Watching Time Heal 1


 

When I was 16, my parents took us on what was our first family holiday outside of Europe. Usually, we would be driven to France or Spain to stay in a green and red Eurocamp tent, which quite honestly was a whole lot of fun, but boarding a plane and heading towards Tunisia was a totally new sort of exciting. 

Even when I was 16, there was no hint of an eating disorder. I ate everything, and in fact, was rather an gannet. My favorite foods were anything fatty and greasy. I was able to drive my scooter into town and I would do so just so that I could get to a fast-food chain and eat Wimpy burgers washed down with 500-calorie milkshakes and a sides of chips. The fattier the better, because lets face it, it is fat that makes everything taste good. 

That year, my parents, my sisters and I went on a ten day all-inclusive holiday. I remember riding camels. I remember sneaking out of our hotel room with my sisters so that we could swim in the outdoor pool late at night. I remember a desert tour and visiting cave dwellers. The thing that I remember most of all, is the chocolate Nutella-filled waffles. Yes, thats right, take me to Africa and all I really cared about was the poolside waffle hut.

I have always been a very food-orientated person. Anorexia is all the more ironic for that fact. 

I mean, I can go on holiday and my clearest memory is how good the ice-creams were. Every holiday I have ever been on, the first thing I think about is what I remember eating. I want to Greece once, and all I really remember about it is how my best friend and I shared an entire Sara Lee Chocolate gateau and could not walk after. I also remember eating Magnum ices on the beach. 

camembert2a

This is pretty much all France means to me!

From the Eurocamp holidays, young as I was, I remember cheese and French loaves but cannot recall a single other aspect of those holidays. Camembert; I remember Camembert. I am like my dog in that respect; it’s all about the food. Life is good so long as there is the prospect of a meal or a snack on the horizon. 

That did not change when I developed anorexia; I still thought of food all day, but it was torture rather than pleasure then. I digress: as much as I love to write about the food I used to eat on holidays, this post is not about that. This post is about my watch.

On the plane, coming home to the UK from Tunisia, I bought a Pierre Cardin watch. It was expensive, my first proper (not plastic) watch. Duty-free, it still cost me around a hundred pounds, which was the majority of my savings. I loved that watch; still do. 

At some point, probably when mobile phones began to tell the time, I stopped wearing my watch. Fast forward to this December, when I was in the watch battery shop getting my husband Matt’s Guess watch a new battery, I remembered my own watch. The next week I dug it out and took it to the watch battery shop. 

I think that the reason I want to wear a watch again now, is because so few people do. One does not need to wear a watch to tell the time as one always has a phone handy, so many people have stopped wearing them. I probably use my phone more to look at the time than I do to make calls. I am rebelling against non-watch wearing by committing to my Pierre Cardin watch again. These days, my mobile phone represents emails and work. The less I have to look at it the better. 

Long story short, after a great deal of swearing, the watch battery people were able to get my old friend ticking again. Excited, I put my revived timepiece on my wrist. 

OUCH!

I had tried to snap the clash shut and almost cut into the flesh on my arm. It was so very, ridiculously, could-not-even-nearly-get-it-to-clasp-up, tight. I had forgotten that when I was about 18, I had my watch adjusted because my it had slid right off my hand a couple of times. I had lost so much weight by then, that a ton of links had to be taken out in order to get it to fit me. 

Standing in the watch battery shop, I removed my watch from my arm and clasped it closed. The bracelet was so tiny; it looked like a child’s watch. My wrists had really been that thin, hadn’t they. I felt so sad to see the pathetically small that had once fitted loosely. 

I have squish my fingers to fit them in the bracelet now!

I have squish my fingers to fit them in the bracelet now!

It haunts me to think I was once this wrist size as a adult woman.

It haunts me to think I was once this wrist size as a adult woman.

Sometimes I forget. I forget that I had to wear three layers of leggings under my jeans to stop my bottom from hurting if I sat down. That never worked by the way, it still hurt to sit down. I forget that my hair was so thin it had to be cut short. I forget that my wrists were twiglets, and that I stopped wearing my watch because the metal hurt my boney hands. 

When I remember these details, two things happen: firstly I feel sorry for the me that lived through anorexia. Secondly I feel sorry for those who are currently in it. There is always relief and gratitude present too, as I love to know that my wrists, just like the rest of my body, are now fleshy and healthy and that there is no way I am going to get that watch on them without adding a couple of links. That feels great actually. 

After he got over the shock of another reminder of how thin I once was, Matt adjusted it so that I can now wear my watch again. I am glad that I kept it, as it serves as another daily reminder for me about just how luscious life is now that I can eat. 

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About Tabitha Farrar

I work as Head of Marketing for a software startup in Boulder. As a recovered Anorexia sufferer, I advocate for proper understanding of eating disorders in my spare time. On that note, I wrote a book about my own journey into eating again called Love Fat.


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One thought on “Watching Time Heal

  • Vivienne

    I am so happy to witness your recovery and be privy to what you have discovered. I still don’t know what triggered your anorexia, maybe one day we will talk about it on a walk. I have loved seeing you gradually inhabit more and more of your body, taking it back from your disorder and allowing yourself to once again enjoy the things you love. Camembert is my personal favorite and I, too, wear a watch from time to time.

    The downside to you not being painfully thin is that I don’t think I can overpower you when fighting for that last wedge of stinky cheese (or the ownership of your dog) but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.