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Part Fifteen: Diary of a Self Harmer!

Uzoma Fenner - Friday, October 09, 2015

15: MAY BE THERE IS A DIFFERENT WAY! After weeks of feeling sorry for herself, she had whittled he weight down to a size she had never before been. She still felt saggy skin everywhere but had decided, after her bikini-gate, never to look at herself naked ever again. She also decided that she would not let anyone else see her bare flesh. She invested in long sleeved tops and only wore trousers or long skirts. She flirted with men but never took a date further than the first kiss. 

Her diet became top focus. She meticulously measured and calorie counted her daily food and exercise. Her keep fit/keep fat off routine became her new passion. Friends fell by the wayside unless they fitted into her rigorous exercise schedule. Where her friendships once revolved around food, they now revolved around any form of activity other than eating. She had a ton of excuses at the ready when an unaware relative or friend invited her out for a meal or a drink. Soon, all that her world boiled down to was a strict conversation with herself about what she had better not eat and what exercise she must do before even contemplating eating one mouthful of food. 

It should not have come as a surprise to her that the invitations stopped. Nor should it have been a shock when she had to purchase her underwear from the children's section of the shop. Yet, shocked she was. She caught a brief glimpse of herself in the shop window and almost lost her breath when she saw the sad, sunken eyes that peered back at her. Her arms and legs so thin that she would describe herself as "frail". She stood transfixed for the longest time and slowly returned home and called her mother. Through sobs, she heard herself asking for help.

Part Fourteen: Diary of a Self-Harmer

Uzoma Fenner - Thursday, June 04, 2015

14. WHAT WAS THAT? She was finally looking good in her size 10 jeans. Her clothes fitted comfortably and her friends and family were still full of admiration for her. She was aware that summer was just around the corner and decided to go shopping for a skimpy bikini. She got to the first shop and chose five of her favourite styles to try on in the changing room. She was so happy that she finally had an abundance of choice in her size and that she didn't have to pretend that she was shopping for someone else when the shop assistant asked if she needed help finding the right size. 

Once in the changing room, she stripped naked and as she reached over to grab the first costume, she caught sight of her naked body for the first time since reaching this new size. What she was confronted with, took the wind right out of her sails. Her boobs were almost hollow and the skin on her thighs reminded her of melting candle wax, all bumpy and unstable. Her eyes moved up slowly and landed on her belly. She was horrified that her navel was completely obscured by a tyre of floppy skin. Suddenly conscious of the thought that other customers might see her through the curtain on her changing cubicle, she quickly got dressed and walked out, leaving all the bikinis in the changing room. She couldn't bear to be asked if everything fitted ok. 

She spent the rest of the day under cover of a baggy sweat suit, fighting the hunger that was gnawing at her as she attempted to erase the vision of her new body from memory.  

Part Thirteen: Diary of a Self-Harmer

Uzoma Fenner - Monday, March 30, 2015

13. LIES UPON LIES! She had started the day on a high because she had finally been able to fit into her skinny jeans and also, as she walked towards her car, a group of men who were working on her road had wolf whistled at her. She arrived to work early so as to allow time for the inevitable 'diet' discussions that always took place in the coffee room. Of course she was the current star. She answered questions about her diet regime and gave advice about eating sensibly. Even when a colleague raised the issue of gastric bands, she loudly condemned it as "cheating". 

As soon as she had said it, she felt a pang of guilt at deploring something that she had done herself. She was still only able to eat tiny portions and food took so long to digest it had been easy not to overindulge. She had turned down several invitations to eat out for this reason but she lapped up the "Aren't you good" and "I wish I had your willpower" from family and friends who believed she was avoiding temptation through sheer fortitude. 

Part Twelve: Diary of a Self-Harmer

Uzoma Fenner - Thursday, February 26, 2015

12. A COVERT OPERATION! It had been less than three weeks since her gastric band fitting and she had taken time off sick with 'gastroenteritis'. She still felt fat even though she had only been able to eat a fraction of her usual portions in one sitting. Her stomach capacity was now so much smaller. It was time to go back to work and she selected a blouse and the only smart skirt she knew that she could fit into about a month ago. She had been living in her nighty since the operation and had barely left the bedroom. She felt weighed down with guilt. Everyone had rallied round to check up on her and bring food and magazines. Her gran had even sent her a "get well soon" card. She had lied to everyone about why she was on leave. 

She showered and put on her face for the day. She brushed her hair and slowly began to get dressed. It was not until she began to zip up her skirt that she realized just how much weight she had already lost. The zip went up easily. She was so used to sucking in her tummy in order to get that last bit done up. She took a moment to acknowledge her image in the mirror and a smile crept across her face. On her way to work she planned to announce that she was going to start a new diet.   

