Category Archives: Adventures

Bonds

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I’ve been a bit absent, mainly because I had another endometriosis clean out which resulted in a couple of post-op issues. One of them, somewhat ironically given the tale I am about to tell you, was the large bruise I grew on my tummy. The problem with the excess skin I have hanging on my tummy is that, well, it’s heavy. The weight of it resulted in a pooling of blood that created a bruise that resembled the poo emoji.

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Right there, the poo emoji.

A week later, the bruising is starting to subside.

However, I wasn’t enjoying being sat on my bottom. I needed to return to some form of normal. So this week, I returned to the gym. No weights, nothing strenuous, just some walking on the treadmill. Restarting normal routines and that kind of thing. It went fine on Monday.

On Wednesday, on the way to the gym, my tummy was feeling a bit sore and crampy. I didn’t say anything in case it resulted in beloved turning the car around, but I should have spoken up, I should have I should have I should have.

But alas, I did not.

I got on my treadmill and after 10 minutes, I realised that the cramping was a signal that there was an issue that needed to be dealt with. I told beloved I’d be back in a tick. I left my phone and everything on the treadmill, and wandered across the gym to the bathrooms. And as I walked in, I was thinking about other things, more important things, more essential things, instead of checking to make sure that the stall I was about to plonk myself down in had toilet paper.

And it did not.

I will spare you the details of my bathroom activities, but the lack of toilet paper presented a significant and serious issue.

I was perched upon a porcelain throne. I was surrounded by silence. My thoughts were racing through my head. What do I do?

I poked at the toilet paper dispenser, praying for a square or a scrap or a whisper of hope.

Nothing.

I should have brought my phone and I should have said something when my tummy was sore in the car, I should have I should have I should have.

But I did not.

I considered my options.

They were not particularly generous.

I needed to keep my tights on, for the sake of decency. Same with my shirt. And the two bras. I considered my remaining options.

While things were already quite dire, I felt it would be indecent to use my undies as toilet paper. What if I decided to do squats and my tights were not squat proof?

This left me with two options.

Left sock, or right sock.

I wear Bonds socks. They come up high enough to prevent blisters, they have a soft sole, and when I mop the floors I can leave BONDS prints all over the floor.

In around 1985, there was an ad on TV for Bonds. It went like this:

As I sat there on the loo, left with a terrible decision to make, I found myself humming the ad. I sighed, resigned to the reality I was faced with. And slowly, I removed my right sock.

When I left the bathroom, I must have had guilt and shame written all over my face. As I walked out, I bumped into a friend who asked me what I was doing. I told her I’d gone to the loo, and mentioned that there was no toilet paper.

She asked me how I had gotten myself out of that particular pickle.

Again, I signed. And I looked down at my feet, sadly. Left foot snug in a Bonds sock. Right foot, naked inside my shoe.

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She laughed and told me I had to blog about this.

And so I have.

Have you ever had this happen to you? What would you have done in my situation?

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Just fkn do it

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I went and checked out a new local gym that opened recently. I was shown around the “women’s” area (cardio, creche and cafe) and the “men’s” area (bigger weights, squat racks and so on). My instant reaction was no way. You don’t gender fitness, you don’t tell people what they can and cannot do based on whether they’re male or female, and you certainly don’t make assumptions about what people – living, breathing human beings – want out of a gym solely on traditional values assigned to gender.

But really, it’s not this new gym owner’s fault. They’re setting this facility up to cater to what has worked for years and years. And I honestly wish them every success.

I don’t want to be told that, though. I am not the weaker sex. I am not ever going to be confined to prancing daintily on a treadmill while sipping some soy latte shit and waving at my children engrossed with their screens in some creche set up. I want to lift weights, I want to increase my strength, I want to do whatever I want to do.

One lone brain thinking this changes nothing.

Fortunately, there’s an army.

The Grrrl Army.

I had the opportunity to meet the leader of this army on the weekend. She’s a woman who has inspired me for the last 12 months. She’s physically and mentally strong, she lifts heavy shit and spirits, she crushes watermelons and barriers.

This is Kortney Olson.

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The first time I became aware of Kortney was when I spotted a pair of gym tights that had a brick pattern on them. They made me smirk because I’ve often been told I’m built like a brick shithouse (which is actually a positive thing). So I checked out the page, then found the Army.

Imagine if a group of women decided to dedicate themselves to cheering each other on. Imagine if that number on your clothing tag didn’t sum you up. Imagine most of all, that liberation and courage found in discovering that who you are is actually OK. More than that, it’s pretty fucking awesome. And the second you start to waver in this, there’s a crowd pulling you back up.

