Life Gets In The Way

Sometimes life just gets in the way of things we love to do.

It’s been totally crazy lately with my businesses both taking off in a much bigger way than I’d imagined. I took on a number of corporate clients and have been having huge fun working with them creating some gorgeous branding and packaging which I am totally enjoying but have now had to out source. That goes against what I originally set out to do but you know you have to move with the times and keep some free time to live a little and I was finding I wasn’t having much of that so I had to re-strategise.

I also started tutoring kids coming up to the end of their basic education and because I wanted to make that accessible to all I was a little overwhelmed with demand which, me being me, I couldn’t say no to. But we had huge success in this summer’s exams and so that was tremendously fulfilling, far more than teaching in a school ever was but could have been.

My kids go from strength to strength and have such busy lives which I want to be a part of still and so as long as they want me involved I’ve been making time for them and we’ve been having lots of fun. We’re all still shrinking although I think we’re all at a point where we’re in a normal weight for height bracket now and we just focus on keeping strong and healthy and trying out new things to challenge us physically. I still struggle with food demons but it’s so much easier a fight now. I even have had the odd wild binge when I’ve been super stressed and have had a couple of complete wipe outs but the  thing is, now I eat so clean and I exercise so much I seriously feel those binges. My liver distends, I get chronic head aches, raised temperature, palpitations, bloated stomach, my bowel has a breakdown and I realise just how bad all of that sugar and processed shite is for us so I really do quickly get back onto the path of righteousness immediately I’ve had a go at destroying myself. It’s not good and needs to stop altogether but it’s not a daily thing anymore, it’s a once in a blue moon thing but even so it needs to be a never thing and I’m working on that. I always knew this fight would be forever.

Nick and I are now planning our wedding which is fabulous and very exciting. We would have been married already if it wasn’t for me wanting to get married in a particular spot and us having to do more planning to make that happen than I realised, so next summer it is even though I don’t want it to be that far away but the desire to have my perfect moment over took the desire to be his wife immediately. I’ve written a blog post about this which I will finish soon but it talks about what’s the most important thing and it might sound selfish but having a perfect moment is something I feel I’ve earned and I can allow myself that without it detracting from my love for Nick. I kind of got muddled with the two being different things and it took a while to realise that they go together and one without the other wouldn’t work anyway.

I was proposed to in a very romantic manner and I shall go into detail on that at some point too if anyone fancies a romantic gushy love story, I cry when I recall it or recount it so writing it will be just as tear jerking for me as talking about it and I’ll try to put something of my secret self into it to help any readers understand why it’s such an emotional thing for me.

Nick’s been working more in London lately and that’s another reason why blogging’s been light on the ground as we’ve been spending lots of time down there and we’ve been taking in so much of the London scene and just enjoying the city so much, myself and my son have had a wonderful summer of bonding having spent a fair bit of it exploring. When Nick’s made it with us and my daughter especially it’s been even more wonderful but I’m getting better at accepting that she has her own life and I don’t need to be a constant part of it and it’s OK for me to enjoy myself without her. That part of letting go of my first child was so hard and I’ve started a blog post about it which I’ll get around to finishing now things have calmed down again.

Nick’s ex wife moved to the Caribbean a couple of months ago and so that was pretty awful for him to feel he was losing his two youngest children. Of course that’s not the case and fortunately he is in a position to see them often, not as often as he did of course but that’s the price of divorce. I don’t mean to sound flippant about it, it’s another reason I’ve not managed to finish a blog post. It was and is a pretty sad time for me too, to feel helpless to help him cope with that sense of loss and distance. All I could do was love and support him and just give him lots of time to talk and express his emotions which I’ve also started to write about but never finished so I’ll be on that too. His elder two are still in the UK studying so that is something and in some ways I think it’s made him put a little more into communicating with them. I’ve blogged about this but I think before he kind of felt as if he had a quota on the number of times a week he could contact them and now he’s much more spontaneous with it which is a good thing to come from so much sorrow. He’s also had to cope with the ex having a new man in her life who was moved in pretty quickly and who is definitely playing daddy to the little ones and I don’t think we’re being over sensitive to say that we feel there’s some enforced kind of competition and nastiness going on which I’m so glad Nick has not risen to in a negative way but has handled well even though it’s hurt him a lot. I’ve seen the other side of divorce, from the man’s side and I will be writing lots about that. Although of course no two cases are the same and my own case and experience with my children’s father is very different and has always been far less fraught than many I’ve seen over the years.

