The Girl with Spots on her Dress

Love spots? I do. I’m wading deep. Doves coo and immediately I’m back home, a child barefoot in the back yard among the fruit trees,  Gardenia in the air. I’m unravelling. The past and present co-exist inside me.

I’m the girl with spots on my dress. And I’m not alone.

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My mother loved me. She did her best to show me how much I meant to her. Sometimes her fear warped things, she clung or she pushed. Not often but sometimes. But I was a kid, I didn’t have the discernment to filter and rationalise, to forgive or understand. I was a good girl and took it all on board.

My rational min understood, but my heart? I’d been raised on war stories fed atrocities after breakfast, as I watched my father shave. I sat there on the edge of the bath and listened, my florid imagination fleshing out his words and turning the stories into reality.

Mama said little about her past, but fed me inter-generational trauma in other ways. I loved my parents, I still do. The grave couldn’t rob me of that. My mother had not learned how to love, that was the way my father explained it to me. I now understand that she held love at arm’s length, happily receiving from strangers but wary with family.

I’d never be like that, I promised myself. Life and death and menopause and marriage and I’m in  the row-boat with Mama. Somewhere between  two and fifty-nine, I became aware of spots on my dress. And now I’m looking at those, the unravelling rose wrinkling and greying, trying to explore my core beliefs.

I think of my mother, the gifts she gave me and I think of myself as a mother and the gifts I have given to my children. Not everything I was taught was right, not everything I taught my children was right either. I am coming to understand that life is a process of freeing oneself from the spots that limit fulfilment.

I’m getting naked with myself. I’m paring and trimming the beliefs that bind, encapsulated in

‘I am not enough.’

Anorexia won, not in the conventional sense. I recovered.  Everyday I brush the shadow off my shoulder. My ED pushed and prodded and poked until I had no choice but to look at the spots on the dress. And as I do, I re-emerge.

If you need help with an eating disorder, contact:

I’d love to hear from anyone who shares my experience. Kindly leave a comment.


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