Disconnected

How strange is life right at this moment. I am lying on my bed contemplating life’s big questions. Should I go outside and work out again today? Should I clean all my windows…. oh wait – I already did that. Should I clean my bathrooms – oh wait I already did that. Should I bake up a storm – meh, that just means that my family would be saying “MUM STOP COOKING” again!! Then there are the questions that I ask myself like “Should I go and lie on the front lawn and try to talk to people that may pass by because I am so flipping bored out of my mind?” “Should I start collating all of my Weight Loss Surgery experiences into some kind of order?”

And then there is that part of me that realises that I probably need to slow down – stop even and just let myself do nothing for a while. Since my episode in the hospital with my heart I have struggled a bit. Well actually I have struggled a lot. I have felt myself doing what I really am quite good at doing – disconnecting. I have been flinging up walls left and right. Iso/stage 3 lockdown in Victoria starts tonight and the social distance thing has taught me something about myself, a lesson that I learned over 23 years ago but did not walk in at the time.

I love solitude. I am a social creature and I love that too but I could happily live a really simple life. I am saddened that over the years I have added layer upon layer of complexity to our existence and I can say that we are making plans to change all of that. We all know that we cannot go back in time and there is no point in harbouring a heart full of regret so I have been spending lots of my days just letting things go. It feels good, it is cathartic and I feel lighter than I have in a long time. Climbing out from under the weight of the opinions and words of others will be the most wonderful jail break!

So – what will I be at the end of this? Well I imagine that I will be what I was always intended to be. A happy, nature loving, plant eating, fresh air craving, hard working Mumma with a newly defined compass that unswervingly points me towards what truly matters.

18

My eldest son was 18 today. Having a birthday during a pandemic with level 2 lock downs was not the most fun type of situation. We tried our very best to make up for what he is missing out on and I think that we did a pretty great job. Not perfect but pretty great! We had Zoom parties and ate meals together. I cooked the meals that he asked for and we had a couple of quiet drinks.

During the course of the day a number of his friends made their way over and dropped gifts for him at our front door. They would stand on the front lawn while practicing appropriate social distancing and talk to each other. It did my heart good to see their kindness, so I can only imagine how it must have felt for our son to know that his friends were thinking of him.

I love you my son – I am so proud of you. No pictures posted – everyone who wanted to be part of his birthday made their sentiments known to him 💕💕

Pandemic Togetherness

So what am I thankful for? Well I guess the big thing for me is that I am thankful that this horrific virus has exposed for all of the world to see, how interconnected we all truly are. I am thankful that for a few months, I have the opportunity to slow down and love on my family in a way unlike anything we have lived for many many years. I have been trying to keep up with the Jones’s for years. I can admit it. Now I am so happy to just be running my own race that I am happily average and just really enjoying life and I have found that I am enjoying it even more at home with the kids. It has been years and years and years since I was just at home. But here we are. Is it stressful. Yes, for so many reasons BUT oh my goodness. To get to be their mother is beautiful.

This is probably going to sound strange. Actually it will sound strange – I am even thankful in the middle of all that is happening in the world right now. I am not thankful FOR the pandemic that is ravaging the globe, that is robbing us of precious, incredible and valued people. My god, my heart aches every time the death toll ticks over again. I am not thankful for the immense stress that so many of my friends and loved ones are experiencing right now. At times I feel as if it could suffocate me and pull me under but I am thankful in this time.

Turning 18 in social iso

Covid-19 and social iso has given me some precious, stolen days with my sons that I would not have otherwise had. I try to not think about the fact that Aramis is in his final year of high school and will move to go to uni next year. I really do my best to avoid thinking of it but as the months pass and that reality comes bearing down on us my heart has been equal parts so proud and excited for him and missing him already. These days with him are the best of days. How often can we lock the world out? When is it normal to do that – well the answer is – its NOT normal to do that. I can’t say that I am hating doing all of their laundry, and cooking their breakfast, lunch and dinner but I’m not. I always did love being at home with my kids and clearly nothing has changed from those days so very long ago. Baking, board games, lying on the grass looking up at the clouds, making a million playlists, talking about our dreams, investing my love and heart into them – there is nothing better than that. It is a pity that it has taken a pandemic for me to realise that there truly is nothing better than what I already have.

