Tuesday, 20 December 2011

At 24 don't you realise the stakes are fucking higher now.
I cannot and must not and will, fucking, not, kill myself for him.

Why why why. Why is it the more I love him the more he will destroy me. Because without knowing it he forces my hand to my mouth - to purge, to take laxatives, to eat, to purge

I am now completely under the control of my eating disorder again. I would like to pretend that it was only a matter of time - in fact I know it was - but it's also because of him. Fuck it all, I couldn't do, I knew I couldn't do it. The moment I fell I was doomed. I only want to destroy myself for him, because I have fallen in love with him and because I am completely terrified that I will lose him, and I will lose him because he sees - finally wakes up with clear eyes - and sees that I am fat. and ugly.


I broke tonight. Completely broke. Finally. Battered my vocal cords in the pitch black house, chocking on dry vomit that clogged up my insides. Over and over and over again, it had to come out it had to all come out.

I had ballooned by 3kg since Friday. Like, no, no. No. I'm shaking my head. You don't understand I have to walk by his desk tomorrow, I'm being interviewed by his boss for a position in their departement. You don't understand, I have to prove myself, I have to prove that I am more than face value. I have to walk by his desk tomorrow. So I took three laxatives. And then I fucked it all up by eating. Rice, then cereal, shit, must have more cereal, toast as well, make it easier, add in some peanuts... and then impossible to get back out.
I don't care if I die bent over this toilet.

I didn't care.
Puffy and swollen.

The anxiety from Friday hasn't left me. I just crave Theo now, I crave his warm body, I crave the feeling of him. Shit. I can remember exactly how his body feels beneath my fingertips.

I cried my eyes out, hunched over the kitchen sink. I nearly lost everything. and look at me, throwing away everything I was so lucky to earn back . I'm throwing everything away again. FOR THIS FUCKING EATING DISORDER.

It won.
Hell, how can I fight. I have no resources left. Except my legs
- to run

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Logical Conclusions

I came home on Wednesday night realising that I had fallen hard.

It was the leaving drinks of one of the management team and much of the office was out for the party - Theo included.

I nervously watched the door of the venue until he came, the girls I worked with laughing at me for my childishness.
When he finally arrived it was a while before we spoke to each other, and when we did it was just casual and normal as it would be between any work colleagues. As the evening began to wear on we became more flirty and more separate from the rest of the crowd. He looked gorgeous as ever, his big brown eyes burning into mine and making me so hungry for him. I wanted to hold his hand, wanted to cuddle up close to him, I wanted to kiss him, I wanted to be open about our relationship, but I couldn't because people that we worked with were around. It killed me. It made me anxious.

At one point I turned wild with jealousy when I saw him talking to another girl from my department who I was not friends with and didn't particularly like. She was just talking to him. I turned flustered and paranoid to Luke, "Look! He's flirting with Sarah! Look! Fuck him!"
"Woah, woah, Ophelia, calm down, it's nothing ok, it's harmless. Listen, you are hot, ok. He's not going to flirt with other girls."
"But look!"
"Ok, listen, I'll have a word in his ear and be like, Ophelia's here, what are you doing, don't flirt with other girls - alright?"
"Oh would you do that?!"
And without me being able to think about it or stop him, he barged over and had a word in Theo's ear. I followed behind anxiously, and apologised, shocked that I had resorted to such a desperate measure.

As the bar started to clear out, I was briefly left behind inside putting on my jacket. Through the windows across the floor I could see Theo outside talking animatedly to Sarah again. The red mist descended immediately and I stood frozen to the spot, glaring at them from afar. A slimy guy approached me and I gave him a foul look. Theo should be with me to stop dickheads like that getting close to me. But no, he wasn't even thinking about where I was, he was outside talking to that fucking bitch again. I stormed out and grabbed hold of Rhianna's arm rushing away to follow everyone else walking ahead.
"Where are you going?" She asked, "What about Theo?"
"Fuck him!" I said loudly, "he's busy flirting with Sarah, I'm done, I'm going!"

It was Theo, rushing up behind me.
"Hey, hey, where are you going?! What's the matter?!"
I stared at him angrily.
"You can fucking talk to who you want, ok, it's fine! Do what you want!"
"I'm sorry! She was flirting with me, she was asking what a CDS was!"
"It doesn't matter ok, you're free to talk to who you want."
"No, no it does matter, I'm sorry. When I saw you storm off like that..." he trailed off and held my face in his hands.
I looked away.

I felt awful. I had overreacted like a jealous, mental, freak. I'd shown him my true colours. I was the one in the wrong - not him. We left everyone else and walked, finding bars that were still open, kissing, walking, finding fast food to eat.
"You look really cute tonight," he said, "really cute."
He told me that he admired me for the things I had been through. He admired that I was a fighter, he admired that I was so strong. I shook my head. "Look at me, I'm fucking insecure, I'm not strong - I pretend."
"You have a really messed up view of men," he said. "You've only ever known stereotypical boarding school boys, army boys, lads that see women for one thing." He was trying to tell me he was not one of them. But I couldn't believe him.

...and yet...
I did....

...He ran after me when I stormed off because I saw him talking to another girl. He comforted me, he told me I was beautiful, he made me feel so safe and happy and loved.
Yes, fuck it all, yes, I felt loved.

* * *

It hurts to write about this next part. I will write it down and then try and erase it from my memory - try to pretend that it never happened and neither of us will remember it.

* * *

So Friday was the office Christmas Party. Lots of things happened that are blog-worthy, but I will stick to the bear essentials so that I do not have to endure the pain of remembering and analysing too much of this night.

Of course I put in all the effort I could to make sure I looked perfect, including running for three hours on an empty stomach the day before and making myself feel immeasurably ill.
All evening I just watched him.
Became paranoid when I lost him.
Avoided talking to him if I could.

I just wanted him. I wanted him to come and find me, come and get me, come and claim me.

I can't write about this coherently.

Towards the end we were outside talking to one of his friends, James, who was asking about how we managed to keep our relationship separate from work. We didn't know what to say.
At one point my boss had come up to him and explicitly said, "Are you fucking Ophelia?!" It was apparent by now that everyone knew.
We left the party venue to go to a nearby club in the City.
I saw him pause and watch to check that I was coming along with the crowd. I was pleased.

But then, when we finally got in to the club he didn't come in with us.
I flipped. I was so angry. He hadn't come in with me, he was with other people, I didn't know where he was, had he gone home, had he left without me, how could there be other people he wanted to be with, how could I not be the most important thing for him.
I went to the toilets and cried. Another girl I worked with comforted me.
I was so angry.
He had proved Rhianna right. I was angry because he had proved her right. He didn't like me enough to stay with me, to claim me.
I picked up my phone to text him, "Goodbye, hope you have fun." I stopped myself and instead wrote, "Are u coming."

He came.
(Of course he fucking came.)
He was just outside, smoking and talking to a group of others - like I had known deep-down all along he was.
But the damage was done. I'd been broken.
I ignored him.
I was in so much pain. The anxiety had twisted me up into a knot and I was choking.
I couldn't control it, I couldn't reign it in, I needed him, I needed him all or nothing. I couldn't control the ridiculous, irrational, anxiety and it was impossible to make me see reason.

Theo slowly began to calm me down again and put the smile back on my face. We were outside smoking when the club closed and everyone remaining began to gather outside with us deciding what to do next. Theo knew what I wanted, we had made the decision on Wednesday to stay in a hotel together. And yet he wasn't making a move to leave them.
I got left talking to the dickhead of the office, John, who I had fallen out with one night back in October when he ignorantly made a joke about bulimia.
That pushed me over the edge.
Fuck Theo.
He was doing it again, he wasn't claiming me.
"I'm going," I said bluntly to John.

And I walked off, tears brimming in my eyes. I wanted Theo, we were supposed to have a lovely night together.

Halfway down the road, I stopped.
I was being stupid.
This behaviour wasn't going to get me what I wanted.
I walked back.
I had a missed call from Theo. I was too embarrassed to answer.
I walked back over to him. John laughed in my face. I probably swore at him.
I ran over to the little shop across the road, intent on buying food to stuff my face. Theo stood outside anxiously watching me. I probably swore at him too.
he came inside the shop and I put my hands to my head to agony. "I want to eat. But I can't."
He took me outside and calmed me down. John was standing across the road staring at us. I was on edge and flipped. Theo was clearly upset by my behaviour and anxiously held on to me as he asked me what was wrong.

"I'm sorry," I said, "I'm so sorry. Please, can we just get away from here?"
"Where to?"
"Can we just go away from here!"
"A hotel"

How hard was it to understand what I needed Theo? I needed you. I just needed you.

He did his best to comfort me, "You're so gorgeous, how do you not see that?"
"I just don't ok."
"How can you not wake up in the morning and see how beautiful you are. How can you not wake up and think, yeah, I'd fuck that - I would."
I couldn't even laugh, I just hung my head with sadness.
It was - it is - incredibly sad, that a guy can sit there, hold her hand, care about her, tell her she is beautiful, believe that she is beautiful, and yet the girl he speaks to is fighting back the tears because she cannot believe him.

When we got back to the hotel, I was still incredibly tense and anxious. I looked in the mirror and saw the ugliness. I wanted to smash it, I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. But I would spoil everything.
my memory is patchy now. We had sex, but then I fell apart. I cried.
Fuck it, I cried in front of him again. I turned away and refused to explain why I was so upset.
I think I told him something about being really insecure. I can't remember. I probably told him it doesn't matter, he wouldn't understand. Nothing. It's nothing.
All I could think about was how ugly I was, and how he had seen that now, especially now I had cried.

I woke up in the morning feeling cold, empty and horribly sober. I peeled myself out from underneath his arm and hid my face as I ran off to the bathroom to shower and fix the damage. I banged and crashed around the bathroom, still full of anger, huffing and puffing like a spoilt child, anxious in case he woke up and saw my face. With sober eyes it really wasn't that bad.
I remembered my behaviour last night and felt cold.

This was how I lost Alex. Exactly the same. That morning with him I had woken up insecure about the way I looked and acted like a spoilt child who hadn't got her way. I had hidden away and refused to go to breakfast with him.
I had done the same with Theo. I had gotten insecure because he (understandably and naturally!) hadn't stayed by my side all night and I had cried, run off down the road, come back and acted like an insecure freak.

