Theft

Recovery isn’t always linear, I’m beginning to find. I read that at some point this year, and it helps me to remember it. After having a terrible experience, I’m getting better at recognising when things aren’t right with a potential romantic interest. Better, but far from perfect.

So, despite numerous red flags, I kept going with my most recent gentleman friend. I didn’t have any particular hopes for us before Christmas Eve, but when he ended up coming home with me I felt that something had changed, that there was something more. I’m not talking about the physical side of things, by the way, and I’m absolutely sure he felt it too.

Even speaking to him Boxing Day, things felt different. And then… nothing. I finally plucked up the courage to call yesterday morning, which is something I wouldn’t do with anyone else, but since this person is always losing/breaking phones, it’s more than possible he just wasn’t getting my messages.

Then when I called, he sounded genuinely pleased to hear from me. I suggested meeting up at some vague point before New Year’s Eve, but then he invited me out that very night. He said he’d message me to confirm the details, but… nothing. I’ve heard nothing since.

It may seem like a minor thing, but it isn’t the first time it’s happened. If I stuck around, I’m sure it wouldn’t be the last. What I want from a relationship (amongst other things) is stability and consistency, and he can’t offer either of these, for whatever reason.

Whether he can’t or he won’t, it’s all the same. It’ll just be even more painful to carry on down this road. Therefore that’s it, I really am done with this one, and I’m glad I’m drawing a line and not carrying this situation into next year. I had a little cry last night, remembered to give myself a pat on the back for only letting this go on for a couple of weeks instead of over a year like the last one, and got myself out for weigh in this morning.

Thankfully, I’ve somehow managed to stay the same since my last weigh in, though I can’t actually remember when that was. Yay for Christmas miracles!

After getting weighed, I then went out leafleting for my consultant. I went yesterday too, figuring that it would be good in several different ways. I get to do some exercise, I help my friend promote her business, and it boosts my commitment to my Slimming World group.

Both times we went out were eventful. In case you don’t know, when posting leaflets it’s a good idea to take a wooden spoon with you, to help you poke the leaflet through the letterbox.

For me, mainly this helps stop your hands from getting sore, because some letterboxes really are more hazardous than you might expect, but it’s also in case your fingers get bitten by a dog.

I didn’t think this would ever really happen, but then the very first time I posted a leaflet through a door yesterday, a humongous-sounding beast grabbed the leaflet and the spoon right out of my hand. I tried to hold on, but it was too damn strong!

Feeling utterly bemused, I rang the doorbell to ask for the spoon back, but no one was home. Some very confused dog owner is probably even now wondering why someone posted a wooden spoon to them. I for one am just glad it’s not my fingers they found on their doormat.

Then today we split into two groups and I went off with a lovely lady with blue hair. In the first street, she had a fall and couldn’t carry on. Although she wouldn’t admit it to begin with and I did have to practically force her to go home rather than trying to continue. Hopefully nothing is broken!

Since coming home I’ve been planning how I’m going to smash my weight loss goals, which is now absolutely essential since I have broken my very favourite item of clothing.

This is an unmitigated disaster. I have other cold-weather items but nothing compares to these babies, and my tummy has gone and burst through the zip! They are £90 to buy new, so although a lovely work friend has donated her pair to me, I’ll be getting these ones repaired at some point.

I also can’t risk wearing the new pair yet, in case I break those too. So yeah, I’m getting serious about this now.

I’m using Slimming World’s own 12 week journal to keep me on track, using my favourite ever picture of me as inspiration. That photo was also taken on the day I last felt genuinely OK.

It was taken in May, at the Swingamajig festival. I felt so good – slim, confident, excited about the future… I just felt like myself. Then everything came crashing down.

I already have tickets for Swingamajig 2020, which takes place on the 8th of May. By then I aim to be back on that good place or, scratch that, even better. For the first time in a long time I really believe that will happen.

