She's Always a Woman - Billy Joel

I love this song. She hides like a child, to me, captures the identity disorder perfectly. It was childhood trauma, triggered by my anorexia, that first led me to hide myself away behind make up and dieting. Carving out a new identity for myself, a new body, a new face. And hiding behind it for the next decade.

I loved being Baby because she was prettier and slimmer. But it felt wrong, uncomfortable, stiff and suffocating. But so right at the same time, hell but home.

You might think hell is a bit dramatic but it really was at times, I went from anorexia, to body dysmorphia, to depression, OCD, psychosis and an autoimmune disorder. All because my brain felt so trapped, I think. It was reacting to its environment, something was off, and it couldn’t cope.

I always felt like I was in the wrong body, not gender wise, but the shape size and weight of it. I was unhappy, so I starved and carved and created a new one I was happy with. It took effort and concentration and numbers and calories. And once I had it I was determined never to lose it

And then I lost it, after a decade, because I was hospitalised, miserable, on a psychiatric ward, and on medication. I piled on the weight

Yet I felt more free, after the identity disorder was over. Baby was gone, and I was left in the ruins trying to figure out who she was, what had happened, who I was really, what the differences between us were, when I’d been her, when I’d been me.

There’s other lines in this song that get me “She’s always a woman” because I wasn’t, I was a girl. A child really. And now I’m a woman, had to become one, fast. Spent my adolescence suffering from mental illness and missed out on a lot. “Her causal lies,” “frequently kind and suddenly cruel” “do as she pleases she’s nobody’s fool” “earnt her degree” “most she will do is throw shadows at you, but she’s always a woman to me”

Just a good song really, one of my favourites

If you’re interested in my journey with mental illness, and in particular the identities disorder, check out my book Paper Doll: Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Waterstones My music is also heavily mental illness related and is available on Spotify and iTunes

Spotify is under: Caitlin Strommen

Samaritans is 116 123 for anyone who needs it

Another great song by Billy Joel is Vienna, I love that one too

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