Regret!

I love this picture and am seriously contemplating having it as a tattoo, the script, not the scene building etc but that would be pretty cool thinking about it now!

My state of mind

I’m a bit out of sorts lately, can’t remember if I’ve said this before or simply meant to, my memory is shocking, to be honest it has been since I had my first child 27 years ago. I could look back at previous blogs to check but where’s the fun in that? The same people don’t usually read my stuff anyway so who’d know? Certainly not me, because of the memory loss thing aha.. Seriously though, it worried me enough to see my GP about it having been meaning to bring it up on previous visits but forgetting, no joke! She tells me it’s a symptom of peri-menopause and did I want some blood tests to prove it? I’m thinking no I’m 47, of course everything is winding down. For Neolithic man I’d be over double the average life expectancy. Pretty damn old for a Tudor too.

33 year old me when I though I was old and fat!! Foolish girl ūüôĄ

The idiotic things I’ve put my body through sometimes I seriously marvel I lived to see 47. For as long as I can remember I believed I was fat. I’ve said before I blame the ‘feel the burn’ Jane Fonda generation for my mother and her friends obsession with diets and dieting. That and the ever-changing fashion of the ideal female (and more recently male) body type.

I should point out some of the time I was plump, from the age of about 11 when puberty struck. I started my periods at about 10, which was a shock but my mother coped admirably with it considering she hadn’t even contemplated their arrival for a few years yet and as such was completely unprepared; I was being looked after by her friend the night it happened so by the time I told anyone it was a Sunday morning. The UK still had strict laws about opening hours and she had to drive 10 miles to find the nearest chemist that opened on Sunday to dispense prescriptions.
From then to about the age of 19 when I got pregnant with C I had a good amount of chub going on. The fact my best friends were tall and lean while I was 5′ 2″ and stocky all played in to the insecurity!

Enter heroin chic!

Kate Moss, Jodie Kid and the like, grey eyed and willowy all be it fainting from hunger! Coin the phrase ‘heroin chic’ and you have a generation of anorexic girls who don’t have the discipline to diet or the self-control to starve but they heard all about heroin. Olivia Channon, an MP’s daughter overdosed at Oxford, (my home town.) The information was there in the hind brain, if such a thing exists, your subconscious knows, “heroin makes you thin!”

Fast forward past some trauma, a few lecherous interactions with a middle-aged family friend who should’ve known better than to grope the budding breasts and crotch of a fatherless girl who loved and looked up to him. Rejections from boys who didn’t know how to take a filter-less blunt (these days probably considered mildly autistic) oddly attractive, (but plump so you couldn’t admit it to your friends) girl. The memory still lingers. The Cambridge liquid food diet worked for a bit but weight rebounded. Only cereal and toast, worked for a bit. You name it as long as that sweet taste was still on the menu. Weight was armor from men who’d abuse but paradoxically fat was the worst possible thing you could be. Everything in life would be fine if I could stop biting my nails, be thin, get a tan (picture the skin of a red-head on a mousey pale eyed girl) and just have friends to laugh with.

After I had C I wasn’t fat, size 10 (US 6) probably but that perception of myself remained. I felt big, even at my biggest I was probably only a size 14 (US 10) although not gargantuan at 5′ 2″¬† it was larger than Kate Moss and I was muscular, although in fashion now in the 80’s and 90’s I wasn’t fitting in to a box anyone wanted.
I remember C’s father buying me some clothes in a size 10 and the genuine surprise and confusion I felt when they were loose. Even then I couldn’t believe I was slim.
When we were first together one of his other conquests had said “you’re¬†leaving¬†me¬†for¬†that¬†fat¬†blonde?” I was on the bigger end of my personal spectrum then but he was daft enough to repeat it! And as I said reality never really caught up after I had C, this was just another confirmation of my obesity, in truth I probably only got thinner life was fairly toxic and chronic stress does that to a person.

