Saturday, 12 October 2013

Back to blogging?


I'm losing weight again. (It's a great feeling.) 4kg in two weeks, no less!

I am also working my arse off. (Love my job. it has its...erm...challenges, shall we say, but I do love it.

I have very little spare time on my hands, but just recently I have really missed blogging.

Not the frantic social media whirl that I was once in. Not the sponsored posts or the giveaways or the dramas. I don't miss all that...all that pressure. No.

But the blogging friends I made, and the writing - I miss that.

The comments from readers, and the writing for very public consumption - I miss that.

The self awareness through journalling - and the writing - I miss that.

So should I get back to blogging, d'you think?


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Monday, 30 September 2013

Where am I up to?

OK, so here's the deal.

I have been overweight my whole entire life.

In 2008 I lost a massive 40kg, taking me from 117kg down to 77kg. In dress sizes this went from a size 24 down to a size 14.

I managed this by starting on a shakes program, then followed by a long period of low calories healthy eating combined with a lot of exercise.

In 2009 I gave up smoking, and put on about 8kg in that year but maintained a really workable exercise regime, so I was actually OK with putting that weight on. I maintained at about 85kg

I managed to remain a dedicated non smoker and maintained a size 16 dress size.

In October 2010 I completed a half marathon, and as a reward I undertook a tummy tuck to get rid of saggy middle aged skin from around my belly which exercise simply could not shift. (From 2002 to 2006 I was pregnant four times - this, coupled with being so overweight for so long had created a saggy mummy tummy...) The tummy tuck got rid of this.

In 2012 I returned to work around three primary aged kids, and managed to still remain a non smoker with a very balanced exercise routine, and I maintained my weight at about 85kg/size16.

In 2013 I joined a social netball team and realised the kids were all of a sudden more manageable. I upped my hours at work. Content in my personal life, I realised my weight had increased a little.

Which brings me to today, at 91.4kg.

I still fit into a size 16 but not as comfortably and I notice that my bum has spread, and I am carrying weight on my face and around my midriff.

A very close friend of mine, Alice, has spent recent months on Dukan, and seeing her transformation and dedication recently has inspired me totally to revert to a method of eating that sees me lose weight on the scales and to get back to the point that I know I love.



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Thursday, 14 February 2013

Sad

I have walked steep hills, to try and sweat the pain out.

I have cuddled my children.

But I still feel sad. So sad. And foolish and a little bit frustrated and very helpless.

I am not even sure I know why. Relationships of all kinds, at work and at play, are complex.

Shrug. Heavy of heart.

I just feel sad.

It happens, I guess.

I'll be right, I'm sure.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes...*



We run outside in bare feet with a ball and a lot of wide open smiles and excited laughter. Slightly long grass, slightly long shadows, slightly damp underfoot. Slightly warm evening. Intense smells. Perfect. My three children and me.

It has been a month of tears and stress and tense shoulders. Of swollen tongues and aching throats from decisions that were impossible to make alone. Of resentments and regrets and clunky pain that made my body feel like a bag of clanking rusting spanners.

A month of "I don't wanna". And that was just from me.

There are so many tangled emotions when it comes to family choices and choices over what do do with our family. Not least of all guilt and worry. Anger and sadness play a big part for me too.

And my poor kids really take the brunt of my out of sortsness.

I have really really really tried to shield them from all of my worry. But there has undoubtedly been a cloud. A scratchiness. An atmosphere. A treading on eggshells kind of vibe. Don't make Mummy cross.

I know it, I can feel it too. And even though I feel a desperate guilt, even though I hate myself when I look in and feel wretched that my moods affect them, I have felt powerless to prevent it.

And then, when I feel like I am truly going to break -  when I feel like I am just going to run away and leave it all - who to, I am not sure - something happens.

A barometer shift?

A pendulum swing?

The wind moving from hot northerly to cooling southerly?

The sun breaking through clouds?

Ice cracking and silk smoothing.

And I gather them up, to redeem myself in their eyes and in my own.

We run outside in bare feet with a ball and a lot of wide open smiles. Slightly long grass, slightly long shadows, slightly damp underfoot. Slightly warm evening. Intense smells. Perfect. My three children and me.

And as always, a butterfly appears. He is probably always there. But he catches my vision. I stop. I stop being a cranky bitch. And breath. And look upon my children and run with them and play ball with them and laugh with them. And hold them close. And remind myself that when shit stinks, and when the going is rough, that when I stop and do what is right, this butterfly always appears as a stamp of approval.

I do not know if these butterflies are reincarnations of my Dad or my late brother. My brother, I suspect. But I am glad that they appear. After the fact, to remind me that when I get my head out of my own misery, that it will all be OK.