Spatially Distant – Socially Connected

What crazy days we are living in. I am writing to you from my position on my bed, where I seem to do all of my best writing. It is dreary in Geelong today. The heat feels like it is being drained out of the sun with each new sunrise and I can feel the bite of winter starting to nip at my heels in the early mornings and in the evenings too. I am struggling with the cold this year. It feels like it is seeping into my bones in record time. Life feels like it is so up in the air right now. Covid-19 has taken hold of our population and it’s grip is growing by the minute.

Of recent times I have longed for days gone by. I have poured over photos of our kids when they were small and wished for those younger years – those skinned knee kind of problems that Mum’s and Dad’s can fix with cuddles and kisses. Instead, we live in a world that is filled with instability and insecurity and I can’t help but feel a little bit overwhelmed. Yesterday our kids had their last day of school for Term 1 of 2020. Our State leader closed schools 4 days early in response to the covid-19 crisis and we now have level 1 lock down restrictions in place. In Australia the School Year runs in line with calendar years. Term one typically starts at the end of January, and concludes around the end of March. Our children are expected to move to an online form of learning for the remaining 3 days in this week and then their school holidays will commence. At this stage, school is resuming on the 15th of April. We will see what that looks like in the weeks to come I suppose. I wouldn’t be surprised if further lock down measures become necessary to control the spread of this terrible virus.

This weekend our Beautiful eldest boy will turn 18 and he has cancelled his party. To say that I am totally gutted is a gross understatement. I am beyond gutted that this has been necessary for him. We have planned his 18th of months and months but to keep everyone safe, these are the measures that our government has put in place. This evening all house parties and birthday have been banned so we will be here at home for quite some time. In some ways I feel privileged to be at home with my children. I get to just love on them and enjoy their company. What could be better than that! There are other moments when I feel fairly overwhelmed by the hopelessness of this situation and all that it means for so many.

In the middle of all of this, the panic buy and food hoarding that is going on I admit that I have been finding it difficult to find my usual staple food items. Being coeliac and having a very picky tummy post WLS makes food choices difficult at the very best of times – but most of what I regularly eat has not been available for 2 weeks. I didn’t really see it as a problem until I ventured into the scales this morning and fricken hell! I have managed to lose 2 kilos in the last 2 weeks. I suppose I had better try harder to find foods that agree with me out of what is readily available but that feels like a massive task right now. In the mean time I hope that you are well and that you stay safe.

Love Tash

A New Day

Yesterday was absolute shite for me. There is no nice way to say it. It just was. I won’t go into details about it because once was enough, but I am NOT going to edit myself here either. After a situation on one of my personal social media accounts I am now a whole lot of people lighter because – well its like this – I was inboxed by a number people I haven’t seen for years, and was on the receiving end of fairly abusive messages, accusing me of harbouring views on a social/human rights issue that I do not have, and was told that I am things, which I am not. I know the areas in which my weaknesses and shortcomings exist. I have no need of my perceived shortcomings being pointed out by people that don’t know me. I actually steer clear of arguments that elicit these kind of emotion filled responses in people. Life is too short for it – It really and truly is. I have PTSD and need no help when it comes to triggering anxiety. Anyway it became pretty obvious that these people don’t know me and therefore we shouldn’t be connected on facebook – we no longer are. Bullying messages are a dog act – dismount that religious high-horse and let’s have a conversation, because I am always interested in people. I did have a couple of conversations and those were fine.

I guess it must be different for people reading along with the tiny snippets of my life. Some of the people reading this blog have known me since I was born. Others have not, so for those that don’t know my background, I was a church pastor for a long time. We gave up full time pastoring when we fell pregnant with our 10 year old and stopped being involved in church leadership all together 3 years ago. Over the years, yes, I have changed. I do not care what the “institution/mechanism/organisaion” thinks of me. I’m unshakable in my beliefs and values around what truly matters – if I was going to be shook – well I would have been by now. Nothing and no one can ever take those away. The difference is that I don’t do the “church leadership pathway” 3 step anymore! The power teat suckling has ended for me and I was never so glad! If that stuff matters to you – well ………I’m sorry?🤷🏼‍♀️

