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Pride, stripped bare

April 12, 2012

I have lost my muse. At least, I have misplaced her, along with my dignity, self respect and several odd socks. My inability to write over the past weeks has been a genuine source of alarm; for without writing, at least these days, I feel that I have little purpose. It occurred to me today though, that perhaps the problem is not a lack of inspiration, but my avoidance of an abundant source of inspiration that is literally right under my nose. For me, writing is truth and, currently for me, the truth is painful. It is something I wish to avoid, and yet something that dominates my thoughts every waking moment. The truth is, I am fat, and I am addicted to food.

I don’t mean the kind of food I used to greedily consume in my down time at Sydney’s temples of gastronomy, or the down-to-earth home cooking previously promoted on this blog. I mean common junk, designed by committee and honed in laboratories, the kind that would cause Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to call for an exorcism. Exactly the kind of food that, intellectually, I abhor. I hate it; and yet I can’t get enough of it.

As a champion of good food, found in nature, this is a cause of shame and humiliation of a magnitude that eclipses my seemingly more socially acceptable diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. I have spent weeks, months, ruminating on the vicious circle that has formed in my life, intellectualising my problem and trying to understand why I keep reaching for food as a crutch when the very same is quickly eroding my wellbeing and sense of self-worth. As someone who has previously shown a predilection for addiction, perhaps an ‘addiction’ to food is a natural progression – cocaine being out of my price range. I have read and re-read the work of Dr David Kessler, who aims to explain how foods engineered to be hyper-palatable combinations of salt, sugar and fat tap into our brain chemistry and stimulate a desire for more. Mindless consumption is the enemy of mindfulness, which is the path to a balanced and meaningful life. And yet mindfulness serves as a, sometimes literally, painful reminder that I am fat, and it is uncomfortable.

I understand. And yet, I eat.

Addictions are often secret and deceptive affairs, and my propensity to gorge myself with Tim Tams is no different and has worsened since striking out on my own. Perhaps by bringing my problem into the light, I can begin to be more truthful with myself and others, not to mention illuminate something which those around me have surely noticed but kindly refrained from mentioning: I am getting really fat. I have increased my body weight by something approaching 30kg in around 18 sorrowful, sedentary months. My body is beginning to feel alien to me, as if I am wearing a fat suit. Though sure enough, when all is stripped bare, the fat remains.

As long as I have had a body, I have hated it, but I have a newfound appreciation of how healthy the size 14 me looked, even if she was not satisfied with her shape. Perhaps the key lies in learning to accept my imperfect self and making the most of my life regardless of my size. Perhaps if this can be achieved, I will begin to care for the self instead of trying to destroy it.

Having intellectualised my problem, perhaps overly so, my Doctor is urging me to focus on the positive things I have achieved in the recent past. Today I stopped to appreciate the beautiful home I have created. I also laughed – really and truly – for the first time in what seems like weeks. There is much hard work to be done though, and I am currently (perhaps foolishly) enrolled in not less than two exercise programs that I hope will help give me the kick-start I need to begin rebuilding my self confidence.

I write this with the measured awareness that my deepest shame is now on the public record. But I’ve never been one to shy away from the painful truth. Now I need to learn how to be mindful of it.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. Cath Renwick permalink
    April 12, 2012 21:50

    oh Flick – I truly hope you can find a way through all this. It sounds so very hard but if my wishes, and, I’m sure, those of your many many friends, would just work we would all be so glad.
    big love xx

