1824 days later…..5 is the magic number

I was walking through my favourite place in my local park tonight, the sun was warm on my skin, blossom still on trees and the air full of the scent of the weeds that seemed to have doubled over night. Five years ago I walked through the same place unable to fight back the tears and fear that engulfed me after hearing those fateful words. It was a cold, dull,  grey and gloomy afternoon. Five years ago I couldn’t imagine I’d even be here. Sounds a bit melodramatic in retrospect doesn’t it ? Clearly missed my big acting break.

Reaching the magical five-year cancerversary is a big deal to anyone who has been diagnosed, I’m still tinged with a bit of superstition so no whooping and air punches. I’ve always proclaimed cancer is a sneaky opponent not to be underestimated. I don’t think ok, now I’ve hit five years it’ll never happen again, more I feel incredibly grateful for every day of the past five years and hopeful of many, many more.

What’s changed in five years …..

Physically, loads. I had delayed reconstruction last year and think its fair to say that was like a piece of jigsaw, that was lost under the sofa. Having found it and slotted into place it’s made an incredible difference. I never really realised the impact losing a breast had until I had it back, and I could dress freely, feel more confident and attractive in my (scarred) skin. Everyone close to me saw the difference too. I felt restored. Balanced.

Prior to reconstruction I felt a bit of a fraud, and that I think stopped me from trying to date again. I’d think people would think I look a certain way and they’d be shocked if they saw the real me underneath. A year on from reconstruction with more scars than before I wear them with pride and feel if anyone can’t accept them, they aren’t worth my while. I didn’t break my cancer cherry (on dating) until three years post treatment Seriously ?!! Anyone reading this don’t take as long as me. I was grateful for finding a Facebook group for young women where Tinder and dating discussions were the norm, it was a relief to know I wasn’t the only person single after cancer. A woman at peer support group told me a well-meaning friend told her, ‘there should be a special dating site for people like you, you know with one boob’ sighs. I can write more on this kind of unhelpful post cancer dating bs believe me.

These days my eyebrows are always on fleek, after they ‘chose’ not to grow back my artistic endeavours have improved after five years of practise. The early attempts oh dear oh dear. I don’t have the ‘appear with no brows post swimming incidents’ these days either. Rookie mistakes. Always carry an eyebrow kit !!

My hair is a little fragile, it grew and grew and I was grateful to have those twirl round your fingers flirts again. Lately it’s thinner, and finer. Characteristic of peri menopause ? Side effect of Tamoxifen ? Quite possibly. A new stage and after spending a small fortune on a variety of products that promise to help regrowth, I’m trying new styles to disguise the receding parts.

Energy wise, I’m my crazy pre cancer energetic self. I dash around and do too much, such is my nature. I’m physically fitter than I probably was pre cancer, I make regular time to exercise as manages my energy and stress levels. I’ve taken up new hobbies, I was doing mixed martial arts before I got cancer (was how my lump was discovered) and immediately after was determined to return. I went for a bit, but never wanted to be hit on my ‘bad’ side and that felt like I was compromising myself. I’m an all or nothing girl. It took me a while to accept it but I’ve moved away from contact side of sport and found other passions.

I returned to work 10 weeks post treatment to mad and bad world of social care. I don’t regret it at all, but 18 months back at work  I was struggling with the huge pressure at work and made a decision to take a chance and quit management. I spent two years in a less pressured role that really helped me flourish and find work life balance. I’ve just returned to more senior role now, but feel more equipped to, and boundaried perhaps ? For those just returning to work, listen to your body and work with it not against it, it’s not worth exhausting yourself for work. Back in my early days of work I used to resent hours spent in meetings, thinking if my life is limited why the heck am I sat here and not on a beach ? Told you I was dramatic.

Travel – well prior to my cancer career break, I’d wanted an adult gap year. I am now very careful what I wish for. I’ve travelled as often as I could afford since 2013.

Bad habits – the born again cancer commandments I wrote about a year after treatment lapsed a bit. Over time you relax and don’t worry  so much about eating a clean diets, or binge drinking on birthdays oops, or missing the gym. I sometimes worry that stress = cancer, but then I remind myself that the only thing I’m really in control of is the way I think about things and the way I respond to situations. That’s work in progress.

Cancer isn’t in the forefront of my mind anymore, I’ve found a place for it somewhere and it’s just a chapter of my life that happened. Maybe when I think about this, this has been happening for the past two years, maybe three even. It shrinks, you perhaps never think it will, but it does. I certainly remember the first two years post active treatment being reminded of it, from sneaky fatigue that was like a delayed onset to returning to a full life.

