Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A year ago today...

A year ago today I was staring down the barrel of one of the hardest physical challenges of my life.  A year ago today I went in for my first reconstructive surgery (tummy tuck) with all the bravery and smiles a girl who had halved herself could muster!  I was the fittest and healthiest I’ve EVER been, I’d worked SO hard, I was mentally and physically ready - and I was determined to rock that surgery in every way possible!
A year later, and I’m sitting here with what feels like a fist gripping my heart.  It’s been THE hardest year of my transition, and part of me is just….  hurting/lamenting/questioning/dreaming/consoling… ?  I’m not sure how I feel at the moment.  Very mixed emotions.

Ofcourse, I had to contend with the physical issues post-surgery – there was dizzy spells and fatigue like nothing else.  Ofcourse there was the pain and swelling of cutting off a significant portion of your body. But it was the insane staph infection which totally messed me around for bulk of the months following (and even 12 months later, I still have a few slight issues) – and the biggest brain-messer-uperer was when I “burst at the seams” from the infection.  Scariest thing I’ve been through – there are just no words when you have a mass load of fluids streaming out of a wound in your body and you’re helpless to do anything about it...  It made me seriously question if any of it was worth it.
As the months rolled on, I realised there were other issues coming out of the woodwork that I hadn’t had to deal with before – nor had I been prepped or ‘warned’ about.  My anxiety levels skyrocketed – my heart palpitations were fit to send sonic shockwaves through all of Bathurst on some days.  I’d be close to heart-attack status with the anxiety, just trying to walk into a shopping centre to buy a few groceries, after numerous near-fainting spells over the first couple of months left some jagged memories in there that would shoot me with anxiety every time I’d attempt it.  Even trying to leave my house was becoming problematical – driving my car would scare me (I nearly fainted driving the car when I didn’t know I was infected) - and exercise… pfft.  It started scaring the life out of me – my body would ‘tighten’ when it was swollen with heat or movement, and most days it felt like the safest place for me was to lay on the floor.  Couldn’t fall any further if I was already on the floor. I became very accustomed to laying on the floor.

It hurt SO BAD in that first six months – I was shattered.  My surgery wasn’t the ‘be all, end all’ – it left me significantly scarred (not my surgical scar – that mofo rocks my world, it’s seriously bad arse from hip to hip!!).  No – my mental state was completely shattered.  I was fucked (for want of a better word…!).
My anxiety – untreated and undiagnosed – turned into depression over winter (one of my trouble points on any given year!) – but fuelled with the hurt and resentment of the swelling, issues, anxiety, and my distaste of my wonky, still “unattractive” body….  I forfeited into a spiral of self-hatred and ended up totally lost.
If you’ve read my previous (and very infrequent, very distanced) blogs this year – you’ll have probably caught onto the fact that I wasn’t very ‘ok’.  I thought I had it covered… hell, I’ve been through worse in the past (or so I thought!) – but this was a whole new kettle of fish.  I was in unchartered territory – again – and it left me completely lost.

I went in search of outlets and ‘help’ throughout different avenues this year – including the Brisbane and Sydney Emazon STAND conventions in March and September.  These taught me that there is far more to life than the ‘superficial’ (which I already knew) and pushed me to re-discover and re-connect with my Spirit – and work on finding meaningful relationships with everything in my world.  Including myself – one of my hardest tasks.   
Trying to piece myself together after a massive physical transformation, I was coming unstuck.  Literally.  The surgery – "I thought" – was going to help me feel better about myself.  To help me facilitate some awesome self-love that was still lacking.  Help me be brave and put myself out there – so maybe someone else could see past the exterior and like Amy (god knows my biggest fear is ending up completely alone for the rest of my life…!).   But there it was – in cold hard black and white (or in my case, black and blue!) – the superficial was NOT my answer.  The surgery had failed me in that respect.  My weightloss, therefore, felt like it had failed me too.
I was emptier AFTER surgery than I've ever felt before.   …. And it broke my freaking heart.  
I didn’t look how I wanted – I didn’t like what I saw – I felt rejected, dejected and foul.  It wasn’t “the best thing you’ll ever do Amy!” as I’d heard numerous times prior surgery –  I resented what I saw in the mirror – and even worse, resented the girl staring back at me who had DONE THAT TO ME!  I blamed her for my brokenness.  I hated where I was.
I was full of hate and hurt…. again.  Just like I was when I was twice my size.   THAT is what hurts the most…  How did I end up right back there again?!  

Twelve months later, and I’m still being asked about the surgery.  I went AWOL for a while – trying to deal with everything. I felt I couldn’t comment in a positive light, so I just stopped commenting at all.  People would ask me for specific details, and photos – and it’d take all my energy not to want to shake them and tell them ‘DON’T DO IT!!!’… but I knew that’s not how I felt entirely about it all.  I was just hurting.
There is still a wad of leftover skin on my belly….  That’s something they don’t tell you either – here I was thinking it was going to help rid all that, but NO – there’s only “so much they can take” because its living tissue / blood loss issues mean they can only do so much.   When I was carrying the amount of skin that I was, from having been the size I was, I was left with more skin than I actually realised…  I learnt that the hard way.
I’ve deliberately refrained from showing pictures.  I’m still struggling with body shame – and quite frankly I can see no need to showcase pics of me in my undies for public scrutiny!   I’m far too scared of the damage that may do… even though I’ve suggested in the past that I would offer those up “when I was brave enough”.  Truth is, I’m just not.   I’d love to show the difference between the before and after- it’s quite significant (or at least, moreso at the beginning of the year before my self-sabotage stint) – but I don’t think it’s ‘show worthy’ (my stomach isn’t flat – my body is bumpy and lumpy and I still carry wads of skin in other areas that upset me…).  So it’ll remain private – and as it is, I can barely look at those photos myself without ending up upset.  Looking in the mirror now is hard enough – I haven’t even HAD photos taken in the last few months because of the decline in my mental state in relation to my body.  I feel as though we haven’t even been on speaking terms for bulk of this year.
That’s the thing right there.  The disappointment in the physicality has instigated a serious shift in perspective in my mental state – a very rapid, very dangerous decline.  It had taken me YEARS to like what my body was achieving – losing the weight, getting fitter, reshaping – I was actually starting to LIKE who and what I was!!    There’s one photo taken just a week or so before surgery in a dress at Finale, end of November, that I was totally in love with!  I was just radiant – super happy – and it showed in my face, in my  body, in the way I talked, laughed, looked…
Twelve months later, and I’m a mess.   My body gave out when my heart and head did.  I’m pretty sure I just gave up mid this year. It was just too much. Too hard.  I was over it.  I ached from tip to toe.  Physically and mentally.  I couldn’t breathe from the anxiety, and I didn’t care because my heart hurt so much.  
Add to that, I’d put myself ‘out there’ earlier in the year, hoping I was a bit more desirable (also mistakenly assuming I was more comfortable in my skin) – I’d been met with a string of rejections.  Having my heart ripped out of my chest when I connected with someone, when they chose someone else – well that was the last straw.  I don’t think I recovered after that – to me, that was the biggest confirmation that I was still unwanted – still not good enough.  I stopped looking, I shut down, I gave up on that too.  In my eyes, I was too hideous and foul – and at the rate my esteem was plummeting – too gross of a person, on the inside as much as the outside, to love anyway…  (I’m still fighting this thinking…!)

Lots of tears and lots of FOOD MEDICATING later – and a couple of months ago I’d had enough.  I was tired of crying, tired of hating myself, tired of fighting over and over again the same shit day in, day out.  I was pissed off that I was fighting depression-symptoms again, and I was TERRIFIED that I was heading towards self-harm territory like I’ve dealt with in the past.  Absolutely terrified – and totally fucked off.  I DID NOT WORK MY ARS E OFF TO GO BACK THERE!!!
I wasn’t getting anywhere on my own – I wasn’t winning.  The anxiety had turned festy, and I KNEW I wasn’t winning against that - everything upset me and every day I was contending with 'something'.  I was more inclined to eat my emotions, my body was aching even though I wasn’t training, and I was tired.  Constantly, utterly tired.  I had unexplained pain and fatigue – tendonitis in my arm, severe joint immobility and now a heel spur from seemingly out of nowhere!  My body was breaking down – right along with my head.   So I sought help.   I pulled in my stubborn Taurean head and went to the Dr…
Last couple of months I’ve been on low-dose anti-depressants to help calm the anxiety (and for the most part it’s worked, I don’t rock sonic shockwaves nearly as much now! I was VERY anti-drugs prior to this, so was a major decision for me to go down this path) – and despite my fear of counselling (for valid reasons from prior experience) – I found a local counsellor to go and talk to.  I was punishing myself with massive self-blame, and it was unravelling me.  She was pretty quick to pick up on that in the first couple of sessions – and her questioning me on why I was so adamant on taking the blame for EVERYTHING, and then sabotaging and hating myself for it (when it wasn’t always warranted or even my fault!) - was a key to helping me start turning it around.
I started implementing other techniques aswell - including positive meditation that I’d listen to of a night, and gave myself permission to step back from “the weightloss world” and look after myself for a while.  I hadn’t been able to do that before…  (I felt compelled to help everyone – but then I was hating myself for being a “failure” in the process, a hypocrite – who’d want to listen to the girl who couldn’t even sort her own shit out?!!).  And let’s not even mention the hideous jealousy…  Ohhhh dear god, green eyed monster for sure!    I took myself off dating sites, and I deleted a wad of people from my social networks that I just couldn’t handle ‘for now’ (sorry if that was you, ha!).   I sat on my arse, I ate whatever I wanted, I slept as much as I could and I tried not to let my head go rancid.   I put myself into a bubble for a while – it was time to heal.

So that’s where I find myself today.  Twelve months on from my first reconstructive surgery.  They took about 4kgs of skin off – and in 12 months I’ve put on 15kgs (was nearly 20) – became reclusive – regurgitated some serious self-hatred of times gone by – and learnt some hardcore home truths about being superficial!      My heart hurts for the life lessons I’ve had to endure – but in saying that, had I not gone through this, had everything been “peachy and beautiful” – I’d have missed some of my biggest turning points and experience.  I wouldn’t have found gratitude in other areas or learnt to take the hits the way I have. 

