New year, new me? Bollocks to that!

Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Year Resolutions

"New year, new me". Bollocks to that! I've never quite understood why the dawn of a new year should make so many of us sit back and think "I am not good enough, time to totally change".
It's the point at which we all start resolving to lose weight, shell out for expensive gym memberships, load up on the kale and vow to give up chocolate and carbs. We look back over the year and apparently, we come up lacking. Nope, enough of that please. In a society which runs on a strange oscillation between self hate and selfies, how about breaking the status quo and saying "what did I do well in 2016 and what can I build on?" Make your 'resolutions' positive ones, as oppose to focusing on the negatives. You may be reading this thinking "that's all very well for the girl who spams our instagram feed with workout motivation and posey photos", and yes, I hold my hands up to this, but equally, I don't do that because I think going to the gym and eating as I do makes me any better than anyone else, it works for me, it makes me happy and I love being strong. It's also part of my work. I say it all the time, but remember, my life is definitely not as airbrushed or as together as my well laid out insta feed, and nor will it ever be. So, here is a challenge: try writing down. 1. 6 things you are proud of from 2016. 2. 6 things you are looking forward too in 2017. For all those working on recovery, 3 is to list 6 reasons to keep working towards health! I'm working on all my lists now. Happy New Year!

2016 goodness:

1. I'm proud of completing the Spartan challenge with my amazing girlie Holl and raising over £1000 for Vincent Square.
2. I'm happy to have a lovely home with the wonderful Phebe and a great job that I love with Lorna Jane. (Okay, that's 2...shhh)
3. I'm proud of my body's strength, even after all I put it through, it's comeback fighting and I'm proud of that.
4. I'm grateful for definitely getting sassier, may sound ridiculous, but surrounding myself with people who don't let people treat them like crap and who value themselves has taught me to act the same a lot more. I'm back to standing up for myself and being okay with not always being the nice one!
5. I'm bloody proud not to have relapsed. It's been a very tricky year in a lot of ways, especially with personal and familial issues. I would've thought that the first speed bump mean back down the rabbit hole, but I've proved I'm stronger than that!
6. I'm happy to have made life choices that work for me, after a lot of advice from those who know and love me. Maybe I'm not following the traditional path, or even the easiest, but I know I work hard and will get where I want to be.

In 2017 I can't wait for:

1. All the theatre- we have booked out a lot of shows and my diary is starting to look pretty beaut.
2. New acting challenges- times they are a'changing, but I plan to make the best of it.
3. New fitness challenges- considering a marathon.
4. Travel!- I work hard, so time to play hard. Long weekend with Thea already being discussed and a trip to New York on the cards. 👌🏽 a few more places on the maybe list...
5. Writing- it's been so good to be writing again and attempting to write a play has got me very excited.
6. Food! Weekly cook-a-thons became a thing during November, with the boys at uni and I needing some tlc and good food. It's good to have Recipe testers (and harsh critics) for my recipes, and to be able to sit and enjoy food with people I care about again!

Reasons to continue with recovery

I'm not writing this one as a list, just a bit of a ramble, but 2016 brought many recovery wins and I appreciate my body and the amount of progress I've made more than ever. I feel like a semi normal 20 something year old again. I still second guess myself a lot and sometimes have to get affirmations that I'm not thinking sensibly (cue messages to Jonah, Jake, Ross, Thea to double check that I'm not getting 'big' and my shoulders aren't burly), but hey, I believe their answers and just sometimes need the boost. I'm lucky to have friends who are there to tell me it's in my head and I'm a tit...I love cosy nights in at the cottage with good food and great people. I love eating out. I love nights out with Mickey and Dulcie, my Lorna Jane ladies and embracing a healthy way of life (post workout prosecco). I feel so proud every time Beth and I sit down for dinner and drinks, who'd have thought it? I love being warm and I love having the energy to dance, act, sing, go out and run...a lot. I actually feel proud of my body a lot of the time and even though the image I see can change from one mirror to the next, I'm working on that. I love knowing what's my desire and what's anorexia's. I love being able to give other people advice and all the emails of hope I get from those my blog has given faith too and, as cheesy as it sounds, I love all the people around me who have helped me build a life far bigger than anorexia. Here's to 2017, to all the new challenges, to no more boy errors (we won't go into that, but sassy sam may never let me live them down!), here's to all the fun, nights out and here's to a successful year, working on getting even healthier!

My New Years resolution, inspired my a sassy meme: 'bitch, I was fabulous this year, and I will be fabulous next year too!'