So when the opportunity arose to meet Kortney and some of the other grrrls, initially I jumped at the chance.

However, fuelled not only by stubbornness and caffeine but also by a hefty dose of anxiety and self doubt, as the day drew closer I began to panic. Eventually I shot Kortney a message and told her that I didn’t think I could go, and explained why. Her response?

It’s ok to be scared. Just fkn do it.

So, I did.

And as I walked towards the place we were meeting up for a workout, that self doubt rose again. These women were surely going to be stronger than me and fitter than me and better than me.

But it wasn’t a competition.

And I learned very quickly that as long as you held your own and did your best, then you smashed it.

And we cheered each other on and there was laughter and admiration and praise and in a word, community.

We were not each other’s competition.

We were there together.

I didn’t take any other photos, aside from that selfy with Kortney. I’ve been trying more and more to be a part of the moment rather than hide behind a screen. It’s hard because screens are like a small blockade between life and self, which is kind of nice. But I don’t want blockades all the time. Sometimes I want to be part of the moment and part of life.

Because it can end pretty abruptly.

But while I’m in the alive part of it, of life, I want to tell people that they’re heroes. I want to lift other people as well as heavy weights. I want to see exactly what this body of mine with all it’s floppy skin and stubbornness and anxiety can actually do.

And being a part of something bigger makes me believe that it can be done.

 

The Climb

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Yesterday was exactly one year since I couldn’t finish a fun run. I was doing the Maitland River Run and a surprise asthma attack had me sidelined at around the halfway point, waiting for a medical chap to come with Ventolin to my rescue. I had to make a decision: Do I do the run again this year to prove I can, or do I do something else?

I did something else.

Not because of fear or anything like that. But because, quite simply, I knew if anything went wrong again, that there wasn’t any real first aid stations along the course. It took ages to get medical help, and I was totally unimpressed that one of the official photographers told me he couldn’t help me and that I should walk up to the drink station, which was around 500 metres away. This isn’t an event I want to support.

So, the something else.

Mount Tomaree is a very big mountain. It’s near Nelson Bay. The gradient of the hike is Level 5 – very steep and difficult. But it promised stunning views, and I am generally up for a physical challenge. And so, off we went.

Within the first 5 minutes, I was panicking internally. This was steep, and we were nowhere near the summit. In my head I was trying to come up with the words to say that I couldn’t do it, and trying to justify to myself the reasons for not finishing this attempt. But while I was thinking all these things, my legs were pumping away and my feet were happily doing their ‘one in front of the other’ thing. It’s like they were not aware that I couldn’t do this, and they just kept right on going.

Something I see often, and have experienced particularly when it comes to running, is that your brain will give out long before your body does. You’re mind will challenge what you’re doing and tell you NOOO but if you don’t listen to it, your body can and will just keep going. It’s funny because it’s my mind that makes the decisions to do this stuff, but it’s my body that does it and it’s my mind that tends to be the first to back out.

But I digress.

The walk starts on paved ground. Then it changes to mega steep metal stairs and walkways. Then it changes to steps cut into the rocks. There are more metal stairs and more metal walkways, then more rock steps. And the whole thing just keeps going and going. But it goes somewhere. Directly up. Up and up and up.

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As the ups became steeper, I realised that I was doing it.

And as we got nearer to the top, the views got better.

One more step of steps. One more metal walkway. One more twisting path. And then!

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Amazing. Totally worth the climb.

But to be honest, we didn’t spend a huge amount of time at the top.

Because that’s not what the joy was.

The joy? Getting there.

Setting a challenge and completing it.

When we were at the top, I wasn’t really thinking about the views. I was thinking about these feet of mine. That have been to hell and back, rebuilt, relearning, and now doing the best they can to keep up with the goals and ideas I come up with. I was thinking about the way I was ready to pack it in before I’d even started. I was grinning because despite my brain and my feet, and a killer leg day on Friday, I’d done it. We’d done it. And I hadn’t struggled anywhere near as much as I had assumed I would.

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One of the reasons why?

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There she is, right next to me.

And so, Maitland River Run, you didn’t defeat me last year. And instead of coming back to prove it, I took on something harder, something more challenging, something that has brought me undone in ways you never will:

I took on myself.

 

 

Extended

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A couple of weekends ago I had to fly to Brisbane. It was for a 90th birthday, a beautiful gentleman who, when asked what it felt like to be 90, replied with, “Up the shit!”.

