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Online Romance.

I apologise now for the length of this post. But it is about something very personal to me and something that I have experienced and feel the need to share.

For most of my teenage years I had several blogs on the well known site, Tumblr. It was my way of expressing myself, venting and letting things out, and it helped me through a very dark place in my life. I met lots of different people during the years I had my blog, and I made lots of friendships that I still have today. Not long into my exploration of this website, I met someone online who I just clicked with instantly. Let’s call him Mike. Mike started talking to me one day after I published a particularly emotional blog post, I was probably around 16 at this point by the way whilst he was 23, and it was as if he just got me. He listened and let me go on about my depression, my struggles at school, with my family. I really poured my heart out to this guy. After a while, we ended up exchanging numbers and skype details. It got to the point where we talked all day, every day. We skyped and video chatted nearly every day (this was before snapchat was around and really took off), he became my rock and as you can imagine I fell head over heels for this guy. It didn’t matter that we were thousands of miles apart, it didn’t matter that we physically hadn’t met each other. Mike knew all my darkest secrets and my deepest desires, he knew my flaws and my imperfections, he was there for me at 3am when I needed somebody. He really was my everything.
We spoke about our future and the possibility of me flying out to see him one day once school was over. I had spoken to his best friend, a girl called Alice, many times and she would always say how he never shut up about me, that he loved me so much, that she could see us truly being together in the future. He made me feel special, and loved, and safe, and free.

And this went on for nearly three years.

Anyway, fast forward three years and school is over, I’ve had one serious boyfriend, who Mike knew about and was always supportive of, saying that he didn’t care how long he had to wait for me, and that he understood because I was young, I had a life to life and we were so far away from each other. He was there for me with all my ups and downs with this guy, and believe me there were many, and when that relationship was over I found my way back to Mike and all the feelings, which had never really gone away,  came flooding back, and we were closer than ever. I had a job and I was studying full time doing hairdressing. The subject of me going to stay with him was often discussed, and we were so serious about it, about each other, that I was saving up for flights to go and see him.

Not long after I turned 19, facebook had become very popular. Even though we skyped, and video called and phone called each other all the time, I didn’t have Mike on facebook. In a typical teenage girl way, I decided to try and find Mike on facebook, which I did fairly quickly. And what I found shook me to my core.
Splashed across his profile were posts and pictures from a girl called Iris. It appeared that they had been in a relationship with each other for a very long time, longer than Mike and I had known each other. I was heartbroken to say the least.
Initially I didn’t say anything to Mike.  I was so confused by the entire situation that I just didn’t know what to do. And in a situation like that, it’s hard to know what is the right thing to do. Did I call him out? Did I just stop talking to him? Did I go and tell his girlfriend everything? And how could I survive without somebody who was an integral part of my life, who I had given everything to?

A couple of weeks went by and I managed to get a skype session with Mikes best friend, Alice, who I had come to know quite well (she definitely was just his friend). I ended up telling her everything that I had found out, and asking her what she thought that I should do. She admitted to me that Mike had been in a relationship with this Iris for several years, but that he didn’t love her and that he only stayed with her because she was incredibly emotionally unstable, and had tried to commit suicide in the past, and he was frightened that she would do it again if he broke up with her. She went on to say that Mike really did love me and that she hoped that I could give him a chance and wait for him like he had once waited for me. I begged her not to say anything until I had made up my mind and to her credit she kept her word.

I ended up approaching Mike about it a few days later over skype, and I just completely broke down. He didn’t deny any of it, but his story was similar to that of Alice, and he claimed that Iris had been obsessed with him for years. He claimed that he had tried to break up with her in the past, and that she had refused to accept it and would just show up at his house randomly, call and text him constantly, and was extremely unstable. He begged me not to go to her because of this, and so reluctantly I didn’t say anything.

