Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Mean Girls

I look in the mirror and check myself before I leave. "That's as good as it's going to get," I sigh sadly. I see more spots come up and what I thought was smudged mascara actually turns out to be blue bags that aren't going anywhere. Great. The makeup has dealt with the worst, but nothing can hide my god awful stomach and shitty mood. I tear myself away from the mirror before I can muse anymore and make my mood worse still.

Food. That is another topic which can be a touchy subject. Everyone I know is debating over whether or not to have that chocolate bar. People come back from the shop with chocolate, sweets or crisps in hand saying "I am being a fat shit," or "I shouldn't be eating this," or "I am being so bad today." I count myself among those, in fact every single mouthful of food feels wrong, feels like I am contributing to the obesity epidemic.

I hear girls criticising each other for being too thin, for being too fat, for thinking they are too high maintenance with their appearance, or not high maintenance enough. I hate myself for not exercising enough, yet sometimes find myself sneering at the "gym bunnies" (though for that there is always the silent retort of "well at least they won't get diabetes")

Why do we do this to ourselves? This seems like a battle we can't win. We'll either be too fat, too thin or too obsessed. We are catty and jealous towards each other about the superficial things, and then it seeps into our own thought patterns. It is destructive, horrible, and utterly futile. By being this mean about ourselves, are we just doing a Mean Girls-esque thing where we make it ok for guys to treat us in the same way?

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Carry On

I lay there clock watching and as my alarm went I lazily swang my arm round and whacked the snooze button. As usual I had woken up just before I needed to. It seems to happen a lot now, regardless of how well or badly I slept. As I lay there I knew that today was going to be another one of those days. The one where you can't move and the very idea of people and what they may or may not think of you seems too much to handle. I felt like every single part of me was made of lead, and my eyes still felt fuzzy with sleep, even though I'd woken up a good 20 minutes ago. I never know how this happens. One minute I will be motivated and ready for anything and quick as a flash it can evaporate and turn sour. There doesn't even always have to be a reason. Today the voices are particularly loud. Those insecurities that seem to forever sit in the back of my mind are vying for attention and causing chaos. I am happy it isn't raining again, but I feel exhausted. I am not ready for today. I am really not. I tell myself I only have an hour to get through, but that does little to help. It isn't until my housemate comes into my room to make sure I am working (obviously I am not) and sees I am still wrapped in my duvet that I am forced out of bed and into the shower. I try to hold back the tears but today is particularly rough. I let the hot water rush over me and inhale the smell of shampoo and body wash. Life isn't all bad. But the shower didn't help. My usual rebellion of putting on makeup and making myself human hasn't worked. I still find myself in the foetal position wishing the world away.
"Will it always be this hard?" I wonder aloud. It is a miracle I am even dressed. I begin to wonder if anything is going to make this go away. I miss the old me. I miss the girl who is virtually a stranger to me. She wasn't always defeated just by the idea of seeing people, or rather people seeing her. I find myself asking what I should do in this situation, and how to carry on. My answer?

To hope. To love. To smile. To cry. To laugh. To write.

I hope that tomorrow will be better and if not tomorrow, then the next day. I hope that one day I will find the girl slipping from my grasp. I love. I love my family, my friends and all of the people who make my life a little easier without realising it. I try to tell them as much as possible, to remind myself, as much as them how lucky, how grateful I am. I smile through the tears, and muster up the courage to take a shot at happiness, even if it doesn't always work. I cry, I cry because it hurts. I cry because sometimes it is too much. I laugh because it is the moments of joy that I need to forget the pain, even if it is only for a moment. Finally, I write because it helps. I write because I want you to understand me. I write because I want to understand myself. In writing I can say the words I daren't speak aloud.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Messy Monday

Monday was a challenge. I felt tired and annoyed. When I met up with one of my best friends for a coffee, I arrived hoping to be a more positive version of last week's me who was manic and unfocused. Unfortunately today was not much different. In fact it was probably worse. I couldn't turn off the waterworks, and I was ranting and raving and expressing rather violent urges to punch Jesus... I think one of the many things I repeated frequently was that he was a douche. Constructive and mature right? Yet my friend sat there and listened, and told me everything I didn't want to hear but (if I weren't too stubborn to admit it) was probably absolutely necessary. In those moments I felt so grateful. I was hurting and it took everything in me not to completely break down, even though I cried, but I was trying. I was seeking hope and it is hard. But I guess that is something I need to come to terms with: Life is hard and it gets messy.

But there are always people who make it worth living. There are always people who can make me smile no matter what and it should go without saying that I absolutely love them.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Back to the Start

As I sat at that table, smiling and introducing myself, I felt my heart in my mouth. It was a casual social occasion but I already felt under pressure with these questions, people trying to work out how Christian I was or if indeed I was at all. The simple questions warranted a wince in response: "Do you go to a church?" A straight forward yes would have been sufficient, but also untrue.  So instead I hesitate and stumble my way through an explanation of my year abroad and try to find an adequate way to summarise my lack of faith and major cynicism. I think in the end I decided on "I have questions, so where better to go than back to the start?" I sat and listened obediently, interested and attentive, like I should have been. And to a certain extent, I was. The rest of me however, was jealous. Jealous of these people who were telling an audience of 1500 how they'd felt God change and impact them. One woman described her experience like a "warm hug." I knew that. I had experienced it. But it felt so long ago and so far away. And all I could think was; "In the last year I have tried so hard, I have spent so much time hungry and desperate for your voice, your intervention, yet all I heard is nothing." Nothing. That word used to be ominous, threatening, scary even. Now, nothing is my friend. It is a feeling I actually try to conjure. Wrong I know, and probably bizarre.  But as I sat there, reassured by my friend being there too, I also felt guilty. I knew exactly what to say, and how to react. So I did that. I fell into auto pilot, as on so many occasions, I said and did all of the right things. But I wanted to scream and shout and rage. I wanted to run. I wanted to cry. "WHY ME? WHY THE SILENCE? IF GOD IS REALLY THERE AND JESUS REALLY DIED IN MY PLACE AND HE REALLY CARES, THEN WHY HAVE I FELT AND HEARD NOTHING FOR SO LONG?" I always thought a relationship was meant to be two ways, and my one with Jesus has easily been one of the best, and definitely the longest one I have ever had. But this year, I have spent more time with radio silence than I have experiencing him. They say we always turn away before God does. They say that we are the imperfect ones who need his perfection. But if God is perfect, and if God loves me, then why has he turned his back? I have been to hell and back, but this is worse. What has been at the centre of my world for 6 years now feels wrong. It feels invisible. And that hurts. People say you should hold on. Even when you think you're done you should hold on. But my question is, to what? What is there to hold onto if every prayer is met with silence?

I don't want to feel like this. I would love to end this post by saying that going back to the start, by experiencing an introduction to Alpha again I had a huge breakthrough and I am stronger than ever in my faith. But that isn't true. Not remotely. If anything I feel more hurt and angry than before (which is an impressive feat).