Nick also began trading over seas which has led to a number of trips that I’ve managed to tag along on, having a 16 year old means that they are more than happy to be left at home with friends for 4 days while you take off on a business trip and some times he’s come along depending on the location. I’ve not had my house trashed yet and I have been super impressed with the way the boy and his friends have taken care of the veggie garden and animals this summer, we’ve had bumper crops and tons of eggs.

The blog wasn’t the only thing which suffered when our lives got in the way of the things we enjoy doing, our allotment project, which is still going strong, now does so without our direct involvement although we continue to be financial backers and we do drop in when we can but the over eaters group have really made that their own and they are doing a fantastic job of it and have lost tons of weight between them as well as been able to offer each other vital support in their battles with food and the number of people in the group has grown too. They are talking about having a young over eaters side group as there are a number of young kids and teens who are getting involved and they have specific needs. It’s all great and so good that the professional counsellors and doctors are involved but letting the members lead the way and shape the group the way they want it to be.

I don’t have Darren, my personal trainer anymore, sorry if I already mentioned that. He’s now taking care of ladies in another part of the country and specialises in helping obese women now which is great. He really understands the psychological issues and the battle it is and I’m sure he’s going to transform many lives. I train more at home now and have a pretty straight forward training plan which takes one hour four times a week (that’s all about strength so is kettle bell swings, burpees, planks and resistance work) and then I exercise every day, walking, cycling, swimming, rowing, playing sports, dancing and just generally keeping active. I maintain a very low carb diet and more lately have reduced the amount of meat I eat too, so I have a couple of days a week where I’m a veggie and I continue to drink tons of water and have my cultured drinks each day and shots of goodness. Nuts and seeds are a part of almost every meal too.

Life is just settling down now into a normal pace again where there is less upheaval, less emotional stuff going on and more of a routine being established. I’ve missed blogging so much and have written so many posts which remain incomplete but I will be getting on with those now. I feel like life just went through a massive gear change, it kind of took off at full pace and we’ve had to work at bringing it back down to a nice steady trot again, but I feel we’ve achieved that now and I definitely feel less stressed and more calm. I feel like I’ve been on a crazy round the world trip, sleeping in a tent and at last I’m home, showered and in my own bed again.

Can’t wait to catch up on what all of my favourite bloggers have been doing 😀

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Parental Advice

Today a friend of mine was asking on Facebook for everyone who cared to, to put a top tip for parenting as a comment. The rules were it had to be a tip someone had passed on to us and one we had used successfully with a back story included and if we know her personally a photo of our kids either now or as babies.

7e3e8f7056d3f2d561509a1655036a62She is compiling a hand book of parenting for her daughter who is about to have her first child. During a conversation about the upcoming birth the daughter had said that she wished there was a handbook to parenting as she was worried about it, not just the immediate how to cut a baby’s toe nails stuff but the longer term development of a good relationship, discipline and such.

All contributions would be dressed up and printed and included in a scrapbook type affair to be presented as the handbook to parenting to her daughter at her baby shower. One of the aims was to pass on tips, another was to show the vast amount of differing advice out there and another was to show that many mothers have gone before with no guide book and we survived.

I submitted a long and a short and thought I’d share them here, if only because I thought the whole idea is a fabulous one. My short was from my aunt (my mother’s sister) when my first child was born and my mum ‘helped’ a little too much. “Just tell her ‘thank you for your advice but I am the mum now and I need to learn but you will always be the first person I turn to when I need help'”. It worked so much better than “Leave me the hell alone this is my baby”.

The long one was from an interview I saw on TV with Bill Cosby of all people many years ago, before I had kids. He said that the most important thing you can do is listen to your children. When they come home from school or from anywhere as they get older, make at least 15 minutes to sit with them, ask them about their day and then shut up and listen to them for the first 5 minutes. Don’t speak back, don’t interrupt, nod, smile, laugh, look concerned if you have to, but don’t speak and the longer you don’t speak the more they say, the more they speak to you and the more developed and deep and reflective their ‘conversation’ becomes. Not only that, but eventually they come to seek you out to talk to when they come home, it becomes a very good habit. I did this with my kids and it is so true, the less you speak the more they open up and talk to you. As much as I struggle with keeping quiet, I’ve done it and do it and listen to them. I believe that advice made the teen years the breeze they have been and kept my children and I communicating and close. Even now my daughter is grown and independent and living away from home she STILL feels compelled to call me or Skype me when she gets home from work or from any activity and talk about it and I still give her those 5 minutes and just listen.

