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My Big Mistake and The Instinct Factor: You are the expert.

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In all my overzealous enthusiasm regarding the gym and shaking a tailfeather, I fear that I may have just made one very big parenting mistake.

 

You may have read earlier that I was feeling quite chuffed and accomplished in orientating Bella to the playroom at the gym (I still can’t say crèche) so that I could work up a sweat and lose the last bit of weight that has become quite a myopic focus of mine. Whilst Bella appeared to be happy and secure enough in her attachment to let me go, I have learnt one very big lesson today that has had me in tears all morning.

 

Over the course of about four weeks that we have been going to the playroom, Bella has seemed happy and well adjusted. Late last week though as I was moaning through my latest punishing exercise, a spin class, a staff member came to get me as they had found Bella to be inconsolable about half an hour after I left. “She was fine” they said, right up until something triggered her into being so upset, they felt the need to get me.

 

On my return, she took some time to settle but we happily played and read some books for another half hour before heading home. After blowing kisses and hugs with the staff, they advised me to bring her back and try again.

 

This time every week has become about so much more than sweating. If that was all it was about, I’d just run around the park with her for heaven’s sake. It has however, become my way of coping with what can only be described as small “adjustment complications” with motherhood. Never before have I had to deal with the confusion of loving someone (Bella) and loving something (stay-at-home-motherhood) whilst desperately wanting to run into the woods topless at the same time. Hence, the child free gym time obsession.

 

So off we went early this week to “try again”, pushing to the back of my mind her strange behaviour since we left last time; clingy koala-like anxiety. More happy kisses and waves ensued on my departure and I sighed with relief when I thought it was going to be ok. But before I knew it, a staff member was searching me out again just as the elated feeling was returning, to tell me Bella was upset again.

 

Whilst I should have gone to her at that point, right then, I didn’t. I kept circling on that machine and I didn’t go to her. “She’ll be ok” said the endless voices in my head, “she needs to get used to it” said some more helpful advice inside.

 

I should have gone to her. I didn’t.

 

I let it go for another fifteen minutes and when I arrived in the room she was asleep in a staff members arms.  Unsettled and full of anxiety from this strange behavior, I left her asleep and went again for another 15 minutes. When I returned I woke her and she was once again distraught by her surroundings.

 

Once again the staff told me that I should bring her back later this week and that she’d “get used to it” and no doubt she will. But today it has been playing on my mind as to why she would have fallen asleep only a few hours after she had woken for the day.

 

Once again, the psychology degree only serves to undermine me as a parent and even worse, my shrink on speed dial can have the same effect (who also happens to be a child psychiatrist, damn him). Nevertheless I saw him today and explained what had been happening, as well as describing our home life.

 

Despite my best efforts, constant analysis and sometimes crippling love for Bella, I have singlehandedly destabilized her at home (with various boring stresses) and at large by leaving her with people she didn’t know whilst tolerating persisting distress. Turns out, it’s most likely she wasn’t tired at all that day when she fell asleep in the playroom but that she turned herself off to deal with her surroundings. And oh, how I know THAT feeling so well. Sweet escape of sleep…

 

I should have gone to her. I didn’t.

 

And you know what? I just don’t know how to do this gig. I don’t know how to not hurt this little girl and stay sane in the meantime.

 

There seems to be a plethora of articles doing the rounds (social media of course) about Mummy Wars, judging less and lending a good ear to our fellow parent in times of need. It has become increasingly unfashionable to voice an opinion of any kind, lest you appear to be passing judgment.

 

But people who know me, know that I like to make a call on things. Things like…

 

Drug use and pregnancy: bad.

 

Spray tans and pregnancy: good.

 

Drink driving: bad.

 

Binge drinking at home: good.

 

Plastic surgery: bad.

 

Waxing: good.

 

See how easy that was? I’m usually sure of my convictions and will fight to the proverbial death to make my point heard (usually the loudest). My sister put all of our good training to use and became a lawyer. I’m just a very frustrating friend to have a hearty discussion with.

 

But bringing up Bella has turned me into a dithering, questioning, teary mess with only one thing to go on: instinct. I know that what my doctor was saying today was right. Bella may just not be ready to leave me and for now, that’s just going to have to be ok.

 

We will go back to the gym and I will sit with her for the whole time if she needs, time after time, and I will go to her if she want me, again and again. She may not be ready for months or years in which case, I may just end up running in circles in the park. It has been my biggest lesson and definitely not my last. My time is hers now and I’m last cab off the rank, so to speak.

