I’ve always found it hard to let go – whether it’s saying goodbye, or letting someone else take charge, but I’ve attributed that to my sentimentality or playfully ascribed it to my ‘control freak’ or ‘perfectionist’ nature. I used to think these were good things – it’s taken me a long time to realise they were warning signs of something I wasn’t yet ready to deal with.
On Friday 22nd July 2016, it was the 25th anniversary of my father’s death at the age of 38. I don’t often talk about this, mainly because it happened so long ago, but also because it’s only recently that I’ve been able to emotionally connect with the reality of the situation. Thanks to the support of an excellent therapist, over the last few years I have managed to peel back the layers of emotional scar tissue and allow myself to feel the extent of grief buried within me, and, more importantly, allow myself to mourn his death.
I used to think I was a fat girl inside a skinny girl’s body. I trained for so long in a weight-controlled sport that I was always aware of my weight – usually accurate to within a 100g. But I never felt I belonged in it. At my skinniest, I would feel the absence of something tangible – but I prided myself on my discipline and self-deprivation. I always knew it was temporary, that eventually my greed would outweigh my willpower. Continue reading “Escaping Discomfort”
For the longest time, I was unfaithful. To boyfriends/friends/partners/lovers – but mainly, to myself. I used and abused my own body. And not even for pleasure, but for power. I measured my worth in my appearance, and valued myself through other people’s eyes.
I would feel the seductive power of the male gaze, and immediately feel the need to harness it in some way – to take control and know that I held the power in this dynamic. Pleasure didn’t really play a part – and neither did I have any real sense of self-worth – I was simply addicted to being in control, and I would do anything to have it. Continue reading “Breaking Free”
For many formative years of my adolescence and early adulthood, I was obsessed with my weight. Not in a fashion-conscious, aspiring to be a model way, but in a weight-controlled competitive martial art kind of way, which seemed to validate my obsession and legitimise my disordered approach to eating. Continue reading “Why weight?”
I recently realised that I’ve been living my life to an imaginary set of rules. I had this inherent belief that if I could just stick to these rules then good things would happen, or at least, bad things wouldn’t. These rules defined so much of my everyday life – from what I would wear, to what I would eat, and more than anything else, what I would say and how I would act. It was as if I had constructed this invisible box around myself – somewhere safe to live – but without realising that space was too small for me, and that it was actually holding me back.
It’s not difficult for me to understand why I would have such a strong attachment to a set of rules. Or why I would seek to create order to control against chaos. Because that is exactly how I would describe my childhood – chaotic.
I was 7 when my father committed suicide, and it only got worse from there. Continue reading “Breaking The Rules”
How do you define someone’s Irishness? Is it by their accent, their passport, their residence, their parents, their birthplace, or is it their appearance? I recently took part in a social experiment by Una Kavanagh to capture images of those of us who are Irish, but don’t look Irish, and are regularly asked “where are you really from?”. Continue reading “Irishness”