Strip Tennis

Continued from here.

In boarding school, suffering from jet-lag and desperate to find a cure for my inability to fall asleep after lights-out, I took up running to burn all possible energy before bedtime. As you can imagine, running circles around the lacrosse field was atypical for an eleven year old, but my house-mother never commented, perhaps because, being one of forty girls, it went unnoticed. My sleep habits improved, and although this was most likely a result of naturally getting over jet lag, I convinced myself that running was the solution. In turn, I became obsessed with it, panicking if I couldn’t do my nightly jog as, irrationally, I expected ensuing sleeplessness, and being awake at night all alone was my greatest fear, namely because it would spark overwhelming homesickness.

Ever since developing this habit, I don’t think I’ve gone a day without some sort of exercise, unless I’ve been sick or traveling. My eating habits stayed the same throughout Secondary school (British for high school), but nutrition increasingly became a concern of mine. Always having a ravenous appetite, I was never able to wrap my head around the concept of dieting, but I sure started to consider the option. I ate all sorts of less healthful boarding school foods, like oil-saturated fish and chips, and equally oily sausages and potato wedges, but I now started to opt for the salad bar, deeming it healthier, even if mine consisted of a few leafs of lettuce piled high with tuna-mayo and cheese, with a side of scotch eggs and bread slathered with butter. Saying I was going to the salad bar allowed me to feel like I was being ultra healthy, but the toppings I chose suggested edgewise. What’s more, I still ate dessert after lunch (and, admittedly, I often voraciously skimmed over the desert bar for the biggest portion of whatever was being served), tea and biscuits mid-afternoon, and a few slices of toast coated in chocolate spread (and, on occasion, even butter and sugar…) before bed. Sometimes I even made myself an improv dessert by filling a mug with hot chocolate powder, adding just enough water to form a thick, icing-like consistency, and then crumbling biscuits into it. And this didn’t faze me.

It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that things changed.

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Playing strip tennis at boarding school; we were desperate for some thrill…

To be continued.

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