Was it the best thing I've ever done for myself?  Well no - but it has played its part in helping reshape me - physically and mentally.  There are benefits in lesser loose skin - although I spend bulk of my time pulling my undies up now because they keep rolling down over a belly that's out of shape to the rest of me!  I find myself with pockets of fat that weren't there before, with the sabotage-gain and lack of weight training muscle loss - I guess the fat cells have to accumulate somewhere else?!    But I can do pushups now without wanting to hang my head in shame because my gut falls on the floor - which is something that used to send me into fits of tears....  And when I run (if and when I can run these days!) - it doesn't hurt my belly as much as it used to or slap against my thighs  (that's not to say there aren't other issues though - thigh slappage of its own accord is still there!!!).   My body is nowhere near perfect - it's anything but - but it's mobile, and now that I'm back to looking after it PROPERLY - not fueled with hatred or wrong goals - I hope we can start talking again, and make some progress.  I sincerely hope the twelve months ahead can turn this experience into a positive learning curve, and help facilitate some real self-love and acceptance for what I am, who I am, as I am. 

Weightloss can no longer be my main focus.  It’s EGO based, and reflects badly against the person I am within.  It’s superficial and living off the Ego of weightloss success - without having created a tangible, meaningful esteem behind it - leaves you longing and empty.  Let that be my lesson to you all right there!!   My “success” is not found on the scales – it’s in my strength of character, my honesty in myself, my integrity in accountability.   Who I am is not measured on anything other than the heart inside – and as it stands, she’s pretty ok – even with the multiple hits this year that have taken a few chunks out of it.

Would I like a smaller arse?  Sure. 
Do I want to lose this gain and go back to my smallest size pre-surgery?  Yes. 
Will I surrender to quick gimmicks, shortcuts, self-manifesting diabolical obsessive body-smashing or unnecessary starvation to get the results I want?   Hell no.  
Will I have more surgery in the future?  I don’t know.
Will I overcome my twelve months of hurt?  Yes.

Will I be ok?  Yes.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pictures of you...

You know I talk "real" about this whole weightloss caper - been at it for over 6 years, I know it's anything BUT super easy - the ups and downs are exhausting!   This year has been one of my hardest mental battles during transition - much more intense than starting out, the doubt, the pushing for control, the physical hurdles as I was shrinking.  Everything mentally this year has pushed me to fighting and sheer exhaustion - the surgery malfunction, the bitter disappointment, the relapse of my depression over winter, and my gain thereafter (I condense the last 9 months in just a few words... it certainly has never felt that "easy" or brief, some days are bleeping hell.)

I've been told that weight issues are just a manifestation of what's hindering you inside (or words to that effect) - and I'm actually not surprised.  My weightgain this year has been a combination of that sheer exhaustion, the spiral of negativity that comes with still not being comfortable in my own skin, the rejection of putting myself "out there", and the self-sabotage and 'well why do I even  bother!'....  OH and that's not to mention the intense emotional backflipping binging that goes hand-in-hand with all the other torments, and then the body totally shutting down in self-protection mode because the rest of the inmates in the joint are running amok!

What fun and joy!!!   Whilst I've been stuffing M&Ms into my mouth with one hand, and dabbing my droopy mascara-stained eyes with the other, my weight has slowly crept up.  No surprise.  Every time I'd walk past the scales, the pangs of hideous shame would hit (to the point where I put them away just so I wouldn't have an anxiety attack every time) - while at the same time I rebelliously loathed and dismissed the damn things because they were damaging my already fragile inner psyche (scales don't measure your true success, and they sure as hell don't measure your overall worth.... my realist inside would say!).

When I had more muffin hanging over the top of my jeans than I was eating, I knew I'd lost my control entirely.  All those lovely smaller clothes I had in my wardrobe didn't fit anymore.  It went hand in hand with my - now hugely evolving - reclusive state, my shut-down from my networks, hiding away and shunning myself away from successful people because I no longer deserved to be in the same category.   I wasn't training because my body hurt so much to move - my joints hurt despite doing very little, my body and brain were completely messed up.

I even went so far as to be fully blood-tested for chronic fatigue a couple of months ago - I was so sure there was something physically wrong with me because I was exhausted beyond belief... but when my bloods all came back even BETTER than post-infection earlier this year, it just jolted me back to reality.   My entire body and mind were in turmoil - and I had absolutely no idea what to do about it.

It's taken me MONTHS to get back to this point of writing - acknowledging - and being able to start being proactive in producing changes again.  My eating is still verging on 'WHOAAAA don't eat the whole horse!'   My exercise is sporadic, and completely dependent on my joints and mobility.   My brain-spasms are a little less intense, but I'm still heart-hurting on a daily basis.   I've taken a few positive steps in making headway to change these things, and I'll be taking more - but at the moment, I'm just focusing on being able to BREATHE.

I don't know a great deal about anxiety and depression - or their linkages - but I've heard it said before that untreated anxiety can lead into depression.  Given my history, and my predisposition to depressiony-symptoms, it's little wonder that I've spiraled backwards the way I have.   My anxiety post-surgery was INTENSE - huge - scary - freaking frustrating!!!   I thought I had it nipped in the bud when I was able to start exercising again / go shopping without passing out because my chest felt like it'd cave in under the pressure of 'freaking out' about it... but I was SO very wrong.

This entire year has been about trying to deal with the surgical misfire - of having a body that was far less than 'perfect' than the bullshit spiels I'd been lead to believe it would create for me.  My pain just festered and grew every time I was rejected (having put myself out there - I want to be loved too!!) - and my self-doubt went off like New Years Eve fire crackers.   I just wanted to be able to be ME and be accepted, and it just didn't seem to happen.   But the trouble is - and I fully acknowledge this - until I can learn to self-accept, I'm going to fight the same battle every damned time...

My growing self-loathing and the doubt kicked well into overdrive during winter - my SADs were going off.  I knew what was happening, but trying to fight through seemed almost futile - it just knocked me like nothing else this year.  More so than the last few.  I just hurt.  Every damned inch of me just hurt.  I just wanted to crawl into a bawl and stay there, indefinitely.    ... and even now, some days I still do.

...but I'm trying to fight through.  When Spring hit, I was ecstatic - surely that meant the end of the winter blues - and I was pretty certain things would just start snapping back into place and I'd hit the ground running, at some point, again.    ... but I underestimated the damage.  The kilos gained I can live with - I take full responsibility for that.  Hell, I even ENJOYED being able to eat whatever I wanted, and holy shit, did I... !!!!     I KNEW there'd come a time when I was going to pull myself up on that behaviour (again) and even now that things are more under control, I don't doubt I'll fall back into the food-trap just because THAT is not the issue I'm fighting here.   It's just a sidetrack!

What's hurting me is the lack of self acceptance - the hatred of the external - the misfired and misinterpreted worth.  I've let myself disbelieve that I'm worth the effort - and I've let myself fall into the trap of drowning my sorrows with food and hiding away into solitude.

At one point I found myself talking nasty smack staring at myself at the mirror - not a word escaped my lips, but the inner monologue was on fire.  Hateful, vengeful, nasty, bullshit - that for 99% of it I don't even believe!!!    ... So WHY was I doing that?!  I'd NEVER do or say those things to someone else... why why why did I think it was ok to talk to myself like that?!   Why do I STILL do that... ?

I was back to loathing my own reflection - and it really had NOTHING to do with the weight gain!  That was the easiest excuse in the book!!  

I went on a secret mission a couple of months ago, with a couple of my friends - thinking sticking myself back on a program would be the catalyst for changing it up again.  BEEP, WRONG!   I know better... but I was desperate, and WAY too exhausted... !!     Absolutely ZERO weightloss - down a couple - back up a couple (rinse and repeat!!)  - but it started putting a little structure back into play.   Note: a LITTLE.  I'm rebelling against this like a mofo!!!

I've been working with other outlets to help turn things around - including new counseling sessions (and if you know me, you know this is not something I've done easily... ).   It's still very new, and I don't know how I feel about it yet - I still put on my 'happy face' when I go in, but it's making me think, and whilst my notorious over-thinking has caused so much issue in the past, this 'thinking' is strategic and a little different.

Yes, the weather change has made a big impact already - the sunshine plays a HUGE factor in my moods!  HUUUUUGE!  This year has been testament to that.  Sunshiney one day = ok!  Rainy the next = look away, look away, look awayyyyy!!!    .. but I'm seeing patterns now, being self-aware, understanding what THIS BODY needs, how it operates, what it works with.

I think that's a win... !  It hasn't always felt like it - but I've never really been this size - I don't know what this body needs or wants?!!  I'm learning.. !

In an attempt to help me overcome my mirror demons - and perhaps shoot the self-hatred of my current size in the foot - a friend of mine took some photos for me.  Given my penchant this year to avoid the camera (like times of old where I avoided cameras like the plague!) - this one became a sticking zone.  I didn't 'want' photos of me right now - not in "this state" - not out of my control!   Hell, I can take a gazzillion selfies and delete nearly a gazzillion shit ones before I'll broadcast the 'acceptable' Amy version...  but give someone ELSE that control?!   Are you serious?!!

.. but I had to let this go.  I had to stand up and fight back.  Stop the self-destructive hatred that's been tormenting me for months - isolating me - ruining me!  I had to stop believing I was so physically unattractive that noone wants me (cuz that's what rejection seems to teach me?!) - and actually break free of what's happened to my body!

Incidentally, let me just jump on a slight tangent right here.  Despite the gain (which makes my clothes tight and my skin uncomfortable) - my surgery malfunction isn't the end of the world.  I know that!  Some days I'll just stand there looking in the mirror at my lumpy leftover belly and be ok - some days I get really sad - some days I'm really proud of that scar that runs from deep one side of my hips to the other.  Some days I loathe what I did - some days I take a deep breath and just accept it as a decision.  Nothing more, nothing less.    My counsellor is trying to help me break away from the self-destructive "you caused your own issues - you did this - it's all your fault Amy!" thinking - and some days I can accept it for just what it is.  Just a tummy, just my body.  Those are GOOD days, but they're rare.