My friend is really hoping to make this a book of epic proportions so I said I would ask if anyone in any of my networks had anything to contribute. Please share in comments if you do.

End of an era

Not sure why I didn’t post this before. My pre-Christmas musings on life…non weight related.

So my last teaching and marking has been done last week. My keys and ID are handed over, my classroom is no longer mine and my space in the staff room has been cleared ready for its new occupant.

I was sad to leave, not the job or the colleagues but the kids. I love teaching and I’m good at it but I had to think of teaching in a different way, where I and the student have more control over outcomes and objectives than government bodies and managers. My new venture will be successful and I will get to teach in a much more humanistic manner, which suits me. It’s just a shame that the people who I teach will not need inspiration as much as the kids I used to teach did and I feel in some sense that I’ve let them down, not just the ones I was currently teaching but others to come but I had to do what was right for myself ultimately and my days of sticking at a job out of loyalty to anyone else and feeling myself sink into a bog of misery, frustration and stress are over.

I’ve made the right decision. My new business has already started to take shape and I can’t wait to give it my undivided attention. I’ve felt a little bad that Nick has been holding things together for me, he’s loved it but it was my ‘baby’ and I feel like I gave birth and then handed it straight over to a nanny. I had done all of the prep for its arrival though and it made the nanny’s life easier but even so… it wasn’t ideal. It wasn’t a bad thing, I just didn’t expect to have customers and clients so soon in the numbers they came and so that was a little bit of an underestimation of the market on my part. But anyway after Christmas break I am 100% at the helm and now that I have effectively set up two new businesses I need to be at that helm more than ever.

I couldn’t help it, I had two ideas and couldn’t make my mind up which to choose and then while getting the one I went with into shape I was offered opportunities relevant to my other choice too and so I did definitely bite off more than I could chew at that point with still having a job and other things going on in my life.

So now it’s time for the chill out over Christmas. My daughter arrives tomorrow so I’m hugely looking forward to that. Most of my prep for the festivities is done and I think I’m just at the point where I have to check the schedule to make sure I can fit in all of the visits I’ve arranged, both to other people and of other people to me and we’re good to go.

Nick’s kids are coming to us for parts of Christmas. They are coming on Christmas Day, being dropped off by their mother on her way to a city just north of us to visit her friends and they are being collected later on the same day which is wonderful for everyone, we didn’t think it was going to happen. There had been some animosity spring back up between them but fortunately it has been resolved. I think it’s always tough when our lives change, Nick’s has changed too, he’s not in London as much as he was and so hasn’t been around as much to have the kids dropped off with him as he was. He has told the kids that if they want or need him to just call and he will be there but they are happy as things are and are doing their own thing and like the arrangement they’ve made with their dad. Unfortunately that arrangement doesn’t suit their mum and so that’s where the problems have arisen and I can understand her but at the same time I can understand him and I’m just glad that they have resolved things without it affecting our relationship. Dating a divorced parent has many issues…Maybe I’ll write about some of those next year. From both perspectives.

We’re going to spend a couple of days in London closer to with my kids too at Nick’s house and we’ve got some treats lined up for them all which should be fun. Nick asked his brood if they wanted to spend time alone with him but they said they like when we’re all together and so that’s good for us.

I’m just amazed at how different life is for me this year, it doesn’t stop astonishing me how far I’ve come and how different I am, in my head I’m in a much happier place, I truly didn’t realise how depressed I was and how much it was affecting everything in my life. The most noticeable difference is my energy, I am filled with it, bursting at the seams, I find it hard to stay still and am constantly on the go which is so much like the me of old. I thought that sprightly young thing had long gone but it appears she has had a revival. Hallelujah!

For everything which has happened, all of the lovely things which have come my way and made this massive change in me, for the people who inspire and support me and have patience with me, I’m so grateful. I feel blessed to have been opened up to the opportunities which have presented themselves and for the ability to see what was wrong with my life and remove or change it. I could never have made this progress alone, that was always my big mistake, I thought I could, but sometimes we have to accept that we do need people, we just do.

