Thursday, 26 February 2015

Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

I've been debating writing this post for days now, I suppose because I know some people would say I shouldn't. But it's quite an important week for me (and for so many people) and I don't want to let another one slip by unmarked - this week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week, and as well as being a personal cause I know it affects so many people and I also know that the best way to break the stigma surrounding the topic is to get as many people as possible talking about it. And yes, one person may not make a difference, but imagine if everyone spoke up? Don't worry I'm not going to be talking personally because there are plenty of good memoirs (I recommend Wasted by Marya Hornbacher, Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi, and An Apple A Day by Emma Woolf), and I'm also not going to be posting pictures of me at various times during my own struggle with eating disorders. Suffice it to say that I have been struggling for years, and it has been enough of a fight that I wish nobody else had to deal with it. I am in recovery now, and as well as just speaking up and proving that a mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, I hope I can say a few things that make you think.

For starters, an ED is not a phase or a stage in growing up, something confined to teenage girls, and it is also not a habit or a choice. It is just as real as any illness - your brain is an organ too, and can be just as prone to malfunctioning, so there should be no shame around it. Another thing to stress is that they are not the fault of the individual, or indicative of insanity. They indicate pain, a difficulty coping, a channel into which all energy can be focused to block out whatever is worse. But in the end the ED can become the bigger problem. But that is still not the fault of the sufferer - if somebody develops cancer, we don't blame them, we send flowers. It should be the same for mental illness.

The causes of EDs are wide-ranging and often cannot be pinned down. There are some causes passed around like buzzwords: control, vanity, fear of growing up, catwalk models, society and pressure. But every case is different and cannot be categorised this way. The term 'eating disorder' itself covers many types of disordered eating from anorexia to bulimia, from binge-eating to orthorexia and EDNOS and many more in between, and none of those are superior. In my experience all are miserable, and are certainly nothing to aspire to. They are also certainly not about food. Weight and numbers and calories and image are not the real problems, more likely a way to manage other things because EDs are coping mechanisms.

They are also so treatable, but personally I think the treatment in this country needs to change. For a mental illness far too much attention is placed upon the physical aspect (when really physical decline is a side effect), meaning that many people go untreated because they haven't managed to cause themselves real physical damage. Yet. Of course, treating people physically is important but that doesn't mean the mental side is fixed and that's the part that will lead people to relapse after treatment for example, or to still engage in unhealthy behaviours or even to find a new outlet. If cancer was detected in a patient in the early stages there is no way on earth they would be told to wait until it's stage four and then come back for treatment! But so many people with eating disorders experience this and I think it's wrong. As soon as issues with food are noticed they should be treated, because the psychological issues will already be strong.

Anyway, enough rambling from me, I'm sure everyone's already stopped reading and although I haven't said half as much as I'd like to (and could write a dissertation on the things I've already mentioned!) I will end this post with a few words of advice for both sufferers and those who have a loved one with an eating disorder - probably most of us, and some of us won't even know that they do.

To all sufferers, I know of course, that recovery is a choice. I am inclined to believe it is a state of mind. You can be physically ill and fighting your hardest, and vice versa. And now I urge anyone suffering to really think. Maybe things are already bad for you, maybe you’ve been in treatment or taken time out of school, maybe your health is already danger; it’s not too late. Bodies are surprisingly resilient. And maybe things aren’t that bad for you, maybe you think you can tick along forever with your eating disorder. But I promise you, that ED will become your life. And whether it takes two months, two years, or twenty, soon your body won’t be able to cope and the people around you will be hurting because you are hurting. With all the beautiful things in this world, why choose to focus your gaze upon numbers? With all the experiences out there, why hone in on food to the exclusion of all else? 

For those who know someone with an ED, I’m going to give you a few tips. Don’t get angry when they struggle. Don’t try and blame it all on supermodels or Vogue magazine or diet culture. But most importantly, don’t give up on them. Recovery requires support, and while it is hard to watch, I know, just think how much happiness it will bring to see your brother, your daughter, your mother, your best friend finally free.

I'm going to put some links now to useful sites for everyone, and don't worry I'll be back to fashion blogging in the next few days!

Tara India xo

nhs choices eating disorder page

the symbol of ED recovery.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Getting ready.

Coat - New Look
Dress & Shoes - Topshop
Mini Satchel - ASOS

Something I've been thinking about lately is the whole ritual of getting ready; whether for a coffee date or a night out, for lectures or for a day trip - whatever the occasion, there's a lot that goes into getting ready (for me at least!) and I almost find it the most enjoyable part! I'm all for natural beauty and feeling comfortable, but everyone has their routines and habits and things they do to prep themselves for the outside world; I don't think any of us simply roll out of bed and straight out the door! I myself find that however long I have before I need to be somewhere I will almost always be dashing around at the last minute because time has slipped away and I've only got half my makeup on or no shoes or I've forgotten everything I need to bring.. Is it just me?! Whether I've got 30 minutes or 3 hours in which to get ready, I always end up nearly late. It's like the more time I have the more gets added into the whole process - for example I woke up on Friday with nothing to do until 6.15pm (it was only work, don't get excited) and still managed to be half dressed and running out the house at 6.20, having to powerwalk to make it. I could have all the time in the world and still never be quite on time! I never miss anything important, but I'm always rushed.. Getting ready somehow strings itself out from the basics (makeup, outfit, pack my bag with the essentials, and go) into a process that could take hours; the longer I have, the more drawn out it becomes until it includes showering, straightening my hair, making and eating food, doing some art, writing, watching some TV, intensive moisturising, and taking selfies, on top of the usual! But in a way that's good because these are all relaxing and somehow the more prep time I've had the more I enjoy whatever activity I'm setting off for. I certainly enjoy a night out more if I've had a chilled out few hours getting ready and pre drinking! I'm really hoping it's not just me who can spin getting dressed and organised out into a day of relaxation and preparation...