I crept back into bed silently, full of shame. His back was turned to me.
It broke my heart.
His back was turned to me the way Alex's back had been turned to me on the morning when our relationship had come crashing down.
I looked at Theo's cold back and knew that I had lost him. I had lost him because of my insecure, irrational and childish behaviour - exactly the same way that I had lost Alex. I cuddled up to him and tried to get him to put his arm around me again. He wouldn't. He was fast asleep.

I needed him to wake up, I needed to know that it was all ok.
I had no one but myself to blame. Theo had done nothing wrong. It was my insecurity that had painted him as the bad guy. I had acted completely out of line when all he had done was act normal and kind to me.
I slowly woke him up with kisses - maybe I can cure this with sex, I thought - maybe I can pretend like nothing happened, maybe he will not remember, maybe I can say that someone else upset me, that there was a reason for it which had nothing to do with him, or with me being mental.

Somehow, thank God, it was alright. I apologised and everything went back to normal. I hadn't lost him, he wasn't cold to me, he was lovely, I still had him. We laughed and talked and played and had the most perfect sex, thank God, thank God. It was alright.

It is still going to be alright though? I don't know. He won't forget the way I behaved. He won't forget the tears rolling down my cheeks and the pain that was reflected in them. He's smart in the way that he sees these things.

Later he asked me again if I was completely over my eating disorder. I told him again that I was, yes, but it was going to be something that I would always have to fight.
"You saw what happened last night. Sometimes I have a bad moment and I have to fight the insecurities again. That will never go away. I will never wake up and love what I see, I will always have to fight this."

Ultimately, I nearly lost him because of my insecurity and my eating disorder. If I learnt anything from my relationship with Alex it is that I cannot hide my problems from someone forever. They will find out because it will come out, and they will not be able to handle what they see. Friday night was proof that I still do not have control over my anxiety and irrational, insecure behaviour. And I have got to get a grip. I have got to work hard to fight it. I cannot brush this under the carpet any longer. I cannot be an actress on a stage for one night at a time. If I want anything more with Theo I will have to drop the act because I could never hold out a long term role like that. So, I either let him see the real, broken, torn and unhappy side of me and the horrible, sick world I live in; or I stop behaving like a reckless hedonist and mend, and heal and become a real human girl in a real human world.

While I sit in bed at my laptop writing this, he is probably sitting in bed analysing everything as well. I only have myself to blame if he comes to a logical conclusion and walks away.

In a crazy way, I probably acted as badly as I did on Friday because I realised that I was falling in love with him.
I am.
I'm falling in love with Theo.
And that makes me petrified, because the logical conclusion... is not a pretty one. If he doesn't ruin it, I will.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

I want to keep smiling

It nearly didn't happen. Millie and Rhianna spent all of Tuesday trying to convince me that Theo didn't really like me. I was devastated and broken, but mostly I was angry. How dare they tell me who I should or shouldn't date, telling me that I'm nothing to him, just another girl he can fuck, that he should be behaving in a way that they deem more appropriate, chasing me like a lovesick puppy. I was furious and my self-esteem was in shatters again. Sure, he was rubbish at replying to my messages and never gushed his feelings towards me, but I'd only really known the guy a few weeks! They sat me down and told me that taking him out on Friday would be a terrible mistake because he didn't like me and would only hurt me.

But I am a rebel. I rebel against anyone who tells me what to do, and my God, thank goodness that I do! I remembered the way we had talked for hours, I remembered the way we had laughed, I remembered he had made me feel something I hadn't felt for such a long time.
I ignored their words and went ahead with my surprise, took him to the Light Bar on St Martins Lane in Leicester Square and then a bright, glamorous hotel off Oxford Street.

And yes, yes dear readers, I was right, everything about it was perfect, perfect, perfect!

"Why do you like me?" he asked.
"Because you make me smile - and I like smiling."
"...You have a beautiful smile."
I touched his hand and looked at him intently to express my thanks. His eyes told me he was telling me the truth.
He carried on, " I don't know why you worry about your weight, your body is perfect, don't ever change. You look gorgeous tonight. You must know you do."
I melted inside. "Thank you... so do you."

I gave him a Christmas card with the room key and room number. "Happy Christmas".

"This is the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me - and the sexiest. Thank you, seriously, I don't deserve this."
I beamed. "Yes you do."

I made it clear that this surprise night out and hotel was a Christmas present, but he still made the gesture to take me to a restaurant for dinner during the night and then out to lunch the next morning. We sat down to lunch at 12 noon and stayed in the same seats for 7 hours straight. Its incredible to say, but the time just passed so fast and so wonderfully as we talked and talked, learning about each other.

Yes, we met after work at 6pm on Friday and left each other at 7pm on Saturday - over 24 hours together, and every moment just so wonderful.

He wanted to know what I had been doing since I graduated and what the big secret that I kept about it was.
I asked him what his inclin was. He hesitated. Somehow I knew that he had worked it out.
"Go on, tell me what you think it might be," I demanded.
He shook his head, clearly troubled. I kept pushing him, it was going to be better if he worked it out than if I told him cold.
After more hesitation, he finally chose his words, "...Something to do with an eating disorder..."
"Why do you say that?"
"Because it's something you've spoken about a fair amount."
I took a deep breath and nodded slowly. I trusted him now, I had let him in, he knew me and he cared about me. So I nodded and told him about my eating disorder - I explained where I had been since I graduated, why I had left London, how long I was in treatment. He took it so well, never saying a word to interrupt me, just remaining so sincere and kind. He let me in too - he let me see the softer side of him, the gentle sensitiveness that he kept hidden to the rest of the world.

I felt like even though he knew nothing about eating disorders, he understood, he was different. I saw the way he looked at me had changed. I wasn't just some pretty girl to him. I wasn't even just some pretty, intelligent girl or just some pretty, intelligent and fun girl. He did something that Alex had never been able to do - he looked at me and saw all my scars, my bruises, my battle wounds - and he saw that they had made me beautiful inside.
I always said about Alex that I was beautiful in ways he could never understand until he experienced pain - and it was true - what makes me so beautiful and special is the side of me that I can express here, my head full of beauty, my heart full of love, my body full of scars. Alex had never felt my beauty. He was cold, scientific and unemotional. Theo is not like that. Intelligent, masculine, practical, yes, all those things that Alex was, and yet still capable of looking at me in a way I'd never seen anyone look at me before. He looked at me like I was beautiful - inside.

Of course I didn't tell him that I was still bulimic now. He is never going to know about that.
I cheerfully told him I was better now as I stuffed my face with fish and chips and helped myself to his chips too.
"Look at what I eat, obviously I'm ok now! I never want to go back to feeling like I did when I was at my worst, ever."

I should feel bad for lying to his face. But I don't. I will not let my eating disorder ruin what I have with Theo. I will lose him if he knows, just as I lost Alex, and lost every other guy I'd ever liked. People can't handle it.
After an incredible night out, incredible sex, incredible intimacy, it was wonderful to spend those seven hours with him where we just chatted and laughed and smiled.

Millie and Rhianna had been calling me all day and I didn't answer them. When I finally picked up my phone, Rhianna shouted out me and told me I was out of order for ignoring them when I was Theo. I put the phone down and burst into tears, turning away from him so he couldn't see my face.
"I'm sorry," I said "I have to go."
They were making me go out to Public in Chelsea with Millie's boyfriend and his friends. After everything we had talked about - my illness, my Mum, my circumstances, I only finally burst into tears when Rhianna spoke to me like I was a piece of shit over the phone in front of him.

He pulled me close at the tube station as we said goodbye and kissed me tenderly. He thanked me again, and I smiled, "You're so welcome, I'm glad you had a good time."

I was so angry and hurt and upset by the way Rhianna had spoken to me on the phone. I went home, stuffed my face, threw up, put on a little tea dress and flats and went to meet them. As I walked over Millie looked at me in poorly disguised horror. Everyone else was dressed up to the overdone maximum. I shrugged, sure I felt like crap but I was making a point. I wasn't here to attract a bunch of random men I didn't give a fuck about. I wasn't going to make her happy by getting with someone she deemed more appropriate.
"I'm bring Jimmy's single friends for you to meet, 'Real men'," she had said.
Real fucking men? I wasn't attracted to a single one, there wasn't one under the age of 29. Who did she think she was trying to tell me what was good or bad about a guy. She had treated Theo so unfairly considering she didn't even know him at all and made both me and him feel like shit. I made friends with 'the mean girls', what did I expect. Rhianna spent all of today telling me how hot the guy she got with was and how skinny everyone kept saying she was. Even Millie's boyfriend was lusting after her 'body of a 6 year old'.

I went to my therapist yesterday for my last 'follow up' session since leaving treatment in June. And as a result I am now going back into treatment again. Sad isn't it. I couldn't get better, I still treat my body like shit, I still have no control over my bulimia, I still want to be thin more than anything else. I will find out later this week if I have to go to the bottom of the waiting list again or if I can start straight away.

It is our work Christmas Party on Friday, and that date - Friday 16th December - is ruling my life. I am petrified and sick inside at the idea of looking fat and ugly especially standing next to my two ultra-gorgeous, ultra-stick-thin friends. I will be the ugly, fat brunette one.
I ended my friendship with Rob in the office because he was bad for my recovery and self-esteem. I have to put myself first again, I have to stay away from people that make me feel like shit about myself. Fighting to block out my own voice is hard enough.

"What do you want from me Ophelia?"
"You make me smile. I want to keep smiling."

Monday, 5 December 2011

"All little girls should be told they are pretty"

It's funny, the way the world works out.
Theo and I had an incredibly fun time last Thursday when we went out - an undeniably incredible time.
So you can understand why I was very confused when he became extremely flakey afterwards and refused to commit to another night when we could go out again. I have always been very straight up and direct when asking him out and was so again.
He told me that he was busy all this week after work and when I tried to suggest a date of next Friday, I was told that this was too far in the future to know if he was free or not! I was fuming with anger.
That's it, I decided, just like all the other guys, you get one chance with me, and if you can't show me that you want me, then I do not have the time to waste.

I imagined that for my next blog post I'd be sitting here at my laptop bitter and bitching about his behaviour towards me, but I'm glad to say that from this point onwards, this post takes a much more positive turn...

The only time Theo and I ever really come into contact at work is when our teams have our Friday afternoon meeting. This Friday was no exception, and because I had taken the morning off, I also indulged in the luxury of having a blow dry at a hair salon near to the office. He had turned down a date with me and ignored me this week, so I had to make sure that when he saw me in this meeting I blew his little public schoolboy socks off.

