Friday, 29 October 2010


I want the pain to stop. I just want the pain to stop. These last few months have been unbearable - the hardest period of my life. And the only option is to bear it.

Anonymous said...

...Perhaps that's why we love the violence. We're not really alive in the real world. I often fantasize about the ex-boyfriend strangling me, this time for real, until everything stops. The terrifying thing is, when I allow reality and fantasy to mingle, I forget which is which and I forget to be scared. It's exhilarating. I know I'm meant to have given up blogging but I still read all your posts...

I hate it when I can't reach back to Anonymous' - even just a name, a fake name to identify you apart.

But that might be it, I never really looked at it that way. I forget which is which... reality and fantasy - who I am and who I fantasise being. I read too much, I think too much and I don't live enough.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


I love having an eating disorder.
I must do.
Else why would I do it. You don't do something you don't want to.

I didn't want to do my job. I quit.
It's easy...

If I take the job at the Investment Bank, I'm moving out, I'm going 'back on the crazy, fit men and alcohol'.
If I turn the job down, I'm staying here with my Mum, and reading books.

I choose to live. Or I choose to stop living.
I told my Mum my choices. So after shouting at me for wasting money on rent she has stopped speaking to me and pretends I don't exist.
(Yes. This is what I deal with.)

If it wasn't for my Mum I'd have jumped. I live so that she doesn't have to bear anymore loss or suffering in her life. But she kills me in another way.
I never write much about her. I won't now.

I want to live, you know. I want it back.
I opened up my cupboard and ran my hands through my vast collection of beautiful dresses and clothes. Stacks of shoes, dainty accessories, shelves of cosmetics – all from a lost era. I don't need them any more - not now I've stopped living.  I wear the same patterns of shirt and skirt and shoes to work. I scrape my hair back. I wear glasses and foundation. No contact lenses, no careful make up, no changing hairstyles, no pretty dresses.

All the ‘props’ are not needed anymore – for I have no man in the audience. I got down off the stage, I stripped away the costume, the mask, because I had nobody to act for - nobody to watch me.

Isn’t that dreadful – I can only be bothered to live for a man.
After Alex left my life I made a conscious effort to get away from the world around me to try and find a source of happiness inside myself - and it isn’t there. And that's why I want to live again.
Well, I was more alive than I am now.
a source of happiness... alcohol. men. clubs. dresses.

Violence. Violence keeps cropping up. I keep craving violence.
I don't want to commit suicide, I want to be killed, murdered.
I keep visioning someone plunging a knife between my ribs - in- out. I can hear the sound of it. The swift action. The crumble.
I want someone to beat me up until I'm bruised all over. Today I cut myself accidentally - it was more euphoric than self-harm.
I keep feeling two hands on my upper chest pinning me down. Yes, I want that. Hands sliding up towards my throat...harder.
They are always man's hands. Alex's hands... I want it to be Alex.

I've never had these thoughts or visions before. It's all linked to the dream about D last week, somehow. I don't know what it means.

I spoke to another idiot today who thinks I'm going to meet up with him for drinks when he's back in the country at Christmas. I have to sleep in a cold big double bed was his last message.
It's beyond stupid now. I reply out of politeness. And so they hunt. 

That's some brilliant stage show they must have been watching before

Saturday, 23 October 2010

"I'm an arty person, ok, I write overblown, purple, self-indulgent prose - so fucking what?" Angela Carter

I must start off first of all, I suppose, with a remark:
You will see now, in the top right hand corner, my little award.
I... well, I... it meant a lot.

I'm reading a fantastic book at the moment: The Golden Notebook by a wonderful British author called Doris Lessing. I had never heard of her until she was mentioned on a programme chronicling the great British authors on television recently - I made a list of all the ones which sounded interesting - this book was top of the list.

I had recently finished reading Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier - what a remarkable, all-consuming book. It became a necessity for me - I used it on my commutes to and from work, craving to just be taken away for those two hours a day, completely consumed in that world, that world of yearning. I could smell the fresh woodland of Manderley and the pure salt air of the sea... I could feel the chills of Mrs DeWinter - yes it was a book of feeling - wonderful feeling! It took me away from London, they grey, the dead.
And I used it to feel; for everything else around me had no feeling at all.

