The Cancer Chronicles: Part 2

NOTE: For this to make sense please first read The Cancer Chronicles: Part 1 here.

the print on my bedroom door (by silvia pelissera - agnes-cecile)
Of all the differences my father and I had, we shared two important things in common; we were both undiagnosed bipolar for most of our lives, and our destructive/obsessive tendencies were idealised as passion and determination. This meant that as an intensely and often irrationally anxious child my fear of failure was fostered and admired, eventually letting it overrule and guide my every move. Sure, this had some positive influence in my life; while all the other high school kids were smoking cigarettes behind the soccer oval, I refused to take a puff for fear of damaging my oh-so-precious voice that was certain to make me millions one day! Mean Girls.By the age of twelve I had already decided I was going to be a superstar, just like Charlotte Church or Britney Spears (clearly prior to their subsequent meltdowns which, ironically, ended up likening much more to my life story after all…). I couldn’t see the value in risking what I believed was my destiny for something as trivial as looking cool. Besides, I would have plenty of time for that when I was selling out arenas world-wide! Of course, as the slightly overweight, boofy-haired, choir dork that I was, I never had to worry too much about my coolness factor getting out of control. On the other hand however, that obsessive drive that constantly simmered inside me, provided me with the “strength” (crippling anxiety) that led to a fierce battle with anorexia. Tell me one more time how it’s a shame because I have such a “pretty face” and I’ll show you another meal I replaced with a Berocca or sugar-free gum (damn, adults can be c*nts)! All this to say that I had a goal (fame, fortune and admiration… obvs) and I was willing to do whatever it took to achieve that. Even proudly starve myself to the bone.

I was well aware of my addictive tendencies growing up. I’d make silent pacts with myself not to get tattoos, or smoke, and plastic surgery was out for fear of winding up looking like a Real Housewife before they really figured out the secret to good lip filler (no disrespect Lisa Rina, you know I love you)! I remember trying speed for the first time and thinking “Holy fucking, fuck-tits batman!”, (or something to that avail). I loved it so much that I instantly vowed never to touch that beautiful nose candy ever again. I knew there were only so many times I would be able to say no before I would never say no again. Suffice to say, I had a thorough life plan mapped out and being a cancer-ridden junkie was not part of it. Jokes on me I guess…

미르자 @mirzhnaniaaaI was practical with my diagnosis. I never asked “why me?”. I had no time for a pity party. I just wanted to move forward so I could claim my life back and get back on track with the immaculately detailed ‘life plan’ I’d been working on since I was 5. As I saw it, I had already wasted enough time from pain to diagnosis. Now I had to spend another 18-months on the drug trial before I could even think about having the surgery and finally begin the lengthy recovery process. When was I supposed to achieve world domination? A girls got shit to do, damnit! I wasn’t allowed to work anymore as it was too risky for my health, but all I could hear in my head was the incessant tick-tick-tick of time passing me by. I’d gone from working 4 jobs like an ADD kid off his Ritalin, to watching reality T.V. for 9-hours a day. I was loosing the fucking plot.

I desperately tried to tell myself that this was some kind of test to help me slow down and learn to smell those bloody roses enlightened people are always on about. But, in my mind I had been late for “success” since my sixteenth birthday so every second that wasn’t utilised felt like a failure. @allisonnickel2Why sixteen you may well ask? Sixteen is nothing more than an arbitrary number I plucked out of my arse as a kid, when I obnoxiously declared to my father that that would be the age I would achieve the afore mentioned superstardom and/or world domination (either was fine, I wasn’t picky). I stored his bemused smirk in the ‘I’ll-show-you’ compartment of my brain and let it fuel the fire in my pre-teen gut. Because that’s what I needed, more reason to kick my own arse! So at 21, already 5 years late to my utterly delusional and completely imagined concept of success, I was essentially in a constant spiral of rage-jealousy and/or depressive-failure. Here’s a tip kids; have low expectations. Seriously. Can we please stop teaching children that if they work hard they can achieve anything, like we’re fucking accolade cheerleaders? It encourages perfectionist behaviour, cultivates a fear of failure, builds pressure/anxiety and it’s simply not true. In my humblest of opinion…

