Kindness

Today was hard. My blood sugar was low right from my first waking moment. I don’t enjoy checking it, I hate the smell of blood. It reminds me of my time in the ICU last year. I am reminded of blood transfusions and life saving surgery in the middle of the night. I can feel my pulse quicken and I know it’s PTSD. So I just sit still and I try to push the panic down. I haven’t actually found the words to say that out loud to anyone in my family yet. I know it means I’m a little bit broken so I just continue on with the test. 3.8 great 😔 my blood sugar will fall from there when I drink my coffee ….. it will fall when I eat or drink anything so the medication will need to do its job this morning.

As is his custom, Steve brought a coffee and my bariatric multivitamins in to our room at around 6:30 am and I sat – trying not to feel frightened by the appearance of my favourite beverage. My endocrinologist has explained a couple of medical conditions to me – we are treating one and it is everyone’s hope that I am going to quickly respond. So I drank my coffee. I think I do feel better than I was feeling so we are taking that as a positive sign. Taking so many tablets each day is a very strange and foreign concept for me and I feel the symptoms of hypo number 1 for the day coming on at 8:00am. I know what the feeling is now – I thought it was all just in my imagination, a lack of sleep, stress or a combination of all of those things. I was wrong – All along it was blood sugar. It has even had me casting my mind back to last year – wondering if that is really when all of this started … I think it probably was.

I seem to have muddled my way through the morning. Helping the kids when they need me, working and then having my doctors appointment. My GP, I am fairly certain, is some kind of saint. He always listens to me with compassion and totally agrees with my specialist that I must not be driving while my blood sugar is still prone to such terrible lows. This isn’t what I wanted to hear but I know it is the safe and responsible thing. This also means that we need another driver in the family pronto. Dr. Mendes has written a note to that effect. Now we just have to hope that Vic Roads will give Aramis the medical exemption that he needs to get his P’s immediately so that my inability to drive doesn’t affect everyone so terribly.

After that I was feeling fairly low, sad, like a burden and useless. These are feelings that I am not a stranger to. They were my constant companions when I was big. I hate it when they reappear now that I am meant to be living my very best life …. then there was a knock on my front door and a delivery from a lady that I have met via a Facebook page that I help to run. We are nudging 36 thousand members and I truly believe that they are the most inspiring humans I have ever had the privilege to know. Serving the weight loss surgery community is such a passion in my life and I do it because I love watching people’s lives transform. Anyway … the postie handed me the package and when I opened it I was just so touched that someone thought of me. I was even more blown away by the timing of the delivery.

Someone’s kindness changed my whole day. It reminded me of the goodness of people. 💞

The Cost

Let’s talk for a minute about the Cost of Bariatric Surgery. Many of us pay quite a sum just to have our surgery in the first place. But the costs that are ongoing are something that we don’t really talk about a lot. That’s not to say that WLS isn’t one of the best descisions I have ever made because it is!! But these are things I didn’t think of beforehand. Some of the things that I have replaced because of weight loss surgery include the following.

  1. My mattress – I was in pain from lying in my “big me” sized mattress hole.
  2. All my shoes – I am now 2 sizes smaller
  3. All of my underwear 4 times over as I found out the hard way one can’t wear undies that are too big and not risk them falling off in public – yep it really happened 🤦🏻‍♀️
  4. My car seat – this is a weird one and I upgraded my car because it needed an upgrade anyway BUT the drivers seat was broken because of my bum and my weight.
  5. My lounge suite because I broke it 😔
  6. My dining chair – I am going to have to replace the set but am making do for now.
  7. My entire wardrobe because going from a size 24/26 to a size 4/6 means that nothing from bigger me fits me anymore.
  8. My supplements and vitamins ongoing but for me the cost of my weekly food and vitamins and supplements is still less than what I used to spend per week on my food (I ate a lot).
  9. Skin removal surgery – this shot of me there with the excess skin is current. That is after my radical tummy tuck – obviously I require revision surgery because my surgeon thought that a radical tummy tuck would be enough but it wasn’t. When you have as much excess skin as me it is unpredictable how it will respond.
  10. New glasses coz the old ones fall off my face 😳
This is me now

As for the plastics, I don’t disclose how much my surgery cost, but the following is a rough guide per area of the body and what you might expect to pay (after private health insurance and Medicare covers the hospital costs and a small payment to the surgeon and the gas doctor) THESE ARE AUSTRALIAN PRICES
$1k-$7k is considered low cost.
$7k-$11k is mid range.
$12k and over is high range.
That is the gap payment as plastic surgeons will charge you a gap fee even if skin removal is deemed medically necessary. The gaps vary from surgeon to surgeon. My recommendation is ONLY USE a PLASTIC SURGEON. If you have private health insurance are in NSW or don’t mind traveling, google ‘The Access Program’ if you want a lower cost option.

