So many of you have written to me with that same voice, the one that I recognise to well. So I wanted to make this available to all…
Firstly, I want to say that it’s ok. And that I really, really believe that YOU will be ok. Because you can.
Secondly, slipping doesnt mean that you have failed.
Thirdly, you are heading forward. No matter how many steps back it takes. You are heading forward. And that is an immense achievement.
If you have landed on this page, if you have read the book, if you have sent me an email – or reached out to anyone else – this all attests to the fact that you are going to be ok. You are holding out out your hand, and that is such a brave thing to do. You can be proud of yourself.
Cruella has a twisted way of making us feel safe when caught in her grips. She manages to shake us off our horse the minute we are outside the house, or when it is an hour later than it should be for a meal, and we feel vulnerable, and afraid. But she plays with our minds. And I want to tell you that she is a liar, and a thief. She is robbing you of a life. And you deserve so much more.
You know what I enjoy most about having cut myself loose of her cuffs? Laughter. I had forgotten how to laugh; that real genuine, cheeky giggle that tickles the tummy til it hurts. And I also had lost my compassion. So self-absorbed was I, so entangled in my own warped world, and so busy obsessing about ways in which to avoid eating, that I was no longer able to feel for – or think about – anyone else. And then the guilt that came with it. NO I am NOT suggesting that you are selfish, FAR FROM IT. But that sense of freedom to worry about someone else, knowing that you have taken care of yourself, is so rewarding. Does that make sense?
I know the fear of falling out of a “routine”. The sense that when you are out of your comfort zone with the exact foods that you know in the exact quantites, at exactly the right time – neither too early (when you are “not hungry enough”) nor too late (when you are so hungry it all becomes too frightening) – and best of all at home where it feels safest, then it all gets “out of control” and quantities fly out of proportion (at least in our minds). All I would suggest as far as that is concerned is to try to keep to what you know and try to keep to your routine times for the moment. One day, again, it will just be like a light bulb that switches on after years of flickering; you will find yourself having a nibble at this and a munch at that and not thinking twice about it. But these things take time, one little step at a time.
It takes time, and I too have days when (I think) I wish I could go back, when I look at a girl in the supermarket scanning every product and reaching the checkout with a basket full of emptiness. But then I think of all the things that I couldnt do back then, when I was crippled. Sam and I went on a road trip in California last summer. This was something we have been wanting to do ever since finishing university. But back then it was not an option because I couldn’t deal with the thought of having to adjust to new products, different brands, irregular eating times, grazing on the go… But now, we were off!!! And you will soon be too – wherever it is that your dreams want to take you.