Time to be frank.
Over the last week I’ve felt worse and worse. I am surrounded by all these beautiful, intelligent people. I am the largest and the least attractive of the girls in my flat; girls who know how to do things to their faces and their hair that I can’t even begin to emulate; girls who can dance and drink and joke about, who can make conversation that is worth listening to, who are interesting and gorgeous people to know; and then there is me.
My room is a tip. K walked into my room today to talk about what I could wear tonight, and she was astounded: ‘Jenny! It’s like a boys room in here! This makes my room look tidy!’. She has a fair point, our K. I like her a lot but she is the kind of girl who complains constantly about various aspects of her body and doesn’t realise how beautiful she really is. I feel like Muriel out of Muriel’s Wedding, honestly, I do. The part at the beginning before she leaves her poisonous home town and gets a good haircut and some new clothes. Today I missed a whole bunch of lectures because I’d lost one sheet from my lecture schedule (the rest of which is haphazardly pinned to the wall). I spent far too much on food for myself and for others. I ate far too much – again. I’m constantly late and never organised enough to do any of the things I’d like to do.
The plan was that we were all going to go out on the town and check out one of the club nights around here, but after trying on everything in my wardrobe several times, and doing all manner of things to my hair and make-up, I still couldn’t see myself as anything other than a doughy, underexercised, pale and fat lump. What is worse is that I know I didn’t used to look like this: for a glorious summer I was thin and tanned and somehow each part of my body balanced each other part so that the whole worked. Now my head seems too small against the continental dimensions of my thighs and stomach and there is nothing, it seems, that I can do to change the look of that.
I have yet to join the gym, although meanwhile I have been cycling and walking everywhere. Today I joined assorted sports clubs: I will make it. But for the time being I cannot stand to look at myself. I don’t have any clothes that flatter my newly ‘enhanced’ figure.
In all honesty, I feel incapable of respecting myself like this; and trapped, because there’s so little I feel I am capable of doing – being, as I am, such a useless person. I know it’s a mental trap, a catch-22; I know that I am intelligent and that I am capable of being organised, being on time, being sensible with my money and budgeting accurately. I know I am capable of the willpower to get some regular exercise and stop snacking whilst I cook or buying a packet of crisps when I went in to whatever cafe I am in just for a coffee. I know these things as facts – but right now, this Jenny Mohan who I am, who I inhabit, she’s a terrible, lazy person, why, she deserves everything she gets. I just can’t believe I am enough of a human being to make it, to become someone I actually enjoy being.