My husband thought I worked for ASIO

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When I first met my husband (Shanton) he thought that I must have secretly worked for ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation). He also thought that I stared at him a lot. I didn’t find this out until much later, and at the time he told me, I thought this was hilarious and when I share this story to people in workshops or in life, they also find it funny.

Whenever I talk to friends, family and clients and deliver courses, the topic of conversation inevitably turns to culture – this includes many aspects of cultural differences as well as how to show respect and build rapport, and since meeting Shanton nine years ago these are subjects I have learnt a lot about and continue to learn more about as time goes on.

I have written in a previous post about how we do cross cultural marriage, so if you want to read a bit of a back story of how two very different people met, fell in love and make it work, feel free to check that article out here.

So, back to ASIO. The reason he thought this was because of the fact I asked so many questions. I have always been a curious cat, curious in the extreme really, just ask any of my school teachers since the beginning of time and anyone who knows me. I ask a LOT of questions.

In Shanton’s culture however, questions are considered rude. They can’t ask questions of people who are senior to them, they can’t ask questions such as what a person does for a living, how old someone is (this is particularly important if the person is senior to you) you can’t ask about marital status, and the biggest taboo question of all is when a woman is pregnant to ask when her baby is due. I met countless people who Shanton introduced me to as his wife and I never got the name of most of them either and I didn’t ask. One day I asked Shanton what our neighbour James’ mum’s name was, so I could address her properly, he looked at me curiously and said, ‘It’s James’ mum’.

I could fill a dictionary of all the things you don’t ask, so it’s easier to just summarise by saying – don’t ask. My best advice when dealing with anyone from a culture you aren’t familiar with is to be guided by how the person engages with you. Questions such as ‘how are you?’ ‘how is your family?’ and ‘how is your health?’ are usually ok across most cultures. My Mum often laughs when recalling Shanton coming home to bring a friend to introduce to her and mostly he didn’t know their name, so he would say ‘Mum, this is my good, good friend’.

Somehow, in Ghana they get to know enough about each other to not need to ask questions like we do. It boggles the mind of people like us in Australia, because that’s how we get to know people right? Maybe it gets back to the fact that people mostly live in a community setting and already know enough about each other to not need to ask too much?  I don’t know, even after all these years it puzzles me, but one of the things I learnt about living in another country myself and with a person from another culture is to be guided by them when it comes to relating to other people. Showing respect is paramount and if a person feels disrespected you can forget about building any kind of relationship, no matter the culture.

Now the staring thing. In the West, we show respect by making eye contact when someone is talking to us or we are talking with another person. However, in many cultures direct eye contact is seen as threatening, rude and inappropriate. This has variations from culture to culture and there are subtleties about eye contact that can vary between married to single, junior to senior, male to female etc. When it gets down to it eye contact in developing countries and some of our more traditional cultures is more often than not seen as inappropriate. Shanton really felt I stared at him, I saw it as gazing lovingly into his eyes of course. He initially saw it as strange and rude and didn’t know how to respond. We had an interesting conversation about this just today which has led to this post. After so many years in Australia he now appreciates, and values eye contact and it has become the norm for him.

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When he visits Ghana however, he is now seen as odd, and people often ask him why he is staring at them, one man asked ‘Sorry do I know you? Why are you staring at me like that?’. Today he told me something that he hadn’t shared or perhaps realised before. He recently returned from a visit to Ghana, and he told me that his uncle has been unhappy with him, although he didn’t tell him directly. Shanton was told it was because he no longer showed him the respect he previously had. Other people have also commented that he no longer respects his senior family members. The difference between the past and now is one thing – eye contact.

I found this fascinating. The fact that he was in his newfound way showing respect, was in fact having the opposite and unwanted effect with his family and friendship groups back in Ghana.

These are just two of the myriad of cultural differences that I find so interesting. I could write a book there are so many, but these are particularly important, as showing respect and building rapport are the building blocks of establishing a relationship of any kind. It is even more critical when you are supporting someone in a counselling or therapeutic relationship or informally when checking in to see how they are going, perhaps when offering Mental Health First Aid.