I’m just going to take it one day at a time, and congratulate myself for every day that I stay on plan. If I don’t achieve anything else, at the end of the day I can say to myself ‘I did a positive thing, just for me, and I’m proud of myself for doing it’. If nothing else, at least I’ll have that.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Christmas Past

This post is being very stubborn. It just doesn’t seem to want to be written, but I’m forcing it out onto the page. I need to draw a line under this Christmas business before I can move on to healthier, more positive things, and the best way for me to do that is to write about it. No matter how much the words don’t want to come. I think I more than proved my point in my last entry, because I now feel a lot better after purging that from my system.

So, Christmas 2019 then. Honestly? I’m glad it’s over. The whole of December has been a month of backtracking, broken promises (to myself) and failures, and although I did have fun on occasion I struggled to find the tiniest jot of Christmas spirit. This used to be the norm with me, but over the last few years I found myself being able to enjoy the season again. When I think back on it, this coincided largely with me being in control of my diet and actually managing to lose some damn weight!

If there’s anything I haven’t been lately, it’s in control.

I went out Christmas Eve with a group of work friends, a night out I’d been looking forward to for ages. But because of how I feel about my size, these kind of events are again tainted for me. I’d hoped I’d left those kinds of feelings in the past where they belong, but my four stone (YES, FOUR!!!) weight gain since November 2018 refuses to be ignored. I wanted to feel on top of the world, but instead I felt uncomfortable and self-conscious.

I bought a shiny dress specially for the occasion, knowing that I’d be way overdressed compared to my friends. I nearly swapped it out for an oversized black jumper at the last minute, but then I ran out of time so I had to just go with it. I met with my gentleman friend at his house as he lives round the corner from me (don’t ask. I said I was backtracking didn’t I?!) and walking to his in this dress at 11am got me some stares I tell you.

I was definitely the best-dressed on the council estate that morning! After a while I did start to feel more comfortable in my outfit, but I couldn’t help thinking back to how I looked last Christmas. It was my slimmest Christmas ever in fact.

Size 22 vs size 14. Sigh.

I wish I could have worn the Mrs Claus outfit on the night out instead, but it’ll be remaining in the loft till next year.

Because I was feeling sorry for myself, I ended up eating like a pig right up until the night out which meant I was bigger and more bloated than I would have been if I just hadn’t thought about it. It’s so typical of me, I do wonder if I’ll ever stop sabotaging myself in that way.

Christmas Eve ended up being rather special, but I struggled big time with Christmas Day. I’m still suffering massively with tiredness (I woke up at 2am Christmas Eve morning and couldn’t get back to sleep, and Christmas Eve night wasn’t much better) so I felt that because I couldn’t be the happy, energetic person I wanted to be, that I ruined it for everyone else. It was still a nice day though, and someone who definitely wasn’t complaining was Newton, who got a massive pile of presents all to himself.

He was so well behaved, and so tolerant of us dressing him up. He really couldn’t give a damn, probably because he had a massive pile of wrapping paper to destroy. He loves paper, so his first Christmas was a massive success. Such a spoilt doggo.

Christmas night I’d planned a surprise Christmas disco for everyone. I bought a little LED disco light which was actually awesome and a fantastic bargain, we had glow sticks, and I bought some wigs so we could dress up and take some photo booth-style photos. It was fun but we were all so pooped by this stage, it wasn’t quite the event I had envisioned. 

It still made for some interesting photos so I shouldn’t complain.

The idea for Boxing Day was to get right back on plan and change my gosh darn life, and it nearly worked dammit. I slipped at lunch time, but since then I’ve been perfect. Ok, it’s only been one day, but it’s something right?

I had a record-breakingly bad sleep yesterday (a mere three hours, not nearly enough to get through a night shift on) but I did spend a lot of time journaling in preparation for getting everything back on track again. 2018 was a hard year for me, really damn hard, so I was confident at the beginning of the year that 2019 was going to be better. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a whole lot worse. The thing is, I had to let things get worse and make some difficult choices before I even had a shot at them getting better, so now that’s done I know that I can make 2020 the year where things come back together again. Not only that, but they’ll be better than they were to begin with.