Shrinking Christmas

It occurred to me this year more than any year before just how much Christmas has shrunk.

When I was little, some forty years ago, it lasted at least ten days and that was not counting the build up of carol concerts, school and work parties including big free parties thrown by employers for the children of staff. We used to go to an annual one at our Town Hall it was a very elaborate affair enjoyed by thousands of kids.

From Christmas Eve to around 3rd of January it was lock down time. We stayed home or visited friends and family and had them over to us. The Christmas calendar was filled with parties, entertaining and visits, good food and excess went on for well over a week and the spirit of Christmas; joy, peace, goodwill, love as well as the sound of Christmas music and even TV scheduling ran on for days.

Now it seems that Christmas day is it for many people it’s like a birthday rather than a festive period. I know that’s what it essentially is but you know what I’m getting at here.

People discard the decorations, go back to work and whip the Christmas spirit off along with the Christmas jumper on the night of 25th December and I think it’s sad.

I know a lot of this culture shift can be blamed on commercialisation and an emphasis put on spending and buying before the event as well as immediately after with sales starting on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Of course the knock on effects of that include people not only being drawn away from family and gatherings to shop but also to work, something unheard of when I was a kid.

We complain about that yet we choose to do it. If we didn’t put a demand on retailers on Boxing Day just like we didn’t back in the day, they would see no value in opening and paying staff to work. If we didn’t place a demand on them for a whole week they’d stay closed and workers could stay home with family and families could stay together for a whole week instead of dragging kids away from toys to go buy more stuff they don’t need before the turkey has gone cold.

I think it’s sad that instead of a buffet tea round at auntie Mary’s the Boxing Day activity of choice is now more likely to be trawling through a sale while the kid sits screaming in the pushchair and the husband gets five minutes to play his console game in peace if he’s lucky, spending hours trying to park the car is more likely.

Well not in my house, we drag it out as long as possible and this year even though my princess has headed back for work today and the world is back in full non festive swing it’s still Christmas here and we’re locked down with lovely food lovely company and are still only half way through the pile of Christmas themed dvds yet.

We don’t get enough time as families we don’t get enough time to cut out the world and enjoy each other, we don’t relax our bodies and minds enough from the hum drum of life and I believe Christmas of old gave us a prolonged excuse to do that, to recharge batteries and prepare for a new year, invigorated, refreshed and rebalanced mind body and spirit and I think it’s a crying shame that we are giving that all up so easily.

The Christmas week (or fortnight in some cases) widespread closure of construction, manufacturing, service and retail industries gave working people time to spend relaxing with their loved ones indulging in the finer things in life just like more wealthy people did all year round. Essential services ran on skeleton staffing and non essential services were suspended and those who did work were suitably rewarded with time off in lieu, generous over time rates and enhanced pay. It was a taste of freedom and an escape from the grind made easier with the annual modest pay bonus or company gift (another thing which has shrunk or vanished).

We’ve more or less lost the Easter period as a break and bank holidays are a non-event and now Christmas is heading the same way and all because we are mindwashed by big corporations and media into believing we need more stuff and we need that stuff more than we need a breather and time with other people.

I know this is simplistic and nostalgic in nature and perhaps times have changed for the better for some, they can choose when to take the bulk of their leave without an extended Christmas break being forced on them, maybe in warmer months when they can enjoy time off more and it works for those who don’t celebrate Christmas in our modern multi-religious societies and it means that services and production can be better managed and spread out without sudden peaks in demand and costly troughs to negotiate or gaps in services to those who rely on them. Maybe you have another view point on this. But for me it is still Christmas!

For us it is not over until the fat (more on that when I emerge fully from hibernation) lady sings and we haven’t even come close to getting out the karaoke yet.

The Simple Things in Life

I was really busy the other night and my son asked me if I would mind singing for him while he practiced his accompaniment for the school choir. Each year they hold a beautifully atmospheric concert in a little old church, it’s always packed to bursting and just the most important event of Christmas for us all. We’re not church goers but we find it grounds us, it prepares us in the correct spirit for Christmas. It’s when Christmas begins for us.

This year of course is the first that my daughter will not be there. We have attended each year since she used to sing in it and so this is our 12th year. We’re going to miss her so much that night.