 

And instinct tells me, that’s exactly the way it’s supposed to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Fat Me

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Celebrating a birthday, now almost four years ago. It's taken me this long and one toddler to get where I am now. So close.

Celebrating a birthday, now almost four years ago. It’s taken me this long and one toddler to get where I am now. So close.

 

Dear Fat Me,

No disrespect and I know you’ll take no offence at the name but I just felt it was time we had a little chat. We tend to have little conversations all through the day you and I, struggling to live together harmoniously but here, today I thought I would give you a little bit of time.

The thing is, you’re fading away. Slowly but surely you are shrinking and whilst I jump joyously every time I see that a little bit more of you is gone I feel like you are fighting for your life and demanding some respect from the woman you have lived with for so long now. Like last night when you convinced me to try some of the chocolate cake I had made for the Toolmans birthday. “Just a little bit” was your campaign after everybody else was in bed. But today on the scales, nonetheless, I saw another 2 kilos of you gone, which makes it over 30kilos gone now since this all began.

But just in case you thought I really  didn’t care, I just wanted to say this…

Even when you are gone for good which I am hoping is only a few more months away, I will always remember how you protected me and kept me company when I had nowhere else to turn. What a good but toxic friend you have been to me. In the depths of depression, you made me feel ok for the five minutes I was eating my sadness away. When I was overcome with memories, like any other drug, the food I would medicate myself with took everything away. Chew, chew, swallow.

Few people understand this.

And when I was pregnant and the world was a happy place and I regained the weight I had lost simply because I couldn’t put the biscuits down , you were always good company to have around in front of the T.V. You’ve never once asked me if “I should be eating that” and you certainly never talk about “carbs” and “protein”. You are simply all about the party.

The thing is, I know how sad you are. How you look at yourself in the mirror and cry. How you admire your sister for her beautiful legs and taught stomach. How you’ve forever felt you were simply “the fat one”. How you hide from you husband in case he sees you in the shower. Fat Me, you are so ashamed and so sad ALL THE TIME about the way you look, I quite simply have had to step in and rescue you.

We’ve got Bella now and there’s no way on this good earth  I will see her write a schizophrenic letter to her fatter self in 28 years, no way. Which is why you’ve got to go and the crazy needs to stop here. Well maybe not the crazy, just the fat letters.

I’ve been afraid to write this letter because simply put, I always suspected you would win. But now, with less than 10 kilos to go, I’ve started having some new suspicions; that I may just get to the finish line before you. I’ve even started doing more than suspecting it; I do believe I now know it. I’m happy for us to team up and simply become the round ones, the plump ones, the curvaceous ones, as long as we are the healthy ones. And we are nearly there, right at the pointy end now, so if you don’t mind I need you to jump on board the gravy train (I’m just teasing you now aren’t I?) and either join me or die completely.

I truly hold so much love and affection for you because of what you have done for me over the years. I’ll think of you eating cheese and quince paste in heaven.

My warmest affections,

Shrinking Me.

Birthing Bella

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Bella One Day Old...Bless!

Dear Bella,

We celebrate your first birthday next week and the last year with you has been playing on   my mind for days. More specifically, your challenging and rewarding birth has been weighing heavily. At night as I doze off to sleep I think about the day you were born and the days leading up to it. Over the space of three days, I brought you into the world, was transformed by you and became your mother. This is how it happened.

You will no doubt learn over the years through stories that become family folk lore that I had intended to labour with you in our home. Having set up a birth pool and surrounding myself with affirmations for birth, I waited patiently as my due date (which I have since learnt should be called a guess date) passed us by. I was still attending hospital visits in the clinic at the Royal Womens and at 40weeks, 10 days and having avoided an induction by the skin of my teeth, I started a regime of acupuncture and herbs to induce labour.

By this time, having been given all the fear mongering advice from the hospital, I had agreed that by 42 weeks, if you hadn’t arrived, I would artificially induce. Chinese medicine was my back up plan and I intended to use it. So I spent that Saturday, two days overdue with needles in my back and feet, hooked up to an electrical pulse to stimulate labour. With an induction date set for Wednesday, I figured that daily acupuncture till then would help you along. In hindsite it was a mistake as you were snug as a bug and reluctant to move!

