For the first time in a long time I went running in Mürren again, the fairytale - like village I grew up in. It's located in the Jungfrau region and situated perfectly on the mountain edge or as the locals like to call it the "Mürrenfluh". Mürren is such an amazing place to grow up, as the whole town and it's surroundings become your playground; in winter with skiing, tobogganing, snowball fights, ice skating and more... In summer the vast trails and lush forests make the perfect setting for fun and adventures. From an early age we got set free. It's not unusual to see a 3year old roaming the village streets, or older kids staying out until after dark playing and having fun on the village streets. We had to use our imagination, always coming up with new games to play and all kids, of all ages, would engage in games together. It was a bit like a big family, everyone looking out for one another. Parents were never overly concerned over their kids whereabouts, because they knew that somebody would always have seen them and there was no stranger danger. It was a really liberating place to grow up.
Our school was tiny. I only ever had three kids in my year, which meant that years 1-4 and 5-9 were merged and still those merged classes would only ever reach a max of 20 each. I have always said that we didn't learn much on the academic side of things (not implying we had bad teachers, but they just had a different focus), we did however learn a lot about life - about manners, personal ability, discipline and the appreciation for nature.
That's where my love for the outdoors started, in my upbringing and schooling. School sport, in winter, was either skiing or ski touring. We did breathtaking things like ski down a glacier (behind the Jungfraujoch aka Top of Europe) to then apply a type of fur or carpet to the bottom of our skis, with a hingeable binding, which then allowed us to walk up the ice valley and eventually summit an over 3'000m mountain. Summers were the time fir cross country running and outdoor sport, and although it seemed like a chore at the time, we all (well most of us) enjoyed the weekly challenge of attempting to improve our 2km running time.
As I was sitting above the village, peering down at all the familiar sights, I had finally found my appreciation for the place again. It's amazing how you can come to take a place and people for granted. When I left mürren, with mum, to move to Australia I was sick of the place and sick in the place. I could no longer handle feeling like I was trapped on this mountain, as you can only get on and off it by cable car and only at specified times. So as a teenager it is no longer the paradise it was as a child, it becomes more of a prison. That prison resembled my internal prison at the time.
I hit the panorama trail, a place I use to always walk my dog Sydney to, a place I came to escape to, a place that gave me clarity yet also a place that gave me an excuse to exercise.
After running for a decent hour I took a moment to sit on one of the benches with a beautiful mountain canvas infront of me and memories flooding back into my mind.
From a young age I always ate lunch at my aunty Trudy's house. I could smell her cooking from far down the street as I approached the house. Always a keen eater I use to scoff down my food before heading back to school. But as "the Bitch" started creeping into my life, the excitement about Trudy's food started to fade and panic about the prospect of ingesting calories started to invade me. I didn't want it to be obvious that I was beginning to struggle with food, my physical appearance and personal identity, so I'd eat reduced portions, weighed myself pre and post meals so I could gage how much weight I'd gained in that sitting (I was convinced that all food was turning into rolls of fat on my body as I ate it) and I forced myself to walk to school over the panorama trail a 45min walk instead of a 10min walk so I could burn extra calories. It was great to have a dog to use as an excuse to go for walks and chase after, covering up the true drive behind this sudden interest and regiment of walking Sydney.
A major part of the problem with anorexia is that you begin to convince yourself, and eventually others around you, that your actions are normal and justified. The reality tells a different story though.
Sitting on the panorama trail overlooking Mürren, I realized that occasionally you need to remove yourself from a situation or place, only to later let it unveil and you appreciate it's true beauty. Sometimes we need to lose ourself to find ourself. I was once lost... I am now finding.