G was, um…shall we say generous with himself! Something I’m not the least bit bitter about now, he’s been dead for the past 10 years, for the 13 before that we were not together we’d only been back in touch for about 3 years before his death. At the time we’d become good friends again without that weird sexual tension you can have with someone you find intellectually compelling but with whom that chapter is long finished. He collected women. He wasn’t particularly attractive physically, he’d lost an eye in an incident as a child, which he was terribly insecure about but had an air of such confidence he could make anyone believe in him, I often thought he should’ve become a politician and not a drug dealer.

At 20 I found it so torturous it was physically painful. The fact I wasn’t enough nearly broke me. ¬†My parents had waited until they were married, my mother because she was and is a committed Christian and my father because he had an irrational fear of venereal disease. So I thought he was being cruel. Later having lived a longer less sheltered existence I understood it wasn’t about me at all, it was all about him. We talked about it once; his harem after the pain of living through it was a memory; he found people interesting, enjoyed sex but it wasn’t about the physicality. He said when he’d got them he didn’t want to hurt them and didn’t know how to leave without doing it so he just kept them around until they got bored and drifted off. I believe it, at that point he had no cause to lie about it. But the feelings I had about it from 18 – 24 while we were together made me question what was wrong with me and it always came back to my weight.

Although Olivia Channon had died at university in Oxford about 5 years before. Heroin wasn’t common place in the town then. People smoked solid and grew their own weed without the benefit of hydroponics and heavy cross-pollination of today super skunk which has reduced the protective element of cbd and increased the psychoactive thc to levels that are so seriously damaging brains. Lsd was prevalent, Ecstasy although common was a comparatively recent phenomenon of the previous decade or so. Free parties were still taboo often run by new age travelers, not to be confused with gypsy travelers or traveling show men. These were the evolution of hippies, bored youths in their gap year or private school kids in their droves who wanted to experience off grid living. They and the revelers vilified and heavily Policed. At this point if heroin was found on the traveler site’s the other travelers would club together and run them off. But it was coming!

A friend of G’s had encountered it. He was already smoking if not already injecting but I was blissfully unaware. They would go to London to get it, he was in and out of the shared house I lived in with my daughter, I didn’t question his activities if I did, he had so many other places to go and we didn’t see him at all.

One day he turned up with a bag of it, and asked me to keep it for him, I did, it was idiocy because he obviously intended to sell it, he thought it was something I’d encountered before I’d never told him I hadn’t wanting to appear worldly. I smoked a joint with him and was sick for hours. I didn’t try it again for years.

Sadly G had a taste for it I’m unsure if he was already using heavily at this point or if it was recreational my poor memory coupled with his secrecy and time passed is such I don’t remember the timeline but a family tragedy I don’t feel it’s my right to go into left his son disabled. Heroin was his crutch. I spent a good deal of my time in the hospital with the mother of his son who was a friend and before I knew what was happening he was an addict and dealing to fund it, he’d previously dealt in solid cannabis and acid so it was just progression, although before this, it had never been from our home.

Looking back it’s not even like a memory but so distant it’s almost like a film I watched or a book I read.
I can honestly not tell you why I ended up joining him. A culmination of many things, the desperate existence we were living, the fact he took all my money to fund his habit. I lost my job at a solicitors because he would show up randomly, looming. L his older daughter ran away one day with the pressure of living at hospital and trying to go to school from there, she was about 8, so I walked out of work to meet her knowing she would only be walking to our house. She was going through so much with her brother ill. I was very unreliable from a work perspective although not using drugs at that point and that was the final nail in the coffin.
After the funeral of the woman who had been another mother to me I dabbled again. I just wanted it to stop for a moment, the pain. Again I was very sick. I didn’t do it again for a long time. It’s a wonder I persisted at all because of the nausea. In some sick way (no pun intended) it was a connection to the man I thought I loved with my whole soul in the way you do with your first adult obsession.. And there, in the back of my mind, heroin keeps you thin!