If I was to use religious terminology, I suppose it would be said that I am going through a wilderness experience 😂😂😂😂 or perhaps if we want to use the labels, I am potentially a backslider (Backslider is also a totally delicious cocktail – This long, refreshing mix of bourbon and ginger is punched up with fresh lime and soda.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  • Shake all but soda with ice for 5 seconds
  • Strain into a highball glass filled with ice
  • Top with soda and garnish

Glass:

  • highball

Garnish:

  • orange slice

Aaaaaaaaaaanyway if I am to use my terminology – I’m happily serving people in a totally different capacity and still get to outwork the values and beliefs that I hold dear to my heart. I love what I get to do. I have many beautiful friends both in and out of the church with those values. I have been very open in sharing my current pain without going into details publicly and that will continue to be my stance – I know that I am not the only person that is having a hard time. However, I am meant to be avoiding stress at the orders of my cardiologist. So if you are reading this and think that I may need to be told off – save it. I promise that there are people in my life that I have given permission to do that with me and they will get in my ear if I need it. If you aren’t one of them – well its probably not a good idea to try at the moment and I mean that in the kindest way.

Yesterday was also stressful for another reason Covid-19 fall out.

In Australia it feels like the measures that the Australian Government are taking may be “too little too late” I am sure that there are places in our big beautiful country where the panic buying, social gathering restrictions and social distancing laws would seem completely crazy. But the fact is that every single segment of Australia will be touched by Covid-19. We are living in unprecedented times. Churches have moved to online modes of delivery. Famous entertainers are taking to their socials to lift the spirits of the masses for free. Mums and Dad’s are trying to make sense of how they are going to continue to work through this crisis time. Families are grappling with ways to protect their precious elderly darlings. Immune compromised people are doing what they have to do to still function and face the days ahead with the knowledge of what can happen if they aren’t careful. Times of gathering together as families and friends to celebrate special milestones are being cancelled or put on pause.

It is our sons 18th birthday next weekend. We have been gearing up for this celebration for months. We are excited for him. He is a wonderful human being. He is fiercely loyal, caring, quick witted, crazy clever and sassy. I love that he will call bullshit on something if it is what he believes. I love that he is rock solid and unshakable in terms of what is important to him. And I also love that he is passionate about the future. He, his brothers and their dad are the people that have helped me to grow the most over the past 2 years since my WLS.

We had family coming from the other end of Australia to be at the party, but leave was cancelled due to Covid-19 so they were unable to come. And as the weeks have passed and the gravity of the situation becomes clearer our beautiful boy called his Nanny to ask her to stay home. He knew that she would come, she has never missed a single birthday of our kids. He knew that she would come, even potentially to her own hurt, so he called her and told her that he loves her and Grandpop and that it would be safer for her to stay home. It hurts all of us, but we know it is for the best. Our Prime Minister has hinted that additional travel restrictions may be announced in the coming week, ahead of the school holidays which could put an end to any family being here for his birthday. We all know that these things are necessary and we will do whatever must be done because that is the safe thing to do. But it doesn’t mean that we just forget how wonderful it was when we did not have this looming threat creeping through our population. Stay safe everyone, be kind and remember that everyone is going through something xx

50 Shades of – well you know ;)

Sorry I have been a little bit silent over the past week or so. My health has struggled since my plastic surgery last year. My mental health took a tumble for a few weeks also – Hey thats okay. Walk a mile in someones shoes and all that stuff and we often find that things are not what we thought that they would be. The older I get the more shades of grey I see and I am realising that it’s okay to say “Hey, I’m not okay right now” and if they don’t hear you – well repeat it in no uncertain terms so that they do. This is that repeat message.

Last weekend I noticed that I wasn’t feeling okay. I had experienced a few funny episodes where my chest felt weird. Instant thoughts of covid-19, extreme reflux or omg I just need sleep, what is wrong with me …. blah blah blah started to fill my mind. Eventually I laughed all of it off and continued doing the usual things but noticed that I was still having that weird sensation at times. It felt like my chest was squeezing and not letting go, like someone was sitting on my upper chest and then the pain started to run down my arm. It went on like this for a few hours on and off but then, when the pain went up into my jaw – well I decided that it was hospital time.

