Blind Date Update ….. Wise Man Alert!

I did it!

I went on my blind date and I didn’t die!  I didn’t embarrass myself by flirting inappropriately and of course, I did over share!  In fact, I gave him my last blog post to read as an introduction and Dr Luke almost fell off his chair laughing.

He wasn’t what I expected, he was younger.  He had a bright cheery, manner but with a sincerity that rang true, he told me that he understood that I was grieving my break up with my old GP and he wouldn’t try to replace him but simply support and guide me in my quest for health.  Wise man!

Yes, we spoke about my weight …… on a first date.  It was a supportive talk – not about numbers but about taking care of myself and supporting the endeavours already taking place.  He listened intently, then praised the great things I am doing.  Wise man!

As I had known my last GP on a fairly personal level, I enquired if I could “ask questions about his personal life because I’m sure that there were things I might be able to help him with.”  Also, I told him “I’m better at give and take relationships!!”  He smiled graciously, and replied “that I could ask anything I wanted but he might choose not to answer everything I asked! Wise man!  He is married with a 4 month baby girl!  I was happy with that amount of sharing.

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Mostly, I talked for the half hour appointment and he listened.  Towards the end, I asked him if he had any suggestions or anything that he thought I might change?  He said he certainly had some ideas but no way was he interested in doing anything quickly.  Rather, that we would take time to get to know each other better and that as I was moving forward and not backward, he would rather leave everything as is at the moment.  Wise man!

With that, he checked that all my scripts were up to date, that my referrals & mental health plans were in order, told me how much he liked & respected the work my psychologist was doing then wrote a few things on a post-it note to talk about with her during my next visit.  He thanked me for trusting him with my care and told me to keep writing …..  Wise Man!

My first ever blind date seems to have been a success.  It was uncomfortable in the beginning.  It was a relief when it was over.  And I will NOT be signing up for RSVP or Tinder anytime soon.

Blind Date!

Have you ever been on a blind date?  I haven’t but I am going on one today.  A friend has set us up – he seems to think we will be compatible.  In fact, the friend has hand-picked this bloke for me.

I’m nervous.  What if it is awkward and we can’t talk?  Maybe he will take one look at me and decide that my weight is going to be a major problem in our new relationship.  I have so many questions …. it has been so long since I’ve had to do this.  You know – sell yourself!

When people are at that getting to know you phase, pace can be everything.  Sometimes one person wants to share everything (ME) and the other person wants to take things a little more slowly (EVERYBODY ELSE)!  Holding back can make me seem weirder than usual.  It can make me share nothing at all or it can make me talk incessantly …. about inappropriate things.  It can also cause me to flirt at inappropriate times and places!!

Over sharing

Next issue is what do you wear at these times?  I want to be comfortable but also look so good!  I want to be honest about who I am but I don’t want to project the total disaster that I feel inside.  What if he thinks that I always look this good, when I know I won’t be able to pull this confident, sassy look off every time we see each other?  Then again I don’t want to scare him off.

Smell …. I must smell good!  Nothing worse than being stinky on a first meeting.  What perfume do I choose?  Something  fresh and confident?  But that’s not really who I am.  Or something a little dark and broody?  That’s more me but those kind of perfumes give me a headache and can be a little scary for some people.

Then there is my humour.  This is a key for me.  The death jokes!  The mental illness jokes!  The adult men as children jokes!  The menopause jokes!  The medication jokes!  Need I go on ……

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The fact that I am always going to have lots of other men in my life – my three adult sons; their dead father – Adrian; Rod Stewart; Robbie Williams; Jax Teller; Rayland Givens …….

To soon?  What to tell and what to keep until later?  The fact that my best friend is my cat!  Now that’s should slow things down.  That I’m a blogger – yep that should STOP things completely!

I’m going on a blind date and these are the things that my mind is going over.

Blind date

Dr Luke …. I sure do hope you are ready for your new patient, with the long appointment booked for 1 pm this afternoon!

1 July! It Comes Around!

Have you ever noticed how life is a series of never-ending circles?  So many events seem to happen at the same time each year.  Never  the same but often life changing.  This has been brought more clearly into focus by an app called Timehop, that takes me back over the last, however many years I’ve been attached to this thing called Social Media, and shares with me the things I deemed sharable with the world!

In my world, 1 July is a significant day ….

