Dating and Dickpics: Episode 13

13. Unlucky for some. But as someone with seemingly endless bad luck, I like to think 13 can signify some sort of change.

Well, unfortunately, there’s no change here. I was recently at work on a Wednesday morning, quite happily tapping away on my keyboard and coding paperwork, minding my own business and listening to Drake (obviously) when my phone vibrated against the cool, hard wooden desk I’d placed it on. I figured it was one of my friends trying to arrange plans for the weekend so I didn’t hesitate to open it.

It was an anonymous dickpic.

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Scarred for life

I’m not entirely sure what’s worse: a dickpic from a man you know or a dickpic from a complete stranger. Both are intolerable in my eyes and both are embarrassing but perhaps more so from the stranger because they are under the false illusion that somehow, their penis is so magnificent and aesthetically pleasing that you will jump on the next tube to their place naked.

I told the dick in question that his actions were repulsive and that I was not interested. I told him the sight of his ghastly manhood made me want to vomit. He proceeded to call me a whore. Right, I’m the whore. You’re the one who sent a picture of your genitals to a stranger, but I’m the whore. I preceded to destroy his logic by telling him that clearly he’s the whore out of the two of us because he’s so desperate for sex that he’s flashing his penis to an anonymous person. He then used some colourful language and after telling him to have a quick one-two pump in his hand because that’s all he could manage, I blocked him.

Lesson? I will always call you out on your bullshit and I will always have the last word if you dare disrespect me.

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Queen of Effortless Clapbacks aka me

There was another guy who decided to stumble his fuckboy-ways back into my life. He texted me after months and months of silence. His excuse? He’s ‘choleric’. In case you wondered, he’s talking about one of the Four Temperaments which have been wholeheartedly disproved. This was his oldy-worldy way of saying ‘I’m a fuckboy and I’m only messaging you because I want sex and for some reason, I think that I’m so special you’ll break two and a half years of celibacy for me’.

Any guesses on how I dealt with that?

Did I:

  • A: Express my wonder at him texting me again and partake in some polite conversation?
  • B: Make it crystal clear that I am looking for something serious, not a party in my pants?
  • C: Explain how much of a fuckboy he is, only for him to beg for another chance?
  • D: C, but sass him down and block his sorry ass?

The answer is D, because I don’t suffer fools gladly. I was a little shocked that he had bothered to text me but then again, if a fuckboy wants sex, they will magically remember the number of anyone they ever met with a pulse. I don’t think he actually remembered me. He did vaguely describe the night I met him but I really could’ve been any girl he met in any bar in London. He was horny and desperate. I am neither of the two and I have exacting standards.

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I’ll call you out if you’re a fuckboy

Remember how earlier on I was talking about how 13 is unlucky for some? It seems that this installment of D&D shows a change in luck, for I was recently with someone who met my exacting standards. We spent some time together and it was absolutely magical. It was, quite simply, the best weekend of my life (and I’m happy to say he also enjoyed it). He’s a good friend of mine and someone I feel extremely comfortable with. I don’t have to pretend to be someone I’m not. I don’t have to be perfect. My imperfections aren’t a big deal to him. He makes me smile uncontrollably and laugh like a complete goofball. The best bit? I managed to successfully introduce him to my real, true love, Grey’s Anatomy. It’s all very early days but I’m excited and for once, I’m happy. Long may it continue. And although I love all of my readers dearly, I hope this is the last Dating & Dickpics I have to write in a very, very long time.

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It wasn’t as cheesy as this but considering I’m a 20-something Bridget Jones, this picture seemed appropriate (note: I am cheesy)

Dating and Dickpics: Episode 12

As you can tell, my quest for love is still ongoing as we are now into our 12th episode of the tales of my tragic love life.

The past month has seen many different changes and dates. I have a new job which I’m looking forward to starting so I’ve been out and about a fair bit before I settle into the routine of the 9-5 life. I’m also writing a book! That’s the most exciting news, really. It’s going to take me a while but I’m chipping away at it every day. I’m actually shocked at the level of self-discipline I have. I mean, I’ve even held off watching Grey’s Anatomy because I dedicate my afternoons to writing, leaving evenings for watching TV.

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It seems like I do have a story and it’s getting published

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the same luck in my love life. I gave a guy I dated once a second chance…and he blew it. He contacted me recently after going AWOL for a few months. I told him that yes we had chemistry, but I was still unsure about him because he just disappeared and went radio silent for months. He told me he still liked me and wanted to take me out on a date so I agreed. Everything was fine, even up until the night before. We were talking and he was saying just how much he was looking forward to seeing me the next day.