Vertebrae bones A3 poster anatomical art Human anatomy by PRRINTAlthough a habit I still struggle with today; those reality T.V. marathons did teach me something. When I wasn’t watching Heidi and Spencer (Speidi; for the die hards) on The Hills, I was addicted to Celebrity Rehab with Doctor Drew (I believe they call that irony…). To this day, still one of the greatest shows of its time; not to be outdone by Sex Rehab with Doctor Drew or the classic spin off, Sober House. Ahh, they were simpler times! What I learned by watching Grease’s Kenickie go through his tragic and ultimately fatal battle with opiate addiction on Celebrity Rehab, is such; spinal surgery is dangerous and excruciating, pain killers are addictive and sexy pilates instructors can make you feel better momentarily, but ultimately you will die a slow and agonising death. Shit. With this in mind I went to my next appointment at the cancer clinic armed with questions.

미르자 @mirzhnaniaaaI sat in a sterile room with my father and the head of my clinical trial, who essentially was my dad, 20 years and 30kgs ago. These two autistic nerds talked excitedly to one another about the wonders of modern medicine while I sat there, doing my best imitation of a slightly animated test tube with stuck-on googly eyes. I was worried. I thought back to that first line of speed and simultaneously felt a pang of fear and excitement, which rang danger alarms in my head. I was young but there are parts of me I knew better then than I do today, or at least used to listen to. I just knew if anyone was going to get hooked on pain pills it would be me. I didn’t have time to waste getting wasted! What about my goals? My plans! What’s that saying? ‘We make plans and God laughs’. Years on and “God” is still pissing herself laughing like a mum of triplets in a Zumba class at me! Bitch.

VALLEY OF THE DOLLS PILL POPPING NAILS BEAUTY SHOOT | Jamie Nelson Beauty & Fashion Photographer | September 4, 2015  ❤༻ಌOphelia Ryan ಌ༺❤When the nerd-lingers (or the super-important-men-who-were-actually-saving-my-life) finally remembered there was an actual living, breathing patient in the room, I had the opportunity to ask how most people fair coming off the post-operative drugs, namely the opiates (oxy’s). I was swiftly assured that as I start to heal and feel better I will simply not need them anymore and will naturally wean off. Simple. Natural. Easy… I internally groaned and externally rolled my eyes, knowing that wouldn’t be me and instead I was much more likely to be another fucking Kenickie; wheelchair bound and screaming at nurses in a rehab facility by 50 (flash forward 6 years; turns out I’m way more efficient than Keni and would be found doing this by age 27, never to be outdone). I couldn’t bring myself to push the subject in front of my dad, who innocently suspected I was a majestic earth-bound angel, who radiated purity and bliss. And although he wasn’t too far off, I wasn’t about to shatter his illusion, so I shut my mouth and never mentioned it again.
 By this stage I was starting to get angry at the world. My friends were all at the stage of their lives where they were graduating from their degrees and entering the work-force for their first real adult jobs. Their biggest concerns being where to have Saturday night drinks and if their new colleagues would like them. And then there was me; unable to work, isolated, bored to literal insanity, suffering intense pain and pumped with experimental chemo and pre-surgical pain killers. Not to mention the typical angst an early 20-something feels anyway as they try to spread their wings for the first time to leave the nest, only in my case, them wings done broke! This is where Schmoo and I really leaned on each other. We were two young, fierce and fabulous gals about town who, at this stage, still looked “normal” AKA healthy. We could still function relatively independently and our main disability was everyone else’s inability to understand what we were going through!

Schmoo was always a vison. Just to sit down at our local soup joint she was always dressed like an off-duty supermodel in understated designer clothes, immaculate jewellery and smelling like something I definitely couldn’t afford. I’d sit there in my no-name, see-through leggings that I’d been wearing since I was 14 and she’d just laugh with that whole-body cackle that was signature Schmoo, as she called me a pauper and paid for my coffee. Occasionally she’d let me pay, just to make me feel like the baller I certainly wasn’t. It was appreciated.