What I need to keep in mind though is that there’s every possibility 2020 will throw just as much crap at me, if not more, but the one single, solitary, thing I can change is how I react to the challenges that will no doubt come my way.

I’m not going to let anything beat me, and when I come to write my 2020 Christmas post, neither of us will recognise that tired, bloated woman in the photo above.

But for now, let the work begin!

Hayley x

Triggered

I never really understood what it meant to be triggered. On social media it seems to be a byword for someone who is ‘too sensitive’, and whilst I understand the true meaning of it, I never fully grasped what a crappy thing it is to be triggered until recently. I’m guessing that I’ve been triggered before, but I don’t think I’ve had the self-awareness to recognise it for what it is until now.

At least as far as my own experience goes, being triggered is not just about getting upset over being reminded of something bad in your past. It seems to me that when you are triggered that reminder serves to, emotionally, put you right back in that place you so desperately want to forget.

I really don’t remember much about my childhood, and I prefer to keep it that way, but some things stuck. None of them are good. When I was about 16 my mum got a gall stone stuck in her bile duct, which caused her to go bright yellow. She was admitted to hospital, and since my dad was (is) a complete waste of space, myself and my little brother and sister went to stay with some aunties, on my mum’s side of the family.

That side of the family is extensive. My Nan and granddad popped out kids into the double figures, and cousins, well, we stopped counting when we got past 30. Growing up the message was clear – if anything ever happens we’ll be there for you. What a load of shit.

As a kid we were always visiting my mum’s side of the family. Everyone loved my dad, thought he was a ‘diamond geezer’, but after he dumped his family for some disgusting old trout (after years of emotional abuse I might add) you’d think they’d stand by their sister, right? Nope! Amongst other despicable things, my uncle (my mum’s own brother) let my dad rent his flat, which in itself is pretty low, I think.

So, mum goes into hospital, and I’m already at breaking point at this stage after the messy divorce, plus I’m at a pretty delicate age that’s difficult for any teenager to deal with at the best of times. I’m trying to get to grips with that, plus I’m at college and barely coping with what I now recognise as crippling anxiety. I’m self-harming pretty badly too, but no one knows about that yet.

Thankfully, I go to stay with one aunt and my brother and sister stay with another, but we are only there for one night before they decide they don’t want us.

After being dumped back home where I start to figure out how I’m going to look after two school-age-children, cope with college and try not to worry too much about my mum, the phone rings. It’s my uncle, and he wants to know where my dad is because he hasn’t paid the rent. I said I don’t know (I didn’t, and yes it’s a touchy subject with someone whose family has let them down so monumentally), so he gets angry that I’m not giving him the information he wants. He hangs up the phone but then calls straight back. I don’t answer it, so I’m left a lovely answering machine message informing me I’m a cunt, and that he wouldn’t piss on me if I was on fire. ‘Scuse the foul language, by the way.

That evening an aunt picks us up to take us visiting at the hospital, and I’m told not to tell my mum I’m upset. The one single adult I feel like I have left in the whole world who cares about me, and I’m not allowed to say anything.

Aaaaanyway, mother gets better and I set to work not thinking about this kind of stuff, whilst keeping a hatred of everyone on my mum’s side of the family simmering on a low heat for the rest of eternity.

On Monday, my mum was back in hospital for an operation, and oh boy did I find out what being triggered really meant. On top of being worried about mum, I felt the huge weight of responsibility settle on my shoulders and honestly, I felt like I’d be crushed by it.

Things were very different this time around though. My brother and sister are both adults now, and if I ask them for help, they’ll give it. I’ve got some pretty marvellous friends who are only ever a text or a call away, and I actually have quite an amazing support network at work, of all places.

I know all of this, but for the last two weeks I’ve felt like a frightened and abandoned child who is completely alone in the world. I’ve been wondering whether, if I saw my father, I might try to wring his wrinkly old neck. Because I’m so furious that he wasn’t there when we needed him in the first place. Which is weird, because he’s the very last person I want help from right now. ‘Triggered’ seems like a very small word for such a big feeling.

