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.


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

To be continued.


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