By 6 o’clock that night, within ten minutes of each other, I was feeling what was undeniably the slow rise and fall of contractions. Irritated on my back and side, they were strong enough to have me on my knees a lot of the time. Saturday and Sunday night I was able to dose through the contractions which would slow and then return in ten and twently minute intervals. Every hour that passed I was sure that they would strengthen and you would only be another day away. “Baby by morning” I said each night as I went to bed but I was growing more and more tired and in truth, frightened.

Monday morning I returned for more acupuncture and returned home to bed where your Nani was waiting for me. She would rub my back through contractions and in between, we’d laugh excitedly and eat cut up pieces of peach and nectarine that your father brought us. “This is happening” your Nani told me and I was sure that you would be only 12 hours away each time. Confused, we called our midwife Mal to come over. By early evening I was  in tears and questioning my ability to keep going. I knew that labour hadn’t become established at all but I was now a few days behind on sleep and worried about being strong enough. Mal told me that sometimes acupuncture does little to stimulate advanced labour but can simply irritate the cervix to dilate consistently but not get beyond 1 or 2cm. Great news! I was so furious that I hadn’t trusted my body and now felt that I had wasted too much energy on getting nowhere. Perhaps I should have just waited for the induction all along?

At this stage it seemed so ironic that my house was filled with positive birthing affirmations and the birth pool laughed at me, inflated and all ready to go. I had my homeopathics out, my Gatorade at the ready, some lollies to give me energy when things got hard. Why weren’t things happening? If I went to the hospital for an induction, all that would be wasted and I would be strapped to the bed for monitoring. This was all unravelling out of my control so quickly.

But birth Bella is not like an exam that you can pass or fail. It doesn’t happen the way you always want it to and there is a lesson there I am sure. Now, with some distance away from that time I can say that I was so scared Bella. I had no idea what to expect, could not be prepared from the books I had read and I was frightened in a way I had never been before. I wanted to make your father proud, you proud, me proud and had so many expectations of myself that looking back, were really only setting me up to be heartbroken.

The statistics from the Doctors were running around my head…perhaps I was making a mistake by leaving everything this late. Perhaps I did need to induce. But all my stats were fine and my baby had stayed so consistent the whole pregnancy. All I could do was wait and see….wait and see….and roll around in pain. Those days from Sunday to Wednesday are now a little bit of a blur.

Wednesday came, my bag packed, we drove in for my 7.30am induction. It felt so wrong already. Some people feel comfortable with the bright lights and bells of a hospital; it just scared me. Was it too late to go home?

I was excited to be given an examination as I wanted to know where my days of labour had got me. 1cm. 1CM!!!! Now exhausted (or so I thought), I was still negotiating. Yes, I would have the gel, no they could not break my waters when I was dilated enough. All day, I would plod around the hospital, contract wherever I could and return to a waiting room where women were lined up in leather armcharis waiting for their contractions to gain momentum. This went on till half hour past midnight when I was again examined and told that I was 2cm dilated with a cervix that had not yet effaced.

If you picture that I am having regular and painful contractions, now minutes apart, have been going since Saturday (it’s now early Thursday morning) am being examined in a hospital and foud to be 2cm dilated, you would agree I am sure that I did very well  to get away with only having my waters broken. I was still determined that there was only one way out for this baby and having our independent midwife there gave me the confidence to know that it was of course possible. Despite not everything going the way I wanted it to, I’m stillg lad we had a midwife and a birth plan.

But hearing that I was still in very early labour panicked me and I can now recognise that this is where I dropped my bundle big time! I asked for an epidural.

It was now 12.30 in the morning and I went into the shower while I waited for an anaesthetist to arrive. We were told that it was a very busy evening and we would have to wait.

I waited until 4am. It was during this time, after my waters were broken and I was in the shower that I experienced true labour. Bella my darling I wish I could tell you that I was magnificent; that I laboured with grace and strength. But it was hard, I felt trapped, I was scared and it was a noisy ol’ time. For three hours, with my contractions now strong, arriving every minute and lasting half that minute, I went into a very special but scary place. We placed a plastic chair in the shower with me and I leant over it with each surge. I begged for that epidural, pitifully begged for it. When I reaslied it wasn’t coming imminently, I retreated into my own mind.

