Sometimes you just don’t want an egg.

Sometimes you just don’t want an egg,

you’re just not in the mood

It’s nothing personal to the egg

you just want another food.

Don’t get me wrong, I like an egg

just not shoved down my throat

if I want the egg I’ll fry it – poach it

whatever rocks my boat.

You eat the egg by all means

enjoy it like a winner

I just want to eat something else tonight

for my very special dinner.

The short falls of pregnancy.

I have been away in Oxford this bank holiday weekend on a Hen party. It has been lovely to get away and the weather was near perfect but sadly, my endless sea of nausea stilted my enjoyment for most of the weekend. I understand I am not the first woman to have ever suffered with pregnancy symptoms but I cannot disguise my constant discomfort. 

The retching (never vomiting) has to be the worst. Since week five of pregnancy have I endured it. Morning and night. The only relief is to lie on my left side for ten minutes but of course that is not always possible, especially at work. I have always suffered with travel sickness but driving up and from Oxford with a friend has been a hundred times worse. Baby does not like cars and clearly neither does mum (!)

I have been told the sickness should ease up in the next few weeks but I am wishing it to end a lot sooner. All that I can do is stay positive that it is a good thing. At least my body is doing something normal and reacting in a standard way. Not that it is much more reassuring but it certainly helps.

Food aversion is not fun especially for someone who used to LOVE food. Surprisingly, I’ve gone off chicken. One of the blandest foods on the planet. It doesn’t seem to matter what you do to it, I think it’s rank! Weird. Very weird. I hope this doesn’t last long.

The headaches have become the newest symptom to appear. They are truly awful. Along with the symptoms comes the predictions. Many a folk have predicted it’s a girl due to the way I’m feeling but looking our scan there was a moment I thought boy. To be honest, we aren’t bothered. We just want the little one healthy and strong but nonetheless, it’s fun listening to people’s reasoning!

 

Chapter 3, Part 1.

THREE

FOOD AND WASTE

Food was the symbol of many different things through the past, comfort and control being the main. I had always been a healthy child growing up on fresh fish, fruits and vegetables. My mother was a fantastic cook and fed the family well. We understood where food came from and the benefits of it from a young age. I enjoyed cooking and helping her in the kitchen. If anything, it was more time to spend with her.

As I headed towards my teenage years my father took my sister and me to restaurants as a treat. He often left my mother behind. I began seeing this as a regular way of life. Sweets and chocolate began to appear in the house and I revelled in it like most young teens would. My mother still encouraged us to eat well and usually I did but if I wanted anything ‘naughty’ my Dad would never refuse it. Not because he couldn’t say no to me. He just treated this as a way to point score with his wife. The children were a competition to him and food was the start of his game playing.

In later years (as the trouble grew worse between me and my father) food became a source of genuine comfort to me. I would regularly binge eat at dinner. My father and I never sat at the table together and enjoyed a meal. Instead I was forced to eat in my bedroom to avoid conflict with him. He knew what I put in my mouth as we always went food shopping together every week. Something I almost looked forward to.

However the supermarket was a place he would frequently choose to humiliate me. If I wanted to get something I may not have finished before he would begin a rant on my ‘addiction to wastage’. He’d tell me I had no consideration for starving children all over the world and no concern about money. He’d continue to insult me and if I argued that it had happened only the one time, he’d accuse me of attempting to deliberately agitate him. Again, his voice would change and all this would be said through gritted teeth and glaring eyes. Often he would behave like this in public places where the normal reaction of strangers was to stop and stare over at the strange ‘couple’ having an argument. He enjoyed my humiliation but never saw how he humiliated himself, after all at this time I was a grown woman.

On one occasion,  my father began a petty fight as we loaded our items onto the conveyor belt. I remember the cashier and the customer ahead of us watching curiously. The customer, a young woman who appeared to be in her twenties, couldn’t stop herself from watching. Her judging eyes buried themselves in me. I know how we looked. I get it. It sickens me. My father’s rant was not subsiding, it only grew worse as I tried to pacify him. To him, I was patronising. He stormed off. I panicked. I had no money on me to pay for the shopping. I could see him leave the supermarket in a powerful rage. I stood there, shocked watching our shopping edge towards the cashier. The stranger’s eyes were still burning through me when suddenly, she spoke.

“Don’t worry, my husband is a lot older than me too. Older men are like that”.

I was horrified and immediately repulsed.

Her face automatically dropped when I responded,

“He’s not my husband; he’s my father”.

The brute returned within moments and began ordering me to “MOVE!”. The stranger looked appalled and full of regret. I imagined she wished she never spoke to me. I did to.

After we returned home I ran upstairs in a fit of tears. He couldn’t take my crying, it was a weakness to him and he’d use it as a chance to insult and criticise me, saying, “Oh here come the waterworks!”