Hoping that I did, I checked my phone again after the meeting was over, just like I had been checking it incessantly all week, in the hope that he would have seen sense and would text to ask me out. Nothing.
So I decided to thow my dignity out of the window and text him one last time.
"Sooo any idea if you're free next Friday yet?"
"Haha why, what's happening?"
"Nothing special, just me."
"What did you have in mind?"
"A surprise..."
And then no reply.


Rhianna and I decided to go out for a drink after work, and as I waited for her by the lifts I saw the group of them leave: Theo, Cassio and two other guys from their department.
A cheeky glint formed in my eye. 'Let's go find them', I suggested to Rhianna. She grinned and agreed, knowing the fun that could ensue...

The office boys always stuck to the same Friday night watering holes so it was easy to find them. Overcome and giggling like schoolgirls we bought our drinks and settled in another area, chatting comfortably. Once an acceptable amount of time had passed we went over and started chatting to them, pretending to be surprised to bump into them. It was all fine, all normal, all fun. Me and Theo were easy and normal, but we quickly broke away from the group. As we smoked outside one of the other guys, James, came out to join us.
"I'll be gone in a minute", he said to us jokingly, "and leave you two to your sexual tension".
Assuming that he already knew and Theo had told him, I pretended to cheekily laugh it off.
"Haha, what! I have no idea what you're talking about!"
"Look, it's obvious, I'm very good at picking up on these things," he said.

As the bar started to close up, we decided to move on to a club in The City called Abacus. Theo was already very drunk. We lost Rhianna and Cassio briefly, and as we waited for James by the toilets, Theo finally forgot his inhibitions, pulled me close and kissed me. James came out and saw and ran off from us, grinning but slightly embarrassed. I shrugged at Theo, oh well!

The rest of the night was somewhat awkward, Theo and I were blatantly together and Cassio was there to witness me with my arm tightly and comfortably around him. I should have felt bad, but I didn't. I didn't like Cassio, and now that he knew the type of girl I was, there was no way he would like me either. He already hated Theo, so it all made very little difference.
It was great being with him. He made me feel so happy and so bright. I loved holding his hand, I loved his hands on me, I loved having his body close.
I spoke to him bluntly:
"So are you free next Friday or not? Why are you so difficult?"
He apologised, "I just really didn't want things to interfere with work, I didn't want it to be an issue."
"Ok, I understand. But listen, work is work, it's completely separate to your social and personal life. At work we are just colleagues who barely see each other, outside work, we can be whatever we want."
He nodded. "Ok, next Friday. I'm free."
I smiled cheekily. "Good, its going to be fantastic."

After everyone else had left the bar, Theo and I chilled for a little longer, kissing in a seating area downstairs. Eventually as this club began to close up as well, we left and began walking North. We both knew what we wanted, and although I wanted it more than anything, I found it impossible to admit.

He walked me to an open newsagent so I could buy some chocolate. As usual, I hadn't eaten all day and was in desperate need of something to give me energy. As we walked past the same hotel we had stayed in two weeks ago, we stopped and lingered.

"Let's just do it," I said.
I paid for the room and in we went.

We had been outside, walking and kissing in the late night rain and my first instict was to lock myself in the bathroom and refresh my hair and makeup.
"Don't put anymore makeup on!" he demanded.
"I mean it, don't, it won't change a thing. You look gorgeous."
"Shut up."
"You look gorgeous. Make up doesn't make you look prettier. It doesn't change your features."
I looked at him with big, grateful eyes. He thought I was gorgeous as I was.

In the morning it was the same. Sex, conversations and laughter. We play-fighted and laughed like people who had known each other for years. He talked to me about work, economics, education. We sat in bed looking at my 'Introduction to the Financial Markets' textbook as he explained yield curves to me. We laughed and joked about silly, childish things. We talked about things so effortless that I can't even remember what they were.

He ran his hands across my back, his fingertips lingering.
"Look at your shoulder blades..." He said adoringly.
"They're just... You just have like no body fat on you..."
I melted inside. Of course he was exaggerating, but it meant so much. He liked my body. It was worth it, everything I had done, all the running, all the pain, all the time, all the effort.
He will never know how much it meant to me that he lay in bed with me and my naked body and adored it in the way he did.

We checked out at noon and he suggested we go and get some 'breakfast'. Only when we got to the street of restaurants and eateries did we realise that for the rest of the world it was actually lunchtime.

We stopped by a really cute, cosy place which did homely British food. He had a burger and chips while I tucked into a fish pie and chips. I smiled the whole way through, not caring about my expanding waistline, but enjoying the lovely warm food and flavours, and of course, enjoying his company most of all. Even when we had finished eating and paid and the restaurant began to clear out around us, we stayed chatting incessantly. It was 4.30pm when I finally had to tell him I needed to leave and go home.
It was me that had to say it.
After we had finished eating, at every next moment, I expected him to say we should get going and leave. But he didn't, he just sat there, happy being with me. It meant the world to me that he did that. It's not just sex. It's more. And that makes me smile. We sat there talking while the restaurant cleared out and emptied around us, until we were the only table left.

I never want him to know about my eating disorder. He can know it was in my past but I never want him to know about the shit I do now. I don't want what destroyed my relationship with Alex to destroy what I have with Theo.

So I'm seeing him again on Friday. I'm surprising him - It's his Christmas present. I'm taking him to a restaurant at one of the best hotels in Mayfair and have booked a room for us to stay there afterwards. I want a date where I can dress up and pretend to be rich and glamorous for a day. So yes, while I am blowing loads of money on him, I'm also blowing loads of money on treating myself to having my own little fantasy come true as well.

It's going to be magnificent. I'm going to feel like a rich princess for an evening. Of course it would be a little more perfect if it was a surprise that he had planned and he was paying for, but that's slightly irrelevant. My only fear is that he might be overwhelmed and run from me thinking that I'm too in love with him or something.

Millie called me once I had left Theo on Saturday afternoon and shouted at me. She doesn't think that he likes me because he wouldn't give me an answer about our next date and she believes that he should be the one chasing me. She told me I made a big mistake in sleeping with him for a second time and that I was goning to get hurt. I know she said those things because she cares about me, but at the same time she doesn't understand who I am and my philosophy on life.
I might die tomorrow. I can't take my money with me, so I'm gonna spend it all on looking my best and having the time of my life. What happened with Theo on Friday made me happy. I felt so alive and was smiling from the heart. Next Friday is gonna cost me well over £400 but I don't care because I'm gonna have the time of my life.
I don't live for the future, I live for the moment. I live for the extreme highs. I do not do mediocre in-between.

The only way Theo will truely hurt me is if he makes me think our relationship is more than it is - if he makes me think he's in love with me when he's not - or if he stops seeing me for another girl instead.
At the moment I'm still in control, we're still just having fun, still just getting to know each other.

Of course this week is gonna be intense because I'm gonna have to look my absolute thinnest and absolute best for Friday night. But you know, when I'm doing it for something like this - for someone who I know appreciates it - it's enjoyable. I love it. Burning calories becomes my ultimate high because I know how thrilling and wonderful it will feel when he sees me looking stunning on Friday. No feeling compares to that.

"All little girls should be told they are pretty, even if they aren't," said Marylin Monroe.
I thoroughly agree. It has made me the happiest girl in the world to be told the things that Theo told me, and to be told them by Theo, because his opinion means everything to me. It makes my eating disorder a happy thing, that gave me happiness, and will give me even more.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Hungry for The Boy

The main point I need to make from my behaviour in my last post is a very strong and clear one:

I am not a role model.
I am not a role model in any physical way, shape or form.

This is physically the most ill I have ever been. And there's no denying that. Even though I feel on top of the world, even though mentally I've never felt better, that's all kind of irrelevant. It's irrelevant because my body won't last - and what's the point of being happy and being so alive inside when you know the physical medium that's holding it all together won't last for too long.

I am either starving and over-exercising; bingeing and purgeing multiple times a day; or abusing laxatives, or several of these at once.
The weekend after I slept with Theo I started to get scared. I pumped my body full of junk food after ripping my digestive system to shreds. I began to be afraid for the first time that what I'd been doing was going to see me end up in hospital - and that is a new fear I've genuinely never seriously contemplated before.

Fact is, this 'success' is coming at a heavy price - I'm pushing my body further than I've ever done, I'm living a life that's zooming by at top speed, not caring about the consequences of anything as long as I'm having a good time.

I'm living like someone who knows her time is short. I want to live as fully as possible, I want to get squeeze everything out of life while I can.
It's wonderful to live like that, to not think about consequences, but its scary too.
My digestive system is about to give up on me, I know I simply must not take any more laxatives now. I was frightened for the first time in my life that my insides had stopped working. I spent four days stuffing myself with food and nothing moved. Relief came at last. All the parts still work.

Millie and I had a good heart to heart the following Monday and she told me some home truths. Millie and Rhianna are actually two of the best friends I have ever had.
Millie told me that I was in no position to have a relationship. And when she said it, I realised it was totally true. None of these guys have a fucking clue who I really am.

Our chat prompted me to call up Alex and speak to him for the first time since we broke up last year. I asked him why he broke up with me. Although he originally tried to say again that the eating disorder had nothing to do with it, but I was relieved when he finally stood tall like a man and told me the truth.
He said he saw no future for us because he never believed I could get better. He hated that there were two sides of me. The happy, fun girl I was when I was with him and the crazy broken girl with the eating disorder who he had never met. That was the truth - he had no clue who I really was - and that was the deal breaker.

Despite all this I decided to pursue Theo. We had been texting since that night, initiated by me of course, and often getting very flirty and pushing the boarders of acceptable. I asked him out for a drink one eve after work and was very surprised when he agreed. I was almost certain he wouldn't have wanted to start dating anyone from work, simply because he'd been quite anxious for there to be no awkwardness or bad feelings between us which would distract him from work or get him into shit.

We set the date for Thursday.


"So for him, I'll do it again."

I walked to the train station the next morning after our date in a daze. It was pitch black with a slight drizzle, and judging by everyone's coats and scarves it was probably freezing cold too, but being so steaming drunk I was still burning like a furnace inside.

I walked with an odd sense of pride in my step.
Now, I felt like a real City Girl.
Just like the ones I'd been reading about who rolled into work still drunk and wearing makeup from the night before.