Fast forward some years, I was way past love, even past the hatred and resentment I’d felt for him, now I felt nothing. I only used enough to stop any physical symptoms and stay thin. My daughter was 4, we’d lost our home due to the shenanigans and were living in a flat. He’d gone back to the mother of his other children because “their need was greater than mine” now L was finally back home from the hospital and head injury trust. ¬†Of course the area was better for his dealing now our house was no longer available too! I was still his but he was unkind. I went to my mother’s in Wales painfully thin and bruised and could no longer deny what was happening. When I got back my friend came to find me. She had moved to Reading the previous year. I really believe God sent her and I ran away with her, leaving everything but C’s possessions. J had 2 children of her own and only a 3 bedroom house, so I slept in her living room C shared a room with her daughter. I span him some line about him coming when we were settled but I was never under any illusion I was running away.

Foolishly I thought I’d be able to find a Dr to prescribe me methadone, there are many other drugs available to opiate addicts now but then methadone was the only real solution. Boy was I wrong. Before a doctor could take anyone or prescribe anything they needed to be refered by one of the drug support agencies. Funding was limited, waiting lists were looong, appointments were like Willy Wonker’s Golden tickets!¬†

I have never known such illness, J my friend did everything for C at this point, I will never forget her kindness, it is not the only time she has come to my rescue but that it a story for another time or this blog will become a book haha. One time I caved, a friend drove miles from Oxford to Reading to deliver me something but in the end I had to go thorough it if not for myself then for C. It took about 3 weeks to get back on my feet by then I was tremendously weak from the lack of food and vomiting. I remember walking to the shops only about a mile and a half but I had to get a taxi back.

I’d like to say my struggle with addiction and body dysmorphia ended there but they didn’t. The chapter of G and Oxford was over. I don’t regret any of it other than the hurt it caused others. Life is a lesson that shapes the person you become, sometimes the same thing needs repeating over and over until it’s fully appreciated, you missed the point or there were many things to gain from it. Experiences, however painful help you to grow, if you can use those experiences to help others, I believe you should because then the pain and discomfort weren’t for nothing.

Have a good day

A x

 

Paradoxically me!

It only takes one person to change your life: You (Ruth Casey)

I’ve documented, all be it silently because no-one read it, my struggle with body image. The road to fitness back to inactivity and back again (6 babies yada yada). I firmly believe motivation for all things begins in your head, I say all things and I mean it. “If you believe you can you’re halfway there” to quote who knows how many cheesy memes and possibly half a dozen love songs. In my case this is true in everything from essay writing when I was at college (sports science degree class of 2009) to my first run of the year the day before yesterday (2.5 miles/25 Jan 2019)

Not just motivation but everything is perceived in the mind this is where reality lies, everyone constructs their reality from their experiences, their perceptions of every event are different to yours but no less valid. My experience has taught me the right mind set before any activity from that run to writing this blog can change the perception of the event and the ability to achieve it.

I hadn’t run at all in 64 days (thank you fitbit!) I’d got to a point last September (2018) where I was running up to 5 days a week and enjoying it, aforementioned 6 kids won’t/can’t follow haha! I have a dodgy knee but regular strength training, utilising the treadmill and increasing the duration of road runs slowly had seen me pain free over 10+ miles but then my Grandchildren came to stay for a few weeks while my daughter was unwell, the treadmill died and if I’m honest the weather got bad so I used the previous 2 reasons as excuses not to get out so often and suddenly 4 months have passed and I’m back to 2.5 miles. Still pain free, this should be cause for celebration but there’s nagging doubt to my ability sat on my shoulder the mindset isn’t so positive and a run I should easily manage became something else. In September I knew I could do 3 miles, I was still in the warm up, now I’m not so sure and immediately everything becomes harder.

When I first started to blog, I just wrote what I thought, the words flowed I didn’t care, I hardly ever had to pick up where I left off, finished published and got on with the day so didn’t run a critical eye over things. Because daily blogging isn’t so easy since my daughter came home with the kids, I stop and start, have to read over to know where I was going with it and the process has changed. It’s no less therapeutic but it’s different because my mind has moved on from the thoughts when I started to write the post.

