Category Archives: Australian Culture

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.

 

 

But “no fear April” is not as catchy

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It was funny, I was sitting in the gym car park this afternoon messaging a friend and openly told them that I was sitting in the gym car park. I was maybe 20% thinking I would just go home. I was tired. It’s been a few weeks of not a lot of sleep. It’s also been a pretty full on few weeks. Worlds get rocked sometimes.

But that other 80% of me dragged my bottom into the gym. And as I opened the stairwell door, I was confronted with hordes of teenagers from one of the local high schools traipsing down the escalator to the gym.

Friday afternoon sport.

To be perfectly honest, I automatically turned around and walked back to the stairs that would return to me to my car.

But I didn’t go up the stairs.

I turned back around and joined them on the escalator and went into the gym. As I went to get changed I had a little voice in my head whisper, “You know you packed a singlet to wear today, don’t you.”.

Now, singlets. They’re kind of my nemesis. I look at myself in them and see wagging, saggy skin; the way they cling to the skin on my tummy, the bulgey bits from my sports bras (yes plural, the girls are escape artists). But I’ve been getting braver.

And remembering I had packed a singlet when the gym was full of high school kids again made me contemplate the cleverness of my decision to push on with getting changed and doing a workout.

But I got changed. Walked through the selfies taking place. Went to my treadmill. Then to the weights. Stretched. Had a good workout.

And came home.

The No Fear November thing was awesome. And I’ve tried to keep it in mind as I’ve gone through the Cert III, and start the Cert IV next week. But it’s hard to change almost 40 years of thinking with one hash tag, which is why I tried to change my thinking just for November last year. The thing is, I discovered that I quite liked being brave. I enjoyed not being governed by fear and doubt. So yes, I tried to hang on to No Fear November.

But now it is April and No Fear April is nowhere near as catchy.

So instead, I think it’s going to come down to reminding myself not to be scared. Of life, of teenagers, of singlets.

It seems to be more of  a remembering what I’ve done and who I am thing, and remembering that my old responses aren’t how I need to respond now.

And just like that, this post has become more of a thought vomit.

Anyhoo, here is me in my singlet. Middle finger up, because you know what, I didn’t need to do this gesture at all at the gym. There were no giggles and no snide remarks. Instead it is up at the old thought patterns that still threaten to taunt me every now and then.

Fuck them.

I’m wearing the singlet.

#nofeareverymonth

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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.

 

Two

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Two years ago, I was waiting.

The surgeon was running late.

I got a call from my sister, who was quite worried about things.

Beloved was by my side, the queen of my army of supporters.

And we waited.

Finally, I got wheeled off to surgery.

Drifted off to sleep, and woke up with a brand new ankle.

The original injury happened around seven years earlier: I’d fallen down a flight of stairs, severing the ligaments that support my ankle and gravelling off the end of one of the bones. The surgeon I had to see at the time looked at my body, looked at the xrays, and said (and I’ll never ever forget this) “If you were an athlete, I’d fix it. But you’re not”.

So, for the next seven years, I broke my ankle. Again and again. Or twisted it. Or sprained it. And it got worse and worse.

Then I saw another surgeon.

This man, he became one of my heroes.

He took one look at my ankle, gave it a tug and watched how that pull had no end point except for when my skin got too tight.

He told me how he would fix it, and when.

On surgery day, he was running late.

So two years ago, I was waiting.

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I didn’t know it then, but that surgery saved my life. It certainly altered the path of my life. It took another surgery on my calf, a procedure on my Achilles and a shit load of physio to get me walking correctly again.

Exactly twelve months after I took my first steps, I did my first fun run. The Variety Santa Fun Run, raising money for the Variety children’s charity. I got slightly lost on the course and did an extra kilometre, but I did it.

Since then, I’ve done at least one fun run a month. I’m not sure on what the final tally is, but I’ve collected a swag of finisher medals and shirts and bibs.