Maybe I stopped attributing every ailment to cancer, or Tamoxifen too. In the first two years post treatment you are adjusting back from the stress of diagnosis, your body has been immersed in treatments and every twinge, pain, symptom you connect to cancer or Tamoxifen. Tamoxifen is blamed for so much. Five years later I’m slower at connect dots and making it cancer related if I feel a certain way, I don’t over think symptoms, I just go with the flow, and if something out of the ordinary and persistent I follow it up.

The fear of recurrence reduces, it never goes away, I think that’s one of those lasting effects of a diagnosis. Last October I had a complete falling down day at work as my doctor’s receptionist revealed the results of my chest x-ray as ‘a shadow on my lungs’ whilst I was sat in my busy office.  Thankfully my breast nurse got on the case, pulled the results and reassured was nothing sinister and was something anyone who’d had an upper respiratory tract infection would have. It served as a reminder though and how close underneath the surface fear remains. In the course of that afternoon, I’d gone through a full spectrum of emotions from fear, anger, acceptance to planning the next steps. I’m never fearful for myself, it’s always about my kids, and ensuring they will be ok. Silver lining was it nudged me to apply for extra life assurance, and of course they said, come back when you’ve hit the 5th year cancerversary.

It’s interesting reading five years worth of blogs, I can see my highs and lows. How over time I’ve really invested in loving and nurturing myself. That at the beginning I was faking it until you make it. That over time I genuinely do have more love and respect for the incredible things my body and mind has been through. I’m still a work in progress, there is always room for growth.

So in closing, here’s the gifts cancer has left me with,

  1. Greater sense of gratitude and appreciation
  2. Zero tolerance for BS – ability to leave something that doesn’t make me happy, isn’t fulfilling or is a waste of time.
  3. Courage – I’ve done more in the past 5 years than possibly the rest of my life
  4. Sense of adventure – the continued desire to learn new things, travel, try things out
  5. Closer relationships with family & friends

Oh and here’s things that people say that still annoy me (and are unhelpful)

  1. ‘At least you are still alive’ …..this is usually said by a ‘well meaning person‘ if you dare to be honest about feeling unhappy about any physical change to your body post cancer. This seems to be said normally in the first 1-2 years post chemo. when you still struggling to accept the changes to your body. Also most people who say this to you, go on to moan about their own bad hair cut, weight gain etc – but that’s acceptable. We’ve survived cancer, we can’t  moan about having an enforced crew cut, naked eyebrows or muffin round your middle that’s hard to shift as that’s ungrateful ! Pffft.
  2. At least your hair grew back’,  see above another way of guilting you if you have a wobble of vanity. My hair is finer, a reduced mass from before treatment, and even  a distinct reduced mass from starting Tamoxifen. I have days where I feel self conscious and feel people are directing their conversations to my receding hairline, one day I will slip up and say, ‘staring at it won’t make it better’.
  3. How old are you now ? You  would have reached menopause anyway’ –….true, but maybe not at this age or point in my life!

 

Way back in May 2012, I met and made friends with some wonderful women and men, this is to honour those we’ve lost along the way. In loving memory of Lynnie, Peggy, Annabel, Cherry, Satori, Nigel, Tracy, Dawn and Shelley ❤ Class 2012.  

Enough

 

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When is enough, enough ?

When do we call time on a person and say I can’t do this anymore ?

I  was having a conversation with a friend today about truth and lies after an unpleasant situation she found herself in. How easy it is to be deceived and how trust is so hard to find. Obviously after every lie we dust ourselves down and continue, because if you don’t, what then ? There are levels of deceit and levels of tolerance. We might accept more from an individual and less from another.

Some people lie to protect your feelings, or hide the truth. Some people use little ‘white’ lies in almost every interaction rather than admit their responsibility. If you tell a lot of white lies does this predispose you to bigger lies ?

The biggest lies are the ones we tell ourselves. Sometimes we ignore the very obvious gut feelings we have. Like my friend said earlier, it’s really hard to ignore the physical wrench of a gut feeling. You can lie or deny to yourself all you want but that is screaming at you to listen, proceed with caution, stop and think.

Being an adult is ridiculously complex. We find ourselves compromising ourselves at times, especially if we are avoiding conflict or want a drama free life. Sometimes we accept people’s lies as we really, really want to believe they are who we first thought they were. We want an escape from something so lose ourselves in another person’s false projection of themselves. I wonder if this is why some women are conned out of vast money by men they fall in love with. They ignored the gut feelings that were screaming, stop cancel that bank payment.

