I have always been struggling with the idea that food and fashion could go hand in hand with one another. I crave for food and more so fashion but I do feel guilty about the fact that i love them both. Truth to be told, I am not a brand savvy person who splurge on big labels instead I like experimenting and having fun with looks and styles within my means. Food, I simply love cooking and eating it. It is truly hard to be a woman these days - you are expected to have a successful career, a loving relationship, good in the kitchen and look awesome with every dress you put on. Nobody can do that. Maybe that 1% population that I am not familiar with.
There are many times when I tell myself I have to give up good food in order to have a great body or even going the other way round to make my life less complicated. Sure, exercise is essential but at the end of the day it is still down to your calorie intake. Emotional stress and depression were the main culprits and definitely played a big part of my rapid weight gain after moving to London. Many people turn to food when they are extremely stressed out so binge eating just seems like the fastest, easiest way to deal with problems, temporarily.
I was lost and depressed. I was battling with the culture and stress-level in my work place and I realised I had no one I could really talk to or share my troubles with. I hated the person I was becoming at work - impatient, angry and frustrated. I started binge eating because I was never a fan of cigarettes, drugs or too much alcohol. During my first year in London, I didn't take care of what I ate. That was a huge change in my life because I had always been quite health-conscious in my adulthood. I knew I was eating too much junk but I was alone and desperately hoping that stuffing my face with food would give me instant happiness. Then I began to feel so disgusted by myself due to the weight gain and the way I have changed in the mirror. I ate too much and got too fat. My mum came visit me once in the UK and she couldn't believe what she saw of her daughter. I encouraged myself to try losing weight several times but sadly they never lasted long enough until I fell back into my bad habit again. I took up tennis lessons and travelled more in the weekends to visit my boyfriend in Paris. But still the stress and depression got me to a point where I was too afraid to open up to anyone who seemed friendly with me and that I had to push them away because I became paranoid with the thought of becoming close to anyone. I felt like I was just an ugly, dull and sad person with nothing left but this negative energy on everything, everyone around me.
As an art director at work, I was a different person as I had huge responsibilities in handling multiple projects and working closely with a lot of people. Work life was hectic and I thought of nothing but doing my best to be a professional in every aspect of the job and hoped that my hard work were paid off in fulfilling the expectations of my bosses and clients. Whenever I wasn't working, I was anxious with people and the only thing I wanted was to be alone. I would do my very best to limit my interaction with anyone else outside of work. Recently, I have learnt about this condition and that it might have developed a long time ago - social anxiety disorder. I began to have anti-social behaviours around the age of 15 when my family was going through a bad time. In school, I was very involved in classes and pretty active in sports clubs and art programs and people saw me as this popular, hardworking and delightful student from Taiwan. I had some close friends that I still loved to this day but back then I never really shared with them anything about my life after school. At that time, I was very affected and ashamed by the dramatic circumstances of my family and I didn't want any of my friends to see me differently. As a teenager, I had learn to create a protective layer to distant myself from people around me and they would only see what I wanted them to see. I had the constant fear and worries about being negatively judged and evaluated by anyone whom I revealed too much details about my life, my feelings or my thoughts on any subject. Sometimes after a random conversation with someone, I would not stop thinking about how I could have rephrased a sentence better, a silly thing that I shouldn't have said that might have offended the other person or even just something small and insignificant the person might have said that I kept repeating it in my mind till it became personal. Now in my previous company, most people didn't realise what I was going through because I have learnt to hide my feelings well. And why would they even care if I was having issues in my life? We just happened to work in the same place. Nobody knew me enough to actually care anyway.
Having social anxiety disorder is my problem and being in a constant long distance relationship with my boyfriend, having no family or any close friends in this city for the past 3 years didn't help. The occasional racist encounters with strangers only rub salt into the wounds. It was a dark time with a lot of shame and depressing thoughts. It took me a long time to recognise this about myself and I am glad that I am not afraid of speaking openly about it now.
I don't want to blame food for my problems because it is innocent, delicious and comforting. Food is good and it has kept me happy numerous times when nothing or no one else is there to fill that void. But too much of it is extreme and extreme is unhealthy. I want to fight this war and show myself that eating is not a crime and it is not a shameful thing unless we let it take over our body and mind. It is all about balance and eating right. Once in a while we have a pizza, some ice cream or a doughnut. And I know that I don't need to be skinny looking to feel and look good in my clothes. Nowadays, I am recovering my love and passion in cooking again and I am trying my best to eat healthy and feel confident with my body. I will never be perfect in the eyes of a society that embraces slim girls with big boobs and clear skin. I have learnt that I don't need to become someone else to be beautiful. I am unique with my imperfections and everyday I am looking forward to become a better version of myself. It is also not just about how I look but how I feel deep inside as a human being. There are people who have less yet they appreciate more of what they are given.
Without love, kindness and appreciation, food is just to survive and fashion is meaningless.
As you can tell, I also love taking pictures of the stuff I cook.