    • felixexplody permalink*
      April 13, 2012 09:45

      Thanks Cath, much love xxx

  2. melanie young permalink
    April 12, 2012 22:00

    Jeez Louise you do inspire Ms Felix. What raw honesty (beautifully written) – and thank you for exposing a vulnerability which we all have (whether we admit it or not) – whether you’re skinny & a heavy smoker, or a model & overwhelmed with anxiety, spending hours at the solarium – it’s so hard to resist the influence of the modern industrialised world (which makes “food” called “Tim Tams” seem so attractive & satisfying. Anyway, apart from expressing my respect for your post, can I make 2 points?
    First, it’s hard when you feel a complete lack of control. I certainly do from time to time. Even just one small step towards gaining a sense of control & self-trust is worthwhile – write it down – eg “I will drink 4 glasses of water today”, say it to yourself in the mirror. Even if you eat 4 packets of chocolate biscuits that day, keep that promise to yourself & a sense of control may slowly resume.
    Secondly, the Buddha (who I think very wise & true) would remind you to be compassionate – not just to everyone else but most importantly, to yourself. Give yourself a break, love the bigger girl who can’t stop eating the sweets & cut her some slack – she’s not to be loathed but understood & cared for – she’s actually very nice! New Age rant over!

    • felixexplody permalink*
      April 13, 2012 09:45

      Thank you for your New Age rant! Your advice is very comforting and rings true. I will put ‘be kind to yourself’ at the top of my list and go from there :-) x

  3. CarmR permalink
    April 12, 2012 22:37

    You write from the heart – Love you Felix, always here and always loving you,Carm

    • felixexplody permalink*
      April 13, 2012 09:43

      Love you too Carm! xxx

  4. Sheri permalink
    April 12, 2012 23:54

    Your integrity shines. Your courage inspires me. Love you Felicity, love you.

    • felixexplody permalink*
      April 13, 2012 09:43

      Thanks Sheri, it’s wonderful to hear from you xxx

  5. Mark Hackett permalink
    April 13, 2012 00:00

    Touché,well done, great openers . I find your writing uplifting and liberating . Continue sharing your struggles and acknowlege the many blessings you have…. Even the material things. Stride. Forward knowing your not alone, Bless you

    • felixexplody permalink*
      April 13, 2012 09:42

      Thanks for your kind words Mark, and for your advice to keep writing. I already feel (spiritually) lighter. x

  6. James Moloney permalink
    April 13, 2012 08:19

    I’ve writen before that you have quickly become one of my heroes Felicity. You do honesty with such scary flair. I love your considered and reflective tone while you intellectually peel your own skin off. I have to keep looking away from the screen as I read. All the homespun advice folk can offer is so true and so useless really. Learning to love yourself is a huge challenge. Strangely for you I suspect, you’re in the remedial class. You need to catch up with the rest of us who already have such admiration for you. My homespun advice for today – the best weight loss program begins not with physical exercise (though helpful), but with training the mindful heart in loving yourself.

    • felixexplody permalink*
      April 13, 2012 09:41

      Thanks James. ‘Scary flair’, I love it! :-) Thanks for your homespun advice, it rings true. It will be a difficult process but I will get there eventually. x

  7. April 13, 2012 09:10

    Love you Felix – no matter how much of you there is! But I deeply empathise with you – it’s hard to find the courage to explore those deep deep things that make us fat.

  8. April 13, 2012 09:24

    I really enjoy your honesty and your writing. Take care

    • felixexplody permalink*
      April 13, 2012 09:38

      Thanks, and thanks for reading :-)

  9. Pommiefoodie permalink
    April 14, 2012 18:59

    Ah Felix, I am so envious of your ability to describe your feelings and your world. I want to tell you how much your wonderfully heartfelt writing affects me but I fear I just don’t have the words. All I can do is reiterate what so many others here have said and tell you there are people here who care, and sympathise, and find the things the you write so moving – and actually, inspiring too. Keep on being you.

  10. April 15, 2012 13:54

    I’m glad you’ve made the decision to take action. It’s a hard one to make and stick with. I have a very soft spot for dougnuts. And chocolate and lollies and bread. So much bread. I’m trying to turn it around too, you’re very much NOT alone.

    I look forward to updates on your progess, physically and emotionally.

  11. Chantal Wilson permalink
    May 13, 2013 12:06

    Hi Felicity,
    As a new reader,WOW!I think you may have an ability to shrink and creep into ones headspace,How easy it is to relate to your writings saids the girl who just ate scones,jam and cream after standing on the scales.We all have an inner child we must nuture. xxchantal

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