Frozen flames

Thursday, 29 December 2016

You should know that we are not cold, winter girls are the ones who know how fiercely our love will burn and are therefore afraid of extinction. We know the devastation the flames can bring, roaring through the world, painting a trail of destruction. We know of our own chaos and we know of our unpredictability. We knew you did not have the force for this fire. Even the strongest of men never thought something thats dance brought light to any room, could slay with such ferocity, or of a warmth that could so swiftly engulf and burn. It's the scars we leave behind that fuel our fear. One day though, someone will walk into the winter girls life and convince her he has the power to match that fire and the strength to help control it, just because you were not that man, boy, do not assume we are cold or try to dampen our flickering flames with cruel words and harsh touch. Simply wait for the ignition of he who can, stand back, and bask in the beautiful warmth we will bring to those who have the power to set us alight.

Surviving the Festive Season!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Food and family and festivities, oh my! Christmas, a time of excess, catching up with friends, festive frolicking and for some, a hell of a lot of stress. For me, Christmas brings mixed emotions. On one hand, it’s one of my favourite times of the year, I love the lights, getting everyone’s presents and the general festive fun, but the idea of the change in routines, familial expectations and excessive amounts of food bring with them a whole new ball of anxiety. The good news…this year that anxiety has been markedly LESS overwhelming than in previous years. It’s funny, because in terms of family and personal stress, things are probably more tense than ever, but in terms of my general coping, I feel far more able to manage these worries. In fact, thus far, I’ve really been enjoying the festivities. From a lot of festive pre-christmas g&t’s and prosecco with my girl Hollie, to a gathering of all the OAPs at uni for a Christmas dinner, it’s been pretty great. I’ve not been sitting counting calories obsessively or panicking over food that (God forbid) wasn’t carefully planned and agonised over by yours truly. Yes, I helped with Christmas dinner by providing a few festive pieces, but it wasn’t all vegan squash stuffed with quinoa and veggies (although that was on the menu), I was also able to indulge in a bit of my very own peanut butter cheesecake (which was 100% not ‘lean’ or ‘clean’) alongside some of my ‘healthy makeover’ chocolate molten cakes. Guess what, I didn’t wake up the next day feeling like the Michelin man, in fact, I woke up happy and full of festive spirit after an alcohol fuelled evening of food and articulate with good friends (if not a little hungover). Last Sunday Phebe and I had a festive night in with mae deli takeaway (amazing), chalet girl and fluffy blankets. I have my own advent calendar and have hot chocolates most evenings. Yes, they may be my own version and a little more healthy, but my lifestyle is one I choose to lead, rather than being dominated by anorexia. There is flexibility to my routines (to an extent) and Christmas activities are actually enjoyable! The moral of the story…eating is a lot more fun than not eating. This time 3 years ago I was on a hospital unit, waiting to find out whether I’d be allowed home for Christmas. Yep, I was super skinny, but was I happy? Absolutely not. Even going home and doing meals on wheels on the big day itself (my favourite festive tradition with 2 great friends) was not fun really because it was a constant struggle between myself and anorexia. For everyone else, I was not great to be around. I was exhausted and in a swirl of calorie counting, overlooking the food prep and working out how I could eat less than I would have to in hospital. That’s not living. That’s surviving daily controlled by a daemon with only your demise as its end goal. So, with 2016 coming to an end, whether it has been a good one or a bad one for you, take a step back and if you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, try and remember how much more glorious life can be if you take back control, because however strong you feel for being the one around the table who barley eats, the waif by the fire who everyone thinks may disappear, holding on to your disorder is not strength and your ability to shrink is not a sign of resilience, quite the opposite. I plan to do a post in a few days about making new year resolutions and things I learned in 2016 (look at me, actually updating my blog more than once in a blue moon), but in the mean time, try to enjoy the festivities and strive for health and happiness this festive season!

Life doesn't mean life

Monday, 28 November 2016

What exactly happens when life doesn't go to plan? Does it all happen again? Like a tidal wave, ready to put your life on pause again until you are ready to press play...I sort of worried that would always be the case. That my life 'post anorexia' (I place this in inverted comers because I'm not entirely sure what post anorexia means), would have to be a series of very fortunate events, running on a smooth trajectory of positivity and every now and again stopping to lie in a bed of roses until another glittery unicorn popped up to ride me along my yellow brick road. If the unicorn didn't show up, then, well, I'd be pretty screwed and would most likely end up back in a World of starvation, blood tests, mania and obsession...I think this is the opinion of many people. That anorexia is a life sentence. That us fragile soles will constantly be teetering on the edge of death, toying with the notion of dancing with our old friend once again. 

