Don’t ever trust The Voice within – unless it truly loves you.

There’s cake in the office. It’s placed down beside me and one of my colleagues who is gluten and dairy intolerant. Judging from the rich smells exuding from said cake as everyone passes by it has gluten and dairy in it.

I’ve just eaten so I don’t fancy cake but that doesn’t stop my mouth salivating at the thought of taking a piece … or four. And then Voice kicks in and starts questioning me, why do you want the cake? I don’t. What are you feeling? Not much, I am full and contented. I’m about a 6 on the hunger scale so I’m good. Then why are you thinking about the cake? Because everyone is eating it. Am missing out on something … No, I’m not. It’s the same Sainsbury’s cake they bought in for Mark’s birthday. I’m good, I am not missing out because I’ve had that cake before.

I’m resolved. I don’t want cake.

Casually four or five people start swarming around the cake like locusts ready to feast. Idle chit chat ensues while they cut off a slab one by one and return to their desks. You can hear the odd mutter, ‘Mmmmm just what I needed’ and ‘this would go perfect with a cup of tea.’

And then The Voice starts again.

Are you sure you don’t want some cake? I’ve heard it’s delicious. No, no thank you. Nothing has changed since you first asked me. But Jess said it would go well with a cup of tea and you’re drinking a cup of tea? Yes, I heard her say that but this is green tea and I know chocolate cake doesn’t go well with green tea. Can you please be quiet I am trying to work and I don’t want to eat.

‘Hmmpphhh,’ says The Voice.

At this point I’m not fighting The Voice. This is what I would call a conversation between The Voice and myself (or my stomach). This isn’t like how it used to be. It used to be demanding and restrictive. The Voice now has my best interests at heart but is still primitive in the fact that she hoards food for times of famine and she genuinely believes that any time I am not eating is a time of famine.

And then everything changes.

One of the men in his Capri pants strolls over, takes a piece of the cake and says to me, ‘Isn’t this tempting? Aren’t you on a diet? I suppose you can’t have this?’ And right in that instant, I want cake.

Not because I fancy the cake. Not because The Voice convinced me it could go well with my tea. But because someone in the office came over and opened their big mouth. They ASSUMED I was on a diet and they ASSUMED I would be tempted by something so sinful and off limits.

I can feel my pride and ego burst through my conscious mind and flare up like fireworks on bonfire night because I am NOT on a diet, and I can eat the cake if I choose to!

Suddenly the once calmed Voice is in protest and wants to rebel against this persons passing comment because somewhere in the comment it believes that person was judging it. The Voice believes that this person wasn’t being considerate or concerning but rather judgemental and suggestive that I should be on a diet.

‘How dare he,’ my she shrieks. ‘I will show him, Marnie hand me the cake.’

At this point the stomach, although a little miffed is still in protest against eating.

‘Common, there’s no space in here. Gimme a break!’ he sighs.

‘A break? A break?! Didn’t you just hear him? He said you are fat and intolerable and should be on a diet. He said you can’t have cake! He said you shouldn’t have cake! GIVE ME THE CAKE BECAUSE I WANT TO PROVE THIS FUCKER WRONG,’ cries The Voice.

*****

HOLD UP!

Skip to 1:50 in this video

If you go back for a second and re read what was said you might notice a lot of what I heard was not actually said.

******

I can now see what’s happening so before it goes any further I ask The Voice a few questions.

What are you feeling? Angry, frustrated, annoyed, challenged, fat, unworthy, judged.
Why are you feeling that? Because I’ve changed and someone made judgements on my PREVIOUS eating habits. I did used to be on a diet and I did used to turn my nose up to treats in a bid to ‘be good’ but I don’t do that anymore!
Did this person know you had changed your eating habits? I don’t know. It’s possible they didn’t.
Did this person offend you? Yes.
Do you think they meant to offend you? No.
Do you think you took offense when it wasn’t intended? Maybe.

The Voice knows now that it is in the wrong.

For a second it was propelled back to when I was 12 standing on the patio eating sour cream and chive crisps while my Dad and his friend are having a beer. After a few large handfuls from the bowl my Dad stops mid conversation to focus on me. He says, ‘Don’t you think you’ve had enough?’

I immediately reply, ‘No!’ and continue to shove crisps in my mouth except now I am not doing it because I am hungry and enjoying the crisps. I am eating out of rebellion and embarrassment at what my Dad has just asked. I was doing it because The Voice took offense to a comment that was never meant to be offensive had mirrored what I thought about myself in Dad’s words.

Nine years later and I know that my Dad would never have asked that question if he knew how much it would would have stuck with me. If he had known what it was like to be a young girl dealing with immense body issues and that one small statement could have the power to control his little girl for many years after. But the blame doesn’t lie with him and it certainly doesn’t lie with the man who had just asked a question about cake.

The blame lies with The Voice that never got past being an uncomfortable teenager who felt judged by her Dad. The same voice that spurs my ego to life like a peacock presenting its best tail feathers any time it feels challenged or judged. The Voice that still mirrors what it truly believes about me and my tendencies in the things other people say.

If The Voice truly loved me it may have heard my Dad say, ‘Don’t you think you’ve had enough? Because your mother is cooking your favourite dinner and I know you won’t want to miss out.’ It might have also interpreted my co-workers comments to mean, ‘Geez sitting next to the cake area all the time would be so tempting if I was on a diet. I know I wouldn’t have your willpower.’

