I’m a 46 year old (only 4 months from 47) single/divorced mother of two amazing children (I am biased though).
I have a wonderful fully grown daughter who is my best friend and who has brought nothing but joy to my life, she is now my inspiration as much as she insists I am hers. We are incredibly close, we run like two parts of a whole, pre-empting, understanding without words, getting things done, it’s perfect synergy and we love it. We know that when she graduates this year that our bond in terms of physical closeness will be broken as she leaves to pursue her life but our spiritual and emotional bond is sealed forever and then some.
We both take mothering roles when it comes to the smallest family member … whose hormones are fiercely contesting that position at the moment as his teen growth spurt is in full flourish and he seems to grow taller and thinner each day. He’s almost at his sister’s height and will soon be over taking me. He is so talented, he has a musical gift, he can pick up any instrument and play. He is uber sweet for a teenage boy, his triple dimples are to die for and his thick, shiny, black, curly, long eyelashes (he still knows when to flutter them) continue to melt our hearts and are nearly as irresistible as his gorgeous curly black hair. We guide him on the right path and fortunately he responds, reprimanding him would be impossible with that still cute baby face that we see when we look at him.
My children are my joy, they bring laughter, love, light and happiness into my life every day. They are wise, sensible and caring. I am ultra proud of them and I will gush about them from time to time. What I love most is how much they love each other, it warms my heart to hear them tell one another frequently, it’s not uncool and I hope it never will be.
However they are not my whole life, I do have some time and space for me and that’s always been important. I’ve managed to pursue relationships (needs a blog of its own) and a career while I’ve been their mum and it has taken some blood sweat and tears and devotion as well as a lot of stress, frustration and the odd moment of beating myself up wondering if I’ve got the balance right now and then.
After years building a successful career within public services I had a break down. It wasn’t official, but that’s what it was. It was a culmination of my years spent battling as a single parent, being everything to everybody and leaning on nobody, my first adult experience of chronic illness (totally unrelated to weight), the breakdown of a relationship I had invested my all into (literally), excessive stress at work, stopping smoking and losing my ‘crutch’ and the realisation that my family had been nothing but an emotional drain on me for my whole life and when I was the one in need, that one time, none of them were there for me. This kicked off a long held back grieving process for the loss of my father who had really been my only family and everything collided into an emotional breakdown. The mighty had fallen. I found out I was not made of steel, nor was I wonder woman.
I decided to change my life and career and do something I had always wanted to do, not what I had been doing ‘just because’ and I had the kids’ full support with that even though we knew we would experience financial hardship while I retrained. We were in it for the long haul and boy am I glad they came along with me, it was a hectic crazy ride.
Retraining allowed me time to heal, it meant I could disengage from the world and while that was a good thing for me mentally it was not a good thing for me physically. The short time I had to spend in classes was easy to scurry in and out of, the rest of the week was spent hiding in a darkened room, eating rubbish, not having the will to cook, ordering take out, not moving, no exercise, some days not moving from a chair to even go to the toilet (I didn’t soil myself I must have just grown a huge bladder). Everything was neglected, except the children but then they were of course. They had their needs met but emotionally they had this growing blob of useless fat in a corner who wasn’t functioning as a human being but who was promising she would soon…. soon… always soon.
Eventually I healed, time and rest and reflection is what it took, that and knowing I’d have to start standing in front of a class of students very soon. It kicked me out of my chair and made me start to wake up.
So now I’m a teacher of adults, mainly the 16-19 age group. I’m a good one too and finding that I was and that the students really like me and respond well to me boosted my ego somewhat but more importantly I’m doing a job I love and I feel my wings are beginning to unfurl again.
In that new light, I started to look at myself and saw what I’d done, I’d gained many stones in weight. I could barely move more from muscle atrophy than anything else. I was a mess. I woke up on 5th April 2014 and realised that although I felt I had wings I didn’t, not yet, there was a big part missing and that was my self respect, my self value and I had to start loving myself, taking care of myself and preserving myself so I could be around longer for these beautiful people I made and so I could finish the life I had started in the way I chose not the way my fat decided.
I’ve emerged from it knowing that you don’t have to like people or care about people who you share blood with, it’s great if you do but not essential. I’m stronger than I ever thought I was and I’m far more resilient than I realised yet I know I’m human and I have my weaknesses and I need support, I just do. Most of all I know that in spite of my mistakes I have always striven to do what is right and best for everyone around me I feel at peace in that sense and at the end of it all I know that I’m intrinsically happy and optimistic, I’m a fighter and so this game is on. I think I have no baggage it’s been shed long ago but I have a feeling this blog may help me lie any remaining hidden demons to rest, but now my focus is on shedding this oppressive weight and I can get on with living for me and for my children… they are my family now.
Being obese no matter how good your life is, no matter how happy you kid yourself you are (and you probably are in lots of ways) it eats away at you, at your mental, emotional and physical health. Obesity is greedy, it wants your life and there’s only one person who can stop it in its tracks and that’s you.
I’m still a caterpillar and there is a way to go before I am a butterfly but I’m on my way. It’s going to happen.