ANYWAY!!  Back to my story...   My friend wanted to take some photos for her portfolio - and I offered my face up to the challenge.   I was quietly shitting myself - I didn't really feel photos would do me any favours at the moment... !!   But I wanted to help her out - she's been such a light for me this year when things have been so rough, and I just wanted to repay her kindness a little.  Uncomfortable in my own skin or not!   Double bonus was if I had a nice photo or two in the process - something I could hang onto that helped rebuild a little of my self esteem.

... but she did more than that.  We had fun!   I turned "professional" and switched into a mode that even let me get changed in the middle of a carpark (all my wobbly bits hanging out for the world to see!).   I am NOT a public body poser by any means - my skin stays WELL HIDDEN - but I'd switched on and that was that.

We shot at the back of a shopping centre - we shot down at the park - we shot near a road.  I could feel people watching - and I felt like a dick and wanted to hide - but this was my opportunity to stand up and do something about my negativity and hatred - and really, I didn't want to let her down.

As fun as the shoot was - I had a mental implosion thereafter.  I sat on my floor and gorged myself with unspeakable things like an entire tub of ice cream (!!) and panicked that I was just totally fooling myself that I was 'ok' in this skin.  I wasn't the girl I was 12 months ago before the surgery (super fit, healthy, determined, knew her shit and knew what she wanted!).    Just a totally broken girl with a bruised soul who got lost somewhere...   So I ate my emotions away, cried my hundred cries, wiped the wad of smudged mascara off my face, and hid my pain away, just like the professional pain-hiderer I am!!

And then I saw the photos...

Not only is she a talented photographer - that goes without saying - but what I saw in those shots was something more than just a photo.   When I reluctantly posted a couple of the initial ones in one of my support groups as a "I stood up and took action today" thing, the reactions were really positive.  It wasn't all about the 'fluff' of how I looked - but what meant more to me was the commentary about how expressive my eyes are, how they tell a story.

That's what's meaningful for me.  My eyes DO tell a story - bulk of it is hidden inside and yearns to have someone here to tell it to.  I hurt every day, but part of me fights to free myself from that every day too.  Where I believe there's fear, I could actually see strength.  Where I believed my physical appearance was laughing at my lack of control and resilience - I could actually see change and adaptation.   It wasn't my body on show here - it was my heart and soul.  Portraiture that made me seen somewhat 'unreal' - perhaps even a little glorified?!  Egotistical - not at all.  I could still read my pain on my face - I could empathise with her, but it wasn't painful sympathy at play here.  It was a 'you've got this girl - just be brave, just believe'.

I don't know if I can really explain it.  I've sat on these images for a week mulling it over.  The one below is my absolute favourite - it doesn't "look like me" (and yet it is) - but there's something incredibly magic about it.  I don't know if it's because I WANT to be that girl - though I am her - or that's what I aspire to shine every day (when there's days I just feel black and weak).   I just know that I connected with 'her' and she's helping me heal right now.

Completely out of my control and comfort zone again - getting uncomfortable because I know there's no point staying here where I hurt so much.  I deserve better than that - and my babysteps are starting to pay off... 

Mantra:  it's got NOTHING to do with how I look, and EVERYTHING to do with WHO. I. AM.

THIS is who I am...

Dear brain: as much as I know you're there to help me reflect and keep me on my toes - please let my body be released from the shackles we're wearing, and let me start believing...  I know we'll all be ok if we just start working together.   <3  Me.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Why I persist...

I've often been asked HOW it is I've managed to keep going with my weightloss and health goals for so long - or how I even got started in the first place.  Some days I simply don't have the strength of mind to really give an award-winning positive-momentum speech (that's been very hard to do this year; with the setbacks)... but I always try and offer some sage advice or a positive note to help the person - whether that's to get them motivated enough to start, or help them push through their own road-blocks that drive them to come and ask in the first place.

If I'm truly honest with myself, though, there's a few key reasons why I DO persist - and its on these really honest occasions that I genuinely remember WHY I keep pushing through when it often feels like a waste of time, I'm not seeing results or going in the opposite direction - or it's become simply "too hard and I don't think it's worth it!" (yes, I have tantrums too!!).

I don't think I've ever noted them down like this - I was always far too worried about goals and numbers to genuinely acknowledge what this all meant to me...

... but that's the beauty of genuine, hardcore honesty.  I've been fighting back the past few weeks - and this morning I woke up with a clarity of mind that had me sit here and write these out.

My true self was talking to me this morning - and she had some clear-cut wisdom for me.  I love when she rises - she's always there - but far out, she's got some power under her belt when I need a reminder.

Why do I keep on pushing through?  My reasons are pretty damn clear.  I'm incredibly proud of my list....

Why I persist…

1.  To find love - so one day I have a house that isn't empty anymore - there's two people here who love me "just as I am", lumps and all  --- partner + Amy

2.  Because I intrinsically believe I DESERVE to be happy and healthy - and that takes hard work, both to achieve and believe

3.  So I can effectively deal with the ups and downs of emotions - including fighting through (and no longer fearing) the "dark days" - to wake up each day grateful that I'm still here

4.  To be a role model that *I* would admire - to teach people the value of health and wellbeing (via weightloss) is more about self worth than it'll ever be about the size of your jeans…. AND believe my own spiel

5.  To have a healthy body and mind to have my own family (*in accordance with number 1) - and be the role model to a child who deserves a world free of self-hatred

6.  To find enough courage to step outside the tiny 'box' I've contained myself in and find the life I want - including leaving my house - then my town - then step up and find even more in the expansive world that's outside my comfort zone

7.  To have an enviable relationship with food - no more disordered eating - to love and respect food for the role it plays in my wellbeing

8.  To embrace a body that has endured physical hardship but still moves in creating change with me - to admire its qualities and strength, to engage in its abilities, to push through its boundaries - to respect it as a superior machine and love it for all it is

9.  To finally be free of my self-hatred demons - and love both the inside and outside versions of Amy - an entire package deal

10. … because this is the life I chose when I decided to change. 

There was a reason I snapped at my absolute heaviest - it was consuming me, I was empty and I felt I had nothing to live for.  Changing this reality has already taken me places I could never have imagined, and shaped me in ways I didn't see coming.  It's given me the courage to find a true sense of self, and step out of the shadows.  This was a CHOICE I made and I need to respect myself enough to follow through with it.

I have to TRUST that with every failure and set-back, there's a reason.  I am strong and I endure.  I get up and I keep moving.  I try every day. Some days I fail.  I am human - I am no different than anyone else - I'm not "special" because I've lost weight, but because I'm a fighter, I will not give up, I will keep moving.

… and one day I'll cross my items off this list one by one - and then I'll address new things.  The list won't ever end.  It forges ahead with me, changing direction and shape as much as I am. It challenges me in ways I don't always agree or want to deal with, and sometimes it mocks me… but it always, always drives me.  I am better because I try. I am stronger because I've failed.  I am greater because I chose to change.

I persist - because this is who I am.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Depression and all its not cracked up to be

At the risk of upsetting my family and friends - or sparking an "are you ok?!" frenzy - I wanted to bring up one of the topics that I have to deal with - that I think is highly misunderstood - and something that I think is still stigmatised to a certain degree, simply because it's something too personal to have a "one title fits all" cover.  Depression, anxiety and suicide.

For the past month or two, I've spiraled backwards. Initially I thought it was because of my body's response to the surgery - it disliked it (immensely) and has fought me wholeheartedly the last 7 months since my monster staph-infection burst me at the seams.  I thought my crazy fatigue was from my body trying to heal itself - my emotional imbalances were from the poor results and the 'hurt' that comes with bitter disappointment.  I thought my weight gain was a kickback because of the emotional imbalances and a rebellious "what's the point" attitude that was filtering through.

… but then winter kicked in, the sunshine disappeared, and my yearly bought of SADs came to fruition. I've seen this pattern for the past few years - now that I'm more aware of my routines. SADs (seasonal affective disorder) isn't a rarity - I see it a lot in other people. Winter is a bugger for bringing this out in so many of us - and I'm certainly no stranger to the "winter blues" when it comes around. I live in Bathurst - it's cold and miserable in winter (with occasional bursts of sunshine to bring your hopes up - followed by a dismal day to drag you back down again!) - and if you're really not expecting it, there'll be snow in outlying areas, and the potential to see a penguin cross your path downtown!!  It's such a great place for feeling shit during winter (haha!) - which up until I lost my substantial layers of blubber, didn't even bother me!  It's been the last couple of years at "half my size" that it's really affected my body, and in turn, my head…

So as it turns out, I took a rapid spiral downwards - between the body not dealing with its recuperation, my headspace in a disjointed "I can't believe I messed my health up" guilt trip, the crazy anxiety that I'm STILL having issues with many months later…  and then the SADs knocking so violently on my doorstep - it was going to take me down.  I just got a little ignorant to see it coming.

… and down I went. 

I've been effectively "in hiding" for the past month or two. No - I wasn't ok.  I deleted a bulk lot of social media 'friends', I deleted myself from numerous groups and networks. I was ashamed of my weight gain - and the fact I was falling to pieces at the drop of a hat just seemed to bring me down even quicker.  I'd come home and bawl my eyes out, over seemingly nothing.  Granted, there were "life" things going on (SO many of them this year), and I was dealing the best way I could… but it wasn't enough.  I was hanging on with the skin of my teeth.  Fabulous teeth, yes, but pretty ineffective for holding onto things!

Then my body shut down entirely.  My joints packed it in - my knees hurt so much trying to do my weights class that I had to stop attending.  My few days a week of gymming came to a grinding halt.  I'd drag my sorry bum through my door of a night and be that fatigued, I'd fall asleep if I even dared put my head down - despite the fact I wasn't even training anymore!!   … and I'd just cry.  All the time.  Cry.