Do you get "signs" like this, ever?

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* Lyrics from the brilliant Ace of Base. ♥ that song.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Karma? A love story...



Image from here

Once upon a time, there was a girl. She was just 23 years old. She was in the depths of grief. And upon her return to work - in a restaurant - from a funeral, she met him. The "one"?

Leaning in the frame of a doorway, tall, broad, with the most intense of eyes, she fell.

He knew, and she knew.

Just one look and she knew that here was the one, the character, who could take away all her pain.

He was older. Assured. Confident (Arrogant?)

His voice and its undertones held her heart and caressed it.

His eyes were the darkest navy blue and they held hers and locked her in.

His hands were broad, and capable, and they stilled her. He was lean, long haired and undeniably sexy.

From that instant it was a given that they would be together. No words required. He presumed, she just knew.

Within days they moved in together, and for the first time in months, the pain of grief was not the dominant emotion. Lust and love were. As he circled his arms around her, as she nestled into his chest night after night, she found a calm and a safe harbour of bliss. Love?

So much anticipation. So much clarity and thrill at every move and every exchange.

They worked together and fell harder. Loved harder.

He was supremely capable and talented. Temper and passion. A heady and attractive mix. His charisma was legendary.

She was a leader and she thrived. Her energy crackled and she draw the very best from everyone around her.

Quite simply, they turned heads.

Until.

Until he cheated.

And then lied.

Savage denials to simply save face and buy time until he married. Yes, married. Another.

And her naivety at his ongoing affairs and lies and misdemeanors became apparent.

The grief this time was different. Not death, but betrayal. Raw heartbreak and shock. Humiliating heartbreak.

She did not eat for weeks. She worked, head down, pain suppressed, pride over-riding. Until she left.

"I am leaving you, leaving this place, leaving this country."

The pain of loss, of lost love, was revolting. Memories too jarring, to sad to recall or contemplate. Promiscuity in two countries did not salve the pain. She still thought of him too often. The hopeless sadness of being apart from him took longer than they time of love they had enjoyed. How can the pain of lost love be so disproportionate? How unfair.

In time, a long time, her resilience won. He was an echo in her past. A high that resulted in a deep low. That eventually returned to a sane equilibrium.

Over the years, she wondered about him, quietly and illicitly.

She dreamt of him at night. Tremulous complicated dreams that were filled with anticipation and hope. Hopes that were, as in reality, wasted.

And she searched for him. Not often. But enough. Enough to keep tabs. Online searches.

And she tasted the sour taste of resentment as she read of his fame, his accolades, his success, his partnership with his wife. She saw him, on TV, by accident, on occasion, and was ashamed at how her pulse still quickened at his voice.

An embargo was set. No more prodding at the rotten tooth. No more searching.

And, eventually, she was at a resigned peace.

Twenty years later, children later, blogs later, states later, on a random search for a particular hotel, his name and face popped up again.

She smirked in delight. Older. Greyer, with less hair. A broader girth. Tired. His charisma had entirely faded. In the images of him, and in his aura and in his appeal: all that dynamic attraction was gone.

She studied photos. Those fingers, those hands that had touched her. They no longer had any power.

She followed the breadcrumbs.

Separated. Bankrupt. Shamed.

Running scared. Tail between his legs, alone.

Karmic revenge is a powerful and gratifying occurrence.

He told me once that "what goes around comes around. We may not witness it, but truth and karma will out. Rest assured, people get what they deserve."

They do. They really do get what they deserve.


Monday, 4 February 2013

His head in his hands...



I grew up in a very non violent home. I have wracked my brains, time and time again, to try and recall if my Dad ever raised his voice even, let alone his fist. He was a peaceful man who loved his family to the exclusion of most other things. I only saw him angry a couple of times. At circumstance and other people's persistent incompetence. But it was a rare rare thing and he fumed inwardly, and was never violent, nor did he ever show a temper.

I am one of five children. It must have been chaos in our home at times. But as far as I can remember, we were never smacked. Cuddles were more the currency. We all hated any form of confrontation. Violence was, quite simply, never a tactic.

My Mum had a slight temper. She would throw things in frustration. And we were idly threatened with the wooden spoon at various times. But I never ever lived in fear of a violent response from her.

My brothers were protectors and the greatest threat they posed to me were tickles. My middle brother could reduce me to an utter puddle with his tickles. But never, ever violent.

I left home at eighteen, to go to uni. A few semesters were subsequently spent on an industry placement. In a hotel in a beautiful part of England.

I met, and fell in love with, a guy.We moved in with one with unseemly haste. He was kind, he was gentle. He was charismatic.We laughed and played and worked hard together.