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Here are a few ideas I have found helpful so far in terms of building the initial relationship with someone if you are unsure of how to engage and to ensure you are showing respect.

  1. Be guided by the way the other person engages with you, and follow suit. For instance if they make brief eye contact and look down or away, don’t take offence. They may be showing you deep respect. This is hard to get used to, as we have been taught the importance of eye contact but it can be quite confronting for some.
  2. Don’t assume physical contact is ok, for instance don’t shake hands if the person doesn’t initiate it. Better to greet warmly without reaching out unless the person reaches out first. For some people shaking hands is just not ok, and especially between men and women.
  3. Be careful with the use of humour, particularly sarcasm. This is a particularly Western way of interacting but it’s usually lost on someone not accustomed to it. Humour varies greatly and it is tricky to navigate, so tread lightly. My husband still doesn’t get my dry sarcastic wit sometimes, although he now proudly states “this – is going straight to the poolroom” when he gets a gift. Over time he has become a huge fan of some of our iconic Aussie comedy films.
  4. Approach sensitive topics gently and gauge the response before probing too deep. Observe the person’s non-verbal reaction to your question or comment before continuing along that line of conversation.
  5. If you inadvertently do something that seems inappropriate, don’t be afraid to apologise, we are all human, and showing vulnerability and genuine concern is always appreciated.
  6. If you do ask questions, consider the motivation behind them. Before he got used to being bombarded with a gazillion questions, Shanton occasionally asked me ‘what are you going to do with this information?’ a response I found intriguing. When you are working in a supporting role, it is always helpful to check yourself before enquiring and consider ‘for whose benefit am I asking this question?’. We often ask questions out of our own personal interest, especially when faced with something different to us, but in fact when helping someone, questions should largely be for the benefit of the client or person you are talking with. Questions should assist an individual to find the answers within themselves, unlock what they already know or assist them to move forward.

Lastly, and most importantly, enjoy living, laughing and learning from the incredibly diverse, wonderfully rich and beautiful blend of cultures we are blessed to call family, friends, colleagues and community in this great big delicious melting pot we call home.

My life is certainly richer for the experience.

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My favourite vegan YouTubers

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The vegan movement is a rapidly growing social movement and probably the quickest growing one we’ve seen in many years. Whether you are vegan or not, chances are you know someone who is or you’ve read one of the many articles discussing the benefits on health, the environment, the planet and the animals. Social media has played a large role in its popularity as people are realising that it is one of the easiest ways we can have an impact as individuals.

I have been asked recently by a few people to share some of my favourite sites and so I thought today I’d share some of my favourite YouTubers. I love YouTube and enjoy watching people opening their lives and homes to us to learn a little about many things. Veganism is an increasingly trending topic on YouTube and so there are literally thousands sharing this lifestyle right now. From animal rights activists, to health concerns, vlogging and recipes, there are as many styles and areas of focus as there are people.

Today I have chosen a few of my personal favourites to share with you. I enjoy channels that uplift and inspire and focus on health and wellbeing and all of these chosen YouTubers do exactly that.

Sweet Potato Soul Jenne ‘shares unique and tasty vegan recipes, ethical fashion, natural beauty, and more to help inspire a compassionate lifestyle.’ Beautifully shot, high quality videos with fabulous soundtracks combined with an upbeat, positive outlook make for great viewing. She just makes you feel good watching her.

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Jenne Claiborn

Pick up Limes ‘welcomes foodies, minimalists, travellers and all beautiful souls. Get inspired or find a calm and relaxing space with the collection of videos that help to nourish the cells and the soul.’ Sadia is a qualified dietician who has rapidly grown a huge following on YouTube and for good reason. Her videos are incredibly beautifully filmed and produced and her gorgeous heart centred and sensible approach to life is inspiring and infectious.