Whilst waiting for the hospital to ring, a couple of aunties are incessantly trying to get hold of me, wanting updates. Every time the phone makes a sound I’m on it, my heart pounding, anticipating the news of how the operation went. My brother and sister are with me, and they sit up straight and pay attention. The whole room is on high alert. But nope, it’s an annoying aunt. After the initial shot of adrenaline, all I can think is, alternately, ‘where were you when we needed you?’ and ‘I hate you so much, I wish I didn’t have to have anything to do with you’.

Mother is on the mend now, and although we don’t know exactly what the future holds (we are waiting to hear what, if anything, happens next) I’m sure now that I can deal with it. I won’t crumble when my family needs me, and I’m choosing to see it as a good thing that I’ve had to revisit all of these feelings.

By thinking it through, I’ve been able to challenge my own thoughts. I think I’m all alone, but I’m not. I think I can’t cope, but I can. I think everyone will abandon me. They won’t – the family and friends I’ve chosen to keep in my life won’t let me down.

So, this was my brain on Monday. Tuesday was an insanely frustrating day, trying to get my mother out of the hospital, which we eventually achieved a mere 6 hours after she was physically ready to be discharged. About five of those hours were spent waiting for a letter to be printed off for her to take home with her, just outlining what she’d had done. I’m failing to see why that took so long but also, another hour was spent waiting for the pharmacist to deliver some unknown drug for mum to take home with her.

Whilst some poor person was no doubt sitting in recovery for hours waiting for a bed to become available (as my mum had been the day before) a bed was being taken up waiting for a patient to be given Co-codamol, a frikkin drug you can buy in a supermarket for under 30p.

A) why didn’t they give her the prescription so we could collect it from the pharmacy ourselves? Not that we would have bothered, we have a drawer full of over-the-counter painkillers already… and B) why the flip is the NHS giving out prescriptions for stuff like that in the first place? How much must that cost? At least ask if it’s needed first!

Wednesday I was late getting to sleep as we had shopping delivered, then on Thursday I took my brother to an awards ceremony. I can’t go into details (at his request, he keeps things on the down-low) but we spent the afternoon hobnobbing with important police officers and commissioners. It was a weird kind of afternoon, but we both did surprisingly well in a social situation we both found excruciatingly uncomfortable.

Friday and Saturday I slept most of the day (keep in mind I’ve been working nights as usual) and now finally, finally I’ve had enough rest in order to be able to think straight.

I haven’t felt Christmassy at all so far, and what with everything that’s been going I haven’t felt like wearing my Christmas hats or anything like that. However, I am off work now for four whole nights!

So, expect normal service to resume shortly, with hopefully three weeks’ worth of festivities somehow crammed into a few days. Challenge accepted!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Expectation vs Reality

It’s a lot longer between blog posts than I intended it to be, but it’s been a difficult week-and-a-bit. First of all, the bug I caught wasn’t too bad, but also not conducive to getting much done.

On day one I felt awful – I went to bed shivering and unable to get warm, and woke up with a temperature. As I was lying in bed mustering the energy to get up and prepare Pea’s breakfast, I remembered how as a child my mum would be ripping off my cosy blankets right now and sticking a fan in my face to cool me down, much to my displeasure. But I’m a grown up now, so I had to rip off my own blankets and make sure I got my temperature down before steam started coming out of my ears. Being a grown up sucks.

Once Pea’s breakfast was done I got back to bed and spent the rest of the day literally sweating the bug out. I mean I was drenched, so much so that I had to sleep on a towel at one point, but when I got up for work I felt strangely fine. This is ok with me, because I don’t like using sick days during the peak period at work. It looks suspicious and I feel guilty even when I’ve done nothing wrong.

This carried on for a few days – feeling fine for work at night and getting weirdly sweaty in the day. Attractive, I know! When Sunday’s family Crafternoon came around, I was still feeling pretty rough.