 

Every week we would get together and bitch about how our families couldn’t possibly understand us and our friends were so lucky they didn’t have cancer, and basically just vent about the shit-storm that was our lives! love, grunge and sad image on We Heart ItAnd in doing this, we laughed, a lot. These conversations were some of the most cathartic and hilarious of my life. Of course nobody could relate to us! Who the fuck gets cancer in their early twenties and ends up making besties with another cancer-kid?! Nobody, that’s who! We knew that, but we were each others’ outlet. A safe place to release our pain, frustration and vent about everyone and everything that pissed us off. Our socially inept doctors, our mountains of medication that made us rattle when we walked, our isolation and loneliness, our stupid boyfriends who were trying so hard and yet failing so spectacularly, our friends and their “trivial” problems which, in reality, were completely justified but let’s face it, cancer’s hard to beat! Together we would laugh about all the mother-fuckery that had become these lives that we no longer recognised, and in that we found some relief. I can’t imagine going through this experience without my Schmoo. We were two extremely unfortunate kids who found some hope in each other and in that, we were lucky.

you literally make me a mess and i hate it... i lied it's the best thing that's ever happened to me❤️

There used to be this homeless man who would occasionally walk past our soup bar and stop for a chat. Nice guy, if a little kooky. One day he sat down with Schmoo and I and started telling our fortune. He told me I hadn’t yet met the man of my dreams and that Schmoo would live into her 90’s. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case but I believe it gave her enough hope to keep “fighting” a little longer. He spouted a lot of insane shit for about an hour and although we suspected it was 99.9% bullshit we tipped him generously for his entertainment and kind distraction. I hate that word fighting. Like all it takes to beat cancer is brute strength! I’m telling you, if that’s all it took Schmoo would’ve had me beat 100 times over. Nobody fought as hard as she did. Nobody loved life as much as she did! She was just hungry for every experience she could sink her teeth into. I admired that in her so much and I desperately craved that in myself. The girl had 5 brain surgeries over 4 years, spent a year as her own nurse attached to an IV bag that constantly dripped chemo into her veins, had her skull literally fucking cave in on her and was still able to meet and marry the love of her life. That’s right, while she was travelling the world for all the most cutting edge medical treatments available (oh, did I not mention that? Yeah…that too), she was also planning her spectacular dream wedding at the same time! She. Was. Unstoppable. I on the other hand spent most of that time in the foetal position, moaning and discovering how to shovel oxy up my nose. Each to their own I guess!

Survivors guilt is a real thing. I generally find existence extremely difficult. I’ve got a brain with a few faulty wires that prevents me from regulating my emotions, so I’m basically a constantly swinging pendulum, my body is the Queen of the malfunction and I live in a fairly perpetual state of existential crisis. Yeah, I’m a blast! I can’t tell you how may times I looked at my Schmoo and wished we could trade places. Give me the terminal brain tumour and let her live the fabulous, travel, adventurous, wildly sexy, exotic foodie, life that she would have lapped up! But it wasn’t the case. I don’t know if I believe in meant-to-be’s and what not but I do know that if Schmoo was in my position, if she had been the one to survive, that she wouldn’t waste her second chance pissing around like a depressive little twat. What she would do is exactly this. She would write. She would write about her exeriences great and small and rather than be egotistically driven for world domination and fleeting Lindsey-Lohan style fame, she would want to make an impact. She would want to place her stamp on the world for something meaningful. So… here’s me doing just that*!

* Originally I wrote “Here’s me trying” but I instantly heard the Schmoo in my head saying “Trying!? There’s no such thing as trying! Just do it girl!”. She didn’t do anything by halves and wouldn’t accept it from anyone else. She was the most inspiring person I’ve ever met and I’m lucky that I have her voice in my head everyday, continuing to push me, encourage me and elevate me to have the best life imaginable.

Love you Schmoo and so much love to the Schmoo Clan, both family and friends.

 

 

The Illusion of the Other Woman

betweenpeaceandhappiness.blogspot.mx

Who is the ‘other woman’? This enigmatic creature that exists eternally alone, untouchable, perfect. A complete and utter illusion of the men that have imagined her into existence. I’ve been her, maybe you have too. I’ve craved the unwavering stares of lonely men like a drug and in my most vulnerable periods it was the only way I was anything resembling alive. In their wildest dreams, fantasies and desires, that’s where I lived. That’s where I existed. And if I wasn’t there with them in all my, thinly veiled, beauty and intense magnetism, then I was nothing. I disappeared when their backs were turned and they were no longer validating my very existence.