It's odd to consider myself even writing this post now, for one thing, I never really thought I'd get to a place when I would be able to say anorexia no longer rules my life, let alone be able to honestly say that I know, now, that I have grown into a woman who is stronger than the disorder that once controlled me as it's puppet. This is not me saying I am totally healed. I still have ticks and struggles that aren't typically 'healthy', my brain often has to be put into place because, it will, at points, still scream abuse. I am still really quite terrified of pasta. (Don't ask, couldn't tell you, that ones just stuck), but, I'm still here. Recently life has thrown a few curve balls my way. Personal and familial issues have been quite tough and I have, at points, felt a little like every aspect of my life was a bit of a mess. Nothing was going to plan. I did consider protesting against the unfairness of circumstance through hunger strike, yes, I admit it, but I countered that thought. In fact, I've tried to slap it in the face. After receiving some particularly bad news, I called 2 bloody great friends, got them to meet me for dinner. I didn't say what had happened, I wasn't ready to talk about it, but I knew that I had to have people around me and I also had to eat. When presented with the menu and realising my usual salad had been taken off, I quietly decided to order a pizza. This would be mundo first pizza in about 5 years. When the waitress came round, the pizza was requested and the shock of my dinner companions made the entire thing worth while. I was anxious. I didn't manage it all, but luckily, I was with human hoovers, who are always willing to help out. When I told Phebe, lying at the end of her bed, she was just as happy as I was. When I told Jonah and Thea, both expressed their upmost pride. (Jonah being Jonah also wanted to know exactly what kind of pizza I'd had and where from...typical). I've found other ways to try and cope, I keep those I love close to me on the harder days, I don't talk about it (always), but just knowing that I have friends like I do helps. I'm not writing all of this because I want a medal for eating pizza. I'm writing all of this because for a long time I thought this was it. That id always be the anorexic one. I think if I asked my closest friends what they thought in all honesty, they'd agree. Even those treating me thought that I was kind of stuck. That id forever be freezing, starved and unhappy. But I'm not. Life is not perfect right now, but I still laugh a lot. I still dance around the kitchen with Phebe, I still call my friends for catch ups, I still build my strength and take pride in my abilities. I still avoid scales, but that's okay. I know my limits. I still completed a spartan challenge with my best friend Hollie and raised over £1000 for the unit that saved my life more than once. So why am I telling you all of this? I'm telling you because I want people to know there is always hope. I built a life far bigger than anorexia and I've learned that a life so big comes with both beauty and disaster, but just because you once could not quite cope with aspects of life, does not mean you will always resort to building a cage of bones to keep the bad days out. If anorexia were that sensical, I wouldn't have got unwell in the first place. At the point of diagnosis, my life was better than it had been for a long time. From the outside, it looked pretty great. I had been accepted to uni, I was travelling, I was in the 'popular' group at school, I had a wonderful boyfriend. Yes, there were issues in my life which I don't wish to discuss, but these issues had been present since I was young. Anorexia did not strike for me when everything was falling apart. Anorexia shattered everything that was good. I lost a lot to my illness, but I also gained a lot. I don't know whether one out balances the other, because that which I lost will forever leave a hole in my heart, but I do know that however long you have been unwell, however bad it has got, don't give up. Continue to seek beauty in your life. Find what you love and chase it. Find who you love and keep them close. Find men who make you feel special or who just ignite something inside you and friends who make you want to sit down and eat with them, as well as lie at the end of their beds and laugh about the ridiculous situations in which you find yourself. I have found my strength, my passions, my desires and my 'tribe'. They are dotted all over the world and I don't speak to them all nearly enough, but they are my biggest strength and without them I'd be lost. These friends, both old and new, keep me sane by doing life with me. I don't know whether I'm totally there yet, but I do know anorexia doesn't have to be a life sentence. Build a life that is greater than your disorder and it will have a hard time competing, even when life is all going a little bit to shit. 


Thursday, 28 July 2016

I think I am...
okay now.


Sort of.

I still cry.

Quite a bit really.

I will look in the mirror and then turn back 2 minutes later and see something totally different.



Some moments I am so scared that I feel I am shattered.

I want to be held. 


Keep me together.

When you do and I feel safe it's...


But I will never ask.


Because I'm okay now.



That's a lie.

There have been days.



Moments when all the sparkle is gone and it's all black and white again and she's screaming.

You're too big.

Out of control.




But now I know what to do.

I shout to those who saw me when I almost drowned.

Who dragged me from the depths and created life rafts out of love.


And they respond. 
Simple words. 
Kind touches. 
They know I'm not just calling for praise and compliments on my body.
They know what happened before.

They know it can't happen again.

They lift me above the waves until the danger has passed.

And then I'm paddling.

And it's okay.

I'm okay now.

Not everyone believes that.

Not quite okay. 
Still a bit of a flight risk. 
No one likes a boring girl. 
To be fair, I'm keeping my head above at the moment, even as the tempests roar. 

Most of the time.

No longer and empty husk of regret and obsession.

I hold pride in my strength.


I feel guilty for that pride.




Proud of that?