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Sadia

The Fairy Local Vegan ‘makes YouTube videos about trying to live a conscious life, striving to be zero waste, veganism, minimalism, being a gentle attachment parent, and all things health related.’ Amber is a home schooling mum who shares everything from recipes to health challenges. She is very natural, easy going and I enjoy her videos a lot.

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Amber

Sustainably Vegan Immi talks about minimalism, vegan living and low impact living. Her videos are thoughtful, well put together and her voice and demeanour is very calming.

Ellen Fisher is a home schooling mum living a high raw vegan lifestyle in Hawaii. She talks about gentle parenting, vegan living, raising kids and health and wellbeing. She is vibrant, inspiring and makes me want to eat delicious food every time I watch her videos. She recently gave birth to her third child and filmed a beautiful video of her water birth for YouTube.

Hannah McNeely is Ellen Fisher’s sister, also a vegan and talks about everything from vegan living to teaching, zero waste and all in between. She is incredibly funny and I always enjoy her videos as they are light hearted, well produced and very enjoyable. She also has a great podcast called Earth To Us.

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Hannah McNeely

Jinti Fell I met Jinti and her partner Chris a year ago when they rented my villa in Bali, at the time they had about 3000 subscribers. As at today they have reached an astounding 317K. They have recently blogged about living in a van, vegan living, intentional living and gentle parenting. They tend to share day in the life type of videos and they are very relaxing and super enjoyable.

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Jinti and Chris and their daughter Aya

There are many more I enjoy and I could go on forever but these are my top choices for now. I hope you like them as much as I do.

Also I am hosting an introduction to vegan living retreat with my friend Caroline in October this year in Ubud Bali. If you’d like to find out more, here are the juicy details.

I’d love to hear your favourites too!

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Finding home…

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Tonight I found home. It’s been a while and I’m so happy to have found it again.

But before I talk about where I found it, let me explain a few things. I haven’t written in a while, and my last few posts have been quite ranty and tanty. I have felt like my head is spinning and to be completely honest (which I always am) I’ve felt overwhelmed, and a little bit lost.

When I get overwhelmed I tend to shut down, scroll Facebook and watch nonsense on Netflix while occasionally walking from room to room shaking my head at all the things I have to do, furiously making lists that have too much on them, before making another cup of tea and scrolling once again.

Anyone who knows me will attest to fact that I do a lot of things. Some people say I have too many interest/businesses/things in my life, but I am the epitome of a multi passionate person. It’s not about money, I just love doing lots of things and for me it’s so liberating to be cubicle free. I want to do all the things. All of them.

I have six businesses, a charity, a social enterprise and many creative pursuits that I love. I have been considering cutting back on some, but apart from one, which is my app, I honestly love each and every one of them and don’t want to give them up, well not right now anyway. When it comes to money, I believe in abundance and never quite know where my next income will come from, but I always have enough and know that I always will. Always.

So back to the spinning head and overwhelm. It’s not from all of the things I do, none of them are full time and all are passion projects. I feel like it comes from a place of not taking time to listen and find home. Yes I know that scrolling Facebook and watching Netflix isn’t finding time to listen but that’s how I deal. For a long time I dealt with my stuff by writing and I’ve missed that, so it’s nice to be here sifting and sorting out the thoughts in my head via the keyboard and the inter webs.

In addition to not taking time to listen, there is a part of me that is feeling distressed, dismayed and almost helpless about the state of our beloved planet, and the level of distress has left me reeling and and with that awful sense of hopelessness that comes when we feel like we have no control over our situation. As a control freak I can tell you this is a dark place for me. The way I’ve figured out I can dealt with it is to remind myself of the fact I can only do what I can in my own space, with the resources I have and do my best to be a source of information and inspiration for people who want to know more about how to look after our precious one and only home.

It also comes from a feeling that I have so much more to offer the world than what I have been doing and want to find that place of deep authenticity where I am living, loving and giving from my heart space.

So that word – home. Tonight I found home again.

I found it at yoga. I am a long time yoga lover and tend to come and go to classes for various reasons relating to my physical and mental health, maybe that’s another post, and I’d like to think I’m back on the mat for good this time.