During this time I needed someone there with me in my head, telling me I could do it. Your Pa and Mal our midwife were there next to me but I still felt lonely. I felt trapped and confused. Giving birth is not an easy process Bella; it’s messy and its emotionally difficult. It’s transformative and it has the potential to leave you full or empty. It’s about birthing a healthy baby but its also about a woman becoming a mother. Don’t let anyone ever tell you it’s simple.

At 4 am, the anaesthetist finally arrived (I know all this because I have my birth notes). Staying still whilst in very established labour is hard and your Pa was a champion. He squatted in front while I leant over him as the needle was inserted more than ten times in an attempt to site it correctly. Having been inserted and taped up, the anaesthetist left. Unfortunately it was ineffective and at 4.30am it had to be resited again. I was now dilated well and it was estimated that I was 6cm.

The following hours were slow and dim. I sucked on ice blocks, ate fruit and drank juice. We had a low dose coming through on the epidural so I could still feel the rise and fall of the contractions. This would also help me to push when the time came. At 6am I was 7-8cm dilated, you were almost posterior and your little head was turned on its side. At 10am I was assessed and fully dilated. I was given an hour to rest.

During this time your Pa had a wash, brushed his teeth and we had a cuddle, knowing you were going to be here very soon.

At 11.30am on Thursday the 22nd December 2011, with the dose low enough that I could feel contractions but was comfortable, I was helped up onto the bed, squatting across a bar and by 11.40, Mal could see the top of your head.

And this is the moment I will never in my lifetime forget. I reached down, felt you coming and sobbed like a baby. And at 12.05pm, you were in our arms.

“Is it a girl? Mal? Is it a girl?”

“Have another look” she said, grinning.

“Omigod, it’s a girl”. You will never know Bella how proud we were in that moment, your Pa sobbing and me so relieved to have you in my arms.

The minutes that passed with many doctors, nurses, emergency codes and bleeding were a blur even at the time. I was shocked to suddenly have so many people in the room, touching me, talking loudly, blood on nurses faces. It is these moments that explain my lethargy in the following weeks, my uncontrollable desire for sleep and rest. Feeling like I had been hit by a car. In that first hour, we had to share our time with surgeons and nurses. Shocked and scared, I was now worried for someone far beyond myself. I was suddenly a mother and trying to make sure you were as unaffected by what was going on around us as possible. We were catapulted into our very first challenge you and I; getting rid of all those doctors so we could be together.

Never again will we ever dance such a dance you and I as we did during those days when you were being born. This morning as we slept top and tail in bed (as you had decided you wanted you toes warm under my chin), I decided to put my grief over what could have been to bed.

Yes you Bella kept us waiting. You Bella were birthed just the way you were meant to for whatever reason.

You Bella, were worth it.

Love Ma

Birthday Blues

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My little girl turns 11 months today. It was at about this time, 2 o’clock in the afternoon, eleven months ago that I was being repaired and my husband and I were in shock to find that the name we had picked for a girl simply didn’t fit the one we had just brought earth side. I was expecting a Zahra but alas, we made a Bella.

In the first few weeks after she was born, I yearned for a one year old. I begged the universe (and most people game enough to come in contact with me) for a one year old. “I promise, I promise”, I begged the toolman, “When she’s one I’ll be a great mother. I’ll dance with her and everything. Just let me sleep, pleeeasssseeeee”. Sound familiar? In my post partum delirium I rationalised that I probably wasn’t going to be the best mother to a baby but I can make a cracking pot of homemade play dough so surely a one year old would be more my caper. In truth, I wished poor Bella’s life away just a smidge.

But now that my first important milestone is on the horizon, quite predictably, I want to go back. Not too far back mind you, I can leave the visit to a mother baby inpatient unit behind me; maybe just back a few months. I want to remember her tiny. I want to hold her against my chest with the luxury of hindsight and know that she can nap right there without having to put her down so that I myself can steal an hour of sleep. I honestly can’t remember what those early months were like; what she smelt like, the shape of her head.

There is so much good stuff ahead of me. There’s a whole Australian summer to be had right around the corner with a little girl who is so delectable she has to be seen to be believed (no seriously folks, people stop me in the street *blushing mother*). And let me not get to how delightful I can only imagine it is going to be when I am no longer sitting on a pump for hours a day. So why am I feeling so sad? Why am I suddenly worried about weaning, about losing that tiny baby who I only knew for such a short time?