I thought I was losing it - again.  I've been here before - this isn't new to me.  In the past it's been MUCH more aggressive, and generally had little to no real 'for a reason' - but that still wasn't measure enough for why it was taking me down again.  I felt like a great big failure - and everything around me felt like pressure, to the point where my anxiety would flare up reading something online, or I'd think about trying to get control over my emotional binging, and the tight chest and brain-swirling would hit again.  EVERYTHING was too much - and nothing was working to dull it down.   Some people turn to alcohol or drugs (or any other 'addiction' style thing)… me, I turn to food - eating myself into food comas and it rarely hitting the sides.   I have an eating disorder - and when I'm not right in the head, I can't control it.  It consumes ME - and the pitfall is weight gain - and the hatred flares again when you hate what you see.  Round and round in circles… and further down I'd go.

When people talk about depression, I think there's still a huge misconception that you've already hit "rock bottom" when its the most obvious.  I can't speak for all those who suffer - I won't pretend to know it all - so I'll talk only about how it feels for ME.  I have "undiagnosed depression" - I've never intentionally sought help with it - I've mulled through my down-days and sadness - and for the most part, have managed to overcome it and push through.

When mine flares back up - as it's done so nastily lately - there's only so much patience you can have when it's the same-old routine you've seen so many times before.  It's gradual - it builds on itself.  You think you're doing ok one day, but then the next you lose your footing and BAM, another cry-day.    … but when I started resurrecting old haunts about believing I'm worth more 6-feet under, THAT is when I started to panic.  THAT was the moment I got the shits with myself - my perpetual negative brain - and got scared. 

Now, before anyone rings the emergency help line when I talk (so candidly) about suicide - take a breath and let me explain first.  NO, I'm not about to top myself. Far from it actually. It's actually got little to do with "being dead" at all.  To try and verbalise how it feels - when my headspace says "I want out" - if you can imagine someone taking a big eraser, and just quietly rubbing me away - slowly and very undramatically - no pain and no ridiculous TV-inspired over-dramatic traumatic bullshit…    When I say "I just want to go away" - I mean just that.  I just feel like sometimes I want to disappear. 

… but that sucks.   It's shit.  NO I don't want to be dead.  YES I want to be here and part of the world, and live long and prosper!   .. but I'm exhausted.  And fighting that sometimes takes a backseat to letting the feeling of 'nothing' take over, where you think you already are / destined to be.

I had a very blunt conversation with a friend recently - talking very openly about this very topic.  The conclusion of our talk came to something like this…  It's not that I wished to be dead - it was that killing myself wasn't feasible. I couldn't do that to my family, friends or myself.  It's the fear of hurting someone else that stops me in my tracks.   … but in doing that, in "staying" - you suffer, alone, in silence. 

…. but this is where I'm wrong.  I'm not always alone.

Despite my crazy anxiety attacks - the decline in my headspace and spiral back into depression - the fleeting thoughts of believing I'm worth nothing again (that got scrubbed very quickly - I find this a HUGE level of progress)…  and my intermission with being a total recluse and loner again…  there were a few key people who wouldn't let me stay down where I'd put myself.   I wasn't alone.

The few key people who have been whispering their thoughts and genuine concerns in my ear lately have been my little rising bubbles, helping me to come up faster than ever before.  I might have been on my way to hitting the bottom again - but I already know I'm on the way back up.

Except this time I'm taking a different approach.  No point banging on about how great things are when these cycles keep on happening - there's a reason why I keep coming unstuck…   Keep smacking my head against issues that I haven't been brave enough to deal with before - or too immersed in the wrong things to see what's really hurting me.  

I let my surgery dictate a 'happiness outcome' that never happened - it let me down like nothing else.  I let the weightloss rule my world and thought it'd make everything "bunnies and rainbows" afterwards, but it didn't.  I tried to make new friends and find love - but I seemed to be drawn to the wrong people and miss the ones who stood behind me, holding me up instead. 

If I'm really honest - and I am - this year has been one hell of a messed up wakeup call.    … and I'm very glad it's happened.

I hit my rock bottom (though nothing as fierce as the ones I've hit in the past) - my health is in jeopardy (I'm waiting on test results to find out what damage the surgery has done / if any / or to give me SOME idea WTF is actually going on?!) - my weight has piled back on (hello 15kgs gain) - my body is fatigued and severely fucked up from toxic yo-yo weightloss, binging, restriction and over-eating - and I'm so confused about who I am, where I want to go, what i truly want to do.  Some days I'm just plain exhausted by what's happened in the past six years of transition…  I never "lived" so much emotion as I have since I opted to change my life "for the better"… !!!    (there's extreme irony in that).

… but I'm grateful it's happened.  It forces me to question myself and look at ways of working smarter - to be brutally honest with myself and question what's truly important - and makes me stronger.  It builds my worth.

Last week I sought answers and help.  I'm not the same girl I was a decade ago (the one who hid away in shame, believing I wasn't worth fixing).   Nope - I need things to change, and I need help in doing that.   I know myself - now - well enough to know there's a time and place for everything.  And last week I marched myself into the Dr's surgery for answers.  Bloods were taken and a counselling session was initiated.

This is a huge step in my self-development - I sat down with a total stranger to help me deal with "my life".  I've never been one for counselling - it's been suggested time and time again, but I was never really interested. I seemed to push through enough on my own (or with my friends - before they'd tire of trying to deal with my headspace) - but I can't deal with EVERYTHING that's happened now.  I'm exhausted.  Literally.

This year has taught me a HUGE lesson.  I put my surgery up on this hideous pedestal. I believed it would be the ultimate thing for me - to help me like who I am, love my body, and (again, with the over-sharing honesty) - help me find someone who'd like the package so I wouldn't have to be the single 34 year old that I am.  I wanted a LIFE and I wanted love.   … and I went to hellish measures, cutting myself to pieces just to do that.

If I had a dollar for every time someone says to me "but you have to love YOURSELF before someone else can love you" - then I could go buy myself a freaking boyfriend…  !!!   So let's not go there.    Let's just say that I acknowledge that this is a very large aspect of self-worth - and when you're lacking that in the tormenting field of weight-issues - there's just a monotony in believing that you're somehow destined to be alone forever because you can't figure out if you're worth loving, therefore can't love yourself first.  It's cyclical, and it's screwed!

… but I didn't factor in the self-hatred coming back into play - particularly when the surgery was less than successful and my health took a nose-dive in the process - and when my mental space has the capacity to decline so rapidly.

Knowing I was perpetuating the cycle - and even cutting myself to bits didn't solve the issue… it just all became too much.  Knowing I've messed up my superior health - the guilt trips came in thick and fast.  Having uncontrollable anxiety and depression symptoms ravaging me the rest of the time…  just too much.  Fucking too much.

I broke.   I sought help.

My first counselling session mid-last week scared the pants off me.  I DID NOT want to open a can of worms delving into what's already happened in the "long ago past".   I had little to no tolerance at all to break the seals on things I can't shoulder right now.  Everything that's weighing me down has everything to do with my surgery, the body hatred and my solitude.  Going in there to face up to my reality as it is right now - with a total stranger - was one of the scariest things I've had to do.   I can talk - I do that really well these days - and my honesty was right there on the table when she'd prompt…   No, I think my fear was more in actually overcoming issues and having to walk a new path - one that doesn't revolve around negatives. 

… what do I do if and when I actually get happy?  

I thought I had a glimpse of it when the weightloss came through - when the publicity boosted my ego - when people noticed I existed.   … then I fell back down, because I had nothing inside that believed any of that.  I couldn't see my worth - my value - my strength.  I knew I'd done myself a favour changing my world via my weight - but it wasn't enough - I was still alone, still mentally distorted, still 'ugly' in a mangled body.  Still as empty as ever - and even more acutely aware of all the beautiful things I was watching so enviously in everyone else.    Was easier to run away and hide - turn my back on them so I couldn't hurt so much.   … because I WANT that happiness - and I can't fucking find it.

So I walked into a Counsellor's office to get perspective.  I put my pride back in its box - knowing damn well I simply won't get any further ahead if I don't - won't ever get to have those things that make me ache inside - and end up living a messed up, solitary life full of self-hatred and cyclical negativity if I don't do something different.

… and she was lovely.  Post-briefing about my life, all the changes, all the tears and tantrums this year… she said "god, no wonder you're exhausted!!" - and that was enough for me.   No dogmatic preaching that I'm too highly strung or emotional - and she even questioned if some of my decisions (albeit my choice) have been pushed/swayed from outside influences - giving me permission to stop unceremoniously slamming myself with guilt and continuing the hatred for "what I've done to myself".   And I can already see she has the capacity to make me crazy uncomfortable when it's time to really challenge me...  It's about to get messy - and I'm ok with that.

I have homework - I'm working on a list of all the things I love/do in my life - things that make me AMY.  She asked for a list of just ten things - so far I'm up to three full pages.  I can't stop writing them - three days later and I keep thinking of new ones.  They're even coming up in my dreams!    … and what makes my heart sing, is that so far not one thing on my list is about what I weigh, or why I have to fight so freaking hard to try and impress 'whoever'.  They're just all ME - all my crazy, funny, silly, quirky Amy things - and I love it!  I'm re-connecting again.

I was very lost.    

… but I'm still here. 

Hibernation time is nearly over…

PS:  Yes, I'm ok! 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

She will be loved...

I needed to get outside for some fresh air this afternoon, move my body and just take some ‘time out’ from what’s been happening lately.  I stuck my headphones in and took off around my river circuit, with no expectations – I didn’t really care what I was doing, I just needed to move and let my brain take a moment to calm down. Been riding the emotional rollercoaster lately, over-thinking everything, and its taking its toll. Another breakdown post-gym yesterday, sitting in the carpark unable to even drive away.  I felt so bloody alone.  I sought solace in hugging my baby niece - pure innocence, I stood in my sister's loungeroom and cried with that baby in my arms, til I had no tears left... I've never had anything to do with babies, in fact I feared them (!) - but she's magic.  She heals.

