We did it – Day 25 – Part 8 comes to a close 

 
Tomorrow is my last day in Israel. I fly to instanbul in the afternoon and then back home and I’ll arrive home on Monday at 11:30

I did it. 

A backpack and a tent and no plan. I hiked around the Sea of Galilee and slept in my tent next to the Jordan river. I managed to get a volunteering job when I ran out of money. Sold my tent and a lot of my belongings to pay for bus tickets to explore the country a little more. 

I did it.

I wanted to go home earlier. I didn’t want to stay for the two full months. I was all alone and I knew no one. No amount of adventure could replace the love I felt back home. I was tired of living outside of my comfort zone. There were so many days where I wasn’t sure where I was going to sleep or where I was going to fill my water bottle. It was tough. There were days where I lay on the grass trying to convince myself that it was not that bad. Moments where walking to the zavitan waterfall and falling asleep next to it with a bunch of medication didn’t seem like the worst idea. Where I had to just sit and hold the fear and depression and anxiety and let it pass.

I did it. 

I met people that have changed my life forever. Seen the most beautiful sights. Walked roads and hiked up mountains and I have so many blisters that my feet will never look the same, if I went for a pedicure, I would get chased away. 

 But I did it. 

There were times where I didn’t think I could do this alone. After my marriage I felt so small- like I would never be able to do anything alone. After being told I was a child, that I was self absorbed and not intellectually stimulating. I lost all confidence and I honestly felt that I was always going to be the little girl that I was made out to be. That my eating disorder would always control me and that I was weak and I had no willpower. That I would always need help and I would never be able to survive alone because I was too fragile. Because I looked like prey. ‘You have the voice of a little girl and you nice to everyone, you can’t go camping alone in Israel with no plan’ they said. 

Well I did it. 

I hitchhiked with strangers who didn’t speak my language, but with smiles and hand signals we managed to understand one another. Standing on the side of the road counting on the help of a stranger to get me from A to B. I will admit that I pointed the middle finger to every car that didn’t stop for me sadly. But I’m grateful to them either way. 

I did it. 

I connected with strangers and learnt that we are all just winging it. No matter where we are from, we all struggle and we all love and we all have a broken heart and a broken dream. But we all have hope and we all in this thing that we call ‘life’ and we’re all in it together. 

So we did it. 

With courage and resilience I made it through and it’s with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to Israel and goodbye to this chapter of my life. 

We did it. 

With my family and friends and every person that I met on this journey. It would never have been possible without all these incredible souls. I would have given up. But because of you all, I didn’t.

We did it! 

Letter to Kibbutz Israel

gukh.gif

Dear Sir/ Madam

I grew up in a tiny village. Since a little girl I was slightly eccentric, a bit of a loner that loved books and anything that was pretty. My parents ran a general dealer and a petrol station. My mom, dad, sister and brother were and are still today my best friends. We did everything together and we shared everything.

At the age of 6 I went to boarding school 400km’s away from home. My brother and sister looked out for me most of my schooling career, drying the tears from missing home and nursing me when I was ill. We raised each other. We raised ourselves.

I was always outgoing at school, had average grades, was in sports teams, had my close knit group of friends and I was always the funny girl, a riot even. Pretty much the reigning queen of fantasy land, try and overthrow me, I dare you.

At the age of 16 I developed an eating disorder. What started out at as a simple diet, in an all girls school turned into a life threatening illness. I lost weight and realised that I was actually good at it, it was a distraction and it became a best friend. I had no idea what was happening to me. All of a sudden the bubbly girl with the scatter brain became incredibly focused and I became focused on food. It consumed me. Calories, diet and exercise. It was a distraction, it was my secret and it was an escape. It was so much easier to fuel my eating disorder than to face the realities of growing up. Finishing school and going to university, my sister getting married and my brother going to university. I have always been terrified of growing up, I’m the baby of the family, it just happened so. So everyone chaperones and looks out for me and every step I take and every decision I make has always been judged by everyone. Everyone is always looking out for me, always ready to catch me when I fall.

When I was 19, the eating disorder had consumed me and developed into an anxiety disorder. At the time I didn’t know what it was, I all of a sudden just found myself wanting to be alone. Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? Who am I? What do I want from life? Everything scared me. I isolated myself. Whilst all my friends were experiencing university, I was questioning the world. I would go to club and die of utter boredom because I found it so transparent. So I instead nested in my tiny world of the eating disorder, it was safe and it was comfortable being wrapped up in the arms of bulimia. The one thing that would never abandon me and that was all mine – my eating disorder.

