Birthdays suck…

Every year I dread my Birthday. I always see people with big extravagant parties, gifts and surrounded by family and friends. As an introvert, and as someone who suffers with anxiety, my friendship circle has always been small. I struggle making new friends, because I’m always weary of new people who might judge me or misunderstand my self-care/hibernation periods. I spent far too much of my young adult life trying to please and impress people who never cared a smidge about me- so nowadays I’d rather have no friends than I would fake friends. I’ve made peace with that, and I love my small collection of remaining friends.

Previously, where I may have tried to organise a big meal or event with “friends”, in recent years for the most part I’ve given up. Sometimes I find life a little tough as I always feel a bit on the outside. Like I’m always a friend but never a “best-friend”.

As it happens, since January 3rd is such an awkward date, I’ve always found that people will produce a multitude of excuses and flake. “I have no money”, “I’m still hungover from NYE”, “I’m back at work that day”, “I’m with family”. While these are all valid excuses, I became exhausted by getting my hopes up every year that one year would be different and that someone would remember and give me an amazing surprise- or at the very least, make the day less depressing.

In essence, nothing about 23 is an exciting age, and at this stage I’m fairly certain I will be spending it alone with my cat. All I ever really hope for are memories. I just wish that my birthdays didn’t always seem to merge into one constant dreary January. This year I had my best friends over and a visitor for Austin over for New Year, so I suppose that today after dropping them off at the train station anything would feel slightly anticlimactic- but my husband and my mum this year both couldn’t take it off work. Of course, this isn’t their fault, but it does add substantially to the feeling of disappointment. I’m quite family oriented and I live for the moments that involve the whole family together spending some quality time just laughing.

Furthermore, now I’m past 21, I struggle to get excited about hitting age milestones. It makes me feel a little frightened at the speed my life is going, and generally just more aware of my own mortality. My birthday always serves as a reminder I’m probably almost a quarter of a way through my life, and that I’ve barely achieved anything in that time. Not only that, but it actually seems to serve as a cute little reminder of how lonely and isolated I’ve become. All in all, I will probably spend tomorrow in bed, napping, and playing the PS4… and I’m ok with that.

The intent of this post isn’t to sound whiny, selfish and entitled, but I really want to make a point of sharing both the good and the bad parts of mental health. This time of year is never a great one for me, but alas, there’s always next year. Wish me happy gaming!

Love,

Frankii.

Plus size me || bodies past, present and future

**TW: If you have issues with weight and/or body image or eating disorders there may be content in this article that you find distressing.** 

Hey guys!

Sorry I’ve been a little inconsistent with my blogging that past week or so, as you have may have seen on Twitter, I have a lot going on in my head at the moment, and I needed to take a brief step back for my Mental Health.

When I first started this blog, I had always intended for it to be purely lifestyle and beauty- but as time progressed I realised that in order to be authentic with my readership I couldn’t avoid talking about Mental Health. It’s something that affects so many of us, me included, and I have always been passionate and vocal about spreading awareness. My only downfall in this regard, has been my own pride. I have always been very supportive and try to be as nonjudgemental as possible of others when they come to me with Mental Health issues, but I’ve always struggled with taking my own advice. Since I’ve been particularly struggling this month, I thought I’d share with you what’s been going on.

Besides my decision to drop out of my MA, looking for jobs, considering a house move, and my husband being on nights, one of the biggest contributing factors I’ve always struggled with surrounding Mental Health is Body Image.


Past

I have always been, and probably always will be, a massive foodie. I love food, I love cooking, and I love the satisfaction that comes with making something great. I’m not throwing blame at all, but I wasn’t exactly brought up in a family full of healthy eating/active living role models. My Mum, a pescatarian (or as I like to call it, shitatarian) has neglected her own nutrition to make sacrifices for her kids for years. While she always cooked balanced meals, she definitely raised me with the “waste not want not” mentality, and sometimes I still feel guilty to leave food. My dad can easily eat enough to sate four men in one sitting, and when I moved in with my Grandparents, I learned to cook mostly because had I not I feel like we would have lived off M&S food that could just be thrown in a microwave or straight in the oven- Grandma is not fond of cooking!

