Category Archives: Relationships

R U OK?

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Today is R U OK day. It’s a day where we can put borders on our profile pictures that say “R U OK?” and share statuses to prove that we’re always listening. Somewhere in that, is an attempt to dispel stigma associated with not being OK.

Most of my friends on Facebook aren’t psychologists or counsellors, so I don’t tend to write about it on social media when I’m not travelling well. I absolutely have friends that I know I can shoot a message to if I need support, and vice versa. I absolutely have friends that I know without a doubt would walk with me every step of the way to seek out help. First stop for me is generally my GP.

My GP is pretty good at helping me out when I’m not able to say that I’m OK. She’s equipped to manage that messy side of my head. And she’s able to help me get the help I need when R U OK profile pictures don’t really cut it.

I know this sounds pretty jaded. And to be honest, I’m feeling pretty jaded. I know that a lot of the LGBTQI community in Australia can’t say yes, I am OK at the moment. But who is equipped to actually help us? Not just do the whole “Sending hugs” or “Inbox me, babe” stuff, but to actually help?

Reach Out has published a resource regarding self care, and where to go for support if you need it. You’ll find it here.

It makes me very angry that already, those postal surveys have started arriving in mailboxes across Australia. You can tick yes or no. Then you post it back. And just like that, you get to make a decision regarding the lives of the community I am a part of.

Just like when I got to vote about your relationshi- oh hang on, that didn’t happen.

Just like when Howard asked us if we’d like him to change the marriage act – oh, wait, that didn’t happen either.

I’ve read lots of posts about the Church wanting to protect marriage because the Bible. They’re concerned about religious freedoms. I don’t think religious freedoms include being able to serve in a church if you’re gay, or being made to feel welcome and equal, but they do extend to being able to put money in the collection plate.

Look, I don’t agree with their argument, but I do understand how they’ve arrived at it. But I’d hoped that the overarching themes of love, grace, mercy and compassion would be resulting in a different slant on social media comment sections. Ultimately, it’s really unlikely churches are going to be forced to conduct weddings when both parties are of the same sex. It’s not like churches have a track record of respecting and accepting gay couples as equals, so why on earth would we want to celebrate our love there? I’ve particularly been impressed by the logic that drives them to say that children need a mother and father, which is helpful for single parent families; and that marriage is for creating children, which is helpful for couples who have found themselves unable to have children.

I have Christian friends who are some of the boldest supporters we have.

The No side are absolutely allowed to have their opinion and not be labelled homophobic bigots.

The Yes side are absolutely allowed to have their opinion and not be equated to paedophiles.

We’ve been put into a position where suddenly, the extreme opinions and voices have come out to play. There have been no protections on this debate up until yesterday. But it’s worth keeping in mind that every single thing you have said in this debate, you actually have to be proud that you said it when this is all over. Every comment you have made regarding another human being – you have to be OK with yourself when the dust settles.

Therefore maybe it is helpful that today is R U OK day. People die from this kind of stigma. People die because they feel alone or because they feel like there’s just no point. We have a mental health crisis in Australia – a crisis that could use all kinds of funding. In the past I’ve written about my own experience with mental health; I’ve shared how I’ve gotten through. And each time, it’s come back to the first step of going to my GP and getting help.

Because help is out there.

To Australia’s LGBTQI community, I’m sorry this is happening to us. None of us wanted this – to be made public property and to be at the heart of a huge amount of wasted funding. And in honesty, there are churches out there that really do live out the Bible, so if you are that way inclined, seek them out. If you’re not, head to your GP. Or check out the resources in the link above.

We’re a strong community.

We’re resilient.

We’ve fought when we shouldn’t have had to.

We’ve risen up with love.

We’ve stood up for love.

We have many allies.

We have people for us.

It may not be what we want, but eventually, somehow, it’ll be OK.

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Uninvited

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When we were kids the ultimate trump card was the birthday party. My birthday was, and still is, in December. If any of my friends or classmates in primary school wronged me in the months leading up to my birthday party, the simple threat of “You’re not invited to my party anymore” soon corrected the situation.

Deprivation of access to something that was going to be good. Refusal of entry, and power to make the decision that would deem someone invited, or not invited.