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Home isn’t a place, an address or a country. To me anyway.

Tonight I found home on the tip of my nose as the air gently passed by my face. I found it in the soles of my feet as they held my body strong in mountain pose, it was there in my spine as I did gentle compassionate back bends. I found it on my skin as we were encouraged to hold ourselves with love. I found it in my heart as I held my hands in prayer pose.

I found home, deep inside of me.

Right where it has always been.

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We must stop shifting the burden!

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I read or heard somewhere once that when we do something that has been made easy, it means the burden has most likely been shifted elsewhere. Don’t quote me on that as I can’t find the original statement, but it doesn’t matter. I am sure you get the idea of what it means.

Lately I have been finding myself interested obsessed with our current behaviours in terms of consumerism, waste and the environmental disaster we are continuously creating and recreating. I used to be very mindful of this and for many decades lived according to my values, but for various reasons I stopped doing many of the things I did for years. It’s only been in recent times that I have had the time, energy and resources to commit myself to making sustainable changes in my life and habits again.

Do you remember the movie Turner and Hooch with Tom Hanks? It came out in 1990 in Australia and I vividly recall being gobsmacked when Tom Hanks was cleaning up the mess left by the dog using paper towels, and rolls of them. I could not for the life of me understand why he was using them, to say I was horrified would be an understatement.

Fast forward to recent years and I am ashamed to say that I have been the queen of paper towels. I used to use them for everything. Without even realising it I too had began engaging in the very behaviour that I could not have ever imagined myself doing. Why? Because it’s easy, clean and efficient – for me. Not for the planet or our environment, but boy are they handy. I was shifting the burden.

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This is just America – imagine the rest of the world!

As I have been analysing my own actions at home, I can’t help but see what is happening around me and to be honest I am struggling not to be overwhelmed with the sheer enormity of what needs to be done to save our planet, if we can even save it.

Did you know that every single piece of plastic ever made is still in existence? That barbie doll I threw out in the 70s is still somewhere on our earth. The billions of water bottles used every year are largely still out there, polluting our environment. There are traces of plastic in every single living thing in on earth and in the ocean and marine birds, I’m sure you’ve seen the graphic pictures of animals cut open after their death, literally filled with plastic mistaken for food.

We think it goes somewhere else when we throw it out, recycle it or do whatever we think is the right thing with it.

News flash. There is no ‘somewhere else.’

Wet wipes – for adults and babies. We have become so lazy that we can’t use a flannel or reusable cloth to wipe our babies bums. These do not biodegrade and sit in huge lumps creating a new problem called Fatbergs. Don’t get me started on disposable nappies. Yep, once again we are shifting the burden because cleaning and washing nappies is just way too hard.

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Wet wipes in a Sydney sewer system

I can’t even. The whole situation makes me want to run away and hide, but the reality is there is nowhere to go. So, I am taking charge of my own environment and doing what I can with what I have, where I am.

So…much as I want to hide my head in the sand, and I feel a sense of total despair while writing this, I would like to share some small steps we can all take to make a difference. I could actually write about a thousand steps, but I am starting with the ones I have begun doing and I will add more in a future post.

