I’ve always scoffed a little at the much hyped theory that our media and fashion industry are the cause of so many ‘eating issues’ in the Western world. It’s what comes from within isn’t it? If you’re having a hard time you either starve yourself or eat yourself silly.
After 4 months lolling around islands in loose fitting harem pants, being skinny just hasn’t seemed so important. In fact trying all the delicious food, generally being care free and running around in the sunshine has been far more of a priority. Basically, I’ve been happy so haven’t felt the need to abuse my body by eating one low calorie meal a day. In fact if I don’t have one ice-cream a day I feel hard done by.
So, landing in Singapore and suddenly finding myself catapulted back into something that closely resembles western society was a bit of a shocker. I spent last Saturday perusing my normal high-street stores, just like any other Saturday back in the UK. I picked up a fashion magazine and sat in Starbucks and indulged myself with a grande Cappuccino. This experience was one part heaven with a healthy dose of hell thrown into the mix. I felt conflicted. Yes I was still happy, still travelling and far removed from the stresses experienced in ‘normal life’ but I found my mind whirring and wondering if I’d put weight on and how much. Would I be able to lose it? Can I fit into size 8 Zara slim fit trousers? How feasible is it to lose weight before reaching Australia? Issues that hadn’t even crossed my mind for a third of a year. The absolute epitome of #FirstWorldProblems! Ms Moss’ mantra suddenly became prominent in my mind again ‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’, right?
My cheap Yogyakarta haircut doesn’t feel so good now and I feel like I’m in limbo between two worlds. I easily slipped into the relaxed east, but then hopping back into western society for a weekend is harder than expected. I joked with a friend before I left that I’ll probably completely let myself go and we chuckled at the thought. But has it become a reality? My few items of clothing don’t slip effortlessly between continents. When splashing out on a new item of clothing whilst on the road, I try and ask myself a few questions – is it practical?, will I wear it lots? and will it travel? I’ve already made one error here and learnt that a certain hat may be okay in China but it doesn’t work at all in Vietnam, so it was ditched.
All these thoughts had sprung from one carefree afternoon back in my old life. I’m not stressed, I’m still travelling and very happy – so I can only conclude that yes our society does breed eating issues, or at least help existing ones along. The desire to conform to our western ideals roared within me like a fire that had gone out but been reignited with a whole can of petrol.
I’m now back firmly in the East, traipsing around Borneo, but the superficial worries haven’t quite left me yet. The rational part of my brain knows how superficial they are and I love that they’re completely irrelavant in this life, but they’ve left a small trace of fear. I know that the fire will start burning again the second I step onto Australian soil and I’m not quite sure how to get the balance right.