It is hard being fat.
It is hard having people look at you with 'that' look when you know they think you are lazy.
It is hard going to restaurants and asking for something like ice cream and getting 'that' look from the waitress.
It is hard exercising when you are carrying twice the amount of body weight you should be.
It is hard feeling the pain in your joints after walking.
It is hard knowing that you are going end up sick or in a wheelchair if you don't do something about it but doing something about it is also damn hard.
But what is perhaps the hardest thing at this point in my life is finding clothes!!
I know this seems really silly and shallow but seriously, have you ever seen what they expect fat people to wear??!! It is either a sack with some arm holes cut out of it, or something that is actually made for a small person but just more fabric added. All the curves are wrong, all the material is wrong. It is just all wrong!!
But apart from that, trying to find exercise clothes, you know so I can get HEALTHY, is next to IMPOSSIBLE!!!
Try and find an exercise bra in 22E for me! One that has good stability and support and isn't going to end in either black eyes or ripped boobs!
Or running/biking pants. I mean come on! Surely those with the bigger thighs need less chaffing than a stick figure with thigh gap! WHY is there NOTHING out there that will fit me, won't chaf, won't get holes in the inseam after two hours in them, and is made of material that keeps everything wobbling?
It's like there is this mass campaign in the fashion industry to make fat people feel terrible in the clothes they wear but then refuse to give them clothes they need to actually change the situation.
I bought togs this year, a really flattering pair, but I still have to wear another bra underneath because togs designers do not seem to grasp the concept that if the boobs are bigger then the support needs to be stronger! It is simple people, I mean really!
So me and my mother-in-law (MIL) have been on a hunt to find nice, casual clothes for my size while I try and get into the stuff that is smaller. She has been shocked by what I have known for a long time - you have to go overseas through online shops to get anything even remotely flattering. And then you have to guess the size and hope for the best. Once you have found your shop you never, ever, ever deviate from it and buy exclusively from there for the rest of your life. They will charge you ten times more for clothes that may have twice the amount of fabric, but by the time you find a store that works for you, you are happy to pay whatever they ask just to look good.
I have been a big woman who didn't care about how I look, and I refuse to be that again. I take pride in my appearance and try and look pretty in everything I wear (except the stay at home and play games clothes...no one looks good in those). I wish that there were people out there who understood this drama and wanted to provide pretty, long lasting, affordable clothing as well as SPORTS clothing for big women.
To those of you out there who are feeling me right now, I recommend two options.
My fav shop is City Chic (Australian site, not American). They deliver to NZ and you can make an account in NZ dollars. I have to admit I never buy full price items there, I simply cannot afford it, so I always head to their sale section. You can get amazing deals on out wear, dresses, and underwear (their bras are the best I have found anywhere). They are great and their dresses last a really long time (I have had some for three years and they are still going strong). My experience with their pants has not been so great (they tend to be quite thin and wear away quickly) but if you get them on sale who cares! They also have started doing sports bras (yay!!!) so I am hoping for more in a sports line.
The other one is a place MIL came across recently. Another Australian shop called Curvaceous. They don't have such a wide range but are much better priced for everyday casual items. I am definately going to go back here for my singlets, tank tops, and t-shirts whereas I think I will stick to CC for the prettier stuff.
Being fat is hard, and getting healthy is hard, so it is up to us to pick which we will live with. I have decided that being sick and fat is harder to face than the exercise so I am pushing myself to aim toward the Ironman 2020 in Taupo. I am swimming, I am cross-training, and I have joined weight watchers to help me with my food.
Now I just need some clothes....
Someone I love has depression.
If you know them you may not even realise. They appear normal, even happy. They socialise and smile and laugh. They can tell jokes and give warm hugs. They tell people they love them, and they mean it. They are kind and beautiful and a light to so many people who call them friend.
They appear to be successful in life. They have held down jobs, studied at higher levels, and have amazing friendships. They are happily married, and talk about one day having children. They look after their pets and live in a nice house.
On the outside they appear to be living life well.
But this person I know has depression.
When the party ends and the people leave, when the door closes and the curtains are drawn, that is when they let out the darkness inside. Their fear and anger, their numbness and paralysis, and their total lack of hope and joy only surfaces around people that they are most safe and comfortable being with.
For my person, that is me.
I see my best friend at their worst. I have encouraged them when they have lain on their bed sobbing and unable to move. I have done chocolate runs when they are to scared to leave the house. I have encouraged and cajoled when they have no energy to get out of their pajama's and have a shower.
Because I love this person with depression.
And on those days, I step up.
Because to love someone with depression means that you sometimes need to be the strong one. It is a relationship that teaches you what it means to love selflessly. It teaches you what it means to be strong for someone else. It teaches you how dark someone's mind can be and, in contrast, how bright and amazing they are on the good days.
