Flo 2:0

Lately I’ve taken to describing myself as a cockroach.

Not in that I am hated by the majority of the public, but in that somehow I have managed to survive an awful lot.

One of my faults, which I think is common of most people, is that I tend to think that if something has been one way for a long time, it will continue to be that way.

This has led to a lot of bad moments where I have been taken unawares, and it still hasn’t quite hit me at this moment in time that I am now unemployed, but I will be focusing on the idea that I will survive for the time being.

I am scared and I am anxious. But I will survive.


I Feel Bad

Today was my penultimate day at work before my contract ends.

I was very ill this morning. I felt like I was going to vomit from tiredness. When I am ill I retreat even further into my shell and can become quite angry if people try to engage me in conversation as I just want to be alone.

I have been finding it difficult because my colleagues are asking me if I am going away for Easter, or if I have any more work lined up and I just want to laugh bitterly because tomorrow I will become unemployed and I don’t know when I will next get a job.

I love my colleagues and have loved every minute spent with them.

I have hated every minute that I had to do customer service work.

My brain can’t tell the difference between a positive exchange with a stranger and a negative one as I find both traumatic.

My colleagues are eagerly telling me about jobs coming up in this department as they want to keep me and I don’t know how to tell them I won’t be applying because half of my core duties render me shaken, panicked, stressed and full of despair over my incapability to talk to people.

In many ways this is the best job I have ever had and I am gutted to be leaving such wonderful people.

But I can’t deny that this week I drew 8 boxes for my last remaining 8 customer service shifts and have been colouring them in as I get ever closer to having a break from being around people.

My anxiety is getting worse each and every day. I don’t want to imagine where it will lead to if I spiral down further.

I am happy, genuinely.

I am also more afraid of people than ever.

I guess I have to admit that I am completely paranoid and believe that everyone is just a second away from hurting me in one way or another.

I guess I have to face the fact that my anxiety is now extreme and I need help.

Rebellion 2: If Food be the Music of Love…eat on

Yesterday I spoke about how my getting into debt was probably a rebellion against having to be so careful with money, and indeed not having any money when I was younger.

Well, I believe there is another area of my life where the current bad state I am in was caused by a sort of self destructive rebellion.

And that is my weight.

I am, to put it kindly, overweight. I am, to put it technically and accurately, obese.

I have always struggled with my appearance and how I view myself, and that was centrally pinpointed around my body.

I began restricting what I ate around the age of 10. I was careful to make sure my packed lunch consisted of very little so that no one could call me a pig. When I was at a party where food was served I made sure to only have on my plate the exact same amount and items of food as the other guests so that no one could accuse me of eating too much. I would not eat my lunch as often as I could get away with it.

It didn’t help that my mum, as well as being an alcoholic, was anorexic. I found this out later, and to be fair food is usually not of much interest to an alcoholic, but at the time when I was 12 I was very, very aware that my mum was thinner than me and this made me hate myself.

I remember once being in a clothes shop with my mum and a woman, in hindsight a very rude woman, was telling my mum she was far too thin and needed to put on weight.

A ‘normal’ person would have taken that as a sign that my mum was ill and just as unhealthy as being overweight, but I remember clearly being jealous of how thin my mum was and felt that this woman must have thought I was disgusting.

I barely spoke in school and never drew attention to myself or stood up for myself as all someone would have to do was call me fat and my world would crumble.

At this point I was not fat.

During the summer between the end of middle school and starting high school I did put on weight as a combination of many things, puberty, stress over the terrible my-mum-is-an-alcoholic thing, and started school feeling utterly exposed.

This is when I stopped eating.

For several years I would severely restrict the food I ate. I invented what I called, rather unimaginatively, the ‘chewing gum and water’ diet where all I would do all day is chew gum and drink water to try and block out the aching hunger.

A few months later someone in a writing class would describe me as thin and I felt they said it as a cruel joke and was waiting for the room to burst into laughter, which for some reason didn’t happen.

I had stages where I did eat normally, but even up until the age of 17 I mostly just ate one meal a day and that was dinner because it was the only meal that if I didn’t eat it it would draw too much attention to myself.

At this point my rather blunt sister visited and asked me point blank if I was anorexic and people started commenting on how thin I was.

I was 5 Foot 8 inches and when I once weighed myself at a friends house (we didn’t have scales) I discovered I was under 9 stone.

I could fit into a skirt I last wore at the age of 12 (it was a size 6).

I have no recollection of being thin at this time, no pictures exist of me on account of having the self esteem of….I dunno….a piece of string. If you want to know the truth I still believed I was fat, I still believed I was, if I was feeling kind, perhaps ‘chubby’ rather than grotesquely huge but one thing I could not believe and if I am honest still don’t believe was that I was, or have ever been thin.

I finally came to my senses when I started fainting at college and realised my work was suffering.

