Things Change + A Poem

I made a fairly big call recently. I decided to return to my home town in regional coastal Western Australia. It is a place seething with bad memories, and as I have made very clear on this blog before, the source of much trauma.

As I was flying in, I realised something.

This isn’t a bad place. It’s a place where bad memories were made. And this week, I have had an opportunity to make new memories, and this place doesn’t seem so bad anymore. It’s uncomfortable to walk the streets, I have more anxious sweat then I ever realised was possible for a human to produce, and it’s triggering some very unstable mood shifts. But it’s been… okay. It’s been good. I saw my drama family (AKA my youth theatre of twelve years), and it has made me happier than I have been in a long time.

I suppose things change, and I’m glad that for once, they’ve changed in a good way.


Bad memories lurk beneath green rolling hills,

simmering with seasons toiled by decay,

a land marked for its absence and its lack,

even by those who choose to stay.

This place festers with bygones and

the wayward lost, to vices disguised

as adolescent adventures.

This place hides hurt beneath

roiling waves that crumble against the collapsing coast.

Salted waters sting against scars

leaving breathless gasps to mark their paths.

This place is one of hatred and despair,

with privileged joys mistaken for burdens,

with experience lost through ash coloured glasses,

that which cannot be returned nor replaced.

This place is underestimated, with its

stifling heat, and broods of gossips gathering;

the single skyscraper, barely reaching the clouds

that graze the sky rarely and tenderly

to drop an ocean desperately sought

by those governed meticulously by time.

This place is powerfully loaded, and painful,

and desecrated – not unlike myself –

But this place is mine;

this place is home.

19 Good Things From The Year I Turned 19

Today is my birthday. Today is not a day I expected to see. For the first time, today it truly hit me just how incredible it is that I have lived nineteen years on this earth. I have survived severe anorexia, depression and multiple suicidal periods. In fact, just ten days ago, I came my closest yet to ending my own life. But, just as my newest tattoo reminds mehere I am living despite it all. 

Something I have struggled with almost every day of those nineteen years is pessimism. Mostly directed at myself and my future, but also at the world and others as well. So I challenged to create this list, of nineteen good things that happened between this birthday and my last.

24/06/2017 – 24/06/2018

  1. Having a beautiful birthday picnic for my 18th on a beautiful day, with beautiful new Sydney friends (that’s it above)
  2. Getting my first tattoo
  3. Getting my second tattoo
  4. Painting props for the university theatre society – even though I didn’t perform, I was still a part of something (and got free tickets!)
  5. Leaving veganism behind me
  6. Making incredible and unexpected friends during eating disorder and psychiatric treatment
  7. Becoming a Christian
  8. Getting to meet the alpacas at my parent’s new property in South Western Australia when I went home for Christmas AND THEN one of the alpacas gave birth
  9. Ticking off a bucket list item by hiking to the Figure 8 Pool in the Sydney Royal National Park
  10. Re-joining the gym 
  11. Moving from my tiny solo place into a 2 bedroom apartment with another hip person
  12. Reading the Vegetarian by Han Kang before realising it was quite psychiatric and a little triggering, but excellent nonetheless. Along with lots of other incredible new reads such as Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
  13. Creating my largest t-shirt rag rug ever, for a custom order. It’s a massive 1.5 metres wide, which was no simple feat to sew by hand. Finding energy to channel into my Etsy store.
  14. Teaching myself to sew clothes – I’ve always been able to sew, just never clothes
  15. Doing lots of headstands in new kick-ass places
  16. Also learning to do fore arm balances AKA Pincha Mayurasana
  17. Finally starting actual physiology subjects now that I’m in the second year of my science / arts degree – and loving them!
  18. Completing my first ever eating disorder specific treatment in the eight years I have suffered from anorexia / bulimia
  19. Surviving to see my 19th birthday, which, because of a near suicide attempt ten days ago, I wasn’t even sure I would be celebrating. The other things on this list are great, but this the best one of them all.

A Word on Being Alone

For the first time in my life, I have experienced true alone-ness. Not loneliness, the longing for other people, nor deliberate isolation where my eating disorder could fester. Not a desire to be by myself. But a whole new experience – ‘aloneness’. I lived alone for just over six months, and, retrospectively, I have realised a few things about that experience.

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this picture is pretty but largely irrelevant and there is no deep inner meaning to it

Growing up, I was never truly alone. I am the youngest of three, but even once my two elder siblings moved out I was extremely lucky in that both of my parents were always around. I rarely spent a night by myself. I relished alone time as an introvert, but the house was never empty, it was never silent.

Then I moved to the other side of the country. My first experience living away from home was a very odd sharehouse situation that I’m electing to brush over because it was awful and painful for a few reasons and not all that relevant either. Put it this way: you do not want your housemates to discover you struggle with mental illness because you need driven to hospital in case you bleed out. Not. Good. After that, I chose to live alone.

During my childhood, even though I was constantly surrounded by people – at school, work, youth theatre and home – I always felt isolated. Ignored. Invisible. But not alone. I guess the introversion possibly caused by this isolation gave me the idea that living alone was for me. I thought that if I was still depressed despite being surrounded by people, thought that because I remained suicidal even when surrounded by ‘friends’ in inverted commas, that being alone could hardly make things worse.

Here’s the truth:

it did.

It did impact my mental health. Being with people keeps me safe, because even when I feel alone, I am not truly alone. When I was living by myself I self-harmed daily. Now that I have a housemate, I still self harm, but not as badly, for fear she’ll find me. It’s also not as often, for fear she’ll see the scars – or worse, fresh wounds. So having a housemate hasn’t ceased my self-harming behaviour, but it’s certainly a deterrent. Only time I’ve ever been grateful for anxiety.