The last time I flew was around two years ago. That flight, I was heading to Melbourne. I remember the angst on the lead up to the flight.

I knew without a doubt that I would need a seat belt extension. Some people don’t even know what they are, or even that they exist. You know the seat belt they use in the safety briefing before you take off? Well that can click into both ends of the standard seat belt on a flight, thus extending the length of the belt so that every passenger can be safe. I rang the airline to get the seat measurements. I wanted to be sure that my sizeable bottom would fit. I contemplated booking two seats, so that my overflow wouldn’t affect the person sitting in the same row as me.

Because that’s one of the things I used to worry about, that my too-bigness would infringe upon other people. That taking up too much space would inconvenience the people around me. That I should do whatever I could to make amends for being the size I was.

That I should wear a sign, apologising for myself.

For me, my weight was a shame that I wore on the outside for the world to see. I took on the stares and the comments. I absorbed the giggles from children in the street. I carried every single one of the observations about my size and even though they were pointy and hot and uncomfortable, I carried them close to myself until they became myself and there I was, a walking ball of shame and grief and sadness and disappointment.

For me, my size mattered, 100%. And a lot of my time was spent trying to minimise it. I’d sit hunched and curled into a ball. I’d move with a nimbleness that belied my size when I felt like I was in someone’s way. I’d stand rather than sit, lest I break a chair or block an aisle.

Now, I still stand. But it’s more about not wanting to sit still. And now, when I do sit, I tend to sprawl in a most unladylike manner. Because screw being a lady.

When I booked the flights to Brisbane, that little voice made me wonder. Would I still need a seat belt extension? I’ve tried and tried again to explain how hard it is for your brain to catch up when your body changes. I knew that in losing over 50kg, the chances of me needing that extension were pretty slim. But what if. What if I hadn’t really changed my body shape that much? What if that apron of skin was going to be still too big for the standard seat belt?

Turns out, it wasn’t.

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And it also turns out that the tray coming down is a thing. The tray never used to come down. Not even close.

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No worries.

These are the victories that, for the run of the mill person, seem a little odd. If you don’t even realise that a seat belt extension is a thing, then what’s to celebrate if a normal aeroplane seat belt fits you?

Here’s what’s to celebrate:

I didn’t have to walk sideways up the aisle. I didn’t have to whisper that I needed an extension when I boarded, and hold it close to my body as I took my seat so that nobody would notice. I didn’t have to tuck it down the side of my seat when I got off the plane, trying to hide the shame I felt. I didn’t have to pre-book a specific seat at the window, so I could at least spread in one direction in an attempt to minimise the impact I had on the person sitting next to me.

You might think I am being too hard on myself. You might think that most people wouldn’t care.

If that’s the case then thank you, you’re a human with a beautiful heart.

But the reality is that a lot of people are not like that, particularly with strangers.

I’ve discovered that as a whole, society still believes that fat is something that people choose and therefore something they can quickly change. And as a result we have created what seem to be quick fixes for this problem. I’ve always been very careful to state clearly that for me, what was going to work was earning every single gram lost through sheer hard determination, through pushing my body, through walking and running and riding endless kilometres and lifting and pushing and pulling different weights. I had to respect what I had done in order to maintain the weight loss. For me, and I can only speak for myself, that’s what I had to do. Not everyone’s solution looks like that. But I can’t speak for everyone, only for myself.

As the seat belt clicked shut, and I tightened the strap, it sounded like victory.

But in my victory, as in any victory, I remembered the battles lost in winning the war.

So to the me in the plane. Taking up space. Wearing an extension. Desperate for the flight to end:

I’d rather you were safe with the extension on. You have an equal right to be on board this flight. Where are you going? Are you excited? Who are you seeing? Don’t let this moment rob you of your joy regarding travel. You go, you get there, you have an absolute blast. Because regardless of your size, you matter. Your heart is ticking, your soul is full and your smile lights a room.

Extensively.

 

Still, we walk

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Most people take a selfy at the beach and they look hot and beautiful and dignified. I take a selfy at the beach and I look like this:

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I am not classy, nor dignified. At this point I was being whipped by sand, my hair was in afro mode and I had hit the halfway point on my walk and realised that I had a particularly full bladder.

But still, we walk.

I’m currently doing the Walk for Autism. I’m on day two of seven days of 10000 steps. I generally do around that many each day anyway, but this is for a purpose.