But I can say that I am alive.

I laugh.

A lot.

I dance.

Too much.

I run.

I stop running. 
I lie in the sun and bask in the glory of its warmth. 
I sweat
But it's fucking great. 
I didn't do that before. 
I shivered constantly. 
There's part of your legacy. 
I am working on it. 
I just wish it didn't hurt those who try and keep me a light.  
I'm sorry. 
I still feel for the security of my bones. 
But I'm okay. 
I think I want to fall in love again. 
With life. 
With me. 
But for now....
I'm thawing. 
And that's. 

Dear Body.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

As I sit in yet another sterile waiting room, waiting to get my thumping heart checked upon, to be once again pricked, more blood taken, I cannot help but wonder...why? I ponder on this a lot, as anyone who knows me will be all too aware, but right now, the question seems to be screaming. I am sitting here, instead of doing the training I love at East15 because my body is rebelling. It is rebelling, because I don't treat it as I should. I don't give it what it needs, I work it beyond its limits and I mentally abuse it constantly. I place all my self value and worth into it, and it will never be enough. A lovely teacher asked me yesterday, when I came over faint and my chest became tight "Maya, what do you see when you look in the mirror?" The honest answer, for all the photoshoots, working out, inspirational quotes, Lycra leggings, insane diets...I don't know what I see. I sure don't see the girl who photographers capture on film. She is a creation of their lens. I don't even see the woman who I will get on my iPhone and later post (followed by suitably annoying hashtags). I don't see the 'superwoman' that some (namely Jake) have described me as. I see something different every damn time. Some moments, I will see something I like, then the next I will notice something that makes me unhappy. A curve that goes a little too far, a nose that is a little too wide, a leg that looks far too big. When I catch sight of one of these things, self hatred will overwhelm me. I will begin mentally calculating how far I must run, how much I must work, what exactly I must eat, how much I can cut out. My body will always spew back a list of numbers, tasks and negative adjectives in the end. And along side all of this I am forever preoccupied that people will think I am arrogant. This is not to say that I am constantly miserable, things are so much happier now and there are people and things in my life that make me feel wonderful. I love that buzz I get from going to the gym, I look back at when I was struggling with 2.5kg weights in the presence of Jay Copley (credit goes to this one, who helped me build the strength I now value so highly and who had to hear my endless ramblings) and I am proud to have built the strength I have. I love dancing around the kitchen and house with Amelia whenever the mood so takes us. I love getting up to go to drama school. I love the human connections I am so much more capable of making, being big sis to Rory, having best friends like Phebe, Thea and Sam who I can chat to endlessly, revelling in stalking photos of #gressontour, calculating the wellness in my meal (Crez, Jake and Rory), I bloody love my job, I value all of these things and so much more in my life, and know that if I let anorexia totally overwhelm me, they will all be gone again, and yet I am treading a fine line and these past few weeks have clearly shown me that. It's quite frightening to be fainting regularly again, to be getting blood test results that are less than ideal, to be seeing consultants, to have people telling me how exhausted I look constantly, to be shaking and to be having heart palpitations. It's even scary to be told that the numbers are going down, although it comes with a certain exhilaration that I cannot deny. I suppose the thing of it is, I have to start making a choice. The choice as to whether I want to start listening to my body and stop pushing it beyond its limitations, or whether I want to see more and more hospital waiting rooms again, and once again start the endless cycle and downwards spiral of misery that anorexia brings, taking me further and further away from the life I'm building and loving. 

Dear Body,
So, I guess first things first, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for making you the enemy whom I waged war and the ground where I fought all my battles.
I’m sorry for always saying you’re not enough.
I’m sorry for pushing you far beyond your limits.
I’m sorry for not letting you rest, even when you hurt.
I’m sorry for damaging you, for the osteoporosis and for still being too scared to eat the foods that will help heal.
I’m sorry for not always feeding you.
I’m sorry for not telling you you’re beautiful.
I’m sorry for using you to measure my value.
I’m sorry for resenting you.
I’m sorry I cannot love you.
I’m sorry for always wanting you to disappear.
But honestly, I do hate you sometimes.
I hate how you’ve grown.
I hate the flesh that covers my bones.
I hate that you let me down.
I hate the curves.
I hate me hips, they’re repugnant.
I hate your need for love.
I hate your need for food.
I hate your need for validation.
I hate that you’re the first thing people see.
I hate that you will not shrink.
I hate that you came between love.
I hate that I only almost destroyed you.
But, don’t get me wrong, I love you for things too.
I love how you keep on fighting.
I love your strength.
I love how some people see you, I wish I could see the same.
So body, my vessel, my enemy, my canvas, my warrior,
One day I will learn to love you and treat you with care,
I just hope you don’t betray me before I find my way there.

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