Friday, 16 June 2017

Losing weight...in a bad way!?

'Well hello again, missy,' the nurse says, escorting me to my bed for this particular night. (Ooh, I get the window again, result!) 'You've lost some weight, haven't you?!'
'Oh, yeah,' I say, hobbling down the ward alongside her. 'A bit.'
'Jealous. I could do with losing some!' The nurse giggles and shakes her head.
'Y'know my hot diet secret? A hemicolectomy, with some added laparotomy!' I deadpan.

*

'You're looking very well, despite everything! Very skinny!' My friend grins at me, looking up and down my somewhat skeletal frame.
'Yeah, I guess so. It's not that healthy, though.' I shrug and feel my shoulder blades grind.
'Well, it's a definite silver lining to all this, isn't it?'

*

'Have you lost weight since these ops?' Our GP nurse asks, an afterthought, as we leave.
'Over a stone and a half,' I reply, pulling down my shirt. 
'Ah, well that'll be nice to put back on, won't it?' She giggles – and I join her. Because she has a good point; I could have a few lazy and indulgent weeks ahead of me, should I wish...endless 'cheat days'...

*

I have a turbulent relationship with my weight. Have done since I was about 10 years old, and one day I came home from school panicking because my legs and bum suddenly felt 'wobbly'. That was when I became aware. Looking back now, I know I wasn't a chubby child or teen. My goodness, I think I was a size 8/10 until I turned 17 and got some extra boob and hip dolloped on my awkward outline. 
Yet, I was insecure from a young age. Because I never looked quite 'perfect'. Or rather, I never knew that there was no such thing.

It got harder at secondary school – as everything does – because every other girl had a flat (and pierced) tummy, habitually rolled up their skirt to show off seriously skinny pins, could do a choreographed gymnastics display at the drop of a hat, and was wanted by all the popular jocky boys with the deepest voices. That's how it seemed to me, anyway. I had blinders on, to a degree. Looking back now, as an adult who is that much more confident and comfortable in their own body – I can see it wasn't just me who felt that way. Of course it wasn't. Everyone had hang-ups about their appearance. The curly-haired girls desperately wanted chemical straightening; the strong rugby team ladies occasionally fancied being petite and dainty; the bustiest chicks dreaded going bra shopping; and some of the slimmest worked hard to keep weight on. I should have appreciated what I did have, back then, and what I had that others may have wanted as much as I wanted a flat tummy. 


(Prom night 2009, I was nearly 16 and genuinely thought I was dumpy af)

Right, so. Yes, I have lost weight recently. Almost 2 stone, in fact. I try not to get the scales out too much, but every time I do, I'm surprised. I blink at the numbers, do the conversions, step off and on again to see if it changes, if the calculator is messing with me – nope, that's me, currently 20lbs lighter than I've been since I was a teen. Great, right?
Wrong. Because, well, it's not a good kind of weight loss. It's not healthy, it's not been something I've consciously worked for, and I would never recommend it to friends. It's a sick kind of weight loss. I look sick. I've lost chub in the areas where, to be honest, I really didn't need to. My collar bones are even more prominent than they already were, my mermaid thighs don't quite touch any more, plus my arms are somehow skinnier and look even sillier attached to my rather large, bejwelled hands. Oh, that too – some my rings no longer fit! They swivel around and roll off my fingers, because even they've got skinnier now and there's nothing the silver can hold onto. Yeah, I've got some skinny bits now. They're not toned or buffed. They're not carefully cultivated; the merits of a fitness regime and healthy eating. A lot of the time, if I don't dress them right, they look...tired. 


(2012, a silly Fresher who drank litres of cider and kept packets of biscuits in her bedside drawer. Was slightly chubbier, but was also having lots of sex so felt good about my bod, lol)


I feel like I've cheated. Even though I obviously didn't do it consciously. I couldn't help having the surgeries, now could I? Nor could I anticipate the endless violent vomiting, and eventual aspirating of my stomach contents. I definitely couldn't fight with the medical team when they held off feeding me (save the crucial IV fluids) for days and days. None of it was my doing, or my fault. It was a side effect of the horrors I've gone through recently. 


(Berlin, 2015. I'd been on a shit ton of steroids, and comfort eating. Maybe the biggest I've been)


At first, I won't lie, I thought 'ooh, a stone off isn't bad, I guess' – but now I'm a little panicked that I'll soon start to obsess and control myself more in order to maintain this shape and lightness. I think as long as I'm aware of it though, as long as I know that is what could happen if I'm not careful and let my body love turn, grow cold...I'll be okay. 