Lies hurt though, as does truth…My friend questioned earlier whether sometimes you should let it slide, rather than be alone. Hmmm. I considered this. The thing about accepting a lie, is that the person lying can become confident in their lies and repeat them. I have a three strikes and out motto, as feel any more and you destroy your sense of self. If I feel lied to and I let it slide, my insides are in turmoil, it maybe that I accepted it but I’m almost on tenterhooks for them to slip up again, desperate to validate  myself I wasn’t crazy. My overthinking mind will go into overdrive.

So my riddle me this, riddle me that mind couldn’t find the right answer to give my friend. I weighed the pros and cons and the best advice was sleep on it, see what answer the morning brings.

 

All you’ve got 2 do is express yourself….

On my kitchen worktop is a self assessment on congruence, from my son’s latest psychology lesson. How I love that word. Congruence – Agreement or harmony; compatibility. (Noun)

Me and my dementia husband, used to talk a lot about congruence a good 8 years or so ago. He was going through some personal challenges and it was very pertinent to us both. I was this fireball then, approaching the peak of my career, about to embark on a new promotion, full of ambition and drive. I felt congruent back then, that I was being truly authentic, although a lecturer at the time said we can never be truly congruent.

Sometimes I feel I have this heat seeking self destruct missile that I activate periodically when things are going too smoothly, or I feel too happy. October seemingly has been blast off. I’d say that perhaps this stems from poor decision making, poor expression, not communicating my needs effectively,  stifling feelings and going against my gut feelings. Whatever combination of errors I do need to work on this. As I am fed up of reacting impulsively, saying things that are destructive, calming down and apologising several days later. I’m tired of my own childish behaviour. I don’t behave this way at work – thankfully.

In truth I need to address my own wants, needs, desires and boundaries. For when I waver and go back on my own word, then you can tell this won’t be the end of it. I remember in a 360 degree appraisal undertaken at work years and years ago one of my deputies said ‘I wasn’t good for my word’. That personally stung and has stuck. Sometimes I’m clearly not good for my word, and usually it’s because I have overcommitted too much or was undecided in the first place and didn’t say no outright. I need to learn to not be so reactive, sleep on things, say I’ll get back to you, so my overly enthusiastic nature doesn’t over commit and I disappoint people.

In the past few months I’ve gone back on my word within a ‘relationship’ on about four occasions, to the point now where its probably predictable I’ll react in a certain way, calm down and a few days later apologise. How would I feel it someone behaved that way with me ? I’d hate it !! I also haven’t been able to stop myself from behaving this way, repeating this negative cycle over and over.  Self sabotage anyone ? Just when did I turn into this volatile creature, perhaps I preferred my emotionally unavailable version of me.

The triggers ? Uncertainty and fear. Guess this guy has dragged me kicking and screaming out the emotionally unavailable zone into the feeling zone. That in itself has felt frightening, vulnerability is a shit. Perhaps the only thing I am predictable about is my unpredictability.

It’s not uncommon to have wobbles is it ? I’ve wobbled about moving too fast, being uncertain that the situation was real, and that I could trust what he was offering me. Trust issues, eh Drake ? In fairness to myself here, and I need to be. What he was offering was compromising what I wanted. Hence my use of congruence. Clearly if you don’t feel congruent you have waves of insecurity, waves of indecision and teeter back and forward on your moral compass point. This makes you appear insecure and needy, and kicks your self worth and esteem below the belt.

Why are having feelings so difficult to manage ? It’s like walking around with a weapon of mass destruction, so much responsibility and so much danger. Yet we want to have feelings for someone, being disconnected although simpler obviously has less benefits. Feelings – well surges of oxytocin lead to use making wrong decisions (ok not always) and doodling a person’s name into our notebook during boring meetings.

I’ve realised that my emotional development is stunted, my bad behaviours displayed in relationship need improving.

At lunch my relationship guru,  shook his head at my behaviour. I knew I was wrong, and my explanations sounded pitiful even to me. Calling myself passionate just made me sound a dating handful, hard work and who needs that ?  I said what now ? He said that’s done now, leave it alone …maybe you need some time out now (on the naughty step) to compose yourself . So here I am ….typing, as it’s always the best way I can express myself and lol…no one reads this but me.

