Hello Confusion, My Old Friend
content warning: eating disorders.
2018, my mind roared with excitement as I stood on Prince's street with my friends and partner. This is my year! No more insecurity, no more job hunting. No longer shall I be crippled by self-doubt and bewilderment. For a whole twelve months of my life I won't feel crippled and paralysed by disorientation, hopelessness and self loathing.
For the next twelve months I will finally be somebody; no longer some job-hopping shop girl who keeps shooting for the idealised 9-5 work environment, but whose European name and "insufficient amount of administration experience" kept pushing her back behind shop counters for extensive seasonal periods. I have a salary and a role, I finally have autonomy and job security; for the first time in my life someone has given me a chance. Someone has seen something of value in me that's worth their time and business strategy. Finally, after six years of trying, I have the opportunity to make a difference. I'm going to make a difference.
By February 2nd I had relapsed. Three years of recovery progress undone by a single month's worth of experience. I now find myself at twenty-six leaving my job to seek medical treatment for my regained anorexic-bulimic concoction of an illness I was oh so famous for. It's a wonderful string to my bow. When asked how I managed to build a reasonable social media following, I can tell all prospective employers the fascinating truth: "I became famous on the internet for being a dying, suicidal anorexic." Whilst my recovery meant I lost a lot of following and support online, the interest in me and individual died down, and the excitement of me not making a video because I potentially died was now off the table for thousands of followers, I was still happier being a recovered, uninteresting, and unpopular Youtuber than a dying one. I loved being recovered and having a healthier relationship with my body and food. I never missed the days of both of these being an agonising obsession which plagued and dominated my mind. But where are my manners? Hello again, Choncey. Choncey, for those unfamiliar, was what I called my eating disorder.
Of course, for professional and legal reasons I'm not disclosing any of the details which lead up to my demise, but it was all undeniably work-related, which resulted in my having to make a heartbreaking and terrifying decision: to either put up with what I was going through and allow my illness to thrive in the environment which spawned its resurrection and encouraged its growth and development, or leave. Trust me, I wouldn't leave my ideal career and awesome secure, amazingly well paid job if I weren't exceptionally ill -- I'm not that stupid. I'm not going to go into details of course but all I can tell you is that it's severe and undeniably work related. So, by April I will be unemployed once again, dancing exhaustively between my two predominant eating disorder behaviours: restricting, binging and purging, in a neat little structure twice a day in the same way normal people brush their teeth. I'm amazed I'm writing this. For the past few months I haven't been able to engage with any creative activity; counting calories and body checking takes up hours of my physical time and the entirety of my mental space. I can't read, I can't draw, I can't write, I can't film.
I've lost myself again to my eating disorder. I don't know who I am anymore, and now I don't know who I can be. Despite my array of skills (which I'm sick of self-deprecatingly denying all the time so I'm taking ownership of), finding employment is hard because everyone else out there is also exceptionally skilled, experienced and talented, and I pale in comparison. I'm not useless, I'm just not as good as the majority. So I've admitted to myself that it's time to resign myself to a life in retail. That's clearly all I'm qualified to do and it's futile to keep fighting fate. I'm not meant to live on above a minimum wage income and my destiny is obviously tied tightly down to customer service. I'm bound by unbreakable bonds which keep dragging me back every few months. So now I'm settled on my income source, I'm now stuck on who I'm supposed to be outside of said income. Aye, there's the rub. I'm determined to not let my job define me but I don't know what I want to do in life. I don't know what I want to achieve.
I want to achieve so much I can't decide what to focus on. I am unrealistic and idealistic. I want to achieve in fields I'm not even good at, hell, not even amateur at! I can't be a writer because I'm god awful at writing; I have abysmal grammatical talent and I'm deeply idiotic as well as dyslexic (a tragic and dangerous combination). I'd love to work in graphic design and become a book designer but I'm god-awful at drawing; I have no artistic qualifications nor any raw, foundational talent to build upon. I'm working on my literary agency work but this usually takes years to develop. I used to want to build my Youtube channel but since I realised no one is interested in my boring academic essays, and that Youtube success is reserved for beautiful, quirky women who are either drop dead stunning, business women, authors or beauty gurus (all of which I am not). I realised I have no hope on Youtube and abandoned the field (if you've been trying at it for eight years and you haven't managed to achieve what others achieve in less than a year of starting it's time for you to give up there and focus on something you can potentially achieve at). I look at figures like Zoella and Jenna Marbles in absolute awe and admiration. They know how to be self-employed and rock the business world. If I could swap lives with them I'd do so in a heartbeat. I'm capable of many things but love all equally, and am therefore indecisive about which ones I give up on and which one I carry forward.
So in short, I'm scared, frightened and very ill once again. I have a lot of health and financial worries and I feel like my one step forward has resulted in seven years worth of steps backwards. Of course I'm ashamed of myself, wouldn't you be? It's humiliating being who I am. It's humiliating to be this hopelessly pathetic in life, and I have no one to blame but myself. My mental health is my fault and my responsibility alone, and I wish I were a stronger person, for if I were it wouldn't get the better of me. At least this time I'm more experienced. I recognised early on that I had relapsed and I'm not putting off treatment. I'm awaiting hospital treatment once again and I'll be back to writing up covering letters and updating my CV within the next couple of days. One of the reasons I keep taking myself offline is because of how ashamed I am of myself being potentially some kind of role model to a young, impressionable woman out there. May it go out on record saying that my life is not to be admired or sympathised with: it's a total joke and a shambolic mess. But I'll get back to work and try and fix myself. I'm only victim of myself and my incapability of adulting proficiently. I'm not going to feel sorry for myself; I'm going to just focus on getting a little job somewhere and try and make something out of the fragments of the person I am. It won't be much, but I wish I could decide on doing something. A small achievement would be nice in life. I'm not aiming big anymore (because I'm not letting myself be stupid anymore), but I'd still like to have some kind of aim. I won't be somebody note-worthy in life, but maybe I still have a chance of being somebody.