Part Eleven: Diary of a Self-Harmer

Uzoma Fenner - Monday, January 05, 2015

11. DAMNED IF YOU DO As she struck another day off her calender, she realised that she had just two more weeks before her gastric band fitting. She felt her heart racing, more in fear than in excitement. She had spent the last few days organising her will and worrying about the real possibility of dying during or shortly after the operation. She knew that her size put her at risk of complications. If only she could talk to someone about her fears. 

She knew that her siblings would think her vain and stupid for taking such a ridiculous risk with her life. She knew that her parents would judge her as taking the easy way out. She couldn't tell her friends because back when she was in control of her weight, she would often preach about the importance of losing weight 'naturally'. Now, she found herself in a very uncomfortable position. She really needed...cheesecake! 

Part Ten: Diary of a Self Harmer

Uzoma Fenner - Monday, December 29, 2014

1O. ONE WAY OR ANOTHER Finally she had a big smile on her face. She added up her savings, including her christmas money and booked an appointment with the plastic surgeon. She couldn't decide whether to have a tummy tuck, liposuction on her thighs or a face lift. She inspected her body closely in the mirror and noticed that she may also need to address her double chin. Then again, there was that awful back fat that always showed through her T-shirts and dresses. She wondered if the doctor could also fix the cellulite on her bottom and give her a breast reduction. Her smile faded as she imagined the real cost of surgery because she would also need her bingo wings dealt with and something done about her calf area as well. 

Just how long would it take to recover from all of that mutilation? Not to talk of the hole it would burn in her bank balance! She could only afford two procedures at most, and she would have to take out more than a small loan for any others.Was she really planning to pay a stranger to butcher her body? Would she be satisfied with her look knowing that there was still so much that needed fixing? She decided to have a gastric band fitted... 

Part Nine: Diary of a Self-Harmer

Uzoma Fenner - Thursday, December 11, 2014

9. BEWARE OF THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER She felt uninspired as she wandered from one shop to another looking for the ideal 'secret santa' gift for David who had recently lost a load of weight and had suddenly become the center of attention around the office. She didn't mind but David insisted on reminding everyone how bad it is to eat between meals and how he only has a problem with chocolate if it is in front of him. She noticed how this statement led to a pact between her colleagues not to bring in christmas chocolates this year, and how touched he was by their gesture of solidarity. 

Just yesterday, she sat quietly sipping her coffee as he dished out practical advice to her workmates. She saw the admiration in their eyes as he captured their full attention. She saw how confidently he spoke and how comfortable he seemed to be in his own skin. She wished that she did not feel the envy that engulfed her at that moment but she couldn't help it... "Would you wrap this for me please?" she asked the lady in the chocolate shop "It is a gift".   

Part Eight: Diary of a Self-Harmer

Uzoma Fenner - Thursday, November 20, 2014
8. NEGATIVE MOTIVATION She tried on outfit after outfit in front of her mirror and nothing worked. Nothing could disguise her giant, disgusting, flabby, thighs- yuck! She detested herself and could not, for the life of her, understand what any man would possibly see in her. She asked herself a thousand times why she was unable to lose weight...

She quietly put away the pile of clothes on her bed and dressed in her usual way, avoiding eye contact with the full length mirror. She did not want to feel this bad feeling. She had important things to do today. She found herself in front of her kitchen cupboard and, as if on autopilot, opening the half empty jar of nuts & raisins...

Part Seven: Diary of a Self Harmer!

Uzoma Fenner - Tuesday, October 21, 2014
7. IN TOTAL DENIAL She sat uncomfortably at the table waiting for her blind date to show. She wished that she had not been so nervous. Since meeting Mark online, she had stopped drinking so much but her weight gain from the months of overeating, was unmistakable. She had posted a picture of herself when she was much slimmer and had received a lot of male interest as a result. She had accepted compliments about her 'fake' body as she had flirted online.

However, right now, she positioned herself at the agreed table in the restaurant, the table cloth concealing her oversized lower half. She had invested a lot in hair and makeup, perhaps a little over the top but she had told herself that at least he would be distracted by that....and her now very ample cleavage. She felt self concious as the waiter approached her table to take her order. She immediately babbled on about how lovely the set up was. In truth, she was simply attempting to distract herself from the feelings of discomfort as she sat waiting for what she was sure would be another 'no show' online date. She ordered some fizzy water and waited another 15 minutes. She watched as couples came and went, as men entered the restaurant, scanned the room and then took a seat at the bar.

Part Six: Diary of a Self Harmer!

Uzoma Fenner - Wednesday, March 06, 2013
6. A COMPLETE CYCLE She had held her slim figure for almost six months before she had discovered the buzz of alcohol. All of a sudden, it seemed, she began feeling bloated and uncomfortable in her tight clothing. She was having so much fun with her drinking buddies, however, that it was easy to ignore the signs that she was over doing the eating again. Three months later, she was back in baggy clothes and engaging in regular food and drink binges. Her friends didn't say anything to discourage her but she knew that she couldn't face herself. She stopped looking in full length mirrors and she couldn't remember the last time she went to the gym or for a walk. She retreated into her world of self loathing and insecurity.