I woke up the next morning feeling positive. He hadn’t called or texted to say he couldn’t make it so the date was still happening. I picked out my outfit, got ready and headed off to the tube station to hop on the next train to King’s Cross. When I was around 10 minutes away from that tube stop, I texted him saying I was on time and I’d meet him at Covent Garden at 3.30pm like we had agreed.

Then shit hit the fan. He texted me, telling me not to ‘leave home’ when I clearly already had. He said he was still at work. I asked what time he was going to finish — if it was a couple of hours, I could easily kill time in a bar or something. No, he was going to finish at 5pm. I told him I could do some shopping and wait until he was ready, then we could just grab dinner and some drinks. He said no, that we should reschedule and he would be too tired and too moody to go on a date after work.

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REALLY?

So let’s get this straight. He knows it takes me an hour to get to King’s Cross. He knew I would leave my house at 2.30pm. He didn’t inform me then that in fact, he couldn’t leave work at 1pm like his boss said he could. He would’ve known by 2.30pm that he was working late and couldn’t make the date. So why didn’t he inform me? I was livid. I’d wasted all that time and make up and he had actually stood me up. I’ve never been stood up in my life. I was so fuming that I was on the verge of tears (I do that annoying angry-cry thing). It was so rude, unacceptable and inconsiderate. I turned around and made my way back home. On my journey, I texted him and told him he shouldn’t dare to contact me again, that he’s a fuckboy and no, we won’t reschedule, because he’s rude and he can go to hell in a handcart. I actually wanted to let go and call him every name under the sun, but I’m too classy for that…somehow.

My mum and brother were super supportive. My brother, who is actually a really chilled out guy, said that he was appalled that I’d been stood up and that he was furious on my behalf. He also said that I should’ve joined him and his wife as they were only a few tube stops away and they would’ve gladly dished out tea and sympathy. However, I knew if I had taken them up on their generous offer, I probably would’ve burst into tears and I really just wanted to go home and get cuddles from my mum instead.

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My mum’s hugs are epic

I also went on a couple of dates with another guy, but that didn’t lead anywhere. Well, that was my decision really. I think that having been on so many first dates, I’ve fine-tuned my list of what I want from a guy and that means making tough decisions and not compromising on anything at all. I have high standards and people often remark that because of said high standards, I’ll probably be alone, but I’d rather be alone than settle for someone who makes me compromise on things that I really can’t compromise on. I still hold out some hope that I may find love, but it may take a lot longer than I thought. I could quite easily date someone who isn’t right for me for the sake of it, but that wouldn’t be fair to the other person. It’s better to be single and continue the search.

There is another man on the cards though. It’s all hush-hush at the moment and I won’t be spilling the tea any time soon. I don’t want to jinx it because this may actually have potential, but we’ll have to see what happens in due course.

In other news:

  • I’ve already started writing my book. It’s going pretty well, if I do say so myself.
  • I’m having a mini-staycation back in Exeter at the end of November (and if any of you are still there, hit me up so we can arrange something). I cannot wait to go back and rediscover my love for that place.
  • Unfortunately, there was a huge fire in Exeter which means I won’t be visiting one of my favourite places there because it’s been burnt down to a cinder. At least I’ll always have the memories.
  • Reminiscing about Exeter has made me realise just how hard it is to get decent cider in London. I’ll be drinking a lot of cider that weekend.
  • I’m working on Halloween so I can’t celebrate it, but I came to the conclusion that if I was celebrating, I’d have dressed up as The Joker.
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This is my aesthetic #goals

Anorexia: Two Years of My Life

This week has been Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Until this point, my blog has been focused on other things. Maybe I should have written my first piece on eating disorders. After all, I had anorexia for two whole years until I decided to recover.

At the age of 14, my parents started to worry about me. I was constantly upset and crying almost every day. They took me to the doctors who, despite my age, took me very seriously and diagnosed me with severe depression. I was too young for medication but I received counselling instead. I always say that the reason I developed anorexia was because of my depression. From what I know through other people I’ve met with eating disorders, usually the ED comes first, then the depression. I’ve always been a rule-breaker, though.

I was overweight at 14 but decided to join the gym. I lost weight at a steady pace, dropping from a size 14 to a size 12 in a year. I was more confident…but it wasn’t enough. I was bullied every day at school. I picked up a knee injury which meant I couldn’t go to the gym. So, to continue losing weight, I cut down how much I ate. I saw the weight drop off and I loved the result.