Would I do it again? Heck yes! Over and over!! I have a life now and I am so grateful for it.

Me yesterday and me a lifetime ago
My dangly skin before I had it chopped off

ET and I are mates 😉

Behind The Wall

Sitting silently by the tiny school room door on an old, rickety wooden bench, painted white long ago but now turning shades of dirty grey. She sat in silence, dark blue eyes downcast, not daring to peek around the lunch space she sat in . The clicking of lunch box lids and scrunchy sound of plastic wrap filled the air. She felt her heart flutter harder in her chest as she heard the dragging sounds of foot steps coming toward her and her hands were suddenly slick with anxiety. She traced the grainy wood with her finger tips, hoping against hope that today might be different and he would leave her alone.

The uniform and my darling little brother

She was uncomfortable in her uniform. It was made specially for her because they didn’t make the school dresses in her size. As she moved her neck slightly against its stiff collar, the rough cotton fabric felt hot and horrible against her skin, while the front zipper made her feel nervous, as she absent-mindedly twiddled it between her fingers. Keen to distract herself she turned her attentions to her lunch box, knowing full well that the sound of it clicking open would queue her tormentor. Dreading the taunts that she knew would follow, she hung her head in shame, waiting for the name calling to start. It was predictable and it was relentless, every single lunch time was the same. She felt herself stiffen as his words washed over her again “hey fatso, you don’t need to eat that. Why don’t you stop eating? You are the size of an elephant” and on and on it would go, until the eating portion of lunch time ended.

Thankfully the bully had a short attention span and the pull of the the ramshackle playground that lay beyond the creaky, rust covered gate, would draw him away from her for a few minutes. She wasn’t brave enough to venture into the playground, she knew what happened every other time that she tried. “No Elephants allowed in here” they would say and she would hurry back to the little wooden bench by the classroom door and sit as still as she possibly could, hoping that no one would notice her, wanting to blend into the wall. This was her daily routine and she hated it. Thankfully she was clever enough that she had her work completed early and could leave early. This was a special arrangement struck by her Mumma and she lived for the moments when she saw her arrive to take her away from the place of torment.

A few weeks passed and the breaks in between her classes would always follow the same awful trend. The little girls misery was mounting by the day, she begged to stay home but when she wasn’t allowed to, she hoped that they would just leave her alone. It didn’t happen right away, but help would come from the most unlikely place. Help came in the form of the sweetest little boy, who started to sit by her on her little wooden seat near the class room door. His big blue eyes, blonde hair and cherubic features would win anyone over but his kindness was by far his best feature. He said the words that she couldn’t say, defended her from their taunts and, as if by magic, the bullies left her alone. Sure they still said horrible things, but it wasn’t as bad anymore because she wasn’t alone. They were 6 years old.

And so it would continue through primary school. How does one ever adequately thank the person that made ones life a little less hellish and a lot more happy if you never have the opportunity to say the words? Many years later, long after she had grown, his kindness remained as one of the features of her childhood and, never wanting to forget that, she named one of her children after him. That act stood as reminder to herself that there are good people in the world. We should acknowledge them, appreciate them and most of all BE them.

I learned very early in my life that people can be prejudice. My weight was the start of many missed opportunities but the response of others to my weight was far more damaging. I was good at sidelining myself but it hurt so much more when others did it to me. Imagine if you will, a tiny brick wall. It all starts with one brick. Imagine that each insult or fat slur is a brick. Now imagine what a young child does to protect their heart from the hurt of each word that is hurled in their direction. For me, I turned those insults into bricks and I built something to protect myself. That wall grew larger and larger with each year that passed. Eventually I didn’t have a wall anymore, I had a fortress.