I had left the office just after 5pm that Thursday evening in the City of London. I stood delicately outside the entrance doors and looked around vulnerably. I couldn't see him anywhere.
Then I looked across the street.
He was crossing towards me.
I smiled, my eyes misty.
My God.
He was crossing towards me in perfect City Boy gear, white shirt and red tie to complete the suit ensemble.
An hour later I sent Rihanna and Millie a joyous message: "Omg he's so pretty. Kill me now."
It was only 6pm and I was already drunk - clearly not eating for two days had been a great idea...

The evening started off pleasantly, we got on, despite my nerves, there were never any awkward moments. Things started to get more heated as we got more drunk. We had our own table on an upper balcony, he made me smile and laugh and burn with joy. His hands ran along my body with so much desire and pleasure. His kisses were long and hungry. Once we started making out, it was impossible to stop. It was like we were in our own world again.

That evening I started to see a shred of vulnerability which I was drawn to immediately.
Outside the bar as we smoked, the bouncer commented on the way I looked and jokingly said to Theo, "Woah mate you are punching WAY above your weight with her!" I smiled but at the same time felt uneasy. He was openly attacking Theo in front of me and I didn't want him to think for an instance that he wasn't good enough for me. Too late. The seed of doubt had been planted.
"Why do you like me?" he asked when we were back inside.
I looked at him tenderly and shrugged, "I don't know, I just do. I either like someone or I don't." And I took him through all the moments that had led to me falling for him more and more.
He then began to worry about his figure. "You have such a good body - it's motivation for me to get in shape. I have to start working out more. When I look at myself naked it's horrible. What do you find attractive about me?!"
I reassured him. "Look, I'm very fussy, you know that, I don't just go for anyone. It takes a lot for me to like someone. And I like you."

I didn't ever want him to remember the words that bouncer had told him. I'm not in an objective position to say whether Theo is in 'the same league' as me, but I do know for certain that is absolutely not the way I feel. I feel like his equal, on a level with him in so many ways, on so many wavelengths. I don't care if he's not perfect. I don't care. I don't ever want him to think he's not good enough for me - because fucking hell I know exactly what that feels like.

When it got to midnight I looked at the rosy pink cocktail in front of me and shook my head.
"I can't drink it. I'm really sorry, I need to eat."
We left and walked again, several minutes later perched on a ledge enjoying a chicken burger like it was the most beautiful experience in the world. I apologised profusely but it didn't even seem to matter. A deserted street, intimate moments in the silent night.
He held me so tight, I could feel the vibrations of how much he wanted me and I wanted him to have me, completely.

I got in a taxi home at 1.30am. We had work the next day. I was so sad to leave him.

The next morning I couldn't stop smiling, I was glowing with happiness. I'd found someone that made me feel alive and excited about living again. It had been so long.

Ophelia is smiling. Ophelia is smiling. Daydreaming about the boy she kissed and held on to all last night. Ophelia is too happy to be scared about what pain might ensue.

He told me I had an amazing body.
My God, it's like a fucking drug.
I want to hear it over and over again, I want to feel his hands tasting every inch of me in bliss.
I drank juice and laxatives for two days before our date that Thursday evening. This whole weekend afterwards I've faced the terrible aftermath, my digestive system keeping me up all night getting rid of the death inside me.
Ran for 3 hours on Saturday, gym and swimming pool on Sunday.
For the man that loves me enough I will kill myself with joy. I will make sure that he never wants to let my body go.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Praying for a survivor out there

If there is ANYONE out there who has recovered from an eating disorder...
And I mean COMPLETEY recovered, back to the pure, normal, natural way of eating and thinking that you were when you were first born...

PLEASE, I need you to reach out to me. And tell me it can be done. Because I simply cannot believe it otherwise.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

"When I want something, I go after it"

Ok. Long story short. I slept with Theo on Friday night.

In a hotel room.
In Kings Cross.

I'm not really sure how to continue with this story, but I suppose I must find a way to express it all and come to terms with it...

Theo works in the same department as Gareth and Cassio - in the same team as Cassio in fact. And I've said it before, I fancied him the first day I saw him, and even more so when I spent much of the evening chatting to him at the usual office drinks one Friday after work. In terms of character and background he is exactly the type I always go for - exactly the type of boy I hung out with at University, exactly the type of boy I eye up in their suits on the way to work, exactly the type of boy I click with and have banter with and laugh with...
plus it helped that he was easily one of the best looking guys in the office. 'Geek chic', Rhianna calls it, 'with those geeky glasses, but it totally works for him, he's cute.' I smiled at this remark - it's very rare for Rhianna to approve of a guy, her standards are very high.

So, look, I'll be completely blunt. I wanted him, I wanted him when I saw him, I wanted him when I chatted to him, I never stopped wanting him. The only problem was, how to get him... I needed to get him in a situation where it might be possible for something to happen between us. The usual after work drinks on a Friday was never any good - always too many people, standing around in a bar... but this Friday it was Rhianna and Millie's joint birthday celebrations - a few people from the office were coming out and then we were going to go on to a club. It was the perfect opportunity, I knew it, the perfect opportunity to get him out, get talking again, get drunk, dance...

Easy. On Thursday I sent him an email at work: You free tomorrow after work? Millie and Rhianna's birthday drinks... be awesome if you come! Let me know.
He replied: Sure - sounds good. I'm not in work tomorrow, drop me your number and I'll meet you guys there.

Oh God, finally. I cleaned out my bloated body with laxatives and didn't eat or drink a drop. Standard procedure.

On Thursday afternoon Cassio sent me a message telling me he had got me a present and asked me to go for a drink with him after work so he could give it to me.
I ignored his message guiltily.
I wanted to keep my body empty and go to bed early so that I was perfect for Friday night. He sent me another message asking for a reply. The guy had got me a present. Fuck. I couldn't say no.
I told him I would come for one drink and that it would have to be a simple fruit juice.
We chatted as we always did, it was nice as it always is. There is nothing between us though, at least not for me, I simply am not attracted to him, and it's purely a mis-match of personality and character - so there are no sparks, there is no lust. He had got me a Lawyers Latin Dictionary and he had written a little message in the front, in Latin. It was an incredibly sweet gesture, and served to only make me feel even more guilty. I finished up my drink and made my excuses to go. As soon as I walked away I forgot about him instantly. All I could think about was Theo and Friday night.

I spent Friday in agony. I wouldn't even allow myself water, I wanted to dry out and be as thin as possible. When 5:30 finally came we went to the bathroom to start getting ready. I slipped on a new dress I had bought earlier that week, my blowdried hair in tumbling curls over my shoulders. I'd sneaked off to have a massage at lunchtime to get me in the mood and open up my shoulders...

When I walked back out the reaction was amazing. I'd never been so complimented in my life. I walked through the office knowing all eyes were on me. And I loved it, loved it, loved it, loved it. This is what I lived for, this was what I was killing myself for, this was everything I had worked so hard for and been through so much blood, sweat and tears for. And you know I'm not going to lie, you know I'm not going to pretend to be modest. It is SO worth it. Being THAT girl.

"Seriously, Ophelia, fucking hell!"
"Oh my God... you look Stunning."

"Aw. Thanks hun, bless you."

I felt so strong, invincible almost, all I needed was a guy to play this out on. Where was he?
Being the girl with all eyes on me wasn't enough, I needed a guy to make me feel it inside too.
Where was he?

I chatted and laughed and drank with the usual crowd from work, Chris was there, flirting as we always did. We'd been out since 6:00pm... by 6:30, 7:00, still no word from Theo, I'd sent him my number but I didn't have his so I couldn't chase him up.
"He's not coming is he..."
Rhianna shook her head. "Probably not."

At 7:30, my phone, which I'd been holding in my hand in anticipation all evening, began to ring.
"Sorry, hun," I said to Chris mid-conversation, "I have to take this..."
It was Theo. He'd he told me he'd be there in 45 mins.

Beaming and full of adrenaline, I took my usual spot in front of the mirrors in the toilets. On rare occasions, I can look in the mirror and adore what I see; maybe it was the alcohol burning in my eyes, but this was one of those times. I loved what I saw, this was the best I'd ever looked, surely, and he was coming, he was coming, I could play my game out!

He arrived and I told him to wait for me outside. He was having a cigarette. I handed him a drink. It wasn't long till other members of the crowd wandered outside for a cigarette too and another girl latched straight on to him. I made my excuses and went back to the mirrors in the toilets. I must have gone and stood in front of the mirrors about 10 times in the short time we were in that one location.
When I came back out he was at the bar chatting to another girl from work. I was pissed off, but I wasn't bothered, none of these other girls from work had anything on me. My only competition in that department was Millie and Rhianna, and they both had their own men and would never tread on my toes if I liked a guy. So I chatted with Chris again, and other guys from work that I got on with. It was all fun and easy, me and Rhianna were laughing, then suddenly, in came a group of guys. Guys from Theo's department, Gareth in the middle.
I swore.
"Oh my God."
Rhianna laughed loudly, "Fuck!" She turned to explain to her friend, "Ophelia went out with him once" she pointed to Gareth, "and now shes trying to get with him" she pointed to Theo.

I played it cool, welcomed the group of guys and stood my ground cooly.
"Gareth! Hey! How are you? Long time no see!"
He bumbled and mumbled.
"Good! Cool!" I gushed confidently and passionately.
I had no idea what he was saying and I had no interest in what he was saying. The fact is, he was here now and it was slightly unfortunate - for him. He got to see how hot I was, and think about how he had missed his little chance of having me. I'd moved on.

People were starting to move on to the next bar, a City favourite. Theo was still holding the drink I'd given him when he first arrived.
"Oh my God - drink up!" I exclaimed to both him and Gareth in unison. "Come on, come on, we're moving on! I'm way more drunk than you!"
I left without him in tow. I couldn't be that obvious and that desperate. In the next bar I thought I'd lost him, and then I saw him through the crowd, standing at the bar with one of the other girls from work. I hesitated for a split second, before realising that actually, I didn't give a damn. I pushed my way through the throng and over to them.
"Ophelia!" said the girl as I reached them, "What's your star sign?"
"Excellent!! There you go, perfect match!" And she gave us both a knowing wink and sauntered off.
I looked at Theo awkwardly, "er well..."
"Of course!"

Millie came over and gave Theo a dirty look. "I don't like him, he's an arrogant cock. And I'm not coming to Mayfair , I don't want to go and pay for expensive drinks in some pretentious place."
I defended Theo, particularly because she didn't even know him and was judging him on gossip. One of the guys from work, James, had got us a table at a club in Mayfair but was keeping it on the low as he could only get a small number of us in. Since Millie was refusing to go, it was just going to be James, his two mates, Rhianna and her friend, and me and Theo. I told James I wasn't going unless he got Theo in too.

