Unspirational

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I hear all the time that what I have done with my weight loss and fitness is inspiring. I’ve watched friends and family make changes because of what they’ve seen me do. And it’s brilliant, and I am so proud of every single step they take towards achieving their own personal goals. And it’s humbling to have played a small part towards spurring them on. I’m so excited for them, cautiously excited not because I don’t believe in them but because I know the hard yards they’re about to undertake. I know the ache in the thighs, the pain in the feet, the confrontation of exercise, the way food that fuels you better at first doesn’t taste as good as the foods that you love. I know the power of chocolate on sale and the lure of daytime television. These are hard choices. Your head game has to be strong to do this, and there they are, doing it, and I couldn’t be prouder. To T, P, K and several others who have messaged me to say thanks for motivating them to get on this path: you girls are true heroes, and I believe in each and every one of you wholeheartedly.

The title of this post might have you thinking my own wheels have fallen off regarding this stuff. They have not. I spent Sunday boxing for 8 hours. I’ve just signed up to walk ten kilometres a day for ten days in April. Every day choices, friends. Just like last night we chose to have pizza for dinner.

This isn’t about good food versus bad food. This isn’t about changing directions.

This is about when the inspirer feels totally and utterly unspirational.

I hit struggle street a couple of weeks ago. Time management has gotten the better of me. I’m in the last week of my Certificate 3 in fitness, assessments have been raining down on me and I think it’s time to build an ark and take two of everything that has ever given me hope and sail away while the tide comes crashing down. Except the dogs, I’ll take three of those. I think I’ve caught up with most of my study load now, but the under-riding panic is still there.

I think this was sparked by probably the most exciting thing that has happened on this journey.

I saw a plastic surgeon, regarding the excess skin I have. Now, in Australia, there are several hoops to jump through to have the removal of this skin deemed medically necessary. If you successfully get through those hoops, you then are given an item number for the surgery. This item number means that part of the surgery is covered by Medicare, reducing the cost of the surgery significantly. Then you have the option of doing it privately, with the surgeon of your choice, or going on an extensive waiting list (at least several years) to have the surgery done publicly.

I cleared every single one of the hoops. The surgeon asked me how I had done it and I told him the truth: through bloody hard work. He clarified that I hadn’t had any form of weight loss surgery. I told him no, I’ve just worked really really hard. He threw down his pen and gave me a high five, and said, “We just don’t see that anymore!”. He was amazed. He then checked out my skin and my body, what would need to be done. I don’t have a frame that is petite and dainty. I’ve worked hard to build muscle mass. I have big hands, big feet. On my tummy alone he’s estimated 6-7kg of skin will come off. And by the time all the excess skin is gone?

I’ll be at the goal weight for my frame.

After being a fat baby, a fat kid, a fat teen, and an adult so overweight that I didn’t even register on the BMI scale when I first started, I had been told for the first time in my entire life that I am now at a point where I just have to maintain my current weight and muscle mass. He said I could try to lose another 5kg or so before surgery if I wanted to, but it’s not necessary.

Stunned. Overwhelmed.

I sat waiting to see his secretary to talk costs, and I became really teary. I’d done it. I’d bloody done it.

And then I found out the cost and just like that, reality hit. Even with private health cover, the out of pocket cost for just stage one of the surgery would buy an excellent car, or be a substantial start for a deposit on a house.

So there I was.

So close to my goal weight, after almost two years of solid grit and determination. On the cusp of finishing my first fitness qualification, the first step towards working with clients like myself who felt like it just couldn’t be done. Now faced with a financial challenge that looks totally and utterly unattainable. Don’t worry, I’m working on solutions for this.

But I think that’s where the wheels started to wobble.

At the boxing course on Sunday, when I did a roundhouse kick, the skin on my thighs followed through with an audible clap. When I was jab-cross-jabbing, the skin on my arms would wave at the focus mitts almost as an apology, and I’d catch sight of it in the corner of my eye. Lifting my legs for the forward kicks was difficult because of that damn apron of skin. But no, that’s not the point, the point is that in doing that course I can now use boxing with clients, and the point is that I kept up with every single one of the people doing the course, and the point is that this body, my body boxed for 8 hours with minimal breaks. The other stuff is aesthetics.

