Pieces of Me

Bits and pieces of my life and of my heart.


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It’s not Me. It’s You.

This week is World Mental Health Week. Everywhere on social media people are posting their experiences, work, advice and support. This is a good thing, as, in my opinion as a mental health provider, we have reached an epidemic with the broken health of our minds, our bodies and our souls. I defy you to find one person who is not negatively effected by anxiety, self-harm, substance abuse, suicide ideation and hopelessness. I see it in the work that I do and in the people I love, and I see it in me.

I use social media a lot. I have a Facebook account, Instagram account, Twitter, SnapChat and obviously a little blog. I love social media for all the positives it has brought to my life. I have made lifetime friends, found love,  found support and in the face of heartbreak found a community made up of strong, fierce, kick ass women who rallied around me and held me close when I could barely walk.

It has not all been unicorn and rainbows. Every so often a dark cloud came in the guise of a hateful message telling me what was wrong with everything about me. These messages are unwarranted and nasty and stayed with me for a while until I managed to wriggle free of their clutches. I chose to wish their senders good wishes, metaphorically speaking of course, and move on with being my fabulous self.

You get knocked down, you get back up again until you don’t.

This week I have been knocked clean and unceremoniously flat on my powerlifting ass. A man decided to take it upon himself on Mental Health Awareness Day to dump on me his abusive, misogynistic “opinion” of me, with cause, I only assume, to put me back firmly in my place.

He is offended by my Snapchatting, it seems. He is offended by my choice of social gatherings, the way I speak, the way I look, the way I parent. My very existence offends him so much that he wrapped his “opinion” of me in a World Mental Health Day bow and flung it straight in my face.

He was after all, “doing me a favour”. On World Mental Health Day no less.

I blocked him, as you do, but not before I took to my SnapChat account to say something kinda like this.

When you choose to attack personally someone that you do not know it says more about you than it does about me. When you take time out of your day to sit at your computer to hurl toxic abusive, misogynistic paragraphs at someone you may as well be looking in the mirror. The words you used to describe me? Let me break them down for you in a way that you may properly understand.

Self absorbed: This would describe someone who has such an inflated opinion of himself that he believes sending women messages telling them what is wrong with them is somehow doing them a favour.

Vain: See above.

Full of Myself: See above.

Also, FYI, the three things mean the same thing.

A bad parent: You told me you have two sons. Way to go, Dad for being the kind of role model that teaches boys how to abuse women.

Way. To. Go.

And last but not least your lovely sentiment of your love for all things mental health. Dude. If this is your idea of what positive mental health is and how you can contribute to it on WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY, then you are much more of an asshole that I gave you credit for.

Let me tell you something about me that you clearly missed all these months stalking me on SnapChat.

I am a fierce, confident, hella strong force to be reckoned with. I am this way because I have had to fight tooth and nail to dodge toxic assholes like you my entire life. Men who tell me I am weak because I have a period, that I don’t deserve equal pay because I needed maternity leave. Men who have sexually assaulted me, emotionally assaulted me and now SnapChat assaulted me. I have been sent dick pics and such bullshit sexual messages that  I have lost count. Men who tell me they have equal say over my body and who would prefer I die in the name of all that they believe.

You weren’t the least bit original. Soz!

You won’t change me. You may knock me. I may stay down for a while waiting for my bruises to heal but you better believe that when they do I will rise stronger and fiercer than I was before because that is the difference between people like you and people like me. When you send messages to someone you don’t know telling them all you think is wrong with them you fall down a hole that is near impossible to climb out of.

The ironic thing is, only someone like me has the ability to drag you out of it when you finally realise that it’s always been about you and never about me.

Cosy up. I reckon you will be waiting down there a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You only think you can.

I have not written anything in a long time. It is hard to put words down coherently in the midst of a storm. Also trying to decide what stays protected and who stays protected can be challenging to navigate so I left well enough alone, until now.

Today I woke up with a need to purge. My writing always happens this way. Like a soda pop ready to explode after a vigorous shaking. That’s how I feel. Like everything in me has been shaken to the bone and if I don’t try and make sense of it the only way I know how I am likely to explode into oblivion. So, for now, here is what I need to say.

