Just a short note: I have now added some photos of the forest walk to the last post.
I woke early and made breakfast and sat at the table in the living room waiting for my parents to get up, listening to music and writing. I was happy then and at peace with the world.
We had planned a trip to Lake Geneva to visit Chillon Castle and wanted to leave early to avoid the greatest heat. As always, though, we left later than intended. The drive was quite nice and I saw a part of Switzerland I’d never been to before. The valley grew more open and greener as we drove into the French-speaking part of Valais. There were several castles on hills and a red aeroplane looping the loop overhead (I love watching acrobatic flying and always feel a longing to be in one of those aeroplanes!).
We arrived at the castle. It struck me as quite small from outside. We didn’t follow a guide but went at our own pace through the whole castle, from the dungeons to the top of the highest tower, guided by a little brochure. Inside, it was surprisingly large. It was very interesting, imagining life hundreds of years ago; feasts, sieges, politics and everyday existence. Having read some Tolkien and Fantasy books and remembering scenes on screen, being in an actual mediaeval castle was impressive and thought-provoking. The tour led through narrow doors, dark passages, down slippery uneven steps into caves or up onto the walls. I am glad that I managed to fit everywhere and didn’t have to worry about planks collapsing or getting stuck somewhere, didn’t have to sit down on every bench and feign boredom to cover up the fact that I was physically tired like when I was obese. I may feel that I am too fat now, but it’s only an aesthetic limitation, not a physical one. There were many groups of tourists from all over the world and we crossed paths with them repeatedly. I particularly remember an overdressed Asian woman, a very obese Indian in an orange Sari, hordes of American girls with very short shorts, and a Turkish man running around hectically with his camera.
When we had seen all the castle, we bought some postcards (I do still send postcards even though June said it was old-fashioned. But I just love them and will always send a few) and then went to have lunch. Father had not slept enough and he was hungry and hot and when too many things like that come together, he is difficult to deal with, so we had an argument. I am no longer used to fighting with my family. Since I have moved out, we have rarely had arguments. I used to be very hot-headed always and could never ‘give in’. But even though I got angry yesterday and thought Father was behaving childishly, I had more control over my own emotions and especially my behaviour and was able to follow Mother’s example and just let it be for now. The more I learn about my own mechanisms, my reactions to stress, to guilt, to self-hatred, the more I understand my father. I could see, crystal clear, why he was overreacting. I saw every contributing factor, every trigger, every loop of thought up to the reaction. It was like a very clear model of what happens to myself. The difference is that I can recognise it in myself (mostly) and control the damage and help myself now, at thirty, whereas Father is totally unconscious and a victim of his emotions at sixty-five. I am grateful that all my struggles in life so far have given me some self-knowledge and useful results.
We started to drive home but wanted to stop along the way for some shopping. The drive was very tedious because it was the hottest time of the day and our air-conditioning didn’t work, so we had to open the windows. Heat and wind drying my eyes and skin, hair tickling and bright sunlight made ME feel quite overwhelmed this time. The anxious feeling in the grocery store (I want to eat everything and feel as if I should eat nothing/I want to buy lots of food and binge but don’t dare to choose too many things because I feel ashamed in front of my parents) just added to it even more and I was pretty miserable, even though I tried not to show it. I just exchanged text messages with June and tried to focus on my knitting. If prisoners could live for years in the dungeons of Chillon Castle, I could survive a few uncomfortable hours in a hot car with stupid thoughts in my head.
We got back to the chalet at last and I made dinner and we ate outside on the balcony. I really wanted to overeat, but was ashamed to take food in front of my parents, so I ate fruit after dinner and some biscuits and things they wouldn’t notice, but I still wanted more. I am so used to being alone and only having to deal with my own reasons to overeat or not. Last night, I felt bad about myself and fat and hopeless and I wanted an escape. If I had been alone, I would have eaten much more. Feeling this urge and not being able to follow it was extremely uncomfortable. It made me realise that I truly have a problem. It made me feel as if I was mad, even worse. After some time, I went back up to the living room so that I didn’t have to be alone at least, and I lay on the couch while my parents read and watched television, and tried to stretch my legs up to my ears and looked out at the rising moon.
I want to finish this post with some pictures from the castle. The first half of the day was lovely and interesting and I don’t want to forget that!