6 Years ago – I was sick!  Nothing much has changed there!!

5 Years ago –  All of my Boys were in Europe having the adventure of their lives.

4 Years ago – I was travelling with my darling God daughter, Abigail and her family to the country, to spend a weekend with my dear farming friends.

3 Years ago – I put my moisturizer on before I took my glasses off!!!  Not wise!

2 Years ago – I moved out of my home of 21 years and moved into my new Unit.

1 Year ago – I got a beautiful new bed and realised I was suffering from pretty bad anxiety.

Today – I am starting the new financial year with no financial security and very little mental stability and poor general health.

Yes, 1 July has always been an interesting day of reflection and insight for me.  Not counting, of course, the day 3 years ago I decided to put my moisturizer on over my glasses …

For those of you wondering about my job loss.  Due to my fluctuating anxiety and depression and to changing structures within the company, my ability to be a productive staff member was no longer possible.  My bosses and workmates had been carrying and caring for me for about a year (maybe longer) and it was with sadness that we parted ways.  What will remain is the personal care that I have been receiving.  Not only have the friendships developed become forever friendships but my bosses have made room for me to be employed for a few hours a week at the ballet school they run.  This will be enormously helpful, in giving me a stable something to get up and go to each week while I continue to work on my mental health issues.  I am so blessed with people around me, that continually put themselves out to support me.

Now I know you are thinking this when I say Ballet School …

Young ballet dancers at a ballet class standing against the wall listening to the instructions from the ballet teacherUnfortunately, the reality would be much more like this …

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Well, neither are true!

The truth of my work will be more like this …

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And this …

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So life as of 1 July, continues to have its challenges but what amazing things I have to be grateful for?  I have a home and friends and family.  I have food and clothing and transport.  I have doctors and medication and a brain that can still learn things.  I have art and music and animals.  I have sport and books and the internet. I have faith and a growing self belief and peace.

And every 1 July, I know I am alive and will continue to be ready for whatever comes around.

Here I Am ….

I stopped writing.  I got scared.  I started to think that because I have a lot of stuff going on at the moment, I might upset someone by writing what I feel.  I listened to the outside world and stopped listening to myself.

Scared

These thoughts actually began a few months ago, when I wrote a post about my Mother-In-Law.  My own Mum, very proudly, told my MIL that I had written about her and then said that maybe I would read it to her.  Then she told me …. I felt sick!  All of a sudden, for the first time since I began blogging, I was worried about what I had written  and whether it would be understood the way I had meant it to be?  So I didn’t read it to my MIL – I got scared.  Looking back, from that moment on, I began second guessing myself.  Writing became difficult.  I started to look for topics to write about whereas before I had opened my heart and expressed my feelings.  I began writing drafts of posts.  Filing my words away so that I could think or should I say over-think, about what I was really saying and how it might be read.  None of these drafts saw the publish button.

As I mentioned in my previous update, I have much change going on in my life.  My MIL is nearing the end of her life and it has been with much joy and fear and uncertainty that I travelled to South Australia to spend some very valuable time with her and Adrian‘s relatives.  It was/is wonderful to spend time with people who mean a lot to the people you love.  Due to distance, this is family that I haven’t really known at all.  Relationship building, trust and understanding comes through circumstance and communication.  A firm foundation was set through these visits, that will surely make life manageable for us all, when the cornerstone, MIL, finally leaves us.

So how has this impacted on my ability to write, you might ask?

All of a sudden, I am aware of new, fragile, relationships growing in my life.  These are important relationships that I wish to nurture and keep in my life.  These are with people who have not known me – closely!  Who may not understand my sense of humour!  Who may not read things the way I mean them to be read!  I was questioning my “here I am world …. like me or lump me” attitude to sharing on The Mandy Diaries.  Will they think badly of me?  Will they be scared to share with me, incase they end up in a blog post?  So it went like this …

Over think!  Over think!  

At the same time as this was going on,  I found out that I was no longer going to have a job after June.  In hindsight, this was not really a surprise to me, as my anxiety issues have impacted hugely on my productivity and my workplace and workmates have been supporting me and carrying me for a long time.  The fact that I wasn’t surprised, did nothing to stop the fear, despair, anger, worry, disappointment and isolation I have been feeling.  These feelings are mostly directed at myself but I was scared to write about them, as many of my co-workers and bosses read my blog.  I was worried that I might hurt their feelings.  That they might feel responsible or wish they could do more.  None of this would be my intention but they might read it that way!  Again …

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Over think!  Over think!  STOP!

