A friend named Tess

I have a friend. 

She has multiple sclerosis. 

Her name is Tess. 

She tagged me in one of those Facebook picture quotes today. Me specifically. Like I was something special. Or had done something special. 


She sees herself as broken. And as an elephant apparently. Cause I am sure as hell the tiny doggo.

The thing is though Tessie… Sometimes, there is no lesson to be learnt.

Because you are the lesson.

The lesson in humility, when asking for help and saying thank you is a gift you give to the people who love you.

In Grace, under so much overwhelming fatigue.

In knowledge, because your prison will never hold you back from your truth.

In laughter, because finding joy in the tiniest places, is an ability not many embrace. 

In strength, because what you carry, would crush me.

In steel, because every day – you get up. No matter. You get up.

In hope, because even on the worst days, I have seen you laugh my Tessie.

I have seen very few of your worst days. But I have seen some. That you manage to find a way back to Light, from those dark places?

I have a friend.

She has multiple sclerosis.

Her name is Tess.

I visit her as close as dammit to every Tuesday.

Not because she has multiple sclerosis.

Not because I have to.

But because I need to. 

She, and her Knight of Shining armor, are as surely my family as any blood I share with anyone.

She is where I look, when my Hope is hidden.

She is my lesson.

Smile

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I did 6 full sit-ups today. Doesn’t sound like allot does it? Sounds piffy and trite. 6 sit ups. Everyone else did 20. I only did 6.

Words can have so much power when you give them a chance. When you chose to phrase them a certain way. When you allow negativity to leech away your power, your self-esteem, your joy and your peace. Words can be a complete bastard sometimes. But only when you let them.

I only did 6 sit ups today. Everyone else could do 20.

Then again….

I only did 6 sit ups today, which is 6 more than I could do last week.

Everyone else did 20, and I am only 14 away from that. Everyone else has been doing this for many, many years. I have been doing this since 13 May, with a 3 week lung hiatus in between.

I have been doing this for roughly 3 months. And I can now do 6 full sit-ups.

I can do knee touching ground lunges.

I can squat like a girl trying to pee in long grass.

I can burpee. Badly – with almost no coordination. But I can burpee.

I can climb 9 flights of stairs. Slowly. With purpose and a heaving chest. But I can climb 9 flights of stairs and only stop once.

I can go to gym every single working day. And I can laugh and find joy and tease the other ladies and sweat and not care what I look like and shake like a tonsil and wound a hip and smile.

Smile as if the whole world is at peace.

Because today I am one step closer.

Closer to Fitness.

Closer to Strong.

Closer to Acceptance.

Closer to Love.

Closer to God.

Closer to Me.

Sometimes, you find the place you were meant to find. And it is filled with people that you were meant to find. Sometimes, God is very obvious.

#RedemptionFitnessCentre.

#ArranMckenzie.

Brain Fart

A while ago I wrote about becoming Vegan / Vegetarian / Pescatarian. And I was. For a moment. And then life happened and ever so gradually, I forgot about the cruelty. Put it away and filed it under ‘Things I don’t really think about or consider’.

Fast forward to now and 100% of the time, I will physically stop at a shop to buy 100% genuine meat over the freezer full of very expensive vegetarian options that are all that is left over of that one brief moment.

Second by second, over a relatively short span of time, life reverted right back to the way it was. A study in meat with every meal, biltong as a snack (similar to beef jerky in America), ham on my sandwiches, etc.

A slow descent into all the things I abhor.

I find the concept of gelatine in sweets actually nauseating. Except my brain very nicely likes to forget that pertinent fact while it is busy munching on a packet of fruit pastilles.

So I brought myself back to this video – Beyond Carnism. The ideas expressed and wholeheartedly embraced in this Tedx Talks documentary make so much sense to me I cannot even begin to tell you. This movement and ideology is the first I have come across in a very long time that actually talks to my soul.

Every day I chose to eat meat, is one more day my brain does its weird shifty dance around the concept of separating a cow from a dog. A sheep from a cat. A parrot from a chicken.  And again – I do not deny that as humans, we were more than likely supposed to get our protein from meat back in the day. The whole hunter gatherer thing.