I’ve work to do on myself, expressing myself, being authentic and congruent. I need to stop these childish out dated behaviours and grow up, it’s not cute at 17 or decades later. There have been great guys I’ve shot down before even giving them a chance over the years from my own fear, maybe I am fearful of being really loved. Maybe that if I give someone a chance all this shit behaviour emerges and who wants to put up with this ? I wouldn’t . Maybe I’m fearful of revealing the parts of me that I don’t like, the needy, the greedy and the down right unacceptable. Only relationships will reveal these, there isn’t a simulator!  So if I want to be loved and able to love someone else I need to change. My dating guru is right….time out to reflect, grow and learn.

 

 

Ever decreasing circles …..

I’ve attempted to update my antics via this blog several times this year and experienced techy glitches, here’s hoping today’s works.

Many moons ago, a group of extraordinary women met via a faceless community forum. We were different ages, different cultures, from different parts of the world, and had very different outlooks, our common enemy, breast cancer (and a few bowel cancers for balance). We didn’t intend to become friends, I guess we were all out there in shock and searching for  someone who might make sense of what was happening. Lord knows we needed that !!

Something in our group clicked, and a few of us switched over to Facebook and revealed our real identities that were hidden behind pseudo names. Some didn’t make the swap over, and the little core group, The Class of 2012 with it’s weird humour, sarcasm and silliness  took strength from each either and grew. When Annabel died before most of us finished treatment it sent ripples of fear and reality throughout our group, it was so unexpected and unfair. It did however draw us closer, bringing physical meet ups to people you’d messaged at 3am about chemo complications or fears that you kept from your partners, children or friends. It also brought us Simon, Annabel’s husband.

Life after active treatment for cancer is so unpredictable. There’s the uncertainty and fear of premature death that you have to get a grip of and over time I’m pleased to say it lessens (somewhat). There’s the shock and devastation every time someone within your cancer community receives a diagnosis of a secondary cancer or dies, this is particularly hard in the first year where really every ache, pain, niggle has you running to your GP for reassurance. People talk about the new normal – I still dislike that phrase. There’s a sh*t load of acceptance to work through of how things have changed, and there’s the recognition to process what you’ve actually been through.

There’s the highs  too where you celebrate the milestones of recovery, hair regrowth, energy restored, new jobs, physical challenges, new relationships, new babies….

There are the wobbles, it doesn’t matter how many years pass since the diagnosis, a check up, a CT scan, or anything which is a new or persistent ailment will have you wobbling about whether the ASBO cells have come out of hiding and attached somewhere new. A few weeks ago I had a medical receptionist misinterpret the results of my chest xray and sent me spinning into a cycle of fear and worry. Needless to say they were very apologetic, and the silver lining is that I have updated my life assurance cover to acknowledge I have had cancer.

A week after this personal scare, one of the Class of 2012 made a rare Facebook update that declared further treatment, radiotherapy to the brain. For any of us diagnosed we immediately know that this signals brain metastases. My personal biggest fear. Since then her deterioration has been rapid, and reading her daughter’s eloquently written updates I was struck by the love, unity and strength they have as a family. There was no fear, pure acceptance and fight to throw everything that can at it and take every treatment option available.

It’s been 4 years since cancer made a rude interruption to our lives, 4 very precious years, packed with memories and a sense of urgency that I always write about. In 4 years I have actually lost count of the brilliant, beautiful women that I’ve met and been friends with that have died, that’s terrible isn’t it ? Of course I remember them all personally and our time we spent together, the lessons they gave me. A well meaning therapist once told me at the beginning of treatment don’t make friends with other patients, ‘as people die’. We all die, you can’t actively avoid friendships for that reason, surely that would mean people wouldn’t befriend me as there is that 50/50 risk there too.

In 4 years I have tried to live as authentically as possible, and every time there is another ripple I once again reflect and change what I need to or can. Life is unpredictable and yet we waste it at times, being stagnant as afraid, stuck in comfort zones, picking back up on old habits.

The silver lining of cancer is the friendships you make, the strength and courage you find, the changes you make to live a fulfilled or authentic life. Never settle for less than you want, or pursue something that makes you unhappy. Seize the day !

If you are reading this do something extraordinary, step out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself. Be alive, in the now and fuck worrying about the future.

I fucking hate cancer …..

 

Bring back that loving feeling……

I was a very different person over a decade ago. Sometimes you don’t see how much you’ve changed until you have to confront an emotion or behaviour, or till someone brings it to your attention.Today’s reality slap brought to you by Life, sponsored by YOLO.

