Very Nice Birthday

This birthday was the best I’ve had for a long time. I woke up after a period of dozing and opened the shutters on a cool, rainy morning. Gina jumped onto the window sill and I gave her a treat and a kiss and then went to get dressed and make breakfast. Tom was in B, sleeping after a night working at the Casino, but he had given me a card before he left. (We had had two good weeks together since the last entry where I had written about doubts and having to talk. Let’s just say that I suddenly hadn’t felt the need to talk and my reason for it seemed far-fetched, so I let it go.) I first drank coffee and looked at Tumblr before opening my cards. Tom’s mother and sister had written, then Sissy, and last came Tom’s card. It was red and heart-shaped, almost a little tacky. But he had written the sweetest things: ‘My dear Aliénor, I wish you all the best for your birthday with all my heart. You are such a precious and wonderful person and I am really indescribably happy that we have found each other. Stay the way you are. I love you more than anything, my darling.’

I was moved and felt intense gratitude and joy for having a person in my life who appreciates me so much. Having it written down on a card made it tangible and real: somebody loves me just as I am. And this is wonderful.

Full of warm feelings, I began to bake cakes, prepare work lunches and tidy up before going to a strength class at AS. I had felt the urge to go for a run, but it was really cold and rainy, so I postponed it. The class was really hard, but something about working hard in a group with loud music makes me feel so powerful, especially weightlifting. Then I hurried home, had lunch, cleaned the flat and decorated the cakes. Tom was coming early, so I had little time and just finished showering when he arrived.

He carried a big, wrapped present. Just then, my aunt called to wish me a happy birthday and then Tom suggested opening the present now because it was something ‘to try out’. I had somehow guessed that he might give me a new coffee machine, but he had denied it. Then I had thought it might be a tea machine, but we had never talked about it and I thought it might be something entirely different. The first thing he gave me was a book he had told me I would get, called ‘Cuddle Sutra’, full of cuddling positions. We are both really big cuddlers. While looking through it together, sitting on the bed, Gina came and began to cuddle with Tom. Then I opened the big present. It was a tea machine! And a very beautiful one, too, with coloured lights. We tried it out immediately. Then we had dinner, one of my favourite meals, grilled lamb kebabs with homemade pita and cucumber salad, followed by chocolate cake.

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Later in bed, we snuggled and held each other very close and I told Tom that I loved him so much, and he said the same. I just felt very content and grateful and happy.

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Small Drama In My Head

Something is happening. I feel strange. Something new is up and I don’t know what it is. I feel more emotions, more highs and lows. I have a new topic to think about, but I’m not sure which was first, the topic or the mental state. Anyway, I feel more energy inside myself and this feels good, even though it isn’t a positive thing I’m considering. Oh dear, am I making any sense? I want to talk about this to somebody, but my family are away this week and June… has no experience with this. There was no time to bring it up with Mrs. H, either. So maybe it helps to write it out.

One part of this new state is a restlessness and craving for music and movement. I very much enjoyed weight training last night, with loud music and hard work in a hot room full of people. It made me feel strong and straight, and I felt joy in using my body and gratitude for my health and strength. There is a new confidence that was missing for some time. A part of me wants to run very fast. Ballet on the other hand feels almost too dainty to me at the moment, even though it is very hard work as well. But this is only a minor matter and not what I actually wanted to explore.

In the last entry, I wrote how there are some unfulfilled wishes in my relationship with Tom and also mentioned one possibility, namely leaving him. In all my relationship with him, I have very rarely considered leaving him, usually when my hormones were in uproar or I hadn’t dared voice my needs. But this thought has recently come up more often. I wonder if he is right for me. I wonder if he will ever be more conscious of the way he does things, be flexible and open, or if he will only get more settled in his ways and all our interactions will become routines. I’ve also written about not knowing certain parts of him. Well, that changed last Thursday, and what I saw worried me a little.