I had constructed around my heart, something that I had hoped would help to shield me from the pain of the prejudice that was thrown my way. Fat shaming is real – just look at memes across the internet but for goodness sake never share them with me – I will call you out on that shit. Prejudice is real, just look at how often the plus sized mother or father is not featured in the family ads that run on TV, at your club or in your church news reel. Does it ever strike you as odd that all sizes are not represented? There is a reason for that and it really annoys the crap out of me!!

There is however a problem with walls that we build around ourselves, yes it keeps others out but it took a long time for me to realise that I had trapped myself behind that wall too. So the last 2 years, as I have shrunk, I am making a conscious effort to dismantle that wall. It is easy to go through life with our faces on, but it is another thing to be authentic and real. It is another thing to say, yes this is me and I am a little bit broken, a little bit screwed up but I am still good. I want to know you and I hope you want to know me too. Not the faces we put on for others – the real authentic parts of ourselves that I used to be frightened to show to others. I am not frightened anymore because time has taught me one very powerful lesson and that is that we are all like the rest of us. I know you aren’t all together either and thats okay – we are all doing our best.

As I dismantled the wall around my heart I found that I had been trapping some of the best parts of myself – what a journey it has been. It’s nice to out from behind that thing!

6th of May 2020 🌟🌟Warning GRAPHIC SURGICAL PIC🌟🌟

We are approaching the 2 year mark! On the 18th of June, it will be 2 years since I had RNY – Gastric Bypass. It has been a strange time. The changing, the growing, the turning into a different version of me. Dealing with the demons in my past and letting go of things and people that I didn’t want to let go of. In short – life is very different. But different, I am learning, can be a gift – it all depends how you look at it. The wonderful thing about choice is that we get the chance to move ourselves from where we are and position ourselves to have every possible chance to make life long changes.

2 years ago, wow, there is absolutely no way that I imagined that I would be where I am at right now. Getting to be an Australian size 4-6 was NEVER ever part of my plan. I had thought that it would be wonderful to be perhaps a size 12-14 if possible. I have enjoyed so many wonderful and unexpected blessings along the way to being a healthier me. Over the last 7 months I have noticed marked changes. Those who know me best can attest to this also. I have tried to put my finger on what triggered it. I have tried to work and reason it out, mostly without success – until I was chatting with one of a hand full of people that I consider to be part of my inner circle. That circle has 6 people in it. They are the people that I trust unquestioningly and that I know, like I know that I know that I know, love me, without judgement and that I talk to nearly on a daily basis. Here is what has come from our talk.

I realised that I have not allowed myself to process AT ALL, the fact that I was on deaths door when I had my plastic surgery last year. I had a radical tummy tuck with mons lift and muscle repair and a breast lift, reduction and fat grafting. Now I know that we can’t dwell on things because that isn’t healthy, but I am damaged by what happened to me and not dealing with that trauma isn’t healthy either. I need to talk about it so here goes.

I guess I knew it, like……… I knew that I was very very sick. But in truth I didn’t want to admit how close I came to not being here anymore. I didn’t want to have to think about any of it!!! I tried to avoid it, however I can now see that it has changed me in the most profound ways. When I was lying in the ICU, surrounded by doctors trying to get lines in to me and keep my oxygen levels from dipping any lower than they already were, they were asking me “Who should we call for you, do you understand what is happening, you are very very calm, are you sure you understand what is happening”. I am scary calm under pressure. When I was young this was NOT the case. But years change people and I don’t get loud or dramatic now. I go stone cold ….. but this wasn’t that – I was awake to what was happening!

In that moment did I understand what was going on? Yes of course I did. I was fully informed of my risks prior to my surgery. I knew that the massive blood vessels that used to feed my fat had not shrunk and that I had an increased risk of bleeding because of it. I knew that I had internal bleeding. I knew that they had to stabilise me before they moved me to the icu and I knew that the nurse looking after me stayed well past the end of her shift to hold my hand until they moved me. She had caught my head the second time I fainted and when I woke, lying in a crumpled mess of blood and my own urine she was still holding me. (Fun fact, when you pass out, if you need to pee …. well you just do.)She also carefully cut my blood and pee soaked night gown off me – it was too far gone to be kept. She reassured me that she would stay with me until ICU had me and she did. So I knew from those things that it wasn’t good. I have had a lot of surgery, been in hospitals a lot and I knew this was not a “usual” thing. Nurses are incredible people, they see that type of stuff on a daily basis and remain caring and thorough in their care. But she was going far beyond normal.