Really loving someone is terrifying. Sure, it is fun and loving and kind and squishy and all of those amazing feelings that the right person at the right time can bring with them into your life. If it wasn’t this way we would never love. Why would be bother? But like everything in life where there is a good there must be a bad. Where there is up, there is down. Light, dark, happy, sad, happy, angry. Life must balance out. I don’t know why it is so intent on this balance but it is always there waiting to recalibrate us at every opportunity. Like the exhilaration at the beginning of a relationship. You know, that all consuming happy feeling, the butterflies, the excitement of late night phone calls and the oh so incredible sex? We think it will always be this way. We believe we have together unlocked the secret of life in each other that nobody else has and we trust in the fairy tale narrative that the princess always gets her prince and he his queen. Funny thing is, nobody has ever bothered to write a book beyond the fairytale. Why? Because nobody wants to read how fucking hard the next bit is. How scary and frustrating the balancing out the happy is. How it gets dark and twisty and messy when compromises must be made and what happens when one or both refuse to change.

I wonder how we would be if, instead of the euphoria that takes up the first 6 months of any new relationship we actually really saw the person lying beside us in the bed. I wonder if we did would we be so quick to make everlasting promises to each other? We are all broken in some way. We all have battle scars. We all hide them in the beginning and we all choose not to see them in each other. Maybe it is pure biology at work. The survival of the species kind of thing. Maybe we need not to see each other for some time, as if we truly did would we have the courage and the stamina to go the distance with each other, the so called walking wounded.

Maya Angelou once wrote, “When people show you who they are the first time, believe them”! My goodness, how utterly, completely profound. Words to literally live by, right? Except when love comes to town it screws with our sense of reason and we tell ourselves this does not apply to our great love as we all believe, and have been taught for centuries that love conquers all.

I remember when my last love showed me who he really was the first time. I knew he was showing me. Every single fibre of my being knew. It was like someone hit me on the head with a two by four and screamed, “This is who he is. You will never come first”! I got it in stereo. From the universe and from him but yet I shook it off as something said in the heat of the moment and I chose to ignore that feeling I had way down deep in my being that I had been given a clue to what would come next if nothing changed, but change is scary and hard and messy so I ignored all of it in the name of love and I walked not so blindly into the rest of my relationship.

I loved him so hard I thought I could change him. I know! Even as I type the words I feel stupid for buying into the love fixes all bolloxology. Love cannot, will not ever fix anything or anyone that does not feel they need fixing. Period! We can convince ourselves all we like that this is not true but we all know that it is.

We only think we can heal someone.

We only think we can fix someone.

We only think we can change someone.

We only think we can.

I did us both a disservice the day I chose to ignore when he showed me who he really was. What motivated him, wounded him, challenged him. I like to think that that day I chose love because I really believed we would make it but looking back I chose him because I was terrified of a life without him. It’s a confusing hot mess loving someone the way I loved him. More than anything I wanted us to work. I wanted to be the one to take away his pain, his loss, his hurt, his fears as I so desperately wanted him to erase mine.

We didn’t make it in the end. Life is all about communication and compromise and we lost these eventually. Every single day I still wish this not to be the case but such is the way of loving someone. We gamble with the most vulnerable part of ourselves. Sometimes we win, sometimes we don’t.

I am taking my time to heal. It has not been easy. Actually, the last 8 months have been the most difficult ones of my life and that is saying something! When you choose to walk away from someone you deeply love because you learn that love does not conquer all what is left in the space where he lived is nothing but pain. It is a new pain for me, a pain that I am not sure I am able to withstand again. It has eased somewhat over time but it is still there and has the ability to catch me off guard and bring me to my knees. It is hard to erase 5 years of life with someone in such a short time but I trust in those that have walked this road before me when they tell me that it will pass. That the pain won’t stay. That I will love again and that for most of them looking back their loss brought so many greater things.

I cling to this. I have to.