But when I think about why this stuff has thrown me so much, I begin to wonder if I’m being totally superficial. I wonder if I am every actually going to be happy with my body. I wonder if I am ever going to feel enough: fit enough; strong enough; healthy enough. Because these things aren’t aesthetics. These things are internal.

Something you don’t get told about losing a huge amount of weight is that it takes a long time for your head to catch up. That you will have demons to conquer – not food vices, but thought patterns.

There are non-scale victories that the average person wouldn’t even consider.

The moment a beach towel, and then a bath towel wraps around you for the first time. The moment you no longer have to have the car seat back as far as it can go in order to drive. The moment you don’t have to turn side on to get through doors. The moment you can walk between cars in a parking lot. The moment you can stand up and look down and see your feet, or when you can be lying down in bed and see your feet.

I can see my feet.

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I’m not sure what the point of this particularly long post is. I have a hunch it’s about being transparent, being honest with the people who follow this blog. Or maybe it’s just about getting thoughts out of my head. Or maybe it’s about giving myself a chance to catch up on where I am at the moment.

I was messaging someone who has become a treasured mate yesterday, explaining that my head had imploded. And I said this:

“Still going along the forwards path. Just need to make sure my head is where my feet are on that path”.

What I have done has changed my life.

It’s time to let it start changing my view of myself, too.

 

The Measure

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I wanted to write a quick post mainly because The Biggest Loser kicks off tonight on Australian screens. If you’re not familiar with the show, a quick introduction: people apply/audition to be on the show based on their weight and wanting to change their lifestyle. Contestants are picked from the applications, and are then designated a group and a trainer for the group. The trainer generally yells and motivates the contestants through a variety of means. Contestants vomit, work hard, lose weight. Each week they weigh in and their weight loss is recorded. At first this is done either topless (men) or just in a sports bra (women). As they lose weight they start to wear singlets to the weigh ins. Then there’s a finale, and the person who has lost the greatest percent of their body weight wins.

The reason I want to write a blog in response to this is several-fold.

The Biggest Loser tends to encourage people to work on their fitness and lose weight. But you need to realise a couple of things.

1. You will not get the extraordinary weekly results that the contestants on The Biggest Loser get. There are several reasons why. The first is that the weigh ins are not actually weekly. I have read differing amounts of time between weigh ins, but in general they seem to be every ten days or even fortnightly. Not weekly. The second reason you will not get those same results is because the contestants are taking part in an extreme and gruelling exercise regime. We’re talking many hours in the gym per day. This is not sustainable in real life, because we have things like jobs and kids and partners and pets and washing.

2. If you are particularly well endowed in the chesticle region, you will struggle to find a sports bra that offers the required scaffolding to support the girls. Do your research, they are out there but you do need to work hard to find them. I got my first few online. They’re expensive but they are absolutely necessary.

3. Most importantly, is this: If The Biggest Loser inspires you to get moving, or even to jump on the scales and assess where things are at, remember this. There is no number on earth that will ever be an accurate measure of who you are as a human being. Not the number on the scale. Not the number on your clothing. Not even the number that represents your chronological age. You’re more than a number. You’re worth more than numerical digits that attempt to sum up your worth. I am worth no more at my weight now than I was before I started my weight loss adventure. I will always be thankful to who I was when I started, because she did the hard yards: walking into a gym for the first time. God, even just walking. You are more than a number. You are.

The Biggest Loser isn’t a bad thing. Not at all.

But it always helps to remember the reality behind reality television.

 

 

Behind the keyboard

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It was unexpected, by me, anyway – but the last post, It’s Not That Hard, went a little bit crazy. It resonated with many of you, and while I knew it was true for me, I tend to write things taking a bit of a punt that it might be true for other people, too. It’s kind of hard because my brain is a peculiar place. But it appears this time, I was spot on.

The problem with writing a post that results in new followers of this blog and big reactions, is that for me it creates this funny kind of pressure to follow it up really well. I guess it’s a different kind of writer’s block – performance anxiety or something. Who knows. But I decided in the end that probably the best way to follow up that post is by letting you know who is behind the keyboard for this particular blog. To prove that I know what I am talking about when it comes to losing weight actually being quite hard.

