Flying Visit

Hello, dear readers (yes, both of you!  Hi Mum, hi Dad!) and how are you?

Firstly, please accept some of these apologies – i’m afraid they’re a bit chocolatey – for my apparent inaction lately.  Yes, i’ve been too self-absorbed and crap to update this blog in, like, a couple of weeks.  Sorry about that, but i’m sure you coped.

Indeed, now i’ve only time for a quick update.  I think i’ll employ our good mate Ms. Bullet Points, then elaborate later, as i have to get my knickers on and fuck off – to a job interview, at long bloody last.

Things that remain the same:

  • When people ask how i am, i still say, “oh, same as ever”
  • Yes, that means i’m still ill – in that way – though the diarrhoea seems to have abated at last (to be replaced by the usual state of semi-constipation and what i like to call “glue poo”)
  • I’m still jobless and even more skint/in debt than ever
  • Still struggling with my dissertation proposal for uni
  • School’s out for summer though – just got to finish the above so i can do my placement and dissertation which, in theory, starts NEXT WEEK.  Oh my god, where does the time go?  Oh, yeah…
  • Public sector workers are still getting the crap end of the stick so i’ve been posting the following on arsebook since midnight: “Remember when firefighters, teachers, nurses, doctors and lollipop ladies crashed the stock market, wiped out banks, took billions in bonuses and paid no tax? No, me neither. Please copy and paste to your status for 24 hours to show your support for the strikes against the government.”
  • Still having trouble shortening that sufficiently for Twitter…

Things that are new:

  • I’ve started going back to O.A.
  • I’ve been and come back from visiting “the ex” – yeah, i’m definitely dumped
  • I got recognised in the street the other day, by someone who (very tactfully) said, “excuse me… were you on a documentary?”  Fame!  Or, er… not.
  • Job ninterview today!  If you think of it, between about 12:30 and 2, please feel free to send luck and success my way (central London).  Am currently trying to figure out how to mask the smell of desperation…
  • London Pride 2011 on Saturday!
I’m sure i’ll elaborate and remember loads more things when i get back later.  Bet you can hardly wait, eh?  Oh go on, be nice and pretend, eh?

Time flies when you’re… oh. Yeah.

At the moment i’m out of work again.  I’ve been temping whilst studying for my MA but the last one finished about a month ago.  I still miss my old (permanent) job in the library.  I worked there for six years.  But i was in a rut and i wanted to go back to university, to become A Proper Librarian, so i know it was for the best that i left.  But i do miss it.  And now’s not a good time to be looking for work, is it?  Then again, is it ever?

At home, with no structure to my day, only my rather vague resolve to work on my research proposal, and with no-one else around, my eating’s worse than ever.  No surprise there, eh?  So i’ve been looking for work, half-arsedly, in this strange state between life and death.

But i know that having a job won’t magically change my life.  Now, having a real job, a proper one where my skills are fully utilised, where i’m interested and engaged and busy with both my mind and my hands – that, i think, will make a big difference.  It’d be knackering at first, but that’s what i need.

Of course, the sort of work i can get, with a sickness record like mine and constraints on my time for studying and endless doctor’s appointments, well… i know from experience that it’s not great.  It’s mindless drudgery.  I can just work with one hand and binge with the other, sloping off every so often to the toilets.  And that’s just what i do.  Perhaps it’s a way of getting through the day, in order to ‘survive’ doing a job for which i can barely drag myself out of bed.

When the “trolley dolly”, at my last temp. job, came around to our floor one morning with her usual array of slightly battered fruit, unpleasant snacks and sugary drinks, as ever she spotted me stuffing my face with my usual bags of confectionery.

The previous time she’d been in, she’d joked, “Hide it under the desk, eh?” as i performed an unimpressive attempt at subtlety, chowing down on yet another bargain box of chocolates in a strategically-placed carrier bag.

This time, she said, loudly enough for the whole office to hear, “What are you munching?  You’re always munching something, aren’t you?”

I smiled, nodded mock-ruefully.  I did my little polite laugh and turned back to my computer, pretending to work.

Undeterred, she continued, “I seen you on the telly,” still too loudly.  “I know.”

“Ah, busted,” i said, feeling maybe the tiniest bit of shame, 99.9% indifference.