Tom has recently bought himself new shirts that he loves. He was wearing a white one and got a drop of tomato sauce on it at dinner, which upset him very much. He began cursing and acting as if the shirt was ruined forever. I helped him to clean it and put it in the washing machine, but the stain was still faintly visible. I was confident that it would come out eventually, but Tom couldn’t let it go. Later that night, he seemed preoccupied and when we tried to be passionate, his heart wasn’t in it, so I couldn’t enjoy it either. We embraced and talked and I tried to find out why exactly he was so upset. He couldn’t tell me himself, which worried me. He said he was mad at himself for ruining his favourite shirt and he would have to ‘solve it’ by buying a new one, then he would feel better. I asked him if he blamed himself and saw himself in a bad light, and if that was the reason for his bad mood, and he said yes. I then encouraged him to forgive himself and reassured him that we would save the shirt, but he couldn’t shake it off. We slept and then parted for the weekend next morning.

That day, I suddenly felt very hopeless about our relationship. If Tom had so little self-compassion and emotional maturity, or whatever it is called, that he couldn’t put something like this into perspective and let it go, then what would happen if it wasn’t about a shirt but about me? Would he always expect himself to behave perfectly so as not to upset me? Would he suffer in silence rather than tell me about his needs if he felt they would in any way inconvenience me? This is not a healthy way to live. This is not a constructive way to have a relationship. I don’t want an outwardly perfect partner who won’t open up to me. I don’t want to have to have to walk on eggshells around him, always trying to find out what he wants because he doesn’t want to tell me. This is exhausting. I am working hard to overcome this tendency in myself because I don’t want to be like this. I want to be a real person, including flaws and needs, not a perfect, boring image. My partner should realise this and be mature enough to be himself, too.

(I was only just now able to get to the bottom of why this episode upset me so much… Writing does help.)

Combined with my wish for more variety and greater intimacy, this thought grew to an uneasiness and worry if this was ‘it’ and my relationship with Tom was beginning to end. I go back and forth between loving him as much as ever, missing him, revelling in our closeness and all the tiny love-y things I have always wanted, and resenting him, almost defiantly thinking I could live without him, feeling as if he loved me more than I love him. When we text, I notice that I want to leave the hearts and kisses out sometimes, and have to force myself to send them because I don’t want to hurt him. But I don’t want to lie, either. I wrote to him on Friday, when he asked me how I was feeling, that I was pensive and dissatisfied. He answered by saying that he hoped it wasn’t because of him and the last night, and assuring me that he loved me. What could I say to that? I’m not sure if my dissatisfaction isn’t entirely a consequence of my current mood and all the other issues in my personal growth. I don’t want to hurt him or worry him, especially when he is away and we can’t talk face to face, so I said no and reassured him.

Anyway, maybe it isn’t really the relationship, maybe I’m projecting my general feeling of emptiness and lack of passion into it. It’s easy to be excited if exciting things happen with your lover. But this shouldn’t be the only goal. If they were to happen, great passion or a real fight, both things that have energy, then life would be more exciting (for a while), that is true. But am I longing for it just to FEEL SOMETHING? Because life is exciting if there are ups and downs and I used to be chasing that energy, that passion, with music, dance, getting thinner, stronger, imagining love stories (always full of pining), seeing myself as a tragic, lonely heroine. I’m not sure if my mind is running away with this topic just because the idea of conflict and drama adds an energy to my life which I have missed… Life with Tom is nice, feeling loved is wonderful, and for a long time it was all new and kind of exciting, but now we have settled into it and there is a certain routine. There is no longing, no wondering, hoping, pining. We love each other and belong together. This is where the stories always got boring…

If I am honest, I don’t want to break up with Tom. I would certainly regret it. If he isn’t right for me, it will become clearer with time and I can leave when I have a real reason to be unhappy. There is no hurry. We don’t want children (I occasionally think it would be nice, but find no good reasons and drop the idea again) and while Tom sometimes talks about living together, I hope we will wait yet. A part of me doesn’t even want to tell him about this. Certainly not like, ‘I considered leaving you because of…’. But maybe we will have to talk. It’s always I who start the hard discussions. I feel guilty for making him uncomfortable, and worried that I won’t be able to make him understand exactly what I mean, worried that he will blame himself and try to be even more perfect to ‘solve it’. Or he might blow up, shout at me, or I might. We might have a real fight. I might be so overwhelmed that I will say the wrong thing. But if I say nothing, I will come to resent him. I will internally distance myself from him and he, being sensible, will notice and worry. No, we need to talk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Update, News, Whatever…