I didn’t really feel like singing and I didn’t really have time. But I had a look at the list of songs and was already decided that I would do it of course, as long as we got it over with quick. For the first time in a number of years, all of the songs were traditional carols and I realised that this task was going to call for my best soprano which was rather rusty. I asked for a few minutes to exercise the vocal chords and to glug some warm honey and my son said that while I did that he would set up some recording equipment so we could send a recording to his sister. Glad he thought of that.

We started with Oh Holy Night and knowing what a perfectionist he is when it comes to these things, knowing that a bum note would cause him intense pain (I think he gets his dramatics from me sometimes) I feared I’d never achieve the power required going into the chorus and manage to hit and hold the appropriate notes. He said that he would forgive me this time. He had set up some accompaniment on his iPad and opted to accompany me using an electric guitar played through his wonderful iRig (great invention). I’m not sure what he does but it sounded amazing.

He began to play into the recorded track and I began to sing. It was going well, I was sounding good. I felt that beautiful heart swelling that you get from singing those timeless epic tunes and all of the memories associated with them come flooding in from somewhere in the recesses of your mind. For me, memories of singing with dad, memories of listening to choirs as kids, memories of family Christmas as a child, smells of Christmas, memories of my children being tiny snuggled up with mama in blankets listening to carols and hymns while having Christmas stories read to them, the wonderment of Christmas Eve, all of those wonderful carol concerts I’ve participated in and watched the kids in, all that and more.

You sing and that stuff comes thick and fast, flowing from your brain into your heart and it swells. Somehow that swelling lifts your voice, you hit and hold those notes because that full to bursting feeling in your heart takes over the control of your voice and you hear yourself singing without conscious thought to what you are doing.

At that moment I glanced across at my son, I’d been looking at the words (memory is not as sharp as it was) and I’d felt him looking at me. He was sitting relaxed on his guitar stool, the instrument looks like a natural part of him now, he wasn’t bothering with following the music, he knew it by heart already. He was looking right at me, his dimpled cheeks glowing red (he has yet to grow a whisker thank the Lord, I can’t bear that baby soft skin to disappear just yet) and he had a big smile on his face and his eyes were glistening with tears. We held one another’s gaze for the rest of the song and when we’d finished he came over to me and hugged me tight. “Mummy, you’re a beautiful singer. Well done” he let me go and I looked at him, my own eyes filled with tears now. “You’re a beautiful musician” I said and we had another hug.

We finally finished singing and recording music for my daughter at 1am. Nothing else mattered as much as those songs and making that precious memory with my son. It struck me each time I sang and that familiar heart swell came, how this very moment would forever be one of those heart swelling moments for each of us when we sang, played or heard these songs again for the rest of our lives. Something shared uniquely between us and through the recording which my daughter was delighted with,  perhaps for her as well.

Sometimes we make life too complicated. Sometimes we neglect wholesome talents and skills while we’re busy chasing around other things.  The simple things really are priceless.

This moment inspired my post earlier on my Music Blog too where there are three versions of Oh Holy Night to choose from, I haven’t included mine, I’m not that brave. But as I prefer male voices (I know I know so anti feminist) here is a fourth version by two of the very finest male voices. 

One One One… yes that’s 111 pounds GONE!

I am amazed and almost brought to tears of self pride, amazing good feelings rush through my body when I see how I am still making progress even though now this all mostly feels like normality to me.

I love myself for the changes I’ve made and continue to make. I love how good I’ve made me feel. It’s just fabulous. I don’t need any Christmas presents, I’ve given myself and my children the greatest gift possible ever, I’ve earned us more time together. I’m prolonging my life, my time to be their mother, their time to have their mum around to love and guide them. There is nothing, nothing more important or precious than life, just nothing. I’ve become one of those people who doesn’t stash away my treasures and trinkets in safe dark places, I get them out and use them and show them off and take every ounce of pleasure I can from them. My life is no exception. As my greatest gift and treasure I fill it, I use this body, I use this brain, I use this energy, this strength, this joy, this sense of fulfillment and I live my life, after years of being a fat, dying blob, I am living again and I can tell you, being alive never felt so good.

At this monthly-ish weigh in (I’m not very good with sticking to schedules with weighing days) I found that I’ve lost a grand total of 111 pounds! That’s fat gone, forever and it is never coming back and I say that with more sincerity than I’ve ever said anything in my life, I say it with more sincerity than I said my wedding vows.

