Dress Code For Despair


When I was at the eating disorder unit, one thing I really struggled with during my treatment was the use of a food diary. It was supposed to help me plan ahead with food and to start to see food as something manageable. However, for me it was a nightmare. It wasn’t so much the planning, it was how it made me feel. It took away my control. If somebody told me what to eat, I rebelled. I would do the opposite or not do it at all, just to make a point. I want to be the one who decides what I ate. I want to decide when I ate. I want to decide if I ate. Thing is, the food diary was written by me…only I didn’t see it as that. Once I’d written it out for the week, those words, those decisions, were no longer mine. They were part of another entity. Instructions from somebody or something else, telling me what to eat and when to eat. I resisted food even more just on principle. Others at the unit managed ok with it, I was the only one who didn’t couldn’t do it.

The wedding, that’s coming up in a few weeks, reignites that rebellious part of me. But this time it’s different. There rules of the game aren’t set by me. There are no loopholes. This time they were decided by somebody else: the people getting married. Even then, they decided upon the wedding format based on rules dictated by society. It must be in a church, it must have a sit down meal, the bride must wear white, guests must dress appropriately, everyone must watch a cake being cut etc. I mean no disrespect to those getting married. It’s their day, they can do whatever they want and we’ve simply been invited along to help them celebrate that day. All we have to do is dress appropriately and turn up. To anybody else, that would be easy. In fact, they wouldn’t even need to think twice about it. But I’m not anybody else. I’m me. And I have a serious problem: I don’t know who I am. I don’t belong in a shirt and tie, but then I don’t belong in a dress either. This confusion brings about a certain jealousy too, I suppose. If you’re male, you wear one thing, if you’re female then another dress code applies. But which am I? People see the outside of me and naturally assume I’m male. But they don’t see how I’m wired up on the inside. They don’t know how my brain works or how I think. If I turn up wearing a shirt and tie, it’d be like a passionate football fan having to wear the shirt of their team’s rivals. It would sickening and painful, not to mention my mental state would explode and I’d probably be dragged off to the local mental health hospital again. If I turn up wearing a dress, I go against the rules set out and followed by the couple getting married and all the other guests. I’d be laughed at, stared at, judged and end up ruining the happy couple’s special day. Let’s not forget that being surrounded by people who are able to just exist (something so simple that I can’t do) just destroys me. Why can’t I just be me??? Oh right, because I’m neither 100% male nor 100% female. In any situation, people know their role or who they are. I would so love to belong to one category or another. I think I know which category I’d prefer to be in, but that’s beside the point. The point is I’m stuck on the outside, not belonging to any side. My anxiety is going through the roof just thinking about this, so I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself or things are a bit muddled.

Do I dress according to my brain, or according to my body? In the past, it wasn’t so much of a crippling dilemma. I’d force myself to make the effort by wearing a shirt and tie, then simply spend the entire time screaming inside and/or getting drunk to numb myself from feeling anything. I’ve done that for every single formal event I’ve had to go to since I was at school (obviously, minus the alcohol part when I was at school). Now, knowing what I know about myself, I can’t bring myself to even pretend. Me being there would just be really false. But the people getting married are friends and so I should be able to make an effort. It’s the least I could do, right? But I really can’t. I can’t even think about it properly, let alone do it. Fuck, this is driving my insane. The simple solution would be not to go but we got the invite ages ago, before I realised all of this about myself. With each day that passes, I’m further away from the comfortable little bubble I used to live in and another step closer to the unknown that’s in front of me.

When we got married, it was decided everyone could wear what they wanted. There was no rule. With all I’ve been through especially, I didn’t want anybody else to have to feel the same pressure or anxiety as I do whenever something a formal or social event comes up. That’s probably the only time I’ve felt ok. Yeh, I still couldn’t wear what I wanted to wear but there was some kind of trade-off in that I didn’t have to wear full male attire. It was my wedding, I could bend the rules. Just like when I ignored my food diary, I was in control.

I’m sorry, I can’t do this anymore right now. Thinking about this is too much. I’ve just had to stop writing for a minute to down a handful of tablets. I need to stop thinking. I’m praying they’ll kick in asap and help soften the edges on all these thoughts. The problem with ploughing through a packet of tablets in like 2 sittings is the packaging…finding ways to get rid of it without anybody realising. I hate what I’ve become by doing this. I hate that I can’t stop taking them. I hate that I can’t control my anxiety or figure out what the fuck I’m supposed to be. I fucking hate the person I am.

Featured image: via Google

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