This is me.

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This is also me.

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So yes. I do know that it is is indeed hard to lose weight. Anyone who tells you it isn’t that hard is an ignorant fool, and probably hasn’t been there. But I’ve already told you my thoughts on that one.

For me, this journey started when I fell down a flight of stairs. I completely screwed my ankle, busting bones and ligaments and tendons. I was overweight at the time, and the foot surgeon I saw said, “If you were an athlete, I’d repair it, but you’re not.”. Can anyone say arsehole?

Eventually, seven years after the initial fall, I did indeed get my ankle repaired. And after months of physio, and two more procedures, I started walking. Exactly 12 months after I took my first steps on that new ankle, I completed my first fun run. I barely ran, in fact I walked the vast majority of it and also managed to get lost on the course.

The thing is, in that seven year gap, I wasn’t able to do anything active at all. So the weight piled on. And on. And on. I also had PCOS (poly cycstic ovarian syndrome), which meant that I was exceptionally good at gaining and keeping weight. Like, National Representative good. And every single thing that I did, was hard.

I can tell you that while it wasn’t easy getting started, I knew I had to. I had a lot of motivators, but no motivation on earth is match for a reason. A Reason. Motivation can and will fall away. But I reckon if you have a Reason, a Reason for anything that you do, then you have something that will drive you through the days where you don’t want to, or it’s too hard, or you just cannot be arsed.

For me, my Reason was simple, but came from the most painful of firey furnaces. I’d say it  was like a phoenix but in reality is was more like an uncoordinated pelican that my Reason surfaced. It involved shifting of mindset and reframing of response.

My mum had died very suddenly, and the grief and aftershocks for my family and myself were, in short, heartbreaking. And I stayed stuck in grief mode.

And then one day, when I was thinking of my family and my people and my beloved, I realised that by not getting my health under some form of control, I was heading up a path that was going to force my people to go through the grief and pain of my own sudden death. Because that was the reality of where my health and my weight was.

So I changed the way I wore that blanket of grief. Tucked it into the back of my shirt and turned into some kind of mediocre superhero cape. Because it really was going to take a superhero effort to turn that ship around.

18 months later, that Reason hasn’t changed. For me, my Reason comes down to love; to an encompassing need to try to protect my people from experiencing that grief and pain of loss. Everyone is going to have a different Reason, but if you can find your Reason, then congratulations, you’re on your way.

That Reason pushes me on daily. Fuelled by love, I do my kilometres on the treadmill. I lift my weights. And now, I go to Tafe to learn how to be a personal trainer and fitness worker. Because there is a serious shortfall of people who know what this is like, first hand.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know all of that stuff. And even now it still makes me a bit wobbly to share it all again. These are painful things to think on, but it’s the reality, and if nothing else I have always, always had the mindset that if it’s painful and I have to do it, then I need to use it to help other people.

Give me a few months to finish these qualifications, and I’ll do just that.

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It’s not that hard

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Sorry, yes it is, actually.

Today someone told me that it is not that hard to lose weight.

Someone with quite a small frame, who juggles their weight to benefit things like muscle definition.

Not someone who has battled obesity. Not someone who knows how hard it is to function with extra weight on board. Not someone who will have to make a choice every single day to stay in charge of their body.

So, in response to that particularly stupid and ignorant statement, I would like to respond with this:

It is hard.

And I want you to know that I know that it is hard, which is why I am learning to be a trainer – so that there is someone on your side who knows exactly how soul-crushingly, body-achingly hard it is.

It’s hard when you have that moment when you realise that you need to lose weight. It’s hard to realise that your weight is out of control, and that it’s collected some friends in the form of serious health conditions to keep you company.

It’s hard to recognise the depth and breadth of the changes you are going to make. It’s hard to recognise that you feel a sense of grief and loss about what your health has become.

It’s hard feeling shame, because we’re surrounded by a million different inputs every day on social media and television and in almost every interaction from the moment we put our feet on the floor in the morning – and they all tell us that we do not look the way we are meant to look or need to look.