I eventually decided I couldn’t live that way any longer. I couldn’t run and run until my body ached. I couldn’t starve anymore and let my survival instinct take over and demolish 3 hamburgers and a cake in an effort to find fuel to make it through another day. I surely could no longer purge every time I ate in hope of releasing all my anxiety and problems and issues. I couldn’t put my life on hold and allow a mental illness to rule everything. So I decided to make a change and I went to therapy.

I went on medication and I booked into a psychiatric clinic. I had enough, I was doing this. I didn’t care what anyone thought or said. I was doing this, I was getting better, I was going to heal and most importantly I was going to live. I was going to claim what was rightfully mine and get the bubbly sparkly green eyed girl back.

I was in extensive therapy, managed to recover from my eating disorder. As far as recovery is possible – eating disorders and depression are illnesses. They never leave you, you just learn to monitor yourself and you become aware.

I studied psychology for two years (it feels as if I am constantly being drawn back into this field) but I dropped out after the second year as I needed to be fuelled by creativity. I went on to study fashion design – and I dominated. I was top of the class in second and third year and I won the final fashion show award for best designer. I excelled as I have always been incredibly passionate and driven and once I set my mind to something, not only will I achieve it, I will dominate.

When I was 22 I did an unpaid internship with a fashion house, Guillotine, and went on to work there for the next 3 years. It was incredible, I loved my boss and I loved my job. I learnt so much about the fashion industry and every day was a challenge and a dream.

Then my world once again was shattered and tested.

On the 20th of December 2014 I stood in a church in front of a priest, my closest friends and family and God and I committed myself to the man of my dreams. Until death do us part I would love and care for my husband. Well no one says in the vows ‘until we emotionally destroy each other and death does us part’. No one thinks of your emotional, psychological and physical death, where you basically just a shell. I was 24, was I ready for marriage? Yes, I believe I was.

He was my best friend, my soul mate and the man I wanted to spend and cherish every moment with. Until he told me on my wedding day that I was a child, was not a wife, that I hogged the lime light and that I was self absorbed. On the 25th of December he asked for an annulment because he had made the biggest mistake of his life marrying me. I blatantly refused, we committed our lives to each, we loved each other so we were going to fight. Well at least I was going to fight.

Things crumbled in what felt like a blink of an eye. By February I was having anxiety attacks and I was back in the familiar arms of the eating disorder. It was my way to cope. We’re holistic beings and we tend to gravitate towards what we know, and for me that was self sabotage and self blame. How could I have ruined my husbands life this way? How could I be this vain, superficial person that obsessed about their weight? Well I wasn’t, I had an illness and it has nothing to do with weight. In his ignorance I was judged and called weak and attention seeking. (Honestly, if you going to judge mental illness, I suggest you use better adjectives). I was a loving and caring wife and I soon realised that I was not enough for this man as no matter what I did, I was always wrong. He was hard working and I was lazy and spoilt and so on – it bores me to speak about it.

Again I was forced to take control of my life, in May 2015 I went to see a psychologist and a psychiatrist because I refused to fall even deeper into the eating disorder and the depression. Eventually after a month or so I made the decision that I could no longer live with myself and my husband – I had to make a change. Despite being told by my husband that he had been thinking about being with other woman and that if I left him he would kill himself. I left. We are only responsible for ourselves. If he wanted to kill himself then that would be unfortunate. I was going to choose me. I was going to be selfish for the first time in a long time.

One day I woke up and half my life was gone. I naturally got very depressed but I did the work. I thrived for 6 years after I was hospitalised at the age of 19. I didn’t drink medication for 6 years and I didn’t attend therapy for 6 years. So I fell and I got depressed again- So what! I caught myself and I am picking up the pieces. It is what it is. I’ve been here before, I can handle it. I’ll get out of this and I’ll reach the other side a more mature woman.

I moved out and I stayed with my best friends for 6 weeks and then moved into an apartment with a single bed and no stove. My clothes are packed in my kitchen cupboards and my socks are stuffed into a drawer that traditionally would hold knives and forks and I eat on my floor. Believe it or not, I’m happier than ever now… but it took work and the amount I have learnt and grown can never be taken from me.

So where am I now? I am in a coffee shop writing to you. I am 26 years old and I am divorced. I have depression – I don’t see how this defines me at all, it’s not a character flaw, its a chemical imbalance. I am not sitting in a catatonic state of shock and sadness. I am stable, some days its difficult to wake up and face the world and there are moments where my eating disorder tries to lure its way back. But I’m getting there. I am recovering and I am putting every shred of my being into this journey. I’m doing good and I’m grounded.

On the 19th of December 2015 I resigned from my 3 year long job because I was no longer growing, I needed a change. I loved my boss and I enjoyed what I did but I know I was stagnating. I have to grow and I have to learn.