As Theo slipped away to the toilet briefly, Rhianna came over. "Ophelia, we're moving on, James has got us the table at the club in Mayfair, but we have to go now, get Theo and come. We'll wait for you outside."
When he came back I told him to drink up. "We're moving on again." I didn't give him a choice, I didn't give him a chance to say no. "Rhianna and the others are waiting for us outside, come on."
I boldly took hold of his hand and led him across the bar to the exit. I didn't care who saw me leading him out. I loved the feel of his hand in mine and I loved letting the world know that he was with me.

Much of the night from here on was a blur. Inside the club, the atmosphere was perfect, I was with Theo, we drank, we danced, I didn't shy away from making it clear that we were together.
"I'm so glad you came! I didn't think you'd come." It was true, I didn't think he would come. Why would he come out with a girl he barely knew, why would he spend the evening dancing with me...

The music was loud, I could feel the beat pulsing through my body, my brain couldn't think about anything, it could only feel. I could feel Theo and I could feel the music and I could feel the alcohol numbing my inhibitions. I felt free as a wild bird in the wilderness.
"Why haven't you kissed him yet!" Rhianna exclaimed pushing us together.

We danced, his hands around my waist, feeling my body, the body I wanted him to feel, he loved it, I know he loved it. I wanted to believe that he'd never been with a girl with a body as good as mine, I wanted him to think that he would never have sex with anyone as good as me, I wanted him to believe that, I wanted him to know that.
I stopped against a pillar and smiled at him. I looked straight into his eyes and held his gaze. I wasn't going to make a move on him. He had to be the man, he had to do it.
I saw the same thought flash across his mind. She wants me to kiss her.
He put his hands on my waist and drew me in
and kissed me.

For the rest of the night we danced and kissed and smoked and kissed.
It was perfect.
"So where do you have to go home to?" he asked.
"South London."
"Wow, bit of a trek."
I shrugged. "It's ok I do it all the time, besides I don't have a choice."
"Yes you do."
"Really? What?" I stared at him.
"We could get a hotel room."
I said nothing.

Theo was in the middle of moving out and was staying with his parents in the meantime. I couldn't take him back to mine and he couldn't take me back to his.
I was both pleased and taken aback by his forwardness. He wasn't afraid to ask and put it out there.
I looked at him in anguish.
"It's up to you. If you want to go home, I'll see you on to your night bus," he said reassuringly.
I put my hands to my head in shame. "Good girls don't behave like I do. When I want something, I go after it. And good girls don't do that."
"It's fine, don't be silly. But I don't want you to do something you'll regret."
"I won't regret it... but... I don't know that I can have sex with you and then for nothing to happen after that."
I was honest. I didn't want a one night stand with Theo, I liked him way more than that.

We walked through London while I battled with myself, eventually conceding that I wanted to have sex with him more than I wanted or was able to think about the consequences. As much as I successfully played the confident, straight-talking girl who knew what she wanted, the truth was a lot different. I wasn't able to ask him outright if he wanted to sleep with me and then for nothing to ever happen between us again. I wasn't able to ask him because I was too afraid of the answer.

We got in a cab and went to a hotel in Kings Cross.
The room cost £140. We split the payment.

In the morning we cuddled and chatted, laughed and played. It was beautiful to lie in his arms, just like I did once with the boy I loved.
I wanted to stay in that bed with him forever.
I wanted what I had had with Alex back.
He wasn't Alex, but we still had it. Something different, but still something that made me feel good.

I wanted to speak to him about the situation but I couldn't. I couldn't bring myself to ask the questions that needed to be asked.
And I sit here writing this still not knowing.
We checked out of the hotel at noon and I called Rhianna as soon as I was on the train home.
"It's fine," I said, "we're totally cool, it's not going to be awkward at all."
"Well ok, if you're sure. I know you've wanted him for absolutely ages so good for you!"

So these are the questions I am faced with:
Do I really like Theo? Do I really want him? Is he just another guy, another game, or do I really like him more than that?
Do I want to pursue him? Do I want to face the risk of rejection and the inevitable awkwardness that will ensue at work?

After a week of restricting, exercise and laxatives to ensure I fitted into my tiny dress on Friday, I spent the whole weekend eating again. This trend is frustrating me. Starving during the week and then bingeing and purging all weekend after a drunken Friday night. It has to stop. It has to stop. I'm killing myself. I'm living fast and dying pretty.
I'm killing myself so I can live the life I always dreamed of.
At school I wasn't attractive, I wasn't confident and I wasn't popular. And all my life since then I have dremed of being one of the elite, a 'popular girl'.
That evening, one of the guys at work jokingly called me, Millie and Rhianna the 'Mean Girls' because we were the popular party girls, always out, everyone knew our names and everyone knew we ruled the roost. I beamed because I realised that I'd finally become the girl I'd spent my teenage years wishing I could be. I'd moulded myself to fit that character perfectly.
I'm finally sitting pretty at the top and I love it there.

The only problem is what comes with that. All the guys at work think I'm a fun-loving bitch, a party girl who loves being single, loves playing the game, loves going out and having a good time.
"You give out that impression Ophelia, and guys don't want that, sometimes being shy and vulnerable is good. Theo won't see you as girlfriend material - unless he thinks he can be the one to tame you," said Millie to me the morning after.
I hung my head sadly. I played that character in front of all the guys at work. I played that character in front of guys full stop.
"I play that girl because I'm so insecure. I want them to believe that I have the power and that I'm in control."
"But you don't - the truth is that you would love a boyfriend and to be treated well."
"I know... but I don't like showing guys that side of me. I don't want them to feel that I'm weaker than them and that they have the power to make me feel loved."
"I think you should show him who you really are. Text him and say that the girl you played on Friday isn't the real you and that you want him to know that. At least that way, if he rejects you, you'll know he's rejecting the real you, rather than some fake character you played."

Theo. Theo has brown hair, a cute face and personality that caused us to click the moment we first spoke. He's not perfect.
But I don't care. He doesn't have the perfect body, and we didn't have the most mind-blowing sex. And ironically, even though that's what I value myself by, I don't care about that with him.
I want him in a deeper way. He makes me crave the relationship I had with Alex, the time we spent laughing and cuddling in bed, the comfort, lying there under the sheets, blissfully cut off from the rest of the world.

The bed we loved in was a spinning world
of forests, castles, torchlight, clifftops, seas
where we would dive for pearls.

I killed myself for him, yes, pushed my body to the physical limits over the week, for him, stuffed myself into the little perfect mould. I wanted to be the best for him, I wanted him to want me more than anything.
It was the first time that I had killed myself for a guy and felt his hands and eyes appreciate it.
So for him, I'll do it again.
(Also, for those of you who were wondering, Aiden bailed last Sunday. Had to have dinner with his sister.
Whatever. Not bothered. Moved on.)

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Who is Ophelia now?

I studied a book at University called ‘Spasm’ in which the author suggests that someone might create an illness because she ‘knows no other way of telling her life’s tale...the illness a conduit to convey real pain.’
Is that what my eating disorder is to me? The desire to stuff my face and throw up, the need to run until my feet are blistered raw, the buzz from fasting and curling up in a ball locked in the toilet cubical - are these desires created or born from the inner pain I had for so many years and had no way of expressing or feeling physically?

Cassio is in the dangerous position of making me remember who I am. I am the girl who devoured books and poetry, wandered around the galleries alone, writing, dreaming, opening up her bare, raw soul to the harsh elements of Art. He is a culture snob. Fine dining, classical music, expensive clothes, European languages, European cities. He could never love London like I do, even as an Italian, his heart will always belong, not to Rome or Venice, but to Paris. We talk about all these things, all the things I used to hold so close to my heart. That’s why I studied English Literature at University. But I chose to walk away from it all.

I came home, exhausted and emotional last Friday night and pulled out Sylvia Plath from my bookshelf and went to sleep listening to her recording of ‘Fever 103’. It was the first time I’d touched literature since I started in The City back in July and it reminded me that literature was the only thing that could make me feel what I was feeling. At least the last time I was working in The City I used to have time during my journey in and out of work to read a couple of chapters. Now all I read are the business pages, reports and analysis, news journals and magazines. I walked away from everything I used to love, everything in my heart, everything I am – was.

Of course I still love it. But I’m not going back. When I speak to people now, I tell them my biggest regret was letting my love take over me. I tell them I wasted three years of my life studying something pointless. Who cares that I have views on Shakespeare and Romantic Literature? That won’t make me money, that won’t get me a job, that won’t earn me respect.

But Cassio brings it back to me. He talks of his friends in the large investment banks with disdain. He tells me that the glamour I dream of is a lie. It’s all sleeplessness and overwork. He speaks of the beauty of Paris, the importance of culture and beauty. He makes me miss all the things I used to love and treasure.

My business trip to Dubai has been amazing. I was so anxious in the run up to going as I was travelling and meeting clients on my own, but I did it. The little girl from South London held her own; fearless. I walked away realising that there was simply nothing I could be afraid of now, nothing. I flew out alone, held meetings at funds and banks alone, holding court with men twice my age and experience. I did it. Brimming over with pride and relief after every day came to an end. I did it. I'm doing it. I've done it. There is nothing I can be afraid of now.

A year ago I wrote in this blog that I had lost everything, I shut my eyes at night praying that I wouldn’t wake up the next day. And honestly, I don’t know what it was inside me, but I didn’t die, I didn’t give up, I came back and I’ve achieved things I never even dared to dream. I achieved all this because I walked away from the avant garde, the love of Art, beauty. I would have been a penniless author like those I read about on Grub Street. There’s a reason why all the greatest writers and artists were mad or depressed – that’s what philosophy does to you. Living in the real world, cutting off those sensations, numbing the desire to read and write and feel... that is what has enabled me to take flight in the world of business.

So you see, I can’t go back. I can’t go back to that girl that you probably used to love to read about. Ophelia, the classic form, tragically broken and fragile, clambering for beauty, for the flowers which I hung about my room in ecstasy. That Ophelia was also the girl in the dressing gown, underneath her duvet, alone in an ice cold house, a floor strewn with images in magazines and a laptop full of written dreams. That is not my vision of success.

