Anorexia and Extremes

Anorexia looks extreme: the weight loss, restriction and rituals. But it doesn’t begin that way. It creeps up on you  and hoodwinks you into allegiance to a dangerous ally. That’s my experience anyway. How are we influenced? And why?

This poem looks at two vastly different experiences. I’ve lived the experience through my cultural lens and watch my daughters struggle with their perceptions of their bodies. During my travels, I’ve come across women with far less wealth but a powerful sense of self.

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Splat, the Wall

Good friends keep us sane, especially the kind we plan to get old and weird with. A waft of cigarette smoke caught my attention. I craved a fag. Omg. Where did that impulse even come from? I mentioned it. She laughed: You’re self soothing.

The words struck me and stuck fast. Truth does that! I had to admit to myself, I’d been hurting despite the perfectionist persona.

Image result for archibald prize 2018

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Anorexia’s Challenge: Authenticity

I consider myself recovered. But some days a small voice nags. It is still there lurking in the background. Weird things seem to trigger it, but most centre around a central theme: authenticity. I used to feel separate, Anorexia does that. It cuts you off.

Challenges are a gift. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Sometimes life gets me down and I struggle to see the positive. But at those moments that I feel the most disconnected, I’m again honouring the  inauthentic in my life. In a world dripping expectations, remaining true to oneself can be quite a challenge. I’m not ashamed to admit, I spent a good deal of my life chasing rainbows.

rainbow-storm

Image: https://isorepublic.com/rainbow-during-storm/

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Triggers, Dealing with the Reactive Self

My road of self discovery has been jagged, strewn with attempts at change. Mastery remains a lofty goal. I once asked one of my spiritual teachers, ‘It gets easier ,right?’ She smiled wryly. I didn’t want to receive that answer.

At the moment, I’m working out how to deal with people who trigger me. I’m sure you also have people and circumstances that trigger you. Mine involves:

  • misogyny
  • invalidation
  • overstepping boundaries
  • breaches of trust

kitties

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My Echidna Self

The Echidna crossed the road. My husband stopped the car and I ran back. ‘Hurry,’ he called and I began to run. but the Echidna ran faster. He’d begun to hide.

Writing about my adolescence and my descent into anorexia, I’ve re-discovered what I’ve come to know. To truly overcome any affliction, the body, emotions and mind need to integrate the experience into the fabric of ones being. Integration usually involves a lot of avoidance.

I’m a master of avoidance.

echidna1

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