And so I did!  I stopped!  I no longer felt confident to express my feelings by blogging as they spewed onto the page.  I needed to have some quiet time to reassess.  So I have taken almost a month to think and over think and rethink and over rethink and my mental health has gone backwards quite significantly.  I have been putting on the masks I need to wear to do the things I have to do and then hiding at home feeling quite out of control.

I decided to look back at my very first post, in the hope of finding my way back.  I found there, that I was writing “my view on life”.  MY view!  I decided then and there that I have to write.  I need to write my feelings out.  I need to be authentic about my successes and failures and I need to share this with the world via my blog because it might just give someone else the courage to share their feelings with someone else.

I will continue what I started 10 months ago.  To share myself, firstly for my own mental health and secondly, in the hope that others may be comforted that they are not the only ones with fears and insecurities and joys and laughs and thoughts and feelings.  To all the readers the have joined me on this journey – thanks for reading and commenting.  To those new readers, especially those new family relationships – here I am!

My heart is full and I need to share!

Here I am

Worth the Weight (Part Two) Exercise Endorphines, I’m Still Waiting For Those!

Do you ever go to bed at night, satisfied that you have done well – achieving much for the day – only to wake up with dread and thoughts of inadequacy?

I did, just last night!  I went to bed basking in the fact that I had attended work for 2 full days (well full for me) this past week and I had enjoyed it!  I had managed to be there for an ill BabyBoy, provide some reasonably healthy meals for a few days in a row, grocery shopping had been done and the weekend was in sight.

I woke early this morning feeling like every bone in my body had been through the mill.  I ached in places I didn’t know I could ache and I felt every kilo of my overweight body dragging me down.  I still feel this way, even though it is now 4 hours since I woke.  I just don’t know what to do to make me feel better – physically.

Do you know how difficult it is to do any sort of exercise when you are hugely overweight like me?  Well, it is almost impossible to find an exercise that is safe and not too scary to do.  Many of the exercise machines are only for use if you are under 100 kilos – that’s not me!  I don’t feel safe on my exercise bike anymore.  Pathetic is the word that comes to mind but I know that  is my old failure story, that repeats in my mind and so I quickly acknowledge it, as I would an acquaintance, and try to move on to the friend that is the new chapter I am writing in my head.

Walking is an easy exercise that everyone can do – right?   Wrong!  Walking is a difficult exercise for this obese person to do because my breathing becomes scarily difficult in a very quick time, leading straight into an asthma attack or coughing fit.  Then there is the chafing – thank God for 3B Cream!  Useless is the word that comes to mind but I know that is my old failure story, that  repeats in my mind and so I quickly acknowledge it, as I would an acquaintance, and try to move on to the friend that is the new chapter I am writing in my head.

Swimming – everyone knows that swimming is the best exercise for obese people.  Do you have any idea what it is like for me to put on my togs and walk out into the public?  Think about those insecure times that you may have on the beach or at the pool and multiply it by a hundred times.  Terrifying is the word that comes to mind but I know that is my old failure story, that  repeats in my mind and so I quickly acknowledge it, as I would an acquaintance, and try to move on to the friend that is the new chapter I am writing in my head.

It is the same going to a gym.  I know that people are probably not looking at me but I literally want to die with the embarrassment of the situation.  Pilates!  Yoga!  Tai Chi!  All great suggestions given to me by caring people.  Have you ever seen really fat people doing these activities?  Well, I have not.  Simply getting up and down off the floor is a major production.  My knees don’t work like yours do.  They have been carrying my body for many years  now and they function like an 80 year olds, waiting for a knee replacement (which I wouldn’t get because I carry too much weight).  Excuse is the word that comes to mind but I know that is my old failure story, that  repeats in my mind and so I quickly acknowledge it, as I would an acquaintance, and try to move on to the friend that is the new chapter I am writing in my head.

Did you know that sitting, standing and even lying in bed or on the couch is painful when you are a real plus size?  It does. Ridiculous is the word that comes to mind but I know that is my old failure story, that  repeats in my mind and so I quickly acknowledge it, as I would an acquaintance, and try to move on to the friend that is the new chapter I am writing in my head.