I have told this person that I love them a thousand times. And then I back my words up with my actions.
Is it exhausting? Sure, some days. People who have mental health issues sometimes need a bit more of your time, a little more of your focus, and a lot more encouragement. Some days I need to repeat that I love them and am here for them 100x more than I would other days. Some days I need to hug them more than I would others. Some days I will get more phone calls just to hear my voice.
We have all watched those most precious to us hurt in ways we cannot understand or be a part of, any more that any person can understand what it means to be inside another persons mind. We love until it hurts and then we keep on loving, because the person is worth it.
They are worth the sleepless nights as we pray for them. They are worth the tears shed. They are worth the time spent listening and caring. They are worth the worry and fretting. They are not a waste of space or a drain on our lives or any other of the thousand things they can tell themselves. They are worth all of our love.
If you love someone with a mental illness, someone who would at times prefer death over life, then you are not alone. Your love does make a difference. I know you can get tired and jaded and hurt, but it does mean something. Your strength is to be admired and I honour you for the time and love that you give, even when it is not reciprocated in the way you want.
If you are someone who struggles with a mental illness, then no matter what your brain tells you, there are people who love you. We want the best for you. We want to love you because you are worth it.
YOU are worth it.
You ARE worth it.
You are WORTH it.
YOU ARE WORTH IT.
Keep reading those lines, even if you don't believe them. Keep reading them and telling yourself that and let it sink in so deep inside you that one day, maybe, you will believe it.
And to the person this blog is about - I love you. You don't need to be sorry. You are not a pain or annoying or anything else that you feel you are. I will love you today and I will love you tomorrow not matter what happens.
You are worth it.
Do you ever get the feeling that your life is simply stuck on repeat?
You know, that unpleasant realisation that you have been here and done this all before?
I have felt like that over the last few weeks when it comes to life. I look at the events of the recent months and wonder how many times I will have to repeat the same life stories before things start to change.
Not sure what I mean? Let me give you a few scenarios...
Due to extenuating circumstances outside of my control, I am once again without a job. In the last four years this has happened so many times that it is no longer funny. Contracts have ended (twice), we had to move city (once), I had to leave because of illness (once). That is roughly a change in job once a year. I am now in my 30's and still without a permanent job and this is simply starting to piss me off. I am qualified up the wazoo but partly due to where I live (a small town), and life circumstances, I haven't got the break that I really need. So this year I am working on building up my own company (again). I started this a year ago but due to my husband going back to study I needed a more consistent income and went to another job. This time I am going to stick it out. It will be rough for a few months but I really think it will make it if I work hard at it. And if I work for myself it should be guaranteed job security....right?
I have also decided to return to study this year. Instead of doing the postgraduate thing which I had planned on in the future, I am developing my skills at undergraduate levels in ways that will help me develop and grow my business and the charity that hubby and I have started (check out lightswitchfoundation.com for more info). I love to study. In fact, if I won millions of dollars I would quite happily study for the rest of my life. The focus of this study however is to skill develop in order to make sure that number 1 on this list won't happen again.
My last post on this blog was all about the migraines I have been experiencing. Well lucky ole' me is still having them and is still waiting for a neurologist appointment to get them sorted. They are not so bad that I can't do work or study from home, but finding a job in another work place with rigid hours may be a little more difficult until this is all sorted (another reason I am working on building my business). I have had such a run of ill health over the last few years that I am well and truly due for a full body transplant. Frustrating though this is, I have been learning a lot about slowing down, taking care of myself, and listening to my body, which are all good things (though surely not worth the pain the cause).
4. Family members sick....again...
I have talked about my mother in law and her cancer before. She has recently been rediagnosed and it isn't looking good. So the lot of us are once again facing this awful disease and all the unknowns that come along with it. She is perhaps one of the strongest, most amazing women I have met and I hate that she is going through this. She does it with such grace and love (and occassional breakdowns) that I am honoured to share this journey with her. Still sucks really bad.....
Those are some of the repeats that are happening at the moment that feel like I have been sucked into a time vortex and am simply reliving past years. I also have my husband studying (again) and me working on my novel (still) and it begins to feel like this year is going to be much of a muchness with years gone by.
Though if the past is anything to go by, I should survive the year.....again.......
The last few weeks of life have been....interesting.
I have had a major attack of the migraines.
No, not "I had a migraine", but I have many many migraines over a series of weeks. They started as cluster migraines that lasted two weeks. (Cluster migraines are where you get lots of migraines one after the other without respite). I was in bed for most of that two weeks and was prescribed many pills - none of which worked. Since then I have become unemployed due to my poor health and my migraines have fallen into a pattern of one day on, one day off. It has been a month of pain, doctors visits, and sheer frustration. I have now been referred to a neurologist as the doctors are out of ideas.