Pec muscles with skin hanging under it
After surgery with fat transfer – 7 months later all of the fat is gone, my body has eaten it all!!!

After the ICU stint and additional surgery was over, I eventually came back to the ward days later and found that my story had preceded me. One of the nurses that had been responsible for my care on the day it all happened, came, found me, hugged me and told me she was so glad that I was alright. I remembered her on sight and called her by name. She said “oh you remember!” I said “Yes, the doctor told me to focus on your faces and not let myself float off!” So that is what I did. There was a long period of time where they couldn’t get my blood pressure to read or find a pulse. That was not great. This was during the time when they were trying to stabilise me. I kept wanting to shut my eyes and sleep but they told me it wouldn’t be sleep if I did that so I had to stay awake.

Those pin cushion times

I knew what that meant. I fought to not let myself float off and tried so very hard to stay with them. Loud shoutings of my name brought me round time and time again. Multiple failures to locate veins because my body didn’t want to cooperate didn’t even bother me, I was being jabbed with needles and I didn’t care. I was fading away and I knew I was. In that moment I made some decisions. I did decide that if I woke up after the emergency surgery I needed to stop the internal bleeding, I was not going to live my life afraid of what people would think of me anymore. I wasn’t going to wear any type of face to please others and that I was going to be kind and assume the best of people no matter what.

So did I understand what was happening? Yes, I absolutely knew and I told the very lovely doctor that yes I understood, and as she held my hand she made no promises – which I appreciated! I loved the fact that she didn’t say to me “oh don’t even worry, you will be fine!” Because I was bleeding out on the inside and I wasn’t fine! I like real and value it when people don’t bullshit me.

An early look at how much excess skin I still had after my tummy tuck – it is worse now. My boobs are empty again and don’t have that amount of fullness as my body has consumed the fat that the doctor put into them when he did the reduction and lift.

No one of my contacts that the intensivist called were answering – it was 1 am so naturally people were asleep, but they were anxious to let someone know that I was not okay. In that moment my mind was drawn to the person that I knew would not answer me and as tears rolled down my face and my heart broke a little bit more than it had before, I knew who would answer me, I called my Dad. When I was a kid and was hit by a car he knew something was the matter and was frantically trying to get info before anyone knew what had happened. The phone rang once and he answered with “hello baby are you okay!” The intensivist was holding the phone to my ear as I said “no Dad I’m not, please keep calling Steve, try to wake someone up. They are taking me back to theatre, I love you Dad I have to go” and with that I ended the call. The doctor finally managed to get my Aramis to answer and he spoke to the doctor and went and got his dad. Steve ran into the ICU as I was being wheeled through the doors to go to theatre. Do they call families in to the hospital at 1:00 am very often? Well I already know the answer to that. They don’t. They had told me that I may be kept sedated – it would depend how things went. I don’t really remember waking up but I know it was hours later and I know that Steve was there all night waiting for me. Then he had to go, after sitting up all night waiting for news of me, to get the boys and drive them to Melbourne to the airport to catch their flights.

When I saw Steve’s face at around 11am that day the look of exhaustion and concern was so evident to me. He had arrived back from the airport to sit beside my bed in the ICU. I just wanted to cry for him. I know what it is like to sit in one of those rooms watching machines and listening for alarms that were going off very frequently. No family nearby to help him and carrying the weight of everything on his shoulders. Thankfully my Dad made provisions to take time off work and flew from the Gold Coast to Geelong to be with Steve and I. Our boys were being loved on by family in QLD and I got to rest, heal and think about all of the ways I would rewrite my story. I was going to really live! No more bench sitting! And most of all, how I would stop pulling my punches. So in that spirit let me tell you that the skin removal and tummy tuck surgery has changed my life and it was worth it BUT it was really fricken hard and many tears were shed over the process of my recovery! I didn’t know I could cry so much or that I would emerge from this so changed.

I am excited for the next chapter of my story. I am looking forward to how the rest of 2020 will unfold. Let’s face it – the first part has been less than ideal but I am getting ready for a comeback story! I am dreaming of days with family and friends, living with intention and purpose, being kinder and more open, taking less and giving more. Xx

No More Wallowing

There are a couple of things that have been on my mind lately and as always I am wanting to open up a dialogue about them. I can remember when I was first contemplating WLS again back in 2017. This was after my failed and horrendous lap band fiasco at the hands of a surgeon in QLD. I had my doubts that WLS was really going to be a good idea for me and I also wondered how effective it would be in the long term.