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So far this year, according to the app I use, I’ve clocked up almost 800km. Just me and that repaired foot. And I still, still, get that buzz of joy every single time I start.

It’s not until you’ve been unable to do something for so long that you realise how much you love it. Love the freedom that being functional offers. Love the sense of achievement that one step after another brings. It’s been hard though. Realising that the barrier that I had for so many years no longer exists.

It’s so hard to explain, the fullness of the emotions that surround this day. Grief, for the years spent just… unable. The joy at these new days – and yes, even after two years, they’re still new days. The sheer amount of time I lost, not able to do stuff. The things I avoided. But now, the almost daily surprises I get when I do something that I couldn’t do. Or when I jump on and off beloved’s truck tray, then realise that I stuck the landing.

I stick the landings now.

In November, I’ll be back where I started with these fun runs. To finish off the year of fun runs, I’m taking on the Variety Fun Run again. I’d love it if you could throw in a buck or two, to help Variety help kids in need. Here’s the link for my profile.

It’s funny. It’s joyful, but it really is a sense of sadness about those years spent thinking that the first surgeon was correct; that I didn’t need or deserve surgery because of my body shape.

Well. I’ve fucking shown him.

But I know, without doubt, that I couldn’t have done it without that new surgeon, beloved and my beautiful army of supporters.

Thank you.

 

Picture This

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As far as I can see, the one thing that will absolutely be given to you with wild abandon and on a sparkly silver platter is a photo of a penis. The dick pic. Personally, I am not too sure what the fuss is about. In fact, I don’t know any person who has ever been delighted and overwhelmed with feelings of love and joy after receiving a dick pic.

In years gone by, we relied upon personality and witty repertoire to attract potential suitors. In some circles this has been simplified to one duck face in exchange for one naked mole rat, and badda-boom badda-bing, we’re away.

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Naked Mole Rat. It could be worse.

But again, I am yet to meet someone who has rushed out the door to meet someone after they have been in receipt of an image of a fellow’s naked mole rat. So obviously, I am generalising.

The thing is, I’ve recently been part of some discussions regarding this phenomenon. And to be completely honest with you, the chatter and comments are not about berating the owner of the photographed penis – they tend to revolve around total mystification about what on earth prompts this kind of thing.

I’ve done the online dating thing in the lesbian world. Number of unsolicited pictures of boobs or lady gardens: ZERO. None. Nil. Not a single one. Or pair, in the case of boobs. There are two possible reasons for this, as far as I can see:

  1. I was not worthy of receiving such pictures.
  2. Women… we just don’t do that shit.

I can honestly say to you at 38 years of age, I have never once been tempted to stick a camera between my legs and send the result to people I have never met. Or anyone, actually. Maybe I’m just not living on the edge. But the idea has never entered my head.

I guess the female equivalent to the dick pic might be the selfie? Social media is awash with these suckers, and there are NO RESTRAINTS with the selfie. Young, old, male, female – add a few filters and you’re looking fine and dandy. Which actually makes me think that maybe we’re like peacocks gone wrong. The male peacock fluffs out his feathers in an attempt to attract female feathers, while the female… um, I don’t know what the female peacock does. Actually is she even called a peacock? Is she a peavag? The big questions.

I wanted to research dick pics, to see if there was some kind of social liberation movement regarding it. I typed “dick pics” into Google and waited for the results. This was my face:

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And the results came up. Link after link.

And I’m sorry, but I just could not bring myself to click on a single one of them.

Here’s my summary:

If you have an appendage worthy of a dick pic, you stand tall and proud. But keep that pecker to yourself. If you’re a selfie type, you stand tall and proud… but this one is getting closer to where I reckon we need to be. Selfies tell a story, capture a moment – and while the dick pic might do the same, I want to see your eyes when you’re proud of something.

Because there are things way more attractive than the naked mole rat, and any other appearance of beauty.

Confidence. Humour. Time. The ability to maintain a conversation. Self respect. Respect for others. The ability to care for others.