I have gone from my starting stats:

24 stone 11 pounds        347lbs            157.4 kgs      11 April 2014

To today’s stats:

16 stones 12 pounds       236lbs                107.05kgs

AND I’ve shed 15 chunks of Tracey (see top right of home page).

I’m almost in tears of joy at my progress. I know it’s been tough this month as I felt I was at a plateau phase. I was aware that I’ve spent a long period of my life at various ages at 17 stones (238lbs) and for a long time it seemed that it was where I was destined to remain effortlessly but then I lost weight and that seemed to kick start the yo yo off again and I gained weight to the 19 stone mark and hovered there for a while and then lost weight and couldn’t get below 17 stones and then shot up to the 20+ realms where I said I would never go. So to get below 17 is a real significant achievement for me and to know that 15 is in sight within the next couple of months just makes me feel ecstatic beyond belief because then I will be within real sight of my goal, I will really feel that I’m on the long run in to the me of the future, the me who is never going to get fat ever again.

I was pretty sure my body didn’t want to shift below 17 as I didn’t feel that I was making progress, normally I can feel myself losing weight and the fat being replaced with lean muscle. Maybe it was all in my head, like most of this fat behaviour is.

That is another reason I’m happy about this loss as I know that lean muscle weighs more than fat and so I’m pleased that in spite of the exchange programme that’s going on inside of my body I continue to shed more weight in fat than I gain in lean muscle and that’s what my whole regime aims at. Keeping that transfer slow and consistent. This makes it healthier for me and manageable and also it means my skin is still not sagging so if I do need any skin snipping off at the end of this it isn’t going to be vast sheets of the stuff.

My PT has been so pleased with my progress that he’s unofficially re-branded himself as a PT to the obese and he has started working with some people who were in a very sad and desperate place and they are making great progress and I’m so pleased that he is doing this. He’s a super sexy young hottie and he gets my heart rate up there just walking into the gym, but he has taught me so much about my body and I have taught him so much about the psychology of an obese person. He makes me cry, he makes me hit him and shout at him and I get to call him horrid names, I’m telling you we’re borderline dominatrix and submissive male. But you know what? It works.

He hears me shout and cry all of the horrid stuff I feel and think about myself and my life and he learns, he gets a free, front row seat to look into the mind of an obese person who over eats out of an emotional need. He’s discovered with me, why I have been destroying myself all of these years and sometimes, I can not tell you how good it feels in those moments when I’m exhausted, when I think I can’t move another muscle, when he calls me out by telling me I’m weak, I don’t want this enough, I’m just going to stay fat forever because it’s easier, and I feel myself fill with adrenalin, with power and strength and energy and I cry and spit back at him that I’m not, I’m going to be slim because I don’t want to hate myself anymore, because I want to live for my children, because I deserve to be happy, because people have hurt me because they were weak not me, because it was never my fault that my family didn’t know how to love me, all of the things I’ve missed out on in life because I was fat are still there and I’m going to get them and then he tells me that’s enough and he lets me fall into his huge arms and he holds me snotting and weeping against his huge chest and he says to me “Well done, Mich, you’re a little fighter” I just feel like I can conquer the world and all of those bad things are gone and forgotten and I’ve beaten them out of my own memory and that big huge man hug makes me feel somehow safe and protected and it’s all I need to let all of that awfulness wash away.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve not got a crush on my PT, gosh I’m not that stupid but we have a really strong bond, it’s beyond a business agreement now, he’s my friend. A very treasured friend. He gets to see me in states no one else does and I’m glad he’s learned and I’m glad that he’s putting that to use to help other people like me. He’s in huge demand and so he should be. He’s good at what he does and I know he’s going to help hundreds of people out of this hell in his lifetime and I know that he’s not going to judge any of them. He knows the hell of obesity and he just wants to bring more people out of it. Sometimes we look to the heavens for angels, we imagine they will be waiting for us at the gates to heaven, we imagine they might take our hands and lead us from this life to the next phase yet we forget that there are angels on Earth with us, they walk among us every day, we just have to open our eyes to see them and our hearts to feel them. Darren is one of mine.

I’m still meeting with my counselor too and that’s much better now, it’s more pleasant and I don’t know if I need to go for much longer. The crying episodes are getting fewer there as they are with Darren. I’m starting to feel that the anger at myself, the self loathing, the bitterness I never knew I harboured, all of the crap is becoming more and more under control.

