I’ll Have What He’s Having

By May 20, 2012 Blog, identity

Hugo Schwyzer, on why having a slim girlfriend is about status rather than attraction:   ‘Eating disorders — and the broader problem of poor body image — aren’t unique to women, nor can they be attributed to one single cause. But it’s undeniable that whatever the truth about men’s desires, young women’s perception of “what guys want” plays a huge part in the pursuit of thinness. While the fashion industry deserves some blame for perpetuating an unattainable ideal, men’s refusal …Read More

Scary Tales

By May 18, 2012 Blog

Glen’s away at the moment, so I’m seeking solace in the arms of another man.  He’s called Mr Hesse and I picked him up in the library. Herman’s not here in person, but he wrote some stonking fairy stories. Proper ones: with giants and goblins and elves and all the rest. I can hardly put ’em down. All of life is here. Unrequited love. Family feuds. Friendships and quarrels.   Anger and malice and grief and greed. The beauty who can’t …Read More

Man Overboard

By May 17, 2012 Blog

When we see someone drowning, our natural instinct is to dive in.  But if we’re not careful, we can end up sinking too. That’s the nature of addiction.  Like a pebble in a pond, it ripples outwards, drawing in, not just the sufferer, but all those in its path. Addicts in particular, exert a certain ‘pull’. It’s agonising to watch – and even harder to help.  But there’s a difference between caring about someone and taking responsibility for them.  You …Read More

The Same, But Utterly Different

By May 15, 2012 Blog, identity

This evening I’ve giving a testimonial-talk. Ten years ago, I spoke just around the corner on the same theme. But I’m hoping that the content will have changed.  And I’m praying that the person speaking would be unrecognisable to her old self. Ten years ago I was studying at Bible college and in the grip of an eating disorder that would almost kill me.  For a while I managed to hide my obsession. I threw myself into church activities, missions and teaching. …Read More

Retouching…or Recovery?

By May 14, 2012 Blog

Can an addict ever be fully recovered? Are there some slaveries that will never fully recede, no matter how hard you fight them? Can your heart and thinking change as well as your behaviour? Or are you destined to remain  a non-practising version of the same old model? … Most of the literature I’ve read on addiction says this:  they never really go away – you just get better at managing them. For some people this is the rational voice of …Read More

Death To ‘Nice’

By May 13, 2012 Blog, identity

I’m struck by the absence of ‘nice’ people in the Bible. You’d think it’d be a hot-bed of pulsating sweetness.  An endless procession of sugary tea and apple-checked old ladies.  That’s what Christianity is all about, right?  Benevolence and good intentions. But when I read about the heroes of faith, that’s not what I see. They’re  passionate and godly and brave and kind.  They’re excited and despairing and hopeful and a million other things besides. But ‘nice?’ – No. ‘Nice’ is …Read More

Christian Myths

By May 11, 2012 Blog

Marrying a vicar means brings certain benefits. For one thing,  I now have a prayer hot-line to God.  Ordinary folks have to use standard delivery.  Who knows how long their requests will take – or if they’ll get there at all. But religious folks  – well.  We’s different.    When Rev Scriv dials,  red phones  start flashing in heaven and it’s all hands on deck. Bunkum.  God does not have a fast-track  for dog-collars . But even though we sort …Read More

The Fight

By May 10, 2012 Blog

Despair should be a scary emotion. An intruder: rattling like a cold wind through the mental living room, upsetting the furniture and knocking over the lamps.  But instead of showing it the door, I sometimes invite it in. I create space for it at the table and even seek it out. It’s a shadow – but it’s familiar and reassuring too. What’s really scary is not despair.  It’s actually Hope. With despair, you think you know what you’re getting.   …Read More

Bad Fit

By May 9, 2012 Blog

One of my friends hates clothes shopping.  The way she gets round it is by buying three of every item –  identical in shape and make, but in different sizes. That way, whatever her body’s doing, she’s got something that fits – and since it’s all the same colour, everything matches. She has my sympathy.  Aside from navy t-shirts, (of which I have hundreds), nothing makes me feel more miserable than trying on outfits.  Jeans are the worst. But even …Read More

Life Lines

By May 8, 2012 Blog, identity

What did you want to be when you grew up? A deep sea diver? A lumberjack or an air hostess? A footballer’s wife? I’ve always had one ambition: to write. I even had a pen name: Emma Swanne, (emphasis on the ‘e’). Friends inked their names on tables and jotters, but I hugged mine close, like a delicious secret. It was a talisman, a promise that one day I would Make It. Authors you see, weren’t like other people. They …Read More