  1. Refuse and stop using single use – anything. This goes for water bottles, shopping bags, plastic cutlery, plastic dental picksters, disposable razors, coffee cups, straws – anything. Spend a few dollars and buy a reusable or at the very least compostable version of it all. It will actually save you in the long run in some instances. I’m playing a game with myself, that if I forget to take my bags or buy more items than I planned for the bags I have – I need to carry the items, as I am going to carry my own burden from now on.
  2. Buy unpackaged and bulk wherever possible. Why oh why do we package apples, bananas, potatoes and other items? Because it’s easy and we can’t be bothered washing them – again shifting the burden. If people stop buying them, they will stop wrapping them.
  3. When you must buy packaged, try to get it in glass if possible, it’s not always, but there are many glass options.
  4. Refuse wherever you can, even small things such as receipts, (do you know how much BPA is in receipts?!?!) flyers, junk mail, printed invoices, paper bank statements, bills. We don’t need them most of the time, and usually throw them straight into the rubbish and most things can be sent online now.
  5. For the paper towels – this was one of my last changes. I have a combination of things, old clothes, old tea towels I found at a second hand shop, cloths made by a friend and for when I really feel I need a paper towel I have bought a packet of bamboo washable ones. I suspect this will be a short term solution but for some of the things I do in my business hygiene is very important so this is my measure for now.
  6. Toilet paper and wipes – use recycled toilet paper (we use Pure Planet and there are arguments for and against these services so do your research to see which suits you best) If you want to use some kind of wipe, you can try reusables, but you might want to consider installing a bum hose/bum gun/bidet. I have written previously about my love affair with them here. They are amazing!

I will leave it at these six suggestions for now, as small sustainable steps are the best way forward and less overwhelming to incorporate into a new daily routine.

If we can all take just one small step a day, collectively we can make a difference. Our future, and the planet we are leaving our generations to come are depending on it.

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I have had enough!

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I feel as if I am caught between two completely opposing worlds at the moment. One makes total sense to me, and the other, I just cannot fathom for the life of me.

On the sensible side (to me anyway) is the zero waste/minimalism/vegan movement. I am reconnecting with this lifestyle on a more consistent basis, as it’s something I have always enjoyed being part of and I tend to hover between being on the outskirts and fully immersed. From an environmental, financial, ecological, compassionate and common sense perspective, I feel this approach is the key to our survival as a species and the survival of our planet. I also appreciate that we can take tiny steps or full lifestyle overhauls and anywhere in between is perfectly ok, as tiny tweaks all add up over time and everything we do or don’t do has an impact.

On the other side, let me call it madness, because this is my blog – is the current wave of panic that seems to be clogging my newsfeed about what to buy for people for Christmas. First let me say that when my kids were little I was guilty of going a little overboard and if I had my time again I most likely would do things differently, but even with my definition of overboard it does not compare to the current things I am seeing online. My personal preference has always been hand crafted, small business owned, and unique gifts and for the most part I do quite well with this.

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I know that people often want to buy and do the best for their children and families for Christmas, however what I am seeing this last six months on Facebook is an overwhelming sense of the NEED to purchase so many things. All the time.

The reason it has come to my attention is that I offer a service called Afterpay on some of my products and as part of that I am in some of the Afterpay groups on Facebook. Afterpay is a way of buying products on an interest free basis and paying them off over a few fortnights. It helps many people who may not otherwise be able to afford things, and the intention is sound I am sure, and I have certainly got a set of clients I may not otherwise have attracted. However on these pages my news feed is often full of constant posts about ‘needing’ to buy something to cheer them selves up, or who have almost paid off their existing purchases and want to buy things to take their limit back to its maximum again.

There is also a palpable sense of desperation from some parents who NEED to find a particular toy for their children for Christmas and frantic shout outs to find these toys, and people paying often exorbitant amounts to get these toys and products. I have seen countless, probably in the hundreds of posts of people bordering on hysterical when their items purchased online are not in stock and they are refunded their money. I have seen so many people bordering on despair when their orders don’t arrive in days because they “NEED” them. I also see sellers in other groups being continuously hounded, harassed and publicly shamed in forums when items don’t arrive in a day or two, as it’s an urgent purchase.

Sorry, none of this is urgent. None of it. Never will be.

Posts like this appear many times a day “Who has ordered from Big W (or almost every other online store in existence) and how long did it take for your order to come?” “I urgently need all items unicorn/princess/Disney/rainbow/whatever the latest trend is”. “I urgently need ………” My son/daughter has finally told me she wants ….. for Christmas – HELP!”

