Today I braved the icy winter winds and gloomy skies that chill me to the bone and dragged myself outside. Winters in Victoria are glorious and brutal at exactly the same time. They are icy cold but so captivatingly beautiful. Autumn leaves are often late to fall, as if they are trying their very hardest to cling to the last vestiges of light and warmth, before they turn all the warm russet shades and fall to the cold earth below. Sitting on my back deck, I was admiring the final few leaves that are clinging to a branch overhanging our back fence and I got to thinking ….. What was I waiting for? I really can relate to those leaves. In fact I was that one stubborn leaf 🍂 🍁 determined to cling to the old branch even though it was not providing me with what I needed anymore. I didn’t understand some really basic principles that I arrogantly thought I knew and lived out. Have you ever had a moment like that? A moment when you see yourself and your past actions for what they were? Well that was me – looking at myself, and wanting to flick myself in the forehead for being so silly!
Sometimes everything that we thought we knew and everything about how we used to live has to die in order for something new to happen. How many times have we dreamed of a different life? Something different or better or bolder or just a totally different path but. That BUT is the killer of more dreams than anything else. I would and have stubbornly breathed life into things that I should have stopped trying to revive. For me, that “but” was the mean girl in my head. The self loathing voice of my insecurities, my feelings of inaedequecy and the deep, visceral feelings of my darkest fears. Every time I tried to walk out from under those things, something would hold me back and I would keep breathing life into hurtful patterns.
I used to foolishly shirk the responsibility for my failure to move forward. It is easy to shift the blame when we want to make up a story as to why things are as they are. It is easy to say, I don’t have time. Or I will when Blah Blah happens. For me, those lines were a bullshit excuse to never make a change. I can own that now because it is the truth. Ultimately I liked being the stubborn leaf, clinging lifelessly to a branch that no longer served me. It is easy to fool yourself into believing that you have adopted a faith filled stance on your future when really you are just deluding yourself into believing something that is not true.
The day that I took responsibility for my future was the day that my story changed. I stopped allowing myself to have the luxury of excuses. I composted my dried out, leafy self and decided that I was okay with not being attached to things, situations, organisations and people that left me feeling dry and hollow inside. This little leaf was going to see the world – even if that meant that everything was different, including me. It was a bit of a baptism of fire, letting go of a carefully cultivated substrate and seeing what, if anything, would grow from the shredded shit pile pieces of my personal life. I am not referring to my marriage or my children – they are the best things that have ever happened for me. I am referring to me, to my personal growth, my development and the things that I dreamed for myself. Shock, horror, it’s okay to have dreams for myself! It is okay and normal to want things! The key thing that I kept reminding myself was that “I refuse to continue doing the same things because I do NOT want more of the same in my life.”
So much of my life before I had weight loss surgery was a watered down version of me. I can number on my hands those that know me fully. I have been very good at throwing up versions of myself to others. I have finally realised that is truly no way to live. There is a joy that comes from authentically living – from being who we really are and allowing ourselves to be known. Well that is just a joy that I have never experienced until now.
Just this morning I was sitting with my close friend of nearly a decade and she said to me “I think you are more yourself now than I have ever known you to be” I thanked her profusely because “she sees me” we had not been face to face for nearly 5 months because of Covid and she doesn’t do social media but she could tell that I have changed without me saying a word about it and that is the greatest compliment anyone could ever have given me. I don’t want to be the watered down version of myself anymore. I don’t want to be so afraid of what people may think that I am too worried to be myself. I don’t want to act out of past hurts and pains. I don’t want to hurt others because of my previous hurts and I needed to change. So I have.
As my good friend sat in front of me, knowing that she truly knows me, and she does – with all of my many failings and also my many strengths I still get shocked that she still loves me! When you have people in your life who see you, the real you, and love you, well they are precious people! The raw real me had some very ugly parts. She saw me clinging to a branch that no longer served me. She encouraged me to not give up when I composted myself and walked through the darkest time of my life. She was the friend who refused to accept me fobbing her off. I was extremely persuasive!! She was the friend who ignored me when I said “don’t come over, I can’t talk today”. She was the friend that refused to allow me to push her away and gosh I am grateful for her. I am truly blessed because I have a number of friends and family like that. Those incredible people that have said “I know you and I believe in you, yes you are ugly crying and you can’t see a way forward but there is and I will not let you just stop here”.
Just last week something happened and my friends and family rallied around me, loved on me and one of those closest to me said “I will not let you go back to your past ways of dealing with this – we are going through, I won’t let you give up, we can’t stop here”. We need people like that in our lives. So little leaf – even though it is scary, let yourself see the world. It may look different to what you thought, and it might not be what you planned but that doesn’t mean it won’t be wonderful. Be brave and dare to be the person that you truly are on the inside.
Weight loss surgery has changed more than a number on the scales. It has transformed so many parts of my life.