!!!). Not a good feeling. I used to joke I was getting past it, but all of a sudden I’ve realised I’m closer to 30 than I am to 20. Not a good sensation, especially when you’re panthering (not a cougar yet you see; apparently, the threshold for that is 40) it up with a lad five years your junior.
Though I am still reassured (often after pestering for that consolation, I admit) that I look many years in infancy to what I am (someone asking me what NCEA subjects I was doing as well as a friend’s comment that my blonder hair had me looking like a year 9 were ultimate highlights) (that was an unintentional lightening of locks pun, by the way), there have been two instances where it has been the other way. And you could possibly say I sort of overreacted.
First was the instance at work (this being Onyx, one of six jobs I’ve been juggling). A young boy was throwing a tanty because his mother wouldn’t let him have a sundae. He started kicking the table leg and throwing pencils on the floor (must try this with MummyDeb sometime when I want something) so she quicksnap relented and said he could have one. “Ask with your manners,” she told him, gesturing my myself (in what you could tell was quite the oft losing battle).
“Don’t want to talk to the silly older woman,” he said.
Though I must admit the C word did briefly flit through my mind, I can see now that may have been a touch of a melodramatic mental reaction. As was my making sure he got no marshmallows. (I picked up the pencils when they vacated, so telling the larder lad to go easy on the sprinkles leaves me with no guilt).
Secondly, when filling in at the cafe one day (job number 2), a man came in and said he had seen the usual barrister out on the chop the night before. When stating she was out late considering she had a 5.30am start, she had responded, “That blonde lady is filling in”.
I was livid. Livid! Poor man literally backed away a bit. “Oh no, have I gotten her in trouble?” He nervously laughed.
“Too bloody right you have,” I seethed. “Im not a lady, I’m a girl.”
Not enjoying being born in 1991 very much anymore.
2. Being a Bitch.
I’m the first to admit that I have a somewhat rather catty side sometimes (does Baradene make the bitch, or does the bitch make Baradene?). Not awful, but I’m prone to having a vigorous vent every now and then (though in the last few months, it seems to be more “now” than “then”) and I can be somewhat short fused when on the stressy side. And I really wrestle with it. (In a figurative sense, I must clarify; I don’t get myself in a choke slam or Chinese burn). Whenever I have let my tongue let loose, I go to bed at night absolutely gutted in myself, riddled with guilt that I said a bad word (or a fair few) about another person.
I’ve tried eliciting whether it is inherent or learned over the course of my 22 years (just go with it), but it’s quite impossible to decipher – all I know is I want it to greatly lessen. One of my main goals of this IIJ is to become a genuinely good person. That means being zen and full of feel-good, not exploding as a vocal volcano when something pisses me off at work or someone has crossed me in a way they might not have even realised.
I want to try and eradicate that side of myself as much as I can, even if it does mean it’s like keeping vomit in at times. That UltraPop I talked of in my very very first blog post two years ago? I’m still aiming for the person.
And of course, struggle 3. old ED.
(For those of you new, I’m talking that blasted Eating Disorder).
In Europe I didn’t discuss oldmate so much, both in the light of withholding material for my book, and also in the sense that I just didn’t really want to. I had quite a few messages from people asking why there had been no talk of the prat, but now I finally feel ready for a fill in.
When I got back from Europe, I could feel my physical and mental self starting to fail. Not in a serious I-can’t-walk sort of sense, but in a my-mind-is-not-as-sharp and my-body-is-showing-signs kind of way.
It scared the fuck out of me.
My brain is something I’ve always been able to count on; ever since being that little Wort who chose to not take the standard ten spelling words and opt for my own picked at random from the dictionary (I particularly liked the “i’ sections, such as “idiosyncrasy”, “ignominious”, “irresistable” and such lark), my brain has been part of who I am. I’ve always been a remarkable recollector of details, from memories, people’s lives (just not names) to synonyms on command, but the cranium seriously started to let up on me a bit. Plus, those no banks of energy from radical undereating meant I was missing out on a bit of life. I see myself like a low battery phone; I’d put enough in to get up to 20, maybe 35 per cent, but never enough juice for the full whammy.
It was the extreme indication points that I drastically needed to alter a fair few things.
So I decided it was time to do just that.
I gained two kg in Europe, determined to chuck it off as soon as I got back. But with all the signs of alarm going on, I made the hardest decision to go through with that I have ever made.
Purposely put some weight on.
I decided it was the time. Knowing India was a mere year away and the lifestyle I would lead there would healthily and safely cull the kilos I would gain gave me the faith and strength I needed to do it. Everyone has an ideal weight that their body functions best at, and I knew I had to hit a certain number to get to the point I would start healing some damage I have done. I set 56kg as my goal, a weight I hadn’t been at since 2010.
And here I am.
I fucking hate it.
It has been so so hard. So so so so hard. Especially doing it off my own bat, not telling anyone of my plan and feeling myself expand. Always one to break down whenever anyone told me I was looking “well” or “healthy” or “good” or “better”, (how ridiculous is that, having a cry because someone says you are looking good?), the comments coming quick and flying fast have been insanely hard to deal with.