The great irony is that when you are told to “enjoy it” in the early months by mothers that have gone before you, I don’t think I am alone in saying you want to pull out a hot rod and poke them in the bum with it. Because at that point you simply can’t enjoy it….you’re too sleep deprived, too emotional and teetering so close to the edge, the only thing stopping you from jumping is the energy it would take to fling yourself over.

I still go without sleep but I’m sadly used to it and as a rather important addition to the equation, I now love being with my daughter. I even love her tantrums …..They show she’s got some spunk. I just want a little more time.

More time to finish her scrap book I am making her; the story of how she came to be (minus the rude bits). More time to plan her birthday. More time to put up the Christmas tree, adorned with only pink and purple ornaments just for her. More time to play with her. More time to remember her just as she is. I’ve even become obsessed with looking at pictures of myself when I was pregnant with her.  What is going on here?

Perhaps this is a lesson about enjoying the moment. Not stressing about the future or the past. About letting the little one in your life turn one and simply enjoying it. Or perhaps this is the joke played on women worldwide. The one that gives you a little tickle and the fantasies and the daydreams of a brother or a sister begins.

Somebody get here quick and slap me!

 

 

The Look of Love

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Did I not see it here? How would you describe this feeling?

 

I’ve just had the most delicious experience with Bella. Slightly perturbed that the home hairdresser I had booked to cut my hair today was a no show, and on my new regime of trying to consciously enjoy my time with my daughter, I climbed into our bed with her. Armed with a bottle of fresh milk, we snuggled down under the doona and played peek-a-boo till she finally gave up on it. When she gave me her undeniable cue that she was tired (she loves to grab whatever top she is wearing with both hands as if to swaddle herself), I brought her up into my arm for a cuddle.

Amazingly, even at only ten and a half months, she knew how to reward me and stared so directly into my eyes, I am sure we were talking to each other. At one point I even thought to myself, “Can you hear me?” as I matched her loving stare.

Something incredible happened though that I wanted to share. I understand that this may be an epiphany-come-lately that most of you out there have experienced already but I realised that my daughter loves me. It’s not just me that adores her. She actually loves me. What have I been so scared of all this time? Yes, I am her mother which means I am responsible for her and yes, my life has changed in a way that often requires selfless sacrifice (quite the shock to the system after years of selfishness). But if she loves me and I love her, won’t we be alright in the end?

Suddenly I didn’t give a damn about the hairdresser; my curls could go wild. Because here I have a little girl, who is part me, who for now just looked at me like I was her world. And I was all good, not a bad bone in my body. Nobody has ever looked at me like that before.

If I wasn’t so happy, I would dry reach at my own sop. Is this what it’s been like all along for other mothers? I envy the speed with which they’ve had this realisation but I don’t resent my tardiness.

I got there in the end and once again, my little girl was waiting for me at the finish line.

Bless!

Seesaw Shenanigans

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I ventured out in the cold of the southern hemisphere last night to see the quintessential girls’ movie of 2010 – Sex in the City 2. I won’t bore you with the details of my absolute disillusionment with the film, but rather explain to you how a terrible event left me very much on the other side of “the fat war”.

The war I am referring to is the one that us ladies battle most days when out in the world (as opposed to snug as a bug under the covers picking the choc chips out of our cleavage). My cousin and I were sitting quite innocently on the end of a wooden bench, chatting happily about the woes of wifehood when a rather rotund looking woman sat on the other end.

She spent some time rustling around in her bag looking for something, with pants that were riding too low round the back. Satisfied that she found what she wanted, she decided to settle in. My cousin and I became quite literally airborne, grabbing each other in the process, but once stationary again, found it quite hard to control ourselves. And when I say we, I really mean me.

I had enough sensitivity to roll my giggles into the retelling of a fictional story, but once the woman spotted her friend and left the scene, I was crying with the hilarity of it all.

And then it hit me – she was me. Or really, only a few stone from being me and is therefore quite likely to have the same excruciating experiences of being in the world at large, or is that large in the world?

Being thrown through the air without warning left me laughing at the shock of it. And if I am being truly honest, I laughed with the relief it wasn’t me. And when I heard my cousin chime in at the retelling of the story, “yes, she was quite a large lady”, I said nothing and felt like a traitor.

But if my cousin referred to her as quite a “large lady”, it must have meant that she was much larger than me and in that moment, this woman’s plight was not my own and I was relieved. I felt this woman’s embarrassment but preferred not to acknowledge it. Maybe that’s why women the globe over are so dismissive of larger women; they’re all just afraid that if they get too close, they might catch it.