This was such a regular incident. Something would happen every week. The only thing that kept me going was the thought of the food I would get to eat when we returned. I was dependant on it to make me happy. Upstairs, I’d take: one plastic bag of shopping, filled with a high calorie sandwich, an energy drink, doughnuts, chocolate and two or three bags of crisps. With the TV on high, I’d sit and gorge on my selection to the point of feeling sick (although, back then I never actually did throw up). It satisfied me. Immediately I felt ashamed of what I had done, often shoving the remnants under my bed or frantically stuffing it in the bin.

Guilt would encompass me and I would dramatically berate and condemn myself. That’s when self-harm began to find a place in my life.

© Roshni Bhattacharya 2013

Faultless: My Body.

When I blogged about the 4 spiteful girls at the beginning of June, I mentioned that I received a message on Facebook from a girl that knew ‘N’. She accused me of thinking I was faultless. Of course she was angry, I criticised her friend but rather than arguing that what I said was not true, she only confirmed it and defended it saying that I should take a look a myself.

What is there to feel shame for? The truth is what it is. Do I think I have no faults? No, quite the opposite. I am critical about almost everything to do with myself. My body, my brain, my heart, my soul, my marriage and work all get a mental beating from time to time. I, more than anyone (other than my father) can find copious faults in myself.

My body:

I’ve struggled for years with my weight. As a baby, I always had a “podge” (rounded tummy). My family thought it was cute and would eventually disappear. It didn’t and as a teenager my stomach was never flat. Even as an adult I still hate it. It’s not obvious but I am so aware of it. I put on weight easily, usually through stress and the time I spent with my father resulted in a dramatic weight gain. It was devastating and left me feeling disgusted with myself. I do not like the way I look. My wedding photos last year made me cry. I had put on so much weight. Where most brides loose weight for their wedding, mine crept up. Things with my father were still horrific last year. He played his usual money game with our wedding cash, I just ate and ate and ate, it was the only thing that made me feel a little better.

Yes, I am your typical comfort eater.

When I look in the mirror I see me. When I look at a photo of myself, I see someone else especially if I am caught off-guard and it is a natural shot, it makes me sick.

How awful is that?

I put weight on the most around my face. I hate that. Why can’t it go to my breasts?! Haha.

It only makes me more self-conscious than I already am. I joined Weight Watchers On line last summer and dropped a bit of weight but as soon as any stress started, I put most of it back on. I am back on-line now and adamant to get it right.

Since a child I have bitten my nails. My mother and sister have lovely nails, I never knew why I started or why it was never stopped. My nails are tiny as my hands are very small. Plus since I developed Urticaria (a skin problem where if scratched can result in raised lines on the surface of the skin – it’s linked to stress) I have to avoid scratching my skin so long nails aren’t really an option.

Does this all sound like I’m aching for sympathy? I’m not. I’m just saying it as it is.

To the girl who told me I should be ashamed of myself:

Look at me. I don’t love myself. I wish I did.

Perhaps one day I will.

Burnt.

At the start of 2007, after many years of putting on weight and feeling miserable, I made a change. It was the first of many. My father hated that I was taking control of my life.

One of those changes was my diet. I realised food was there to keep me going and I needed it as a source of energy not comfort. I spoke with a friend who gave me some diet advice which I followed religiously for the following four months. It caused me to make significant choices with food. No longer was I lazy, I prepared everything freshly. I took the time to enjoy my meals. I wasn’t use to enjoying food. I was used to binging on it.

My father did not want to lose this right, he needed to keep some power, he needed to hold on to some control. He would hover around me in the kitchen, condemning my decisions, arguing that I wasn’t getting enough nutrients or that I was starving myself (there was no portion control in the diet so that definitely wasn’t the case).

One one occasion, after making a low fat gratin, my father appeared as the timer went off.

“What are you cooking?”

“I’m trying out a recipe”.

“What is it?”

“It doesn’t have any potato in it, it’s low fat,” I didn’t want him to taste it and disapprove of it.

“You don’t want me to have it you mean!”

He saw through me.

“No….”

“I don’t want your nasty food anyway”.

I turned away from him. Of course, he didn’t like my disobedience. I had been disrespectful. By the time I turned back, he had gone. I felt relieved. Little did I know, he was waiting around the corner, watching and listening to me sigh with relief and mutter to myself.

“Thank God,” I said quietly.

I opened the oven and with gloves, pulled out the aromatic dish. I carefully moved to the side of the sink to place it on a plate I had set there.

“WHAT are you doing?!” my father screamed, “Don’t put that hot thing in the sink, it’ll crack! Stupid!!”

The shock of his sudden appearance, the volume of his scream, it startled me. I had no intention of putting the dish in the sink. With panic, I rested the dish on the edge of it instead. His screams became louder and confusion ensued. I had no idea what I had done wrong. I began shouting at him to stop as the dish began to slip from my grasp.

“Do not drop that! It was expensive! Babitago!!”

The next five things followed in a sequence that merges into one.

  • The dish lost it’s balance.
  • My father yelled swears at me.
  • I pressed my left arm against it to prevent it from falling.
  • The searing pain made me release it.
  • The dish smashed to the floor.
  • I looked at my burnt, scarred arm as my father left the kitchen saying:

        “Clean it up”.