I am not invited.

In 2017, the common and socially acceptable (and expected) thing is to create a Facebook event for any gathering. We don’t tend to bother with sending invitations, and we certainly don’t stand in the playground with a circle of friends around us as we shuffle through a pile of envelopes, calling out the names of ones chosen to attend said social event.

The reason for this? Well, Australia Post has lost the ability to deliver postal items in a timely manner. Just last week we sent a parcel via Express Post, which has still not arrived at the destination it was sent to. Express Post is, as the name suggests, express. Essentially, the approach I (and many others I know) tend to take is, if it’s important, email it or message it via social media, or courier it. If it’s kind of not really important, or there’s no other option? Then post it.

This morning, our Senate rejected a plebiscite regarding same sex marriage, or as some call it, marriage equality. Or, as I call it? Marriage.

This means that a postal vote will occur. It was cost an estimated $122 million. It is not compulsory to vote, and the result may not be binding.

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I could make a list here of things in Australia that could benefit from a $122 million injection of funds. Health, aged care, education. But the thing is, I don’t know enough about politics to actually talk about those things in an educated way.

But what I do know about is what it feels like to be not invited to something. And to rely on the postal service when it comes to important deliveries.

As a gay woman in 2017, I feel a bit like the government has a pile of invitations at the moment, that they are shuffling while they clear their collective throats before calling out the names of people who are invited to partake in marriage. And I know my name is not on one of those invitations.

You see, the very moment I uttered the words that confirmed my sexuality, I lost my right to marry the person I would eventually fall in love with. In Australia, marriage is deemed to be between one man and one woman. Not two men. Not two women. One man. One woman.

So when you don’t have one woman in your relationship, or when you don’t have one man in your relationship, you are not allowed to be legally married in Australia.

 

We’re about to enter into what is already a pretty nasty period of parliamentary debate. Already, the Australian Christian Lobby has referred to the children of same sex couples as “the stolen generation”. There are going to be words flung around and opinions shrieked. Name calling and finger pointing. And outside of parliament, I anticipate that things will be worse.

The people I see at Tafe will be able to vote on my right to marry. And they won’t all be thinking that I should have that right. The people I see at work will have a vote. The people I stand in line with at the checkout, the people who have just moved in next door. Strangers and friends and acquaintances. They’re all going to have a say on whether or not I should be allowed to be legally married.

And to be honest, it scares me. And I’m out, I’m OK with who I am. Imagine if you were not OK? Imagine if you were still in the closet, waiting to find out if you were safe or not to come out?

My gut reaction, I’m ashamed to say, has been to act out of fear. To try to look less obviously gay. To think twice before holding hands in public.

But then I remembered the ones who are struggling with who they are. Who are still keeping quiet about their truth.

And I remember that at the heart of this, is, quite simply, wanting my love to be recognised as equal.

And so, the answer is not to hide it away.

The answer is to keep loving.

With the postal vote, yes or no, I don’t know what’s going to happen. And I don’t know how vehement people will be in voicing and acting out their disapproval. Am I going to be yelled at? Called names? Physically hurt? Because of who I love?

can’t know. But I have the assurance that I am loved. And that’s what I will rely upon.

And hopefully, as those invitations are shuffled and reshuffled, and voices cleared and names read out, I will one day hear my name on the Invited list.

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Time

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I mentioned last post about how I’ve been trying to not use my phone when I’m doing social stuff, because I want to be a part of things. It’s harder than you’d think, because we’re so conditioned now to document every meal and moment, and to take and re-take photos to prove our spontaneity. There’s a place for this, yes, but for me? I’m trying to be more in the moment.

But sometimes, I really do not like the moment.

This morning was the icing on a particularly nasty cake I’ve been baking for a while now. I was running late for a cycle class, and I do not cope with being late. So I took what I thought was a shortcut, and found myself going straight past the gym. I turned around and promptly repeated the exact same sequence of turns, and again… going straight past the gym.

As I sat at the lights waiting to do a third u-turn, I heard myself say something. Actually, it was pretty loud. Chances are the person waiting at the lights next to me also heard it.