The two that get literally hundreds of comments at the moment are LOL Big Surprise and Hatchimals. Both are incredibly expensive and in the case of LOL Big Surprise it’s basically a plastic ball full of plastic bits and pieces and junk. I have also heard that Hatchimals are basically ignored after a day or so. These sell for around $100. There was one woman in a state of utter panic the other day as she wasn’t able to determine if she had bought the right Hatchimal as her daughter ONLY wanted a certain colour.

I have seen posts where people list all of the things they have bought for the children and asking other parents if they think they have bought enough.

I could go on and on and on. And on.

It makes me feel sick at the thought of the waste, plastic, crap, consumerism and money spent on things that don’t matter. They don’t matter at all. I don’t know what the solution is but I do know that the solution lies with us, and only us.

I want to bury my head in the sand and pretend our consumer obsessed society will improve in time and I love all of the advocates for zero waste movements sharing ways we can live more consciously and intentionally but sadly they are being drowned out by the loud, plastic, garish brightly coloured trinkets that will ultimately make their way to landfill, to sit in large piles, swill in our oceans and be there for generations to come.

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It’s time for us to wake the fuck up and realise what’s important.

People. Connection. Love. Clean water. Peace. Compassion. Our beloved Gaia. Oceans. Wildlife. Nature. Listening. Family. Friends. Quality time. Friendship. Kindness. Gratitude. Health.

These things are important and I think they qualify as being NEEDED and URGENT.

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Loving my battle scars

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This post has been a long time coming and to be honest I am not sure where I am going to go with it or why I feel like it’s time to write about it, but as I usually write without planning, I am going to run with it. I suspect it will be long, so make yourself a cuppa, put your feet up and join me if you feel inclined. I don’t see it being a two minute read as so many blogs posts are these days, but I’d love for you to stay for the ride.

You see I have written more times than I can possibly recall or link to about my lifelong eating disorder and the multitude of challenges I faced over the last 38 years or so. In contrast I have shared very little about my eating disorder in the last 18 months, but mentioned in various posts that I had taken steps to overcome it.

So what’s changed? First let me say I have not kept this a secret from anyone and pretty well everyone I meet to and speak to about my significant weight loss and resulting good health knows as I am open and honest about it. I just haven’t written about it, well here anyway. I do have another blog dedicated to it which I haven’t updated in forever, but if you want to have a peak, here is one of the pages where I discuss all the things I tried over the years to manage my addiction.

So the big change is that I had Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy – VSG for short, or as most people know it – Gastric Sleeve. I had 75% of my stomach removed. Yes you read that right – taken away, not banded, removed forever. And I could NOT be happier.

Why did I do it? From my other blog “I’ve written in other posts about this, but briefly, I was tired of being a slave to my addiction. I had fatty liver and fatty pancreas, had already lost my gall bladder, lived with constant pain and I seemed incapable of doing anything to create sustainable change.

I want to live a long, healthy and happy life and I decided it was time to take control of my body and my addiction and needed a tool to provide me with the extra support I need to make it happen.

Addicts are different to people who just need to lose weight. We use food in ways that non addicts can never understand. Only addicts can truly understand addiction.” Oh and if you think weight loss surgery is the easy way out, you are of course entitled to your opinion but I do invite you to read this post to see why I think it’s far from that.

The last sentence says it all – addiction is a very different animal. I have written previously about the fact that as a food addict we need to slay our demons multiple times a day. We can never take an abstinence approach unlike if we were addicted to other substances (and I am NOT saying that is easy at all!!) we need to eat right?

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So now I am 18 months post op, I have lost a ton of weight and I almost cannot believe I don’t get hung up on the scales anymore. This is after a lifetime of weighing myself and watching the number go up and down and my stress levels elevating or my excitement elevating based on the number. I have been at the same weight for about 8 months now and it fluctuates about two kilos up and down and I could not care less. I reckon I’ve lost about 24 kilos, but again I don’t get caught up on that. It’s what I have gained that has changed my life.