There were points in my life where I tried to make myself sick but being quite crap at it meant it never developed into a real habit and starving myself was easier and less gross and less likely to draw attention to me.

I am an emotional eater, I mean how could I not be?

My mental health took a deep dive into the abyss after graduating from University. To be honest I had it at University and saw a counsellor in my first year.

I had such low self esteem that I pretty much went the whole three years going to barely any lectures.

I graduated with a 2:2. This is the lowest grade I have ever got and I cried when I got my result despite my dad and boyfriend trying to tell me they got the same grades and had done fine in life.

After University I put on weight very very quickly and by all accounts I have ballooned into an overweight woman.

And I do think of it as a rebellion because basically I think I used up a lifetime of ‘having discipline about food and not eating cheese’ as a teenager and now I have to go through life without this crucial life skill.

And if I am being truthful stuffing my face, whilst terribly unhealthy, is a damn lot more fun than starving myself ever was.

I need to get a grip. I have sorted out my lack of control over spending money, now I just need to apply the same healthy skills to losing weight.


Rebellion 1. Here comes the money

I have become a lot more open about my debt. Not just on this blog but also to my friends. I make small references to my debt to my Dad, as I am not ready to reveal the full truth, and I wouldn’t dream of mentioning it to my in laws until long after the debt has been cleared, but I am ok with telling people about what I am doing.

I remember in 2003 in one of my issues of Q Magazine there was an advert that scared the hell out of me. It was of a filthy and untidy bedsit, and it was for a bank, or a debt company or something, and it had the words ‘Somewhere along the line life starts costing you money’.

It struck fear into me. The fear that one day I would have no money.

The reason why I feared this was because in 2003, and indeed until long after I started University 5 years later, my family struggled for money. More than struggled. We had nothing.

I was so scared of debt that I was reluctant to start University. I was terrified of credit. I was terrified of bills. I went into panics whenever I spent money. I absolutely hated spending money on food as I thought it was wasted money.

I have long had an irrational hatred of those who are ‘rich’ or ‘well off’. I know this is wrong but part of me can’t believe they may have problems or concerns. This is because every single month of my teenage years was spent living with the fear that this would be the last month in our house before we would lose it.

So really, my getting into debt was a form of rebellion. A stupid, spiteful, self destructive rebellion but a rebellion all the same. I wanted to buy things without thinking about the cost. I wanted to spend hundreds of pounds on food in restaurants because I could. I wanted to buy new clothes. I wanted to see films when they came out. I wanted to drink with my friends. I wanted to buy a vinyl when it was released. I wanted shoes that didn’t have holes in. I wanted to live like a normal person. I didn’t want to care about money any more.

I threw away food that was perfectly edible but had passed it’s ‘Best Before Date’ as a reaction against eating out of date food and donated stale tea bags as a teenager. I spent so much money on ethical toilletries that were more philosophical than I was as a reaction against a point in my life when I had to use a communal ‘mens’ aerosol deodorant as who the hell did I think I was demanding a separate woman’s deodorant when we needed that money for food? (this is a true and disgusting story)

I would go to the cafe around the corner for scrambled eggs when I had eggs and bread at home because their’s was ‘better’

Yes, I was a twat.

And of course, those records I bought would have to be sold for a tiny amount when I realised I couldn’t pay my credit card bill. I cried when my dad bought me a kindle for my birthday when I asked for money.

You know how they say when you deny something, like chocolate when you are on a diet, you just crave it more and more until you snap and eat a 16 portion cake on your own? (thankfully this is not a true story) Well, that’s what I was like with shopping. I had gone years and years denying myself anything, hyperventilating whenever I did have to make a purchase no matter how essential, eating meals that consisted of 7p instant noodles and frozen sweetcorn that one day I snapped. I don’t know exactly when it began, well ok, I have a pretty good idea, but that is a story for another day. All I can say is I was depressed and my career options were so limited that when you see absolutely no chance of ever having any actual money in the near future, then credit becomes your friend, your chance at being happy.

I can honestly say I am now happier than I have ever been, and I think that is why I can tackle the debt, because gone are the days when I would get into states of utter mess when confronted with my bills. Gone are the days when I would have to round up the best vinyls I had, the ones I loved, like Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division, Cut by The Slits and the first Queen album and take them to the local second hand store and get a pittance each for them.

Gone are the days when I would be so embarrassed to tell the boy I needed to borrow money for the Broadband bill that we would get cut off before I could face the truth.

Yes, I have made mistakes. I have behaved disgracefully, I have spent all my money, then money I didn’t have, and then other peoples money.

The past is the past, all I can change is the future, and I do believe I am a better person now.




Financial Review of Week 13 (I’m sorry it is late)

I was a bit busy yesterday with WRESTLEMANIA to focus on doing this weekly post, so here it is today.