A week ago in my old food restricting ways I would have been able to see my reflection in this one small comment and I would have let it completely destroy me. The Voice would have given in the instant it felt challenged and eaten out of spite. I am sure the longing for more than one slice to numb the feeling of unworthiness would have grown too strong and I am sure it would have lead into a fully fledged binge. But that would have been me then, before I stopped restricting and counting calories and basing my worth around the numbers on the scale.

The me now has given up these things and is learning that past experiences really do have the power to affect you but only you can give them the power to control you. I feel so relieved to know this is one focal point in which I can work on to become one with The Voice. After all, my biggest critic (and I’m sure the same applies to you) is my own Voice. The one that acts on primitive instincts and tries to shield my feelings like an older brother to a sister.

In this instance I think all I need to remember is, at the end of the day people aren’t judging me half as much as I think they are and no one really cares if you eat cake.

beautifulmirror

NOTE- If someone is judging your food choices its either because they are concerned for your health or a fatist/health extremist who secretly despises you for eating the things they restrict in their diet.

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ROADTRIP: We’re going to Bonnie Doon

I must flee … to my (almost) Mother in law’s purple Micra so Matt and I can adventure to a pokey little town called Lowestoft for the Easter long weekend.

Anyone who lives in London knows to stay in London during any kind of publicly announced ‘work free time’ isn’t the done thing. So we are packing up and shipping out (okay it’s a 3 hour, 4 hour tops road trip) and heading to the seaside. We do love our road trips because there is always too many sweets … which undoubtedly results in far too much of this behaviour.


Last night, Matt asked if I was going to go for a swim in the ocean when we got there. I think this was as much an answer he needed.

Sun sun sun!

Also since we aren’t jet-setting to somewhere romantic like France and it’s not Matt’s birthday I have no interest in hair removal.

No shave November went on longer than intended

Did I mention when you search ‘things to do in Lowestoft’ very little comes up? Also when you put the town into Trip Advisor there isn’t even a list of top attractions. Seriously, take a look here. God we are going to have such a good time.

Scones and cider are first on the agenda, me thinks.

I’m not one of those ‘burn your bra’ feminists

I’m not one of those ‘burn your bra’ type feminists. You know the type that is in your face about important issues. The type that tries to get your attention on matters like breast feeding in public, ‘asking’ for rape, affordable day care for young children, legalisation of abortion clinics and how important industries like engineering and politics are heavily male dominant. No I’m not one of those pioneering women who change the world.

I’m more like one of those feminists that shares tidy pictures on Facebook regarding unequal pay differences between men and women (not saying this isn’t important.) The kind that thinks things shouldn’t be the way they are but never actually does anything about it – or worse – never backs the bra burning ‘extremists’ when they turn to me for strength and numbers.

I’m the type of feminist that rides the wave of inequality in a public environment (but obviously not in a confronting or obstructive way that may upset anyone especially the people that oppress me) and reaps the benefits of what my extremist brothers and sisters slave to achieve after constant battling and fighting and bra burning.

I’m the kind of feminist that doesn’t even know what the word feminist means.

If you as a woman or a man don’t have the audacity to drop the “I’m not a bra burning” prelude to the word feminist you are the enemy. You take the form of all those who get away with paying ME less. Get away with telling ME I can’t breastfeed my children in public because it’s ‘offensive.’ You stand on the side of all those who put every effort into making abortion illegal because you know what is best for my unborn child in my current circumstance.

You stand for keeping 80% of the world’s political power in the hands of men. You silence the victims of violent homes in Afghanistan. You tell Saudi women they can’t operate a car on the road. You drive the 50% wage gap between women of colour and men. AND YOU TAX MY TAMPONS!

It’s not your fault for being distracted by the sensationalism of bra burning in the 1960’s. It’s a pretty big thing to forget! But it is your fault for being blinded by the stigma that all feminists are extremists who burn bras for attention. You have allowed the sensationalization of one incident totally skew your idea of what it is to be a feminist.

Did you know that many feminists didn’t actually burn their bras in the 1960’s? Most women took less exciting but equally effective measures. They showed up to rallies, turned off Miss America, stopped wearing heels, took out their curlers and applied for male dominant roles even though they KNEW they wouldn’t get the job. All these lesser extremes were still equally effective in demanding equality, because that’s what they were after. The steps they took weren’t the message. The message was WE ARE EQUAL.

When you say that one sentence, ‘I’m not one of those bra burning feminists’ you pigeon hole the concept of feminism. You take away from feminists – past and present – who believe in equality for all. If you are a woman, don’t you understand that all these feminist actions are done for you? We burn this once real but now proverbial bra for you!

My point is, think about what is means to be a feminist. Think about how saying ‘I’m not one of those bra burning feminists’ creates a divide amongst a group of people who should be UNITED in their quest. There are no ‘bra burning’ feminists. There are just feminists who burned their bras.

Don’t shoehorn one movement and dilute the power of feminism in today’s modern world by not standing behind those fighting for your freedom + equality. Drop the act and drop the bra burning phrase because it doesn’t fly anymore. You’re either with us or against us.
You can’t be both.