Monday, 27 June 2016

The Twentythird in Paris, part deux

(This post was originally meant to go up on Friday, but it was easier to find a condom machine than it was to find a decent wifi connection while I was away so I'm a few days behind)

I'M HERE!!!!!!!!

Yes, after being sat on a stationary plane for 2 hours, during which I discovered that a) there are some people stupid enough to allow someone stoned off their nut to drive them home, and b) that plane sangria is most definitely a thing, I'm now getting my hipster on, sipping black coffee and trying to find a mother fucking wifi connection whilst simultaneously drowning myself in Evian.

I don't care how much this fucking bottle cost me, I will do a lot for my job, but I will not dehydrate.

As I mentioned in my last, whiskey soaked, post, this past week has not been kind to me. My BPD reacted so badly to the surge of emotions that comes with being dumped, that I ended up feeling suicidal and almost checked myself into respite care.

Just to clarify, this "episode" was in no way my ex's fault, and I'm not blaming him. This is just what happens when BPD acts up.

Yet, in spite of these hideous few days, I still managed to buck myself up, return to work and travel to another country by myself for the first time in my life. From going to an anxiety and scar ridden suicidal blonde who couldn't get out of bed or make it through two consecutive days without harming herself, I seem to have become something vaguely resembling a functional human being. Pride doesn't even come close.

Yet, for reasons I cannot explain, there are still an upsetting number of people in my life that refuse to accept this. Preferring instead to believe that I can't make I through the day without needing some kind of guidance, and throwing their 2 cents in so often that I really should be a millionaire by now. What these people don't seem to understand is how these controlling behaviours suffocate me, how they make me feel so sick that my skin crawls and, for a single moment, I consider cutting them out of my life just to make this repulsive feeling go away. They just can't accept that controlling me is the last way of going about making sure I'm okay. I'm 24 years old and have put a mass rapist in prison whilst combatting self harm and completing a degree, I don't need, or want, you to hold my hand.

I'm hoping that this trip, and the time and space it is allowing me to bask in, will prove to people that I don't need looking after, that I'm in no way a child and can get by pretty well without their criticism and opinions clouding my brain. Or I'll just get shit faced and eat enough croissants to make Jesus think he didn't bring enough snacks to the feeding of the five thousand. Either or.

But, until then, I'm going to go back to my coffee and spend an hour or so submersing myself in the glorious words of Lauren Weisberger.

Because I could hardly come to fashion week and not re-read The Devil Wears Prada, could I now?

Au revoir


Friday, 24 June 2016

The Twentythird in Paris

This past week has been shit. I was unceremoniously dumped via Facebook messenger on Thursday morning, my BPD went into free fall and I spent 3 days hysterical, delusional and unable to get out of bed. I've had worse weeks, but I've also certainly had better.

Luckily, I'm writing this drinking a double jack and ginger on my way to work my second consecutive fashion week, this time in Paris, so things are definitely improving.

Now, I hear you ask while I sip on my delightfully rewarding beverage, very much deserved after finding myself unexpectedly sans boyfriend mid last week, am I preparing myself for for the short but sweet flight fantasising about meeting a tall dark and handsome stranger with hair I could run my hands through for days? Fuck yes. But I'm also thinking of how far I've come.

What people don't understand about my job is that, in order to succeed, you really do have to start at the bottom. If I want to spend my future travelling, writing and absorbing all the delights a career in fashion has to offer, I need to pay my dues.

I spent February hand delivering invitations in the rain and freezing my tits off, handing out press releases to women who's shoes cost more than my car, and now I'm blogging in Gatwick airport, waiting to board a plain to Paris for the weekend to support my boss during the fashion week resort collection. Three months really can make the world of difference.

So to anyone has ever mansplained, mocked, pitied or judged me for the amount of hours I've spent working for free, I say fuck you. When your sat on your sofa in 30 years time hating the same job you've done day in, day out, for what feels like an eternity, I'll have the career of my dreams, in awe of how far I've progressed from being the shy 23 year old graduate who had only just decided what she wanted to do with her life. It's not luck, it's hard work and pure, unbreakable passion.

Au revoir


Sunday, 12 June 2016

Self Care

TW: This post mentions self harm. 

Life has been feeling pretty hectic lately. The combination of starting a new job alongside my internship, meeting an amazing man and spending a good 75% of my time on a train, has meant that I've been feeling a tad fragile. As always, I convinced myself that the kind of exhaustion I was feeling, and the hideous mess that my skin had become, were totally normal, and that it was something I had to do in order to keep my career goals on track. After finding myself in eating disorder melt down, knelt on the floor in Boots holding a pack of razors trying to determine whether it would be more effective to cut or to go to town on the purse full of prescription medication in my hand bag, I realised it was probably time to ease up on myself. 