Will I choose to believe people when they show me who they are the first time from now on? I like to think that I will. Having experienced the pain of ignoring it it will never leave me and that, is something I do not desire to repeat. That’s the greatest thing about life. I get a chance to try again and as utterly terrifying as this may be to me, what is life without love?

I don’t plan on finding out.

 

 


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My Open Door.

I hate the term “closure”, with a passion. Always have, always will. I would like to know who started this nonsense and punch them in the face! We hear it all the time after we experience something life altering such as death, a breakup, job loss, illness, the list is endless. You need “closure”, people tell us with much authority. Yes, “closure” is the ticket, your one stop pass to the road back to happiness, or peace, or a new job, new love…you catch my drift?

God, I wish people would shut the hell up about the bloody thing!

We can close taps, lights, doors, bank accounts, any kind of account, windows, roads, I could keep going but that would drive me even more loopy so I won’t.

Recently my heart became broken. God, it hurts so much to have a broken heart, but as sure as night turns into day someone inevitably told me, with much authority, that what I needed was “closure”.

“Really”? says, I.

“Oh yes, indeed”, says they. “Sure won’t closure help you move on”?

I asked this person what they meant by “closure” and they shrugged and said, “I dunno. Closure, like”. (true story).

Christ alive, even the people who roll it out have no bloody idea what they even mean when they say it!

There is no closure when it comes to matters of the heart. Not in my opinion anyway, for what’s it worth. My heart has been broken for almost 5 months now and not even God herself, if such a thing exists, could close it up. How do I close something that has become a part of my being? A part of my heart. A part of my soul. To do so would be to wipe clean 5 years of my life, years in which I learned to love and grow and strive to be a better me. I have no desire to close myself down this way. To do so would be a danger to my emotional, physical and mental wellbeing and I have learned to love myself too much to put myself at risk this way ever again. I can’t “close” my heart to him, to me, to future him, future me. What kind of life would that be if we all lived this way?

I get why people say they want the “closure”. I think it comes from the fear of feeling the pain of loss, of mistakes they have made but are too afraid to admit to themselves and to the person, place or thing that has caused them the pain. It is far easier to shut a door than to keep it open and have the courage to walk through it to the other side not knowing who or what will be there to greet you, or to punch you in the face!

When people die do we close a door on them? No. We keep them in our hearts and carry them with us for the rest of our days.

When we lose a job do we close a door on our experience? No. We take the learning we need from the experience so it helps us be a better worker the next time around.

And when we get our heart smashed all over the floor in a million little pieces what then is the purpose of getting “closure” from the one who smashed it? Would it not make for a healthier you, me, everybody if instead of closing the door we left it open just enough to learn about who we are in relation to other people, the mistakes we make and see the fears that stop us from loving someone so the future us can reap the rewards.

Can you see why I think that “closure” doesn’t really fit the brief?

In my world nothing would ever be closed to me. If I had a wish, that’s what it would be. Instead I would replace it with conversation and forgiveness, exploration and truth. How can we possibly learn all we need to learn by ourselves behind a closed door?

So, my door will always stay open. Nothing will ever change that.

 

 

 


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Certain of Uncertainty

It has been hell of a week, month, year. So far most of it has been hell ish. I feel as if I am growing at the speed of light and shedding a skin I was oh so comfortable living in. I like comfort, security, safety, certainty. I always have. I seek it out the way a fish does water, but in trying to find it I sometimes hurt myself, I sometimes hurt others.

Ever since I was a little girl I have been running away from something, or towards something, I am not sure which but it is safe to say I run. I have run across the world in my quest for this certainty. Twice! And yet here I am again on the other side of some destruction I have caused feeling anything but certain about, well anything.

I have an abundance of self-awareness. A curse and a blessing. Self-awareness is vital in the work that I do and in my professional life it serves me well but in my personal life I fear it causes me more harm than good. I dig deep. I look deep. I pull things apart, myself apart, others apart. I do this to grow, to learn, to aspire, to become unstuck. Sometimes this brings joy and happiness and peace of mind and other times it brings what I have now. Pain and fear and regret.