It’s hard taking the first step into gym.

It’s hard going to the gym when everyone else there doesn’t look like you.

It’s hard going to the gym when everyone else there doesn’t look like you, and you can’t keep up with what they are doing.

It’s hard going to the gym.

It’s hard to feel guilty for resting. Be it 20 minutes or a day or two days, even after 50kg gone I still feel guilty if I haven’t been “active” that day.

It’s hard knowing that as the weight comes off and your fitness improves, there is no ‘fast forward’ button in life. I remember the moment when I realised that this was going to take me a long time: I was pedalling on a bike, and in my head I was thinking about a movie or a TV show that did a flash forward on somebody at the gym. In a simple ten seconds they went from unfit and overweight, to fit and in a healthy weight range. That’s not going to happen. This is going to take time. Commitment. And a choice, every single fucking day.

And it’s hard.

Going to the gym or starting any new fitness regime is hard. Add to it, in my case, an extra 50 kilograms (and still more to go), and you tell me it’s not that hard to lose weight. Stepping on to the treadmill is hard because your knees, they’ve hurt for years. Sitting on a bike is hard because your back screams at you constantly. Weights are hard. Rowing is hard. Classes are hard. Walking is hard. Everything is hard.

It’s hard as you start enjoying the new routine of being active and regaining your fitness and health. You begin realising that there’s time, lost, that you can’t get back. It’s hard seeing old photos of yourself. It’s hard getting your head around your new body and your new shape. It’s hard working out how to respond when people tell you that you look great and that you’ve saved your life and that you must be feeling better. It’s hard when people say that they’re proud of you, like every other thing you’ve ever achieved wasn’t going to be good enough because of your size. It’s hard because if you’re lucky, there will be people who will remain steadfastly by your side – but they cannot do it for you. It’s hard because each and every hard yard is walked and run and carried out by you. It’s hard feeling lonely. It’s hard feeling pressure from yourself.

It’s not that hard, I heard someone say today.

All that says to me is that they have not had to do it.

And to be honest, I’m really glad that you think it’s not that hard to lose weight. Because you thinking that, and saying it in a public setting, sends the very loud and clear message that you have no ability to comprehend and empathise with what this is like.

And I’m also glad that I am able to comprehend it. Because it means that I can use that comprehension and empathy to help other people.

It is hard.

And don’t ever let anyone, regardless of their standing or role or qualifications, tell you that it’s simple or easy. It’s not. It’s hard. It’s bloody hard.

But if it’s worth it, it’s worth earning.

It is hard, and I am proud that I have put in 18 months of ridiculously hard work to get to this point. Still not finished, but closer today than I was yesterday.

It’s bloody hard. But yes. Yes, it’s worth it.

 

 

 

 

Change the World

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Yes, but change your undies first.

Wait, hang in there with me on this one. This morning as beloved left for work, I wished her an amazing day, asked her to be safe, and finally, called out to her back as she walked out the door with her lunch in one hand and keys in the other, “Change the world!”. As the door closed I had a little giggle to myself and added, purely for the dog’s benefit, “But change your undies first”. This was not because beloved has a tendency towards wearing substandard underpants. It was more because as I turned, I saw the washing hanging on the clothes horse and spotted her superhero undies. So yes. Change your undies first.

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Not beloved’s actual undies. Image from reelgirl.com

But as I bustled about putting groceries away, I had a little think about the phrase I had uttered so flippantly, and it wouldn’t go away. Change the world, but change your undies first. It’s a giggle at first but then it takes on a different weight.

For me, life can be very black and white.

Big public actions of love or justice rarely impress me. Maybe I’m turning cynical or maybe I miss the point (a very good chance of this one, actually) – but for me, your public acts of love or justice mean nothing if you are an arsehole at home. This is where I am not talking about beloved anymore, by the way – she’s not an arsehole at home.

I hate talking about politics, mainly because of this arsehole analogy. Sure, sign the public papers and make your public speeches, but are you honest? Could someone ring you, directly, if they were in the middle of a crisis and needed help? Would you return an email or a phone call? Do you treat the people who you interact with on a day to day basis with the utmost respect? No? Then put the pen away and step back from the microphone, go and change your undies.

