Posts Tagged ‘life’

Adventure, authenticity and 2011.

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Last night I went to a 1930s ball. I wore a long black dress, red lipstick and a furry shrug. There was laughter and music and dancing and human slinkies and it was exactly what I want 2011 to be like. Unexpected. Alive. Fun. Vibrant. Full of people.

Stretching the Horizon

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

I went to a body stretch class this morning. The teacher started by explaining that muscles grow if they are stretched; and the more stretchy they are, the better they work.

This isn’t a post about flexibility, though there’s an analogy in there about that. This is a post about life, because it grows, like a muscle, when it is stretched.

I did not realise this until recently. I viewed life and all the things it offered as finite and within eyeshot. I didn’t get that the horizon keeps expanding if you push beyond it; and that, though each experience and thing may be unique, there is an ocean of experiences and things to explore.

This opens everything up for me.

It means I don’t have to cling on to the particulars; and that the more I participate in life, the bigger it gets.

The muscle story caught my imagination because muscles seem to operate in a similar way: an initial twinge of discomfort when you stretch out of that comfort zone – and then the gradual extension and the wider reach that the action brings.

The past few months have been full of stretches. I have been pulling myself into new experiences and testing out how far I can go with life. When I started, I assumed that there would be a list to tick off as I passed through every first and each new activity. I also assumed that firsts and new activities were in short supply, so each came accompanied with a twist of loss. About half way through, something shifted, and I realised that there are always more firsts and they appear the further you go. Or grow.

It is like love. Find a little and tap into a mine.

Not rocket science, maybe, but something I didn’t appreciate until my life muscle became unstuck.

Letting go of the edge

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

I have a desktop of half-finished blog posts. They are driving me insane. I am not sure that they will ever be completed because at the moment I seem to be in a state of constant change. Things are moving so quickly that each post is elbowed aside mid-flow, and I rarely reach a clear conclusion before the next thing comes along. It is quite disorientating.

Ups, Downs, Rainbows and Black Clouds

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

My friend has recommended tea drinking, retail therapy, and bubble baths. I have opted for crying and crashing on the sofa instead. The excitement of the past month appears to have caught up with me. I feel like I have been running running running and then


Like a cartoon character with the tweeting birds and my head twisted 90 degrees, I have fallen flat on my face.


I am waiting for the birds to stop tweeting and the dust to settle before moving to vertical.

I think this is the downside to my up. The highs are electric and energising, and the lows leave me gasping and stunned. I have not mastered the art of walking the middle ground yet, nor fully acknowledged that life is yang and yin: a little bit of good and a little bit of bad with the beauty lying in the contrast. Nope, the centre still needs a bit of bolstering and I keep ricocheting between the two.

This is, I think, probably inevitable. Up until this point, my strategy has been to neutralise, negate or control. To remove myself from opportunities of excitement, and pleasure, and enjoyment, because their loss is almost unbearable; and to plaster over the downs with eating – or not eating – or thinking thinking thinking it all out. For many years, I opted out of life all together; then, I created my own see-saw in a daily routine of bingeing and purging: high, followed by low, but with the knowledge that tomorrow it would be the same again.

Round and round we go but at least we know the end….

Life does not work like this.

There are glorious rainbow-coloured ups where everything seems wonderful and connected and full of potential, and then moments when it’s really rather black. The difficulty, for me, is keeping my feet on the ground when I’m exploring the magic and also when the grey clouds start moving in. It’s about accepting that sometimes it is neither stormy nor golden, but somewhere, cloud speckled or slightly overcast, in between.

It is harder than I anticipated.

You have to be exposed to the storm, maybe, in order to appreciate the rainbows; but then, you also need to remain standing, come rain or shine. At the moment, I am still at the mercy of the weather, and haven’t quite adjusted to life’s ups and downs.

Two Days

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

I wobbled last weekend. Amidst all the pride at reaching my second year anniversary and after the giddiness of a jam-packed-life-changing week, I had a sudden panic, standing on the beach at Brighton, that the gap between the world and I is still too chasmic to bridge….

It is not the food that has turned out to be the hardest part of my recovery – it’s discovering how far I have removed myself from life.

A Backbone of Steel

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

I have a fractured tooth. It is a front one, which I’m finding quite hard. They have bonded it, for the moment, but it’s only a matter of time. The others are likely to go in the same direction.

It has been 23 months, almost to the day, since I last threw up; but the damage has been done. There is a little network of cracks spiderwebbing from my teeth to my ankle

But I do appear to have developed a backbone of steel.