And when I finished that book I understood that I had turned to literature as a crutch again, to help me survive my mundane reality. "To me, books are like breathing," my English teacher had said to me when I returned to my old school. Yes, again, reading is breathing for me. But it has to be a magnificent book, it has to be full of words that fill my craving and quell my madness.

The Golden Notebook has come at the right time. I cannot recommend it highly enough for those of you who find life as a woman so painful. The book is a narrative chronicling the life of a woman called Anna - a narrative which is separated with entries from her four notebooks - one for her writing, one for politics, one for emotions and one for everyday life. It is a very large book and admittedly took a while to get into - I was afraid - I needed something to get lost in. But I didn't have to worry for long - once I was past the first few parts of the novel I was craving again. Admittedly I have skipped large sections on politics, publishing - things of little interest to me. But the narrative sections - the notebooks on her relationships and life - extraordinary - exactly what I thought and felt about myself and my relationships, feelings, needs and desires towards men, all written down in a questioning manner, trying to make sense of all the chaos. Chaos.

"What is terrible is that after every one of the phases of my life is finished, I am left with no more than some banal commonplace that everyone knows: in this case, that women's emotions are all still fitted for a kind of society that no longer exists. My deep emotions, my real ones, are to do with my relationship with a man. One man. But I don't live that kind of life, and I know few women who do. So what I feel is irrelevant and silly..."
Oh I could go on and on.

Yes, on a crude level, it is a book full of hatred for men - a hatred I share, of course, even more so now that I have read this book. But also, the hatred of oneself, as a woman, for being a woman, for wanting a man, for feeling the emotion of love for experiencing all the complex emotions that we do. An exploration of what the hell it means to be alive, to be a "boulder-pusher" as she calls it, the power of memory, the scars, humanity, society, life and suicide...
I see too much of myself in the main character, Anna, so naturally, how could I not love this book.

And of course, so many reviews of this book use that ignorant phrase: "self indulgent".
"the educated moneyed whining women in the book" wrote one reader on Amazon.
It angered me reading these reviews. Yes, it's about a woman who has enough money to live comfortably, and yes, she probably should just shut up and get on with her life and go to work and eat and sleep and breath and not think about her life... but fucking hell, she thinks and writes and tries to work out what is missing, tries to find what is happening in the world then what the hell is wrong with that?! If 99% of the population had to review this blog it would be the same: a self indulgent middle class white girl feeling sorry for herself. And that makes me so... no, not angry...but sad. Sad that people will despise me because I am not in poverty and I have "no reason to feel sorry for myself".
"Just get on with life." "Move on." It's what we are supposed to do isn't it - we are supposed to block out the sadness and pretend it never existed - doesn't exist. Why?

Self indulgent.

Anyway, back to the cold sanity:
It's the midst of Autumn here in London now. When I wake up in the morning it's dark again. Recently we've been blessed with an icy cold matched with bright, crisp sunshine.
"This is my favourite weather," I said to the boys on my desk at work. "It's pure. The air is fully of clarity. So pure and fresh and clean."

My job. Was it the eating disorder that broke me and ruined it for me? On second thoughts I don't think it was entirely. I wanted more. It wasn't the bulimia draining me and killing me - it was the job first. I hated it. I had to get out, there was no question. The hospital letter was the way out in the end - I couldn't go on after that. Maybe the bulimia saved me. Maybe I won't last a week.
Everyday I expect to collapse or to have a heart attack. It doesn't stop me...