I want all this to stop!  I have no idea how to make it stop but I have to find a way or I am going to die!  And that is not the old failure story, that repeats in my mind.  That is my reality!  I am learning to control the negative stories that I constantly tell myself and replace them with new chapters to repeat in my mind but that does not help the physical pain I constantly feel.  I don’t know what to do to make the pain go away.  I would love to be able to do some gardening without feeling like I was going to die!  Or walk to the letterbox without sweating so much that I have to change my clothes after.

My best guess at a solution would be some pool exercise class.  Just writing that here is making me super anxious.  Anxiety is something I am learning to live with and yet not let it take control of my life.  It is a slow and harrowing journey, that is taking much longer than I would have ever dreamed it would.  Movement forward contains pain, just as raw as the physical stuff does.  I feel less like I am going to die from anxiety than I did 6 or so months ago.  So I guess slow movement, in fact any movement is the key!

So, you see – no glib one liners today.  Not even any answers or inspirational quotes or pictures.  Just the hard, ugly, truth sharing that we often hide away from others and most importantly ourselves.

Endings and Beginnings.

Do you ever wish things would never end?  Or do you just want some things to end quickly?  I do both of these things at different times.  If the footy is poor and the night is cold – I just want it to end, so I can go home and warm up!  But if the sun is warm and the sea is rolling in gently, soothingly – I want to stay forever!

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I’ve come to realise that letting go of heart stuff can be the same as something coming to an end.  Often times a quick ending is less painful than wanting to stay forever!   But not always. As 2014 comes to an end and 2015 starts it’s engine, I am aware of the necessity of saying goodbye to different important parts of my life.  These are not quick endings but long slow painful ones.

Abi 2 days old

I am losing my baby!  Well, not my baby but my gorgeous god daughter Abi, is starting school and that means “I’m a big girl now. Not your baby any more”, as she happily told me on Christmas Day.  How am I handling it?  Not well at all!  Of course, as a retired teacher, I am thrilled to see her development and growth.  I have no worries that she will cope and fit in easily.  But ME?  I really don’t want her to grow up.  Who will give me those whole body, smooshy, never let me go cuddles?  When Abi was born, she filled that constant yearning for physical touch, that comes from living with someone for 28 years and then losing them.  I could hold her and stroke her hair and smother her with kisses when I saw her and no one would know that I hadn’t actually touched another human being for a week or more.  I would drown myself in Abi, drinking up her unconditional love – hoping it would get me through the coming week.  When my Counsellor asked me what I was going to do to fill the gap when she started school – I sincerely looked her in the eye and told her as soon as Christmas was over, I would be out on the street looking for some pregnant woman who would like to share her baby with me!  She almost fell off her chair and it wasn’t until she saw my wink at the end of my statement, that she realised I was joking ….. kinda, sort of, maybe!!

I don’t want to say goodbye to the relationship we have.  I want it to go on forever.

Mum's Day Andrew & Patrick                       Jonathan Brewers Christmas 2014

My boys are men!  They are 31, 29 & 23 years old.  I no longer have any of them living at home and this has been the case for 6 or so years.  I have been saying goodbye to my little boys for many years now but no matter how independent they become, I still want to take away as much of their pain and heartache as I can.  Their dependence on me for financial back up or transport needs or the occasional home cooked meal (although all are very good cooks), means I am still their mother and they need me!   It also means that I am able to enjoy the mannerisms of their father, that I miss so much.  But I want my men to live their own lives and continue to develop their independence and find that special someone to share their world with – that isn’t me ….. kinda, sort of, maybe!!

I don’t want to say goodbye to the relationship we have.  I want it to go on forever.

And then Sons of Anarchy finished – forever!!!!  Yes, I know!  It’s a TV show!  It’s not real!  The characters were BAD boys!! But have you seen Jax Teller?

Jax 2

I know that TV shows do not go on forever ….. kinda, sort of, maybe!!

I don’t want to say goodbye to the relationship we have.  I want it to go on forever.

With endings come beginnings!  Just as endings can be hard, so too can beginnings have their dangers.  It’s a risk to do something new or different.  Just in the same way, looking at old relationships with new eyes and expectations is also difficult.  Fortunately, humans keep changing and growing – especially young people – and that forces us to keep changing and growing as well.