In the last few months, I haven’t felt a true wish or need to write anymore. The main reason seems to be that I think nothing is important enough to write about, especially on a public blog or diary. Maybe I will stop writing here and do it privately. Somehow, I no longer feel the need to ‘share’ my thoughts and actions. It was never a wish for an audience or being popular and getting attention, but there used to be a wish to share parts of myself with ‘the world’, to not hide anymore. Although the attention I received was mostly welcome at the time, I must say. It’s nice to feel seen and heard, to know other people can relate to you. But now, I somehow feel that I am nothing special and have nothing to share. My thoughts, moods, actions are always repeating themselves. There isn’t much to tell and I no longer feel that I need to document my life thoroughly. Nevertheless, here I am, writing again…

I am doing much better regarding food, body and self-image. I no longer actively try to fight against my body, although I more or less keep dancing and exercising. Maybe two classes a week and another workout, a run or strength class. I try not to identify with ‘dancer’ or ‘fit person’ and then beat myself up when the image wavers. I eat what I want, trying to listen to my body. This way, my mind is free from constant thoughts about food and weight, constant cravings and guilt, back and forth. It still happens that I fall into old patterns and binge, but everything is much more moderate. I know that I reach for food to comfort and numb myself and to fill needs I refuse to acknowledge. I know that I feel physically and mentally horrible afterwards and this often stops me. I am much more in tune with my body and sometimes at peace with it. This doesn’t mean that I love my body. My weight has gone up again and I feel fat most of the time (and I objectively am fat, no matter what Tom says). I am trying to do more strength training to maybe naturally get back to the weight I maintained for six months, the weight I can live with, which is 10 lb. lower than my current one. I have accepted that I will never be thin without a constant struggle and have given up the struggle for the moment in favour of peace of mind. I try to remind myself that size does not determine my worth as a person. My body will never ever look the way I want it to, anyway. I will only age from now on and am not willing to spend my whole life’s energy on my appearance.

Since the highs and lows in my life have become much less extreme, I am better able to function and allow myself to have bad days at work, not expecting perfection all the time. I still wish I was more productive and resilient, but am fighting the notion that working a lot means having more worth. I work at other things besides my job, things like growing as a person, fighting my own mind, things the others have already done or never had to do in the first place. I realise now that I spent my whole youth hiding and running away from life, head in the sand, numb from my eating disorder. I never learned how to be a real person and still have a lot of catching up to do.

Things with Tom are objectively good. He tells me he is happy with me, talks of moving in together some day, maybe next year (!). We cuddle all the time and never fight. This isn’t fake, either. I tell him if something bothers me and tell him to do the same, but he says nothing bothers him and he sees no reason for disagreements. He thanks me for everything I do for him and is always supportive. He doesn’t mind my size and tells me I’m pretty and he still finds me attractive. We share passion almost every week. There are moments when I think he is the loveliest person in the world and weekends are hard without him and I couldn’t imagine losing him.

But there are also moments when I wish he were different, more active, more passionate, more stereotypically masculine. I am curious to experience the ‘common’ form of intimacy, to explore his body. I hold back expressing this, but let him know sometimes that I would like to try. He tells me we will get there and apologises, and I do understand him and don’t want to make him uncomfortable or put pressure on him, but still… He also seems hidden from me in some ways. I’ve written about it before. He has seen me in so many vulnerable situations, naked, in pain, depressed, sick, tired, crying. I haven’t witnessed more than a cold or a moment of annoyance (not at me, though) or tiredness. I’ve never seen him really sad or angry. He tells me sometimes that he shouts at people who annoy him at work or in public, and also says he would fight if it came to it. I’ve never seen this side of him and until I do, I will not be able to say I truly know him. And until I truly know him and know that I still love him, moving in together makes me feel uncomfortable. It’s not that I suspect him of being violent or acting in front of me or anything bad. He just hasn’t shown me some parts of his personality that I would like to know about.

