Friday, 1 June 2012

Think about the WHY not the HOW

It was on Wednesday that this mail arrived in my inbox...

"Since I arrived on your blog a few days ago, I have sucked up every single word you have written..I have laughed and I have marvelled at your experiences. Most of all...I have really appreciated how beautifully poignant and frank your blog is! I am 27 and have suffered from an eating disorder since 12 yrs old...I am also a mother, to a little girl who turns three in August. I am going through a divorce....but none of that...well except the beautiful daughter part is what matters...because the beautiful daughter part is the only thing that matters. I guess I devoured your blog because in its truth, you have so beautifully expressed your love for your daughter!

For the first time ever in my blogging history, I felt like connecting with someone in that world. Im sorry if this seems like a weird email or something, but I just wanted to say thanks. Its so great to know that there is somebody who is possibly just as crazy as I am out there, who so completely and utterly hits the number 1 spot of moms who I admire."

I cannot tell you how it made me feel. I was touched by the very kind words but more importantly I was humbled that somewhere, somehow my experiences have resonated with someone.

A few years back I was lucky enough to Johnny Clegg's publicist, a man that I admire from the bottom of my sweaty feet to the tip of my greying hair. He is smart and funny and talented and shares his life stories openly and freely, with anyone who cares to listen.

We were on a flight to Durban to do some publicity and we were discussing life in all its complexities. I explained that at the age of 30 I suddenly woke up and thought this is not my beautiful house, this is not my beautiful husband, this is not my beautiful life (with thanks to Talking Heads). Without any warning signs anyone I asked for a divorce, moved out of home into a teeny tiny townhouse, lost old friends, found new ones and started searching for myself. "Well," says Mr Clegg, "you're no different to the millions of other people who share the same crises at that age. I thought I was unique and special when I traded my old life in round about that age, but soon discovered it's universal. Everybody feels that way to some extent or another." The horror? Me not unique? Me not one of a kind!

A similar thing happened the first time I spoke about my deep, dark secret. The one I had lived with for more than 12 years. The one about the sexual abuse. I remember almost whispering it to a friend over a cup of coffee because I was so ashamed. "Don't worry," she said "I knew it all along. You and I are very much the same and I think it's because we've both been through it and come out on the other side."

My blog is very frank because that's me. No topic is sacred (much to Mark's embarrassment) and I have no problem getting down to the nitty-gritties. I reckon that if I've experienced something, chances are someone else has too. And even if I can't help them I can let them know they're not alone.

My eating disorder started much later in life than most. And I still live with it today. Living with an eating disorder is an incredibly lonely existence. It's you and the tiny voice inside your head constantly telling you you're not worth it. You're not good enough. You don't deserve something as basic (and necessary) as food and unless you're in it it's very hard to understand.

To this day my husband and family will say "just eat!" If it was as easy as that I would. I'd do it in a heartbeat to stop the pain, frustration and anxiety I cause the people who love me most.

Everyday is a battle with food and more often than not that little voice wins but instead of focusing on the HOW to get better (we all know that) I think of the WHY...and I try to take it moment by moment.

Why should I eat this apple? Because I'll have the energy to play with Emma.

Why eat supper? So I can have some kind of nourishment for the following day.

Why eat? Because Emma, Ben and Mark need me around.

Why not starve myself a little bit more? Because I am worth more than that!

If this resonates with you remember you are an amazing woman and a survivor. You are loved and you are worthy. Forget a meal once in a while. Forget to drink your supplement but never ever forget this!


  1. Your frankess is just ONE of the most endearing qualities about you. I am SO honoured to call you a DEAR friend and to be Ben's godmother. I am PROUD to be able to say that I know you ... keep being you: stinky feet, grey hair, butt crack and all xxxxx

  2. Melinda your blog really touched my heart this morning! I am just the opposite of you, I must constantly tell myself not to overdo it with food! The last bit on your post, the quote, that I loved even more! Thanks, you have now literally had me laughing and crying with your posts.

  3. Great post! The more we are honest about who we are and why, the more you find that all of us has th same kind of insecurities and vulnerabilities! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I. had. no. idea. Mel, as always I'm touched by how your words leap from the page and bury themselves in the heart. Congrats on making the Top 10 in the SA's Best Mommy Blogger thingie. Very well deserved!

  5. Thanks Stacey...a little surprised (I know my blog's not everyone's cuppa tea) and humbled

    Holding thumbs for you. I have no doubt you'll be taking the prize home again this year. I love your blog xxx