He was a large man. Broad and dark. He had an aura of magnetism that evidently attracted me. He was funny and appeared to be so very confident. Capable. Savvy and tenacious.

We spent a long and hedonistic summer together. We worked and partied and loved and laughed with the abandon of youth. I was his girl.

One night, somnolent on dope, we curled up together. He started talking about the plans he had for us, for the  following year. Sleepily, I listened, lulled by his love and by his voice. He was painting a picture. A picture of a life beyond the summer, beyond the season, beyond Christmas. Beyond the next semester and the rest.

I raised myself onto my elbow and queried -  where we would be, I wondered?

"Here, of course". He looked at me, amazed that the question of location would even enter my head.

"But what about uni? What about my degree?"

And then, it was as if a different person emerged into the room.

His eyes flashed with something I have never seen before. An anger, a confusion, a resentment, an inexplicable frustration.

He sat up. "Forget it. You'll be here. With me."

I met his eye, and, with the arrogance and certainty of youth, I replied "Forget what? Uni? No. I'll be going to back to uni. I've got to."

And out of nowhere, he hit me. In the face. He took a blow to the right side of my face with his left hand, and punched me.

He hit me so hard, that my jaw rattled in my head. I felt as if my eyeballs had jolted out of my face. The pain and shock were utterly indescribable. I could feel an uprising of liquid to my throat as I fell, sliding, out of the bed, to the floor. To this day I do not know if that liquid was vomit or blood or bile or just the sensation of terror.

I can't really remember anything else. I can recall the sound of my heart pumping. It felt so loud. I have an image of him sitting on the side of the bed, his back to me, his head in his hands. His broad back, hunched.

I dressed and grabbed cigarettes and my bag like a woman posessed. (In hindsight, I was posessed, fuelled by adrenalin.) It was the middle of the night and I walked to work, despite my legs having a liquid feeling like I could faint at any second, to the hotel where we both worked. I fell, literally, into the arms of the night porter, who immediately opened a room up and made me hot tea. (I knew him. John, his name was. He was tall. Like Lurch from the Munsters. He was so kind. I don't think I ever thanked him.)

I was drinking the tea, when there was a gentle knock. In came the wife of my boss. She cleaned me up. I can still see all those lovely white hotel towels, stained with blood. She cried with me as I told her what had happened, as I replayed the scene in words, to her, and to myself. I was so utterly shocked. And stunned with disbelief. I admitted to her that if it were not for the blood, I would have truly thought it was a terrible dream.

She put me in the shower and made more tea. And then stroked my hair as I slept. I will never, as long as I live, forget her kindness to me. Her lack of judgment and the absence of anger were exactly what I needed.

Early morning came and she told me to stay exactly where I was. I saw my own face in the mirror and realised that my heart as well as my face were utterly broken. The shame. She appeared back, with a pile of her clothes for me, and gave me a white envelope. Inside was £130. She waited for me to get dressed and then put me in her car and drove me to the railway station.

Eventually, from a friends house, hundreds and hundreds of miles away, I phoned her. To thank her. We talked. Distance actually made the conversation easier.

"I didn't want you to stay. We could have nursed your face back to good. I didn't want to watch you go back to that. Back to waiting for another beating. Back to what you though was love. I didn't want you to waste these years on trying to change someone." (That there was an echo of absolute empathy and understanding via experience in her words was something I only appreciated a lot later.)

I still recall that conversation. I will never know, thankfully, whether I would have gone back to him or not. The distance she put between us was exactly what I needed to be safe and to heal. To make clear decisions and choices. To hurt. To tend my broken face and my pride. Without the fear of him nearby.
I sense that I would not have gone back. As I indicated at the start of this post, my "normal" was totally non violent. My presumption, as a child and as a teen, was that all men are kind and gentle to the core. (I thank my parents for that.) Sadly this is not the case. My gut reaction on that night was to flee. I am so relieved that I did. I fled, and the wife of my boss helped me get away totally, through cash and phone calls and kindness and belief.

My resounding message behind this sad tale? My children will never see violence in this house. They grow up knowing that violence is unacceptable behaviour in any form. Daddy will never ever hit Mummy, ever. Violence will be foreign to my children. So that, heaven forbid, they too may flee at the first sign of any violence in their future relationships. I cannot control who they fall in love with. But I hope and pray I can influence how they react to violence.

I have posted this as a part of the Speak Out Campaign, passionately coordinated by the lovely Kristin over at Wanderlust. Go have a read - she has all the details.

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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Lush...

Right.

Grog.

Booze.

Turps.

Plonk.

Vino.

Pop.

Alcomohol.

I used to be a lush.

There, I said it.