So why Israel? Why the kibbutz? Honestly I cant answer that. There’s just something that made me decide that that is where I wanted to be. That is where the next chapter of my life is going to take place. Every time someone asks if I am sure about this, am I not going to change my mind? I am not. This is what I am doing, it’s happening. Come hell or high water it’s happening.

There is just something that keeps drawing me to Israel and to the Kibbutz. I don’t know if I am waiting on a miracle or a spiritual awakening when I get there. All I know is that I’m being drawn there. I’m opening Pandoras box and God alone knows what I am about to discover, But I’m doing and I will tackle it.

So here I sit. I am going to book my ticket and I’m coming to Israel. I need to take life into my own hands and walk this path right now. Sorry I cant wait much longer, if there is one thing I learned in 2015, it’s that time is fleeting. I’m coming to Israel and I’ll be backpacking around and I’ll be exploring and most importantly I will be living and I will be free.

So by the time you get this, I hope to be walking the streets of Tel Aviv and you’re welcome to contact me if you want me to be a volunteer and enjoy what I have to offer.

Until then.

Kind regards

Danielle

Closing time – Day 23

0c02c8ec12235cf27b1807e7018477c4

‘Lets go for a walk’ he said.
‘Ok, do wanna go for a run or a walk, should I put sneakers on?’ I asked.
‘Doesn’t matter, just come’
‘Okay…’ I said awkwardly
We walked down the road and he seemed anxious, I just shrugged it off and I keep walking down the road, holding his hand and chattering on about nothing in particular. He pulled me to the right and we headed towards the dam. The very empty dam where my brother and sister and I played as kids. I stood looking around at the trash on the ground, the bottle tops, shards of glass and old wrappers polluting the area.
‘Danielle, I love you, you are my world and I never ever want to be without you’ he said out of the blue, pulling me closer.
‘I love you’ I said and I smile.
‘Oh my God! What are you doing?’ I exclaimed as he started lowering himself onto one knee.
‘Will you be my wife?’
‘Of course!’
Naturally I burst into tears, we held each other kissing, our salty tears sliding down our cheeks.

Two years ago.

New years eve.

Tonight I stood in the kitchen in my parents house. My mum holding me in my arms telling me that she is proud of me, that I am going to thrive. The sadness will linger for long and the healing will take time, but I will heal. Tears running down my cheeks, I’m dry heaving from the emotion. I feel nothing yet I feel everything. Eyes blood shot from the crying and I’m exhausted.

But its over. It will linger and the pain will walk with me for a while still.

But I will be found.

The moment you believe that love is not about losing or winning. It is just a few moments in time, followed by an eternity of situations to grow from – Day 21

grief
Dear You, (Him, the man I so hopelessly fell for)

I think about you every day. Your soft touch, the way you kissed my forehead when you walked past me. How we lay in bed exploring each others minds and enlightening each others universes. The instant hope we felt as our lips met for the first time. Everything we taught each other about love and life and everything in between.

I’m sending you love and compassion. I miss you deeply but more than that I am grateful. I will forever love you deeply and appreciate what you taught me. I would have loved for you to stay longer, but you have weeded your way out of my world.

Live and let live.

Yours truly,

Danielle

Depression is a liar – Day 20

vox-share__38_.0.png

When people think about depression, they think about sadness. They don’t think about the bully and they don’t think about depressions best friends that tend lurk around every corner.

Depression has called me, worthless, ugly, lazy and rotten. His best friend Eating disorder always chimes in that I’m fat and that I have no control over myself or over my life. Depression has told me that I have no direction and that I will amount to nothing. I am a burden on everyone, my family and my friends. Anxiety always has to say her part as well, she brings on this uneasy feeling that makes you want to climb out of your own skin. Scream, run away, cry, self medicate and just find peace and calm.

Depression and anxiety are the complete opposites of each other. Depression is numb, it’s state where you feel there is no way out and you sitting in the dark and you waiting, waiting for what. God alone knows. Anxiety is his evil sister that despite the fact that its dark and empty, something keeps tapping you on your shoulder. Just freaking you out. Half the time you are unsure where anxiety came from and the rest of the time you trying to figure out what it’s trying to say to you. In the dark, where you feel there is no light at the end of the tunnel, you feel alone and miserable, you have anxiety freaking you out even more and making the darkness more unbearable.

Birthday girl – Day 15

FullSizeRender.jpg
26 years old today and I had three pieces of cake. Am I happy with myself? Not really and I obviously thought of purging and now I’ve had my last slice before. Red velvet, cream cheese icing melting in my tongue – pure bliss.

I didn’t imagine I would be here when I was 26, and I’m not imagining where I will be when I am 36, life doesn’t give into your imagination.

My ex husband didn’t wish me happy birthday.

My mom and dad shed a tear today and told me how incredibly proud they are. They are proud of how I dealt with this year, the person I have become.