When I was in Primary school I was bullied mercilessly until I had to change schools. I was the tallest in class, always seemed to have a coldsore on picture day, chubby, bespectacled and Mum waited far too long to introduce me to hair removal methods (I am still haunted by prepubescent photos that exhibit a rather glorious monobrow, lol)! Besides the bullying, I have very early memories of hearing the terms “big-boned” and “puppy fat” being thrown around.

Fortunately, as I reached high school and grew ever taller, eventually stopping at 5’10, I somewhat “grew into” my weight, (though unfortunately much before all the boys so I still stuck out like a sore thumb)! Also unfortunately, I also hit puberty early too. This meant that I went from being bullied to being one of the first girls to get breasts. Enter the dreaded male gaze. At around 13 I went from a B to DD in the space of two weeks. From then on they just never seemed to stop, and by the time I was 15 my body settled on a 30HH. This meant that while the measurements of my waist at the time suggested I should wear a size 8, my bust meant that I was a size 16. Looking back, I was a beautiful hourglass, but I always felt bigger than my friends. From ages 14-16 I remember skipping lunch at school, and refusing to eat breakfast, hoping that I could lose weight by only eating the one meal that Mum made at dinner time.

It worked somewhat, but at 16, with prom fast approaching, I started experiencing what I now recognise to be the first signs of anxiety. If I ever got particularly nervous or excited, I would feel nauseous and sometimes have to rush to the toilet to vomit. It was then that I started to experiment with purging. I was determined to lose weight, and mum wouldn’t let me live on those god awful SlimFast shakes. That was, until my Grandma heard me purging. My family finally accepted that I wanted to do this, and agreed. What I didn’t realise was how unhealthy this would make me. Recovering from Meningitis and on regular Codeine, I was feeling faint and lightheaded more than often. After all, I wasn’t eating proper meals. Not only this, but I have a (now very mild) intolerance to lactose, and also prone to tonsillitis, so I was living with an almost constant throat infection from the level of milk I was ingesting.

Fast forward to college, I was feeling a little more sure of myself and who I was. That was when things started escalating the other way. I remember eating my emotions each time a boy cheated on me, stress eating my way through all my exams/revision phases. I remember the look of shame and pity on my grandmas face when she caught me elbow deep in a bag of Doritios. “Ill lose weight when I’ve finished my exams”. Of course, there was always another exam. At least then, I was moderately active and had horse riding to look forward to.

This went on right into uni. On top of that I was going out clubbing and drinking at least 3-6 nights a week. I was awful in my first year, and really abused my body. My only exercise was making a fool of myself in clubs. I’d fill my body with crap and liquor. In second year it only got worse, when I had my first more “serious” wave of depression. Not only was I depressed, but in hindsight I was also agoraphobic. I hated myself so deeply I didn’t want others to see me. At one point this got so bad that I would hide in my room until I was sure my flatmates had gone to bed, and order takeaway food just so that I wouldn’t risk seeing anyone in the kitchen. I felt like I was eating to survive at this point, and my body didn’t matter. In final year I was better, refreshed and feeling right again. I signed up for Joe Wicks (the body coach) and lost 20lbs in a month, following a strict macro diet plan and HIIT exercise. Then, however, I met my now husband (who unfortunately is American with a lot of bad eating habits of his own, but rudely with the metabolism of Usain Bolt), and then was faced by my dissertation.


Present

Now, I find myself having put all that weight back on, plus a stone for good luck- I am bigger than I have ever been.