Can you be too independent ? I have lived life in this manner for over a decade, no significant other to consult on decisions, no significant other to have my back in tough times either. Of course I’ve dated and had casual relationships but they are dramatically different. Clearly. Even in my marriage I was alone, it wasn’t a partnership, I decided and I did. That’s not the model I’d subscribed to, but it happened, perhaps proving if you don’t grow together in a relationship and live together as two entirely separate humans co-habiting  your relationship is doomed.

After marriage came a long pause, different priorities and a disappointment. Then the offer of casual – I’d never experienced this after 13 years of commitment. I figured what the hell have I to lose. Hmm. Casual is as casual suggests. No can make demands of you, or stipulate what you can and can’t do, as after all they don’t have those kind of feelings for you. Well sometimes they tell you after they actually did. Sure they care, and wouldn’t like to see you eaten by sharks, or with a life limiting illness. But they don’t want to be part of every aspect of your life.

There have been times in the past decade or more I’ve craved more, someone to have my back on a bad day, to celebrate my successes with, and to send the silly ‘saw this and thought of you’ pictures/ cards etc. I’ve missed and craved being in a ‘fully fledged’ relationship. Even the arguments about whose parents you go to. I’ve no parents so that argument is over. I’ve missed waking up on Christmas morning, with a partner and a box of presents or on sunny Sunday mornings when you wake up lazily in the sun and eat breakfast.

Don’t get me wrong, the past decade (plus) I haven’t been lonely, ok I have at times, I can admit it. I’ve had amazing nights, and created memories that wouldn’t necessarily been possible if I’d been in a committed relationship. I’ve been my wild, wilful and determined self, it’s not detrimental either to me or my circumstances. I’ve made the best of any situation I’ve found myself in. That seems to be my coping strategy – make the best of the situation . I’ve short-changed myself somewhat.

But, lately I’ve been noticing the things I miss, and knowing that I won’t ever receive them from people who have a casual approach to dating me. I’ve also had pointed out to me that clearly my independence has meant I have closed down certain aspects of my personality. If just one person had said this I’d question it, but there’s a fair few, certainly enough to have me questioning myself.

What happened to the optimistic, choose love type of girl I was? Life experiences. I totally believe that social conditioning will impact on your attitudes and behaviours. If you are being offered crackers, after being starved for so long, then they will taste like, ‘the best goddamn crackers ever’ Thanks Eddie Murphy. But they aren’t the most nutritious and filling option available. Where the hell has been my three course meal ?

Earlier this year I went on a date with a guy, there were several reasons I ran in the other direction, a) I was still flogging a dead horse attached to the wrong person) –  let’s not elaborate on, b) his financial tightness and c) he’s behaviour that I interpreted as needy, when actually he was just emotionally available and wanting a relationship. Can I say the same ? It made me question my emotional availability. He highlighted in a short period that I am very closed, not very forthcoming in making contact or opening up. He said it’s a two-way thing, you can call me you know. Just when did I turn mute and stop speaking on the phone ? I initially on reflection put this down to having had cancer and being ring rusty and scared. But actually, this is down to having casual relationships, friends with benefit scenarios where obviously you shut off your loving abilities so not to hurt yourself. Or people who curb your calls, restrict when you speak to them, all at their convenience and if you do message spontaneously expect a long wait for a reply, no answer or that you are pursuing them. How big were these red flags ? Why the f*ck did you continue when so obviously disinterested in you ?

There has been one person, who clearly over the years has triggered me to suppress all my natural loving emotions. It didn’t start this way, but over time it became reality, why ? As they would have been wasted on him as he didn’t want that from me or realistically he clearly didn’t deserve them. This is brutally honest and desperately sad to read. I have only been able to express myself  through physical intimacy and loving expressions via sex with him.Maybe deep down too I hoped that would make him realise what an amazing woman I am. Ummm nope !! I think writing this is cathartic and helping me to put that firmly behind me.

Friends with benefits does not work if you are in love with the person, or it goes on for years and you want more. We can kid ourselves we are cool. But if we are lying to ourselves this eventually is going to cause you inner conflict that will rise to the surface and burst out (February).  Why are we all settling for far less than we deserve or want ? This has got to be self-worth issues.