I do not jump into things without truck loads of research first. I read medical journal posts, I read the Monash studies, I read the US medical pages, I read THOUSANDS of posts from sites all over the globe (yes I am the info lover)!!! I read posts from normal people, like you and me, who typed things like “60lbs gone forever” “70 kilos gone for good” and I used to wonder, “wow is that true? What makes that true? I know people that have had WLS and regained……. so what is the difference? How do we define success?” On and on and on my questions would go. That rabbit hole does have a bottom but it probably isn’t always popular to talk about.

Eventually I got past asking my 56 billion questions because I was so tired of my life becoming more and more limited by my ever growing size! I also realised that no one, no surgeon, no matter how spotless their reputation, no WLS guru, no body could tell me that I was going live a complication free, thin life for the rest of my life after surgery! I wanted, for years, to not be responsible for my outcome. I was actually looking for some kind of reassurance that bypass or The Switch would be my “golden ticket” and I would be able to keep up my unhealthy relationship with food – just eat less of it. If I am honest, and it is only in the last few days that I have been bold enough to admit that my TOTAL reason for delaying having WLS again after my band was because I was frightened that I would have to change my relationship with food and I didn’t want to.

Finally I got to the point where I decided that any weight loss, however small, had to help! So in June of 2018 I bit the bullet, jumped up onto the operating table and had RNY. Since then I have learned a lot of different things! One of the most frustrating is that there isn’t a standard “one size fits most” approach in the way to walk the journey after WLS. Everyone has different thoughts and opinions – this makes it so interesting but it also can be very scary and frustrating at times. What I have learned is that I cannot eat the same diet I used to have and expect that my results will be good in the long term. What I eat has changed and will never be the same again. I have learned that for me – changing my relationship with food would transform my whole life.

I have learned that food is not my comfort, my treat or my friend, it’s just a tool to fuel my body and I have learned that I have to face my emotional shit and I hate that part!! I don’t eat my feelings anymore. This has been harder than I bargained for but I know it will pay off in the long run. I have also learned that sometimes their are complications that we just have to work through!! I didn’t plan to get as thin as I have so that has taken some adjusting to. But I am grateful for an amazing team and brilliant friend here that support me.

It is not about being a certain weight or a size for me. It’s about knowing how to work with my body, giving it what it needs to be healthy and how to be resilient when the challenges come. It is about keeping in mind the reason that I did this and understanding that I am not a powerless victim of circumstances. I decide how this story plays out so if I am knocked down then it’s on me to get back up. I have been knocked down for a few months now but I am back up again 🙂 I didn’t want to get back up. My heart has been broken and I wanted to stay down and stay hurting. What woke me is I have seen the way that my kids have been broken. The tears of my boys are the fuel that drives me and they NEED to see me get up, so I am! It’s okay to feel a bit lost at times, and it’s okay to say “I need help” it is also good when you can finally see clearly again. We got this guys and I refuse to wallow anymore.

On The Table

Motivation Monday! If you haven’t danced like a crazy girl in a pink wig on a table top and don’t have a rainbow wall and a disco ball in your dining room have you really lived ?? 🤣

You know, this isolation business is hard but for me, it’s the safest thing for me to do. That kick arse, beyond terrified of failing – but still brave enough to do it anyway, tired of being downtrodden, bigger version of me went through far too much to be here in this moment, for me to waste even a single day! I lived a shell of a life for the best part of two decades and I used my size to sideline myself from the fun, the crazy, the silly and the things that I wanted to do! It is hard right now but don’t let our current circumstances suck every bit of joy out of life. You are worth celebrating right now! You have breath in your lungs! You have the power to decide to make the very best of today. I may feel heart broken and I might be struggling but I will not let those things rob me of the joy of living in the moment. Life is full of mountain tops and valley experiences and if you are in a valley – well get on the damn table with me and let hope fill you up. Better days ARE coming xx