Being with people keeps me safe, because even when I feel alone, I am not physically alone.

Living alone wasn’t good for my eating disorder either – its function practically shifted entirely from control to suppressing emotions. Bulimia became a comfort, whereas anorexia had been an escape. Conversely, now that I could control everything around me, around food I felt totally out of control. Interesting. Living alone isn’t bad in and of itself, but I know others were concerned about me, and I was concerned about myself.

Maybe things would have been different if I hadn’t lived on my own for a little while there. I don’t think it necessarily matters. What matters is that I’ve learned being around people keeps me safe. Being alone, does not. Introvert or otherwise, I do need people, as scared as I am to admit that.

An Award – after a month!

I’m honoured / awed / shocked / a little paranoid / panicky (thanks brain, hijacking all the good things as usual) to have been nominated for the blogger recognition award by the incredible Kaitlyn of With Being Alive.

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After only a month of this new blogging adventureMe: sitting in bed, laptop on knees, coffee curled into chest for warmth and comfort, awed. In awe. Flawed with awe. Floored by awe.

Whatever. Ignore the rambling poet in me.

So I guess that is why I blog. For the connections, the worldwide network of strangers who would seemingly go to the ends of the earth for each other, even though we’ve never met in person, never met beyond back-and-forth comments of support, recognition, validation and compassion. I didn’t intend to make connections when I started blogging again (this is round two, read about round one here). Except, I guess that connection isn’t the true reason. Blogging is a form of emotional purging. Now that word has some fun connotations for me as someone with an eating disorder, but it is just that. Emotional vomit. And for whatever reason, dumping my thoughts as eloquent trails of syllables and poetry and punctuation, helps. Blogging helps. Writing helps. Not many other things do. So when I find something that helps, I’m going to fucking stick to it.

Cool, so, yep, awe has now been replaced by my pal shame (I’m afraid of recognition from the whole “traumatic bullying experience and invalidation of everything good I ever did as a child” debacle). Shame makes my head duck, eyes fall, and lips smirk – even though I’m alone.

Moving on, the rules for these awards are:

  1. Post the Blogger Recognition Award Rules.
  2. Use the Blogger Recognition Award badge on your website.
  3. Share the reasons why you blog.
  4. Share two tips for new bloggers.
  5. Nominate other bloggers for this award and notify each of them about this nomination.

Here are my own nominees…

Wishes Into Stars

The Art of Becoming

Insomnia Girl

New bloggers – here are my tips:

  1. Stay true to yourself and your voice, no matter how many followers you lose, or how many people dislike what you do. Your blog is written by you, but it should also be written for you.
  2. People aren’t going to like what you write, 100% of the time. Maybe not even half the time, especially if you’re following the above tip. Don’t give a shit about it, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.

Yay for positive goodness, nay for the whirlwind of emotions BPD is currently throwing at me… over and out.

 

Blogging, round two

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I like to write. I like to ramble. I like to blog.

This isn’t the first time I’ve tried my hand at blogging. Nor will it probably be the last. My perfectionism kicked in a little too much with my last project, and it will inevitably become yet another project I regret not seeing through. I started a food blog – yeah, I was one of those people. This blog started with an Instagram, which started because a friend also recovering from anorexia thought it might keep me accountable as I tried to recover from this illness – on my own (it was a secret, mine and my disorder’s). So I guess, what it really all started with was losing my life to anorexia nervosa, an illness that first begun to strangle me at age eleven.

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The food blogging didn’t come without it’s problems. Turns out, becoming intensely preoccupied with food, such as collecting recipes, is just another symptom of eating disorders. I have always loved to cook, and bake especially, but once this thought entered my mind, I could no longer channel the same passion into my blog anymore. (That blog is here, if you’re wondering, and if the hosting hasn’t expired yet.) I even went so far as to ‘start’ a cake business. This was another project that got neglected, and fizzled out. Both the blog and business are two things I’m glad I did, and it definitely did help as I learned to eat again, but once anorexia morphed into bulimia, and creating new recipes became an excuse to binge, this was no longer a helpful venture. It was undoubtedly a great learning curve; I taught myself SEO optimisation, how to navigate WordPress.org, website customisation, HTML coding, manual photography, Lightroom for editing photos – it was not without it’s excitement.

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Things change though. Since starting that blog, I moved out of home at aged seventeen from the coastal community of Geraldton, Western Australia, to Sydney, on the other side of the country to study at a very prestigious university. I didn’t even realise when I accepted my offer that it was quite so prestigious.

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Although I may no longer struggle so strongly with anorexia, fighting my eating disorder – and her loud fucking voice – is still a daily battle. At the same time, I’m also still battling depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, emotional dysregulation, self harm, and suicidality. I have a lot on my plate, in other words. I no longer want to feel obliged to create recipes, take pretty pictures, post pretty pictures to Facebook, Insta, and finally my blog, do all the other self-promotion that a new blog post requires, and find some time to feel good about myself. Food blogging was great for a little while, it just became a chore, which I take as a sign that it wasn’t for me anymore. I mean, I did get a lot of free goodies, and made a lot of international internet friends, which was nice. But scrolling through Instagram everyday did me no favours, in fact I think it just perpetuated my eating disorder.

It’s just that I’m at a different stage of life and recovery now, a lot has changed since I started that first food blog adventure, and I no longer want to be restricted by the “food blog” niche. I like to write. I like to ramble. I like to blog.

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I’m Rosie Bogs. Welcome to my (new!) blog.