I’ve decided in a timely fashion that it’s time to sweep out all these unhealthy attitudes and behaviours. Maybe there comes a time or sometimes another person comes along as a sign to do something different. They say when considering old behaviours, ‘how have they worked out for you ??’ and they haven’t do something different. Time to try something new, I’m finally allowing the vulnerability, that I’ve stifled to have a time to develop and evolve. I know all the anecdotes about re reading old chapters and that preventing you from moving on and I’ve put the book down, sent it to a charity shop for a new reader.

I’m in my 4th decade and yet feel in terms of relationships I stopped growing in my 2nd decade. But it’s never too late to learn, and today was a very important lesson.

 

 

Crazy insane, got no brain ….

So in life there are those that sit still and contemplate their actions and there are others that run into the room like Leeerrrrrooooy Jenkins and Carpe the f*cking Diem out of every situation. No prizes for guessing which I am.

I’m restless…it’s an internal insistent and persistent feeling. I’m bouncing around ways, and my brain is over thinking or over dreaming when asleep. I’ve filled my available time with activities, sought out new adrenaline challenges to train towards and booked future events, and it’s still there. This feeling that I could do more, that I want more perhaps ? It’s mischievous and normally trouble. There isn’t a looming full moon so I’m not entirely sure what has caused this flare up, could be excessive consumption of caffeine. Or it could be largely due to the unexpected reality slap a few weeks back now. But it’s got me feeling so full of energy I don’t really know how to direct it

I’ve always thought I’ve had adult ADHD, as a kid I was described as hyperactive and didn’t sleep for years. Yeah my parents loved me for that. I was born in a hurry too, a few weeks premature with a ‘come at me bro’ entrance. As an adult I’m always described as having ‘so much energy’ or ‘you never stop’. I would protest that since cancer I’ve been slower, but actually that’s absolutely untrue and if anything 4 years on my old character is dominating, perhaps enhanced and I’ve unfinished business I’m trying to complete and kazillion new projects.

There are lots of benefits to excess energy, never write that on a dating profile however as that has guys imagining you in a non stop sexual frenzy and not as an endurance athlete. You can see it in their faces too, oh so you have lots of energy, hmmmm……smiles spread across their faces as eyes glaze over. Can you keep up though ??? I am super grateful for my abundance of physical and mental energy and am aware it isn’t limitless. That perhaps you can use it up too quickly early in life and spend the latter years with none unable to do anything. I was in a case review earlier and that was how a person was described, now in her late 80’s exhausted by life, and constantly fatigued. She’d been a whirlwind when younger too, seemingly unstoppable, but age is an anchor that weighs you down and slows your progress. Age …or how you feel about your age ? A 96-year-old was out dancing everyone at an event the other week. I looked at her as a kindred spirit, and yet there are people I know unable to motivate their backsides out of bed living a sedentary life not even at 30. Wasting precious time they could be making memories for when you can’t move. Move when you can !!

My strange and warpy head has never permitted me to believe that I’ll have a long life. Both my parents died at 67, so I think unconsciously both my sister and I have that date in our minds. But life is unpredictable and it will last as long as it’s meant. Perhaps my sense of urgency and energy comes from that, or from the cancer kick up the arse….or maybe I was just ‘born with it’.

Anyway, there is changes ahead, and I feel excited by the new opportunities. You honestly never know what is ahead. Queuing for Zumba tonight I got chatting to this chick, you never know who you’ll meet and what adventures you’ll have or lessons you’ll learn from meeting new people. A good friend reminded me recently everything happens for a reason, I agree, not always the reason we initially think, or attach to it either. Sometimes the real reason becomes clear sometimes later in reflection.

Lastly, another super amazing friend (as I am fortunate to have them)  shared this with me tonight, ‘Don’t let your past cheat your future.’ Bit like the anchor I mentioned earlier, yet I see this a parachute, when you’ve plummeted to the ground and are still attached to your parachute (past) unless you slip out of it you can be caught in a sudden side wind and it drags you backwards with it. There’s nothing good in anything that goes backwards, in fact for me travelling backwards has me reaching for a sick bag….

Let’s keep moving on….

 

Love, Lies & emotional ties A.K.A You should go and love yourself ….

Last week I experienced some heavy emotional turbulence, not the little light-hearted quivers that make your drink shake on the fold down table. More the stomach lurching plummet 10,000 feet and make the oxygen masks spring into action. Typically I’d been cruising comfortably at 30,000 ft prior to this, recovering from surgery, feeling a surge in confidence in my rebuilt body. Feeling happy, full of lust for life and distracted by a particular person. So this rapid descent came as quite a shock and has left me questioning myself (of course) and truth, how sometimes our version of the truth greatly differs to another persons.

