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This picture popped up in my memory feed on Facebook.

screenshot of twitter conversation

Image Description:

First tweet: #GrowingUpUgly – When guys in middle school would get dared by their friends to ask you out and see if you say yes as a joke

Second tweet: How about growing up ugly and then turning out sort of okay looking but you don’t know for sure be cause your self esteem is shot and you’re convinced you look awful?

I started to write more on FB, but then could feel it starting into a rant, so I’m gonna blog about it instead. About why you should sit next to the people who look lost, lonely or not quite what you see in advertising. I’m 45 years old, and I still struggle with what I look like.

Melbourne, as has most of Australia has been stinking hot just lately. While not actually on fire in the CBD, heading into watch the cricket, I put on shorts and a t-shirt so I was comfortable. Of course my hair decided it was going to settle into a side part, I wore no make-up (CBA) and when I caught sight of myself in the mirror in the bathrooms, I sighed. Long and hard. I know I didn’t help myself today, but really?!

Body Dysmorphia is a funny thing. When I got diagnosed with it, doing my make-up meant looking at parts of my face in a compact mirror, because I couldn’t bear to look at all of my face. I am better than I was, but today and over the past few days, I’ve been struggling with it.

It’s a funny feeling, not being comfortable in your own skin. Wanting to punish your body for just being there.

I never was the most girly girl, but one thing that girls are expected to be is delicate, dainty, small. At 5’10” with ‘Maddie Man-hands’ and clumsy because I still don’t fit into my skin; my perpetual stoop to make myself smaller than I am is now causing me pain.

Thankfully my BD has never crossed into an eating disorder, instead I turned to alcohol to bury my feelings. As I’ve hit three weeks sober, my feelings are all coming up to the surface, hence me having to work through them.

Over the weekend, I had a bad stomach. I didn’t eat anything I shouldn’t have, but yesterday it was not happy. I got home from shopping and nearly wobbled over. A sure sign I’m frazzled. That and that between my shoulders is rock hard.

But I’m not scared of what I’m feeling, I still don’t understand it. Wish that it wasn’t my load to carry.

But without the bullying, would I be the one-person cheer squad that I am now? Would I be the person who says ‘Bless you’ to strangers when they sneeze? Would I be the one person who gave the CEO a kiss on her birthday, because it was her birthday?

I doubt it. I’m using it to my advantage, but boy do I wish I could go back in time and sit next to the little girl I was.

Before

It’s official, well kinda as I’ve not weighed myself yet, I do that in the mornings. But I know I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been. I weigh more than I did when I was 37 weeks pregnant, I’ve had to buy new trousers and I feel, well, slow? Sad? Sluggish? I’m struggling with my cycle too (more later), but sitting here on a laptop, with my belly resting on it isn’t great.

However, I did go for a walk on Thursday lunchtime and felt strong and did a regular loop in a decent time. It was far too hot to run, but I was pleased with how I went. We had a walk as a family today, (Saturday) stopped for breakfast and powered up the hill to home afterwards. Spurred on, and not just by an almond latte, again I felt strong. Mainly because my asthma is under control; recovering from bronchitis has meant I’m now taking better care of my lungs, which means I can do exciting things like running upstairs or walking up hills without puffing.

[As an aside, since we had an awful thunderstorm asthma attack a few years ago; thousands were hospitalised and ten people died, GPs and hospitals in Melbourne are collectively keeping a closer eye on people with it. It’s even been added to the emergency management warning systems, up there with fire, flood and so on.]

Not sure what the hell is going on, whether I’m grinding my teeth or clenching overnight, but I’ve managed to crack three teeth in a year. I’m facing three weeks of fun times and replacing of two fillings as they’re not sitting correctly and a new filling. Then I get moulds done to be fitted for a splint to wear at night (sexy). I woke up biting my tongue this morning!

One for you ladies: My mirena came out earlier this month, changing tampons and it came out with it. Whoops. I saw my GP before Christmas, who’s referred me to have an ultrasound in the next three weeks, followed by a follow-up with my OB-GYN, booked for early February. He was adamant, any changes after he installed (for the want of a better word) the mirena, I get referred back to him. My GP thinks I may have to have another one put back in, if I’m lucky I’ll have an ablation, if I’m really lucky, I’ll have a hysterectomy and be done with the whole bloody lot. Pun intended. We’re now on 30 December, 18 days later and I’m still not settling down.

Le sigh.

Tonight I pulled on my Hot Yoga kit and took front, side and in our full-length mirror, back photos. I will weigh myself in the morning, depending on the number I may share it. But the photos? No way!

I’ve been um-ming and ah-ing about what to do with food and have decided to go back on a variation of keto; low carb, high protein, high fat. I could easily hop back on to being vegetarian or vegan and drop weight quickly, but need to balance out my hormone pathway over just dropping kilos. Not least because of the mirena, but holistically I would be better in myself without the insulin spikes and crashes of carbs from gluten free replacement cereals, breads and that’s before fruit. The food decision has taken me longer than working out what exercise I do, when and where.

I’ll talk about alcohol another day as I’ve started listening to Russell Brand’s new book Recovery: Freedom from our Addictions, which is extraordinary.

I’ll check in with workouts and meals on Instagram, tagged #fatpants. Kath and I worked out what runs we’re doing in 2018 over a coffee at the zoo yesterday, I’ve got set milestones I’m working towards and I’m not looking for a number on the scales. I’ve decided I want to be strong and healthy, over a specific weight.

Lastly, my counsellor wants me to look at myself more in mirrors and do Louise L Hay’s mirror work and write about how I’m doing.  We had a session before Christmas and I said that I’d been struggling with looking in mirrors again, so off we go. At least I do my make-up looking in a mirror now, not a compact mirror like I had to for years so I didn’t have to look at the whole of my face.

I’m out here and open, being a Warrior of vulnerability.

I’m tagging this into Black Dog, but ironically I’ve never felt more settled, however, this is going to be a roller coaster of a ride, and sure to throw up some issues.