And at the end of the day, those things are worth more than anything else.

Five

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I just did a very small amount of research to learn what milestones the average five year old child should be closing in on. Now, we all know there is no average child, and that these things should be fluid to allow for individual quirks and development, and so on and so forth. But hang in there with me. This is the site I went off, if you’re keen.

The milestones are in four categories: social, communication, cognition and physical. At five years old, kids should be:

  • wanting to please their friends, and be like their friends
  • showing concern and sympathy for others
  • speaking clearly and telling stories
  • counting to ten
  • copying shapes
  • using the toilet independently
  • balancing on one foot

… as well as several other key things.

Now look. I don’t know how much I agree with this list. I’ve met adults who struggle with some of them, and childhood seems to be such a small window, doesn’t it.

If I had to write a list for what I’d want five year olds to be able to do, it would look kind of like this:

  • know who you are, and what you like and what you don’t like – but be open to trying new things
  • know that even though some things might seem scary, with people you trust helping you they might not be so scary after a while
  • be able to be as independent as you need to be in given situations
  • be able to play on your own happily
  • be able to play in a group happily
  • treat people, and yourself, nicely
  • be excitable and silly and roll on the grass at every opportunity

Beloved and I are celebrating five years together today.

When she left for work this morning, I told her our jobs today were to come up with a list of five highlights. Here are mine.

1. Beloved is able to grow her love for other people. She never seems to have an empty love bucket, and she shares that stuff widely. When we meet new people, she welcomes them openly. When we make new friends, they are friends for life. She’s like the Magic Pudding, but with love.

2. When she laughs she laughs loudly and it cannot be contained. It’s frigging awesome. The people around her start laughing and then she laughs more and it carries on and on. It’s just the best.

3. When I broke my leg on the cruise she tried to not get off at the different ports, because she didn’t want to leave me. I made her get off, but to think she’d prefer to shove me around in a wheelchair instead of seeing some beautiful islands blew me away. And she didn’t bitch about it, didn’t complain – the broken leg didn’t bother her one iota. Not because she didn’t care, but because for her, it was more about the being – not about the doing.

4. I have a collection of photos of my beloved bending over. She might be looking for a DVD, or weeding a garden, or putting shoes on – any time her bum is up in the air, I take a photo. And every single time, she looks at me with the same expression on her face. Shock, and a kind of bewildered “Again?” look. I tell her I am going to make a Beloved Bum Calendar but I haven’t (yet). But this is the thing. She seems to enjoy my quirks, my humour, my strange little heart. And she’s made me see that maybe, just maybe, I’m not as bad as I used to think I was. So I will continue to photograph her arse. Because it makes me laugh, but not as much as the expression on her face when she hears the camera snap.

5. Finally. Beloved has been through so much with me. Surgeries. The Aspergers diagnosis. My stubbornness. My lack of flexibility when it comes to achieving something. My over-parenting of the fur babies. My frustration with her technology skills. But she keeps on loving and she keeps on adapting and she keeps on telling me it’s OK. And with her next to me, it usually is.

My list of milestones for a five year old are pretty much a summation of our relationship.

And I wouldn’t change a thing.

Kitchen Magic

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I’m actually quite a good cook. Really, I am. I learned lots of things from my beautiful Nan, who could make the best meals ever out of not a lot. Lately we’ve been cooking without carbs or heaps of fat (my lack of gall bladder means I can’t manage lots of fat). This has been made easier with the introduction of this baby:

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The spiraller! This thing makes awesome noodles (zoodles) out of zucchini and carrots, and they appear a lot on our plates. I wasn’t always a fan of zucchini – kind of like a wet imposter for cucumber. But this little tool makes them awesome. I got mine from Ebay I think.

With beloved heading away for a couple of days, and with Cubs on tomorrow night, I wanted to make enough dinner for two nights. I’m practical like that.

On the menu in my head: Chicken Alfredo with zoodles.

According to the fridge: Chicken and veges in a fake creamy sauce, with cauliflower rice.