It kept going like that for a while. I dropped to a size 10 and my parents said that it suited me and I shouldn’t lose any more weight. But by that point, I liked losing weight. And I was never that hungry. I still wanted to lose more. The bullies still called me fat until my best friend pointed out that I was skinnier than the girl who tormented me, at which point I went from ‘fat pig’ to ‘anorexic rat’. By that point, I knew I had a problem. That Easter, I broke down crying after eating an apple and my brother consoled me. I said to him I felt guilty for eating it and that I’m fat and worthless.

Spring/Summer 2014. I documented my anorexia with pictures.

Spring/Summer 2010. I documented my anorexia with pictures.

I’m not sure what happened, if I’m being honest. At one point, there was a light switch and I just couldn’t stop losing weight. It became my mission. I was counting calories, challenging myself to consume less of them every day and exercising excessively to lose even more weight. The summer after my GCSEs was spent in the throes of excessive dieting and restricting, standing up for hours when everyone else was sitting down and feeling cold. One thing I remember most about anorexia is how cold I always was, even if it was a warm day. I’d be the one in a cardigan, shivering.

I thought things would improve when I moved schools for sixth form. I went to the school across the road from where I used to go but it felt like a million miles away. People could evidently tell there was something wrong with me. I was too skinny. I remember going uniform shopping and asking the shop assistant in Topshop if they did a size 4 because the size 6 kept slipping off my hips. She looked quite mortified and whispered ‘you’ll have to go to a specialist shop for that’. Despite all of that, no one bullied me at this new school. They were cautious but polite. If I was ever at a loss as to who to hang out with, someone would always say I could join them.

I began enjoying school. There were positive signs. I looked at my female classmates and thought ‘they don’t have anorexia and they are so beautiful and happy’. So I started walking to the local Tesco with these girls and buying lunch – proper lunch – and eating it with them to feel included.

Summer 2010. Bony.

Summer 2010. Bony.

Somehow, that all faded. The anorexia was too strong at this point and I was too weak. I felt happy in the moment when I ate lunch with the girls but as soon as I got home, I’d obsessively regret what I’d done. I’d figure out how many times I had to walk up and down my stairs at home so that I could eat a kid’s portion of dinner without feeling like killing myself.

Guilt is a major factor in spurring anorexia on. It’s what made my anorexia last two years. I had the constant feeling of my self-worth depending on how much weight I was losing. I felt ugly, fat and worthless. It didn’t matter that I was excelling at school. None of that was important, but anorexia was. If I ate even one calorie over my ‘allowance’, I would want to cut myself. I would walk around my room non-stop from around 11pm until 2am, then go to sleep. My life just became a cycle of trying to eat less than 500 calories, walking up and down stairs repeatedly to burn calories and standing. If I didn’t do those things, I would feel guilty; at times, it felt as though I had committed murder if I didn’t fulfil these challenges my warped  brain had set myself.

Summer 2010, just before my assessment at the mental health unit. I weighed 33kg.

Summer 2010, just before my assessment at the mental health unit. I weighed 33kg.

Everyone was worried about me. The problem is that anorexia is an extremely selfish illness. You become determined and driven to spurn everyone and their advice because what would they know? They don’t know better than the anorexia. They don’t know how much you hate yourself. They don’t know what it’s like to be inside your head, all those thoughts going round and round. They don’t know how much it hurts. They will never understand.

At one point, I got tired. I was just fucking done with it. The anorexia had taken everything out of me except one thing – anger. It was like a spark went off in my head and I got so angry at it. All my friends were planning summer holidays after their AS Levels and I was in such bad health that I couldn’t even get travel insurance. No one is going to insure someone who weighs 40kg. I couldn’t drink alcohol because of the damage it would do to me. I had lost all my muscle, pretty much. I was physically exhausted.

Summer 2010. I look dead. I felt dead.

Summer 2010. I look dead. I felt dead.

This anger brewed inside me and exploded. After my final AS Level exam, I promised my parents that I would get better by September so that I could fully enjoy my final year of school, go on holiday and be a typical, wild teenage girl.

Things started well. In the few months before finishing year 12, I had been restricting myself to 300 calories. I went grocery shopping with my parents and they prepared food in front of me so I knew that only healthy, wholesome stuff was going in. My parents only ever used olive oil if they were cooking for me, they would buy everything fresh and prepare each meal with love. I went from those aforementioned 300 calories to eating around 500 calories just for dinner. My parents were finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. My mum was smiling again. How I’d missed her beautiful smile.