However I ultimately decided, after weeks of fighting with myself and my emotions, that I couldn’t continue on doing this, and that I could no longer trust Mike or trust in our future. I deleted my Tumblr, my skype, and I changed my number. It was the only way I could keep myself together and make sure that I didn’t run back to him.

And so here we are today, several years on. I’m in a committed relationship, I have a toddler, I am happy. So the reason I told that story was because I decided to make a new Tumblr earlier this year. I still had lots of online friends I had met with my first account that I still talked to and was close to, and I felt like I needed another outlet to be able to let everything out and express myself. A few days ago, I started thinking about Mike for whatever reason. I wondered if he still had his blog, and I was extremely curious. I decided to look him up, and what would you know, there he was. Same account, same blog, same Mike. And of course…. same Iris. I had a little look around, satisfied my curiosity.

But then something caught my attention. A post from a random girl about Mike. There was no date on this post, so I have no idea when it was from.  But she was basically gushing about this guy called Mike that she had met online, who she thought she was falling for, her made her feel so special, and so on. Now, as I said before there was no time stamp on this post, but seeing it just made me sick, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.
Was this from when Mike and I were ‘together’? Was it from after? Does that mean that he is at it again with some other poor, unsuspecting girl? And does this mean that he had ever told the truth, that what we had together had ever meant anything? Was I just one of a whole saga of girls? And should I do anything about it?

Now more than ever I wish that I had confronted Mike properly, and that I had gone to Iris and told her the truth. That I had exposed him for what he really was, a liar and a cheat, someone who took advantage of young girls on the internet and played on their feelings. And someone who had clearly gotten away with this for years.

I think one of the big questions I have is why? Why are there people in this world who sneak around, and tell lies, and manipulate feelings? Why do people do things like this? Why did I become a target to him? And why is he still doing this?

I’m not sure I’ll ever know. But now I feel compelled to do something, I’m just not sure if I should.

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A word on ‘Clean Eating’.

I recently read a few articles about clean eating. This is one of those topics that I feel very strongly about, a couple of people very close to me have struggled with eating disorders for a very long time, and I also have had issues with being anemic and iron deficient for pretty much the majority of my life, and being a chicken-only indulgent vegetarian since I was only young. In recent years, and especially since having a baby, I have really struggled with my weight, and being healthy.

Since the whole ‘clean eating’ trend came around, I have always been very critical about the hype concerning the trend and it’s not something I would ever follow myself. The diet itself has always seemed very restrictive and lacking in basic nutrition that we, as humans, need to function. For instance, and I know from hearing things from clean eaters in my life and seeing enough clean eaters on social media, that the majority of the lifestyle seems to consist of a salad (with no dressing), and vegetables.

‘Clean eating’ often means cutting out vital nutrients that we need to feed our bodies, such as protein, carbohydrates, fibre, iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, the list goes on. It is impossible to get your body all of the nutrients and vitamins it needs through an extremely restricted diet. And this can lead to so many problems, including but not limited to, iron deficiency, extreme weight lose, fatigue, and bone health.

A certain someone, let’s call them Alex, in my life follows the clean eating trend extremely religiously.  I’ve often been around Alex, for a long period of time, and been astounded as to how little they really do eat. Is a handful of steamed veggies for dinner enough to sustain us? Is some avocado on gluten free toast without butter enough to sustain us? Is a couple of almonds enough to sustain us?

Ever since we have been young, it has been drilled into us that the key to having a healthy body and lifestyle is through a balanced and healthy diet. Is a few dried leaves and a kale smoothie healthy for us in the long run?

Unsurprisingly (and using Alex as an example) a number of health issues have arose. Chronic fatigue and lack of energy and focus, anemia and a vitamin D deficiency, and depression to name a few. But still, clean eating itself is never to blame.

The part that really gets to me, is that if Alex, for example, did not label such a diet as ‘clean eating’, would they be categorised as having an eating disorder? Where is the line between ‘clean eating’ and an eating disorder? And by drawing that line, would the glorification of ‘clean eating’ end?