It’s a recipe I’ve pulled together many times now. It tastes so good but is actually really healthy. No major fat issues, no major carb issues, heaps of flavour and very filling. Shall we begin?

Right!

I started by cutting up the veges I had. I think there was a zucchini (but a small one), a heap of broccoli, a heap of baby spinach, garlic, a red onion, a kind of floppy carrot. I popped them aside then cut up a chicken breast. ‘Fried’ it off (using a small swig of water to stop it from sticking). Threw in my veges, with about 3/4 of a cup of chicken stock. Let that simmer away for a while.

I usually would serve this with zoodles but I felt like a change. I decided to use up the cauliflower that has been lurking in the fridge drawer. I hate cauliflower. However – and this is a very important however – I found a recipe for cauliflower rice last year. And it sounds like arse but it’s actually really good. If you google it you’ll find a recipe that works for you.

I made the rice, taste tested it, all good. Set that aside.

To finish up the chicken mix, I then added half a small carton of light evaporated milk, with a small amount of cornflour in it to thicken it up. If I have parmesan I add it; if I have some of the special garlic cream cheese I add it. But not both – just one or the other. And it is really awesome.  But!

For you to exactly create what I made tonight, I think this is the essential step:

Turn away for about five minutes, to allow for some random shit to land in the saucepan. It could be a heap of dirt, or maybe an old tea bag, or perhaps even a small bead of cat crap. Not sure what it was. It must have dissolved away into nothing though because buggered if I know what it was.

Anyway, continue on oblivious. It is important that you have no idea that something has gone terribly wrong. Make sure the sauce has thickened (cornflour people!). Put some cauliflower rice into your bowl, chuck some of the chicken stuff on top. Serve the second half into a container so you can warm it up tomorrow night. Yay, anticipation!

Load up your fork and shove it into your gob.

THEN RECOIL IN HORROR AND WONDER WHAT THE FUCK YOU HAVE DONE.

Where did it go wrong?

I have no idea. But I think two things are certain.

1. I am no longer a fan of cauliflower rice. I can only identify the cauliflower as the ingredient that I hate most in the mix, so I feel it is reasonable to lay the blame there.

2. Always have a back up dinner.

Here is a photo of what I cooked:

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And here is a photo of my back up dinner:

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What’s on the menu at your place?

 

Game On

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I used to live in Sydney.

I have some awesome friends still in Sydney, and one of them ventured up for a visit this weekend. We shall refer to her as Sarah, because that is her name.

Now, being from Sydney, I felt a certain level of pressure to provide Sarah with a Novocastrian experience that demonstrated the superiority of my adopted home town. Newcastle is great. It’s laid back, it’s beautiful, it lacks the chaos and crowding that is hallmark of Sydney. So my little brain went into overdrive.

I considered beach walks, live music, the Thai Ladyboys show that is currently in town.

And then it hit me. A far greater idea. An idea that would go down in history, and perhaps should appear on the Top Ten of things to do in Newcastle.

Yes, I created a game show night.

I collected Sarah from the train station and went straight to the supermarket. Stage one: Supermarket Sweep. With a budget of $10, Sarah was issued with the instructions to collect ingredients that she would use to create a “tasting plate” dessert. She also had to buy one packet of paddle pop sticks for a later event. I had to do the same, but my mystery item was a bag of elastic bands. The plot thickens, friends.

Ingredients: check.

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Stage two. Within a 30 minute time frame, create a dessert using the ingredients purchased and basic pantry items.

I was a little surprised at the processes Sarah included:

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She expressed surprise that this would be how she spent a Saturday night. Little did she know the fun had only just begun.

We cooked down to the wire, friends. Both our desserts needed some fridge time, which allowed the perfect opportunity for Stage Three: The Price Is Right. This challenge was easy in theory. Make a list of the items purchased. With a time frame of 60 seconds, the challenge was to put these items in order of price, from most expensive to cheapest. The stakes were high. I won.