What’s funny is that I think this walk is for promoting Autism spectrum awareness. I think awareness is shit. You can be aware of speed limits and ignore them. You can be aware of it being hot and know that you’re going to be out in the sun, and still choose to not wear sunscreen or a hat. Awareness doesn’t do anything.

I think we maybe need to be walking towards something more like acceptance, or acknowledgement. Seeing the speed limit and accepting it and following it. Seeing the sun and accepting it and respecting it. Seeing people who operate differently to you, and accepting them.

But these words mean nothing if we don’t actually teach each other how to accept. Which won’t happen, unless we actually want it to. Which is kind of sad.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about The Biggest Loser. The new format has copped a fair bit of flack, mainly because there is a woman on it who is 78kg. As a result of the sliding audience numbers, it’s now being screened during the day instead of during prime time.

This has made me come to several conclusions.

1. We wanted our contestants to be less like the everyday population and more overweight. I’m not sure if this is about wanting to feel better about our own weight, or if it’s the appeal of gawking at people who have huge struggles with their health. Either way, every day Australians were not appealing enough to sustain a large enough audience to remain in prime time.

2. We don’t understand that whatever someone’s weight is, they still deserve the chance to work on creating a body that they are comfortable with. We should understand this. Gyms are full – full – of people who are at a healthy weight for their body shape. But they still go to the gym. Everyone has something that they’re not happy with. We need to stop being judgemental dickheads and start cheering on each other. You’re at the gym at 78kg? Bloody good on you. You’re at the gym at 160kg? Bloody good on you.

3. We wanted a spectacle and we didn’t get a spectacle. We wanted to watch extremely overweight people deciding to take part in food challenges and eating chocolate to get secret powers at eliminations and challenges. We wanted what we’ve watched for years on The Biggest Loser. The new format? I think it was better, and certainly more relevant. But, it’s not what people wanted. And if people don’t want to watch something then they’re not going to watch.

There are days when I am not sure what happened to the human race. And then there are moments when I see humans helping each other, and it’s nice.

I guess the point of this post is that awareness is shit. Acceptance is optional but preferred. People watch what they want to watch.

And at the end of the day?

Still, we walk.

 

 

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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sparkpeople.com

 

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.

 

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!

Catch Up

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Hello!

This has been a while coming, life has been life and lifing away and the blog fell a little to the wayside. But here I am.

What’s been happening? I did the SIDS Stampede in the Hawkesbury with my sister:

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This was a great fun run, down at my old stomping ground. It was peculiar because the start line was just outside the church where mum’s funeral was, and for a moment, I remembered different moments, kind of like photographs of memory, from that day. But then the countdown started and I saw a friend from primary school and then we were off, running and walking and raising money for SIDS.

And I did the Raw Challenge at Doyalson, with beloved and my legend trainer:

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As you will see in the above picture, I bit off another challenge: wearing a singlet. Wearing. A. Singlet. I haven’t worn one of those in years. I think probably the last time I wore one would have been when I was a kid. Or even when my parents put me in one of those baby Bonds singlet thingies. Did they even exist all those years ago?

Anyway, anyway.

I went back to old Sydney town again, to have quality hang time with my beautiful nephew, Rory the dog. He’s delightful. I put him down a slide at the park several times and he didn’t run away so I am assuming he liked the experience. I also made him a bong. Don’t be naughty that’s not what I mean. I got a bottle, put a hole in it then filled it with doggy treats. Cheap homemade Kong, but out of a bottle = bong. That’s my story anyway. Seriously he is the only dog I know who will then lie on his back and hold onto his bottle like a baby. Little furry dickhead.

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The great clown epidemic has struck the Hunter and so far I have spotted two clowns. Actual time seeing clowns: roughly 2 minutes. Actual time worrying about seeing clowns? Fucking hours. I get that it’s in fun, but here’s the reality. Lots of people have clown phobias. Most people I know will object to people jumping out and scaring them. Many more people will object to seeing someone on the side of the road dressed as a clown holding a weapon, particularly at night. Fear does things to people. It stops them going out. It steals their sleep. It can result in tears and terror and panic and meltdowns. So even though it is in good fun? Fuck off with your clowning. Just stop it. Think about long term consequences for the people you are scaring. Go read a book or watch TV or go for a walk or something else. Dickheads.

So, one more thing to tell you.

