Already brave

I wonder how people jump off cliffs with their surfboards to get to great breaks. You know what I mean. It’s in almost every surf film. Surfer courageously takes the drop and then joins with their surfboard on their way to their next great adventure together. I really wonder if bravery is something one gets from surfing, or if one is inherently brave to begin surfing.

Are we brave as surfers or just brave surfers?

I constantly hate myself and my surfing because I am anxious, cautious and timid, and my surfing suffers from this. I talk myself out of waves all the time and I have unfortunately been victim of too many panic attacks out in the water to admit to. But people that don’t surf look at what I do and tell me they could never do that. There’s a four-foot wave about to break in front of me. I try my hardest to duck dive and try to get through. A wall of ugly grey water surges up behind me. I’m in the wrong spot (as usual) and I am about to be chucked over the falls. I either pull back (if I can) or I just relax into the tumble of the “hold-down”. Other people wouldn’t even step into the water.

So I suppose that is all I have to think about the next time my anxiety gets the better of me. Just by entering the water, I am already brave. I got this.

The sea scares me but I love it too much to stay away

The sea scares me but I love it too much to stay away

Surfing has given me strength

First successful surf

First successful surf

I remember my first successful surf fondly. I was so eager to stand up that eventually I did, but I also remember feeling as though I stood out for the wrong reasons. Not for being uncoordinated and unbalanced, but because I was older and not exactly athletic. The anxiety I felt when being handed my wetsuit (would I have to change in front of these buff surf coaches?) and feeling weak as I carried the huge foamie to the beach (cue out-of-breathness). It made me want to be “good” at surfing all the more, just to prove to any critics that I could.

Ultimately, BED hit me after my first successful lesson and I got even fatter. But when you’re severely depressed and grieving, you really don’t care how you pull yourself through each day. We all need comfort. Unfortunately, mine turned into an eating disorder that made me even more depressed because I hated the way I looked (and felt). I hated myself enough to stop eating, and that’s when I knew I needed something else to focus on – other than hating myself.

"Boardie" - the beginning of a new stage in my life

“Boardie” – the beginning of a new stage in my life

That was when I decided to get healthy and see a psychologist, and go out on a limb and commit myself to surfing by buying my first surfboard. I’ve learned a lot about myself since deciding to surf. I know I have someone inside me that is confident and able to paddle through the impact zone, but also someone that feels confident enough to change into a wetsuit in front of buff surfer dudes (albeit awkwardly). Surfing has given me endurance and strength I never would have found in the world. I have my rough periods; the day the doctor “updated” my eating disorder was a day I felt like I had tinnitus – the words Bulimia Nervosa rang in my ear – in fact they still do because it doesn’t feel right. I am not Bulimic, yet I have Bulimia. I feel very disconnected from this diagnosis. I do not throw up food so how am I Bulimic? Again, the surfing has helped me re-establish my sense of identity and give me a place where I am safe.

The journey is still just beginning...

The journey is still just beginning…

Now I am fitter and healthier than ever before. I surf and I workout. I still struggle with eating like a normal person, but the important thing is that I try. I’ve given my psychologist the sack and I’m relying on my own strengths to heal myself, because thanks to surfing, I have power.

My journey is still just beginning…

Surfing is: Revival, hope, perspective and so much more

I read a ridiculously asinine feature on a webpage earlier this week about how all those cool analogies we use for surfing are just rumours. For example, the surfer out there having the most fun is the best surfer and … Continue reading

Inward

I’m trying to remain positive. It’s hard sometimes. Memories haunt me and people taunt me. Sometimes I find myself staring deeply into the mirror with such self-loathing I wish I could smash my face the way I could smash the mirror. My eyes? What’s behind them? I don’t know the girl in the reflection. I don’t trust her.

I go off on my own and have a surf and I feel better. I’m getting better and better at nailing those waves. The moment of panic when a green wave lifts me and catapults me in an explosion of water is not frightening anymore. The water is turquoise; clear and glassy, and only nail-bitingly cold. It’s invigorating. I rise over incoming green walls of water, always looking for the next one behind it. They get bigger and bigger, but I keep paddling out.

I get out of the ocean and I have a nice conversation with a few strangers. I have an identity for a moment. I know whom I am, here, right now, talking to them. I make jokes and smile and even feel a bubble rising beside my heart. Then I get in the car. The smile slams shut. Those eyes are back. I wish I didn’t have to leave.

It’s hard loving others when you loath yourself this much.

But I know, somewhere in my heart, I do. I have to. I’m not that far gone am I?

Am I?

Reflection

Image

I am quite nervous to post this, in all honesty, I still don’t feel 100% confident in a bikini (especially broadcasted online) but I thought I’d share this to offer some hope to anybody feeling as though they’re stalled or “stuck” at a weight they are not happy with.

The picture on the right is an accomplishment. I know this. But so is the picture on the left, because you know what: I was grappling with the same emotional problems as I am on the right. I don’t feel confident. I don’t feel beautiful. A “bikini body” hasn’t made my happiness level grow whatsoever. All it’s given me is a freedom to show my body without fear of bullying, and that isn’t my problem or my body’s. It’s society’s; and it turns out that even super hot models are told to lose weight to look good in a bikini.

I hate my weight in the picture on the right just as much as I hated my weight in the picture on the left. It’s addictive to see that number go down and to see measurements reduce, but you know what I’ve found? I look in the mirror and I still see the girl on the left. My social life is no better. My grades are no better. Losing weight hasn’t made my life wonderful, like weight loss campaigns tell you. I don’t have more energy, in fact, I have less. I am more tired and colder than I was at my highest weight, but hey, I can wear a bikini.

I used to want to look like Alana Blanchard (who wouldn’t), and then she admitted she had body issues (my world fell apart for a day). Just today, I noticed some creep had told her she was looking chunky and she needed to lose weight on her Instagram account. Why is it okay for guys to tell a model she needs to lose weight? What a jerk. I’ve never been called fat, and I was fat. Here is a fine example of a fit and healthy athlete being told such rubbish. I’m sorry Alana Blanchard that you have to suffer such treatment. I’m sorry anyone that has to suffer such treatment.

Some wise friends of mine told me to throw away the scale and be happy with my body because it is healthy. They’re absolutely right. I don’t post this as a “look at me; I lost weight; my life has changed” post. No. I post it to remind people that our health and fitness are more important than our looks, and to remember that pictures are deceiving. I had an eating disorder on the left. I have an eating disorder on the right. But don’t I look so happy?

Goals for mid-semester break

I’m looking forward to mid-semester break. I’ll have time to feel like myself again and really focus on the good things in my life without the constant stress and pressure of deadlines and due dates.

Goals

1. Finish the overhaul of Saving Sanne. It needs to be sent to the publisher already! This has got to be the fourth draft. One day I will have it perfect…or I’ll get so sick of re-writing it that I will actually submit it.

2. Try and set records for binge-free days. My record is 12 days, though I was only eating between 50 – 300 calories a day so I’m pretty sure it doesn’t count because that would be the “Anorexic tendencies” I’m prone to. Unfortunately, my binge-free streak currently stands at 0; this means that my eating disorder is controlling me, not the other way around. Not cool.

3. Ride my horse (weather pending; thank you very much Melbourne winter) 5 times a week.

4. SURF (Of course!) 3 times a week at various surf breaks.

I’ll keep this blog updated on my goals and I’ll share how I’m going. No matter how sore, no matter how tired, no matter how SCARED: I will achieve some of these goals.