Though this state of affairs kinda sucks, I am just taking it all a day at a time and hoping for the the migraines to stop as quickly as they started. I am following doctors advice, and looking after myself.
Migraines are NOT headaches and this blog is for those of you who have never had a migraine.
I have come up with the 4 steps of my migraines so that those of you who are interested can know what I go through and why I keep cancelling my hang outs with you. Enjoy.
Stage 1: Jedi Knight Light Sabers in my Eye.
I may be sitting quietly, out with my hubby, or at church, and all of a sudden those sneaky Jedi will start attacking my left eye with an invisible light saber. It feels like a painful, sharp, hot, agonising pain that goes through my pupil, into the back of my eye socket and out the back of the left side of my head. This pain gives me a half hour warning before I need to be in bed. I have time to get home, take pills and get ready for stage 2-4.
Stage 2: The Ochestra
Stage 2 can often happen at the same time as stage 1, or very soon after, but can also be delayed, which is why it gets its very own section.
At this point my left eye is fighting off the Jedi attack, when the world suddenly becomes very noisy. For some reason, everything sounds at the same level of loudness. The bird in the distance is now as loud as the person talking next to me. The banging of the hammer down the street is as booming as the bass of hubby's music in the next room. Because everything is now one level of noise, it is hard, if not impossible, to follow conversation. I find myself squinting from eye pain and focusing so intently on the person talking to me that I must look like some sort of Quasimodo trying to ingraitiate themselves into society. This leveling out of all noise can be accompanied by a woodpecker in my ear drum - just to add to the fun - which does its best to split my ear drum open. This makes it even harder to hear anything going on around me. If I am not home by the time this starts happening, then I am about to be in for a orld of pain.
Stage 3: Just Kill Me and Be Done With It
Absolute, complete, brain implosion.
The pressure will build in my head to the point where I actually fantasize about drilling into my own skull to release it.
My eyes won't cope with any light so I have to have a blanket over my eyes to block out even the little bit that shines through my eyelids.
A team of Irish dancers will move into my stomach to rehearse 'Lord of the Dance' and I will feel queasy and ill.
My left and right side of my brain will takes turns lobbing bombs at the other in a suicidal attempt at self destruction.
Any noise will make my head feel like it is splintering and any movement will make me feel like I am on a boat in the middle of a storm.
If, for what ever reason, I have to move my legs are weak and rubbery and walking is an effort.
Talking becomes a monumental task as my words slur and my brain forgets simple syntax and 90% of my vocabulary.
For anywhere from 1-24 hours, I will feel like death would be preferable to what I am experiencing.
Stage 4: Run Over by a Bus
The migraine is not the end of the story.
The recovery can be long and tedious. My brain will feel bruised for some time (the more intense stage 3 is, the longer this will last). My thinking is slow and sluggish. My body is exhausted. I will be able to sleep for whole days at a time as I recover from the trauma my brain just went through.
Rinse and Repeat
If you remember that at the moment I am having a day-on-day-off cycle, then most of my life at the moment is in migraine or in recovery. I am exhausted most of the time and don't get a hell of a lot done. I am grumpy, frustrated and sore. I am sick of sleeping and yet still need to sleep ridiculous hours.
Though I am trying to be gentle on myself, it is a cycle that can bring me to tears and depression. I feel useless and fidgety, as well as angry and helpless.
So if you see me out and about, please note that it has taken me a huge amount of effort to do the small thing I may be doing.
And if I cancel on you - even repeatedly - please be gracious and know that I am not being lazy or blowing you off, but I will make it up to you when I am upright and human again.
It is 3 o'clock in the morning and I am awake.
For the last 5 or so hours I have been lying in bed trying everything in my power to make myself sleep as my husband as softly snored next to me.
I have prayed.
I have meditated.
I have done deep breathing.
I have 'day dreamed'.
I have listened to audio books.
I have written lists after lists of everything in my head so it would all be out of my head and on paper.
I have changed pillows.
I took a short walk inside my house.
I played some games online.
And now I am blogging.
I have insomnia. Strangely enough, I also know why I have insomnia. I have insomnia because my doctor has given me some new pills to take to try and stop the ever increasing amount and severity of the migraines I get. When I felt a migraine coming on early this evening (or is it yesterday evening now...?) I dutifully took my new medication and went to bed so I would be able to work on Monday (today).
7 hours later.....
I think I almost prefer the migraines to the complete inability to sleep. It is strange how desperate you can become for sleep when it alludes you. I have nearly been in tears tonight because I am so damn tired and yet I CANNOT SLEEP!!!!! Needless to say, I am never taking these pills again. My desire to avoid missing yet another day of work has lead to the complete probability that I will miss work because I will be completely unsafe to drive the half hour country road to my work, let alone function at any kind of level that could be called acceptably human.