After this potentially damaging episode, a conversation with a friend reminded me how important it is to take time for self care, for something as mundane and cheesy as a bubble bath or painting my toes. Due to my eating disorder, the prospect of exercise leaves me worrying so much about not doing enough to reach my, aforementioned, imaginary 'goal weight', that I end up giving up before I've even started, convinced I'm going to fail at each self inflicted hurdle despite how vital exercise is to maintaining my BPD. I needed to start thinking straight and realising that, no matter how hard I work or train, if I've burnt myself out to the point of no return, success is never going to come my way. 

I think maybe these feelings didn't register because I feel that this is something I need to do in order to be successful. As I discussed in my post Millennial Exhaustion, feeling inadequate about the steps I am taking to reach my career goals feels natural to me, and I constantly feel that I'm not doing enough to secure something that even vaguely resembles my dream job. This toxicity is second nature, and I repeatedly find myself asking if I'm meant to feel stressed throughout the day, wondering if it's part of everyday life or something that I should be questioning and investigating. 

Since then I've been a little better. I've lowered my hours at work to ensure I get some time off during the week, and I'm making sure I allot myself time to work out even if it's just to squeeze in half an hour of yoga. 30 minutes might not be a lot, but if it's the difference between me standing frozen in Cambridge city centre having a panic attack and feeling calm and happy, I'm pretty sure it's enough. 



Thursday, 9 June 2016


TW: Rape

Obviously, I would have to be a tad stupid not to have noticed news stories about the Stanford rape case that are travelling around the internet at the moment. Also obviously, I have no right to comment on the experiences of the woman who was attacked, and therefore am going to say no more about it. It's her life, no one else's, end of.

What I refuse to ignore however, is how she has been described in the media. I've seen countless news stories describing the effects his actions have had her, which I completely agree with, and identifying her as a 'victim', which I don't.

This was one of the main issues I had throughout the trial to put the man who raped me in prison, I really can't stand to be called a victim. To call me a victim gives him control, tells people that he has taken a part of my life and that I am now suffering because of it. And yes, to an extent this is true, but in his actions I found my own strength and did everything I could to make sure that he spends the rest of his life living in misery and fear. A victim I most certainly am not.

To me, it's similar to the phrases you would use to described a person in a wheelchair. Would you describe them as a wheelchair user? Hopefully not, unless they did so themselves, as that is putting their wheelchair at the forefront of their identity. They are a person who uses a wheelchair, it is not who they are, and therefore should not be given priority.

In the same way, I am not just a woman who has been raped. I am a woman with passion, stubbornness, intelligence and so many other things that make me up as a person. Having been raped, whilst having changed me, has not removed or discredited everything else about me. In the same way that I have blonde hair, I have been raped, I am not a 'rape victim'.

So next time you start to use the V word, think about it. In cases like this you may think you're being sincere, but all you're really doing is focusing on the person who has committed the crime, making them and their actions more important than the person they affected. The man involved in the Stanford rape case may have had a severely negative impact on this woman's life, he did not take away who she is.


Sunday, 5 June 2016

The Things They Never Say

Last week, yet another incredibly offensive article popped up on my news feed about the perils of being in a relationship with someone with Borderline Personality Disorder. At its best Sophie Saint Thomas' Vice article, What Is It Like to Date When You Have Borderline Personality Disorder, describes it as 'hard for partners to focus on other things in their life if their relationship is so demanding', and its worst BPD is described as 'an illness about pain, fear, and struggling'.

Pain, fear and struggling, what a great introduction to a condition that makes up such a significant part of my personality. I may put it on my CV under special skills, "So why should I hire you?', "Because I live each day with an illness compiled of pain, fear and struggling, and I can fit my fist in my mouth". I'd get my dream job in a hot minute!

Obviously, I'm kidding, but that doesn't mean that Saint Thomas' article isn't hideously offensive. Casual observers are quick to judge the bad side of BPD, the screaming, the crying, the cutting and the all around self destructive behaviour, but no one ever even mentions the positive, that for ever intensely dark period I go through, there is an equal high just waiting for me.

Remember when you were a kid, and you'd jump in puddles or throw yourself into a pile of leaves, that pure sense of unquestionable elation that you so seldom feel when you're sat at a desk, drowning in emails and trying to make even the smallest amount of sense out of the words in front of you? I still get to feel that. Be it through meeting someone new, listening to a great song or playing with bubbles when I do the washing up. A date once asked me what it must be like to still have the imagination of a child and, to all intense and purposes, I still do. What goes down must come up and for the longest time I withstood the dark patches, forgoing medication and therapy because I knew things were about to become so euphoric it was worth the pain to get there.

Since then I've realised I can't function without basic treatment and have been taking mood stabilisers and anti depressants for well over a year now, but the highs are still there. The happiness I feel is something I've been trying to explain to doctors, nurses and psychiatrists for years, and I hate that it's so completely ignored in the analysis and description of BPD. You may get to live a stable life with a regular mood, but I feel intense happiness like nothing I could ever describe.

So, Sophie Saint Thomas, next time you decide to write an article about BPD, maybe get yourself a more balanced opinion before you start tapping at those keys. I find it hard enough to meet people I want to date in the first place, I don't need you scaring them off for me.

That's my job :P