They say….’What’s in the darkness, comes into the light.’ I hasten to add that when I have been guilty of lying I firmly didn’t want to believe in this phrase, like even believing or typing it meant my deceit would be aired. But in this case, the internet revealed the hidden truth, are you surprised really ? In an age where there are so many mediums to share and post, and people encouraged to publicly share all thoughts and feelings, of course a photo would appear revealing a secret and a lie.

Feeling betrayed is the best kick-start to achieve a beach body, not eating for two days until the sickening shock subsided. I’m not sure if my  heart or my ego hurt the most as both took a battering. I always thought you’d know when someone told a big lie. Clearly not. You can be totally blind sided and unaware, is this the absolute truth ? Or do we have subtle hunches and choose to ignore them? A catalogue of them that you’ve overlooked ? Last week I was took a substantial kick to my stomach that winded me properly. It felt like all the air in my body was painfully extracted.

I’m not going to dwell and obsess about this, I’ve done a lot of that. A week later I feel differently, the raw pain gone, a little bruises and instability as I teeter between hanging on to memories and letting them go to move forward. My life rules are let that sh*t go and keep moving forward, my brain is wobbling though trying to find excuses for them. So here are my positives from the learnt experience

  1. Better to be hurt by the truth than comforted by lies right now
  2. Better to let it go and move on, learn from this and never repeat it
  3. It validates how much love you are surrounded by in your real friends(that have your back when you ask for help even at 3 am and you can’t sleep)
  4. Vulnerability cannot be avoided and is necessary to have a real relationship
  5. I’ve overcome worse than this and will recover !!
  6. One door closes and another will open….apparently
  7. Somepeople believe their own lies and are oblivious to pain they cause others
  8. There’s no point blaming yourself or punishing yourself for belieiving them, you got caught by their different reality.
  9. Hugs are so needed and welcomed
  10. You need to love yourself and know your worth- I am somewhere weak in this area
  11. I need to quit this toxic addictive behaviour

Loving yourself is essential , well according to song lyrics and all self-help gurus. If we want to love others, we have to love ourselves.Why are some people so down on loving yourself ? You can post some motivational messages and people say you are full of yourself, isn’t it better to praise than criticise yourself ?

People say sometimes when we select the wrong people we are choosing people who mirror how we feel about ourselves. I’m not so sure that is a conscious decision as why would we intentionally hurt ourselves ? Have I unintentionally limited myself with emotional unavailability ? I don’t think I was always that way, has life and circumstances created that ? It’s never too late to change though is it ? I mean who really goes out there intentionally saying I’ll settle for less than I deserve so that I hurt myself good and proper. No one I know. So, for now ……It’s back to the drawing board, lashings of self-love and lie detector on dates  ? Dating references ?

Back to the drawing board10398946_10153283148426723_530713433240694819_n

The lost post…..25.08.13 The famaliar feeling of unsettledness

It’s been a long week, who am I kidding it’s been a non stop long week. Last week was my first weekend in London in a month and was spent dashing around, catching up and visiting a good friend who was reaching the end of her life. There is nothing like death to remind you that you should be living & appreciating life. I’ve felt every comprehensible emotion this last week, guilt being a primary one. I’ve felt guilty for being busy and my life continuing as hers waned. Guilt is an emotion I have a lot of experience of and with.

Sitting in the calm of the hospice reminded me of my mum’s demise, the lingering time, laboured breaths, the hanging in the balance, the slow wheezing of the inflating mattress, the limbo, the wanting it to be over but not wanting it to be over. The hushed voices and whispers, broken up by the gossip and laughter, that in semi consciousness you are no longer part off. Death the club that no one wants to join. This evening I’ve learnt of her sad passing, her battle with the disease is over and she is at peace.  And so I have lost another friend to breast cancer and I can only learn from her example and continue to keep living, making adjustments, living as fully as I possibly can. Don’t count the days, make the days count.

I’ve a new emotion to add to the huge spectrum I’ve felt all week, and the uneasy I’ve felt all day. All day there has been a fog over me, a tiredness or numbness, an indescribable feeling, perhaps this is why.

To everything, turn, turn, turn….There is a season

So, there is change afoot, ahead and right here, right now.