A girl of this nature is, in a word, repulsive to single men. Sure, there is the initial intrigue of watching her flit around the room without a care, as if she doesn’t know you’re watching (trust me she knows and she cares a lot), but as soon as they scrape the surface, if they have any brains at all, they will run. And fast. This girl is terrifying. She requires energy, patience and more kindness and understanding than is often deserved. This is usually sniffed out quite quickly and who’s willingly walking themselves into this atomic spiral? Enter, Mr. Attached. Okay, let me pause here for both dramatic effect and a disclaimer before the trolling gets completely out of control. I am not referring to all men in relationships. The happy, content ones will look at this girl and praise baby Jesus himself that they have a stable Queen on their arm! However, these are not the men she/I/possibly even you, will meet. The men that are willing to blind themselves enough to bypass the sad nature of the situation and welcome the illusion (or delusion?) are, for whatever reason, discontent. In this newly manifested “dream girl” I imagine, they see the wild, unpredictability of their youth that at once will get you in trouble but is also irrefutably exciting! She can be whatever they want her to be, the only limit being their imagination.

 

fucking love you

 

箱男(girl) aka.robot

A sweet boy once took his illusion of me and turned me almost whole. Like Pinocchio, I was almost a real girl! He kept me safe with him for years. So much so that I almost believed I knew who I was, but eventually the illusion, of course, must fade. For him first and then subsiquently for me as I became more blurry in his imagination. He was different. The love grew slowly with him. It wasn’t like cupids arrow to my heart; an explosion of unavoidable passion in a single glance like the others who came before him. I thought perhaps that made it more real. Maybe it does. He wasn’t looking for anything in particular so he didn’t have an image of desire to project onto my blank canvas. I was created slowly and delicately. When he left he took all of me with him. Not by choice of course. I had just made it far too easy to float away with the men that came and went. In an evening you’re limited in how much can be taken from you, but over months and years… well, it becomes much more dangerous. He had taken slowly. So slowly that I hadn’t even noticed. I had gone from feeling like a lost child when left alone to completely empty, a black hole. I was less than before. I was antimatter. I’ll never forget the worry in my psychologists eyes as she said the words that had been thought but never uttered aloud, “It’s like you don’t exist if you’re not being seen.” She was right of course. Being seen was one thing, being wanted another, and being loved…well, being loved was the goal.

Catherina/Hancock @faddishfashion

I collect stories. Experiences. I say “yes” and never “no” just to see where I end up. To find out what happens in the next chapter. I follow the action when most intelligent people would run the other way. I take risks when the outcome is 90% likely to end in devastation, and usually does. I risk it all, all the time, to collect a tiny piece of your life and place it inside mine. I’ve done great things saying “yes”. I’ve achieved more than I ever imagined I could and I’ve also put myself in situations that nobody ever should. Some people call me brave, but it’s far more basic a driver than that. No, what drives me is fear. A fear that if I don’t collect stories that I won’t have stories to tell and without stories, who am I? I’d like to think I have collected enough now. That maybe now I can get used to boredom, or as the enlightened may know it, peace. But peace comes from balance and stability and all I’ve ever known are highs and lows, black and whites, on or offs. I’ve never had a lasting glimpse of moderation in my life. It’s like imagining a colour that doesn’t exist. Where do you even begin?

Screen Shot 2018-03-01 at 8.50.25 pm.pngStory telling is all I’ve ever known. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. Even as a small child, before I’d collected much of anything at all, I would reflect. I would sit and think deeply until I was in emotional agony, feeling too much at one time because I’d thought myself into a pain spiral from a moment I’d created in my imagination! To this day I do this. I stare out windows. I reflect. No, I brood. I see myself, seeing myself so that at least someone is. I live eternally in this Truman Show-like film in my head, pretending that the world is watching, waiting for the action to begin! It’s always SHOW TIME! The pressure is insurmountable but the thought that there is just me, sitting in this cafe alone, hugging a mug of coffee and staring out a window at the weather, without an audience…well that’s fucking terrifying.

high on Cloud 9
“You don’t exist if you’re not being seen”, those are some potent describing words and I’ve heard it all; crazy, intense, volatile, passionate, obsessive, possessive, needy, fun, insane, confident, selfish, unpredictable, sexy, slutty, provocative, too much, narcissistic  masochistic, funny, fragile, complex… I’m sure you could add some of your own to the list! I think of myself more as a kind-of light switch. On or off. Lighting up the room like sunshine bursting in or completely sucking the life out of it with my intense darkness. Everything or antimatter. All, nothing.