While I have always been an advocate for plus women and body positivity, I have struggled so hard with accepting my new reality. People treat me differently, I feel less likely to get jobs, afraid to do things where I’d “take up too much space”. I either obsess over or avoid mirrors at all costs, I never buy new clothes because I feel like everything looks awful, I can feel agoraphobia seeping in again, I feel like everyone is judging me, my family is ashamed of me and I haven’t felt “sexy” in about a year. I’ve always wanted a breast reduction because of my back pain, but they advise you not to get one until you’re “happy” with your weight, since if you gain or loose too much either way the shape will change. When I dream, I don’t appear the way I do in real life. I don’t even recognise who I am in the mirror, and honestly, I really don’t think I want to.

On top of the shallow reasons I have always wanted to lose weight, I am also now consumed with new symptoms and concerns about my health. I know if I don’t change my life soon I am going to eat myself to death. I’ve always had back pain due to the size of my bust, but now I can’t even stand for long enough to do the dishes without sitting down to avoid tears. I hadn’t realised how bad it had gotten until last year for our mini-honeymoon, merely walking around London I found myself clinging onto A’s arm with tears in my eyes because my back pain was so severe. Not only this, my resting heart rate is insanely high, I’m constantly fatigued and I’m beginning to see more and more symptoms of pre-diabetes, and it is making me insanely paranoid.

Honestly, I want to lose weight so that I can do the things I enjoy again. So I can feel confident in myself and wear the clothes I long to wear. So I can feel sexy and healthy and enjoy being active and going on adventures with my husband. I want to feel like myself again.


Future

My plans for the future are to take effect immediately. No more “I’ll start Monday”, or I’ll try harder next week. I need to make this commitment to myself and to the people who love me so that I don’t eat myself into an early grave. I miss doing the sports I loved so much but 4 years ago. I miss waking up and not worrying about being in pain every day. The worst part is, I know about nutrition and exercise, I just don’t do it, and while my mental health often causes my lack of desire, it’s often also the other way around. I need to force myself through the pain and the hard times to reach the size 10 jeans at the end of the tunnel.

I thought I would write this to let you all know, since you might be noticing some changes with my Instagram and other social media feeds. Of course I will still be doing beauty, but I’d love to start sharing my journey with you all, because I feel like through blogging I’ve found a space on the internet full of loving, supportive souls. Besides, there might even be a few recipes in it for you!

 

Love,

Frankii xx

 

 

 

 

I know this post was a little long and a little personal, but hopefully now I’ve worked through my emotional turmoil (lol I’m so dramatic) I’ll be back to regular posting. My next installation of discounted beauty is coming soon!! Xx

Toxic Friendships Series | Cleaning Up Your ‘Squad’: Pt. IV


Regular readers, since in both my anxiety tips, and my graduate mental health posts, I touched on the importance of cutting ties with toxic individuals, I thought it only fair to share with you my own experiences, and some of the sorts of behaviours you should look out for and try to avoid when trying to lead a positive life. I created this series both as a form of therapy and a means of warning/advising others who may feel like they are in the same boat. I’m making this a series, as it was a little long to include several types of toxic friend in one post. I aim to post at 11am GMT each week until the series is done.

Ps. Please don’t be afraid to walk away if someone is damaging your energy. It does not make you a bad person to walk away from someone who is toxic. You deserve happiness! x


The One(s) I Hoped I’d Never Have To Write

For me, though I can be hard to get to know initially, my morals are such that after I’ve been with/through a certain amount of things with a person, I will generally love them almost as an extension of my family. This is something that never fully goes away. These are the most painful friendship breakups of all. The ones where you’ve grown together, but sometimes they start to grow in a direction you don’t like. The ones where the person in your memories doesn’t coincide with the person stood before you today. The ones whose energy has changed and become suffocating or poisonous to your own.

For me, and i’m sure for many of you out there, you may find yourselves holding on to the people in memories, even though they don’t exist anymore. You may try to turn a blind eye to the negative traits they’ve picked up, hoping and wishing for it to just be a phase. The fact is, that life changes us. Sometimes people grow apart, and sometimes they grow into people who- when you really make yourself face the music, you don’t recognise… or even like anymore. This whole series was inspired by a recent experience. If the person(s) concerned are reading this (which I doubt as the lack of support has been going on for much longer than I realised), know that I’m sorry.