There was no waiting in the waiting room, there was none of that. I was straight into emergency and hooked up to heart monitors. My heart rate liked to spike and do really crazy things but there was one topic that would drive it through the roof every single time. The doctors said that in times of stress, ones heart can behave in an unpredictable way. It can do strange things and it was important for me to stay in the hospital until they worked out what was going on. The long story cut short is that I am okay. My heart has decided to behave itself again and I am deliberately and intentionally avoiding stress and stress inducing situations. The world can be a stressful place. We all have things going on and we rarely know what someone else is going through so being kind is always at the forefront of my mind BUT being kind doesn’t mean being a push over.

Kindness has been a little bit lacking lately online – we rarely ever know what is happening in someones world beyond their highlight reel and that is most definitely the case with me. I have been very good at pretending that I am fine when I am not. I have been a push over in the past. I used to be too scared to speak up on issues that mattered to me. I was worried of offending someone or hurting their feelings. I was scared of being judged and so worried about being taken the wrong way, until I realised that the only people who would likely ever comment in a negative way were people who did not care about my feelings, and who are totally unconnected with my life, my family or my story. Why would I give any weight to their opinions? Sure we don’t just disregard people because that is unkind and not right – but we certainly don’t live our lives dictated by them! We all know what they say about opinions – and with the toilet paper shortages that we are currently experiencing, well I guess that the stink issue could be worse than normal.

Hey, I have reached out, I have said I am hurting and have received the typical and expected responses from the usual places. For the most part, people don’t want to get involved. It’s messy to be involved in my shituation (not a spelling mistake) My cynicism along with my hurt has grown week by week. But all is not lost, I have found so much kindness and compassion among my friends. I love my village, I adore the incredible women and men that stand by me. The ones that have cried with me and listened to me. The ones that have done a Scomo and told me to “stop it” when I need it. We are talking about the kind of people that open their home and feed me tea or coffee or gluten free yummy treats and let me talk and cry. The sort of people that drop a meal at my front door, the kind of humans that bring me plants to make me happy and the sort of friends who text “I love you and I believe in you”. I love them, value their opinions and appreciate their kindness. They are my kind of people and they know that at the moment if you can’t be kind then quiet is good!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. I will be at home practicing and LOVING social distancing. Oh how the introvert in me is rejoicing right now! I love love love social times but I won’t lie, I am really happy that I can be a house hermit right now! I will be found meditating, stretching, praying, moving my body and looking after my family. And just a little reminder for what it is worth …… kindness is not always free – sometimes it might actually cost us something……it might cost us valuing someone else’s health, be it their physical or mental health, more highly than we do the sound of our own voice.

Love Tash

COVID-19

We are incredibly fortunate as a nation. I mean we know that things aren’t perfect and many things across our country need to change. Sometimes those wheels of change turn slowly but I honestly believe in the goodness and kindness of Australians and I know that we are a fortunate country. We value mateship, we care about issues, we often pretend that we are chill over things while inwardly panicking/wishing we could fix it! We are currently experiencing the kind of restrictions across our beautiful homeland that we haven’t seen in over 100 years. So let’s talk about it for a minute. Calm, rational talk and not panic, fear or flippant disregard either 🙂

Our world is so connected now that we are privy to confronting images of how covid-19 has caught other countries off guard – and we can see these things as it happens. Personal stories are going viral, we have doctors posting blogs as they go through the stages virus themselves. We can read tales of joy and also of sorrow, minute by minute and these are easily accessed because of technology. I am sure that this saturation of information has driven the empty shelves in supermarkets and I am sure that it has driven the genuine sense of panic that seems to have gripped some and it is understandable.

We have had a Covid-19 family talk because the younger boys were hearing things at school. So we sat down and showed the boys Data – facts and figures and we talking about it all. Our youngest boy asked “Mummy have you lived in times like this before? Has the footy not had crowds and theatres been shut? And the shops so empty?” I looked into his big blue eyes and said “no sweetheart not in my lifetime and not in Nannies either but Your Grandnan used to tell me about rations and how they lived on limited resources during the war” it was a good talk. It was great to hear our kids concerns for others.