I’m extremely ashamed to admit I have avoided seeing people I hadn’t seen in awhile for fear of them saying something. (Grandparents included, how fucking miserable is that?). I was in an extreme state of terrification this weekend just gone, seeing my Uncle Adrian, my second set of “parents” and our lovely friend from Wellington for the first time in a long while. I was full on fucking quivering in fear a comment would come, and breathed the biggest sigh of relief when none did (I think they were aware to keep it to themselves, or at least out of my earshot). Father Henio’s 60th had me almost miss it because I was so scared of seeing people. And every time someone would say something, be it at work or hanging out or in the supermarket (mate, I don’t think I can even count the amount of times a comment would come at me whilst at Countdown) I would have to resist the insane urge to hook them in the face (there was one time I actually burst into tears and the poor lady didn’t know what to do with herself. I’m so sorry Linda; I know you came from a place of concern). (And I didn’t punch her, I must clarify). And even though I automatically responded in my mind as if they were granting me with the most offensive of all insults, my rational side knew that it was actually high praise from people who care.
But it’s been worth it. Worth shunting all my “skinny” clothes to the back of the wardrobe and buying all new ones so I didn’t have to register the tightening of denim shorts or once-loose t-shirts. Worth smiling along in moments when all I wanted to do was have a wee cry (one of the worst being a few weeks ago when the new girl at work was talking about all the Zara clothes at the op shop and saying how small they were. “We’d be lucky to get a leg in there!” She said. I actually wanted to head lock her). Worth not confiding in anyone, not even in those deepest despairing moments, instead playing up the hysteria as humour.
I’ve got my body jolted back to syncing as it should (my word tampons are expensive! Having only had to buy them a trio of times in the past six years, I was astounded at the inflation of a pack). Although my circulation is still somewhat off, my fingers don’t tingle with borderline frostbite all the time. My skin has more life to it, my moods aren’t so erstwhile and I find I am a lot stronger when it comes to carrying things and stamina when it comes to ability.
And the main verdict?
Life’s a lot warmer when you have a bit more weight on.
It’s been hard. Possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done (isn’t that sad? I mean, having had a brother with cancer, having people I know die, yet this is what I’ve found the most challenging?). Especially not telling a single soul of my plan – not the Pedaller, not old MummyDeb, not even the Brother James. At times as I battled my way through my self-allocated bottles of Fortisip before hiding them so no one could see, I couldn’t help with laugh at the complete polarisation of it all; a decade, of which was a full five years of going to all extremes to keep my size as small as I could, to suddenly turn on it and purposely put on pounds. But anytime I slipped (and there were a few) I just told myself it was necessary research to – finally!!! – finish off my book.
Bookbookbookbook. It kept me going until 5-6 was hit, gainer could cease and upkeep was all that was required. (When I say gainer I’m not saying in the “mass gains broooooo” sense, let’s clarify. I didn’t hoe into the Brother James’ vanilla packs but researched and found my own natural, organic protein powder to complement the Fortis).
It’s funny, (attempt to) talk to me in person about ED and I shut the chat down asap, forever claiming the veganism in front of those-not-in-the-know and not just stonewalling, but rockbarricading the ones in it. But when I write, it flows out like Hank III’s snot when he’s got a cold (extremely unideal when walking him in town with no tissues at hand, I must say. My jumper sleeve hasn’t been right since). I guess it’s people telling me that I in some way help them with their own similar situations, or people close saying they gain a clearer understanding through reading pieces I do write about it. It’s not a shout for pity or any reason for the beeper to go off; it’s purely because I know doing this both aids some others and does eons in making me understand myself.
It’s nice to think I may be able to shed some light and incrementally help even just one person with my words.
My outer life beyond the bod? It’s fucking awesome. The bf, the neph, the job front, home prospects and all round set up are probably the best I’ve ever had. The Pedaller has brought me more happiness than I ever thought another person could bring; I may elaborate on some of that soppy shit at a later date, or may just keep that clutched in closer to myself (one thing about getting older? I must say, in some respects you do get a bit wiser). All I will say here is that he has been incredibly instrumental in this shift and doesn’t even actually know it.
And I’m so pumped to be back blogging; my girls Catherine and Hannah have worked wonders on sorting out the platform, and once I have a moment to breathe I’ll finally get into editing it all so it’s a lot more aesthetically appealing and in line with my OCD alignment requirements. Also, I’ve decided posts won’t be so lengthy – this one excluded, of course – so reading easy is the go and I don’t go on and on and on and on like I can be prone to doing.
So here we are; the IIJ FINALLY taking off; me, my extra 6 kg, my severely underslept mind and my cartemosis tinted hands (why do I never learn that jam packing myself full of mandarins turns my palms and soles a highly hued orange?) sitting in my 52A Singapore Airlines seat (cheers Caraline for hustling me the window). I’m ready for this. So so ready.
Now to just get through the next 36 hours to get there. (Mate, I have discovered a new programme called Big Little Lies and am intent on binge watching the plot out of it).
Back to my Himalayan Home away from Home.