My battle with bulimia started at the age of 12 but with the gift of hindsight I have discovered my battles with binging and body image started before then. I come from a family of very slim people. Despite a height range, the build is the same. Wide shoulders, slender bodies. At 20 years old and nearly four years into recovery, I can finally see that I'm built just the same. At 8 years old I thought exactly the opposite. I felt like the odd one out. I felt large. As I grew, my desire to be smaller grew too. Doing exercise in my room on the carpet or bed, I was so proud of myself.
I am a wild, free spirit. I move countries more than I change my socks, and I chase the sun, the snowfall, and amazing opportunities. Yet for years now, people have been telling me, ‘Charmaine, you are just running away’. Firstly – travelling and my way of life is not ‘running away’, in fact, travelling helps me feel whole. People can be selfish; they can tell you that you are ‘running’ because they actually want you physically in their lives, next to them.
I grew up in a home where mental health problems were present, yet no-one ever explained to me what was going on. My mother would frequently disappear, sometimes I witnessed when they came to get her to be sectioned.
As a kid, I used to think my Dad was the wisest person in the world. I won't have been alone. Most people will look up to their parents, guardians or their older siblings and see nothing but wonder gazing down on them. The wealth of knowledge they can bestow upon us seems limitless. They share their insights just to bring this big, scary ol' world down a peg or two.