The only downside to the 'success' I've felt in the last few months is that once a bulimic, always a bulimic. The events of last Friday night threw me off the edge and into a spiral of uncontrollable bingeing and purging. Over and over and over again. During my time in the Middle East I dined on 5* food every night. And threw up 5* food every night. I came back to London looking like a whale, unable to control my intake, unable to put the fork down and say no. A typical poor person’s attitude to food; put me in front of a buffet that I don’t have to pay for and I want to make sure I get everything I can out of it. “I’ll never get to eat like this again when I go back home...” straight back to my hotel room, clean out the mini bar and stick my fingers down my throat until it’s all gone.

* * *

On Friday the lawyer, Aiden, sent me a message telling me he was finally going to be in town on Sunday. ‘Passing through' London, and his first port of call is to let me know.
Shame that I feel like a gross monster after a week of bingeing and purging extremis. But who knows when he will be 'passing through' next? I had to say yes, I'll be around on Sunday and I'll meet you for a coffee (lame on the coffee front but I take what I can get). Besides, it's nice to be chased for a change.
I was supposed to be knockout beautiful when I met up with him. I'm not going to be. But I have to get it over and done with.

I ran for two and a half hours yesterday to prepare, to try and deflate some of the weight which I had put on in the last week. I ran along the Embankment, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Green Park... back round to my gym in the square mile. I hobbled into the sauna and came out clutching at the handrail along the stairs, the world reeling about me. I felt so sick. Locked myself into the private changing cubicle, laid out my towel and sat on the floor. Horrified. I put my body through this, and look, still a roll of fat on my tummy, look, look. There is still fat on your body. All the miles you've run, all the good work, the bulimia will always undo it. Bulimia will always keep you fat. Last Friday I reached my lowest weight since I was 15. Lost control, binged for a week, and saw a dial on the scales go right back up again.
On the train back home I had to press my hand to my mouth to stop myself from vomiting all over the floor. Vomiting on public transport during the day is just so not done. I nearly didn’t make it. It was the cocktail of a banana smoothie and lucozade drink which I had after my run. Internal violence.

It’s Sunday lunchtime now and I have heard no word from Aiden. Poor form either way. To keep me hanging and waiting around or to pull out and bail on me. I don’t know which yet, but both are just as bad.

Today I feel very numb. And it’s almost as if I couldn’t give a damn. He is just some guy I put my body through hell for yesterday. So what. Even if he does message me now, I’m tempted to say it’s too late notice, made other plans now, sorry. My life moves at 100 miles an hour, you get one chance to catch me. I'll kill myself for you, but I'll only do it once.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The City Girl with no Class

Thursday 27th October

It has become a rule to binge - to eat myself to death - after a night out. Why. Why not. I am the queen of throwing up.
I'd had an intense few days at work - travelling abroad and then pushing myself to the limit in the office overtime. It was nearing the end of a long Thursday afternoon and I needed to smile, laugh, feel good, feel power, feel - feel something.
I knew where to get it.

I sent him an email. Dinner?
He said no.
Already had dinner plans.
But drinks was a yes.

I pranced over to his desk when I finished. Tony saw us, smiling knowingly at me. The good looking young kids always found each other.
It was lovely. I loved friendliness, I loved chatting, discussing, questioning. When the time came for him to go to dinner with his friend he asked me to join him and I beamed. Of course. We had dinner with two of his friends and one of their other colleagues - all Europeans. He told me I was the first English girl he'd made friends with. I smiled. That was me; I was always the exception to guys' rules.

It was fun, it was easy, I was so relaxed, so fun, so easy, as if he were an old friend. And then it started to come, the wandering of my eye, wandering over his face and body, wondering what it would be like to kiss him, hold him, thinking that it was what I wanted, thinking that it would feel so good.
Gareth was gone. I hope he doesn't try and talk to me again, it's gone, gone.

Cassio. It would never work, he'd never commit, it would never be the sound, stable, security I want, but it would feel good. He'd feel good, big brown eyes, thick dark hair, golden skin, beautiful features, softness, caressing...
And yet so free and fun and easy...

Shame that after dinner I stopped at the train station and ate my weight in junk food. Shame I had to go and throw up, make my face puffy, swallow a load of laxatives. Shame.
I will see him again tomorrow in a meeting and afterwork drinks. Shame.

Friday 30th October

No man is worth killing yourself for. And yet I will kill myself for anyone. A different guy a different week.

I left the party at 2:00am and wanted to do something stupid. Wanted to jump. Wanted to run in front of a car. Wanted to be beaten, bleeding. Here's what happened on another Friday night out with work colleagues...

All day in the office I kept holding out the underside of my arms in front of me, staring at the pure white and unmarked skin. I sat in the meeting, Cassio in front of me, wanting to draw lines across my forearm in red pen to pretend they were bleeding. All I could see were my fat legs sticking out in front of me, exposed where I sat. I caught Theo's eye and we shared a blushing smile. I'd pissed Cassio off last Friday night by spending the entire evening talking and flirting with Theo. Who was, in all honesty, the nearest to the type of guy I usually go for. I wanted him. I probably wanted him more than Cassio.

In the bar later on that evening though Theo left early with another girl - not someone from work - someone I didn't know. I was pissed off. I should have moved in earlier. When Cassio left a little while later I texted him to come back. And he came back. Only for me to keep talking to others, and he left again. Didn't come back when I asked the second time. Stupidity. Desperation. Crying out for attention. Fuck this, fuck this.

"I heard there was a bet going on as to whether you'd get with Cassio or Theo first," said Bill. I swore. I had to be careful now. I didn't want to be 'that girl' in the office. I was a mess. Talking about things I shouldn't, too liberal, too bad, too classless.
Classless - that's what I was. I dressed in a chic, sleek, black dress, new lowest weight, the lowest number I'd seen for years and years, perfect flowing hair, classic makeup, expensive shoes and bag, I was the perfect, archetypal London City Girl image.... except I was fucking classless, foul-mouthed, loud, flirtatious and dangerous.

I've lost a stone in weight since I started this job in July. Rob commented - "I don't know what you've done but you look fucking amazing. You must love walking around the office and having everyone staring at you. Have you been killing it in the gym? Because it's fucking paid off whatever you've done."
I smiled sadly. "Thank you."
Rob was a bastard. He believed no girl was good enough until she was model thin. However much I despised him, his words meant a lot.
Restriction, laxatives, vomiting, running, running and running. That's how I did it babe.

"Ophelia is so fucking fit, why's she with that little Italian guy?"
"You look fucking gorgeous, you always do, what's the matter with you?"
"You can't get with him... you're way out of his league, seriously."
We left the bar at closing time and a group of us headed back to a house party. I found myself with Chris, undeniably, a man with a heart of gold. I should be grateful and thankful for the kindness he has shown me, even when I've been a bitch towards him. I spilled my guts out to him, I spilled it all out in great floods of blood red emotion, pouring over the pavement before us, holding out my forearms and watching the skin break open and bleed. What did I have to lie about. I needed to tell someone. I needed to talk, I needed a human being to put his hand against my heart and feel the pain beating inside. And he was able to do that, his eyes looked at me the closest thing I can remember to a father.

We got to the house party and I made a cup of tea. I'd stuffed myself with junk food en route and was almost completely sober now. Why was I here? I was here because Rihanna had begged me to come. I was here because I hadn't had the nerve to be a classy woman and leave with dignity to get the last train home. I wanted to go home but I didn't know where we were or where to go. Idiot.

Standing on the balcony chatting to another girl and guy from the office I explained why I was drinking tea.
"If I drink any more alcohol I'll be sick."
"So what?"
"I don't really want to make myself sick that way." I hadn't realised the error in my sentence there. I should have said "I don't want to make myself sick." But having just stuffed my face with food my only desire was to get away from people and find a quiet place to throw up.
"How else can you make yourself sick?"
I looked at him as if he were stupid.
"Err obviously there are other ways."
"No there's not!"
What the fuck, I thought, is he that ignorant? "You stick your fingers down your throat idiot."
"Ha yeah but who'd do that?"
I just continued glaring at him like he was a fool.
"Shit, you're supposed to be like hahaha no way John as if I'd do that."
"Fuck you."
The girl with us looked horrified. "John, oh my God, what the fuck!" she chased him back into the flat, "Fuck! Are you ok?" she looked at me in shock, "Fuck!"
I shrugged my shoulders, unmoved, "What. It's fine."
I turned round to Chris who had witnessed the whole scene play out and raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah... you're right," he said, "People really don't react well to it."

I talked to a few more people and then gathered my stuff up to go. I would find a way home somehow. I wasn't afraid being alone on dark streets. As I reached the gate I heard John's loud, brash American accent booming down over the silent night. I looked up and could see their shadows on the flat balcony above me. He was talking about me. I paused and stood facing the gate, holding the railings, silent and still, listening to catch what words I could ringing in my ears.
"... I said you're really thin... kidding... she said you stick your fingers down your throat..."
"no! I didn't say that... like, fuck... expected her to laugh or something"
"oh my God, John!..."
I turned around as they stopped speaking and looked right up at him, two dark shadows on the balcony. I glared at him through the darkness. I know they were looking right at me. I know they had seen me. I glared at him wanting him to know I had heard. He was motionless. I know they knew.

I pulled open the gate and walked to the nearest main road. I scrunched up my face and tried to cry but there was nothing. I didn't know where the fuck I was but I knew getting a taxi home would be outrageously expensive.
Luckily I found a bus stop where I could get a night bus to take me back to Trafalgar Square and then got my usual night bus from there. I bought a chicken burger and chips, more food, shoved it into my mouth like a monster, ketchup and mayonnaise smeared around my mouth and chin, not caring.
I had reached a new low weight today, wore the tightest dress to show off it off, what for?! what the fuck for?! for stupid fucking Cassio, for Theo, for Gareth, for the boys I didn't give a fuck about in Sales, the men I didn't look twice at in Research, I did this to myself for Him, for Them, for attention, for a kiss, for sex, for love. AND I WALK AWAY WITH NOTHING.

I can't lie now. I've pushed all the way. There's only one way out. Push till you break. No way back.
I saw my therapist on Monday for a 'follow-up session' since I officially left treatment back in June. She told me to leave The City because it will kill me.
I know. And I love it. I don't care that it will kill me.
I want it.
"It's up to you now. You have to make a choice about what you want. Do you want to be safe and happy or do you want to be in this environment full of chavanism, superficiality, greed, mirrors, lust, pressure..."