I’ve developed a lovely relationship with my mother who has told me so many things about herself and about me that I just never imagined I’d ever hear. She comes to visit me now regularly once a week and we sit and have lovely tea out of a china tea pot and our best china mugs and we bake some scones together (oh  yes I have scones, one a week with home made jam and clotted cream). So very English of us. We sit and crochet together with some old music playing. We’re making a blanket for my daughter, she wanted a rainbow blanket and we have been working on getting it finished. She’s taught me some fab tips and I’m becoming quite the domesticated lady. We have races to see who can finish that day’s squares the fastest and we talk, She talks to me like she’s never been able to talk to anyone in her life and I feel bad that she’s had over 80 years of never having had a female family member or friend who she could open up to but i’m glad that she has me now, before it was too late. We’re not too dissimilar me and my mother and if you’d said that to me a year ago I’d have been sick, but now I’m happy to be like her and I’m also happy that I am different to her in so many ways. I’m happy that I know she loves my daughter too and I am touched by the simple little heart felt gestures she was making to try to make amends with her. The blanket was a great idea to make her feel that finally she was doing something special and precious because she knows she will have it for always and ever. We’re both happy that I broke the mother/daughter incapacity to show love family trait, I’m glad I am different to her in that way.

Who would have thought it eh? That just losing weight would make such a difference to my life? That it would bring me for the first time since I was a tot into the arms of my mother without it feeling uncomfortable, who’d have thought that it would have given her the relationship with her daughter that she craved so badly and just didn’t know how to make happen? Who’d have thought that a few months on from the start of this journey, two ladies, one old, one middle aged sit side by side, making something for a third lady, still young, with the love they feel for each other and for her being sewn into every stitch? It’s magical, it’s a gift and I’m humbled to have received it.

Nick is sitting on the sofa working on something and he keeps looking up and asking if I’m OK as I sit her sniffling, my heart swelling with joy at the person I’m becoming. Eating to destroy ourselves is not good, it robs us of so much life, not just time, but it makes us fold into a world of self hatred and a world where we don’t trust, we can’t forgive, we become too defensive, we try to control, we try to compensate for our hatred of ourselves by putting up a shield that we just don’t need. I have never felt more vulnerable in my life than I do now and I quite like it.. But you know what? This vulnerability which means that I quite enjoy people taking care of me now means that my senses are open, it’s like my pores have been unblocked and because I am open, good things flood in. I feared without realising for so long that if I opened up bad things would come in and pieces of me which I guarded with my life would flood out but it doesn’t happen like that. If you close yourself down you miss the good things and I’m finding that even now in this modern world there are more good things going on out there than bad and if a bad thing happens well I’ll deal with it and I have people to help me now and I’m feeling good about that.

I’m so much better of a person now. I’m so happy, truly happy into my soul happy. I love so much more freely and openly. Nick said that he’s noticed how I’ve changed with him and he knows it’s not because we’re getting closer and more used to each other, I’m changing and softening and he knows that is nothing to do with the time we spend together. My children are happier. You know I didn’t realise it then, but now I see that they were worried, they had little stressy faces and they always used to look at me with concern and they don’t anymore. They just look happy, care free and alive like they should. They have confidence that I’m happy and that I’m alive and that has given them more than I ever anticipated. I saw a photo of them when they were in New York and that’s when it struck me. They were sitting snuggled up on the TKTS steps in Times Square, eating a hot dog or something and they took a selfie and when it landed in my drop box I was mesmerised by it, I couldn’t stop looking at it and Nick asked why that of all the photos was so special and I said “Because they look so happy, like they haven’t got a care in the world and that makes me feel happy because I know that they haven’t”.

We don’t just hurt ourselves when our finger is pressed down firmly on that self destruct button guys. We hurt so many other people who worry about us in silence. Who wonder when they’re going to get the call that our hearts have given up under the strain of hauling us around, when one of our vessels clogged with fat and crap has exploded and brought us to our end way too soon. If you’re doing this thing, keep on doing it for you and them and if you’re thinking you can’t do this thing, you can, you really really can and you deserve it, you deserve happiness and to love yourself and to see that same look in the eyes of the people who love you, that look of not having a care in the world because they know all is right with you.

We’re alive, now is the time to live, it’s the only time we get.