The Then – Now Continuum

I flip-switched myself into the past yesterday morning. The side streets of West London and places that I didn’t think I’d been.

I had.

About ten years ago.

I got off the train and was giddy-kneed with the memories. Things that I wish I hadn’t done and the horrible weight of wasted potential. Youth and possibility, yet I had my finger firmly pressing the self destruct.

It was not the best way to begin a few days that were all about laying the foundations for the next steps in my life, and I nearly turned around and gave up then… but, as I made my way home on the sweaty train this evening, I realised that this is probably how it is going to be. Shadows that try and pull me down; and a battle between then – and now – that I’m going to have to engage in, in order to win.

It has been an amazing few days, on reflection.

As part of my plans to change my life, I’ve decided on a new career; and the past few days have been spent at an exhibition trying to find out more about what’s going on. I have learnt a heap of things and my head is still buzzing; but it is the internal shifts that have made the biggest impression on me.

I noticed, yesterday, that I didn’t think about food. That I ate, because I needed some energy; but the worry was lessened by the excitement about what was going on around me; and, the obsession was softened by the other ideas and thoughts sparking around.

Today, I realised that, for the first time since year one in secondary school, I have been in a new learning environment and my whole brain has been totally engaged. That during school, and university, and my working career, the ‘activity’ has always come second to the food; and, suddenly, it’s the other way round instead.

My friend joked, last night, that this was “normal”, and this has been the third revelation that I’m still trying to digest. “Normal”, now that I’m actually doing it, is not quite as terrifying as it had come to mean in my head.

I have been distinctly “normal” over the past few days. Have been a virtual nobody. Have worn the same clothes as a lot of the other attendees; eaten the same food; made the same small talk….and I’m happy, for the moment, to disappear into the crowd.

Three lessons in two days is not bad going for anyone, but I have another message that is echoing around. It is something about getting the balance between the shadowy regret and the excited progression; about pacing, and not going with my tendency to leap, absolutely, from one thing to the next.

I am writing tonight for this reason. To join the dots up between where I have been – and where I am – and where I am heading. To break the pattern of separating my life into discreet chunks and then burying them away until a random memory winds me. To keep myself grounded, and whole, and coherent, so that I don’t knock out the scaffold and find myself crashing, alone, again.

I’m not going to dwell in the stabs of regret that I experienced on Tuesday morning, nor let them stop me from fighting, now, to move on. I’m just going to try and hold the two parts together, because they’re both part of who I’m starting to become.

p.s. This, as you can tell, is part of my ongoing blog bit! The re-structuring has been temporarily waylaid by the above and my inability to differentiate between blog / web. This weekend is set aside!…

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4 Responses to “The Then – Now Continuum”

  1. Splinteredones says:

    As I sit in C’s office reading this it strikes me again that you and I are on the same journey. In different ways of course. I’m battling alters and voices that are fading away then coming into focus then fading again. And your stuff is around your stuff. But I have been totally normal for some time too and I also find I cool. I also will be talking about how to stay away from the self-judgments and black pits that in the past have come to haunt me after I’ve had a gain. It’s like we’re sisters from different mothers and it’s totally cool. I’ll probably be blogging on something similar soon. ;) . Peace out hon.

  2. James says:

    Brilliant, really exciting stuff! Changes and transitions are scary but full of opportunity and fresh chances to rediscover yourself. Joining the dots and dealing with discomfort – working out what the shifts mean – may raise some moments of doubt, but it’s so much better than living in fear and staying in the same place, not trying.

    ‘Shadows that try to pull you down’ is a powerful, accurate way of describing the regret and remaining force of eating disorders, and it’s so inspiring to read about your new directions and fresh challenge. Keep on at it and best wishes for you fresh start – I look forward to reading more about it on a spruced-up new super-blog-site-cyberspace. :)

  3. Evan says:

    It sounds like it’s been a remarkable couple of days. Congratulations.

  4. Melissa says:

    Don’t want to dash your hopes James – not sure it will look that different – just a bit less of a maze (we hope!)…. ;D

    Thanks so much for the comments and support. The change is happening so quickly that it makes a big difference to have people cheering me on, so to speak, and really showing me that it’s okay to move on. Means loads. xx