I realised half way around the river this afternoon, that I was narrating a blog in my head – I’m not a verbal person – everything manifests in my head, and on days like today, I realise when I get to this point the only way I can release it, is to type… 

~ ~ ~

I’m fighting a broken heart at the moment. This is all new to me.  Not the broken heart bit – I reckon I’m a pro at that, have been fighting that since I was a little kid when the freaking bullying began…  No, this is a broken heart of the real broken hearted variety – and something I’ve not been able to let go of the past week. I messed up last weekend, big time. I hurt someone I care about, in a way that just shouldn’t have happened – but it’s not unique, it seems to be perpetual.

The more I’ve thought about this since – between fits of tears and severe self-deprecation – the more I realise I have a pattern going on here... and one that needs to be broken.

I’m 34 years old, and I’ve never had a ‘real relationship’ (however you classify these things these days – or maybe I should say a ‘traditional relationship’ of the dating, get together, see each other regularly variety). I’ve never had a longterm boyfriend, there's only been one, and up until early last year, had never really been on a date. Up until my first kiss – just a couple of years ago – I actually thought I was a total freak of nature, that I was that repulsive and disgraceful that noone in their right mind wanted to know me, touch me, kiss me, love me. I felt vile – a true monster – too shameful to be seen with or know.

I honestly thought with the weightloss would come a release from that self-inflicted vile thinking…  but the two years following my massive weightloss, and life has sent me on one cruel mission after another. It’s like I’ve fast-tracked all those emotions and life-lessons of 'growing up' in such a short space of time, my head swims with them all.

I didn’t get a magic “happy ending” when I halved my size – instead it left me with this whirlwind of superficial and maniacal back-patting that was so alien to me! Suddenly I went from being intensely invisible to having a spotlight shone in my face, and the crazy bravado that comes with “being amazing” (which I have NEVER labelled myself – this has always come externally) came with it this intense pedestal that I found myself sitting on – but was as lonely up there as I’d been down at the bottom!

Yes, while you’re sitting up there, you’d think it’d be sweet and pretty, and the world would be your oyster!   … but at some point, the people below walked away, and the ladder seemed to be missing! I didn’t belong up there.  The last year or so, I’ve felt like I nose-dived off the edge and landed face first on the ground – and had a few people just wipe their feet over the top of me as they passed on by… !!  Ok, slightly dramatic – but you get the drift.  I went from feeling like “nothing” – to something – to nothing again, and somehow I lost my goals and pride in my achievements in the process. I seemed to go backwards...

When I was at my heaviest, I just assumed I had no future – I never believed I’d get to have a partner, babies, a house, travel, etc. I’ve posted about it in the past, and I’ve had beautiful messages sent back to perk me up and tell me to keep on believing, that “these will happen when they’re meant to”…  that the only way anyone can ever love me is if I love myself first.  (there lies my problem..)

… and that’s cool. I believe that too. Yes, what will happen will happen, when it’s ready. And yes, I’ve been working – very hard – on making me a better version of myself in the process.  So maybe, one day, I’ll be ‘fit’  (not bicep-crunching fit – just “suitable”) enough for someone to love me.  Not love what I’ve done or what I do for them, or even because of how I look now – but love ME, every messy bit of me.    .. because I’m now learning to love myself too.

… but I guess this is where my issue lies. I don’t quite know who that ME is yet – I’m not yet in love with her, though I really DO like her!   All the mish-mash of changes, the self-development, the heartbreak, the new experiences, the bad meltdowns, the cross-contamination of good and bad…  it’s fucking exhausting!!  Over five and a half years in a massive life transformation, and I’m exhausted.  I’m emotionally bloated!!

The weightloss has its place – but it’s certainly not my focus at this moment in time.  Six months post-surgery and I’m still struggling to accept what’s happened to my body – though this IS changing, and I’ll write more when I can mentally process it further.  I’m actually beginning to LIKE what I look like – a freaking miracle in itself!  There’s more changes I need/want, but I’m beginning to like what I see, because it's too freaking exhausting hating it anymore...  There’s a body confidence coming through that’s very new for me – pushing boundaries I didn’t dare before. Walking around in singlets and undies, letting people see my not-so-perfect bulges..  I used to loathe my body with such an intensity, sheer shame and hatred…

Let’s explore that for a minute… it plays a key role in my relationships development.

I’ve been bullied since I was about five years old – mentally and verbally abused (let’s cut to the chase and not dance around the topic)…  I’ve suffered depression, suicidal tendencies, and I’ve lived a life-sentence of isolation and loneliness that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

At my lowest point, I believed I was worth more in a casket, that I didn’t deserve to breathe the same air everyone else was privy to – and felt obligated to shy away from EVERYONE, the less people I knew, the less people I’d hurt when I just “went away”.   It did me no favours – it just made me more isolated and alien to people, more socially awkward, and severely lonely.

When I broke through a few years ago with my weightloss goals, suddenly I had people come out of the woodwork from all angles – and it scared me. All I could do was smile and throw myself around like I knew what I was doing – “fake it til you make it” style – but I was a broken soul underneath, debilitated with anxiety about being found out as a “fraud” (I say that loosely – I was the real deal, but I felt like I had nothing to offer – I had zero self worth)… and even now, I seriously question what value I have for people when I’m still struggling piecing myself together.

On a physical level, my hatred for my body was so intense, I couldn’t let anyone touch me – in my head, I believed I made people’s skin crawl, like there were maggots crawling on my skin, I was so revolting in my own perception.  (sorry for the hideous visual – but that’s how graphically it played out in my thinking…)…  and it wasn’t until last year that I was actually able to break through that.   33 years old, and I’d barely let anyone touch me…

That’s just not cool.

Over the years, I’d built up some seriously thick, super high walls – they were there to ‘protect me’ I guess, but I think they served to hinder me more than protect.  … more so this side of my development than at the beginning. It seems these walls of mine are almost impenetrable sometimes, and these days it does more damage than good!

…but the couple of guys that have been able to break through – I don’t know how they did it, maybe there was a chink in my armour, or maybe they were just there “in the right moment” to push a brick or two out of the way…   I’m not sure, but I know they had their place.   My story isn’t ‘pretty’, and the more I start really looking at it, the more I realise why I am the way I am right now…

~ ~ ~ 
I have massive trust issues – and I have good reason behind them.  It was years and years ago, I was VERY young (early uni days) and I ended up with a crush on an Internet guy.  I wish I had a better story to tell than this, but this experience was one of the keys to my hiding away and questioning the validity of anyone who wanted to initiate a relationship with me.  For eighteen months I was in contact with this “internet guy” from Sydney – this was back in the days of early SMS, before Facebook made the world tiny and ‘stalking’ was so accessible!  I’d seen a few photos of him, and he was cute – why the hell he’d be interested in me was beyond my comprehension!  We bonded in a chatroom, which lead to SMS messages and emails. He always seemed so keen on me… but he had a dark history, and I guess the timing of this one was right in line when my own issues were manifesting into their worst. I was intensely lonely – I was struggling with the depression and suicidal stuff (which I really didn’t understand at the time – this only served to exacerbate them)… and I guess it was a case of “misery loves company” and I needed someone to ‘care’.  Long story short, in that eighteen months, I never once met him, never talked to him on the phone (sms worked, but the phone didnt?!), he knew where I lived and worked, would send me flowers every time we’d fight, but I wasn’t allowed to know his address.  He’d binge drink and verbally abuse me via text, proclaiming that I’d ‘leave him’ and that he’d kill himself if I did – and I’d be lured back in with fear of hurting him, and I’d pain for him – I’d want to fix and heal him – and he’d take advantage of that.

In the middle of all this, I lost my Nana – her death came as a shock for the family, and it broke my heart – she was one of the few people in my life who I felt really saw me, one of my few ‘friends’… When I was away for her funeral, he proclaimed to have travelled to see me, stealing his dad’s car in the process, and I’d supposedly already ‘gone’ by the time he got to my house.  He was allegedly physically abused, beaten up, and hospitalised for his actions.    … and I spent my time mourning my Nana, and feeling responsible for his pain and the cruelty he’d suffered “because of me”. My guilt was intolerable, and my attention was redirected back to him, trying to make it better – make him hurt less. All became a ‘forgive and forget’ matter and time ticked over.

Months later, he confessed that he’d been drunk one night and slept with his best friend – she ended up pregnant – which broke me completely.  I shut down and wanted it all to just go away – but he threatened suicide again, and I was swung back into the game, with lots of promises that things would be ok and that he loved me so much more for forgiving him this indiscretion.  When the baby was born, I just wanted to be there – to be a part of it – but I was denied, and it upset me that I wasn’t even allowed to be part of this special time in his life.  I couldn’t talk to him – there were things I couldn’t handle anymore, it was out of control, I was losing myself to hideous jealousy and what felt like a game – but I was lured into the drama.

A message from his sister to say he’d shot himself after the birth of his daughter, he was in hospital, “because you’d leave him” – and never to contact him again…  that was my trigger.  I hurt myself after that – I have scars on my arms and on my belly – it hurt less to carve words in my skin than it did the pain in my heart.  I’d wake up on the floor from crying myself to sleep, and I’d pray that he’d just message me – the silence was deadly, and still breaks me now.  I felt invisible and worthless.  It did so much damage, that I actually believed my heart was dead inside…  It was like a really bad dream – it existed through messages and emails, not reality - I never physically met the guy, never spoke to him, don’t even know if he really existed…  It was the most hideous mental abuse I’ve ever endured – and I let it fester for eighteen months, just because I was so lonely…  just because I wanted to be loved.

I hid myself away after that – for years and years. Went through all my mental torture and self-hatred – my physical self-eating abuse was out of control, and I hid my shame behind fake smiles and closed doors.  My scars only served to remind me that I wasn’t worthy of real love, and how much I hated myself and my body – and just helped fuel the cycle of depression and anger that helped steal a decade of my life away.

Crap.  Too full on huh?  Yep…

It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I started to poke my head out to see if maybe – just maybe – I might be a little bit worth something to someone. This was during my transition – I’d lost some weight by now, and I was feeling a bit better about myself…   I had so many people telling me I had such a “pretty face”… yet I shrugged it off, because I had nothing to back it up, and as always, I was the girl noone wanted…  !

