Who am i

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Recently i was looking at an old black and white photograph online of a smiling lady from around the 1940’s era. As i stared at it i wondered who she was. What did she do, who did she love and what did she think about. I couldn’t help but wonder if one day, long after i am gone, someone would stumble across a photograph of me and wonder the very same.

Nobody knows me totally you see. There are some things i just never tell anyone. Not because i dont have a someone to tell them to but mostly because i don’t like to admit some things to people and mostly because i dont like to wear a negative persona and bore people. I talk on here quite a lot and i guess i let a lot slip through my thoughts and little anecdotes but i never really confess some of the things i really think and feel.

 

Until now.

What do you see when you look at a picture of me? I look happy right? I’ve mastered the art of looking perfectly smiley in every photograph yet would you be surprised to know i loathe photographs of myself so much that i have to take dozens before i will allow one to be seen. My boyfriend despairs, he has long ceased to try and surprise me with a camera since he knows i will hate every shot and beg him to delete them. I am very unphotogenic which really doesn’t help me like them any better and so i do not very often take any. 

Look a little closer at my photograph, can you tell that i hate myself and cannot bear to look in a mirror? Did you know i used to be fat and that even though im now a size 10 i cannot look in a mirror without focusing on those areas where i still carry that excess weight? I fight an ongoing battle to keep it down and feel a real hatred for myself in those times when my emotional eating wins out over my dieting. I do not think anyone who has always been slim can possibly understand how hard a battle it is to win and even when you do you still have not won the war. Right now is one of those times. I was looking in the mirror today and felt an overwhelming disgust at myself and even calling myself names did not make it better.  I am struggling to lose the few pounds i have gained almost to a point of standstill and this just makes me hate myself more for being greedy and weak. I really envy those people who can eat as they please and never gain a pound whilst i struggle to make my ageing body lose anything at all.

Can you tell from my picture that im a loner? You’d imagine im outgoing and surrounded by friends wouldn’t you and at one point i  really did conform and do the whole friendship circle thing in a bid for acceptance. Strangely i am great in social situations, i’m told i’m very personable and caring and friendly yet oddly i do not often feel the need for the company of others. I am actually one of those people who likes their own company. I honestly think i should be happy if someone asked me to be caretaker of some tiny uninhabited island with only my partner for company. We are by nature social creatures and i know most people find me very odd in my solitary ways. Yet talk to me face to face and i am warm and funny and intelligent and extremely talkative, a pure contradiction in nature. 

Look into my eyes, can you tell i’m a dreamer? Can you tell that i lose myself often in books and films in a bid to find even temporarily those things that are missing in my life? Yet i never watch those happily ever after movies most women seem to love. I cannot bear the sugary tweeness of them and long ago lost the ability to sigh wistfully as some hero goes the extra mile for his girl. I confess in my older years i have become cynical and were it not for the fact that i once experienced that all consuming love i should think it a myth and scornfully dismiss it. Yet dream i do. Of chances missed and paths to take and a world a little better than mine. That i am extremely fortunate in many ways does not elude me and i am mindful to be thankful for what i have whilst quietly allowing myself those moments to dream.

Take another look, can you tell that i had a bad childhood? Would it surprise you to know that i was very unwanted when young and that my parents long ago disappeared from my life? I long ago accepted this and told myself i did not need parents anyway but secretly i confess that sometimes i envy those people with caring parents. Sometimes i wish someone would hug me and say we love you ,are you okay, do you need anything, we miss you. Would you guess that sometimes i just wish someone would miss me and notice that i’m not around. Oh they do, of course they do. When they need something. I channelled all a lifetime of being unwanted into making sure others did not feel the same and became everything for everyone you see and they need me. That’s when they notice. Not because i am me but because they need. Someone did miss me desperately once, i remember so well the feeling. It kind of touches your soul to know that you mean that much to someone that they do not feel complete without you. Between you and me dear readers i miss that, i hate admitting it but if i’m honest i do. It’s so touching to feel wanted. 

So look at me again. What do you imagine that i like? What do you think makes me smile, cry, scared or happy? Would you imagine for one minute that i’m a geek? That i love Tudor and WWII history. Would you guess that i coo over WWII war planes in the same way that i coo over my teddy bear collection? Can you tell that i love sci fi and war films and am totally at odds in interests to my very feminine looks and manner. Could you tell i always wanted a train set when i was young yet never got one or that i love to hike into the hills and watch the world go by especially on windy days? Did you know that i love storms and the rain yet im afraid of deep water and heights. I can watch any amount of surgery on tv even whilst eating my dinner, a fact which disgusts my children and i love to people watch. Would you know that i love all kinds of music from rock to pop yet if i have to choose one piece of music that stirs me i should choose Samuel Barbers Adagio for strings. I love that piece of music, it really gets me every time i listen to it yet nobody would imagine me to be a classical music kind of girl. I guess i have a very old fashioned soul inside that i do not often set free. 