I hate regret. It is the hardest of all things to navigate. Regret usually involves choices that cannot be unchosen and this is where the pain lies. Sometimes we choose things that are the best for us, sometimes the best for others. We believe these choices to be the only way forward when we choose them but the emotional fallout after the fact can take us off guard teaching us that maybe we have made a mistake. Maybe I have made a mistake. Maybe I have chosen badly. Maybe in my quest for certainty I sacrificed something that was vital to my exisitence. I chose to ignore what is in hindsight the solution to it all, the uncertainty of things.

A wise man pulled this out of me last week. He didn’t have to pull very hard. My stitches had unraveled long before I sat in his chair. “Let’s talk about uncertainty”, he said. “Why”, I asked. “Because this is where your freedom is”, he replied. And so followed a painful, powerful, joyful quest of discovery that took a lot of courage on my part to take down off the shelf my book of fear, open it up on my chapter of uncertainty and begin to read the words. The words were decades old. They have been a part of my story since before I was born. Generations of women before me carried them, moulded them to their bodies and passed them down through the ages to me. I did not ask for most of them. Most of us do not. We are products of the words that come before us. We are products of someone elses fears, hopes, dreams, as my son is of mine. That is the way we work. We try to pass only the good, the hopeful, but we cannot help pass the pain, the confusion, the uncertainty and I was handed an armful.

I cannot remember ever feeling comfortable with the feelings that uncertainty brings. The panic, the fear, the unshakeable worries. I used to sit halfway up the stairs at night when I was seven listening to hear the sound of my parents voice through the door, unable to slumber until I was certain they were OK. I have lived all my life from this place on my step that was half way up the stairs. Stuck between the light at the top and the darkeness at the bottom. I have craved certainty all of my days and I became comfortable living my life from this place trying very hard not to rock the boat, not to allow the uncertain feelings come my way. I had become a champion of sorts, a champion only to myself it seems as I now try to figure out why.

Things stay in our lives mostly unnoticed if they keep working for us. It is only when a pattern we have, a choice we make stops working that we sit up and pay attention because it will probably have brought with it some kind of chaos, some kind of pain. This is how I know that my pattern, my choice, my need to remain half way up the stairs no longer serves me because it hurts. God, it hurts like hell. I sought the certainty I thought I needed only to find that all along it has been the bearer of bad news my chapters filled with missed opportunities, lost loves, broken dreams. Could it be that the freedom I seek lies in the uncertainty of things? A wise man who knows me well would suggest so.

How then do I peel myself off of my step on the stairs and walk the steps with uncertainty? I have been sitting here for most of my life. It is safe, it is familair and my God is it certain. But I am lonely here on my own halfway up the stairs and I don’t want to be lonely anymore. It looks like it is time to stand up and face this uncertainty I fear, this uncertainty I seek. It’s funny how they can exist side by side, the fear and the hope. The certain and the uncertainty. I never noticed until now.

I cannot undo the pain I have caused trying to stay in my certain. I wish I could but it is not mine to fix anymore. What I can do now is try my best to take the steps to the top of the stairs where all things uncertain lie. To be brave, to write a new chapter, one in which I am no longer afraid to take chances, to follow my heart and not my head and to learn to be ceratin that the freedom I seek lies in the uncertainty of things, a place I never looked in until now.

 

 

 


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Blame it on the sunshine.

Yesterday I cried. You know, that all consuming, snot inducing, let it all out kind of cry? The one that toddlers who cannot tell you with words do?  Maybe because I cannot find the words to accurately describe how it is that I am feeling. Maybe that is why I cried.

Most days I try to keep myself busy, distracted. This is easy as a single mother of one busy, distracted teen. That, and my work is busy and distracting so for the most part I trundle on hoping that the passing of time takes care of the messy feelings. And most days it works.

Yesterday the sun came out. Not figuratively, but literally. It is spring, and it came like a big warm flash of things to come. It is most favourite time of year when I wait expectantly for the days to become longer. I love longer days. Longer days means warmer days, smiling people, cut grass, smells of cooking food in the air and sounds of laughing kids in the park. Everything is easier with the arrival of longer days.

Or everything was. I cannot decide.