I think this little theory comes down to being who you say you are. Being who you want people to think you are. Being your public persona when you’re at home doing the dishes.

 

I’ve always been the kind of person who wonders if they’re good enough, nice enough, caring enough. One of the things I’ve learned in the last 12 months has been that actually, yes I am. I am good and nice and caring. But in the interests of changing my undies, I need to treat myself with goodness and niceness and caring-ness. And I’m doing it, kind of. Certainly better than I used to.

Because I think it comes down to, essentially, how you are behaving towards yourself. I think that’s the absolute core of changing your undies.

It’s been a peculiar thing, the learning and unlearning that has gone hand in hand with reclaiming my own fitness and health. But it’s not that I suddenly became worthy of these new outlooks as I lost weight, not at all: it’s more that to even kick off the process, I had to do things that were scary and hard for me. I had to take on challenges. I had to continually readjust the parameters I had fenced myself in with. I guess the more you engage with life, the more life engages with you. And to be in that reciprocal relationship with life, you have to be OK with the boundaries you have in place – enough to be able to be confident, but also enough to have to be brave.

That’s when I think you can actually change the world. But yes. Change your undies first.

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Just Be.

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I have a friend, a woman who has been a part of my world for years and years. And the most consistent thing she has told me is this:

Just be.

Whatever the situation. Whatever the moment or mood or swings or roundabout or event. It’s always the same. Just be.

I think as we live more and more on social media, documenting ourselves doing life, those two words become more relevant. I’ve been making a conscious effort to not use my phone when I’m with friends, and to resist the urge to take photos of every moment. Mainly because I want to experience things in real life, rather than through a screen. And as I write this blog post I’m aware of the irony because I’m writing via a screen and it will be read via a screen; and there are plenty of times where to zone out I’ll play pointless little games on my phone; and when I need to be distracted I’ll again connect dots or scroll through music or word games.

But I’m learning to be. To just be.

Accepting where I am, what I’m doing, what I’m experiencing, and just being in that moment.

No regretting, no resenting, no longing for something different. Just being. And the more I just be, the less I am actually regretting or resenting or longing for something different. Life is, generally, very good.

I have big things in mind for this year. I’m working on a second book. I’ll be kicking off the study towards being a personal trainer. I’m taking on #nofearnovember as a way of life, and rising up to just do the things that scare me. And it is good. I’m seeing again and again that I can do things.

We had a party recently, something that generally fills me with dread. And it did, but fuck it, I took it on. I also went to a BAR that I had never even heard of before, and it was awesome. And I saw my GP about a couple of things that had been worrying me, and I feel so much better knowing that she’s got things under control.

Just being. Rising up when I can and when I need to, and finding out exactly what I am made of.

And I am learning and realising that what I am made of is probably the opposite of what I used to think I was made of. I’m strong. I’m brave. I treat people well. I care about the underdogs. I’m stubborn, but I use it well.

I want 2017 to be the year that I am guided by what I am made of, instead of what I am afraid of. It’s going to be the year where I learn more about what I am made of, and then just be.

This song, Steer, by Missy Higgins. It’s on my playlist when I am at the gym, and it’s currently on high rotation in the car. These lyrics are the theme song for 2017 for me.

“But the search ends here
Where the night is totally clear
And your heart is fierce
So now you finally know
That you control where you go
You can steer”

Thanks, S.

 

The fame game

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It’s been Christmas and New Year’s since I blogged last. Time has this trick of trundling on, especially when we aren’t paying attention.

The last few weeks have been chaos. I do not enjoy chaos. My hair would suggest otherwise, I got it cut today because I am sick of finding strands around the place and beloved has a shaved head, so I can’t even blame anyone else. I look like I have an afro at the moment, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m now thinking there might have been another solution to the finding hair problem, that didn’t involve me seeing the hairdresser.

I don’t understand the small talk shit you have to do at the hairdresser. The whole time I am wondering how I am meant to look at her, do I use the mirrors or turn my head? Other concerns include catching headlice, wondering why people lie about dying their hair at home, the unreasonable potato-form I take on when they drape me in the cape prior to the hair cut, and wondering if hairdressers get itchy from the hair that must accumulate on their skin after cutting hair all day long. It really is not a restful experience.