My issue with the whole deal is three fold.

  1. The scale of it. We, as the dominant species on the planet, have managed to elevate protein consumption to a level that is actually gross. I am sure my ancestors, back when things were grunts and growls, ate what crossed their – as it were – plate. Animal / vegetable / plant in various amounts based on effort to gather. I am sure that if times were tough, they even munched the odd cricket and were grateful for it.
  2. The cruelty of it. Sjoe – I could write for hours and hours about the capacity humans have for cruelty. Sometimes I think that cruelty is something that comes easier to us than kindness and compassion. It takes a special kind of evil to shove a creature in a gestation crate, throw male chicks into a shredder while they are still alive, and put toxic chemicals in the eyes of rabbits. Oh I could carry on. So many paragraphs dedicated to the capacity of a human to be cruel to other living beings.
  3. The brain fart of it. The gymnastics we put ourselves through in order for us as humans to justify eating a piglet vs. a much loved family dog, a chicken vs. a beloved parrot, a calf vs. an adorable kitten – I cannot even begin to fathom it. There is some serious ‘twistedness’ going on in our grey matter that enables us to draw distinctions between different kind of edible meat. Because when you think about it logically – Meat is Meat.

So I think I shall set myself a new challenge. To eat what I can justify right in this moment. Perhaps this moment will lead to another moment. And a sting of moments will lead to a conviction and a lifestyle that I wholeheartedly agree with. A lifestyle I could very easily embrace if my brain would just stop farting about and remember two very important things –

I would never eat Muffin.  So why eat a pig?

muffin Babe

And does everything living thing on this earth not have just as much right as I do to live?

There is a saying. You are what you eat, eats.

I’d really rather not actually.

The Small Things

Sjoe, I have been gone a while.
Thing happened. Reality shifted. Time passed.
And here we are.
Life has this really annoying and occasionally cool habit of throwing stuff back in your face. At your lowest, or your highest, or somewhere in between. A little memory. A little song. A little blog.
A little bit of God.
I forget sometimes how far I have come. How hard this road was to travel. Sometimes I traveled it alone. Sometimes with family. Sometimes with friends. I have written before about being the Black Sheep. About being the Fat Chick.
Reality is – we are who we are in the moment. As kind or vicious, as generous or selfish, as alive or dead, as happy or sad. All we have is a moment. Because the next moment may be a life ender. Or a reality shifter.
In a moment, a Blessed moment, I walked into a gym with a little bit of hope. And I met a lovely lady who runs a gym, a lady of passion and laughter.
In a moment, an Inspired moment, I faced a lifetime of fears around what I look like. Around inherent sporting ability. And I thought screw it. I joined a gym.
In a moment, a Divine moment, I remembered that even though it is hard. I really do like exercising. I am crap at it. But that doesn’t change the Joy.
I have written before about finding Joy in the small things.
Sometimes the small things are the ache that comes from 18 flights of stairs.
The laughter that comes with trying to skip.
The giggle that accompanies a burpee done in the style of a deranged alien.
Sometimes the small things are driving on a farm road at 5 in the morning. In the mist.

Just you and your God.

Sometimes the small things are realising that you came from here….

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And you have gotten here so far…..

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With a whole world still to go…..

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Expletive’s ahead

When you have weighed as much as I have, you get this really weird idea of what you look like. The longer you are big, the more out of perception your idea of yourself becomes.

When buying clothing, you will automatically pick something way too big for you.

When parking, you will give yourself way more space than you actually need.

When thinking of going out, you will worry about fitting into chairs etc.

Airplanes and cinema seats fill you with dread.

It really can be more exhausting than I can ever explain.

All because that is how much space your body takes up in your own head.

Now that I have lost weight – I find that my perception of how big I am is still way off. Actually losing weight is not enough – because in my head I still take up way too much space.

For some reason, getting fit and being fit seems to mean more to the big me in my brain than what a scale says.