“No, is OK.  You keep munching,” she said.  Magnanimous.

And i did.  No-one around me said a thing.  Used to it, i suppose.  Like me.

“Ah,” i kind of felt like saying, but didn’t, “what can i do?  I’ve been doing this for over twenty years.  Maybe it’s all i know.  It gets me through, these days.”

I don’t fight it, like i used to.  Maybe i don’t even hate it like i used to.  I used to scream at myself, inwardly, stop, stop!  Put the food down!  I can just stop now!  Fucking stop it!  Walk away!  But something went on auto-pilot and my body carried on, despite my mind.

But now?  Resigned, accustomed.  This is what i do.  We all have vices.  We’ll all die one day.  Happiness is fleeting; who needs it anyway?


I don’t really believe that.  About not needing happiness.  Everyone needs – and deserves – a happy, decent life.

I’ve had a few messages since going on the telly.  Some are sad and desperate, wanting to recover but not knowing if they ever will.  Some of them are from partners of eating disorder sufferers, worried sick, wondering how they can cope.  A few of them are so young.  If i had a normally-functioning heart, i think it would break a little, each time.

A few are from well-wishers, telling me, oh, you’re so brave; or oh, you’re doing so well.

Thanks.  I’m not, you know.  Neither brave, nor doing well.  I’m as ill as ever – maybe slightly worse at the moment.  Binge-purge wise, i’m approximately as bad now as i was a few years ago, at my worst.  Then, of course, i was frighteningly under-weight, whereas now i’m at a normal, healthy weight.  Which doesn’t make me healthy, by any stretch of the imagination; but of course, that’s what people see.

So perhaps going on the telly hasn’t made the difference i’d hoped for, as regards raising awareness of “the invisible disorder”.  And although it’s helped the other two as regards further  medical treatment, i’ve stayed the same as i ever was – just as i expected.  Nothing really changes much, for me, so my old optimism that used to astonish people with its unceasing buoyancy, has dipped and waned into the reflection of a new moon.

Was it all a big fat waste of time, then?  Well, i don’t know.  I don’t regret doing it, but for my own objectives (which didn’t include my own recovery, because a few meals and shopping trips aren’t going to “fix” anyone), maybe it wasn’t so successful.  So little material was used, so much was over-simplified or simply mis-represented, that i’m left thinking we may as well not have bothered.

I wanted to tell people that, look, i’m an apparently normal person, with a very debilitating disorder.  This is what it’s like.  I don’t do it on purpose, or to piss anyone off.  I’m not a white, middle-class, heterosexual, teenaged girl.  I carry on, stoically most of the time, coping with life as best i can.  I’m not in A&E every week.  I’m not trying to kill myself: i’m trying to survive.  I may well be like this for the rest of my life.  There are loads of other people out there, of all ages and all sorts, who are very ill.  And you can’t tell by looking.

There are dog-knows how many people out there with eating disorders.  Old, young, middle-aged, queer, straight, asexual, transexual, intersex, male, female, neither, tall, short, fat, thin, medium-sized, black, white, brown, blue with yellow spots… there are people who overeat compulsively, people who binge, people who purge, people who binge and purge, people who over-exercise, people who chew and spit, people who only eat certain things and cut out entire food groups… and yes, there are white, middle-class, heterosexual teenage girls with anorexia.  There are as many different kinds of eating disorders as there are eating disorder sufferers.

Say what you like about this illness; but it does not discriminate.

But people do discriminate.  Even if they don’t realise, they have pre-conceived ideas about eating disorders.  Strangers, acquaintances, even healthcare professionals.  “Aren’t you a bit old for this?”  Or, “you’re not thin, so you don’t need help.”

There are so many people with eating disorders who are at a normal weight, or who are overweight, but although there is some (and it’s by no means enough) treatment for anorexia, there is almost nothing for bulimia, binge-eating, or compulsive over-eating.  If you look normal, if you’re (oh god forbid) FAT, if you act normal or put on a brave face and appear to be coping as best you can… you can fuck off.

The squeaky hinge gets the grease.

It’s another thing i’ve accepted.  I may be ill for the rest of my life.  People like me slip through the cracks for decades.  The illness gets so ingrained, it becomes part of us, harder and harder to beat as the years drain away.