Inspite of my sickness I had an interview yesterday at one of the biggest global Investment Banks. Why? You'd have thought the contempt and disgust I had built up in four months of working with them as clients was bad enough. Inside I was desperately craving for the countryside, for relaxed shoulders, for loose fitting clothing... what was driving me closer to the heart of this City of Money that I hated so much?
Men. Adrenaline.
I can't get rid of that longing. The other day as I was walking across London Bridge on my way to the station I passed a pack of city boys, up for it, on their way to the pub no doubt to drown alcohol. I felt a lurch towards them. I missed that. The game. The chase. The pack of wolves. It was a dreadful game I loved to play with myself, to get the attention, to be desired, it was a dreadful game because if I lost the consequences were devastating, and if I won, it meant nothing. I look back at all the times I 'won' this year. The dinner at my old Club, the Cocktail party at the new Club, the weekend away. I won. I was fucking beautiful and desired. And it meant nothing. And I understood that emptiness. I understand it now, still.
But I still crave it. "Winning".

I had a dream a few nights ago. I never remember my dreams; but this one, this one I can't forget...

I was in bed with D, in my bed, in my house. The door was shut. He was on top of me, heavy and hot, and reached out to my bedside table and pulled out a copy of King Lear. He opened it up at the most violent scene - the word 'violent' was important - he held it in one hand and read it aloud as he entered me. And I was conscious of Alex thoughout, thinking of him, comparing D to him. Alex was still there in my head, I wanted him, his softness.

I think now, of getting this new job, of walking into the externally glamorous Investment Bank, of being so incredibly externally glamorous myself, of making eyes at hungry young traders and starving myself for the kicks. I want to be beautiful and desired again. I want to get back out there. I want to be at the top of my game.

I want it.

Of course I want it. Why the hell do you think I've been so ill for so goddam long. Because I can't give it up. I can't stop wanting it. I can't change the way I feel about men. The need. A Streetcar Named Desire. If I can't be loved, I need to be desired.
I can see a terrible pattern now - a pattern that has been going on since I was about seventeen. Men. That's it - killing myself for one after another, for the burning sensation, for the craving. Nothing is worth it without a man to whom I can dedicate my life and suffering to.

This is not the blog of some wonderful, strong woman. Good God. This is the blog of a woman who hates herself so much, who thinks so little of herself, that she is nothing, NOTHING without the attention of a man. And the only way I ever learnt to gain or to understand a man's affection or attention was through the way I looked and through how close to his sexual ideal I could become.

And that's why I will never get married. Because he will leave me. And will break my heart. And I will know it will be because I am not physically perfect enough.

"She slowly, involuntarily, builds up a picture in her mind of a serene, calm, unjealous, unenivous, undemanding woman, full of resources of happiness inside herself, self-sufficient, yet always ready to give happiness when it is asked for... Slowly Ella understands that this is what she would like to be herself, this imagined woman is her own shadow, everything she is not. Because by now she knows and is frightened of her utter dependence on Paul. Every fibre of herself is woven with him, and she cannot imagine living without him."

"Or rather, I would begin an affair, just that, knowing exactly what would happen; I would begin a deliberately barren, limited relationship."

"And I thought, for years and years I've been wearing clothes I hated, just to please this creature."

The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing

Monday, 18 October 2010

Ana and Mia won. again.

I'm quitting my job.

I don't know what I'm going to do from here.
I've pulled the plug on everything.
If there is a God I'd be dead now.

I will write something longer and more coherent soon. I just wanted to say - I quit my job.
I am an eating disorder and nothing else.

Edit: Thank you readers for reminding me: I am so much more than just an eating disorder.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

I need a knife - a big, clean, sleek one - to slice these great chunks off my body.

I have got to get out of here.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

The week I grew up

I never imagined how I'd feel if that moment came, but I think, it didn't matter as much as I thought it would - because all this is the truth.
But would I change it if I could? Of course.
I feel like I'm nearing the time that all these blogs inevitably seem to face - permanent deletion - as if Ophelia had never written. It's going to come, I think, with my 'growing up'.

One day, I will look back on my life, and be able to point to this week as the week that I grew up.
I grew up the week I went back to school again.