I stood firm and I know I broke her heart in doing so. I wanted to be the ultimate success story for her, I really did, but I wasn't going to lie about who I was. I could have stayed in the school, in floral dresses and comfy cardigans, away from men and alcohol and the bright lights. But I've never wanted that. I love killing myself to reach the top of The City, The Square Mile, the darkest side of Capitalism, work hard, play hard, money, alcohol, mirrors, friends on coke, men wanting to fuck you, knowing they want to fuck you, running my hands along my shrinking body, feeling my hip bones beneath my dress, stretching in the mirror to see a concave stomach like the pictures I look at online.

I sat on the night bus, a guy several rows back throwing up over the floor. Whores in Halloween costumes, sitting in fountains, women bent double on the street while a friend holds their hair back, drunk kids groping at the bus stop, men passed out and snoring. I turned my nose up at them, but really I was no better.
I don't think this is fun, this stupid shit, this staying out late, this alcohol and getting drunk. I hate it. Been doing it for years. Hating it, every time I crawl home at 4am. I wanted to jump. I should be curled up on the sofa, fresh-faced and makeup-less, wrapped in a dressing-gown with the man I love and a box of chocolates.
What an image. I despise people who live in that picture. I'd despise myself. And yet I want it.

I ate about 4000 calories last night. 3000 calories today.

I fly to Dubai tomorrow for a week of business.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Diary entries from a City Girl - Power Struggle

Apologies for being away for so long and thank you to the 'lurkers'. I've been writing in my notebook meaning to post it up... :

Friday 23rd September

Playing games. I've been trying to stop myself all week. Every time I wanted to call Chris, email, message, accidentally bump into him in the kitchen... I kept having to keep myself in check, kept having to remind myself that I was only doing it for attention, only doing it for The Game. It wasn't fair on him or right to play with a person in that way.

I restricted all week and rounded it off with a triumphant binge.
Paraded around the office all day flirting and flitting from one guy to another, fake and bouncy, charming, pouting, batting my eyelids. Walked out the office door at the end of the day, scraped back my hair and walked the walk of shame to buy a weeks worth of food and shove it down my grotesque throat. Disgusting.
The little girl wants to call the 30 year old man, wants to feel his arms around her, wants to feel his love, any love, anyone. Love. Attention. Stopping herself because she knows she only wants to use him, doesn't really care, only wants to use him.
Sitting on the train, counting down the minutes until she can throw up.
I only ate because I know I can throw up.
Why could I just not starve.
Am running a race.
Must eat carbs. Can't eat carbs. Or rather can't keep carbs down.
Want to call him and tell him.

I spent all day flirting with all the other men in the office in front of Chris. I know he saw and I know he was pissed off and I know he knows what I was doing. But its his fault.
It must be, because it’s not my fault.

I want to put a new plan together.
Tony. One of the big swinging dicks. I sat in the front row of his presentation today and imagined undressing him.
He knows I'm attracted to him, I make it as obvious as I can. But that's not enough, the girlish giggling and blushing is not enough entertainment for me. I want to push for more, I want a real game here, I want a real challenge- and the second I know I can win, I'll back down I won't go all the way, I swear.
I have to play this one.
"I'm a banker - I like risk."

I love risk. I love putting myself in dangerous situations, playing Russian roulette with my body, pushing myself to the limit, reaching for extremes.

It makes winning so much sweeter.

Tony is the only man in the office that I do not feel more powerful than. He is the only one I cannot flirt and ooze confidence with. I want him because I want to overturn that. I want the power.

I will tell you I have an eating disorder, that's not a secret, but no one understands the extent to which that evilness inside me extends.
I am not thin enough. Don't tell me I am, because I'm not fucking deluded, I am a harsh critic, and most of the world is just too fucking soft.

I am obsessed with ambition and I do not understand anything else. I do not understand people who are not ambitious and driven by adrenaline.

If you are not getting up off your lazy arse and fighting to win, I do not understand you. The fight will almost certainly destroy me in the end - I will crash and burn in flames soon - but I understand destruction, I understand putting my mind and body through hell and pain. I have never just sat and been happy. Comfort makes me hurt more.

My eating disorder is part of that fight - because I believe that in order to win I must be beautiful. Getting up at the crack of dawn is part of that fight. Working late in the gym is part of that fight. Studying all weekend is part of that fight. Spending time networking and building a strong circle male city friends is part of that fight. Putting my body through late nights, overwork and under eating means I'll probably be dead by the time I'm 30 - but that's ok. Because I will have won - or died trying.

Think Nina in Black Swan. Except I am not a dancer, I am a City Girl with a deadly and evil ambitiousness out to destroy no one but herself.

And you know what the most frightening this is? - that girl should be so frightened - but she isn't. She is so consumed by ambition that she only sees the end goal and cares for nothing beyond that.

Friday 30th September 2011

“I hate that women derive so much power from their looks. But you know what I hate more? That I know that and I play to that anyway. I hate that I use my looks for power.”
He nodded. Another new boy in the office that I was flirting with as much as possible at Friday’s after work drinks – Henry – a poor Cambridge grad who had to listen to me going on about my ambition and desire to reach the top. And then there was Gareth, sweet, bumbling Gareth, finally talking to the girl he had seen around the office in the pretty dress with long brown hair.
I lapped it up. I loved it. I loved it so much. I loved the fucking power he was laying at my feet.
I stayed because I fucking loved it so much.

Chris was pissed off because I wasn’t flirting with him. But I didn’t care, he knew what I was, he knew that I’d been flirting my way round the office long before he’d arrived. He had no reason to be jealous because he’d always known he couldn’t have me – I wasn’t that type.
I am – I suppose – what we would call ‘a cock tease’. I flirt outrageously to give men the impression that I’m all over them- but I only flirt because I love their attention and being able to hold the power.
It’s just fun. This is the game I play – my hobby – my pastime. This is how I get my kicks. In the long-term, I’m waiting for my lawyer, my banker, I’m waiting for the man that challenges me, the man that I have to work for and fight for.

Rihanna and I have become firm friends with Mils in the last few weeks – and no – it isn’t a case of keeping your enemies closer – she is a genuinely nice girl who I get along with fantastically. She was as amused as Rihanna at my office antics and as a fellow single girl flirting her way though life, she has since become a close friend and great confidant.

The evening ended with more drinks, dancing, a walk through London, Rihanna and Mils doing crazy shit, trying to break into Rihanna’s house after we arrived and realised she had forgotten her keys, drinking a vintage bottle of wine Mils had swiped from somewhere, me passing out at Rihanna’s kitchen table and finally waking up at 7am with all three of us in bed together.

Thursday 6th October

This week I was abroad on business. It’s been a great experience for me, getting more business meetings under my belt and networking as much as possible.
Yesterday I received a random email from an Italian analyst called Cassio who I had met briefly in training – a friendly but formal email asking me for the contact details of someone I was connected to on LinkenIn.

Well, what can I say – he’s Italian – beautiful, glowing and utterly out of my league – I’d look like a fat, flaky, greasy pale slob of a human being next to him – not something I had had any interest in pursuing. But hey – part of my long-term strategy involves networking my way though every and any potentially valuable male in The City of London. At the end of the day, sure, I love flirting, but that’s not my only agenda – I want to know everyone and be known by everyone – popularity can open doors. And I’ve had doors shut to me my whole life because I didn’t know the right people.
So I responded to the email politely, leaving it open for a reply – and before you know it, a multitude of chatty emails have passed between us and we’re good friends attending a business conference together. Wait – ok – he mentioned the conference to me in one of his emails and added “join me”. So I seized the opportunity and ran with it, emailed the contact and got myself on the attendance list too...

I hate business travel. I hate that I need energy for meetings. I hate that we have hotel breakfast, that I have to go out for dinner, that I can’t eat what I want, that I can’t spend all evening in the gym, that I lose the strict and safe routine that I need to keep myself remotely sane. Every evening after dinner I came back, cleared out the mini bar of junk food and threw everything up.
I just wanted to be beautiful – and I couldn’t do that if I couldn’t be in control.

Back in the London office and the emails between Cassio and I continued so I decided to add Henry and Gareth to my emailing list. Although Henry dwindled off, Gareth was keen and I started to become drawn by his awkward sense of humour and sweetness. His emails made me smile.

Saturday 8th October 2011

I met up with an old friend from university who was passing through London and told him about my recent exploits. He encouraged me to think about Gareth
“That’s the type of guy you should be with,” he said, “a nice, geeky, genuine guy who will look after you.”
I nodded, “Well we’ll see. But you know the way I am, you know I play with men and you know why I do it. For all the times my heart was broken and I was made to feel worthless for not being good enough, pretty enough, thin enough – I was always the weak one, trodden on and used. This is my revenge now: I am the one they want, I am the one who breaks hearts and walks over those foolish enough to fall into my trap. I’m the one that makes them feel worthless for not being good enough to hold my interest after I’ve won the chase and played the game.”
He shook his head sadly and I just shrugged in reply. “I know I’m a bitch. At least I’m honest about it.”

Monday 10th October 2011

The effects of being abroad for work last week with a shit diet, bulimia, no exercise and almost no sleep had finally caught up with me. Over the weekend, my face had broken out into a plethora of spots which even my dedicated make-up routine could only partly disguise. As a result, I went to work with my self-esteem in shatters – I was unable to look anyone in the face and hid behind my computer screen in shame. Thank God all Cassio and Gareth saw of me was the words I sent them over work email.

It was days like this that I cried tears knowing that I would never be able to carry on much longer with this head on my shoulders. The only prevailing thought that I couldn’t break free of was that I was hideous and unlovable. Tears streamed down my face as I hid in the toilets and I walked past people with my long hair shrouding my face like a curtain, covering my ugliness. I was shaking and tense, pulling at my hair in anguish. At one point during the afternoon I crept into the kitchen to get a drink only to find Chris there doing the same.
“Hi Ophelia! How’s things?!”
“Fine thanks.” I kept my back to him and made my drink without another word before rushing out again as quickly as I could. I felt awful. I’d been a bitch to him because I couldn’t bear him looking at me. So I sent him an email apologising. He understood and was kind to me. I appreciated the kindness.

Meanwhile, every email I received from Gareth melted my heart a little bit more. My friend was right - he was exactly the kind of guy I should be with. So I made a decision: I was going to ask him out for a drink. I wasn’t sure if this was part of the game or not - all I knew was that I wanted to spend time with him.

So I asked. And he agreed. We were going for a drink after work on Thursday.

Thursday 13th October

I sat at my desk, my starving stomach doing somersaults.
My face and confidence were hardly back to their best by Thursday, but it had to be good enough.
At 6pm I stood in front of the mirror in the toilets knowing that he was sitting at his desk on the other side of the office waiting for me. I reapplied the makeup, redid the hair, checked my figure from every angle. Starving stomach doing somersaults.

