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  • Writer's pictureRachel

House flies and bluer skies

Updated: Apr 28

Whilst I was at work the other day, I was trying to focus on a spreadsheet-heavy task when a huge house fly came into the room through a crack in the window. It started buzzing, and buzzing, and buzzing around…before long, all I could focus on was the fly…and how frustrated I was with the noise and its constant flitting in and out of my visual field. I got up to open the window wider and started trying to shoo the fly out with a magazine.

The blasted fly, despite somehow having made it through the smallest crack, could not seem to find its way out. I became increasingly frustrated…and so did the fly, it seemed. The buzzing got louder, and it frantically darted about, bouncing off every surface.

Lo and behold, in the midst of this brouhaha, through the open window flew in another enormous fly! Now, there were two frenzied insects, one very exacerbated Rachel flapping about, and one MacBook that had dozed off due to inactivity (this post is not sponsored by Apple).

The fact that neither of the flies could seem to locate the wide-open window, nor conveniently find their way into the mouths of one of the numerous carnivorous plants on the windowsill, irritated me to no end as I'm sure it would most of us. My shooing intensified. The volume and tone of my repeated "buzz OFF you stupid thing" most certainly intensified. My attention was so focussed on swotting that I didn't notice the cat's water bowl behind me, and I tumbled over it. 

Alas, all of this wafting about was to no avail. I eventually gave up and went back to my desk in a huff and popped in some headphones. I re-awakened my Excel spreadsheet and excessive number of open browser tabs and sat, quietly incensed, and vainly tried to tune out of the discordant buzzing.

I’m not entirely sure when or how it happened, but sometime later I stopped to look up from my screen, took out my headphones, and realised that both the flies had gone. Somewhere along the line, I’d become so engrossed in what I was doing (which is a minor miracle where CRM data migration is concerned) that they’d each found their way out somehow or another (or perhaps actually into the Venus flytrap… this is the more satisfying outcome I like to imagine).

My point here is this: focusing on the flies, flapping and fixating, sought not only to be a futile endeavour, but it simply wound me up frazzled and frustrated (please appreciate the alliteration, I tried very hard). 

By redirecting my attention back to what was more important and deserving of my time (and incidentally what I am being paid to do), the buzzing no longer has such power over my mind and emotions.

So now let the first fly be anorexia, the woman upstairs. And let the second fly be the number of other pathologies that I've been endowed with thanks to chronic anorexia. 

Over the past three years, I've given so much time and attention to these. As I write today, I still do, as I've recently committed to fully attempting to climb out of this deep pit through intensive cognitive therapy and full weight restoration. Yet, I have come to realise over the past few months that the eating, the normality, and the joy have come along so much more freely when I’ve been re-adjusting my attention towards the things that matter (especially now that I actually have the energy and brain function to pay attention). I've been rediscovering and reclaiming things that make Rachel, Rachel. Let these things be that CRM data migration task...except 1000 times more exciting.

I've begun a number of draft blog posts over the course of the last six months. Titles include Peanuts down my Breasts; Mates, Dates and Dough Ball Dilemmas; and Hiding Crumpets isn't Normal. All of these could have led to tragically amusing reads about the kinds of things that occupy my waking (and sleeping) hours. But I've become increasingly convicted that by continuing to write about the woman upstairs, I'm continuing to allow her to form a part of my identity. I no longer wish that to be the case.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not even close to the end of the road yet. The woman upstairs still very much occupies a huge amount of my time and energy, especially as I've recommitted to more intensive outpatient treatment. However, is giving her yet more airtime through my words and pictures a good use of my time? Even as I share stories of victories and progress, I continue to reinforce the label: I have anorexia. I'm tired of this being the most prominent thing people know about me.

So, I choose to fill my days with working to the best of my ability in a job that I am passionate about. I choose to fill my evenings and weekends with spending quality time with those that matter the most, preparing PhD applications, planning more trips to new and unfamiliar places, investing in getting to know the lovely people at my new church...and doing the daily things that bring me joy: going for walks, listening to podcasts, and drinking far too much tea and coffee.

As you may have guessed by now, I've decided to put down the Angry about Hummus pen for the time being. However, I do not regret this blog nor the writing I have done here. Nor do I wish to give up writing, for, and I can't believe I'm actually saying this...but I'm starting to believe that I'm not so bad at it. Therefore, I've decided to try out some new things, and find my voice in different ways. Watch this space, I guess. 

But thank you, from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has continued to support me on my journey towards...well, hummus just being...hummus. Who knows, maybe I’ll write a book about this one day.

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