I was caught off guard yesterday by the, “what was” part of my life. We all have it. The things we miss, the people, places, the experiences. Life is made up of so many missed things that they shape who we have become. Who we are to become. We know that missed things are a normal part of our everyday, and on most days we exist with them effortlessly as we have been learning to do so since we can remember.

Yesterday was not one of those days.

Yesterday the missed parts of my life came like an unwelcome guest wanting the upmost of my attention and the sunshine is to blame. It has been a long, cold winter, and I have been in a lot of ways protected by this. The darkness took care of me. In it I was given the freedom to hide away and nurse my wounds and it offered me sanctuary. The sunshine, not so much.

Yesterday all of the smiling people, the cut grass, and the laughing kids took my breath away. It is as if the darkness and all its protection split open and let me fall tumbling to the ground, without warning, I may add. The lack of warning was the hardest part.

Yesterday I remembered all of my missing bits and it hurt like hell. Yesterday the sunshine hurt my eyes. Maybe because I am not ready to remember. Maybe because I am. This bit I am still insure of. So I cried. I let it all out in a big, spectacular, exhausting kind of way and it felt good. And sad, but I am OK with sad.

I cannot stop the sunshine anymore than the coming of the longer days. I wish the darkness would hang around a little while longer but that is not how this life of mine works. The darkness remains only for as long as it has to even if we are not ready for it to go because this is the natural order of things. If it did remain most of us would stay shut away for years on end ignoring the sunshine and all it has to offer.

So, the sun is here. The longer days almost. Maybe the way towards them is to welcome them and all of the memories they bring. I am trying to find my peace in the memories, no matter how painful they may be.  Maybe I need the sunshine for this. Maybe I have had my time with the darkness. Maybe this is what the brightness is trying to tell me and maybe it is time to stop blaming it on the sunshine.

 


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Watching Me Grow.

Yesterday I did something that scared me.  Terrified me if truth be told but I did it and it went well and I ended the experience being very proud of myself. When you spend years with someone, share with them, laugh with them, love them, instinctively you find yourself reaching for the phone to tell them about your achievements. After all, for a very long time they were the ones who stood in your corner and cheered for you, so old habits die hard. Die very hard indeed.

Yesterday I had such an experience. The first person I thought of calling to share my joy with is someone who is no longer at the end of my phone. No longer are they a part of my joy, my sadness, my anything. This instinct kicked in and I reached for my phone, and for a split second all was well in my world. Then reality came a knocking, as it so often does, and delivered me sharply back to my reality that does not favour this phone call anymore and it took my breath away.

It still happens now and then, this brief forgetfulness of what is now my new reality and I am trying so very hard to navigate myself through this with minimal damage. They say time heals all wounds. What they don’t say is how much time this can take. How long does it take to stop missing someone? How long does it take for them not to be the first person you want to call? How long does it take to get through a day without a thought, a memory, a feeling that is not in one way or another directly connected to the life you have shared? Everyone tells me different lengths of time. Some of those lengths scare me to the bone! I have no point of reference for this kind of pain. This one is brand new. This one feels like it will last forever but those wiser than I with similar experiences tell me that it won’t. They tell me that it won’t always feel this way. They tell me that I won’t always reach my phone to tell him about my accomplishments or my sadness, or anything at all. They tell me that life will change, and I will change and my feelings will change because that is the natural order of things. I like hearing this. It gives me hope. It keeps me grounded and lets me know that this pain is not exclusive to me and for some reason this gives me comfort.

Waiting for change can be lonely and messy and as confusing as hell but at least I know that I am growing and bending and shaping because of it. To feel nothing at all would be worse and I trust that the instinct I have will soon grow small. Soon it will be small enough to put away into my heart where it will always stay safe as it watches me grow.


