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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.

Weekending

We’ve a long weekend in Victoria for the Queen’s Birthday. Aside from our usual Sunday swimming lesson, a play date and a siesta, I’m taking advantage of the extra day to do some extra tidying up in the study/office at home. We’re doing ok at maintaining it, but the past few days in preparation of tidying it up, I’ve been herding stuff towards the room. Does anyone else do that? When I pack to go away, I lay stuff out on the spare bed, I can see what I’ve got, what I’m missing, what else I need to add to the pile and so on. It also means that clothes that I want to wear aren’t in my wardrobe, so I don’t wear them before the trip.

It was also my best-friend’s birthday in the UK. We talked in our PJs about the weekend, she’d received the gift I sent her (phew) and she told me her plans and updated me on her Hubs who’d had his knee hoovered out again. All went well with the op, and they’re off on their weekend away as planned. Hurrah.

Tomorrow we’re taking Peanut and his best friend to the museum, we’re going to watch a movie at IMAX and wander around looking at dinosaurs and whatever else takes the boys fancy. We then will have a mountain of ironing to do before the week starts again on Tuesday, back to work and back to childcare for Peanut after two weeks off. I’ll be leaving home early in case we have a little meltdown in the room as he’s not been there for a while. One thing I won’t be doing though is crouching down to his level, I was crouching to plant indigenous plants in the rain garden at work on Friday, the Baker’s Cyst behind my left knee popped through again. Luckily, it didn’t lock my knee and I’m only stiff and sore, I’m not completely busted again.

My right knee is suffering from ‘runner’s knee’ or ITBS. The past week it started to hurt about 3km in to my runs. I’d stretch it out and off I’d go, but when it repeated a couple of times, I took myself off to Jo to be looked at. I’ve got exercises, stretches and more specific areas to use my foam roller on.

My left shoulder is still getting better from when I fell over a few months ago, backstroke is not happening, but freestyle and breast-stroke I can do ok. But as I have to swim to try to get it to move, I swum and exercised in the warm water pool this morning. I’m loving that despite my best efforts, I’m still overweight, and getting broken and bruised. Makes me wonder why I bother really.

On female angst and social media

I’ve not run for two weeks; I feel sluggish, lethargic and decidedly grumpy. For a recap as to why, I had a reaction to something I ate early last week and there’s been another virus run through the office with abandon at work. It has been knocking people sideways, one of my colleagues ended up with pneumonia. The normally quiet working atmosphere has been punctuated with coughing fits and sneezes. I’ve been struggling this week with a sore throat, when I swallow overnight, it wakes me up.

Monday afternoon I took myself home to bed and slept for a couple of hours. I know BossMan wasn’t impressed, but as he gave this to me by coming in fully lurgified on Friday; I knew if I was to get through any more of the week, I’d have to get more sleep under my belt. I honestly don’t think I could have worked the rest of the week out if I hadn’t slept most of the afternoon away. I had the dentist on Wednesday, (I hope he is ok and I that I haven’t given it to him), Hubs is full of the cold too, coming home from work yesterday lunchtime to take himself to bed.

We both had a bad night last night, coughing and spluttering (him), sore throat (me). At 11pm I got up, took some painkillers and a throat lozenge and tried to get back off to sleep. I wanted to go for a run this morning, even laying out all my kit before I got into bed, but I felt so rough when I woke up, I didn’t think I’d do myself any favours pounding the streets in thick fog (the weather not me). I look like a hamster as the glands under my neck are up and I’m achy in my joints to boot.

Here comes the angst part: I’m also ‘on’. One of the ladies at work would be shocked at me for using a euphemism; she’s written a book about explaining the whole process to girls, making it a celebration. Jac hates women being ashamed of our bodies, there’s no other way of saying this: the period I’m having is peculiar. Nothing like normal, I’m not going into specifics – fear not! But while I’ve not run, I’ve eaten really well taking care of myself I pulled on three pairs of trousers this morning and not one of them would meet over my middle.

In despair I shoved myself into a pair of jeans, so I’m sporting a muffin top. I know it’s my body doing its thing, I’m not well, I’m in the middle of my cycle, but I can’t get past that I felt despair because I couldn’t wear the outfit that I wanted to. When did we get to the point where a 39 year old woman, who’s fit and strong, who’s body has worked well, feels ashamed because she can’t fit into a few pairs of trousers?

This past couple of weeks I’ve taken Facebook and Twitter off my phone. I’m posting to Facebook primarily through Instagram, hopping on occasionally in the evening to look at it and only posting to twitter for my company. I’m barely looking at anything else online, therefore the irony of me putting this on a blog is not lost on me, but in no particular order here’s a few reasons why social media and I are reaching a natural pause:

· Ice bucket challenges – there are people all over the world who don’t know what ice is. They have no concept as they’re too busy walking miles to a pump or a watering hole to collect water, sometimes brown water, because that is all they have access to. And people are wasting clean water to raise awareness for a charity. I’m all for awareness, but for goodness sake, why with water? Don’t get me started on Nestle saying that water is not a fundamental right either.

· Kardashians – I wish they would crawl back into the bogan hole they crawled out of. They are not news, but they’re frickin’ everywhere, they’re only famous because one of the daughters made a sex tape. Yes, I’ve had sex too, I’m married with a child so there’s proof of at least one bonk. But maybe I should list it at the top of my CV in future if it means I get unlimited handbags?

· Adverts – the man who inadvertently invented the pop up advert has apologised. Doesn’t stop them appearing all over the place though. More than one blog I used to love reading has so many adverts on them now, the content feels squashed to the side as an afterthought. My twitter feed has gone from being full of pithy fun to full of promoted tweets, adverts for things that might interest me, (they don’t) and retweets of ice bucket challenge videos.

I do love the online community, I love being able to stay in contact with friends and family; but I am struggling with everything else encroaching on that. As money makes the world go round and people are not watching as much TV, so adverts pop up everywhere else instead. I don’t want to have to wade through chaff to get to the wheat, (not that I could eat it when I get there, but that is the only simile I could think of). I’m refusing to buy Nestle products; when we’ve used the last of the few that remain in the house, they’re no longer welcome. I’m recording programmes and fast forwarding through adverts on TV. I’m not buying or reading magazines that belittle and shame women into thinking that their bodies are anything less than awesome. I’m taking my business elsewhere, taking myself offline. I’m having conversations and making love with my husband. I’m playing games with my son and reading books. I’m picking up the phone to talk to people. I’m taking care of myself and choosing life.