A mulher começou a reparar, sem querer reparar, que estava a desfazer-se e que o homem se limitava a observar. Para dar espaço. Os homens precisam de espaços, não será o primeiro a pedir-lho, logo ela ajustará conforme o que for possível, mas desta vez está vez a desfazer-se, a perder peças, pedaços, a deixar rasto. Alguém? (imagem ncontrado em feedly.com com o nome Static incisionFrom the outside I look unstable and unbalanced but it’s kinda quirky and fun if you keep your distance. On the inside I feel like I’m in an episode of Black Mirror and I’m stuck inside a robot version of myself that the world has the ability to switch “on” or “off” and I just have to sit and wait to be shown what they want from me. I have no choice. No control. To you I am here or I’m not. To me I am seen or I am invisible, and invisible is torture. Invisible is screaming to be seen in a soundproof room. Invisible is the world holding your heart in their hands and squeezing just tight enough that it won’t stop beating and relive you of your suffocating madness but won’t release you for fear of loosing their dancing monkey. Because when they eventually switch me “on” you best believe I will perform! I’ll perform for my life for fear of being switched “off”. I will sing until I lose my voice, dance until my feet bleed and love like my life depends on it… because it does.

Retro Comic Art | Vintage Comic | ArtImagine your version of hell. What scares you most in the world? Maybe it’s spiders or snakes or the dark. Maybe it’s death or cancer or losing someone you love. Maybe it’s burning in an eternal fire pit. That’s invisibility to me. Searing, white hot burning with split second flashes of relief as someone throws a bucket of ice cold water in my face. But instead of water it’s a text, a “like”, a compliment on my outfit, some loser checking out my arse or laughing at a terrible joke. I believe if you were to diagnose it you might call it dissociation, wrapped up in abandonment-based trauma and then sprinkled with a little narcissism for good measure. For me it’s just coping with existence.

(Open rp, be the girl on top. My point of view. I'm an angel and she's a demon) I looked at her, a cigarette clutched gently in her hand. "You see" she whispered "there's two types of people in this world. Those that do bad things, and those who have badSo, I am born to be an illusion. Unwrapped for a night but never explored. Girls like me, we will walk into the room with a completely manufactured eire of confidence about us… and leave that very same room, once everyone else is gone, completely empty, alone and once again… invisible. Because ‘he’ knows, as I do, that none of it is real. That ‘she’ is a mirage and as soon as he comes close enough he will be engulfed in whatever pain has stripped her of her ability to be anything but all of his deepest desires in the single moment he decided to look her way. But unlike him, this knowledge doesn’t free her. She remains frozen in time, just waiting, hoping, praying to whoever-the-fuck that he or someone… anyone, will switch her “on” and please, this time, for the love of God, don’t switch her “off”.

fuck...

 

 

 

 

Magnet for Trouble

How can I explain the love affair an addict has with drugs and alcohol (or their addiction of choice)? How can something be so intensely intoxicating, even after it has proven just how utterly devastating it can be to that which you cherish most in the world; family, friendships, love, connection? Not only that but it actually feeds the ugliest parts of you and helps them grow. The you that is greedy, needy, selfish beyond reason and destructive beyond care. How can something that literally threatens your life be at once, your safety blanket and your worst nightmare? Well, fucked if I know! But I’d like to explore it…

Smoke on the Water!.I’ve been in a few situations recently where drugs have been used openly and it’s blatantly obvious who is an addict and who is casually partying. The casual partier can leave half a bag hidden away for the next time they decide to get a little wild! The addict however, will not be able to think about anything else until every single line/drop/toke/whatever, is in their blood stream and they have exhausted all options of getting more, more, MORE! The addict is exhausting to be around… and exhausting to be. To quote Pringles, “once you pop, you can’t stop!”