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The Space Between Us

In my work as a counsellor of people I am trained to be aware of the space that exists between me and the people who sit on my couch. Professional space. It is vital. In this role I exist to witness, engage, listen and empower people to choose for themselves how they wish their lives to be. I help facilitate change all the while staying in this space to protect them and I from the confusion of ideals and feelings and experiences. I regard this to be a sacred place. A place where I first seek to do no harm. To do no harm I in turn am also given a space by a supervisor who is trained to hold this space between him and I so I can explore my thoughts, my feelings and my confusion at times of where my space ends and someone else’s begins. I find comfort in this space. In my work it gives me clarity. In my work it helps me grow and in my work it enriches the growth of those who trust me with their soul.

I wish this was so in my personal life, in the space that exists between the people I have chosen to love and I . With this space I am not so skilled. I am not so comfortable, I am not so sure. The space between me and someone I love can at times feel like it is squeezing the very life out of me as I desperately scramble to find the place where they begin and I end or I begin and they end. It is at times a whirlwind of emotions that makes the space so very hard to find and so very hard to live in. I make mistakes sometimes in this space. I get confused, lost, overwhelmed. Sometimes this space seems unfathomably vast, like I am floating above the clouds with no place to land and then it can feel like the space on the head of a pin. Small and airless without room to breathe.

I am floating in space these days. I am trying so very hard not to be. I cannot find where I begin and he ends., where he begins and I end. I am trying to breathe. I am trying to feel. I am trying to comfort and do no harm. I know that I won’t be lost in this space forever. I know that someday I will find anchor. We always find anchor, and in the end and I know that the peace that I seek will eventually be found in the space between us. It is the most sacred space of all.


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Persistence and Love Changed My World, My Guest Post on YankeeDoodlePaddy.com

I was asked to contribute to Karen’s lovely blog, http://www.yankeedoodlepaddy.com. For the month of February, Karen has opened her blog up to guest writers. The only requirement was that it must be about Love. Any kind of Love. The Love that matters to you. Here is my contribution.

http://yankeedoodlepaddy.com/2017/02/guest-blogger-month-post-6/#more-5390

I have not written a blog post in a very long time. Writing this has made me remember how much I loved to post my thoughts here. Maybe it is time to do it again. x


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Avalanche!

When you choose not to feel your feelings and eat over them, drink over them, drug over them, work over them, whatever over them, and when you choose to stop doing it all hell breaks loose! Those feelings that are kept suffocated by whatever means necessary begin to ever so slowly at first, climb to the surface of you. You will notice them when you drive your car behind a slow, idiot driver. You will notice them when you must stand at a long painful checkout, at the dodgy WiFi not working, at your kids for not cleaning their room, lovers for not listening to you. You feel a feeling that has become unfamiliar during the years of the cover up but you manage to shake it off, breathe it in, run it out. You do this and you think, “These feelings aren’t so bad. I don’t know what I was worrying about. I got this”! And you do,  but only for a short while, for that is the thing about suppressed emotion, once you decide to take the lid off the avalanche is never far behind.

My avalanche came last weekend, and boy was it spectacular! I knew it was coming for I had felt the rumblings. I had felt the alien feelings, lost the plot in my car, became Nellie Olsen in the checkout line, screamed blue murder at the Wifi box, snapped at my kid and got all passive aggressive with my love. Not things I am proud of but all part of the weird and wonderful world of my feelings. I knew I was slipping down the mountain and I knew the only way to stop myself was to eat. “EAT ME”, screamed every single bar of chocolate I saw. “EAT ME”, roared the crisps, the fast food, the cookies. Living inside my head and body was loud and crowded and scary. The more feelings that surfaced, the louder it became until I felt as if I was falling off the side of the mountain without anything to break my fall.

It came to a point on Sunday that I knew I only had two choices. Eat or feel. Numb or experience. Die or live. Extreme to some to use the word die? Yet that is how I feel every time I stop the avalanche. I feel dead inside because I know that this is not living. I feel dead inside because I know I am destined for better. I feel dead inside because I deny parts of myself life and this stopped serving me weeks ago. Look, nobody likes an avalanche. They are messy and scary and cause destruction, yet with them comes exhilaration and a change of landscape. An avalanche rearranges things and once the noise dies down the change can look very good indeed.