(Right before my first op on the guts - I took this pic to celebrate my hefty love handles.)


I wrote a tough blog post in 2015 about being in mourning for my thinner figure the year before, having been in and out of hospital then for The Thing and putting on weight due to a mix of steroids, comfort eating and fatigue. I said 'I'd rather be chubby and happy', that I'd prefer to be in a comfortable situation carrying a few extra pounds, rather than stressed to hell and bunching up my jeans at the waist. That sentiment remains true, of course.
Then more recently I wrote about the importance of listening to and loving your body – how it's all you've got, and it works hard for you (however hard that may be to believe at times). I still believe this, wholeheartedly. I also have realised that sometimes, you have to roll with the punches. And I've had a few. 

A post shared by Grace Latter (@_gracelatter) on
(Me the other day, the lightest I've been since I was 17.)


Not that this is the sure fire solution, or the happy ending, but I plan on starting back at the gym when I'm 100% healed and feeling stronger. My pay as you go gym just up the road has been great for me the few times I've managed to go semi-regularly this year, and what's especially nice is the feeling of immense freedom and pride it brings me. I can't wait to get that back. Hopefully by going regularly again I can keep the little unwanted weight off, and tone up the skinny bits. Wish me luck! 

Of course, I'm now going to connect these thoughts and issues to books. Here are some helpful novels and non-fics for info on eating disorders and body positivity and/or concerns... 


I recently read Bryony Gordon's absolute corker of a memoir, 'Mad Girl', and after several chapters of her telling me all about her time as a bulimic, I was relieved and yes, actually proud when she wrote about how she found happiness in a relationship and within herself, which then led to her putting on weight and not caring at all.

Claire Hennessy's YA novel 'Nothing Tastes As Good' is a story of Julia, a fat girl being haunted and controlled by the ghost of anorexic Annabel. It really shows the horrors present at both ends of the spectrum.

I'm apprehensive to include 'Holding Up the Universe' by Jennifer Niven here, as personally I did not feel it helped readers with the issue of body image – in fact, I preferred the other MC's psychological problem story – but it may help others where it didn't touch me. 

Another excellent non-fic I came across recently is 'Animal' by the brilliant Sara Pascoe. This book drops endless astonishing bombs on its readers, spilling all the tea on the many quirks and wonders inside a woman's body in particular. Read it and be amazed, immediately. 



I know those are only a few, but I didn't want to overwhelm. If anyone can think of other reads to add to my tiny list, please comment!


Also it may be worth reading some of The Mix's expert advice on healthy eating, how to have a good relationship with food, ways to gain weight in a good way and general important info on eating disorders

I'd say it's worth checking out these topics in Safe Space UK's 'Body Image' articles, and of course my beloved The Olive Fox has a massive Wellbeing section. And the badass Louise Jones happened to post something about her (equally badass) body and how it could soon be saving an actual life. Again, any more for any more, do comment with links. I'll keep an eye out and add some in later, maybe! Because you cannot get enough body positivity in this day and age, guys. 

I'll end this post now with buckets of love and a gentle reminder to be kind to yourself, always. 

Monday, 12 June 2017

'Songs About Us' - a cover reveal AND chapter 1!

I am both gleefully fangirlishly squealingly overjoyed and most sensibly humbly honoured to have been given the chance to unveil not only the cover for the hot new #boybandlit release 'Songs About Us', sequel to Chris Russell's totally gorgeous 2016 novel 'Songs About a Girl', but also to be treating you lucky readers to a snippet of the first chapter! Oh yes, you guys are getting a deluxe VIP backstage pass to the hottest show in town right now... 

Book trailer for 'Songs About a Girl'!


For those of you who don't know, 'Songs About a Girl' came into the world of UKYA last year (under the watchful eye of the total babes at Hachette) and soon we were all hearing the hot goss about quiet teen girl Charlie Bloom, the amateur photographer suddenly called in to shoot the Fire&Lights lads backstage on their tour...and getting more than she bargained for between snaps. 

Also, the book had a soundtrack! If you wanna know all about that, be sure to read this guest post by the fabulous author and get listening to the jams. 

'Songs About Us' is due out on the 13th of July 2017. But surely we cannot be expected to wait until then to see what it'll look like?! Oh, no. 