In all areas and aspects of my life too. I feel the need to change things, exit bad behaviours, cut off draining relationships. Do more for me, and not feel guilty about it. I’ve never been selfish, far from it, but right now I feel the need for self preservation, and know that some of the decisions I am making will offend others. #fallout

Maybe a life changing operation sends ripples into every hemisphere of your life. I’m healing, my wounds healing, my strength returning and with it my desire to change and improve my life. Almost like my mind and body is craving it. Almost 6 weeks post surgery and I’m sorting out my life time addiction to all things sweet and bad for me – lol – including guys !! I’ve become one of those post my clean food on Instagram and carry my flavoured water, smoothie, salad and nuts to work proudly. I sneer at the biscuits in the office tempting me. Groans. I ignore the packets of white sugar leaping out of the tea cupboard in the communal kitchen. It’s early days and I’ve been tempted but Not Today Satan. Why didn’t I do this 4 years ago ? I just wasn’t in the right place. Even tonight I’ve had a hard job not running over to the late night shop for a chocolate bar.

Sometimes as I feel happy about my repairing body, I am afraid of twinges in other places, like my head. I am so aware of how lucky I have been, and that approaching 4 years is damn amazing. We’ve come along way. The paralysing immediate thoughts of recurrence are buried a little further away in my memory and thought stores. Occasionally they flip up, almost to stop me ever thinking about being complacent or air punching to celebrate my surgery. They aren’t logical, but neither is love. I don’t think they will ever go. That sense of urgency to live and not waste time is my pacemaker.

Friendships….interesting. We all know there are X amount of people that we can cope with in our lives as humans. One of my friends equated this to being a conveyor belt, people fall off the end. Brutal reality, I pondered where I was on that conveyor belt after that discussion, imaging myself running against it trying to stay on. He’s right though. Damn it . I’ve felt like this before, unsettled and some ‘friends’ are not going to make the cut. Are they really friends, or more acquaintances, colleagues, strangers ? I had a Facebook cull a few weeks back, and am in fact reducing lots of my images and posts as don’t feel I want them there any more.

You know when you can’t see the bonds, the similarities, the reasons you were friends ? They’ve past their sell by dates. Ghosting is the new way to exit friendships isn’t it ? You just stop trying to arrange mutually convenient times in busy schedules to catch up. Take longer to reply or not reply at all. That sounds cold, and cowardly. I don’t fancy having it’s not you it’s me conversations with some people though. I sound awful writing this, but I can’t keep being a sounding board to some, the friendships have lost direction and balance and I’m more counsellor than friend – without the income.

I created a Vision Board, to manifest my positive intentions. Tried to incorporate all aspects of my life, cramming it all into the board. Travel features highly and frequently. A new career opportunity with regular financial income. New hobbies. Relationships. That was tricky ….I’ve been all about abundance this year, and health is my greatest wealth, so nourishing myself is essential. Resting and relaxing in equal measure to exercise. Trying to achieve a sense of balance. Nights in, nights out, saying yes to opportunities and no to things that don’t benefit me. Like unavailable guys asking me out. Let’s not waste precious time here.

4 years ago, I considered my diagnosis a second chance in life. I’ve mostly lived by that. I’ve come off my path to return to bad habits on occasions, I am human and not flawless. I’ve a few things that required harder work to crack…..

  1. Work addiction, well it seems I had to retread old behaviours and battering my body to escape that. I’m always the person that will overcommit to projects but at least I’ve lost the 60 plus hour weeks for now and the salary sadly !

2) Sugar – yeah read above I’m working on that.

3) Love – hmm, not so easy. Valentine’s weekend spelt that out clearly that this was a pattern I easily repeat. Like a chubby hamster in a wheel I’ve been round and round with HB (heart breaker) a good few times. I’ve been doing ok too, had a few wobbles when he upped his charm offensive to see if I’ll return to play by his rules and I nearly did too, until I reminded myself of the things he said – NO HEART TIES remember ? Nothing will change, no matter how persistent that little voice in my head is. Ego nil….Vulnerability 1 . I hate feeling vulnerable.

So, I am proud of how far I’ve come, and I’ve learnt to really enjoy the moment without fretting about what lies ahead. I’m sometimes lost in nostalgia. Like the people I support diagnosed with dementia, familiar feels good to us all. Yet lately I feel like trying so many new things, taking some risks, new dishes, new places, new hobbies, new thoughts – how excited is that ? I’ve a huge appetite for new !!  I’ve plenty of time to sit and reminiscence, so let’s get cracking with some new material to reminiscence over. My mum would say, ‘you are a long time dead.’ I’d say let’s do this !!!

Here’s to positive changes, I’ll keep you posted 🙂

 

 

 

 

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