Tag Archives: support

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.

 

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The Outrage Has Spoken

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I had quite a few comments in reply to yesterday’s post. Everyone was beautifully supportive. If you missed it, some lady at the Melbourne Cup lunch beloved and I went to saw fit have a dig at me as I walked past her.

But 24 hours on, I feel pretty good about it.

I don’t live in a bubble of being completely unaware. I know I am, well, big. But the thing is, I know and the people around me know how hard I am working towards changing that. Not just to change my shape, but to also change my fitness.

In the past when this sort of thing happened, I would leave and go straight home. And there is no way in hell I’d return to where the incident occurred in a hurry. Usually, it would be coupled with panicking if I had to go out.

Not this time.

This time, yes I felt like shit for a while. What that woman said to me really did say more about her than it did about me. If that is how she gets her rocks off? Well, I feel sorry for her. I left the school yard years ago though. I didn’t engage. I haven’t said anything negative about her (in public anyway). And I haven’t given up.

For me, I think I’m taking my reassurance in the situation from a few places. The first is the support that I’ve received. The second? The fact that I am actively working my arse off to change things. She didn’t tell me anything new, her statement wasn’t something I didn’t know – but it is something I am slowly winning the battle against (19kg down last time I checked, thank you very much!). The third? While I try to be loving and caring to everyone, the reality is that this woman was only walking me home for those few short minutes. She’s not a major player in my life. She’s not worth the upset, not really – not when there are so many people who have walked with me much longer, who were shouting their support from the rooftops.

This is a short post. Mostly, to thank you all for your support.

But also, I am posting to say that I am actually OK about this. As far as I’m concerned, I won that battle. I went out and about today, I have a busy few days ahead and I don’t plan on pulling out of anything because of this woman.

It takes more than that to rock me now.

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Shout

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I think mental health is losing some of the stigma that it used to hang out with.

Or maybe that is just the world I reside in. I tend not to whisper about myself when I pop my daily happy pill anymore. I’m OK wit the fact that my brain needs a bit of a hand to get the chemical balances stable. I’m at ease with talking about most aspects of my mental health – I’m convinced that the more people who stand up and say “me too”, the less pain we create through assumed stigma.

I do tend to keep it to myself in everyday situations, though. I don’t want to be some door-knocker for depression, encouraging others to see the darkness and accept it into their lives.

There’s a difference between normal discussion and shame. I’m over the shame I felt about my depression and anxiety. I’m OK to talk about it. But I don’t think it is the new Amway or bondage porn novel.

The delightful Mrs Woog posted about her own dealings with the black dog today, and to be honest, that same creature has been humping at my legs lately.

My personal fifty shades of depression goes back to when I finished uni. Since then I’ve danced with self harm, turned to Christianity, realised I am gay and moved away from everything I know to get a fresh start. And what strikes me about this shit is that people often thank me for talking about it. Would it be the same with asthma or conjunctivitis? Why is it that mental health is still so untalked about? Why are we OK with admitting that our lungs might need steroids every now and then, but less OK with the need for mood stabilisers?

I hate that even now, I still need to be aware of my triggers and self care routines. I know, for example, that lack of sleep is bad for my mood. I know that there are times when I need – not want, but need – time out to get my head together. But the good thing about this is that I’ve had to come up with some strategies and techniques to manage these things.

I have a feeling it comes down to respect. The ability to respect yourself. And the ability of the well meaning people who love you to respect that you just might know what is best for yourself.

There are times when I am ashamed of my scars and my triggers. I deny them, hide them, ignore them. But really, there are only so many times you can tell people you have period pain, or that you fed the bears at the zoo, and the scars are a result of that.

I decided that if I had to deal with the shitty mental health I had, I would find a way to use it for good.

So, I did a mental health first aid course. Yes, they do exist. I became well versed in boundaries. And most importantly, I listened. To myself, and to people around me.

And I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve been able to support.

My hot tips for supporting someone with depression or anxiety? Listen. Trust them. Trust your instincts. Ask them questions. Ask who their support people are, and what techniques they use to manage the shit times. 

And if you are battling depression? It’s OK to get help. Remember that males and females experience depression very differently. Don’t assume.

Your gp is a great place to start.

It will get better.

posted from the befuddled mind of Kel…