My first kiss with a REAL guy was like a comedy of errors – and oh my gosh, I’ll be forever embarrassed and sorry to him…  I stood there bent over in fits of laughter, tears streaming down my face, I couldn’t talk because I couldn’t breathe,  I was just in hysterics.  I honestly don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life as in that moment – it was hysterical to me to think someone could even WANT to kiss me – why the hell would he want to do that, was he nuts?!!    We got along well enough – we were friends – I wasn’t overly comfortable though, I was still trying to break through being shy and invisible, but he was nice and that was cool.   But I felt stupid - there were 12 year olds with more relationship experience than me…  (oh crap, that statement still stands right now.  Argh. ) 

BUT it was one of my ‘moments’ when I realised that maybe I wasn’t as revolting as I thought I actually was – if he could think I was worth kissing, then maybe I wasn’t so gross after all?    But it never went anywhere – his companionship at the time was worth more than inexperienced kisses – I was still overly cautious about being touched, and I was too busy trying to run away, expecting the rejection at any given moment….  but it opened a little sneaky doorway for me. Maybe it was ok for me to want to have someone in my life after all?

Boy two – he came out of nowhere. Literally. I think the universe sent this one on purpose – he was one of my biggest life lessons.  I didn’t know this when we met initially, but it turned out he’d practically “halved himself” too – and when I found this out, when I was brave enough to tell him my story, we bonded instantly. Prior to that, I’d been rejected so many times when my weightloss story was revealed… I thought I was destined to be rejected as the former-fat-girl who noone wanted!    It was a miracle to me to find someone who just understood – understood my fears and hatred of my body – understood the intensity of making massive physical changes.   When we met, it was probably the first and only time I’d ever been comfortable with someone – I let him get close to me, he’d hug me and I wouldn’t flinch the way I would with everyone else. Everyone else I worried that I made them feel sick touching me – but not him – I don’t really understand that, but I think it was just because he’d lived what I had, he wouldn’t judge me on my body. I WANTED him to sit next to me – I wanted the physical “invisible shield of personal space” to be invaded – I wanted him to break through.  The few times I spent time with him, the more I’d push my own boundaries, and I was beginning to make headway with the self-hatred and pushing everyone away…  I honestly thought I would be ok fighting these things with him – because “he’d understand”.

… but I underestimated how alike we were, how alike our pain was, how debilitating our histories, combined, was going to be.  I wanted to help him as much as he wanted to help me – and in doing that, we couldn’t help ourselves.

I was asked not to talk about us, he didn’t want it ‘public’ – and that hurt too.  At the time, I just wanted to stand on a rooftop and yell out to the world that I’d been knocked off my ‘freak perch’ and maybe (just maybe) someone had it in them to love me…  I was so crazy proud of him, I wanted people to know that - but I don’t know that he felt the same about me… 

A massive breakdown a few months later was my undoing – when I couldn’t handle the anguish in my head and heart after a once-off counseling session – so much change to process, and so much emotional upheaval – the day I sat on his bed and cried and cried in front of him – that was it for us. It was too much for him to handle – it was too much like his own pain, I was bringing up all his history trying to deal with my own…

A week of silence – that hideous silence - and it was enough to break my heart entirely.  I’d opened up to a guy who I believed was my soul mate, and in the course of trying to break free of my hatred and pains, I broke his heart as much as it broke my own.  My vulnerability and naivety was right there on a platter, and it was given straight back to me to deal with on my own.  That was over a year ago now, but my regret in hurting him has never gone away.

I hid myself away after that – I held onto that pain for a long time and let it consume me. I was like a teenager finding love and then losing it for the first time – and I’m pretty sure I even voiced the “my life is over” mantra of a young broken heart. All the life lessons that I’d missed out on when everyone else went through this growing up in high school – hit me as an adult instead…  and there’s not much reprieve for you when everyone else has already “been there done that” a dozen times over… !   I can’t blame them – it’s like a really tragic romance novel, it’s just old and boring – there’s no massive drama involved, just “kids stuff”.

…. But that’s what happens when you’ve missed out on everything – and it’s not juvenile and “silly” when it stings fresh and new.  When you’re 33, not 13, trying to delve into “this thing called love” and have absolutely no idea what you’re doing… it pains.  Maybe it never stops paining… ?!

I felt like I needed to apologise to everyone for being so juvenile…  and it was just easier to hide away and pretend it didn’t happen instead. Was gutted and embarrassed, and I was deadset certain noone else would ever bother to break through – I was too internally ugly, too broken – I’d rebuilt those monster walls up again.

But I’m Taurean… and the loneliness taunts me!  It flicks red flags in my face, and I want to charge and take them out – make it ‘not so real’…   I don’t want isolation to be my lot in life.

There’s been a few hit and misses this year – when I sort of came out of hiding again.  I guess I let my guard down… or maybe I purposefully put myself out there to test the waters.  I loathe this loneliness, and it seems to have changed my directive and goals. I did NOT work this hard to change my life to have “lonely” spit in my face for the rest of my days. There is no way I want to spend my life alone – I want to share all the ups and downs, be someone’s someone – have fun, cry, laugh, explore, engage…   I want to live a life with someone else in it.

… so I’d stick my finger out there and see if I’d get a bite… but I’m ALWAYS terrified I’m going to end up broken again.  Absolutely terrified of the rejection and finding myself carved up on the floor again…

… and it's happened a few times.  Hit and miss – painful rejection.  I’d question and berate myself for not being enough – still being too big – not funny or smart enough – not pretty enough – not a size 10 model with long legs and big boobs – too shy, too nervous, too emotional… too Amy.

I met someone a few months ago that, again, came out of nowhere. Again, the universe was sending me lessons. He travelled interstate to “give me a hug” – after I admitted to him that I hadn’t even been hugged in a really long time.  There’s my clincher right there – basic human contact is difficult for me.  It mocks and eludes me.  I’ve been on my own since I was 17 – basic hugs and human contact aren’t a daily occurrence – and I’m often too shy to ask when I need them the most.

He travelled all the way to show me someone cared. Wrapped his arms around me and hugged me – he didn’t flinch or make faces because I made his skin crawl…  he bear hugged me like I was a real person, someone worthy of affection. He pushed my boundaries – without even realising – he was in my house, in my face, in my zone – and I NEEDED him to be HIM, just as he was, in that moment. Every time I wanted to run and hide, he was there – he’d hold my hand or stroke my arm – at one point I was in tears when he rubbed my back, just because I’d never really had that before, and was so intensely obvious to me how much I NEEDED this basic human contact.  I couldn’t verbalise my shame in being a grown woman who’d never been comfortable being touched.  But he was just there.  His natural affection was breaking my walls…

Our constant talking – nightly skype sessions, limitless sms messages – indepth emotional conversations – they were my lifeline.  I loved spending my time with him – my energy and my focus was his.   I felt needed.  He’s cried with me, I’ve hurt with him, I’ve opened up and told him things that I never trusted anyone else with…  He was in my ‘moment in time’ when I needed someone to be there, during all this crazy transitioning, and all the turmoil of my body changes and the hatred-cycles that this year that threatened to take me down with – he was there to show me that I was worthy.

But my intolerable fear has made an absolute mockery out of this for me.  I’m writing this with a broken heart.  Everything that I fear the most in opening my heart to someone – everything that would instantaneously shut me down in the past and have me run away because I didn’t deserve to be loved or cared for…   I created it – I’ve made it happen.

… and I hate it.  I hate that I’ve caused my own grief and my own broken heart.  I hate that all the anguish of my past has ruined something beautiful – irrespective of what it was/could have been.  It turned me into a monster – it made me turn my back on him, turned me cold and nasty.  My fear of falling for a guy who maybe couldn’t return the feelings, created a problem that shouldn’t have happened…  broke hearts and caused hurt that shouldn’t have been.

All I’ve ever wanted was for someone to see beyond my walls – see ME underneath all the skin and false bravado.  I want (need) someone to hold my hand and help me out of the hole I’ve created for myself…   I see other people, and I’m SO envious of what they have.  It never mattered when I saw no future for myself, it stung that I was alone, but it never mattered, it was easier that way…   Not now.  Every day fucking hurts.  Every goddammed day it hurts that I’m alone. It torments me, like I’m still not enough – still haven’t worked hard enough – still don’t deserve the most precious thing in life = love.   I still have a body that resents me – a brain that’s confused - I have no idea what to do with myself or where I go from here – and a heart that threatens to stop beating if I don’t stop beating it up!!

I resent that I hurt so much – I am TRYING my hardest to turn this all around, make my life better, like who I am and have purpose and a future… but I hurt, and I’m lonely…. and I need someone to hold my hand.

I resent, even more, that I have the capacity to hurt someone else the way I do.   It makes me want to go away and hide again, because I’m “too hard” to deal with – I’m too much work for someone.   My own lack of self-worth tells me I’m not worth their time, energy or heart – and I fucking HATE THAT.  I don’t agree with it – but it fights me. How is it other people can have love and relationships, even when they don’t like who they are?  Someone still loves them enough to help push….   God, I truly envy that.

I had a friend tell me that she admired my ‘bravery’ in seeking love – but I don’t feel very brave. I’m vulnerable and I’m hurting – and every time I open up my heart, and it gets given back to me, it breaks me that little bit more.

But I guess it’s no different than what I did with my weightloss – I NEVER believed I could turn that around, that I deserved to be anything more than ‘worthless’ a few years ago… but blind faith lead me here (with lots of trial and error along the way) – and I guess this is no different.  It’s all intertwined.    This wouldn’t be happening had it not been for the other.

I have a heart full to bursting, ready to burn a hole in someone’s hand, if only they’d take it…!  I’m honest, I’m loyal, I’m giving… but I’m not perfect.  I’m still learning… and I’m terrified.