And just relieved it’s not them…

Onwards and Downwards

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I had an interesting conversation with a dear friend of mine the other day. A slightly morbid train of thought or at the very least a scene from a strange black comedy. We were comparing notes on mental illness and trying to decide what body parts we would give up to be free from the burden of our diseases. After some lengthy contemplation, I decided I would be happy to give away my middle, ring and small fingers from my right hand. My friend, who suffers from a more severe disease than I do, and consequently is unable to trust the reality of her thoughts for much of the time, decided she would be happy to trade her whole hand. Obviously (or obvious to us anyway), the toes lovingly referred to as our “pinkies” which are null and void anyway would be happily given away to sweeten the deal.

I have felt broken for some time now as my body has become increasingly tired and noncompliant. My ovaries are on strike, I have developed the rarest type of psoriasis on my hands and feet causing them to crack and bleed, my big toe nail is hanging on by the slightest of attachments (soon to be removed by a professional) and my mind is at times, a parasite, enslaving its inhabitant (me) to wreak havoc on my life.

Despite this, little gems still manage to crop up in front of me. The Toolman and I travelled to a small Australian town, on the border of two states last weekend, in celebration of the Toolman’s birthday. We opted for some cheap accommodation in the main street of the town (our favourite way to travel) and instead of frequenting the surrounding wine region, full of city folk trying to “look country”, decided to make ourselves familiar with the locals.

When travelling, the Toolman and I manage to enter into the strangest situations that only being away from your home town can produce. It has become quite the habit for us to stay in substandard accommodation and prop somewhere, confident that inevitably an interesting local will befriend us. This town did not disappoint.

We sat quietly in an empty bar on Saturday night, after a day that had been spent much in silence. When I am “not well”, I struggle to communicate because of the energy it requires and therefore abuse the intimacy I have with my husband that allows me to stay mainly mute. But within an hour, we had befriended “Rod and Shirles” who wanted us to stay at their place, Geoff the local sheep farmer and Stan the book man. Not only were we acquainted but I had successfully obtained individual stories from each which included a drug affected daughter, a deep disappointment that a son had chosen an academic career instead of a life on the land, and a deeply shameful liaison with a married woman. The next day, people were waving to us in the street and introducing me to the woman at the centre of said affair to “see what I thought of her”. But in all this an interesting this happened. A man unknown to both the Toolman and I said to me, almost completely out of the blue,

I think sometimes we can underestimate the illusionary nature of pain”. And that was it. I was so shocked that I didn’t respond, instead chose to contemplate how this idea had so randomly been presented to me by a total stranger.

And so in contemplating, I wondered whether pain was in fact just an illusion or perhaps even, an hallucination. If an hallucination is the perception of “something” in the “complete absence of anything”, and an illusion is the “incorrect perception” of something that is actually “there”, perhaps my pain is in fact an illusion after all.

You see, I could have it all wrong. And just maybe all those religious types have something to offer. Because what if my mental illness, my psoriasis and even my toe nail are not sources of pain at all? What if I have incorrectly perceived them? Could they be little gifts, little ways of learning and becoming stronger and (shudder)….happier?

Don’t worry, I haven’t lost it, OF COURSE THEY’RE NOT! They’re just crappy and make me feel crappy and unhappy and overwhelmed. But as my Grandpa said to me the other day which resulted in a few tears springing to the corners of my eyes,

“You’re a great jumper. You jump over everything thrown at you. In fact, you should go down to the track and show those horses a thing or two”. I felt something for him when he said that, which I have never felt before. Maybe he has gotten me all along after all?

The next day, I tried something new. I got out my “Thailand-Special” converse runners and an old pair of trackies, threw my long out-of-control curls on top of my head and went for walk because I will not let this get away from me. I want to lose weight, shed the flab and move on, toe nail or no toe nail. And just maybe, I can walk myself out of all this malaise.

So enough of all “that”, it’s do or die and how true that is. Onwards and upwards peeps, back to calorie counting and weighing and all those other clichés synonymous with getting back on track, yoo-hooing, and fighting the good fight!

Maybe with a bit of extra effort, I can delay the inevitable slide down for at least a few months, maybe even years.

But by the way, just so you know, my friend and I drew the line at losing an eye.