Frizzy

My hair was being frizzy that day and I can remember snapping a pic and thinking later “holy shit, Could I be any uglier if I tried” after that photo it was nearly a year before I would take a picture of myself again and I refused to have my picture taken. My heart breaks for that brave, amazing woman. She went for 90 job interviews over a 2 year period and had no success but first 2 interviews I went for after my WLS I was offered both jobs. She felt that she deserved to be overlooked for things because “hey, I’m fat and I hate me so why would anyone else want me around” she was frustrated by her life and so sad on a daily basis BUT SHE REFUSED TO GIVE UP!!! I was terrified after failed lap band, to have surgery again, it took me 10 years to get my courage up but it was worth it. I haven’t had an easy time of things but I would do it again, and again and again to have the life that I have now. If you are in your deciding phase about making a life change, I promise it’s worth it!! If you have to wait until this pandemic passes I’m so sorry for the wait but thankfully you are smart and won’t waste a decade of your life like I did! Thank you Friends and family for all of your love and inspiration.

Binge Eating

Over the past few weeks life has been difficult here. I have struggled terribly with some personal situations and quite honestly I have wanted to fall back into old habits. It is easy to be virtuous and a lover of all things health, when no one is asking you hard questions, when your heart isn’t breaking, and when you feel well able to cope with life. This is not my current experience.

For 33 years (I was about 10 when my eating disorder began to manifest itself) I have been aware that I used food to help me with inner turmoil. I was anorexic by the time I was 11 and I suffered with bulimia well into my late 30’s. Binge eating was a way of life for me.

The best way to explain the way that it felt to binge is that it took me into a place of calm. The things on my mind melted away and I focused my attention on the joy that would come from my next mouthful. I would open my mouth and feel my troubles start to slip to the back of my mind. The food was the thing that frequently calmed my anxiety and I used it ALL DAY EVERY DAY. That is how I became as large as I was. I was a closet eater. It was kind of obvious that I loved eating – You don’t get to be this size because you don’t eat. 👇🏻

I have spoken to so many people that tell me “I don’t eat much, I don’t know why I am so big” Excluding medical reasons – consuming more calories than we burn IS how we are overweight. It sucks but it’s true 😫 It doesn’t kid anyone when we don’t take responsibility. I thought that I was fooling everyone and nearly had myself convinced that my little problem wasn’t really that bad. I cannot believe how much I used to eat on a daily basis. I consumed at LEAST 3500 to 4500 calories a day. I can now cop to my dysfunctional relationship with food AND just when I felt I was getting a good grasp on it all, I have found that I could easily fall back into damaging habits given the “perfect storm” set of circumstances.

Over the last few days I have felt an overwhelming urge to eat. The urge has been at the same level that it used to be. I have wanted so badly to just put food in my mouth and feel my worries melt away. It isn’t logical or rational to think that food will fix anything and I know that but I hate feeling like I do. I have struggled with my mental health in recent days. I felt myself slipping and struggled with depression. The difference is that I CANNOT eat the volume of food required to give me that calm feeling anymore. So what do I do now?

My coping strategies haven’t been keeping up with the levels of stress. And that is how I identify that I need help. Right now it seems like smashing a tub of ice cream or eating a few cheese and bacon pies would be a good idea 🤣🤣 My post WLS reality is that I can fit half a cup of food in per meal, so I can’t do what I want to do. It frustrates me and has caused me to feel unusually overwhelmed. I have tried a lot of things ….. I am currently at a Trauma Psychologist waiting for my appointment along with my kids, I am working out, I am letting myself feel the negative emotions and letting myself cry. I have struggled to do that because of years and years of being accused of overreacting. Well 🖕🏻 to everyone that ever said that to me – I am just as entitled to emotions as the next person 💞 In this hard time I have found such kindness and I am grateful to the kind souls in my life that have been there for me and for my family. This is still a victory story and I am thankful for where I am at – but I am also thankful that I am not stopping right here.

Hard days do pass and no matter how black and dark things seem there is Hope. For me right now, lots of redirecting my thoughts, lots of keeping myself occupied with other things and lots of giving my brain other – positive things to work on. I don’t feel positive and please don’t bother whopping me with the Jesus stick. I can out quote most anyone I know with Bible and would bash myself with it if I thought it would help at the moment.

