While I was suffering with an eating disorder, (from the age of fourteen to my mid twenties) there was one statement that was often, very often thrown around, ‘how can she be anorexic, look at her face!’ Unlike the rest of my body which, at the time was disgustingly emaciated, my face looked relatively ok, if you ignored the blue, chapped lips and deep set, lost eyes. When I say ‘ok’ I mean it looked like a moon. Not the face you would expect of someone whose weight hovered between 5 and 6 stone. So I would hide it behind my wall of hair. For years, and years and years. There was something going on with my face though…something that I wasn’t aware of until now, and which may answer the question of why my face was ‘fat’ while the rest of my body was skeletal.
The relationship that I have with my face nowadays, at nearly thirty, is a fickle one. I can love it one day, despise it the next. Last year I had a breakthrough period where my then partner encouraged me to stop hiding it behind my hair…and I did. And for a while I truly relished what my genes have given me. But then it went back to the vicious love/hate scenario again. I don’t want to hate my face. I want to love it. I want to show it off. I want to say ‘look, this is my face and it’s fucking magnificent.’ But I now know why it is that some days I want to rip it off, and (potentially) why it was always so puffy when I was ill…and that’s bloating, due to my low intake of water and my high intake of salt.
My intake of water recently has been appalling. I hardly want to admit how many glasses I’ve been drinking in a day…about one or two. My salt intake is horrifyingly high and has been for almost fifteen years. But after my latest self-portrait session which left me feeling uncomfortable and a bit fucking frightened with the bloating present in my cheek, I’ve decided to drastically cut down on my daily intake of salt, and ramp up the amount of water I drink down. I’m hoping that by making these changes, the bloating I’ll experience will dissipate, and I’ll be able to feel entirely confident with my face, not just on some days but every day.