But then tragedy struck.

There’s a thing called the Refeeding Syndrome. It’s what happens if you immediately give food to someone who has been starving. Their body isn’t used to receiving food. It doesn’t know what to do with it. You end up losing weight drastically.

Since the age of 14, I had been under CAMHS. They intervened. They said that my weight was too low and either I was to go to hospital ‘voluntarily’ or they would section me (so really, I had no choice). My mum was infuriated because she knew I was eating and resting, not restricting and exercising. She had seen a positive change and, as she is a housewife, she knew I wasn’t cheating.

Summer 2010, living at the MH unit. Skeletal.

Summer 2010, living at the MH unit. Skeletal.

Despite all of this, I had to go to hospital. I was in general hospital for 10 days, during which I lost 7kg. My weight plummeted to 33kg. Not healthy at all. The doctors told me I had two weeks to live because my organs would shut down. Ironically, they said – when it suited them – that I had fallen prey to the Refeeding Syndrome, which is exactly what my mum had said had happened whilst eating at home. During those traumatic 10 days, my mum visited me all the time, the nurses ignored me when I was crying out in pain and my aunt visited me to ask me whether I wanted to be buried or cremated when I died because she knew it would break mum and she was taking charge of what would happen in the worst case scenario.

The single worst moment was when my mum visited me one time. She said nothing to me. She sat down on my bed, let out a sigh and cried for half an hour. When she started to cry, I said to myself ‘I may feel I deserve to be punished, but she doesn’t’. I knew right then that I had to live. I had to get better. Even if I didn’t want to live, I had to because if I died, it would kill my mother too. I had to get better for her.

I was later moved to a special mental health unit for teenagers in Oxford. They assessed my anorexia and consigned me to a wheelchair. Yes, a wheelchair. I wasn’t allowed to walk or exert any energy. I had to be wheeled around everywhere. I wasn’t allowed to stay in my room either;  I had to be in communal spaces at all times so they could check I wasn’t getting up to get a book or something (that had to be passed to me or I had to be wheeled over). As I put on weight, I was allowed to walk around by myself and live relatively normally, other than the diet plan. The diet plans weren’t particularly bad apart from some of the glucose drinks they gave which were vile. They gave you a balanced diet, which meant that when I put on weight, it went everywhere, in all the right places.

Summer 2010, my absolute worst. I took this picture because I didn't feel I looked human anymore. It serves as a reminder and a caution for me. I was around 31kg.

Summer 2010, my absolute worst. I took this picture because I didn’t feel I looked human anymore. It serves as a reminder and a caution for me. I was around 31kg.

I spent a few months there. I met other girls with anorexia, yet I was the only one who was actively trying to get better. The others were still mentally at their worst point. They weren’t mentally ready to fight the anorexia. I’m happy to say that two of the girls who I met and connected with there are now fully recovered and are living their lives to the fullest. We often look and like current pictures of one another because we know how hard the journey has been.

After my spell there, I was discharged and allowed to return home provided that I promised to get to a minimum, ideal weight of 51.3kg (for me that was a BMI of around 18). I returned to sixth form in October, a month after school began officially for all my friends, and was met with love and kindness from all my peers. They knew what had happened and some had even sent cards and flowers to me in the unit. No one judged me. They were glad I was back and healthy.

I reached 51.3kg in January and was officially, fully discharged from CAMHS. The first year after recovery is always the hardest – you are most likely to relapse within a year if you relapse at all. Instead, I kept two very distinct things in my head:

  • I remembered to stay angry at the anorexia. It had stolen two years of my life from me and I didn’t want it to steal any more time or stop me from living and enjoying my life.
  • I remembered how much my strong, beautiful mother cried because of me. I’ve only seen her cry a couple of times. She doesn’t, generally. But she shed so many tears because of me. I had to keep on living for her.
Spring 2015. This is me now, 4 years after recovery. Happy and healthy.

Spring 2015. This is me now, 4 years after recovery. Happy and healthy.

I have been recovered for four years now. I still have depression but I take medication for it. I am a size 8. I am healthy yet thin. I have a degree. I am still here. I am still living. I am still breathing. The anorexia stole two years of my life from me but that’s all I will give it. It doesn’t define who I am. There is life beyond anorexia and eating disorders. If this has helped even one person, then I’ve done my job.