Now… i often wonder, as i swing by my usual confectionery stops: do the shopkeepers recognise me?  Do they notice what i’m buying and guess what i’m going to do?

Back in The Old Days, i’d assume they were too busy and disinterested to notice, had so many customers there was no way my face would stand out.  But of course, that was Back Then, before i was on the telly, announcing my madness for the nation to gawp at.  Now it’s far more likely people will recognise my face.

And when i buy £50 worth of confectionery, eny fule can put two and two together.

Procrastination

Hello!

I’ve deliberately been trying not to write another post, till after i’ve finished my assignment for university; but so far today i’ve had a nap, ate some sweets, read part of the Guardian, lost an argument about anarchism over breakfast, frittered away precious time on Facebook, eaten everything in the house, been to the shop to replace it, started cleaning the bathroom but ended up face-first in the kitchen cupboards chomping again, spent more hours on Facebook and checked my e-mails several times… so all that’s left now, really, is to come and complain about it here.

Collection Development – how hard can it be?  Well, if you’ve had a couple of months to write a report about a fictitious library collection yet have left it till three days before the deadline, pretty bloody hard.  I’m stupid and useless.  Don’t be stupid and useless like me!  Do it now!  Whatever you’re putting off – go!  Go and do your homework or tell your nearest and dearest you love them or have a bath or  scratch your bum or apply for that amazing job before the deadline passes!

In case you’re curious, well, yes, i’m studying for my MA in Library and Information Studies.  I am, however, too stupid to follow my own good advice so here i am, arsing about on a blog when i should be writing about preservation issues with electronic resources, the advantages and disadvantages of co-operation, key reference tools for my made-up library and drafting a collection management policy.

I also should have learnt a whole load of music for tomorrow (i’m also in an amazing choir which i love and don’t want them to hate me for being a waste of space) but… have i fuck.  Plus it looks like i’m going to have to miss this year’s London Zine Symposium and, even if i do make it for a short while, yet again i have no zine to distribute.  Too much to do, not enough hours in the day.  Aarghs!

If you’re now scratching your head, wondering what a zine is and why it gets its own symposium, have a butcher’s here for more information and resources:

http://www.londonzinesymposium.org.uk/

Anyway, yes, yes i know.  I know i’ve the same number of hours in the day as everyone else; and there are many others who get SO much done, it’s incredible.  I’ve nothing but admiration and respect for them.  And maybe just a tiny bit of envy.  But in a curious, what’s-your-secret way, not a horrible mean begrudging one.

Let’s face it though: i may not know what their secret is, but i certainly know what’s holding me back.  Frankly, i’d have far more time to do what i want and need to do, if i didn’t waste so much time eating rubbish and throwing it up.  Of course.  Sorry to be blunt, sorry to be disgusting, but there it is.  Bulimia is a massive waste of time.  And money.  Crap me, it’s expensive.  I may as well, as one specialist so kindly pointed out once, just flush a few twenty-pound notes down the lav every day.  And myself, while i’m at it.  (I added that last bit – no need to call the tabloids, eh?)

On a related note, my temp. job is nearly up, so at the end of the month i’ll be skint AND out of work.  I’m a bit scared.  I’ve applied for loads and loads of jobs, none of which have been out the range of possibility, since going part-time with my studies.  I quit my last job so i could go back to university towards the end of 2009, thinking with my work experience and Awesum Sk!llz i’d find another soon or at least eventually; but each attempt is met with the don’t-bang-the-door-on-your-way-out faces of bored interviewers who don’t really want to be there listening to my crap.

Only the other day i had a thoroughly dire interview, for a job i could do with my head in the bin, but through which i mumbled and wittered till the cows actually turned up and knocked on my front door.  God only knows how they managed to navigate the underground.  Hats off to ’em.

Except i’ve lost my hat, haven’t i?  Along with my phone and my e-mail address.  I think the universe is conspiring against me.  Either that or i’m a ridiculous mess who needs to sort her life out.  Nah, i think the former’s more likely, don’t you?  It must be my face.

And no, i didn’t get the job, by the way.

Published in: on 16/04/2011 at 9:07 pm  Leave a Comment