Valley of the Dolls Pill Popping Nails Beauty Shoot Photographer: Jamie Nelson Nails: Julie Kandalec Model: Scarlett AngelinaFor non-drug users or the casual partiers out there it is really difficult to understand just how all-consuming it is for the addict to be around drugs. A non-user can carry a conversation with ease, they can look you in the eye when they are talking to you and they are calm and relaxed whether or not there are drugs in the room or even talk of drugs. I, the addict, on the other hand will be a twitchy, anxious, excited, nervous, mess in a dress! My eyes will be darting around the room, I will be fiddling uncontrollably, I’ll likely be salivating like a rabid dog, I will have no idea of and no interest in what you are saying…and that is all before I’ve even taken anything! That is all from my body remembering (or more likely romanticizing) a previous drug-fuelled experience and pumping me full of a fuck-tonne of adrenaline because someone mentioned the love of my life and he’s somewhere in the bloody room! * Swoons dramatically.* Honestly, I wish I was exaggerating but I have had a belly full of more butterflies and a fuller heart staring at a little mound of cocaine being racked up than I have had for men I’ve dated. Okay, okay I hear you! I don’t have the best track record when it comes to beautiful boys… but let’s just put aside the fact that the gauge on my male quality controller is broken for a moment and agree that an inanimate object should never be more powerful than a human person (as shitty as they may be). Damn, even writing about it now is triggering me and I’m getting all itchy and twitchy!

Elizabeth Ilsley

A couple of weeks ago I was at a party with people I didn’t know very well. All of a sudden I turned to see a girl to my left cutting a little pile of coke into nice clean lines (see, I’m romanticising because I’ve been triggered, ew). I’m talking, if I breathed to heavily I could blow it away (no joke, I held my breath)! It was painful! Every cell in my body was screaming for me to smash my face into that lovely little pile of the devils’ snow and snuffle it up like a wild boar looking for truffles (I know, I’m pretty sexy…). As soon as I knew it was in the room my focus changed completely. I could no longer have a relaxed evening chatting with some new, interesting people. I instantly developed tunnel vision and suddenly my eyes could zoom in and out on the entire room. I knew who had drugs, where they were hidden, how I could get them, how much I could scam off each person, who had the good shit and probably even your dealers’ secret security number (well…almost)! I knew everything there was to know and all within seconds of discovering there were drugs in the house. It’s as if your brain just stops observing the rest of the world and you become so systematic and resourceful. All I can liken it to is how a blind person might develop super human hearing. It’s insane, instantaneous and uncontrollable. If I somehow learned how to hone this skill of resourcefulness I would probably be fucking Einstein 2.0 by now! But instead I’m just a poorly recovering junkie with a magnet for trouble and difficulty saying “no”. Whatcha gonna do?!

glitter pills | Daily Dose

There’s something strange about an addict, in that you literally become cosmically drawn to other addicts. I can’t explain it but it’s a strange phenomenon that happens without even trying. Go to N.A. (narcotics anon.) and you will hear it time and time again. Junkies attract junkies! I never overtly looked like a “junkie”, so it can’t be that. If I did my doctors would’ve stopped ‘dealing’ me my oxy years before things got out of control. I always looked like a sweet, white, middle-class girl from suburbia. But put me in a room with drugs or an addict and we will sniff each other out in about 10 seconds flat. Truly, it’s a talent…


For example, I was walking down the street last week and while looking down at my phone I asked the first person I saw for directions. Innocent, enough right? 5 minutes later he was offering me a gram! That is not a rare story. It might be the person I randomly sit next to at the bar or on the bus. I could be in a city I’ve never been to before, not knowing a soul, and still shit would find me. Without even looking for it! Like…wot da funk? I dunno man, it’s got to be some kind of pheromone thing! If I really try to analyse it, maybe it’s something to do with micro movements. Unconsciously we must recognise the slightest of similarities in each other and find that attractive and familiar. Things like dilated pupils, slight twitches, sniffling, shuffling, chomping, chewing, eye movements and skin texture. Then there are subtle things that are said or done, that to the outside observer have nothing to do with addiction but would be clear as day to another user. It’s a match made in junkie heaven…or hell if you are in recovery like me.

