This blogging is having an effect on me; I’m lying awake at night and the memories are flooding back. Some of it’s good…I’m blogging in my head, my creative juices are flowing and I’m getting that whole ‘authentic self’ out there. On the other hand, I’m not sleeping very well. Best I get my life story out of the way as quick as I can so I can go back to sleeping properly!
I did worry last night when my hubby-to-be read it and said “You’ve had a sad life, haven’t you?”
I haven’t. I really believe I’ve had a pretty good life, but I’m just trying to show the way food and dieting has screwed up the way I’ve lived it at times. My first marriage wasn’t so bad, we did have some good laughs. The freedom of having my own place meant I loved nothing more than to throw impromptu parties and invite people over. The logistics of this in a teeny one up, one down house were irrelevant. I did make friends in that first couple of years – one or two that stuck around for about 15 years, one of them I only saw a couple of weekends ago. The problem was that I was so miserable at work and it killed the confidence I’d started to grow.
If I’d had the confidence to stand up for myself when I started at Cambridge County Court, and believed in myself a bit more, I might have not ended up pigging out as much as I did to cheer myself up. I just put it down to classic comfort eating. I didn’t binge eat all the time, either. I did go on a LOT of diets and rarely managed to stick to them more than a week or so. I ate a lot of Lean (MEAN) Cuisine meals, half fat digestives and fat free yoghurts, none of which were very appetising. So what made me do it?
Looks are everything, right? I mentioned before that I wasn’t popular with the boys at school and felt like a bit of an ugly duckling. I wanted to be fashionable SO badly in my teens. When I got older I experimented a lot with fashion. Experiments that quite often went horribly wrong, but I still loved playing around with looks, copying styles and getting inspiration from Vogue, Cosmo, Looks, Elle, and every other fashion magazine filled to the brim with beautiful, skinny models. I went to the Clothes Show and I was in my idea of heaven. I saw Let Loose play live there in 1994. Remember them? Here you go:
I was never interested in looking like Kate Moss but would have chopped my arm off to look like Cindy or Christy or Linda. I even bought Cindy Crawford’s fitness video. Oh my GOD. I have the DVD now (never say I give up) and that routine makes me hurt in places I never knew I even HAD places. She deserved to look that hot.
I even looked into studying fashion design when I moved to Cambridge, but it was too expensive. If I’d got on better with my mum as a teen, I would have got her to teach me how to make my own clothes…I still hanker after doing that now, when I see gorgeous clothes that only go up to a size 16.
Anyway, I was obsessed with fashion, I had a longstanding inferiority complex about my looks and I wanted to be liked. I wanted to be able to look as good as skinny women did in their catwalk size clothes. I thought I’d be happy if I could just be beautiful. I desperately wanted to indulge my love of clothes and be able to wear the clothes I saw in the fashion mags, but I had boobs and a bum that refused to cooperate. Although even in the 90s it wasn’t as bad as it is now, there was still a lot of emphasis on being slim, and it wasn’t just about being pretty anymore, the big obsession was health. Zest Magazine and Health & Fitness became my new friends and I devoured everything I could about nutrition and exercise. I thought about retraining as a nutritionist. That’d help, right? OK, so the slight inconvenience of a three-year full time university course put paid to that idea.
Everyone dieted. It was a way of bonding with the women in the office, even if I didn’t want to be there. Nobody questioned the fact I was on a diet/off a diet. nobody could stick to a diet for long, it was just the way it was. I didn’t think there was another way, although by now I’d read Shelley Bovey’s ‘Being fat is not a sin’ and did start to wonder whether I was just wasting my time trying to be skinny when I was clearly not meant to be. But I soldiered on…
I was trying to be everything to everyone. The excitement of being a newlywed was wearing off, and I thought maybe I should change…Husband #1 was pretty fed up with me being such a miserable cow about work all the time. I did apply for job after job but didn’t get anywhere, further denting my confidence. I wanted more attention from him but didn’t know how to tell him that I was feeling taken for granted. Towards the end of 1994 I finally did it..I escaped the Court and was offered a job working for Trading Standards, to start in January 1995. I was over the moon! I celebrated by going to a friend’s house, helping her polish off a good proportion of the cheap spirits her parents had just brought back from a ‘Booze Cruise’ (remember those?) and throwing up in a bucket all the way home. Husband #1 was not impressed at all, in fact I think he drove over those speed bumps a little TOO fast to serve me right.
I called in sick the next day (well I *was* sick, and anyway, what were they going to do, sack me?) and when I returned to work, the Chief Clerk banned me from going out with the others for a Christmas lunch. Yes, really. I told you she was a cow. Then, the day I left, after the rest of the office had clubbed together to buy me a leaving present, she practically threw two CDs at me, spitting “Here you go. They’re by some band called Oasis. Never heard of them,” and flounced off, her nose in the air.
I remember as Husband #1 picked me up from work that night (I think he’d forgiven me for the vomiting incident..just) we put one of the CDs on in the car. “Whatever” by Oasis. “I’m freee-eee to be whatever I…whatever I choose…”
I stuck my fingers up as we drove away, mouthed a final “F*** you!!!” and looked foward to a new start. A new job, a New Year diet and a new me. Be careful what you wish for…