So for me today – Hope looks like thinking about my birthday and not totally hating the idea of celebrating it. Even though it’s hard right at this moment. All Gluten free cake suggestions and recipes warmly welcomed. Oh and does anyone have any great blogs that I could read on indoor plants. I am not overly great at caring for them but I am hoping to improve!

Real

I have contemplated writing this piece for a loooooooooooong time. I wondered if I actually needed to write this or if it was something that I felt like I wanted to put out there into the universe. After sitting on this for a couple of months I have decided that I need to write it so here goes………..I appear to live my life very much up front and authentically when I am recounting my experiences here, in blog form. I tend towards brutal, sometimes self depreciating honesty that can, in actual fact, make some people really uncomfortable. Authenticity and openness is a truth that I cling to and something that I struggled to live out for a very long time. The truth is, I can’t write if it isn’t my truth. There is an anti/BS filter that it would seem I have been fitted with or perhaps I was even born with – I just don’t do fake well. If it isn’t resonating with what I believe then I just don’t say anything. My writing will dry up when I feel like I am unable to be honest. I have a prior experience with the well of creativity drying up – I was silent via all creative mediums for years. These days, I refuse to be less than authentic – it’s just a stand that I have taken.

The facts are – I spent far too long bull shitting for people who would not even walk across the road for me. For a long time I was so sad about wasted years and berated myself for being loyal and valuing that more than my own peace of mind – but over the past few months I find myself profoundly grateful for those years! I am thankful and life-alteringly filled with gratitude for that moment of beautiful clarity, when I knew beyond a doubt, that change was needed but it had to start with ME! I am grateful for the struggles and the pain because of the changes that they have caused to take place in my heart and in my life.

If you are looking for a change because you blame others, if you are eyeing everything around you through a filter of criticism and fault finding – can I suggest that living life that way is like sitting down with a virus and then being horrified when you become sick! What is worse still is that once infected, we spread it to everyone that we come into contact with. That was me, that was my unhappy story. I allowed myself to be toxic and only I can change that and I have changed it. In those days I traded authenticity for a happy clappy, superficial fakeness. It makes me sad to think that I was once so concerned with the opinions of others and needed that validation so much that I was prepared to bastardise my own values to gain it. Things changed profoundly for me a few years ago and even more so over the last 12 months! I can say that what I do now is done out of love and not out of a misguided loyalty or a sense of duty. Being the person that we know we are supposed to be, being authentic, genuine, open hearted and loving will ALWAYS be far more attractive than being a stressed out mess, terrified of failing to adequately perform for all “the right people”. This is for free, if “the right people” don’t adore you as you are, see your potential and champion you, build you up and make you feel better about yourself ….. well I would question if the are “the right people” at all! Don’t get me wrong – being made to feel shame for who you are is NOT the same thing as being challenged to rise because your future is calling you. It is possible to be challenged to be more without being made to feel like you are a failure.

I didn’t write for years because of something that someone I really looked up to, said to me. He asked me “why would anyone want to read anything you have to say, who qualified you to write?” At the time those words plunged me into a mass of self doubt and endless questioning of my own abilities. I wish someone would ask me those things now 😂😂 I have such a passionate, life filled response that I am probably a little too eager to unleash! I even look back on that interaction and see less offensive intent and more of a question being posed that I needed to answer for myself. It’s funny how life changes us, its funny how experience makes us more seasoned and gives us understanding. Finding purpose does that! It bubbles inside of us, it motivates us when nothing else can and it empowers us to look beyond discouragement and all of the other things that stand in our way and gives us the strength to keep going. Don’t give up today.

Right now I am so profoundly grateful for my life. I am thankful xx

Looking Myself in the Eye

Yesterday was a great day – Not for all of those loved up Valentines Day reasons. I will let you in on a secret – I haven’t actually celebrated it………as in really felt the Valentines day love and had a Valentines day party/bash in about 13 years! Sure there has been the token card here and there. A bottle of wine or 2 😂😂, the odd 3 blocks of chocolate – Don’t do that face, yes you read it right, 3 blocks of chocolate – I was a little bit of a mini whale for a reason!! You can’t tell me that you have never sat down and opened one too many of whatever your guilty pleasure is, perhaps its a bag of chips or one 3 many blocks of chocolate hahaha! In my pre weight loss surgery life, when I was comforting myself because Steve forgot, yet again, that it was V-Day❤️❤️ the day to celebrate the fact that he managed to get someone to pick up all of his crap, give birth to and adore his children and cook for him – every single night for yet another year – I may or may not have been guilty of hiding in my ensuite, eating! Back then it seemed like a better idea to just stuff my face rather than allow it (my face) to speak the things that were on my mind. It’s taken a while, but I have learned that face stuffing to avoid confrontation is a REALLY BAD IDEA – although there have been many times when I should have stuffed my face in the past – I will get to that story in a moment.