I just wish they’d see that there’s a reason I choose them – there’s something beautiful I see in THEM that resonates something special to me – something I’m lacking, something I need, something that makes them unique to ME…  I’ve never been one to just pick randomly, for the sake of “filling a void” – that’d never be enough for me.   I guess that’s why it hurts me – I see the heart in someone, but I just wish they could see it in me.

I didn’t grow up in a touchy-feely, verbal “I love you” family – we weren’t like that – added to my shying away from all things “relationship” because of my size and esteem issues - has only served to make it even harder for me to breach the divide. It’s hard for me to make that jump – to let someone in without feeling like the floor is going to give way beneath me.   …and yet I long to have someone in my life, to share everything with, to say ‘I love you’ and know its felt, wanted and returned.

These ‘life lessons’ are testing me. I KNOW it’s rebuilding me, I know they have their place, and I know it’s all worth it in the end…  but right now I’d give anything for a little helping hand, a little touch of “Disney”. Snow White was freaking comatose and she still managed to find someone….

For all the tears and tantrums lately, I know there’s benefit in everything I’m going through. If I didn’t care, it would never hurt this much.   My heart beats and breaks BECAUSE I care.

… and I know I’ll keep on pushing through.   Because I have to.   I want… and I deserve… to be loved too.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

One month, one hundred emotions

Close your eyes.... breathe in.... hold that breath.... exhale and release.... Remember to breathe in again... wait, then what?? 

SO much has happened in the past month, I do wonder when it was that I simply forgot how to do the most basic task - breathe in, breathe out - when it became clouded with stress, fear, tears, confusion and frustration that made breathing sometimes feel like a chore...

I KNEW when the Universe started to shake things up that there'd be consequences - I knew I was going to wear these consequences in a "really messed up, but good, way"... but I didn't think it would take THIS much of a toll on me.  I underestimated it immensely...

The last month has been one hell of a rollercoaster ride...  Since my last blog post, I've moved house (albeit next door!) ~ attended the amazing Emazon Convention in Brisbane ~ went on a holiday with a bunch of my favourite crazy online girls and ate cake ~ had (another) pre-birthday meltdown and then turned the big 3-4 ~ and became an Aunt for the first time...  Oh, and my body started to shut down in its usual winter-style - my weight has piled on, and I feel a whole wad of blurgh... !   SO let's begin this crazy recap...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Thank you healing house.."
Moving house was.... emotional. Hard. Heartbreaking... but I had no choice - and the hasty shift from one door to the next before I had to go away didn't leave much room for "downtime and bonding with my new premises."  An intensely emotional weekend all round as I departed with the place that had been my home for over a decade - the place that had helped me rebuild myself, where I felt safe to begin my changes.  I found myself sobbing as I weeded the front garden and stroking the doorframes as I'd walk in and out the empty rooms.  Extremely hard for me to say goodbye to an empty 'soulless' house when the time came, but I said my heartfelt 'thank you' to the walls that had sheltered me for so long, and gave me exactly what I needed when I needed it the most.  The moment I walked into that house I knew I was meant to live there - it helped heal me - and as hard as it is to live next door now (I didn't get that same feeling here), I did metaphorically close the door on that chapter of my life when I walked out for the last time...  That's probably more in keeping with the emotional distress and tears... farewelling a huge decade of my life and closing that door... finally??  Maybe...  or at least beginning to!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Running off to the Emazon Convention in Brisbane a couple of days later, I KNEW I was in for a whirlwind of emotions.  I was already emotionally red-raw and knew I was in for even more upheaval in the heart region.  Emma's workshops are nothing short of HONEST - and it's her honesty and integrity in her message that is what drove me to attend the convention in the first place.  My own beliefs parallel hers, and I believe in her message - she's an incredibly strong woman and I admire her passion in delivering the tools to others to stand up and find their OWN strength in who they are.  THAT is what I was seeking - the strength and capacity to find my feet again - the willingness to break free of my inflictions.  I went to the convention with an open mind and heart - and knew I was going in head first... and I was ok with that.

Check me out with my fake tat - TOUGH!
The convention was.... wow, one word...  intense.  It all began with an amazing pre-convention welcome party - glam up and get socialising!  (I'm NOT good with this at the best of times - don't let the big smile fool you!)  ... but a cocktail or two later, and I was ok - I was amongst 'friends' who were there for their own reasons of self development too - and they were probably as nervous as I was..... yes, no, maybe?!!!   Overall, a fabulous night filled with fire dancers, Harley rides (I missed out, goddammit!!!) and fake tattoos (to go with my fake hair and lashes, ha!)... it was just an awesome start to the events!   ... maybe a little misleading - the "fun" before the work?!    Isn't that around the wrong way.... ??!!

Yep.. !  SO a very late night for me and then a very early start the following morning with a 6am workout - and BAM - let the educating begin!  6am to about 7pm each day for three days - with lectures, training, boxing, mindset and nutrition education, meditation and yoga (for a vague overview!)... wow...   It was all in there - mind, body, spirit - it was intense, purposefully packed to maximise our time and give us the tools to educate and facilitate personal growth and change.

... and it threw me... big time.   The lectures had me in tears - the education had my brain swimming - it challenged my thinking and "brainwashing" and made me question what it was I actually DO want and why I'm still fighting so hard against my own wants and desires, trying to be 'just like everyone else' instead of being ME (and standing up and being proud of that - no "follow the leader" sheep stuff).  I've conflicted with 'programs' and structure now for over 2 years - my weightloss and mental health suffered for it in huge ways.  The surgery and it's poor results instigated another mass degrading of my mindset (because it didn't give me the "picture perfect stomach" media showcased, nor "fulfilled me" when the superficial left my heart just as empty as before!).

Emazon - our courageous teacher!
As per my introduction to the Emazon workshops in the past, my brain went into overdrive.  Knowing full well there's a REASON why I do what I do - and knowing there's also a reason why I now baulk against the confines of what I've done in the past... it's almost a revelation - and not one I'm quite at liberty to openly talk about here (1. because it's far too complex to explain!!  2. because it's so intensely personal, I honestly don't know if there are words to express how deeply rooted these self-challenges are and why it's become so important for me to find the reasons behind the self-sabotage and hatred that I simply can't get rid of - and how CRAZY strong I feel about finding that inner "me" whose been behind ALL my transformation and choices in the past five and a half years...  I simply didn't acknowledge her before - but she's hell fierce - but VERY hard to find...)

.... as I said, incredibly hard to explain!!   Hard to summarise what a STAND workshop or convention is - those that have experienced it will nod and agree!!  Everyone takes from it what THEY need at the time...   For ME: it was about learning to trust myself, to trust and listen to that driving force inside whose been guiding me this entire way.  To understand that my choices aren't always great, but they're subconsciously made for very good reason.  To trust that the universe is playing its part in my redevelopment too - and whilst it stings like a bitch, for the most part, it's because I'm on the path that I'm SUPPOSED to be on.

... and it doesn't follow anyone else.  It never has.  I've never been a follower, always on my own.  And somehow... "somehow" .... I need to start trusting my 'higher self' that she's doing all this for my betterment. For my future. For my heart. For my freedom.

FREEDOM.   Free from the hideous hatred and subjectivity that I'm STILL feeling despite the weightloss and life changes...  and what I'm STILL trying to fight for, even with the meltdowns, the horrible mood swings, the intense up and down thought processes, the total confusion, the debilitating self-hatred because I 'think' I'm doing something 'wrong' because I keep falling short from what I'm brainwashed to believe is acceptable...   She's still in there, and she's fighting... fighting fighting... for my freedom.   Phew... did I mention intensely personal?!!  ha!

Holy mother of god I'm upside down?!!
Our final challenge of the convention was the "Fear Factor" - four obstacles to test us, see if we could overcome our irrational fears.  Fire eating, trapeze, acrobatics and parkour (jumping off random objects - though ours was aerobic steps, but still just as scary!).  I managed the fire eating, acrobatics (at a push - though I baulked at the thought of breaking someone's legs when they had to hold me up!) - the parkour was hard on my wobbly knees and lack of body-trust jumping between spots... but the trapeze had me whipped.  First attempt, I had a full on panic attack and had to lay on the ground, being told to calm my breathing down (there's that breathing thing again!) - and calm down enough to move onto the next challenge.  ... but it came back around, and I was prompted again - did I want a go?  I kept shaking my head 'no', that 'this body can't do THAT! I used to be nearly 200kgs!!!'....    KNEW if I didn't at least give it a try, I'd resent myself and regret it...

My hands were sweaty, I could barely breathe, and my knees were shaking.  I held onto the trapeze bar - and HUNG off it (a first - I've never held my own bodyweight off a bar!) - then was encouraged to try and swing my legs up.  Yep, managed that part, then nearly lost the plot when my knees were being pulled down from the other side to leverage me up - and I thought they were about to break, the pain shooting through my bad knee joints - had NO option than to pull myself up before I became dismantled at the knee-pivot!

... but I did it - I sat up there on a trapeze - I hyperventilated like a pro - and could barely open my eyes (I'm afraid of heights too, haha)... but I did it!   "Somehow" I managed to get down off that crazy thing, and wobble away to go sit on the ground... and all I remember was saying - for what I didn't realise was out loud - was "FUCK YOU 200KGS!!!"  .. then prompty fell on the ground and cried!  Enter here a handful of nearby ladies who wrapped me up in hugs and told me how awesome that was, haha!!

I'll sidetrack slightly here and give you a glimpse of what I've "seen" behind the scenes of Amy...  When I attended my second SYG (Stand Your Ground) workshop in March, there was a boxing training session at the end of the workshop that had us work ourselves into a state of 'alpha' being - where your brain is sidetracked from the mundane thinking of day to day life, and leaves you alert and aware and "clear".  Afterwards, we were laying on the floor in a guided meditation session - we walk down a hallway, see a door, what material is the door made of, the door handle, when you open the door where are you, what do you see, what do you feel under your feet, walk further into this space and meet "you", talk to you, she has a very special message for you...     When I did this meditation session for the first time, my 'visuals' were so intense - my door was wooden, the handle ornate, I walked into a garden filled with butterflies and flowers and lush grass, and my 'higher self' turned around to tell me "Amy, you are NOT alone!"  I cried.  Tears streaming down the side of my face...   My isolation in my transformation has always been questionable and hurtful for me - and at this particular time, that message was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. I am NOT alone.