I look back at life and realise if I had just spent some time being aware of my contentment or stopped in my diet and fitness goals to be happy in the place I was, not striving for the next few pounds off or miles on, I might not have been happier but I’d have been aware of my achievements. In the same way while losing weight or when the tape measure shows a decrease in size, on the way down one place is an achievement that makes you happy, the exact same weight or measurement can be cause for distress if it is in the other direction having gone beyond. We are alway moving the goal posts.

So many times we equate happiness with a certain weight, financial position or marital status but once we are there we realise the rest of life is just the same. We are not magically happy because we moved to a more suitable area or reached a goal weight. All our problems are not erased because we got married etc and yet we continue to kid ourselves that the things we fixate on are important. I look back to the most content I was with my physique and although I was impressed with what I had achieved, I was still striving for something else, something more. Now I look vastly different, not bad for my aged but certainly not where I was then and think I would be delighted to look that way. The truth is I would still be striving for more, I will only get less fit as I age. At 47 I am well past my prime but somewhere in my head I should still look how I could have looked at 27 if I had just bothered.

I am both at the same time happy to be in my late forties, with the crepey skin on my neck, smile lines and a wisdom that comes from life experiences (I do so want to rock this aging lark) and fighting with life long body dysmorphia and negative body image. I hope there comes a time where I embrace who I have become, wrinkles and all. I am definitely at a point where I train for my mental health and functional fitness not for the way I look (a start) but for now I am in constant battle with the paradox.

Happy Sunday A x

We really don’t know how lucky we are!

I say we but can really only speak from the perspective of a woman in her late forties (suffering from lack of sleep with all that time to think) living in the UK.

People often generalise but even those forward thinking individuals trying hard to see life from the viewpoint of another (I’m sure we all like to think we fall in to that category!) can only guess at best at the thought processes of anyone else or the life that has brought them about. The way one sees oneself or anyone else lives only in our mind, no two people will view you in the same way even if their opinions are similar . It’s like taste or colour, how do I know the way I see blue isn’t yellow to you or the flavour of coffee isn’t stilton (uch!)

It’s funny because on the one hand we are all unique, no two people are truly the same, even identical twins are never identical, as a rule you can tell them apart. I’ve never understood this by the way so if someone can explain I would be grateful. I’ve given it thought, position in the womb may account for subtle pressure differences meaning microscopic differences in body/facial contours, sleeping position allowing for gravity to cause subtle changes but really why? Why aren’t genetically identical people identical? I find so much else fascinating about the twin thing I’m off topic ha! No change there.

So we are all unique beings and as so view the world differently; even if these differences are subtle. Individually we are viewed differently by others. To someone out there you are one of the most wonderful people to walk the planet, to another the villain of the piece but they are both right. There is no one singular truth, two opposing viewpoints can be argued and can both be right and that is both epic and the problem in all things from Brexit to Gazza! Yet despite being unique however wise and alternative we believe we are, how different we feel to the masses. There are umpteen people who have had the self same thoughts and opinions before us.

Ok so we don’t know how lucky we are in the UK. I mentioned my daughter (27) and family were meant to be moving 250 miles from England to Wales next weekend but the house fell through. They’d already given notice on their current place and panic ensued. We found suitable accomodation to rent through an agency but for one reason and another were unable to jump through enough hoops to act as guarantors despite being able to find bond, rent in advance and all the random agency fees. Yet more panic but then, reality check!!