As most readers will know, I hate my job and I despise The City. That's simple. The more complicated issue is how I survive from hereon...
I began to consider becoming a high school English teacher a few months back, and am now moving forwards with my application, potentially to start my training in September 2011. (Teaching being one of three courses of action I am currently pursuing - but I will not bore you with details). To be successful in any teacher training application, you must of course, have done some work experience.
So this week, I took some time off from work and I went back to my old school to 'observe' my old English teachers at work.

Even after my first day I felt like the great grey cloud had been lifted from my mind. I was somewhere good - with books and kids and people who thought and felt like me. I smiled. Hell I was still smiling when I got home.

In the staff briefing on Wednesday they announced one of the pupils had been hospitalised and put in care for her eating disorder.
She was 13 years old.
I felt sick. Ashamed. Sick and ashamed of myself - an adult - having written the things I have on this blog. Imagine, if she had searched online for advice, motivation, inspiration, thinspiration whatever you wanna call it. Imagine if she read anything of mine and it had spurred her on. Imagine. I could never forgive myself.

And as the cloud began to lift, as I sat with the school kids and talked about Shakespeare and Orwell so easily and naturally, it became easier for me to accept who I was. I was born a plain, sweet girl, with a gift and love of literature. I'd spent years rejecting who I was, trying to force myself into moulds into which I wasn't meant to fit. You don't have to be beautiful, glamorous or thin to be an English teacher - most of them have had children - the qualities needed are ones I already have.
This week I tried to fit myself into a mould already made for me. And it was so... liberating. To fit in my skin, to speak my own words, with genuine passion, to smile a real smile from real joy, to stand confidently in a place I belonged, knowing I wasn't a fraud.

And I was safe and at peace, coming home from school, visiting the library, immersing myself in literature, under a blanket of comforting words.
I didn't have to be anything I wasn't.

I grew up. I stopped being a girl. I stopped caring about all the things that had plagued me these last few months and years.
I have to be older now. I have to be the one that is grounded and steady. I have to be the one saying sensible and responsible things. If I want to teach I have to be the adult, the one with the right answers.
I have to give up the dream. Because I don't fit into that goddam dream. Maybe sometimes I looked the part but I was so unhappy and bleeding black inside.

In the end I wasn't even doing it for me. It was a guy, or perhaps guys in general. And what did it give me? Pain - fucking PAIN. Heartache and tears, a feeling of worthlessness and emptiness. Still never being enough. Used and trodden on, forgotten and discarded, drained of all the goodness and love that used to fill my heart.
So I'm done. I stopped clinging on to those old, tired childhood dreams. I'm not fitting into any plastic mould for any man's ideal plastic woman.
You know, it wasn't the fact that Alex broke up with me that was so traumatic. What killed me is that he showed no emotion. He never loved me - that much is obvious in the aftermath - he was incapable of such an emotion. He knew how sick I was - no I never exposed him to the vomiting and the blood and the manic depressive breakdowns - but he knew I was so fucking sick. But when he got bored, when he wanted a girl who looked a bit more perfect he just cut me off with a phone call and not another thought. Without realising it, I had been killing myself, not to win his emotional love but to fulfil his physical ideal - and in the end I couldn't do either.
He said, emotionless, when I met him on his return to London, "You weren't on facebook for a few days afterwards and I thought you might have [committed suicide]."
I looked at him stunned.
He knew. He knew exactly how fragile I was and how close. He knew exactly what he did to me, he knew the hell I cried, he knew. And I never received one message, nothing, no checking even ONCE to see if I was ok. Fucking hell. Fucking hell. What the fuck was wrong with me to give someone like that so much of my love.
A few days before I got involved with Alex I wrote I could not let another guy into my life:
"If he were to leave me or betray me, it would kill me. I know I could never take that pain of heartbreak."
It's true, I never believed I was strong enough to take more pain.
But I took it - and I'm still alive.
I'm the fucking strongest person that little boy will ever come across in his life. I'm a fighter. Yeah, I cried myself to sleep for weeks, I couldn't hold my head up high. But I didn't fucking do it. I didn't die.
Oh Alex pushed me over that edge alright - but it wasn't a crossing into madness and suicide - he pushed me over the border into adulthood.