So, the last few weeks. I had big plans, all of which were thwarted after a phone call from my GP telling me to start fasting. I had a blockage in a kidney which needed fairly urgent surgery. Two surgeries, actually. The other thing I don’t manage well is changed plans. Chaos and changed plans. Incidentally, both start with CH and when I was a kid, I did speech therapy, and that CH blend is still a sound I struggle to pronounce. So the thing you sit on in my house will always be a SEAT. I also still lisp when I am tired but I am better at pretending I haven’t.

Anyway anyway, Christmas and New Year’s.

Both were good. Both were here. Both were spent with people that we love. Which is nice. Because it would be awful if we had to spend both of those events with people that we don’t like.

I was just sitting outside and the view was spectacular. Here, have a look:

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2017 is upon us. Let’s hope it isn’t the same kind of talent cull that 2016 was. That’s what everyone seems to be focusing on, when it comes to 2016. And the reality is that we lost a lot of talent. But we also lost a lot of normal people, a lot of run-of-the-mill people, a lot of people who mattered to someone. Just because it wasn’t on the news doesn’t mean it didn’t matter. Social media has added this funny element to life, hasn’t it. We spend a lot of time documenting ourselves, in much the same way these famous people were documented. But when we die, it’s our friends lists that are impacted. I suppose it comes down to where you create your world; to where you create your fame.

I am happy to be famous with my friends and family. And more and more, I want to be famous with myself. To respect what I’m achieving and to admire the attitudes and approaches. To be able to hit ‘like’ on the moments and the posts, to share the important things, to go viral with something like joy or love or self belief or something that actually matters more than ‘tag a mate who…’ or a cat using a human toilet.

What it comes down to is that I want 2017 to be a good year. And at the risk of sounding like a smug cow, 2016 was good. I got through it. I achieved some stuff. People I love achieved stuff. I witnessed survival and triumphs and laughter and friendship and kinship. I experienced moments and events that won’t shape a nation but certainly shaped my year. And on the 31st of December, the people I hold dear (s0me of them) gathered together and we said goodbye to 2016 and welcomed in 2017. Some of the people that were there, I didn’t even know til this year. Some of them, I’ve known for over 15 years. But in that moment, we were all there together. We smiled, we chatted, we ate, we peaked too soon (ahem. That was me.). We were together.

I do this thing quite often where I’ll step outside of the moment and look at it. Like I’m taking photos in my head. And the in those snapshots, I saw the culmination of the 2016 fame game. Hearts. Together.

2017?

Bring it on.

 

No Fear November

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I decided that November would be about doing things even though I was afraid; about not letting fear get in the way of taking on challenges.

November has been a good month.

Here are some of the things I did in No Fear November:

  1. Walked into a spin class late.
  2. Dealt with a frog without running away.
  3. Went to the dentist, and booked a follow-up appointment.
  4. Went to different classes at the gym with unfamiliar instructors.
  5. Wore MAKE UP and FAKE EYELASH THINGIES and did a saucy photo shoot for beloved.
  6. Wore a singlet in public.
  7. Drove beloved’s big dyke truck car a lot.
  8. Dealt with Medibank after they screwed up my health cover, without getting overwhelmed and just letting it go.
  9. Made a list with nine items on it, instead of an even and pleasing ten.

The thing about fear is that it’s relative. What sends me into a blind panic may not barely cause a ripple for you. So my list might not look like much. For me, though, these are things that would not have happened if I didn’t have #nofearnovember in my head. Or they would have, but with so much anxiety and panic that I would have been projectile vomiting the entire time.

Just accepting that I was absolutely going to do something even though it scared me removed that element of power that anxiety can have over me. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t always pleasant. But I bloody did it.

So what now? Do I go back to letting anxiety be the boss?

No.

I discovered that I actually kind of like letting my stubbornness be the boss instead.

No Fear November is going to lead in to No Doubt December. For December, I’m going to believe in myself.