One thing I am good at doing is talking to myself in ways that I wouldn’t dare or even dream of talking to other people. And to prove a point, I have turned what I said into a beautiful meme:

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And looking at those words, I feel ashamed of myself. I would unleash total fury at anyone who dared to use those words towards someone I love. Even towards someone I don’t know. You don’t talk to people like that, not in my world.

Except… I do. To myself.

And I’m sitting here, writing this, and I just want to cry. Because I know I meant it, at the time.

Time.

When I eventually got to the gym, I pushed myself through a big cardio workout, because I’d totally and utterly missed the class I wanted to go to. I was stretching afterwards, and a woman who’s become a good friend plopped herself down opposite me to chat.

We talked about time. About how moments are so important, and without investing in the importance of time – instant, immediate, now time – life kind of loses meaning.

It reminded me of a conversation I had last night, where again time was the topic. Don’t rush time, don’t force yourself forwards into things you can’t possibly predict the best outcome. Don’t worry about things that you don’t have the information about yet. Just be now. Time.

Which reminded me of a conversation I had on Sunday. Time. Time doesn’t exist, you just have now as your guarantee. Don’t let anxiety mess with now.

Time.

I need to remember those words I said to myself. Not because they’re true. But because of the horrific cruelty behind them, that I directed to myself. And I need to remember how I spent that moment, that time. Because life is so fleeting. I cannot put more time into talking that way to myself. Because fuck.

I might hear me.

I thought about things that I have heard other people say about me.

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photo by @kimmi_joy

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There comes a point where you can make a choice.

And I choose moments. I choose now.

And as hard as it’s going to be to change the thought patterns of a lifetime, I choose to remember that I have done something amazing. That I am strong.

And that I am about to help other people set themselves free.

 

 

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.

 

 

On This Day

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To the me on the left: You’re stubborn. You’re surrounded by people who love you. You’re brave and fierce and determined. You have value and you are worthy.  I know you are uncomfortable. Everything hurts. Nothing is easy. Not walking not sitting not standing not anything. Every career path you’ve tried, you’ve struggled at because in your head you feel like everyone you know is judging you because of your size. They weren’t, but it’s hard to change a mind set, and it’s hard not to project your insecurities.

To the me in the middle: You’re stubborn. You’re surrounded by people who love you. You’re brave and fierce and determined. You have value and you are worthy. You kept it going. The idea of being a personal trainer was still tucked away behind that head of curls and strange ideas. You were discovering, at around this point, that you enjoyed exercising. You enjoyed the fun runs, the weights, the treadmills and the spin bikes and the different things that your body was suddenly able to do.

To the me on the right: You’re stubborn. You’re surrounded by people who love you. You’re brave and fierce and determined. You have value and you are worthy. You’re almost there now. You’ve taken that idea of being a personal trainer, completed the first part of your qualification and started the second. You’ve learned that the number on the scale isn’t overly important, what’s important is having a goal broken into micro goals, and then achieving them. You thought that losing weight would help you to be happy with yourself, and with your body. But then you discovered the joy of excess skin and chafing and random clapping. What you’ve been working for is hidden by a daily reminder of what was. What’s important though, is that it’s there. Hidden, yes. But there. You’ve worked your arse off, literally.

 

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Those memory things on Facebook, they come up every day to remind you or taunt you or embarrass you about what you were doing on this day in previous years. The memories only go back for as long as you have been on Facebook, which proves that there is life outside of social media. Or, that there was.

It was because of the On This Day feature that I realised for the first ever time that my regime of training, walking, running, lifting and generally moving was making a difference to my body. It was 12 months ago, on this day, apparently, that I made this realisation.

It was a photo of me in my Scout uniform shirt. It was the largest size shirt that I could purchase. You can see how it fits – it was tight. And I remember seeing that photo of myself and thinking, “Hang on, my Scout shirt doesn’t fit like that anymore!”. So I put on my shirt and took a photo and compared them, side by side. It was a pretty huge moment.

Anyway, that original photo popped up in my On This Day reel today. I’m not doing Scouts anymore – I finished up last year so that I could focus more on my shifting priorities. So for shits and giggles more than anything else, I went and found my shirt and popped it on.

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The me on the left. The me in the middle. And the me on the right.

Thanks.

 

 

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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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

 

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.