Lunch £3.44

Milk for work £1.10


Pint £3.75

Pint £4

Cake Treats for the boy and me £2.40

Big Moon Gig Tickets £22

Burrito, Tortilla Chips, Drink £8

Post Wrestlemania Breakfast £8.70


Donation to food bank £5

Donation to two different runners £10

Present for Friend £6


Magnetic (and pretty) Shopping List £4.95

TOTAL = £79.34


Korma paste, coconut milk and mini naans £3.75

Milk, Bread and Pizzas x 2 £8.33

Fig rolls and bread rolls £1.12

Vitamin D and C tablets £1.90

2 x pizzas £4.05

Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Bananas, Cucumber, Carrots and Bread £4.22

Milk and Bread Rolls £2.74

TOTAL = £26.11


I had the day off work today, on account of WRESTLEMANIA and going to bed at 5am, and I feel terrible because I woke up at 8.30am and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I think an early night is in order.

I am hoping for little to no spends this week on account of it being my last week at work, which has suddenly hit me and made me very nervous and anxious.

I will have to really be frugal this month, and maybe for a lot longer afterwards.


An important lesson has been learnt

This morning I took part in a 10K Race event in my city.

A combination of ill health, injury, lack of sleep, ill preparation, running late, you name it and I was feeling anxious and scared and far from the best of spirits.

To be frank I was being a twat again.

It was a real struggle.

To be honest, I keep putting myself into events, and I always have a good time, but I can never escape the fear of being the last person across the line, no matter how much preparation I do or how little that belief would become reality.

So I wasn’t in the best of states mentally, but I grinned and bared it and sometimes grimaced rather than grinned, but I did have a good time (eventually).

It was really tough though, I have a few 10k’s under my belt, and normally I find them tough but doable, but today was just tough.

By the time I got to the 5k point I really considered dropping out.

The Boy, who was also racing, later admitted that he wasn’t sure I would even begin given how I was feeling/acting at the start.

Needless to say, I wasn’t the last person across the line even though I walked the vast majority of it, and I even managed to run the last bit of it.

I am so glad I took part and that I completed it, because what I learnt (lesson time here folks) is that it really is the taken part that counts.

I’m sorry for telling you all a long established truth.

Who cares if you are the last person across the line? I was once the last person across the line in a 5k Park Run and I would say I survived the humiliation but there was no humiliation to bare.

Look, I’m overweight (my BMI tells me I am obese), I don’t have much time to train what with working a 60 hour week when you include travel and I have to deal with a brain that wants to sabotage me at any given moment.

Another lesson I learnt today is NEVER PUT YOURSELF DOWN.

Because if you put yourself down you might as well give permission for other people to put you down, and as I learnt recently you should never let other people describe you.

So I am Flo, the champion of 10K’s and today is Wrestlemania day, which the boy and I have decided is where we go on our honeymoon (if we ever get married as we are both a bit unsure of that business)



Now bare with me, this might not be the most interesting post…

…but to me it is one of the most important ones when showing my development over the last two years.

As mentioned I have kept a spending diary since April 1st 2015. Every little penny I spent, whether it was hundreds of pounds on clothes or a 60p overdue book fine at the library I noted it down.

In the 2015/16 tax year (April – March) I spent £4766.30 during the whole year on everything that wasn’t a bill or food spend.

In the just ended 2016/17 tax year I spent £4471.25 on the same sort of things. Which means I have managed to reduce my spending by £295.05 which looks small but isn’t insignificant to me.

I also do 6 month spreadsheets, and in the first half of the 2016/17 tax year (April-September) I spent £253.91 less than I did in the same period of the 2015/16 tax year (or on average £42.32 less per month on my disposable spends).

In the last half of this tax year, October to March, I spent £307.32 less than I did in the same period of the 2015/16 tax year (or £51.22 less per month on average) so I have been spending less as time goes on.

The crucial difference, the obvious difference, is in 2015 I used credit cards to pay for things. In 2016 I didn’t, until I became unemployed briefly, and in 2017 I haven’t been buying any unessential purchases, so yes my spending would have gone down for those reasons.

But still, I will take small victories where I can.

I will aim to reduce my spending further over this new tax year compared to the year zero that was 2015/16, as it is all extra money I can throw at my debt!

The boy gave me a bonus birthday gift yesterday of some money in an envelope with the strictest instructions it is only to be used for UN-Essential purchases, like makeup and clothes.

I think he means feminine things rather than new football boots.

The old me, it seems so long ago but it wasn’t really, would have run off with the money to the shops and just bought the first thing I had seen just to feel the hit of a shopping high.

I have no plans to spend this money, at least not yet. I am going to keep it in a safe place until I have a burning, uncontrollable desire to absolutely have to buy something that is a forbidden item.

Or some garish football boots.