Just a short note to thank those of you following my blog. I never thought that I’d divulge my inner world struggles and write about anorexia. The process has been both exhausting and liberating. As a reward, I’m travelling to Africa and taking a break for the next month. Bon Voyage. Stay safe.
Anorexia, the disorder of the 70’s and 80’s lived on well past its use by date. Adolescence became a time of shrinking rather than a time of growth. I’ve spent decades progressively unravelling the, ‘Whys.’ Why is like an expensive fragrance, revealing itself slowly, bewitching you and enticing you to want more.
‘Why,’ is more layered and complex than I’d ever imagined.
I’m 58 and I’ve spent my life questioning. Lately, I’ve discovered that I’m still wondering how to embrace womanhood, feeling totally comfortable in my own skin. And I’m not alone. This post is a series of questions. It’s about my ongoing journey of me making peace with me. It’s asking why we continually want to change ourselves.
What is silence? Is it peace? Is it acceptance? Is it wisdom? Silence is a choice. Everything is a choice. Silence or voice that’s the choice.
I love the Simon and Garfunkel song ‘Sounds of Silence,’ I think it sets the tone for this post. Enjoy.
I’ve discovered prose poetry. It’s exciting a morphed from as the name suggests. Since last Monday night’s creative writing class words and images and sentence fragments have been flowing into my already congested brain.
Are they helping or hindering? Things are loosening and unravelling inside me. I’m gaining clarity about what I want to say but it’s hard to explain the choice when it’s skewed. It’s hard to own it.
1974, that’s where I’m up to. Spring 1973 left the earth sodden under foot and the tropical air heavy and sticky. Life became harder and harder. The social isolation drove me further away from myself into the arms of my inner voice, the anorexic one.
Summer holidays consisted of the hype up to Christmas. Mama loved Christmas so the atmosphere at home lifted. The ‘Regensburger Domspatzen’ sang carols in German and mum sang along. And it rained some more.
I’m reading, ‘Chasing the Scream,’ by Johann Hari. It explores addiction. It asks some thought-provoking questions and it reminds me of the commonality between living with mental health issues and living with addiction.
Addiction rarely visits alone. It brings friends to the party, friends that increase the sense of social isolation and foster anxiety, self-recrimination and depression. Anyone with a label suffers in our society. They are immediately set apart and seen as different. People react differently towards them as they rumble around in a system created by society which often dis-empowers them.
I believe that any illness is a bi-product of the society in which we live.
Everyone’s busy. Grim faced people stream past me on the street. Many are typing or scrolling on their phones. An old lady approaches, dressed up for an outing, a day in town. ‘Beautiful day isn’t it?’ her gravelly voice washes past me. She’s still walking having learned that no one has time to stop.
I think of the VCE students who walked through the school gate for the last time yesterday. The relief and uncertainty, a balm and a wound shoulder them. It’s now or never … exams, results, courses, dreams … I remember.
I walk. It keeps me sane. Lately, dare I say it, I’ve tried mindfulness. It’s then when the words come. Poems, ideas, edits and of course I’m not carrying a pen.
in the shaded garden
on naked limbs
On the path something black wriggled, clearly alive, clearly lost. My mind searches for a name. Rummaging …
Have you ever tried to change? I’m talking big change, making a choice from hell, from a trapped existence:anorexia, alcohol or depression; the cages that ramp up insidiously until one morning you wake up wishing it would all go away? That moment when you’re really sick of living this way.
Change is dicey. It’s what we want someone else to do? If they changed this or that, we’d be happy. Really? Really, is that where it’s at? Change is hard because the only person who can change our situation is us. By the time a bad tape has been running for years, we’ve often separated ourselves from family, friends and lovers. Inside our glass bubble live intangible things like isolation, loneliness, fear and pain. Crap company.