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Once victory was claimed it was time for the taste test. Now, neither of us knew what the other was cooking. My philosophy was to pick a dessert that I knew was a crowd favourite, but adapt it so that it could be whipped up quickly on a budget and still taste good. I present to you: Chocolate Cheesecake (complete with artistic smear that looked vaguely like excrement)!

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Sarah took a slightly different approach.

In my more generous moments, I can see what she was aiming for. The combination of savoury and sweet, the elements of surprise and texture variation, the bite size idea of the canapé. Upon presentation I was more than a little surprised to see Cheese and Bacon Balls.

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What you have just gazed upon is banana slices, with holes inside them. These holes are filled with banana lollies. The banana is topped with Ice Magic, with a crumbled Cheese and Bacon Ball crust. Sarah explained that she felt this would result in a taste sensation similar to salted caramel.

It did not.

Stage four was a sneaky one. It involved the creation of catapults. These catapults were then used to fire marshmallows across the lounge room. What was a bit sneaky about it was that this was a blatant trial run for Cubs. Sarah absolutely had the edge in this battle.

Ah, Newcastle. You have much to offer. I can’t help but wonder if I lived in Sydney still, would this evening of game show shenanigans would even been considered as suitable entertainment for a visiting friend.

I think it would, to be honest. But admit it. You’re jealous, right?

How do you entertain friends?

Sticks and Stones

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“See that lady there? She looks like she has a baby inside her”.

“I’m sorry, we can’t cater for you here”.

“You might not fit”.

“I always thought fat people would smell. You know, because of the rolls you all have”.

Before I moved to Newcastle, I loved the gym. Particularly weight training. Loved it. It was my happy place.

Not long after I moved here, I fell down a flight of stairs. I was carted away from work in an ambulance, a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables wedged against the tennis ball of swelling that had appeared where my ankle used to be. I remember those vegetables, because they were the fresh cut stir fry vegetables that you could buy at supermarkets – not the ones from the frozen section – and I was wondering the whole way to hospital about how the client I was seeing was going to defrost them when they hadn’t been snap frozen.

It’s funny, the things that stick in your head.

At the hospital I had xrays. I was given one of those green whistles to suck on for the pain. Man I loved that stick. Made me feel so floaty and happy. And every it looked like I was going to come back to earth and the reality that my foot was fucked, I just took another suck of that whistle and all was well once again.

Except it wasn’t. Not by a long shot.

I’d broken the edges off one bone, and severed ligaments and other bits and pieces. Funnily enough the doctor at the hospital told me it was a sprain and that I could start walking on it again by Friday (this happened on a Wednesday). My flatmate (who isn’t my flatmate any more) was with me, and was most unimpressed. We came home and I used that green whistle to help me deal with the pain of crawling up three flights of stairs to our apartment. Meanwhile she organised for me to go to one of those McDoctor places that have xray on site. We fronted up there and had more scans done, and I was referred to an orthopaedic surgeon. The next few weeks were a jumble of scans and MRIs and second opinions and Work Cover and phone calls. I finally got to the surgeon, a couple of weeks after the accident, and this was his verdict:

“If you were an athlete, I’d fix it. But you’re not. So I won’t”.

And so began seven long years. I didn’t need surgery apparently, so I had to just make the best of things. Every one of those seven years saw me either rebreak or fracture or severely sprain that ankle, at least once. Because I was in pretty constant pain, the way I walked changed. I couldn’t go to the gym. I couldn’t do much of anything.

One of the results of this was weight gain. A shit ton of it.

Fast forward seven years, and beloved and I are on a cruise. Our first big holiday together, just the two of us. Night three, and I stumbled in the hallway and went down like a sack of potatoes. Snap snap snap went my ankle.

When you can’t go on holidays without busting your ankle, it’s time to act.

I saw a different foot surgeon. He looked at my foot very briefly and had me booked in for a reconstruction within a month or so. He saved my life. He really, really did.