trippy disney cocaine drugs lsd acid psychedelic Alice In Wonderland Drogas psicodelico psicodelia nebulosa alucinaciones nebaBeing in recovery is really hard. The reasons are layered and boring but basically it takes all of me not to use. I’m not too bad if I’m around non-users, but if you shove a cake that reads “Eat Me” under my nose… I’m gonna eat the fucking cake! It’s like asking Hugh Heffner (god rest his soul…) to settle for one pair of tatas for the rest of his life, or Kanye to reduce his self-proclaimed God status, simply to King. It’s probably technically possible…but it’s going to be a struggle and you can pretty much guarantee there will be a fight!
 The only thing that gives me hope in my recovery is overcoming anorexia in my past. It might not sound relevant but eating disorders are another form of addiction and self-harm. I had never experienced anything as mentally, physically and emotionally all-consuming as anorexia was, until I found drug addiction. To me, it feels the same. You slowly and painfully torture yourself with starvation for those rare moments of reward when someone looks at you and says “My are you tiny!”. Every shiver you feel from lack of blood flow and body fat, every period your body skips because it doesn’t have the energy to function properly, every time your friends and family look at you worried because you’re skin and bones; all of this produces such an incredible high that anything else pales in comparison. I didn’t used to be able to walk past a window without “checking” to see if I’d suddenly put on 40kg in the 10 minutes since I last checked. I couldn’t go out with my boyfriend for dinner without starving myself all day and punishing myself with intensive exercise later. I weighed what little food I ate obsessively. I exercised on zero energy until I would cry on the treadmill utterly depleted and desperate for someone to rescue me. I couldn’t look at celebrities or friends or anyone without comparing myself to them and of course, always coming up short. I hated myself. Every tiny, waif-like, inch of myself, but I overcame that. Now, not only do I think I’m smoking hot (I’m also super humble), I’m also getting pretty good at loving myself sick and treating myself with more kindness and compassion. So, if I can live in Italy and eat pasta on the daily without a second thought then I’m convinced I can have a successful recovery from drug addiction. I mean, a year ago I couldn’t imagine a life where I wasn’t shoving oxycontin up my nose every hour on the hour and today, although I’ve relapsed in other areas, I am proud to say I haven’t had a single oxy. Yasssss Queen!

Gestalten | Food Art by Vanessa Mckeown

I will never forget the first time I ate pasta during my anorexia recovery. It was a minuscule bowl of tortellini. I lay on the kitchen floor crying and screaming hysterically because I was petrified of putting it in my mouth. Imagine being terrified of pasta?! Pasta is the bomb-diggity! Finally, I ate it. I whaled some more. My whole family were in the next room ignoring me. They’d probably been told to by some psychologist, but at the time I just thought they were heartless ass-holes (Saaaarrrrry, love you mumma..!). I was fucking furious and full of guilt but ultimately, I was proud. Digestion hurt like a mofo as I felt the pasta crawl slowly though my guts that night as I tried to sleep. It was all I could do to remind myself that this could be a life-changing moment, if only I let it. This was a moment that I would draw strength and reassurance from for years to come and continue to do so throughout this new bitch of a challenge.

NeilI could have never imagined a life where I wasn’t taking opiates every day or where I could forget something so simple as the calorie count of a green apple. But today I have no idea what anything weighs (not even myself) and I am proud to say I have forgotten all the calories I memorised during my anorexia (must be all the drugs…OMG JK, JK Rowling!!!).  I truly have a passionate love affair with drugs and my addiction specialist told me that my body would forever remember how good they felt and crave that sensation. But what my body doesn’t remind me about are the times I’ve worked so hard on forgetting. The times I’ve woken up next to someone wanting to pull a coyote ugly* just to escape, or the shame of using after months of sobriety and having to start back at day #1 again, or losing friends due to my shitty actions that I can’t even remember…the list goes on. However, once I was deeply attached to and in love with my anorexia as well and now there is nothing appealing to me about starving myself to fit into a dress or a mould that society has shaped for me. So, fuck that noise! I am a ball of mental illness and insecurity so naturally I am susceptible to addiction and self-loathing behaviours, but the more challenges I’m given just provides me with more opportunities to prove to myself that I am the strong, bad-ass bitch I always knew I could be! Watch this space, because if I can do this I can fucking rule the world! Step aside Yonce**!  partition

*The person is so ugly you’d rather chew off your own arm than risk waking them!

**Beyoncé, dah! C’mon, Lemonade is almost 2 years old now…