What if these pills last 48 hours.......??
So in my desire to sleep, I started writing sermons in my head (as one does apparently). My thinking around my topic went something like this:
I can't sleep
What if I can't work tomorrow/today?
But I took most of last week off because of migraines!
They will think I am slacking!
I am so useless.
I am a waste of space.
My life is pointless.
Oh yes, I am at my most cheery when I am slowly watching the minutes of my life/sleep tick away from me.
But then I got to thinking: if my being unwell (and unfortunately at the moment, progressively so) defines whether or not I am a useless or useful human being, then what judgement am I making about the rest of the people around me?
I know a lot of people, it's one of the perks of being an outgoing personality type. A lot of these people have illnesses. Some of them have chronic ongoing illnesses. Some are very open and honest about their daily life and their struggles, and some keep it quiet and hidden from all but their closest friends, of which I am honoured to call myself one. Some are in wheelchairs and some are not. Some 'wear' their illness, and some you would never know had one.
I have profound admiration and respect for all of these people. I have heard their stories. I have wept with and for them. I have laughed at the totally disgusting things that can happen to us. I have encouraged and been encouraged by them.
And I realise that when I say that I am a waste of space because of an ongoing illness, I am saying that, by extension, they are also a waste of space. And I don't believe that at all! These are beautiful and strong and clever and needed and valued members of my life and of society. They teach me so much about what it means to be courageous in the face of overwhelming odds. They teach me what it means to live in the faceof death. They show me what it means to really love, what it means to give, what it means to wear your heart on your sleeve because that is all you can do. By no means are any one of these people a waste of space.
And neither am I.
So I got up and I wrote an email to my boss (who is a wonderful man) and told him about my health issues and asked that he be patient as the doctors try and figure out what is going on and how we can best manage it. Because I am valuable. I am necessary to their business and it is better for them to be patient than to get frustrated and resentful.
And then I started this blog. Because I realised something.
I realised that if we are all the bride of Christ, if we are all part of glowing an blushing bride that will be presented to our saviour at the end of all things, then the bride of Christ is a disabled bride.
She is in a wheelchair.
She has difficulty speaking sometimes.
She has chronic pain
She is tired (omg is she tired!)
She is all of these things because we are all of these things. If we look at ourselves, even those of us who feel that we are pretty fit and healthy have something wrong with us. We are all headed towards old age. We are all one car ride away from the accident that puts us in hospital and changes our lives. We are all one breath closer to death and disability and even if we are at peak physical condition, we won't be there for long, or we will have something emotional/mental/spiritual wrong with us.
We are all disabled!!! There is no such thing as abled!!!
To be disabled is the norm! It is the constant state of humanity. We are broken and feeble and falling to bits. None of us can say we are not disabled in some way.
And isn't that so freeing!! Doesn't it just make you want to laugh and go "what the heck was I so worried about?? Getting old isn't scary! Death isn't scary! Being sick isn't scary! We are all disabled all the time anyway!"
I find it so freeing to think I don't have to worry about not reaching a certain performance level because that level doesn't really exist! No one can reach and maintain that level forever. No one is not disabled in some way.
And so yes, we are broken
Yes we are disabled
Yes we are falling to bits
We are loved!
And just as the love of a groom makes the bride her most beautiful on her wedding day, so the love of our groom, that is Christ, makes us beautiful. It is his love that embraces our flaws and our disabilities and makes them things of beauty and grace. It is his love that makes the very things we find shameful and embarrassing the things that are the most awe-inspiring. It is his love for his bride that makes all of this worth the hard day to day slog that we face.
Because at the end of it all, when we face him, he will hold out his hands, lift us from our chair, and say "Rise, walk, your sins are forgiven and you are my beloved."
I am on day three of eating plan and exercise regime.
And it sucks.
Like big suck.
I am hungry, I am grumpy, I am tired, I am sore. I am also stressed at work and looking at our vending machines (which happen to be right opposite my desk) and wanting to go mental.
I know dieting and exercise is hard, but why???? WHY???????
The cans of drink are looking seductively at me and whispering my name. The chocolate bars want me to undress them. The chips are playing hard to get. It is actually driving me crazy because all I want to do is take out my stress in calories and sugar. Instead I have rice crackers and peanut butter.
I know I should hate it enough to change, but right now I just hate it. Hate ALL of it. I hate health, I hate stupid exercise, I hate stupid stairs with stupid printers at the top, I hate everyone and everything I have ever met.
Oh yeah, I am a bright ray of sunshine today.
Day three - this SUCKS.
A blog about life, love, theology and everything on my mind.
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