Sometimes i feel guilty when i let little bits of me show. I feel like i am being selfish and should conform a little more to meet their needs rather than mine and so i do. I conform. I only let my happier personality out and keep anything else inside where it is safe and where i do not need to bother people with my thoughts and issues and those quirks that make me different. I guess perhaps i am a casualty of my own solitary nature, you tend to internalise a lot rather than sharing your inner thoughts with others. I know that i am a good person, i am by nature caring and compassionate yet i am whimsical and unusual and i was once told i am very deep.I never did ask what they meant but i should like to think they intended it to mean i have hidden depths.

 I like to help people and i like to feel needed to some degree. It makes me feel like i matter and that people notice i am around, even if not for the ways i would wish it. Perhaps i am too much of a dreamer and i have an unrealistic view of some personal utopia. Always seeming to elude me and forever keeping me dreaming. 

I think too much. Did you know that? Always thinking, always analysing anways practical and i know given the chance i should have made a good counsellor as i hoped i could have been. Still i use my skills on those around me and it makes me feel good to help even if it is only for a little while. 

Look at my photograph. Perhaps some day if you are ever looking at it you shall not need to wonder who i am or what i thought and dreamed. You may never know me but perhaps i shall not be such a stranger after all for i am just me behind a smiling image but i am me and this is just a little glimpse into the girl behind the anecdotes, funny stories and strong opinions.

I’m Amanda and it’s very nice to meet you. 

Just amanda 

 

The weight of desperation…

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As you go about your daily life it is highly unlikely that you will fail to see the obesity crisis rocking the western world in more recent times. Whether it be the huge increase of overweight people in general  or simply the ever increasing adverts screaming ‘LOSE WEIGHT FAST’ you would have to be blinkered indeed not to notice. We are a self indulgent society, there is no escaping from it and sadly it seems we only consider the consequences after the fact. Very far after the fact it seems for many and i myself have been no exception.

I am not one to take much stock of some aspects of social media yet i am amazed at how many people, my friends included, live their whole lives on facebook or its like. There is nothing too personal nor too private that they do not feel ready to announce to the world and i am ceaselessly amazed at some of the things i see and read. As a blogger i am happy to share certain opinions and amusing anecdotes relating to my life but i like the option of privacy and am selective about whom i share my intimacies of life with. Still i am not above browsing interestedly at the public announcements of my friends cringing or chuckling as the status may warrant. Today however, as i idly browsed i was struck by the number of weight loss adverts peppering many of the pages i viewed. Although all different brands and methods they all nonetheless screamed out the same message ‘LOSE WEIGHT FAST’  Perhaps the most alarming thing of all was not the presence of the adverts themselves but the sheer number of people flocking to them wanting that quick fix to their excess weight.

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For me it was a definite trip down memory lane and an almost Christmas Carol like visit to my former unhappy self. To say i was overweight would definitely be no understatement for the disgrace that i had become was almost double the person i am now. Yet it was all of my own doing and to a certain extent a deliberate attempt to obliterate the unhappy shadow that i had become. Never in truth did i consider the consequences of my actions nor did i have the foresightedness to realise that being big would not change the problems that had forced me there, it would only serve to be lessened slightly by the momentary comfort of some sugary treat. It is hard for anyone who has not experienced it to understand the comfort and solace that can be found in the arms of a bar of chocolate. If only the feeling lasted as long as the unhappiness but alas it does not and with it comes the crashing low of reality.

IM FAT!! 

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There may be those rare few who genuinely are happy being bigger and who do not feel the need to conform to a society ideal in order to feel attractive and loved. Sadly i like many was not once of those and longed to undo the damage that i had inflicted upon myself and be once again the slim person i had been before. But again like many i was daunted by the long road ahead and i failed to see the reality of the situation, it had taken years to become this large and it was going to take equally as long to take it away.

I wanted it now! 

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Therein we find the problem of many a dieter, once the decision has been made and the excess weight confronted we want suddenly to be slim overnight. This does not happen and even when the weight loss is rapid the effects upon the body cosmetically are not appealing as the skin fails to keep up with the speed of the weight lost. I have seen many a person embark upon some extreme weight loss programme only to be devastated by the resulting swathes of excess flesh where they had imagined some bikini body. Yet still they flock to these adverts willing to part with hard earned money for the illusion that this will be an overnight fix. I did it the hard way. I dieted, i failed, i cried, i sweated at the gym and i got right back on the wagon after every cheat and tried again. I threw many a tantrum and hurled many an abusive name at my reflection in the mirror but i kept on trying until i finally saw the results. In hindsight i think the stuggle in itself taught me more of a lesson than any quick fix ever could and even today i still carry on fighting the battle to keep from obesity. 