I’m not 100% happy with myself right now, but I will say that I am content. My weight is the highest it has been in a while and my clothes are tight and wearing a bikini makes me cringe but I wear it and I wear a brave face and I accept that this is me right now. This is where I have to be right now.

I’m growing, I’m not where I want to be, but I am getting there and I will be found.

I’m not alone and I’ll never be.

365 days ago – Day 13

board5

Hollow.

Numb.

365 days ago, you walking down the isle clutching onto your dad. Faces of your your closest friends and family gleaming at you with the biggest smiles. You’re on top of the world and you can’t wait to stand next to the man of your dreams, your soul mate, the person you have chased to be your best friend and in minutes you’ll be his wife.
Only getting to the alter, look to your right, and you read your soon to be husbands face. You have been in love for years, you have a form of telepathy by now and the expression on his face tells a thousand words.
Whispering ‘are you ok?’
He says “you look beautiful’ in a stern whisper.
The priest starts the ceremony and you marrying a blank face.
Reception dinner, everyone is laughing and dancing and drinking and you’re crying under a tree because since you said those words ‘I do’, you have been told by your husband that you are not a wife, you are a child, you weren’t ready to be married and you are now attention seeking and hogging the lime light. All at your own wedding.

The day you have been dreaming about.

The man you love.

The future you had envisioned.

It all comes crashing down with everything line that he has thrown at you and you crumbling with every tear, wishing you could run and cry and be held, but you too afraid to speak to anyone because he will throw more and more lines at you.

Closing time – Day 12

791178892aa7c0460b4c8d0ffdf01043.jpg

I woke up nostalgic and fragile and sad.

Yesterday was my last day of work, 3 years and its an end of an era, it was bitter sweet. Saying good bye to your colleagues and your comfort zone and embarking on a journey that you have absolutely no idea where it will take you or where you will land up.

Sitting on my single bed, 112 days ago, I lay in this bed alone. For the first time in four years I was going to sleep in a house that I shared with no one but myself. No one but myself to take responsibility for and no one to answer to and no structure.
Embarking on a journey that I had no idea about. Dealing with a divorce and the eating disorder, cutting for the first time in 6 years. ingle and feeling alone but liberated and free. The world in my grasp, right in front of me.

I made it.

This year I went back to the city a wife. I cried and I cried and I hid away and I was isolated from the people I love. I grew cold and distant. Lost all my confidence. I had no hope and I was scared, scared of myself, scared of my husband, scared of the past and scared of the future.
I’m ending this year and going home to family today, my loved ones who came in and lifted me like a cavalry out of this mess and carried me through.

Today is bitter sweet.

My dreams were crushed, my innocence and naivety lost and life revealed itself to be a dark cloud. Plans turned upside down and I realised that life is fleeting.

Never looking back.

Tomorrow will be my 1 year wedding anniversary. It will be tough and I know that. But I am never looking back, I remember every detail of that day and this year has been painful. But I am content with where I am now. I could be that scared girl I was in May, hiding away from the world, but instead I am me.

I miss you – Day 12

tumblr_muwjcqkDpD1rkehsfo1_500.gif

I miss Him.

He is distant and I feel that we hardly know each other.

I know it was genuine. I will never stop feeling silly though, I won’t stop thinking that he did lead me on. cations spoke louder than words. We agreed that it was casual. But the actions told a different story. Weekend brunches at his house with friends, we packed the dish washer together. Helping each other pack when we went on trips. Sharing our dreams of travelling and being together. Going on a romantic getaway together. It was mixed signals. Giving me something that I shouldn’t get used to, seeing the end and the start and teaching me to gamble and saying we’d win. So I went all in and now I’m in this dream alone,

The situation just became so much tougher than us. I know I said I wouldn’t cry about it but I guess I am. Just because I knew there was going to be an end, doesn’t mean I don’t still feel his arms around me. His gentle touch and his soft voice haunts my thoughts and I can’t get them out of my mind.

I’m trying to act all tough and say its a game and I can’t be smoted. I’m a little broken, I’m a little shattered and I’m a lot sad.

So many emotions.

Friends – Day 11

tumblr_mce2armLVC1r529ae.gif

My friend Andrew and I slept together last night.

I keep thinking I should feel guilty. But I don’t.

We had a great evening, having dinner and drinks and singing. Taking photos and laughing and going to the casino and gambling and kissing at the tables when we won. Sitting at the bar and laughing at the brave singing karaoke, giggling, leaning towards him with my hands on his knees and kissing him. Running to the car in the rain, holding hands and kissing on the drive home.

We comfortable.

In a way we using each other I suppose. We being spontaneous and lighting a spark that was always slowly trying to find it’s way out the dark.

After everything ended with Him, we slowly starting gravitating towards each other again.