Sunday I allowed my avalanche to occur. For the first time in years I decided to free fall down the side of the mountain without the aid of my net. I know what my net brings and I am tired of using it, so I trusted what I know, that my feelings cannot kill me. What kills me is what I do to avoid them so I let go. My day was not pretty. It contained a LOT of crying, a panic attack, and a sleepless night but I stuck to my food plan as if my life depended on it and I made it to the bottom of the mountain. I made it! Me, my feelings, no net kind of thing and I feel so incredibly grateful that I did. Sure, my feelings sucked. They were messy and ugly and a bitch to facilitate but not eating over them has given me access to a feeling I have not felt in a really long time. I am still trying to put a name on what I feel but I know it is in the category of peacefulness, or pride, or maybe even happiness.

I guess what I am trying to say is that there is always another way and that maybe just maybe, like my favourite saying goes, “Everything you want is on the other side of Fear”.

 

 


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Yellow Brick Road.

I had cancer. I had cancer, did the treatment, had bits of my body hacked off and lived to tell the tale. Yes, I am grateful. It’s not like it is in the movies though, or how some celebs would have you believe. There is no parting of the heavens or an Oprah Aha moment that makes all your worries and insecurities magically vanish because you had cancer and now you don’t and you are so eternally happy that you never do anything bad or mean or harmful to yourself or anyone else for the rest of your life because you are just so grateful to be alive. Well, there wasn’t for me. I am happy to be alive and be cancer free, of course I am. I am acutely aware that is not the case for countless others but this post is about me and how I am trying to be honest about how I feel, so I will just stick with that.

I have always hated my body, and because of this I have hated myself. I have a deep envy for those who read this and not get what it feels like, and an even deeper sadness that I don’t know what it feels like to be one of them. I have suffered with a binge eating disorder for as long as I can remember. What I had didn’t even have a name years ago.There was anorexia, bulemia and whatever the hell I had. I knew mine was different and so because of this I felt a huge sense of shame, like I couldn’t even get my eating disorder right! When I felt bad, which was most of the time, I consumed large quantities of food until I physically hurt. I swore I would never do it again, and then I did. Then came the shame and the hate and then for years this was all I knew. Shame, hate and pain. A never ending cycle. Over and over and over and over and over……

I have tried every diet known to mankind. I have a gold card, I am a target member, I have sat in Over Eaters Anonymous meetings, I stopped drinking for 3 years, I have run a marathon, 3 half marathons, countless 10kms. I have drank maple syrup and cayenne pepper, had nothing but slimming shakes for weeks at a time, stopped eating after 6pm, stopped eating more than 3 meals a day, taken diet pills, anti-depressants, every single thing you can possibly think of I have done. To no end. Every single time I have fallen and every single time I have had to claw my way back up off the floor to begin again and every single time it gets just that little bit more difficult to do so.

It is eroding my spirit. It is hurting my soul. It is seeping into every single relationship that I have, this need to be better that I am. This desire to look a different way, be a different way, act a different way. I kill myself with the thought that because I had cancer I should be more grateful, like somehow my cure was wasted on me because I read of others being so much more grateful than I. So much more comfortable in their own skins, so much more happy, evolved, enlightened, skipping off down the yellow brick road when I am stuck under the house that fell out of the sky on top of me and I don’t know how to get out from under it.

Someone that I admire (that’s you Lorraine, btw), suggested that I write down how I am feeling and post it to the page. She has been where I am now and she is not there anymore. She is not here because she kept getting out from under her house, every day she wriggled out, and today she does not wriggle so much because she is no longer stuck. I asked her how many more times must I get back up? How many times must I get out from under my house and she told me until I stop allowing myself to fall, to get stuck, to stay where I am.

I don’t want to be here anymore. It is too lonely under the house when all the people I love are on the yellow brick road and I want so very badly to be with them. Maybe I didn’t get an awakening from the cancer, the kind you see in the movies, but what I did get was an incredible survivor instinct and the ability to really fight hard and maybe that is all I need. I suppose this post is, in a way, a recommitment to myself, witnessed by you. I lost my way. I got stuck somewhere I do wish to be anymore and I am going to fight like hell to get up and stay up this time cause where I am tonight is nowhere near that yellow brick road.