I had a lovely plan of putting decorations on the table, getting a few nibbles, setting out loads of different art and craft options and in general being an awesome host. I just didn’t have it in me though, so what we did have was a great big mess.

I decided to just do one thing – start work on the donkey decoration I’ve been meaning to sew since December 2017. I’ve been so long getting round to it I even convinced myself it was a donkey when it is in fact a bloody reindeer!

I managed to get the body done before our meal, but I ended up finishing it in the early hours of the next morning because my sleep patterns at the weekend are still very much broken.

It’s a bit messy for my liking, and if I make another one there are some changes I’ll make to the instructions to make it better, but it’s still cute and it still looks good on the rainbow tree.

The meal itself was delicious, but still, it would have been so much nicer if I’d been feeling myself. I’ve been to the restaurant once before and I love how cosy it is, and we even had some live music. I’m not sure how I feel about that though. Are you supposed to clap while you’re eating? No one seemed to know what to do. Was I supposed to tip him? Nope, no idea.

Of course we did some pictures before the food came, and as it happens this is the last picture of my hair like that. More on that in a minute.

For starters, we had ‘prawn’ cocktail. I have no idea what it was made of, but it tasted exactly like a real prawn. Unnervingly so. The only reason I wasn’t totally freaked out is because the texture was too firm to be a real prawn.

Once I got used to the idea I really enjoyed it, but not as much as the mains. The cauliflower/broccoli ‘cheese’ was the absolute best bit which I could have eaten all day long.

Dessert was a bit average, but I was stuffed at that point anyway.

It was a very successful first Christmas dinner of the season, but I must admit I’m struggling to find my Christmas spirit this year. I just don’t feel like I normally do, which might be because I’m still finding my feet after a pretty tough year. Plus life keeps throwing spanners in the works every time I start to feel settled.

I think I need to let go of the illusion of control, because let’s face it, there’s very little in life we have any control over whatsoever.

When I started Slimming World in 2016, to a certain extent I forced control on my life. I stopped socialising, I didn’t really do anything as long as it was in line with my goals, completely avoiding anything that wasn’t.

Part of me wants to go back to that so that I can get back on track, but the other part of me wonders if I even can. Maybe it’s just not possible for me to do that any more.

I mentioned a gentleman friend recently, but I’ve realised I’m not even ready to have casual fun. Even at this early stage I feel myself starting to ‘perform’ for affection and not really be my true self. Plus I don’t feel like I’m getting enough respect, and I just can’t go ignoring red flags any more. I know where that leads and it’s nowhere good.

I am worried that this is me controlling this aspect of my life the only way I can right now (by avoiding the situation) but I’ve decided to go with instinct on this one. I’m trusting that it’s not the right time for this – I still have more work to do on myself before I can potentially be with someone in any capacity. It’s just a distraction, stopping me from getting the work done, which maybe I’d be going along with if my feelings weren’t getting slightly hurt along the way. Time to put a stop to that, because gentleman friends are not supposed to make you feel sad. At least I realised this now. Progress, right?!

So, on Tuesday, even though it was the very last thing I felt like doing, I went to get a hair cut.

I was going to ask to keep the same style and just get it tidied up, but then my hairdresser has a way of convincing me to try something new. Instead of a trim, this happened:

Also, how pretty is my eyeshadow? I’ve been saving that one for December. I love the cut and everyone keeps telling me how much it suits me, but I’m mildly freaking out about how chubby my face has got. You’d think it would be enough to keep me on plan really, but sadly it hasn’t.

I did somehow stay on plan all the time I felt poorly, but after the meal out it all went wrong. Having said that, it hasn’t been as bad as it usually is so that’s something. I’ll weigh in later on and start attempt number 482829937.

To be honest I’ll be glad when Christmas is over, as much as I’m trying to go with the flow and take what comes. It’s harder than it looks.

Rather than end on a negative, here’s a picture of Newton modelling his new Christmas jumper (and looking rather fabulous I might add). At least someone’s in the Christmas spirit!

Hayley x