  1. Clarity of thought. It’s as if a whole portion of my brain is now free to explore and create. It’s as if someone came in and swept out a whole bunch of stuff from my brain and thinking and left a clean open room. I no longer obsess over calories, binges, diets, rehashing what I ate, what I didn’t, when my next diet will start or anything remotely like that. It is over – forever.
  2. Freedom from pain. That’s all that needs to be said here.
  3. Confidence. Yes I loved and do my body and I truly learnt to love my curves, but the confidence of knowing that no matter what I put on I look good and can fit into is incredible. This is especially relevant when I am in Bali which I am a lot as their idea of one size fits all used to be a joke to me.
  4. Energy. Yep, loads of it!
  5. No longer reading diet books, posts, forums or anything of the kind – never even crosses my consciousness now.
  6. Not being obsessed with food – like ever. I like food and I still have my days when I eat too much sugar as sugar is my cocaine, but I let it go when I do.
  7. I can eat anything – almost. A few things don’t sit right but those aren’t good for me anyway. Restriction doesn’t work for me and the benefit of this surgery is that I can literally eat anything I want. I feel so liberated that I don’t even have words to express how this feels!

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So that all sounds sunshine rainbows and unicorns right? And to a degree it is, however as a result of years and years of yo-yo dieting and ballooning and shrinking, my body has paid the price in many ways. I have battle scars and quite a few of them.

  1. I had abdominoplasty four years ago – best thing ever. I love love love love it. I had a caesarian with my first son and that combined with fluctuating weight resulted in an apron forever that would never shift. A flat stomach is something I never had and why it may sound vain there are other inconveniences an apron brings that I will leave to your imagination, let’s just say it can be very unpleasant and uncomfortable. The result of abdominoplasty is that I have a scar that goes from the back of each hip right around the front of my body. It’s a big battle scar but one that I wear proudly and only two people in the world see it anyway, although I happily share it if the topic comes up.
  2. Skin. I have loose skin in many places. It is a constant reminder of the fact that my wonderful body has grown and relaxed with me, more times than I can recall. This has bounced back in some areas and not so much in others. I used to have a hang up about it but I appreciate the flexibility that my body has given me and the fact I have survived this long and maintained such good health is somewhat of a miracle if I am honest. I look pretty good in clothes and that’s what matters – except…..
  3. Arms. My arms have always been enormous and out of proportion with my body and are even more so now. Oh how I have longed for and admired arms of other women my entire life. They are now mostly loose and very saggy skin, are uncomfortable and get in the way. As I spend a lot of time in the tropics they are very visible and that’s ok but more importantly, I want to be comfortable. I have decided to have brachioplasty and will be having that in two weeks time. Yes there is a certain amount of vanity to this, but this is one battle scar I will wear proudly and openly for the world to see. I will have a scar running from my armpit to my elbow and it will serve as a reminder of how far I have come and the fact I am now healthy and taking care of my amazing body.
  4. No gall bladder. I was your typical ‘fair, fat and forty’ candidate for gall bladder removal. This affects me depending on what I eat, and obviously having an organ removed based solely on poor dietary choices isn’t idea.
  5. Invisible scars. Because of my sleeve I can no longer enjoy big meals followed by  desserts, and feeling full doesn’t have the same satisfying feeling it used to. It is downright uncomfortable if I eat too much and my portion sizes are like those of a child. Eating out is not as much fun as it was and I can never eat and drink at the same time – ever again. It’s a small price to pay but one that has an impact, especially when friends and family make beautiful meals and I can only enjoy a little.

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So, there you have it, I have plenty of scars and I love them. I am proud of myself for doing what I needed to in order to live a happy, healthy and long life. I don’t believe in regrets because everything teaches us something. I have heard many people say they only regret not doing it earlier, of course we are all 20/20 in hindsight, but I wasn’t ready earlier. The stars aligned and it was right for me to do it when I did.

I am now approaching 52 and I think I’d have to say I am experiencing the best health of my life. I feel like I have woken up from a deep slumber and life is very exciting to me right now. I am proud of where I am today and I look forward excitedly to what the future holds with my newfound levels of energy and freed up spaces in my mind!

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Stop it I don’t like it!