I’ve had a dream where I kissed another man and considered doing more and cheating. It was exciting in the dream. Since Tom was my first boyfriend, first kiss, first everything,  I have nothing to compare. It’s just that, while I am totally inexperienced, I am finally open enough to admit to being curious and having the wish to touch and know the touch to be welcome, be touched myself in different ways, be ultimately close. In real life, I don’t want to be unfaithful and I don’t want to hurt Tom. My wish is not a reason to leave him. Maybe it’s the ‘honeymoon phase being over’, as all the articles say. We’ve had a second honeymoon phase ever since our one year anniversary. I’ve also felt a great improvement since we manage regular, satisfying intimacy. But lately, I’ve become a little restless again. I want more. I want a partner who craves my touch, who lets me undress him and explore his body. A friend told me her partner always wants her to touch him, while Tom is very shy about some parts of his body. I’ve only seen him naked for a few seconds, months ago, and once in the dark. He has nothing to hide, he tells me. He just doesn’t like what I want, it doesn’t seem so alluring to him. I fear that putting pressure on him is counterproductive. All I can do is wait for him or leave him. And he does make it wonderful for me, that’s not it. It’s just that I want some form of intimacy he isn’t ready for and this unfulfilled wish is sometimes hard to have. It makes me have unkind thoughts sometimes, thoughts like, ‘You’re not man enough for me’ that would hurt him. Sometimes, it makes me resent him, especially when he is being very tender with me, but treating me rather like a beloved kitten than a woman. I get the urge to tell him, ‘I sometimes consider leaving you because you don’t…’ or, ‘I won’t commit further until we …’. It also makes me doubt myself and think he would, if only I was more attractive, i.e. thinner, had firmer skin etc. (He tells me that’s not the reason). It makes me feel unfeminine to have this wish and my fragile self-confidence vanishes. Oh, it’s complicated. We’ll see…

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Emptiness

The tidying-up marathon is over. I really enjoyed it, and now my flat is much neater. There is space and a sense of order. Nevertheless, I feel disappointed. I had expected a greater feeling of ‘fresh start’, maybe a creative idea or a sudden realisation, some change. But what I sense is mostly emptiness. I came home last Friday after work and didn’t know what to do. Nothing left to tidy up. No energy for exercise or ballet. No desire for starting housework. I lay down on the bed and read irrelevant things on the internet for hours, then ate too much, then slept for ages. Last night, too, I just lay there with Tom, staring out of the window. It was a lovely spring twilight, but it failed to inspire me.

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The new order

My self-esteem is really low, too. I feel as if I was utterly boring and average, if not stupid and ugly. My ‘highs’ are gone, useless since I can see through them: I used weight loss, ballet and fitness as a means to feel better about myself for a long time. They are illusions. Fake happiness. So is love. I know I use Tom to feel better. I crave his affection and his words of endearment while hating myself and calling myself names. Coward. Lazy. Stupid. Fat (meaning too large and un-feminine, therefore un-lovable, undesirable, wrong). God, when and where did I learn this deep hatred of fatness? Losing weight has only made it worse. I feel once more as I used to feel in my youth (roughly 100 lb. heavier): inside, I am feminine, delicate, but also fiery and passionate, spiritual(-ish), but I look just the opposite and therefore feel like a fraud, as if I wasn’t allowed to take myself seriously. As Mrs. H always says: in these moments, I abandon myself. And my abandoned part cries out for comfort, but the only comfort I seem to give it is food. It’s a mechanism I have reinforced for years and now it comes back again and again.

And again and again, I have to tell myself: Changing the outside is not the answer! I have to not abandon myself when I hate myself, I have to find a way to love myself as I am, the way Tom seems to do. Unconditionally! This means even when I have eaten too much, gained weight, not worked out, not put on flattering clothes, not done my work well, in short, not behaved the way my ideal self ‘should’ behave.

On a more positive note, after a ten-day break from ballet classes, I have slowly begun to find new motivation and joy. I suddenly read ballet books and websites again and sometimes enjoy class despite my ‘wrong’ body. I even practiced at home a few times. I’m really trying to separate ballet/exercise from the idea of changing my body and just do it because it feels good.

On the whole, it’s not hopeless. There are ups and downs and many drab days, but I think I’m finally on the right path.

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