You may have noticed that I haven’t once mentioned Covid-19. I’ve also been pretty light on: Brexit, identity politics and the return of far-right; Climate Change; Donald Trump and his bunch of asset-stripping mercenaries; fake news and the manipulation of the mob; ISIS; the refugee crisis; social media and the dismantling of society; Syria.
This is intentional. Writing is a refuge. If I let in such enormous international crises, they would swamp a therapeutic space. I write in defiance of these things.
Comparison to a global pandemic reveals the utter triviality of my problems and fears without allaying them. My whole self-destructive fuck-wittery is a response to how insignificant we all are, and our inability to influence the world around us. If I can have no positive impact, it is better to tread as lightly as possible upon the poor old, abused Earth. I ought not to make demands on other people, either. They’ve got other things to worry about.
Anorexia kept me safe from the terrors of the world. I could preoccupy myself with food, cooking, denial and satiety; I could hurry, head down, across bare, hungry plains to the lit doorway and the cozy fireside of my next snack, ignoring the vast, empty, star-black skies above me. Jo used to find it exasperating that, in the middle of some serious discussions, I’d say, “I was thinking about making Turkish flatbreads for tea…” I think she realised that the very seriousness of the topic led me to talk about the comfortingly banal, and, in doing so, intentionally belittle myself. That’s what annoyed her.
I know this blog makes me seem completely self-obsessed, but I started writing a diary, and then this blog, at the suggestion of my Eating Disorders specialist, Abi, specifically to act as a substitute source of comfort, and to try and explain to myself, and come to terms with, why I had got into this position. This is only one aspect of the more rounded (!), real-world me. I hope.
The blog is supposed to be the place where I explore myself and then communicate what I discover. I’m the only thing I have expertise in, and I communicate because it may be of interest or use to you, in an idle moment. That’s not entirely self-absorbed, right?
This should also explain why other characters are so shadowy. I am no authority on their thoughts and motivations, so I shy away from fleshing them out. I worry people will read these posts, recognise themselves, and be justifiably furious at my reductive and self-serving depiction. All first-person narratives are solipsistic and, to be comprehensible, need to simplify the complexities and contradictions of human consciousness. But these are real people. I haven’t got the right, or their permission, to make them puppets in my pantomimes of self-justification.
(I’m full of plausible excuses for being a twat, aren’t I?)