Tara India xo

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Day to night.

 Top & Shoes - Topshop
Skirt & Bracelet - Vintage
Necklace - H&M
Bag - Versace

I think one of the most difficult things to manage is day to night dressing, because what may look good under bar lighting often looks too over the top by day and a casual daytime ensemble feels too simple when going out in the evening. In an ideal world I'd be able to change before going out (or put on a different outfit entirely) but sometimes that's just not possible, which is why I look for versatility in my clothes! I wore this outfit to lunch, then shopping and dinner with my mum when she visited this week, but I also wore the same top and necklace combination as part of my outfit to go bar-hopping with a friend. Sometimes all it takes the right framing or details to take an outfit through the day - this was potentially a bit much for the daytime, but the pastel skirt kept it fairly simple. I then wore the bralet with a black lace skirt and a bit more makeup to make it work for the evening. I'm also a little bit in love with texture at the moment, especially lace, which is why I couldn't resist this bralet. This is, however, another item I'm looking forward to wearing when the weather gets a little kinder.. I may have taken photos without a jacket, but I did have to cover both ensembles with a biker jacket to survive the Midlands chill! Roll on summer and warmer days..

Tara India xo

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Treat yourself.

Biker Jacket & Skirt - Topshop
Top - Missguided
Ankle Boots - New Look
Necklace & Ring - Swarovski

I feel like I should be saying something about Valentine's Day, something about romance or love or even the joys of being single and not having to organise something! But I have to confess I've never been into V-Day as a concept - why wait for one day a year to show your boyfriend/girlfriend you love them? I'm always the one that ends up giving people gifts at completely random times of the year just because I saw something and it made me think of them, and when it comes to loved ones I think that's better - there doesn't have to be a reason to show you care. And I'm not even just applying that to other people. I know on February 14th a lot of single people will either be upset over exes, being bitter about love while drinking copious amounts of wine, or celebrating themselves for enjoying the single life, but you don't even need an excuse for that! I like to treat myself day in and day out with little things - pepsi max, expensive coffee, and shopping trips. And this is my newest treat - this gorgeous embroidered skirt from Topshop! I'm still trying to break away from the comfort of black and dark hues (and not totally succeeding), and the bright flowers are a step in the right direction. Now I'm just waiting for spring and for the earth to match...

Tara India xo

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Stripes & tapestry.

 Biker Jacket, Top, Skirt and Socks - Topshop
Shoes - River Island
Bag - Versace

I had half planned some real topics for a post today, but I've woken up with one of the worst colds I've had in ages - I'm aching and tired and currently nesting in bed, so all I can really talk about is how much I hate winter weather, and how innappropriately I dress for it. I'm sure a while back I wrote about how to stay warm in winter, but apparently I'd forgotten that January-February is the worst time for it! So these photos actually come from when I was last back home in Somerset facing much friendlier climates.. I'm wearing my current favourite piece - this tapestry skirt, which I have worn at least five times in the two weeks I've owned it! I love the structure and the mix of textures with thick lace edging, and how it seems to fit with the transition of seasons. This first outing saw it paired with stripes for a subtle clash, and plenty of luxe black. For a girl who, in summer, wears exclusively colour and loves to stand out, I'm going to find it hard to leave my comfortable cocoon of black when spring finally comes calling..

Tara India xo

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Life lessons.

Biker Jacket, Top, and Sandals - Topshop
Skirt - Missguided
Bag - Longchamp
Lipstick - Revlon

You would think that by the age of 20 (aka scary scary adulthood) I would have learned a few basic lessons.. and maybe I have, but apparently I haven't learned not to wear new heels when walking around a lot! After wearing these onto campus - a half hour walk each way - I could safely admit to numb feet and a general air of stupidity brought on by the excitement of new shoes. There was a time when I walked around in heels all day quite frequently, but that was probably two and a bit years ago - pre the flat sandal life of five months travelling in Asia. That didn't stop my brain saying 'oh sure, it'll be fine to wear these for a few hours', which has led me to two life lessons today. Firstly, to always, always, always wear in heels around the house or on short escapades before attempting to trot around in them all day. And secondly, that if it's been a few years since you've done something don't expect to be perfect at it! There's the old adage of never forgetting how to ride a bike, which is true because you won't forget the mechanics, but if you or your body isn't used to what you're about to attempt then think twice.. This applies to anything exercise-related, speaking a language, and even to wearing heels!

Tara India xo

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Print clash.

Coat, Top, Skirt & Socks - Topshop
Shoes - River Island
Bag - Versace
Jewellery - Vintage

Even though I've been keeping things fairly simple recently, I'm a big fan of mixing and matching my prints. It's the kind of slightly bold, slightly risky move that keeps fashion fresh, and I like to think I've got it down after a good few years of experimentation! Prints in themselves are often loud, proud and quite attention-grabbing, so when you mix and match it really makes for an interesting outfit. This combination here is rather tried-and-tested for me in that I've been mixing florals and checks for quite a while, but this is a more wintery take on it. I usually stick to my boldest prints for summer, but I don't like to remain predictable so I clashed up my top and skirt when I went home last weekend. I will admit that I kept the framing fairly simple, remaining within a dark palette so that it looked intentional and not like I got dressed with the lights out! But my favourite thing about this outfit is that because I opted for a Bardot-esque off-shoulder top I got to break out some of my favourite vintage jewellery.

Tara India xo