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.
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.
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.
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.