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Beloved, the flatmate who isn’t the flatmate anymore and I all completed the Santa fun run on Sunday. It was incredible to do the 6km with these two women by my side: Beloved, who has stood by me and loved me and even put special cream on my chafed bum. The flatmate who isn’t the flatmate anymore, who has been my best friend for over ten years and has seen me at my absolute worst and loved me through it. I had wanted to use the run to see how my time had improved over 12 months. I wanted to run as much of it as I could, and use to prove to myself how much had changed.

Here’s what changed:

I had no nerves. I was fine in the crowd and chaos. These things are routine for me now. I didn’t huff and puff at all. Walked and enjoyed it. Didn’t take many photos – I just wanted to soak it all in.

It wasn’t about the time. Or the agility or the speed.

This one, after 12 months, was about being thankful. For what my body has done. For the journey so far. And for the people by my side.

With those things, but especially the last one, how can I have any doubts?

No Doubt December. Are you in?

All is well

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It’s been another big week at The Naughty Corner, one that I ended in Sydney with my sister for early birthday celebrations. We tend to do a lot of giggling, a lot of gazing at her dog and discussing his resemblance to Dad, and a lot of watching Harry Potter.

I was only there for a couple of nights, we have a huge week about to kick off here in Newy so it was back home to do a spot of pressure washing. I love this. It was a bit shocking though, to see how much mould and grot can accumulate when your back yard has no drainage. These are my sexy legs afterwards:

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I’ve gotten myself into the routine of getting up an hour earlier than I need to, then having some quiet time watching the day start. We live opposite a park, so it’s usually pretty quiet at that time. Just birds waking up and random people off on a run to start their day. And I watch them run and wonder what is going through their heads. I tend to have an internal mixture of Christmas Carols and theme songs that provide the soundtrack to my own walks and runs, regardless of what I have playing through my earphones. I’ve accepted that I’m not the kind of person who is cool enough to trot along in time to something more modern and sophisticated. Besides, I quite like carols.

The flatmate who isn’t my flatmate anymore is coming up to visit this weekend; I am so freaking excited about it. There are some people you miss, but then there are others where it feels like they are missing from you. That second one is the flatmate who isn’t my flatmate anymore. I have other friends like this, they’re pretty few and far between though, which is what makes them fit into that second category. I think eventually you work out who your people are, and then you treasure the guts out of them. Yes, the guts.

It’s nearing time to start the day. We have a To Do list that’s a mile long. But all is well. Life is changing, life is the same, life is trundling along, life is happening.

And all is well.

PS It’s not too late to donate to the Variety Children’s Charity as I get ready for the Santa Fun Run this Sunday!

Other things

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I am deliberately not writing a damn thing about the decision that was made by America. Instead I am going to write about other things.

When I was in year 5 or 6, we had that school captain/house captain thing happening at primary school. I went for both roles, and I have a vague memory of going for school captain in year 12 as well. I had no success, and this was possibly a good thing for all concerned. I know in high school one of my platforms was that the girl’s toilets needed to be fixed – we had a situation happening where there was one roll of toilet paper and each girl needed to take what they needed before going into a cubicle to smoke or gossip. This was because I went to school with people who felt it was clever to throw full rolls of toilet paper into the loo. Toilets were never going to be a strong platform, maybe I was just ahead of my time, who knows.

Doing life with teenagers again as an adult, I often found (and still find) myself thinking, “What the hell happens inside your head to think that this is a good idea?”. I am thinking this again today, regarding the decision I shall not write about.

I woke up this morning. I’ve settled into a routine where I wake up, sneak out of the bedroom, make a cuppa and go and watch the morning unfurl. It’s a beautiful little zen time for me. And I did it again today.

Then I heard beloved wake up, and Zelda prancing to the back door.

Then we made a second round of cuppas. We said good morning to the fur babies. Threw the ball a million times. Harry had his treats. We did the morning poo patrol. A couple of loads of washing. Mundane, mundane, but life.

And it’s carried on.

From the moment I read my first Harry Potter book, I immediately fell very much in love. They’re my go-to when a bit of normality is required. Yes, I am aware of the irony of finding normality in a fantasy series. But it works for me.

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How are you faring today?