Enough teasing now, I think. Let's have a look at the cover, shall we...?? 
In 3, 2, 1...



I know. Gorgeous, right? I won't lie guys, I didn't think anything could match up to the first cover...and I've been very happily proven wrong! And yes, I do dream of being 'with the band'. Maybe someday... 

But the juicy reveals aren't over yet! This just in – a Chapter 1 preview! Enjoy, devoted fans...

Friday, 9 June 2017

32.

Hi, my name's Grace. I guess you could call me Gracie, sometimes. 

Free wifi is the way to my heart, I seem to have malfunctioning intestines, I actually enjoy watching the 10pm news these days, my type is Ed Westwick in 'White Gold', some of my favourite foods can be found in Holland & Barrett fridges, my side hustles vary wildly, I would fight any other fangirl to befriend Titus Andromedon, I go through Instagram slumps, I dream of having permanently pastel-coloured hair, I sometimes really miss playing Ultimate Frisbee, I plan on living through middle age in Brighton before retiring in Winchester, my first novel is in progress, it upsets me too much when a TV show goes on for too many seasons. 
For the past 3 years, my life has been on pause. It needs to resume soon. 


These posts are getting harder - I think you readers know me too well now...

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

What I'll be reading in June 2017.

Happy June, my friends! This month, much like the last couple funnily enough, I seem to be utterly spoiled with spare time (aka, a lengthy recovery period, whoop whoop) and so this of course means a lot more reading will be happening than usual. Yes, it will. And possibly writing too...?! Let us hope! 


I have already been in and out of hospital twice this month (?!) and when I haven't been reclining in a sterile bed with nurses wrapping me alternately in velcro and rubber every few hours, I've been curled up on the sofa bingeing on books. (And Ru Paul. Omg.) 

I've given myself a theme for the month already, and now I'm making it official. June 2017 is... 

Sunday, 4 June 2017

31 Days Grace: May 2017.

May happened. And guys...I actually did some things!!!
After April, a month that began with hellish pain and ended in utter debilitation, it's been nice to actually feel a bit more human recently. I'm not quite 100% still, but I'm getting there. This month has been spent healing and...being. Not pressuring myself. 

EDIT: It all went to shit. Read on and find out more...if you dare. 


Monday, 22 May 2017

Instagram honesty.

Social media is excellent, and generally I am a huge fan of it. It's also terrible, and at times I absolutely despise it. Don't we all, sometimes? Well, I certainly know a lot of people who actively loathe social media, some of whom have deliberately deleted any trace of themselves, any presence they had, on every platform. 
But then at the same time, I know folks who have made a career out of social media. This includes me. So many of us have found friends, discovered new favourite things and been inspired endlessly. Whether it's coming across individuals and movements we wouldn't have known about had it not been for Twitter; kinks and fan fic we'd never thought to search for were it not for Tumblr; 5* cafes and household appliances for sale courtesy of Facey B, and of course there is always an abundance of beautiful foods and quirky af outfits to be seen on Instagram. 



Yes, I could go on forever about the wonders and evils of social media and its various platforms. But today I will just be focusing on one: the aforementioned Instagram.

Friday, 19 May 2017

An ovary-related Robin Scherbatsky realisation.

I had a revelation recently. I can pinpoint the moment it occurred – the very second my mind was overloaded with something alien, when my body felt a change and suddenly my future plans and life goals were, ermm, 'updated' a little. 
Yes, it was...a Robin Scherbatsky realisation

 

Monday, 15 May 2017

Talking with Lisa Heathfield; her writing process and 'Paper Butterflies'.

If you know me, or if you've just read this blog for the past year, a) thank you and b) you'll know which books I like. And you'll know that one of my absolute most favourite recent reads – and books in all the world – is 'Paper Butterflies', by Lisa Heathfield

This YA novel published by Egmont in 2016 tells the story of June, a teenage girl living in a very unhappy home. Only unhappy for her, though. She is abused, relentlessly, and has nobody to turn to for advice or even simply solace.
Then she finds Blister. 



The book made me burst into tears – literally, it felt like a vicious burst – several times throughout, and then by the end I was hiccuping while hysterically crying... but with a surprised smile on my face. I poured my feels out onto the blog right after finishing the final page. 
I then went on to read 'Seed', as all my friends had told me to many times before. I devoured it as greedily as I did 'Paper Butterflies'. Just like that, I had a new writing idol.

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