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I cannot help but feel a sadness for those who clamour around the quick fix for i was them once and i remember well the hopelessness and the desperation. The need to conform and the desire to be accepted and loved. Once you have been overweight you are never free from a diet for it is your curse to be susceptible to temptation and weaknesses that led you to where you were in the first place.Yet you learn in a way you never have before and you find a way to ignore the little voice reverberating in your brain urging you to give in and indulge.

I am quite sure i drive my boyfriend mad with my constant self criticism and shattering insecurities and that is my cross to bear. Yet thankfully he understands me and knows from whence it comes. He listens without complaint yet sometimes will reprimand me for slamming down any comforting compliment he may make. Perhaps the latter rather frustratedly for he knows at times that no matter what he says i shall not hear it.  But hear it i do although it maybe sometime later when it penetrates the sometimes self loathing i feel. It is a battle i shall continue to fight maybe forever but i’m winning…at least i am winning. Still i cannot help but feel sad when i see the girls i used to be, cannot help a wave of memories crash in, followed by the relief that i made it. Almost.

There simply is no quick fix. It is something you come to learn as you make the journey yourself, for the battle is as much inside as it is out. I made it on the outside, i was lucky and i do look good i grudgingly can admit this but it took someone else to open my eyes. The inside is something else and i shall carry on along the road with a supporting hand in mine.

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The weight of desperation.  

Do you feel better now??

Today i bumped into an old friend as i was happily skipping my way back from the gym to a very catchy upbeat song and i have to admit i was in an awfully good mood. Seeing she looked tired i asked how she was and enquired after her baby which i knew was a big mistake given past history. This particular friend is never happy and when i say never i really do mean NEVER. She is very self pitying and has more than a little tendency to make self derisory comments because she loves the attention and the fussing she gets from people who rush to console her. 

For a very long time i was a major one of these people and would daily drop everything and go rushing over as each crisis presented itself and spend hours dispensing positivity and praise in her direction to make her feel better about herself. Like any good friend i helped with self esteem and advised on diet when she complained she was fat (which was daily) yet never did she heed any of it and seemed to thrive on running herself down for attention. I wanted to help for i genuinely believed she had poor self image but over time i could not fail to notice she was often incredibly mean in reference to other people. 

Many a time in some public setting she would loudly and gleefully pass criticism on some poor unfortunate passer by , fully aware that the people could often hear her. My horrified reprimands would be ignored and she would laugh uproariously, finding the whole situation incredibly amusing. No amount of reasoning would make her stop and i began to come to the conclusion that she was either genuinely nasty or simply did so to make herself feel better. This aside i found it was not a situation i was at all happy with and eventually we parted as friends for i am not a person who is at all comfortable with causing distress and upset to others. 

Time passed and never did she change. Those traits so displayed in my company continued and grew upon a social networking site and i shook my head as others replaced me to pander to her needs. Perhaps this behaviour was so ingrained that she has no hope of ever changing, i do not know but still the part of me that was her friend cannot help but wish that she had accepted genuine help rather than settling for just attention. We passed in the street and i am nothing if not polite, always a hello and a smile would be offered in her direction yet i was not so keen to renew the acquaintance.

Lately i confess we have talked more and recently i rolled my eyes in resignation as she leered over a photograph of my boyfriend and the typical crude comments came forth. As usual i did not comment, i have found it better to stay silent and make a hasty exit these days. So encountering her again today i enquired as to how she was and stifled a sigh as she began the oh so familiar self pity and self annihilation  and wondered briefly whether to offer sympathy since she seems to need it so. As she focused her self hatred upon her weight i consoled and offered help but swiftly wished i hadn’t as she snapped at me

”Its alright for you, you skinny cow, You look okay YOURE not fat and ugly”

To say i was speechless was a bit of an understatement for she knows full well how overweight i was and how hard i have worked to get to where i am now. Years ago we had even started the gym/ diet journey together but she chose not to carry on where i doggedly persisted. I guess some people you really just cannot help and i shook my head and made my excuses to leave. I had nothing to say and no sympathy to pour upon her wounds and for once my kindly nature had totally run dry.

Musing some time later i realised she is far from the only person i know who behaves this way. Some not so self loathing but still with the propensity to mock others and render critical opinions where often they should keep quiet. I have always believed if you cannot say anything nice, do not say anything at all and i firmly adhere to this principle. The world is harsh enough at many a time, do we really need to be making it worse. Perhaps a little think before you speak would be something we could all use a bit of. 

So, do you feel better now?

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