"The scary thing is that even when the boundaries were blurred and I was giving far more than I took, I didn’t leave. I kept giving… I kept bleeding… I kept hoping. Crumbs sustained me while I fought for the fairy-tale it began with."
Three years ago people would've described me as tall, thin, bubbly and confident. I knew who I was, what I wanted and loved life... I didn’t know how far I could get from myself. Acting was my passion, my dream, I loved love, animals, nature and was determined to make a difference in the world.
At 28 I fell in love and thought I had found what I always wanted. The truth was, I had found my biggest lesson… I could love someone so illogically and blindly, to the point of my own destruction. To the point where I compromised my values and morals, made decisions I would never have even contemplated, prioritised them and their needs before my own basic needs, worked extra jobs on top of my full-time work, supported them in every sense, and sacrificed my career, health and entire self. My elegant vintage clothes slowly disappeared and were replaced with a few modern name brands, then eventually op-shop items that would fit the body I barely recognised.
The girl who once travelled third world countries alone needed someone to hold her hand just interstate. My relationships with friends and family were mainly over the phone. My sole purpose became just to survive, to get through the chaos of the week, to find a way to pay the next bill which usually meant digging a deeper hole to get out of the one he had dug us in.
The scary thing is that even when the boundaries were blurred and I was giving far more than I took, I didn’t leave. I kept giving… I kept bleeding… I kept hoping. Crumbs sustained me while I fought for the fairy-tale it began with. For the rare precious moments. For the dreams I let myself dream when he planted the seeds. For the promises he made, and for the baby we were trying for that God, thankfully in retrospect, didn’t let us create.
"My body was ringing alarm bells, I gained 25 kilos in 18 months and didn’t have time, energy or money to care for myself in any way."
My body was ringing alarm bells, I gained 25 kilos in 18 months and didn’t have time, energy or money to care for myself in any way. I avoided mirrors and became a hermit as much as possible. It’s ironic really, I was bigger than ever but I’d almost completely disappeared, yet I didn’t know it… I lived someone else’s life without even realising. I followed him into his personal hell and back because I believed love could get through anything.
Then, all of a sudden my relationship, my present, and the future, all those promises, turned to black. One month we were trying for a baby, supporting him living his dream, two months later it was all gone… a few weeks later I was replaced… and it was all for nothing.
I had lost myself in living solely for someone else, I had effectively built a house on a crumbling cliff that was threatening to fall out beneath me at any moment plummeting to the earth below. I quickly learnt that my old dark friends depression, anxiety, insecurity and suicidal thoughts had come to visit me again. I’d had them on and off since high school but thought I’d finally rid myself of them, only to find they had been percolating beneath the surface feeding on it all.
"I have learnt though that I need boundaries, and I should never forget to love myself, lest I lose myself again."
As much as I wish I had ripped off the rose-coloured glasses long before it was done for me, I must also acknowledge that I enabled it, and part of me became addicted to the constant drama and adrenalin even though it wasn’t healthy. I blocked out the big red flashing warning lights along the way.
I have learnt though that I need boundaries, and I should never forget to love myself, lest I lose myself again. That actions speak far louder than words ever can. In a few months just by eating food I like and walking 13kilos fell away. Slowly every day I’m bringing Katie back (sometimes I even sing those words to the tune of Justin Timberlake’s bringing sexy back). It's scary trying to figure out who I am and what I want at a time when most of my friends are getting married, having babies, buying houses or pursuing careers... I try to remember that wasn’t my journey. I do feel very blessed and loved. I am pursuing acting again, and the silver lining is that these experiences give me more sources to draw on. Best of all so many family and friends have been there for me, and 'know the song in my heart and sing it back to me when I forget the words’.