Seriously though – The perfect Valentines day for me these days has NOTHING to do with anything commercial and it is more about love in general than love of a specific, gorgeous yet sometimes horribly clueless man. I had an amazing morning with a lovely friend and her gorgeous little girl. After a couple of hours of work, my friends little darling curled my hair for me (how flipping sweet is that – I live in boy land, surrounded by 5 males, so I get none of that kind of thing ever 💕 this made my heart so happy) and I set off for a student leader induction ceremony at our boys school.

I was standing in the foyer of the Sports and Aquatic Centre when I saw someone that was once, many years ago, on the receiving end of a time when I should have stuffed my face, found a better way, been on anxiety meds, told the world just how lonely and broken I was feeling and how frightened I was that I was stuffing my kids lives up because one of them was being bullied mercilessly and nothing was stopping it and I felt helpless and didn’t know what to do. Anyway – None of that is a reason for me to act like an unhinged cow and I had. There was no yelling or screaming, but over the years I have found that I can wield my words like a weapon. I had been unfair to this person. Of course there is a lot to the situation – it is possible to be right but incredibly wrong at the same time. I had seen her for years and years from a distance and always felt that little pang of “You should not have said what you did that day and you know it”. The me of now berated the me of all those years ago each time I saw her.

Strangely enough, when I was big, I felt terrified to admit when things were not okay. I suppose I felt like my personal failure was my size and my inability to get that under control, so I was frightened to admit to other weakness. But the journey of weight loss, growing past my personal demons, facing my previous stuff ups and being determined to love harder and be kind and choose kind ALWAYS has caused me to find myself in some really soul bearing situations. I don’t shy away from people anymore. I love to chat, I love to be around others and I love to hear about the lives and their stories – So when the person that I had experienced the difficult situation with tentatively approached me, well, I just jumped straight on in! We got to talking and she asked about my son so right then I blurted out my awkward yet heart felt apology for that interaction from all of those years ago. I said how sorry I was for the way that I spoke that day. I was teary, genuinely so – we both were. I walked away not too long after that to find a seat so that we could watch our son receive his leadership badge and my heart felt just that little bit lighter.

Changing is hard. Examining myself has been hard too – but I am finding that living out of an authentic and genuine desire to do only good to others, and to be the best version of myself that I can be, has taken me on some very interesting paths. Some days it takes bravery to get out of bed and do all of the usual things, some days it takes bravery to face our fears and some days it takes courage to face ourselves. If we don’t like what we see when we look at ourselves in the mirror, only we can change it – physically, emotionally, relationally – in every way – we are responsible for ourselves. There are so many things that are not our fault and situations happen to all of us – thats life – life will rain on you but how we respond to the rain is such a great indication of where we are at. Sometimes putting our best foot forward means that we make peace with our former selves, get up and move on. We are only as stuck as we allow ourselves to be.

So looking myself in the eye isn’t as horrifying as it used to be. I am not plastering on the fake smile and pretending that everything is fine. My current facts are as follows. My dog just crapped right outside my bedroom window and I can’t even believe that he can make THAT MUCH stench OMG! This is clearly my punishment for putting him outside while our son is vacuuming – he has a whole yard but taking a dump right under my open window was his choice 🤦🏻‍♀️……. Annnd I have lost 4 kilos since returning to Geelong from Christmas holidays. I am stressed about a number of situations that I am facing. I am heart-burstingly proud of my boys and how they have started the school year. I am ready for change and ready for challenges. I am excited for my sons 18th and I am excited for a big Bariatric Support Australia meet up that is happening in April in Geelong. I am thankful for the new friends that I have met and I am profoundly grateful for the love and support of my family and friends. I am now off to tackle my house work, pick up one of the boys from a sleep over, hunt down and hug my teenager, text the other teen who is away this weekend and do some baking for the week to come. Have a wonderful weekend xx

Love Tash.