To cap off my experience at the Brisbane convention following the crazy "Fear Factor" challenges - our final yoga and meditation session was going to prove to be the most intense experience of them all (as though the trapeze hadn't just rocketed my socks off!).  My meditation message was equally as important and incredibly powerful as the first one mentioned above from March.  At the end of the guided meditation, when I "opened the door", my higher self ran over to me with an enormous smile on her face, threw her arms around me and told me how incredibly proud of me she was. I am PROUD.

I laid on the floor and sobbed...  I don't know that I've ever truly been proud of myself for what I've achieved. I struggle with this regularly - all the accolades run off me like beads of water on oil - I question their validity because I struggle to believe it myself... it's "only weightloss" in my head.  BUT here was my inner self - my 'true self' - telling me how intensely proud of me she was.  Did that finally mean that had broken through?  Do I finally believe it?!

I left the convention in a whirlwind of emotions - very grateful for the experience - but very very emotional.  It seemed to drive the insatiable questioning in my head now - all these things I've wanted but not believed I deserved - all the conflicting beliefs in my head and heart...  It had me questioning what I was prepared to 'put up with' from outside influences now and made me question if I actually AM strong, or am I actually the substruct of my own creating?!    In any case, "questioning" is good - the upheaval that went with it, maybe not so much... ha!

~ ~ ~ ~

I came 'home' (my new home) very briefly, and felt incredibly isolated, confused and displaced.  Add to this the pressure of pre-birthday issues, and the night before I turned 34 at the beginning of the month, I was in monster breakdown mode... again.  Me and birthdays have never mixed well - and with so much upheaval in my headspace, so much male-oriented rejection, so many 'issues' with my body and the post-surgery gain...  I was in a world of "I'm running out of time!!!" pain, and a birthday was the last thing I needed - it seemed to just rub it in further that I STILL lack so much, and another year has rolled past... and maybe (maybe?!) I'm just a silent bystander in whatever the hell is going on in this 'life' I'm supposed to be leading?!!  I was ANGRY that I'd worked so freaking hard, and still coming up so short - why did I bother trying to do anything at all?!   Why did I bother fighting for my life, when I felt so non-existent anyway??    ... so much anger and frustration here, and it all came to a crashing halt on the night before.   I wasn't suicidal (very removed from those feelings of the past) - but I questioned why I was still here...  and WHY was I still bothering to fight?!   Very hard night, and lots of tears...  but birthdays still happen whether you like it or not - and I still woke up the next day and clicked off another one.  Again.

The next day was far less intense - lots of online messages, a cupcake at work, and a family dinner...  I survived. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A couple of days later, I was back out the door for my next adventure. A mini holiday on the Gold Coast with a bunch of my favourite online friends - but the day I left I seemed to have packed a wretched headcold to come with me, along with some seriously un-dealt-with emotions and a wad of frustration.  It's a wonder the airline didn't charge me excess baggage with how 'heavy' I felt with all these things swirling around my head... !

... but as sick as I was for the start of the holiday, it was probably the overdose of Lemsip, cold & flu tablets and the (err) bottle of wine (I rarely drink!) that sent me into another big breakdown...  Hiding in the bedroom, bawling my eyes out, being counseled by one of my beautiful friends, I blurted out so much of my sobby hurts that it seemed to release me a little...  Something 'unchained' a bit and I could breathe a little more again (ironic, considering my headcold breathing issues!).  

The girls have an uncanny ability of weeding out smiles - they're a very select group of my extensive online network that I've been lucky to have over the years of my transformation - have seen far more of my private ups and downs - and have hearts of gold.  Our little weekender was so very important - not just for me, but for us all.  It reiterated in my crazy little head that I HADN'T totally isolated myself after all, that my choice of friends are genuine and beautiful, and that in itself, reflects on ME - just as I am in this moment in time... and it's GOOD.

My final morning walk - pure bliss!
I walked 7kms along the walking path next to the beach at Surfers Paradise the night before we left... and was up early the following morning to walk another 8kms through the beautiful beach water.  All I could do was breathe in the beautiful fresh air, feel the warm water against my legs...  My head was swirling with "you have to go home and fix things"... though part of me just wanted to walk and walk and walk...  I could happily have just kept walking and not turned back.

... but reality doesn't let you daydream like that!  I turned around and re-traced my steps back to the girls, packed up and left... but not before we hit the coffee shop for one last 'splurge'... !   I left the Coast a little lighter than when I'd arrived, but certainly not in kilos (haha)...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Coming home, I was greeted with my next big challenge... albeit a beautiful one!  My sister was being induced with her over-cooked baby on the Monday - and I left her explicit instructions to hold off having that late-arrival baby until I was home!!   Her little girl arrived the following afternoon, and I'll admit, the whole experience left me in a world of emotions here too...

Somewhere in my head, at some point in the last 15 years, I let myself believe I'd "never have things"...  like a house, travel, relationship, marriage or babies.  I don't exactly know why - though I was pretty damned adamant about it years ago that it'd NEVER happen.  Up until last year, I truly still believed it too...  til 'boys' started to notice me a little more, and the whole facade started to crack a little...  because I DID want those beautiful things, and I resented the fact that I didn't have them.  When all your friends are married, in a relationship, with kids (etc) - it's incredibly hard to be the random odd one out... ALWAYS.  It's even harder when it's your own siblings, and your 7-year-younger sister is bringing the first baby of the family into the world.  It stirred up some pretty intense emotions, and cracked open a wad of self-hatred for being "too ugly, too revolting, too whatever blah blah blah" into my headspace - that it was ME causing my own issues and why I'm the girl that noone wants - and how I'll NEVER get to have any of this...

Before I get told off or chipped about that 'silly thinking' - it seems I have some pretty solid timeframe issues filtering in on top of that 'junk'.   For instance, if I go ahead with another corrective body surgery (and I need multiple...  can't do more than one a year at the very most because of the health implications, cost and the extreme nature of it all - with at least two of them being major surgeries that I simply can't afford - so we're talking YEARS here if I can ever get to them!)...  there's a few more years I've "lost" during transformation.  If I can't find my own self-acceptance in amongst all that, then "how will I be able to let someone else in"...  Big issue right there.  Huge.   But say someone manages to break through that to show me I'm worth being with.. (which hasn't happened....  but maybe, if I'm lucky?! .. they'd have to be pretty bloody special and stubborn, haha)...  we wouldn't be dropping and having babies immediately...  so lose another couple of years there...   suddenly I'm approaching/in my 40s, and maybe babies aren't even an option for a mangled body, after everything I've put it through?!

Teaching baby Abby the fine art of selfies!!
... see, now it becomes really messy and VERY emotional.  Seeing this baby for the first time - I'm living vicariously through my sister for something I may very well never have...    Mother's Day this year became another sticky point for me for that exact same reason.  I'm not even READY for a baby - I'm still in a massive level of self development here - but "what if I never..." filters through my head and I filter nothing but pain.    Ouch.  Stings.  Hurts....  I cried.  Alot.    ... but holding that little girl is amazing - she has this uncanny ability to turn my foul mood on its head, and bring me to tears not from hatred or self-loathing as is so often the case - but because she's so pure and innocent.  She's pure unconditional love...  and I crave that like nothing else.  I eat that up like sprinkles on fairy bread!  She's a week old, and already she's made an impact on me that I can't really explain...    I don't deserve to miss out on that - and I can't hide from it.  She's already broken down my walls...   She speaks to my inner-fighter and they're conspiring... I can tell already that there's 'trouble' ahead!!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And to cap it all off - I decided I'd had enough of the confusion and ignorance fueling my emotional distress on the body and weight front - and stepped on the scales for some hardcore accountability.  I'm TIRED of this hurting business.  All these emotions have taken their toll in a massive way - and it's manifested in severe bloating and swelling through my surgical line, and a monster gain on the scales.  I'm now fighting off about 8 kilos of pure self-sabotage, and my body is hating me even more for it...   The physical discomfort I'm going through right now is troublesome, and I'm worried I'm doing damage to my body even more by eating myself into food comas and extending an already tender stomach!  The surgery and infection took a massive toll on my health and headspace, and five months later, I'm STILL fighting it - it's swollen and sore to touch - looks unnatural and I'm faced with making a decision for later this year of going under again to correct the issues.  ... assuming I can bring myself to do that again.

I tried to 'start fresh' on Monday (ha! bloody Monday starts!!), and managed half a day of "ok".  I tried again yesterday, and managed another half a day... and again today.   I questioned whether I should re-commit to another program, then baulked at the prospect of having to "start again"...  I'm SO exhausted with fighting - mentally and physically...

... yet that 'tick tick tick' thing is plaguing me, and if I don't make headway and start counteracting the gain right now, it'll just keep damaging my headspace... right on top of all this amazing huge catastrophe of an emotional mess that's going on right above the waistline!  If I don't step up and take charge, then I'll lose my shit entirely....

I have NEVER given up - I REFUSE to give up.  I have fought over and over, I don't always win... but I don't give up...  

So I will start fresh again tomorrow... and I will start fresh the next day...  until I get through whatever this hideous hateful horrible hurtful thing is - because I KNOW whatever is happening right now is MEANT TO BE HAPPENING.   Everything I'm feeling, everything I'm fighting, every tear is meant to be - this is an intense learning experience going on here - and whatever is driving all this instability is doing it because the Amy that's always been fighting inside, is conspiring for even more.   I've meditatively 'met' her twice now - she's a force - and she's fighting...     She told me I'm not alone, it's time I start believing it..  time to step up and fight WITH her...   

Breathe in... breathe out...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

A little quote I read on a friend's Facebook page today summed it all up for me in one beautiful statement:

Refuse to fall down. If you cannot refuse to fall down, refuse to stay down.
~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I refuse to stay down.

... unless I'm laying on a pontoon in the sunshine... !!