This is to be my final post in the series, with a view to opening it up again later on if anyone has any ideas or requests on toxic friends I’ve missed. This one was particularly hard for me to write hence I saved it till last. I hope you all can build the courage to end friendships that are/become toxic no matter how long you have been friends, because ultimately holding on to people that don’t love and support you in a genuine, healthy way will only damage you, and impact your life negatively. It’s ok to let people go if their energy isn’t right for you.

 

Dear Ex-Friend,

Life changed us, stretched our relationship over distances that meant we grew apart. We saw each other less and less, and each time I would see you I would notice differences. Some subtle, the shifts in your energy… less so. Before long the person sat before me was someone I didn’t feel that I knew. The person I knew and loved was too crazy and fun-loving to even notice things that this new person would say out of jealousy or spite. We used to be like siblings, but we changed.

I grew drained as each time we met a new person would become the subject of your anger. I tried to love you through it, sometimes smiling through discomfort and worst of all joining in, really wanting to believe that these people deserved the words you were saying. Hoping that you’d only talk about people this way if they’d severely wronged you,  but before long I couldn’t miss the pangs of envy that tainted your conversations. The people you spoke of all had something that you wished you had, and though the picture of victimisation was one I wanted to believe, the green began to seep through the cracks.

Before long I couldn’t help but wonder what you’d be saying about me behind my back. As I distanced myself, I felt the hostility growing inside you. Instead of looking inwards to consider why someone wouldn’t want to be friends with you, you lashed out. Not to mention, as it turns out, I was right to wonder.

I cannot fathom what could have happened in a persons life, to turn someone I loved for their carefree attitude and mutual aversion to b*tching about others into someone who could be so nasty. I supported you through everything I could, and ignored new warning signs as long as I possibly could have. But even as I felt resigned to distance myself from the friendship, nothing could have prepared me for the betrayal I felt when I heard that I’d become the topic of dinner conversation.

When I started blogging, I knew I would be judged for it. That’s one of the reasons I made sure to really cut down my Facebook down to people that I know (or thought I knew) loved me. To be ridiculed for doing something innocent and productive with my spare time, to say things like “who cares what she has to say?” was bad enough. But to screenshot a selfie and to tear apart my actual physical appearance, my marriage, my existence… To be that spiteful towards someone you shared years of memories with- was unforgivable.

To you, dear “friend”, I honestly hope that some day you can fill the void or the chip on your shoulder and realise that the world isn’t out to get you. Treating the people who love you awfully isn’t going to wind up benefitting your life, it will only push people away till you wind up alone. I never thought I would have to say goodbye to you, and part of me hopes that in a few years time this will have all just been a phase. I truly hope you can recover the person you were, because I know that deep down this toxic person isn’t you. But until then, for my own sanity, I think I’ll have to put this one to rest.

I believe everything in life happens for a reason. I believe that soul-mates are not always romantic partners, or “the one”, or even necessarily friends made to last; but they may also be people you meet at a time in your life when you need each other for one reason or another. As they say, some friends come for a lifetime, and others just a season, but to me that’s no reason to say that you can’t cherish the memories you made together. Ultimately, you hold the pen to your novel. When I was younger, all I ever wanted was to fit in. When I met you, for what ever reason, I did. As we grew, our views on love, friendship and trust began to grow and change- and us with them. If you’re reading this, and you find I’ve left you behind, know that it was never easy for me. For me, when I love someone, I love them loyally and wholeheartedly. No matter what you’ve done, or how time has gnarled us, know that I wish you the best.

Love From,

Frankii x


**DISCLAIMER: This post is not directed at any one in particular, but there may be elements applicable to several people whom, for one reason or another, are no longer a part of my journey.**