Steve and I were talking last night, and we discussed the fact that in this group we have so many members that have had or still do have health concerns that may be making them feel vulnerable. It’s okay to ask questions and it is okay to feel a sense of concern. I feel concerned for my grandfather – my last old darling left, I have other concerns too and those concerns are normal and natural. If you are on team – “meh it’s no big deal” – can I just suggest having a talk to the families of someone that has CF or other chronic illness, if we aren’t concerned for ourselves then we can and should be caring enough of others to want to do our part to slow Covid-19’s spread in Australia.

Unfortunately worry cannot fix one single thing in this situation! So that is a fairly pointless exercise. What we can do is be prepared. We can make sure we are taking what our specialist teams have told us to have in terms of vitamins, we can make sure that our diets are well balanced, make sure our protein is right, we can call up our elderly relatives and see if they are okay, or if they need anything. I have helped at least 5 older darlings this week when they were upset and unsure in the shops because so many things that they usually buy weren’t on the shelves. We can share out of our abundance if others need things, we can practise correct hand washing, we can be patient and we can be mindful that all of the current measures to slow down community transmissions may be an inconvenience but they are there to protect the vulnerable and they are worth protecting ♥️

Look after yourself and your loved ones today xx

#kindnessnotfear #covid19 #covid19australia

6 Months Post Plastics

WTF Wednesday – I am coming up on being 6 months post my first plastic surgery. I am honestly very much in two minds about doing it again. I need revision – That isn’t me saying it, although it was obvious straight after my first surgery that I wasn’t as I hoped I would be, that is my surgical team saying I require revision as I am often asked about my excess skin and truthfully I believe that the amount I had and have is typical for someone that has lost as much weight as I have and is now as light as I am – With the other factors like my age and the fact that I have 5 children.

When I look at things objectively I know that I need to go ahead with my revision surgery – for the sake of my skin as I age – this is because I am still prone to skin infections and skin tears but I still have misgivings. It was not a straight forward recovery for me and I have not shared everything on here because quite honestly I had PTSD resurface and still dislike talking about certain aspects of what I experienced.

My surgeons explained to me that in someone that has lost as much weight as I have, the skin is damaged and will likely sag again requiring revision. Thankfully this is not as invasive as the massive muscle repair and clean out of previous scar tissue and old seromas that happened the first time around.

I do love living life without the skin apron and I love my lifted mons but I hate the loose upper abdominal skin and the fact that it still manages to pull and rip! My side boobs are to be dealt with in the revision surgery as are my arms. I don’t hate my flappy arm bits but the side boob makes it impossible to wear correctly fitting bras and I wear compression to hold it in every day.

I think it’s fairly incredible the difference that 6 months had made – I still swell from time to time but for the most part it’s hard to explain the difference that not having the apron has made to my life in terms of how much less daily pain I experience.

So what did I have done? I had ETT with mons lift and corset muscle repair (my thighs lifted quite a lot from this part of the procedure)

Breast Lift, Breast reduction with fat transfer.

My surgery was completed by Misters Ian Holten and Raf Acosta from Australian Skin Face Body in Geelong.

Good – Better – Fricken Awesome

Today has been a good day. It wasn’t particularly remarkable as such. It was a day – I woke early, had the kids off to school, went out for coffee with a new friend. I came home, did some uni prep, worked for a while, cooked and managed to distract myself when I felt like I was becoming overwhelmed. All in all it was good.

Today I feel the most like me that I have in months. I think I have realised that I just have to accept some things and I have been able to find peace in doing that. So what is next for me. Uni is what is next. Letting my passions drive me forward. Loving my family harder, and I am now seriously thinking about my next surgery. It is penciled in for August. That will be here before we know it.

I can hear you all saying “what is wrong with you why would you even consider more surgery”. Well basically my arm skin tore the other day. Like as if I had the skin integrity of someone twice my age. I don’t want to live like that for the rest of my life. So I am considering where I need to be physically and emotionally for that to happen. Exciting and scary at once – I won’t do it unless I am in good shape for it but it is now on the horizon.

I am also very eagerly looking towards the future and new and exciting opportunities that are opening up before me! Oh come on life – its time for some good things.

Let’s Be Honest

Always be a little afraid when I start out with a title like “Lets Be Honest” because I intend to pull no punches today. This is raw and uncut and I am not going to delete this because I am concerned that it may offend. Haha – I know right – people think that I just say it and you know what, I often don’t. I have come to understand that over the years sometimes the best way for me to be kind is for me to be quiet but today isn’t a quiet kind of day.