After almost ten years, I resigned as a Cub Scout Leader. That’s right, Skunk has officially left the building. I have no idea how many kids I have met along the way. I can’t guess at hours I’ve spent as a Cub Scout Leader. You can’t really number them though. I started Cubs when I moved to Newcastle. When I got here, I didn’t know anyone, I had no confidence, I was sad and lonely and didn’t think I could do anything. So I decided to volunteer. And as an ex-teacher, it made sense to do something with kids. So I popped on that uniform and off I went. It was hard to carry on after my heart group was closed down (3rd Mayfield), but when the next chapter opened at a different Group, I gave it another shot. And I don’t regret it. Kids are great, for an hour and a half at a time, anyway. But the thing is, I’m not the same person I was ten years ago when I started. And this is a good thing. But it meant that it was time to move on.

Here’s how I explained it to the kids, one Monday night:

Pop your hand up if you are ten. Tell me some of the differences between when you were first born, and now. Walking, talking, eating, wearing shoes, knowing right and wrong. All these changes, have they been easy? No. But have they been mostly pretty good? OK. So there’s another change coming up. But remember, change can be OK. When you were babies, I began being a Cub Scout Leader. And look at you now! Big ten year olds. We couldn’t keep you in nappies forever, could we. And just like you have grown and changed, so has Skunk. So Skunk is going to stop being your Cub leader. Because there are other people who deserve a chance at hanging out with you all each week, and because I feel like things have changed lots for me, so I can’t stay anymore.

And they were fine.

Our final night was a black and white dress up. Here’s my costume:

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Aside from all that, and just to keep you updated, I’ve carried on with the gym stuff. Even when I don’t want to. Especially when I don’t want to. Most days, I’m out there slogging my guts out. Here’s an update, and also another reason why I can’t carry on with Cubs – I don’t want to buy a new shirt!!

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How are things with you? Did you miss me?

 

Dashing

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It’s taken a week to write this post, I’m not too sure what the hold up was about – I had a ripper of an earache, things went slightly batshit busy, and any time I had to sit and write turned into time to sit and do nothing. But here it is.

On Sunday, I did the Dungog Dash with beloved and my sister.

This year has been the year of the fun run/walk. It started back in December, with the Santa Fun Run, and will end at the same event this year. I basically decided to pick the thing that was scariest, then do it over and over again until I convinced myself that I could. And it worked, and more than that, I’ve discovered that I love it.

Dungog was slightly different to the events I’ve done so far, it turns out. What attracted me to this event was a) it was helping out a community that was devastated by an East Coast Low last year, and b) it was open for dogs to participate. We didn’t take our furries, but I got to see SO MANY DOGS. Heart warmer, right there.

The problem was that I got slightly confused and registered beloved and myself as dogs. It was going to be a very long 6km on our hands and knees, but I was more concerned with the bum sniffing that seems to be the standard way dogs greet each other. It was an easy fix but we were slightly worried about completing the course when there were so many trees that needed to be weed upon.

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Ready to go. Completely not dogs.

So the other thing about the Dungog Dash is that it’s cross country. I had absolutely NO IDEA it was a cross country event. Until now I had always done walks and runs that were on clear pathways – a lasting caution from the ankle reconstruction. But, onwards we go.

The first hill was enormous. But the dogs could do it, which meant I could do it too. With beloved beside me and my sister powering on ahead, we climbed that first hill. And it went on and on and on.

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The first hill.

What could have been a challenge too great turned out to be a beautiful morning walking through some amazing scenery. And with every single step, I realised that I wasn’t having to second guess where my feet went. I was able to walk and leap and run and jump and climb and skid and just do it without having to think about safer ways to do things. I am never ever taking the ability to move and do stuff for granted, not ever. It’s not a perfect ankle but I can do more than I have been able to do in years and years. And I love it.

All was well until we started going down the last hill. By this stage lots of people had gone before us, so the track through the grass and mud was well worn. I was having a panic because this part of the track wasn’t clearly marked, and as I do when I am in panic mode, I turned my ears off.

If I had turned them on, I would have heard beloved tell me to watch where I put my feet at the bottom of the hill.

If I had listened to her, I would have avoided this:

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Mud butt

Truthfully, that landing on my arse knocked the panic out of me and as I jumped to my feet, I looked at beloved who was trying desperately not to laugh. I took her hand and together we walked to the finish line.

The Dungog Dash was brilliant. Beloved and my sister loved it, too.

Even though it was more than I thought I could do. Even though panic set in. Even though it pushed my understanding of what my ankle could do. Even though it took two washes to get the mud out of my tights.

It was brilliant.