There's a 13 year old girl from my school in a hospital.
Maybe I helped put her there.
Or maybe I can become a strong woman and a strong role model to girls who spiralled like I did.

This was me:
and when I become a teacher, a wise adult, I hope I will be able to save whoever that girl is now.

A word perfect description: the rest of the world was living in colour....I always felt once, twice removed from people....I became incredibly good at adopting a mask....I became a master of projecting this image...I can't stand to live in my skin....and yet no one can see it... couldn't for the life of me keep my eyes open...the impact at the bottom never being violent enough...
With awareness comes a taking of responsibility. Wanting to die and kill myself was just so simple. It's the not wanting - it's the deciding that actually I want to live and give this my best shot. That is so much more difficult.

You know something? I didn't cry today.
But don't think I'm better yet. I threw up everyday, twice, three times a day this week. Just because...
because I'm fat and that's what I do

I'm twenty-three years old now. Remember when I started writing here, I was twenty-one. I was ashamed at the age and the waste and the lack of time left to change. Jesus Christ I'm twenty-three now. The last boat left so long ago without me. The best years are gone. The waste will live with me forever.
All the pretty pictures from my last four years as a student - I will always have to look back at each one and remember only how sick I was, how I tortured myself for days before, and how I binged and cried myself sick when the camera turned away.

I am at the top of the NHS waiting list now. Last Friday I sat down and told my boss. "It all makes sense now", he said. I don't care what he meant by that.
But I'm going back in to treatment. And God help me, after 'starting treatment' countless times, I will stick at this. This psychiatrist is not going to let me walk away. She is not going to let me forget. She called and chased me endlessly until I found the courage to make an appointment and tell my boss I needed the time off work. She is not going to let me rot. And God help me, I am going to stick at this until it's done. I want to be truly beautiful and pure again.

Ophelia is not a tragic heroine.
I am just a heroine. An almighty heroine.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time...

I don't understand the human instinct to survive.
I don't know why I run across the road before the bus hits me... when I wish it would hit me.
I don't know why I refuse to give in when I have witnessed over and over again that my dreams will never come true.
There are people with worse lives than me.
One of my mum's friends - consumed by cancer, knowing the time is so short and will only be full of pain.
A colleague at work - married and divorced after a hellish marriage of one year - 30 years old.
A friend of a friend - told by her husband that he just doesn't love her anymore - her financial support and life, all gone.
When you have children, dependents, I believe it is different. I would never kill myself if I knew there were people in the world who needed me. But I, like the people above, have nothing. No children, now no lover, perhaps no future.
I have no reason to bear my pain. And yet others with perhaps even less reason can still bear it. I look at my colleague at work and feel ashamed. For if it had been me, married, committed, in love, put through hell and divorced... no, I could never be so strong and brave as her. She is incredibly successful and brilliant at her job. She does not spend days crying underneath her duvet in a locked bedroom.

Time heals; I cry less now than I did. I nearly went a whole day without crying this week... just two tears brimmed at the corners of my eyes before I wiped them away.
I saw Alex two weeks ago. He was back in London so I made him meet me and talk to me. I hadn't seen him since our weekend away in The Cotswolds.
I don't really know what to write here. I should probably record every word , so I never forget, but I don't want to. My heart is drained, he is just a boy, there is nothing there. He feels nothing; he is hollow and empty - happy.
Perhaps I just can't take the tears.
My eyes well up again.
Why put myself through the pain and cry and cry as I write everything. Just leave it, it is nothing anyway.