So with 2015 only one day away, I am thinking about the ways I can make sure those special relationships do go on forever.  Not as they were, but as they can be. Will be!  Have to be!!  So the changes that occur will be natural and satisfactory for all involved.  But there will be changes.  My 2015 Resolutions will not be the normal unattainable  ones of years gone by – lose 30kgs & get fit.  This year they will be simple and helpful.  Encouraging me to keep changing and growing.

I will simply ……..

add a little structure to my life

forgive myself

love myself

If I can do these 3 things, who knows what beginnings lie ahead for me?

Love yourself

And as Jax Teller would say

Jax

“I got this!”

My Men!

It has been an emotional, gut wrenching, I’m so lucky, it’s time to celebrate, roller coaster ride these past few weeks.  Anyone that knows me well, will know that I don’t do roller coasters –  having tried to jump off  twice in my life!  Once as a child at the Auckland Easter Show – thank you dear Brother for holding me on while my Mum got the bloke in charge to stop the ride and let me off and once at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, where my husband held me on while my then, preteen BossBoy, was heard to say …. Just let her jump, Dad! …. (due to my embarrassing antics) and my Mum, who was visiting from New Zealand, just shook her head and said … I told you so!   So with my emotions on a roller coaster ride my thoughts turned to those that hold on to me when the ride gets bumpy – my Men.

Men have always been important in my life.  As a child, I wasn’t really a girly girl.  More of a tomboy who enjoyed the physical challenges hanging with the boys could bring.  I liked the teasing that went on from my boy cousins and loved nothing more than  hanging out on the back of their motorbikes, or riding horses on a friend’s farm or to be at the skating rink with my brother and his mates.  Don’t be mistaken, women & girls were and continue to be a big part of my life but when my third and last baby arrived as a third son …. I kinda sighed with relief.

The beginning of November, always brings my Dad to the forefront of my mind.  His birthday falls in this month as does Remembrance Day and the anniversary of his death. So November is definitely a Dad month for me.  He was the first man that held on to me when I wanted to jump but although he supported and provided for me, our relationship was never an easy one.  So many personality traits the same and so many differences between us and then there was the, what I believe to be, life changing time he spent in the army in Hiroshima after the bomb was dropped – long before I was born.  He loved his family …. hard!  Just like me.  But communication was not his strength and I was a mouthy child and teenager (I know that surprises you) who insisted on trying to get him to express his thoughts and feelings!!  This often caused friction for me and anger from him.  Dad struggled to tell me what he freely told others – that he loved me and was proud of me but was always there when I needed him.  I know these things now and am pleased that I can use the important gifts he gave me, such as loyalty, a love of family, the place of respect in relationships and my great love of sport!  So November comes with Dad memories but no regrets.

My Dad and his grandson.
My Dad and his grandson.

My Brother has always been there for me – see above roller coaster incident!  He was also there when I tried to drown myself at a surf beach as a teenager.  He is younger than me and is the strong silent type.  As he gets older, he is becoming more like our Dad and this can also cause friction between us, as I turned into a mouthy adult (I know this surprises you) who often leads with her heart and not her mind.  Which doesn’t mean my Brother doesn’t lead with his heart but rather means he is very thoughtful and clear with his point of view.  I, on the other hand  am often not!  My Brother is an awesome father and grandfather who loves his family …… hard!  I am so glad I am in his family and therefore loved – totally, if not a little quietly for my liking!!!  Thank you God for not making everyone just like me!  He is my rock and I always know that if I need anything, he will be there for me.

Peter Zack's baptism
My brother and his grandson.

My Boys are the constant men in my life, especially in the 10 or so years since their father’s illness and subsequent death.  They are true champions and I am grateful to have them in my life.  They are each different and therefore hold on to me in different ways.  They all tend to be quiet and thoughtful, while I tend to be a mouthy mother (I know this surprises you) who shares too much about herself and her Boys and this sometimes causes friction for me and embarrassment for them.  This month has been a struggle for each of them with work stress, visa stress, moving stress, money stress, health issues and storm damage.  But they continue to hold on to me, so that I do not jump off that roller coaster.  I’m certain at times they all wish they could say like BossBoy of years ago – Let her jump, Dad!  But they don’t say it.  They hold me on through their love and support; through their creativity in art and music; through their travel and adventure; through their loyalty and encouragement.  They  love our family …. hard!  They ride my roller coaster with me – holding me on – always!

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My Men and Me. Photo credit to Andrew Barclay