That being said – getting fit, being fit, and making all of that a priority in a life that has never been fit is freaking hard. The best of intentions fall by the wayside.

So I had a Fuck It moment yesterday. Inspired by my own self. And the gentle coaxing of fabulous friends.

I am going to be doing Adventure Boot Camp from 1 June 2015. Even though it scares the bananas out of me. Even though it is a commitment to 5 days a week of hard graft. Even through my lazy, frighted ass is trying very hard to rationalize to my fat self why I shouldn’t. Couldn’t. Don’t.

Because Fuck It I need to.

Fuck It, I want to weigh less.

And Fuck It – if I can run, if I can do that one thing that other people take for granted, then my brain will know.

I am not too big anymore.

I am just right.

Perception

What is bravery? Is it donning body armor and walking into the most dangerous shanty towns in Brazil? Is it a police woman or man getting up and facing the darkest parts of humanity every day? Is it soldiers at war, for their ideology or country?

Or is putting one foot in front of the other, when your foot is tired and your body is weak and nothing wants to work anymore?

Is it getting out of bed on the mornings when the pain and uncertainty weighs you down like concrete?

Is it managing to find laughter and joy and peace amidst the chaos that your life has become?

What is grace? Is it the woman who walk down the catwalks of Milan, in clothing that costs more than a small car? Is it the artificially stunning people of Hollywood who flaunt their wealth and beauty to the world? Is it a long dead princess, with an entourage of beauticians in the wings?

Or is it a glow in your skin because you are doing all you possibly can to be the best you can?

Is it a nature that finds the best in every soul it comes across?

Is it a soul, filled with joyous light where there should be sadness?

What is love? Is it Shakespearian dramas filled with angst and resistance? Is it the body of lust and shallowness? Is it the movies we see?

Or is it the love one soul has for another, which transcends health?

Is it giving your everything for one who has no strength?

Is it the caretaker, the nurturer, the selfless?

Perhaps it is all these things. And many more.

I have a friend with Multiple Sclerosis. Every day her bravery, joy and strength inspires me.

As does her beloved, whose attentiveness and selflessness astounds me every day.

Too often we don’t have any role models. Anyone to teach us how to find the best in ourselves just by being who they are.

I have 2.

Rewire your brain…

The subconscious mentality of a fat person as written by a reformed fatty…

I cannot park in that small parking bay-there won’t be enough space for me to get out of my car.

When in a crowded shopping mall – I will automatically give a wider bit of way because my idea of how large I actually am is exaggerated.

When dishing up food – I will dish up more for myself than I actually need because my idea of how much food I need is skewed.

When cooking for guests – I will always make more than necessary because I believe everyone eats the same amount of food as I do.

When trying on clothing – I will unconsciously pick sizes too large for me because that is how large I think I am.

When buying a handbag – I will get the largest one there. Not because I know that at least then it is in proportion to my body but actually because my brain tells me to go large – because I am fat.

When buying jewellery – I will go for the largest, chunkiest pieces because surely I can’t possibly wear anything fine and delicate as it will look funny.

You get the idea ne?

So every day, I make a conscious effort to think like a thin person and I attempt to rewire my brain.

So far I have gotten the following …

My portions are automatically smaller-and instead of having 2 potatoes because I am hungry, I have 1 plus a tomato. Or 3 tomato’s. I love  tomato’s.

When faced with a block of oh so yummy chocolate – I have 1 or 2 blocks. Because, actually, that is all I really wanted in the first place.

When buying clothing – I purposefully take a size smaller than I think I am. And 9 times out of 10 – it fits.

When parking – I don’t skip the parking bay squashed in between two idiots in SUV’s who think the demarcated lines should be half a millimeter from their tyres because I don’t think I will be able to get out of my car. I channel thin person and I contort but I can get out.

When faced with a slightly open sliding door (open enough for a thin person) – I don’t automatically make it wider. I fit. Because I do.

You get the idea ne?

Change the way you see things.

Change your reality.

Rewire your brain.

Just do it.

It works.

I promise.