 

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I haven’t always been kind to my body. No, let me honest, I have never been kind to my body, except for the last year and a bit. I have never abused drugs or alcohol but I have abused food. I have written about it many times on this blog and anyone who knows me well knows the battles I have faced and the subsequent torment in my head as a result.

I am happy to say that I have managed to deal with my food addiction and I will write about that soon, I promise. I actually have another blog that I have not shared openly, but in spite of that I have many followers over there where I have shared that story…..however that’s for another day. Back to my body….

Just now as I got into bed, I was applying my magnesium cream to my feet and legs, as I do every night, I make my own, you can see it here, but only for Australian friends at the moment. As I was applying it, I was really paying attention to the process, which as a positive psychology person and mindfulness practitioner I always advocate, but the reality is most nights I do it quite mindlessly while reading or watching something.

What I noticed was my ageing body, the not so bouncy parts and pieces and less than elastic skin that is in all sorts of places I never knew it could possibly be. Seriously there is sagging in places that I never knew existed. Please let me make an important note here – I am absolutely a strong advocate for loving our selves as we are, but at the same time I am also human and every now and then I have my moments. Tonight I am having a moment, so for now in this minute I am mourning the loss of some aspects of my youth.

In my head I am still in my early twenties – but perhaps with a touch more wisdom. In my body however I am approaching 52. That’s where my moments often collide and cause chaos in my heart and mind. I look in the mirror and expect to see my twenty something face and perky body but it lies to me and I see the outer expression of somebody more than twice the age I am feeling. My sister occasionally takes photos of me in what I think are unflattering situations and they make me feel old, like really old.

I remember as a young mum seeing all the ads on TV and feeling that everyone was older than me, the tip top mum (good on ya) the meadow lea mum (turn your bread upside down) and the chicken tonight mums were all much older in my head and in reality they probably were.

I used to ignore all of the anti ageing stuff and things and could not have cared less about things such as retirement plans and the like. The other day I caught myself considering my retirement income and how and where I will be living. But I’m only twenty something!

I notice now when I use a scroll down box online to find the year of my birth takes a lot  more scrolling and when completing surveys I am in a whole other category. I can’t read without glasses and I get yearly reminders of health check ups that I never used to.

The thing is everyone I speak to says the same thing, they feel a certain age in their head that is much younger than their chronological age. I really didn’t expect that to be the case. I thought it was just me.

The years are now flying by way too quickly. 2015 was insane, 2016 went in a heartbeat and 2017 is flying by in the blink of an eye. The other day I was having a massage in Bali and there was a clock in the room and I could hear it tick with every second that passed. The ‘moment’ part of me was thinking that those seconds were gone forever and taking me every second closer to another year around the sun.

The other side of me was reminded of the importance of living life to the fullest, seizing the day and being sure to carpe the fuck out of every god damn diem.

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Also please let me add, I am not complaining, because let’s be honest – what’s the alternative? I am happy to be here on this spinning ball of madness and mayhem, but every now and then I wish it would just slow down. Will I be 70 plus and still feeling like I am in my twenties? Will my body be playing this game with my mind forever? I hope not but I expect it will based on conversations I have had with many others. I hope to one day feel like a grown up and I hope that I am also fighting fit well into my later years, but the reality is that to be honest it depresses me sometimes. I want to be here to watch my beautiful grand children grow up, to travel, to read and write and spend time with those I love, but I feel like I am always rushing. Time flies by way too fast.

Seriously though where is the time going? I have read some theories that time is moving faster than it used to, I don’t know how much truth there is to them but I certainly feel as if it is the case.

But for now let me say I am grateful. Grateful that I get to live life on my terms. Grateful for my good health, my family, my friends and the choices I have made. Grateful for travel and experiences and wisdom and ageing well and love and tea and Bali and all good things. Grateful that I can write a post like this that really has no point but gives me an outlet to vent and share some of the stuff in my head. Grateful that you took the time to read it.

Grab life by the balls and live it hard with no regrets! You only get one shot, so make it worthwhile!

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