He suggested a bar round the corner from where we work and so we went there. I was extremely drunk very quickly. Too much alcohol in an empty body. I can’t remember what we talked about too much, but I’m convinced it hadn’t gone well. He didn’t like my ambition; he didn’t need to be explicit about it. We were opposites. And yet I wanted him.
I took in the toned forearms showing under the rolled up sleeves of his pink shirt, the brown eyes, the awkward quirkiness, the humour, the smile. I started to feel the weakness seeping through my body. I was too drunk, shit, I was too drunk, it was too obvious. I was so tired, hadn’t slept properly for weeks, I was breaking, in front of his eyes. He didn’t know me, he knew the confident, fiery, strong girl that I performed. He didn’t know my beauty. And I couldn’t show it to him. I couldn’t drop the act, even though I knew he didn’t find it attractive. I texted a friend: “I wish someone like him could love me but he won’t and I can’t change who I’ve been for so long... He would never love me, they never do. I’m never enough, there are prettier, nicer girls.”

As I walked away from him at the tube station I felt the pain rise up from my heart. I cried and stuffed my face with food because I had lost the power. I liked him, so now he could destroy me.
I can’t even put down in words anymore... I can’t even drag this emotion out of me. It all went so wrong.

Friday 14th October
All day I had not heard not a word from Gareth. I expected something, I had a good time last night, or fancy going out again? Fuck, just something. I wasn’t going to speak to him first, it had to come from him. I’d initiated everything, the emailing, the drinks. He had to give me something back now, he had to prove that he liked me. I got nothing.

Today I’d arranged to go for lunch with Cassio. He was as good as his word, at 1:15pm, as Mils was perched on my desk chatting to me about my men, I saw him appear at the end of the floor, walking towards where I sat. I looked down covertly and whispered, “He’s coming.” Mils looked round and jumped off the desk with an elegant flick of her legs, “Have fun, tell me all about it when you get back!” I gave him a warm smile as he came over, “Ready to go?” I stood up and immediately cringed, I was wearing my highest set of heels and was noticeably taller than him. Although slightly thrown by his Italian accent (I’d never actually spoken to the guy except over email) the initial awkwardness quickly wore away thanks to my easy acting. To him I was like every other front office girl, confident and strong, so I played that part and everything was easy, I was chatty and fun and there was nothing to be awkward about. Despite his undeniable good looks I felt nothing for him. I found it impossible to connect with someone who I couldn’t fully communicate with. As English was his second language, I could never give him the depths of my emotions and fears and passions. I needed to be able to give that and feel that back, and I’d never be able to have that with him. Perhaps the situation would have been different if I had not started to fall for Gareth the night before. With my heart and mind so preoccupied it was impossible to find room for Cassio in my affections.

At the end of the day as people began to leave I was talked into going to the local Friday night drinking spot for one drink. I wasn’t really in the mood after the stress of the week and the last two days in particular, but found the temptation of being able to see Gareth and talk to him too hard to resist. He wasn’t there, he’d gone straight home. I couldn’t hide my disappointment. I hadn’t heard a word from him all day and I couldn’t let go of that. Cassio was there, talking to some others in his department but I wasn’t bothered, I ignored him. I began speaking to Bill, the guy who had introduced me to Gareth at the same Friday night drinking spot two weeks ago. I told Bill that I’d gone out with Gareth the night before and that I liked him. He gave me advice.
“He’s a really nice guy, but he’s shy - he’s not confident and outgoing like you. Plus he recently split up with his girlfriend so he’s probably been out of the game for a while and doesn’t really know what to do.”
Mils chirped up, “No, but a woman should be chased, she shouldn’t have to make the next move.”
I agreed, “At the end of the day, I’ve done all the work up till now. I intiated everything, I need to get something back from him, I need him to show me that he’s keen.”
Bill shook his head, “No, trust me, from what I know of him, you’re going to have to give him a push, he isn’t that sort of guy. You’re going to have to help him along, because he won’t make a move. If you want my opinion, you should just ask him and then you’ll know either way. Just say, I had a really good time yesterday, would you like to do it again? And then at least you’ll know and you can move on.”
It made sense. I was neither shy nor scared of asking him, I had just refused on principle. But at the end of the day, all I needed was to be able to break free of the sickly feeling inside my heart. I either fell for him and got the love I needed, or I found out that there was nothing there and no point caring about him and erased him from my memory.
I resolved to message him when I got home.

One drink turned into several and before I knew it I was one of the last people standing – again. As the numbers dwindled, it became impossible to ignore Cassio and we started to talk again. Soon we were in our own little conversation and one or two people had started to give us suggestive looks. I scowled back at them and shook my head, even though I knew deep down what we were doing. Eventually we were the last two left. I suggested we leave and he suggested we went to get something to eat. We walked to Leicester Square and found a Chinese restaurant that was open late. By the time we were finished it was half past two. I was exceptionally drunk from being bought drinks all evening and had probably been chatting shit to him the whole evening. However, he hadn’t seemed that phased by it and I was incredibly impressed that he seemed to like me enough to spend so much time with me and even take me for a meal. I was worried though. He was Italian, and he’d said it himself, he liked women. I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t going to try and pull him, but I couldn’t be untrue to my feelings. I didn’t want anything to happen between us. So before anything could even become suggested, I made it clear that I was getting a night bus home after the meal. He walked me to the bus stop in Trafalgar Square and waited with me giving me a hug and a peck on the cheek when my bus eventually came. “See you Monday, have a good weekend,” I said, just as I would have to any of my work colleagues on a Friday night.

By the time I got back home it was 4am. Remembering Bill’s words I logged on to facebook and sent Gareth a message. (We had not exchanged phone numbers and other than work email this was the only was I could contact him). "So I've just returned from drinks and dinner slightly worse for wear. Am going to sleep for two days straight! Anyway I enjoyed spending time with you yesterday and if you fancy doing it again soon let me know x"
That was his push. If I got no response asking me to go out with him then I was shutting the door on him and fixing the little wound that he had reopened. One chance, handed to him on a silver plate. If he doesn’t take it, that’s good - I will not spare another thought on him.

Monday 16th October
After leaving me to feel shit all weekend, he finally responded to my message yesterday afternoon: “enjoyed myself too the other night so would certainly be up for doing it again.”

I was livid. Even though the response was positive, I couldn’t believe that he’d still left it up to me to arrange everything again. I needed him to ask me out, I needed  him to show me that he was interested in me. Once I was back in the office I sent him an email giving him my number and telling him to let me know when he was free. I gave him the benefit of the doubt for simply being a shy guy.

As painful as ever, the rubbish reply came flying back two hours later: “I’ll let you know then. Things  are still pretty frantic with house searching this week so could be a bit spontaneous.”

Rihanna was blunt: That is a shit response and he has no idea how to flirt – LAME”
I agreed. It was ridiculous. As if I had time for this, and as if I had time for someone who I had more balls than.

I emailed Cassio and told him I wasn’t going to the Conference with him on Wednesday – there was no point – I was not bothered or interested in spending time with him, especially if it meant taking time off work to go.

The excitement here has fizzled out. New target needed.
I’ve been invited to a Charity Ball on Saturday – if I don’t hear by then Gareth, you will have lost me.

Thursday 20th October

I went out for a long run in a tiny top in the freezing cold yesterday evening to calm my anger. This was my new method of ‘self harming for calming purposes”. I was angry at the world again, angry at my face, at my body, at work, at Gareth.

By the time I'd got back from my run, he had texted me. “Fancy hooking up after work tomorrow then?”
Perfect, I replied and immediately took three laxatives, worked out some more and glugged down as much water as I could manage. It was fine, I had today off work so I could take ages getting ready and cleaning my body out.

Thank God though, he finally asked me. I smiled for the first time in days.

Today it was the usual. Laxatives, coffee, water, a cheeky apple and some juice. My body looked good, I liked looking in the mirror and smiling at my body when it was so empty. I hit a new low on the scales – a number I haven’t seen since I was 16, no word of a lie. I was pleased, good work, Ophelia, you’re getting there...
I was glad that I’d already chosen to take today off work, it meant that I could pamper myself all day and make sure I looked perfect, just like I used to when I was a student.

I slept in, took a long bath, used all my special body scrubs, body butters, etc, went to the hairdressers, went to the beautician, looked perfect, sitting on the train, on my way to meet him at the office...
got a message...
“I’m really sorry but I think I might have to bail on you tonight. Just been called for a second viewing (I know, ridiculous!) on a house I saw a couple of days ago and am pretty keen to get this sorted as it’s been a massive pain in the ass. Hopefully things should be less manic next week if you are ok to ‘take a rain check’ until then?”

I barely reacted as I got off the train at the next stop and turned around to go back home. I was angry that I’d wasted my time. I had so much work for law school to do. I’d been so keen to waste my time on him, to waste my time trying to look good for him. Fuck him.

I sent him four words: “Of course, no problem.”

And those are the last four words he’ll ever hear from me, even if he is stupid enough to try and rearrange things for next week.

I am the one with the power. I am the one in control.

...Which is why I just ate my body weight in food and then threw up. And then ate my body weight in food and threw up. Every last bit.
Because I’m the one with power, the one with control. NOT.

He’s the one in control. Even though he doesn’t know it and doesn’t have a clue, he causes me pain that pains my body. My body won’t last it. I know I’ve been lucky so far, I know, more laxatives tomorrow. I hate myself for eating. Good girls don’t eat.
He’s the one in control. Because now I have to be so thin, so beautiful, so perfect that I can make him hurt more than I do, I want him to hurt because he can’t have me and I hope it kills him the way it will kill me.

He’s probably just some normal, nice, innocent guy. And look at what I’ve turned him in to here.

As for me,
I’ve turned into a monster, I can make guys want me, but can't make them love me.
I’m a monster, I’m a bitch, I’ve turned myself into a City Girl caricature, an unfeeling actress who can’t remember the girl she buried deep down inside.

At the end of the day, perhaps I just want to make a statement. I want to faint at work, I want to die young, I want to be tragic and painful, but I want everyone to know.

My hair was so beautiful today. My skin was so soft. My body was so empty.
Tomorrow I will be back to being a bloated ogre again.

No. I will not let that happen. I will do whatever it takes now. I will not be the one that feels the pain. I will be the one with power, the one with control.