Joanna it is really good to see you back on here blogging again...I have missed having your regular articles that give me "food for thought"
I'm still hanging in there - I would say still in the throes of my eating disorder, but when I think about it my weight has been relatively stable over the last year, I've just failed to deal with all the weight I gained when I relapsed during the previous year, and have obviously become accustomed to consuming the level of food intake that sustains this weight. I am still learning from that previous year when I'd taken on too much already and then unexpectedly finding myself having no choice but to ask my husband to leave, and then ending up stressed to the max but determined to plod on, at the expense of relapsing back into my ED to cope. In 6 weeks I will finish my degree and I have just turned down the offer of a place on a masters course that I would really like to do, but I know that I need to put myself and my health first at the moment, as I am dangerously overweight - that's a first for me, as usually I'd take on the course without really considering the need to care for myself.
I loved reading what you've written Joanna, as I have just spent 5 days with my girls in a log cabin by a river, not far from a loch, in the Scottish Highlands (I've never been to that part of Scotland before), and it was amazing ...I cried like a baby when I had to come home, and I'm getting misty-eyed writing about it. I'm still working out all the details of why it was so emotional for me - if I believed in past-lives I'd put it down to that, but I don't think I do; I think maybe it is just some inherent kind of residual knowledge that carries forth from generation to generation, or an instinctive knowing where we really belong and how our lives should really (ideally) be. I'll explain...
On one of the days we visited a replica crannog (http://www.crannog.co.uk/), I'd never even heard of a crannog before - crannogs were iron age wooden dwellings built on stilts driven into small manmade or naturally occurring islands in the Scottish lochs and linked to the land by a single walkway. As I walked down the uneven log walkway out over the water to what looked like a big round log hut, I didn't expect very much, maybe a small exhibition of archaeological finds or something like that...but no, this was the real deal, it was a replica in every sense, I entered the crannog along with about 15 other people and a tour guide in an iron age costume, and I instantly felt like I was home. The mixture of sheep's wool, hay and dried bracken, that covered the log floor felt familiar, the smell of the dried plants and herbs that hung in bunches above my head around the central firepit, which although unlit still smelled of sweet wood smoke, the wooden benches, the animal skins, log beams, the storage areas, the cattle pen...everything about it just felt so right. I didn't want to leave, I really wished that I could have some time alone in there, but the next tour party were waiting, so we were ushered out and on to the next part of the tour - which was again, brilliant - I learned how iron age settlers turned wood, bore holes through stones, and made fire and it was all hands on - we were allowed to try our hand at everything.
It fuelled a lot of thought in the coming days about always having felt strong connections to nature from as young as I can remember, and always wanting to live and work with what was naturally around us ...if I always felt it and it's so close to my heart, why don't I ever do more about it? As a child I lived with my parents' values, but as an adult why haven't I done more about it? The truth is probably that it's often quite physically demanding, and I've always battled with my weight and spent most of my life being very obese and physically unfit - and for someone who feels that in their knees, heartrate, shortness of breath etc, I suppose it's always seemed "too demanding" or I'd start projects but never see them through because they've been physically challenging.
What I've realised is that it has to change...my whole life I've wanted to get back to nature, at this point the feelings are so powerful and emotional that glimpses fill me with joy and excitement, and leaving it behind reduces me to tears ...I realise that it's something I HAVE to do, but I'm still working on exactly what and how!