The Dark Passenger
A guest post by our thoroughly awesome board member Hannah Scorer.
I’d planned a fun blog, about working from home with a six-year-old. I was going to write about sitting through a Public Health England conference call while your child - who doesn’t possess an immediately noticeable gift - ‘plays you a song’ on their keyboard*.
But it’s been a rough couple of days, and I’m not very funny at the moment, so we are where we are.
Anyone remember Dexter? Mid '00s TV series with Michael C Hall, which was marvellous for four series, ran for 10 and ended up like Carry On Doing a Murder, where he killed someone in an *airport* and nobody noticed. Because a medium-sized hand-cream could be an accessory to terrorism, but you can absolutely drag someone into a cupboard and finish them off without so much as an ‘excuse me sir, did you pack these murder tools yourself?’.
ANYWAY, such segue; Dexter was a sociopath who loved doing a bit of killing, but only offed baddies, because morals. He referred to the impulse that drove him to kill as his dark passenger.
The concept of this unwanted entity taking residence in your head and fighting for control deeply resonates with me. Except mine is less dark and murdery and more… just bastardy.
My passenger has been there since I was about 19, I think. It polices everything I eat, knows the calorie count of all foods, performs calculations with a speed that would actually prove useful in other areas of my life, on units in vs. units used. Mostly, it just noisily berates me all. the. time.
I will put something - it could be anything - on and I’ll think ‘this looks nice’. Mm, does it though, says the bastard passenger - I think maybe your thighs are too... big. No, I will think. It’s fine. Also, it’s a headband. Right, I see your point, the passenger will counter. But, just to play devil’s advocate; your thighs are disgusting. Honestly. Disgusting. And we will go back and forth and sometimes I wear the headband regardless, other times I take it off and cry.
Quite a lot of the time lately, the passenger has been quiet. My life is busy and interesting and full of people and things which make me very happy. When things are less peachy, it can quickly get loud enough to drown everything out, so that eventually I give in and eat very little and exercise a lot and you’d think that would make it happy, but it doesn’t, because it really is an insufferable bollock.
Lockdown has let it out a bit. It loves lockdown. It’s an opportunity for it to stretch out and fill all the empty spaces left by so many things suddenly paused. I am, of course, mostly eating at the moment, because we live indoors now and all the things that distract and entertain us have withered and died, so excuse me while I eat this family-sized Milky Bar I bought ‘for my child’ and wash it down with three glasses of wine.
The passenger loves this. It won’t shut up about it. Literally. It won’t shut up about it, and it’s unbearable.
I realised the other night after crying to my (endlessly patient but surely bored of all this by now) boyfriend about the fact that my body might have changed a bit over the past month, that the problem isn’t thighs, or arms, or hips. It’s (spoiler) the fucking passenger. It’s mean, it’s tiresome and it’s body politics are frankly a skip fire.
So it’s got to go. I’ve promised myself (and the Very Patient Boyfriend) that I’ll make a second, very overdue, attempt to push the passenger out on the motorway and drive away for good. And in case this all got too contrived, what I’m trying to say is that my issues with food and my body are absolutely raging and it’s either go to therapy or just feel like this forever and I like Carbury’s Marvellous Creations far too much to go for option two.
*you may observe the keyboard playing on my Twitter, if the first blog would be more your cup of tea @scoreceror