So it’s Sunday morning – and in spite of my misgivings concerning the institution that is “the church” and what I know of is underbelly, having served in leadership capacities within numerous branches of it, for 25 years of my life, I am usually found in church on a Sunday morning. Come hell (haha did you see what I did there) or high water – there are some truths that I believe as much as I believe that we breathe oxygen, that gravity keeps us on the planet and toilet paper is in short supply because in Australia, clearly the worst thing that can happen is that we can’t wipe our arses with our usual “love ya bum” brand of loo paper should the corona virus cause mass quarantine measures – and those truths are as much a part of me as my arms and legs are. Truths like, I love people, I love God etc. At the moment while my world feels like it is upside down, those are the things that I cling on to.

This morning I lay in bed, unable to motivate myself to do my usual Sunday thing. This is the reason why. I am not okay at the moment. I don’t want to be fake, pretend to smile and be happy clappy. I will be, (not fake and happy clappy oh my lawd that part of me has thankfully been put to rest) eventually okay, but right now I’m not. This is also not a cry for attention or help or anything else – OH my Gosh it is not a cry for those things. When I feel like this I am happy to be left alone. I don’t like to be a burden to others and honestly I am hard work right now. I know I am and I don’t want to inflict myself upon anybody. But I also know that there is nothing to be said that will help.

This simple statement “I am not okay” carries with it soooooooooo many different reasons why – but the most obvious and relevant to this blog is my weight, or lack thereof. Physically, my weight has fallen to the lowest that it has been in my adult life. It’s because of stress. This is alarming and yes I am concerned. Have you seen me lately in person? I wear kids size 9 jeans and its not for lack of eating that my weight has fallen – yeah I can’t eat a lot but I do eat! So we are back to fighting for the calories to be enough that the weight loss will stop. The dietician has given me ideas, the psychologist has given me ideas, the well meaning yet inappropriate receptionist at the doctors office gave me ideas, the rude lady at Coles who told me that I clearly don’t eat the chips so could I move over, in the chip aisle clearly had ideas ……. but honestly what I need the most is calm. I need peace and for things to just be a little slower for a while.

Sometimes there isn’t a quick fix or an answer that can be reached by just clicking our fingers. Sometimes we walk through valleys and that takes time and hopefully we learn whatever it is that we need to learn while we are walking that path. It’s human nature to want things fixed instantly. We crave resolution and we like to have things where we want them to be but that isn’t always possible. Sometimes we have to just hold space in our hard seasons and look at what we can learn about ourselves. I am looking at me and hoping and praying that I become a better, kinder and more authentic person through this season. I have walked through a lot of valleys in my life. It’s always easy to be jovial when you are on your mountain tops but when it is valley time there seems to be a perception that there is something wrong with us. I have learned that I am NOT BROKEN because I am struggling. Everyone does, some people are just more honest about it than others. “Oh she is always down lately”. Well perhaps some shit things have taken place and there is no fixing it, its a valley. And they happen in life. We don’t generally run through valleys. Have you ever physically walked through one? I have and one thing that I have noticed nearly everyone does in that kind of space is make noise because it echos back! In my valley times I make noise, I cry, I question everything, I am filled with all kinds of fears and self doubt BUT I have also learned that what I truly believe is eventually what comes out, I have grown in the valley because I had to learn to trust myself!

Initially I yell and scream and listen to my own echo, I feel sorry for myself that I am here in the valley (why the hell can’t we live our life from one spectacular victory to another ….. it would be so much less messy) annnnnnnd – Then I usually wish that someone would help me out of the damn valley and simultaneously have my” holy shit” I’m in a valley realisation. By the time I reach that point I am actively looking to change whatever in ME that needs to change to walk out of that season – ultimately it just takes time to traverse that valley. That’s were I am at right now and I know that this too shall pass. I know that valleys come and before I know it I will be climbing mountains again but right now I am walking slowly, working on hard things in me. Sorry that this isn’t all unicorn farts and rainbows but that crap isn’t real. Real people go through shit things – those things don’t define us – how we rise and keep walking forward says more about who we are and where our hope is anchored to than anything else.

Love Tash