We live in the UK, despite Brexit and all the other things people are wailing and moaning about. We have social housing, yes it’s stretched, it’s a disgrace in a county as wealthy as the UK we have people living on the streets! But Ce’Nedra and the family won’t have to live in a tent, they will have a roof, heat, running water etc! These are privileges denied to so much of the world. Worst case they will sleep in our living room and we will put their things in storage until we can find an alternative. The children already have school places, free schooling for all; amazing concept. We have a welfare state, yes it’s changing, it is harder to manipulate the system in the hope that people will choose to better their own lives, either through education or vocational training schemes and ultimately work and not see it as an easy option. I DO NOT agree with all parts of the reforms, the elderly, people with disabilities, bedroom tax and so on but still it exists, help is there, it’s hard to imagine what life would be like if it did not. We have a national health service, free medical care for all, it is not failing us, it is being failed and the staff are doing miraculous things with limited resources!

Life is a lottery, so much is the luck of the draw. It was dumb luck I was born in the UK, my children were born in the UK, we are fortunate! To look down on another person because luck placed them somewhere else is lunacy. Dumb luck shouldn’t make us elitist. There is a them and us in all things from race to religion, even on a microscopic level in teams and places of work etc. I understand the desire to fit in, to want to belong but that should not mean we are opposed those that are different. I am so very grateful God blessed me with this life, with it’s tiny troubles and massive advantages!

Have a great week A x

Overwhelmed

This title is all encompassing. As I mentioned before, I’m meant to be in full on house renovation mode but now it appears Chris (my beloved) has flu, full on shivering retching flu, not the man kind (apologies men but…,in this overly PC world how soon before that expression becomes obsolete too? Seriously gender neutral Santa, give me strength!)

I’m literally dreaming of the house and its contents. I should say I do feel sorry for the previous occupant. While they only lived there a couple of years with their 2 children, 1 fully grown with partner in tow, She was still expected to do all the house work, while trying to hold down a job and ferrying said children to whatever theatre workshop pub, club or restaurant they chose (door mat Mama, much like me to be fair.) Anyhoo she brought them up so their attitude to and aptitude for cleaning and throwing away things that may be useful 1 day was the same as hers, fast forward 2 years and… Add to that time constraints from the previous house move (working, Mum’s taxi service etc) the vast majority of things that should really have been thrown out from the previous house moved right along with them in to a 1930s house that had belonged to an old person who hadn’t decorated since the 60s.

So here I am writing a blog no-one will read in the hope of getting the rising sense of panic to subside. Also overwhelming, the feeling of dread when I catch a glimpse in the mirror when I get out of the shower. We have a half height mirror above the basin in, it only show the top half, being a pear shaped woman hides a multitude of sins but clambering over the side of the bath past the shower curtain while desperately trying to stop it touching me, my peripheral vision sees the rest. Christmas has been unkind. In the same way small changes to improve your health, physique, diet (urgh that word again) add up to a big difference over time, so do small changes in the other direction. Since September when I had my wonderful grandchildren for a few weeks while their beautiful bi-polar Mama rested her weary mind in hospital. My eating and training habits have changed dramatically. The steps toward those changes were so small or the situation was so large they were almost imperceptible the difference dare I say damage to my physique not so much. But hey it gives me a goal and I am very much the kind of person who performs better with a goal.

I am an emotional eater, I eat anger, upset and every flipping thing in between. I also reward myself with food! Done well in the gym, have a brownie, it’s Saturday have a vanilla cappuccino, made Jenson eat something that wasn’t a nutella sandwich, eat the crusts of the damn marmite sandwich and so on. That said I’m not huge, unless you’re an American size 0 fitspo then I’m morbidly obese. Many people would be delighted to be nudging 50 (47 on new years) having carried 6 kids to look like me, genetics weren’t bad but that carries its own guilt. Why aren’t I grateful so I’ll have a donut.

To be fair life isn’t bad, I’m happy with my lot, a lottery win and a team of cleaners or a nanny for a few days would be better. The control freak in me would need to see what the team of cleaners were up to and show them a better way haha. I’ve never written a diary, I was alway too busy moaning when I was younger and living as I got older to have any desire to but I have a better understanding just from writing these last 2 days why people document stuff, #therapywriting #overwhelmed #life