The reconstruction was followed by a procedure to correct an issue that had developed on my other leg due to the way I had been walking. And again, a further procedure to try to rebuild the Achilles on that leg. This was the result of walking badly for seven years. Through all of this, physio. Practice. Listening, watching, applying. Through all this, beloved. Watching, supporting, helping. Loving.

Exactly 12 months after I relearned how to walk, I completed my first fun run.

Today I smashed a new record (for me) on the treadmill.

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Will I ever have feet that are 100%? Nope.

Will I ever be a teeny tiny size 8? Nope. Do I want to be? No, actually.

I want to be fit. Healthy. Strong. And I’m doing it.

But those words that I started this post with, they still sting. With over 30 kg gone, it’s hard for my brain to remember what my body is like now. I still walk around braced for nasty comments or observations from the peanut gallery of life because of my size. I still go straight to the biggest sizes available.

But I’m recovering. And again, relearning. I bought size 16 gym tights last week. 16!!

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I’ve got big plans to use this journey (isn’t that a terrible word) to help other people, but I am a little to shy to share those plans on a public forum just yet.

But for now, I am doing it.

If you are someone who would pass comment on another person’s weight or size, please stop. You have absolutely no idea of their back story. And your words will stick for a long time.

But they won’t break a spirit that has a goal.

 

This Little Light

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It’s Mother’s Day today.

This is a day where people write extensive pieces shouting the wonder of their maternal influencer; the equality of male and female parents (particularly the solo parents); the longing for mothers adorned with heavenly garments and the joy of being a mother. This year I also noted an increase in posts regarding the importance to consider women who are unable to fall pregnant, or struggling to fall pregnant. An important inclusion.

Mother’s Day is a great day. When I was a kid I remember bemoaning the lack of Children’s Day, and my father’s response of “Every day is children’s day”. He’s correct. Our last Mother’s Day with Mum was spent cooking dinner for the fam to sit down to. I’m sure there were presents and words and wishes and loving. If I had known it would be the last one I would have made more of an effort, I’m sure. But we don’t know. Ever. So I hope that what we did for her was enough to let her know that we love her very much.

This Mother’s Day, I woke up early to the sound of beloved arriving home from work. I got dressed in my running gear and she did the same. Today was the Mother’s Day Classic – a fun run and walk to raise money for breast cancer research. We battled the parking and arrived, pinked up in shirts and capes.

I had told beloved it was a 4km walk. Doable for her, given her foot woes of recent months. Except I was wrong, it was 5km, and that last kilometre made a difference in terms of pain management. Plus she had just come off a night shift, and is battling an ear infection. She’s a champion, my beloved.

On the way home we drove through Newcastle, and saw a group of women sitting at a coffee shop. I wondered why they were painted as Greek statues as they flurried over their phones and lattes.

Turns out they were actually dressed as angels. I saw a photo of them on social media this evening. They’d dressed up as angels and draped themselves over the tracks that the coal trains use. Over 50 people were arrested today during the protest regarding coal.

I’m all for believing in something strongly enough that you want to stand up and let your voice be heard. I really am. This is something I really admire.

But when your actions put the life of people who drive on those train tracks in danger, then I have a problem. When your actions could result in my beloved hitting you with a train, I have a problem. And when I see you enjoying your latte while scrolling through Facebook and other bits and pieces on your phone – both of which rely on coal – I have a problem.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t stand for anything. But I am saying that you need to think through the entirety of your argument. You need to consider the pros and cons of what you are speaking out against, but more than that – you need to consider the people who are going to wear the brunt of your actions. Because they aren’t the nameless faceless coal companies you’re so angry with. The people who you inconvenienced today? They’re parents. Brothers. Sisters. Daughters. Sons. People coping with life. People not really coping, who maybe needed just one more thing to shove them over the edge. People who would have loved to have been with their family for mother’s day.

Which brings me back to my beloved and I. Running and walking to help fund breast cancer research.

Save the boobies.