I've been asked if I want to "meet up" by six guys since news spread that I was single. It makes me... sad.
I'm back to being a piece of meat.
Some more serious than others perhaps but still seeing me as a body, an object, a purely visual, sexual thing. I went on one date... because he was an Officer in the Marines. I thought it would make Alex jealous if he found out. It just made me sad. And I ate pasta, cheese and chocolate and drank cocktails. Fat and sugar. But at least he paid... that's more like it.
I had to turn down another dinner date... I thought he was being nice, a good friend, cheering me up when he asked me to join him on a day out with some friends. I was sad when I realised he wasn't trying to be a good friend at all; he just wanted to get in my knickers. At the end of the evening, he cornered me and asked, "Would you like to go to dinner sometime?" I said yes. How could I say anything else? I have put it off since then. That was over a month ago. He keeps asking.
And another, I don't know why, why do they do this?  sent endless messages and finally... "shall we meet up one evening next week." I haven't replied. I know it's rude. But. I just don't need this.
The others are just whores by nature, so I don't take them seriously. But I think they think I'd sleep with them. Men always seem to think that. I talk to them and am friendly and chatty. I don't understand why this makes them decide to hunt me like a frightened animal.

I don't get how people can be so shallow with their feelings - even women these days. I went out for lunch with some girls at work the day after my date with the Marine, and they didn't understand why I hated it. They encouraged me to go on as many dates as possible, meet as many men as I could, get as many nights out paid for me as possible.
"But I can't do it," I said. "I'm either single or I'm in a relationship. I can't do dating, I can't do all the shit, all the messing, all the playing of games. It's all or nothing." In other words, I know if I can love someone or not. I knew I would love Alex from the night we sat at that bus stop at 3am one Monday in March. I will die for someone I love, but I will not suffer a single bruise for anyone who I feel anything less for.
These guys are interested in a fucking image. not me. and I am not interested.
That's the mistake I made with Alex. He was in love with an image, a schoolboy crush. He didn't even know me. His heart is empty, incapable of feeling - and so, he could never feel me.

When I'm alone, no one can hurt me. I had learnt that lesson already. I had affirmed it a thousand times in this blog. Alex proved that I never learn.
He moves on, unblemished, immovable, facing a whole, wonderful world at his feet. I lie trodden; rotten and wasted - for he wasted me and I wasted for him.

"He wore me like a silken knot,
He changed me like a glove;
So now I moan, an unclean thing,
Who might have been a dove...
Even so I sit and howl in dust,
You sit in gold and sing:
Now which of us has tenderer heart?
You had the stronger wing."

I wish I could say I didn't really love him. But I did - I loved him far too much. I loved him for being the one good thing in my life, my one piece of hope, my one ray of sunshine. And now I hate him, for giving me that hope, giving me glimpses of happiness, giving me something to believe in, giving me a future to face. I hate him because those things were untrue. It was a terrible dream.

I turned to my eating disorder long ago to make me beautiful and desired. I forgot about love. I am desired, but I am not, never was, and never will be loved. Who could ever love someone so sick?

I'm not just sick, I'm disgusting, vile and putrid. It starts to show now, in my lifeless skin and dry hair. The one red knuckle on my right hand, the hideous scratches on my arm that bulge purple in the cold. The teeth that mean I never smile.

I am so ugly when I smile.

I was supposed to be moving out, living in a house with two guys from the Club - two mutual friends of mine and Alex. So I'd be nearer him, spend time with him at weekends. I've paid the deposit and the first month rent now. But I'm still in the house of my mother. She forbids me to go. And I might agree.
I dreamt of keeping up my social masquerade. A wardrobe full of beautiful dresses, parading around the dance floor in expensive heels, dancing with guys, knowing they wanted me but couldn't have me.
Putting on a great big, glamorous show.
But the pain. That's the cause of all the pain. When I'm looking in the mirror and feel too fat and ugly to put on the show. When I've drank juice and eaten laxatives for a week so I look good for one evening. When I get rejected. When I'm not admired. When I see him, Alex, with another girl. I drink, and drink, I cry and I cry, and I eat and eat and am sick sick. Sick until I'm screaming into the bottom of the toilet bowl.

So I think I should stay. Safe in a dull house in a dull life. With no one, just my books and my bed. No nothing. No men, no shows, no need for beauty. No make up, no need to starve. Maybe I'll be safe here. Maybe I'll get better. Maybe I'll stop craving the bright lights and buzz of desire.
Maybe I'll forget.

Do I stay or do I go. Which dream do I chase? Which path will make me happy?