Existential Depression? Another Piece of the Puzzle

Monday, June 14th, 2010

I have been trying, for years, to make sense of my illness. To gain some sort of understanding of why and where it all began. It has been like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle when you’re not quite sure what the end image is, nor when the next piece will come.

Most of them have emerged during my recovery. It was hard, before then, to see beyond the food. Now, I follow the clashes, and the discussion and the flashes of insight; and the puzzle is coming steadily along.

I no longer expect it to be completed.

Without Which I Would Not Be Me

Friday, June 11th, 2010

I have been re-writing my CV recently. It is clean, sparse, and formulaic. I have done a lot, in a relatively short space of time, but the lot feels overshadowed by the glaring delay. Plus, my biggest achievement remains unsaid.

I’m not too sure how well my background would go down. Whether it would be considered a liability or, as I’m beginning to view it, a difficult journey, without which I would not be who I am.

Without which I would not be me.

Tasting Life

Friday, June 4th, 2010

“Friday I tasted life. It was a vast morsel. A circus passed the house – still I feel the red in my mind though the drums are out. The lawn is full of south and the odors tangle, and I hear to-day for the first time the river in the tree”.

Emily Dickinson, from a letter to Mrs J.G. Holland, May 1866.

I wanted to find a snappy quote for Friday, but I fell over this.

Make of it, what you will: Emily Dickinson defies intepretation, and I have resisted the temptation to google her words into meaning.

She might be referring to food – which opens up the whole idea of exploring the tastes and is a lesson, for me, in itself…

Or she might be talking about life, in which case, I concur.

It is, indeed, a “vast morsel”.

In which I learn about ‘Positive Disintegration’

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

My friend Maria tweeted me this article on personality; and for those not on twitter, I thought it might be helpful to bring it over here. There are lots of themes, in the content, that correspond scarily to what’s going on in my head.

The basic premise is that in the quest for a fixed sense of self, we’re chasing a red herring or creating the next trap; because personality is fluid, the emphasis better placed on experience, instead of trying to hone in on descriptions -and fixed points – and an exact, unwavering sense of exactly who I am:

“The irony is that the more you seek to identify who you are, the more likely that you feel fragile about yourself. There is an inverse correlation between this question and your comfort with experiencing your life. The emphasis shouldn’t be on discovering what is buried beneath, but on facilitating the emergence of what we’d like to become.”

Ouch. I can totally relate to that.


Dwelling in Uncertainty

Monday, May 24th, 2010

I went to a School of Life Sunday Sermon, and heard a neuroscientist, called David Eagleman, speak. If I’d got round to any pre-event research, I would have gained a little insight into the stuff he’d be talking about; but I was, instead, hooked by a one word title.


Anything that might illuminate a concept I grapple with, on a daily basis, is guaranteed to grab my attention.

One Life

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Last week, I was asked what the key turning points in my recovery were.

There were quite a few – my teeth, another close call, the isolation, the increasing social disconnection, my brother, despair – but one powerful motivation which seems so obvious (now) that I rarely reflect on it, and seldom give it much space –

We have – that I know of – only one life.

Who’d Have Thought?

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Who’d have thought, a few years ago, that I’d be doing the things that I’m doing now.

It is important, every now and then, to stop and reflect on the progress, even if the process remains hard.

We forget, sometimes, just how far we’ve come, because we’re worrying so much about how far’s left to go.

It is limitless.

So, I’m taking a pit stop and coming up for air –

Because, who’d have thought, a few years ago, when it felt like I was “all talk”, that I’d be sitting here writing stuff down for people to read? And who’d have guessed, if they saw me frantically dashing between food shops, swollen cheeked and skeletal handed, that it was the same person calmly sitting here today.

Waiting for Godot

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Waiting for Godot screws with your mind. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The situation’s mad and the meaning’s elusive, but the resonances are crystal clear and razor sharp.

This afternoon’s performance at the Haymarket made me cry, which is not something I thought Matthew Kelly (of all people) would ever achieve. It reached somewhere I don’t think I accessed when I was studying the text; and touched a nerve that has only tingled in all the interim readings, of which there’ve been quite a few –

Muddling Through

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

With one foot in – and one foot out – of this thing that is life, I am only just beginning to realise the complexities, and the extent to which we are all just muddling along and trying to make the best of what we’ve got.

That we start, not as a blank canvas, but as a sketched outline, already shaded and shaped by the people that went before us – and those that preceded them; and, that the final masterpiece rarely resembles the vision but is, instead, a mishmash of the truths and illusions and feelings and experiences that we’ve picked up along the way.