From the age of thirteen, I could swig back a lethal mix of lager and cider, and hold myself well.

(Or Cinzano mixed with soda. Or Pimms and ginger ale. Or dark run and coke. I was not particularly choosy, evidently.)

I partied hard as a teenager, and I look back in wonder and amazement and disgust almost, now, to realise what I drank, how much I drank and where I drank. The relief I feel that I came to no harm is even more palpable.

I garnished a reputation for being able to drink strong English bitter in pints in the pub from the age of fifteen.

I am shaking my head, now, as I recall all this. In disgust? In shame? In bewilderment, perhaps?

As a student at uni, away from home, my mission, aside from pulling blokes, was to drink. To get pissed. To get legless drunk.

My best friend Susie and I, we were indomitable drinking partners.

We were party girls with the ability to sink a whole lot of booze and stay standing. I made it look easy.



Working, in hospitality, made my drinking ability thrive alongside with my managerial rise.

As the only female in crews of blokes, in the harsh conditions of thriving commercial kitchens, being a heavy drinker (and smoker) was a form of armour. I stayed alive through the talents of my wit and my ability to drink chefs under the table......

My ex-partner was an alcoholic. A high functioning one, but an alcoholic none the less. I didn't realise this when we first got together. But it became quickly apparent, despite his continuing denial. I suspect that part of his attraction to me was based around my hard drinking party girl persona - my habits totally enabled his. I certainly was always faced with this whenever I broached his alcohol consumption levels with him. His standard defence was always "Well, what about you? You certainly can work your way through a bottle of rum." And he was right, I could.

It was just what we did. Our social life, around the restaurants, was booze. Our nights off, a blur of clubs and haze. Our days off, dope and recovery.



Add then stuff happened in my family, stuff I had to deal with, come to grips with.

My Dad's death, and my mothers failing ability to cope,  bought home to me, very quickly, that booze was the root of most of the ill health (mental and physical) that I was confronted with.

And certainly that the lure of the bottle was damaging me and my self esteem, through the tolerance of it within my relationship.

So it ended.

For so many sad and pitiful reasons, it ended. It was a long and drawn out process for him.

Not so for me.

With the speed at which I let go, I sometimes wonder if I ever loved him at all. Or whether the love had simply drained away leaving only easily discarded dregs.

I moved jobs, left him behind. Lit numerous other flames, and revelled in burning them all at the same time. And I stopped drinking. Just stopped. It was delicious to be free of the habit and the hangovers.

Alighting to Australia, it was so civil to have a couple of Friday night drinks. Literally just one or two.  And to wake on a Saturday mornings feeling OK, not obliterated. Oh, blissful heaven of real life.

The beautiful man who has since become my lovely husband - we flirted and got together via Friday night drinks. I cannot knock the tradition.

But he is a man who instinctively gets that moderation is key. He has a few beers, then cabs it home, un-drunk, because cricket tomorrow is more important than getting legless. And sober love in between, with me, is more satisfying that slurring, apparently. (I agree.)

We have partied together, he and I. We can. We do it occasionally. Once a year? Paint the town red and regret it the next day? Yes. Occasionally. Let our hair down with glorious abandon and get a bit messy? Yep. Memorable. Very intermittently. Especially since pregnancies and children.

And now,  I can go for months and months without a drop.

Some have suggested, myself included, that I have a "fucked up relationship" with grog. That I am obsessively sober as a result of being paranoid, and perhpas fearful of turning into my mother. Maybe. Maybe not.



Here's the thing:

 I truly do not hear the call the chilled wine in the fridge.

We have boxes of spirits left over from our wedding five years ago. Stacked in our garage, untouched.

I regularly forget to pick beers up from the bottle shop. Shrug. Who cares?

I see tweets and status updates proclaiming "wine time!". I can relate. I know that feeling of "ohmygoddesstodayhasbeenashockergivemesomerelief". But grog simply doesn't do it for me.

I am not "dry" or "on the wagon".

I am not an evangelical teetotaller. I am empathetic and tolerant of anyone else who wants to have a glass, or four. I am not sitting on my hands in an attempt to deny myself, I am not secretly craving, but determined not to indulge. I am not "abstaining". I am just not fussed.

My seventh sense alerts me to alcohol issues in others. I can spot a drinkers veins and their smell from a mile off. I am canny to the myriad of "issues" that arise the moment another person chooses the bottle over other healthier pursuits. I sense their focus, their drive, their need, straight away. I do not judge. It just makes me sad and heart sore.



But for me, I just do not need it.

And I am so so so glad.

An addictive personality, that I have.

A dependency on alcohol, in any shape or form, I do not have.

And thank goddess for that.