It's a beautiful, cold and snowy day here in Devon. I have a clear day thanks to the aforementioned snow and so I've spent the morning catching up on all of the little jobs I put off. You know, clearing the fluff filter on the tumble drier, tackling the pile of ironing which resembles a fully dressed human in the spare room and of course, putting the last 3 loads of tumble drying away. I'm no domestic goddess, far from it, but when there's nothing else to do to avoid cabin fever, I'm ya gal!
I also have a little beagle cross demanding my attention. He's currently sat on the foot stool behind me staring intently and emitting the odd whine followed by a militant guff. They're enough to clear a cathedral - let me tell you. Trying to focus on anything other than his stench is a real art! He rotates from his perch, to sniffing under the table reminding me that I really, really ought to pull the chairs out and Hoover under there! Ah well, he's natures Hoover today! Then back to his perch, merrily guffing away. My life, ladies and gents - ain't I lucky?
Well actually, that's kind of the point of my ramblings today. I had a little feeling scratching at the edges when I woke up this morning. Of course, there was the, 'has it snowed????' initial conscious thoughts (beagle is now lying on my feet - still guffing) but there was something else. I put it out of my mind as I couldn't pin it! Then good old Facebook (I rarely call it that as I loath the damn thing!) identified it for me! You know those notifications which pop up telling you that you have a memory to look back on? Yeah, those annoying little red dots giving you something else to have to do in your day! Well, for once it was a welcome reminder.
It's 5 years ago, to the day, that I started my journey. 5 WHOLE YEARS! Holy hell. I can't actually believe that amount of time has passed. Although, if I really sit here for a minute and think about it, it actually feels like a whole life time ago. Does that sound dramatic? Should I be using a hefty filter with some dramatic music over the top now if this were an IG post (IG, that's what the cool kids call Instagram now isn't it?) Well, not to overstate it but let's review some of the facts:
5 years ago today:
- I was working in a job I absolutely loathed
- I was in the process of exiting a highly dysfunctional and damaging relationship after 17 years
- I smoked at least 20 cigarettes per day
- I drank a minimum of one bottle of wine per evening
- I weighed 7 stone more than I do today
- I was taking antidepressants and sleeping medication
- I was depressed
- I was highly anxious
- I was isolated
- I was having very dark thoughts about life in general
- I did not smile, at least - not a real smile
- I was at my most unhappy
Wow. That's a bloody list isn't it! Crikey! I would now normally apologise profusely for being self indulgent or attention seeking. But I'm not going to do that as this blog and that list is neither. What it is, is simply a list of facts. Pretty brutal ones, but facts none the less. (Beagle is now sitting on the same chair as me, behind me, whining and yes - he's still guffing! Emergency candle may well be lit!)
So what changed? What did 'starting my journey' mean? Did I don sandals and a kaftan and take up yoga and meditation? Did I wander until I was no longer lost, but found myself? Did a moment of searing enlightenment humble me to nunhood? (is that a word?) Well, no. I simply hired a personal trainer. Wait, wait, don't go - there's more to it I promise! Oh, and there's nothing wrong with any of the other things I listed, it just wasn't what happened for me. I simply decided that I didn't want life to be like that anymore, and recognised that I couldn’t change that on my own. I had tried. Many times.
So, on pay day while I was feeling like a millionaire (for a day) I went to my gym and hired the services of a buff dude. It wasn't at all embarrassing…. LIES! I felt the usual shame as I walked in to the gym, feeling the eyes of judgement of the buff bunnies burning in to me screaming, 'you don't belooonnnngggg here!' Burning with embarrassment as I asked to speak to a PT. Nearly turning and sprinting (controlled stagger) to the door. Of course, that was mostly in my head!
Best thing I ever did, as it happens. The last 5 years have seen so much change in my life, mostly for the good! But as with all lives, some not so good. That's OK too, we take it as learning don't we. Let's review the facts, shall we?
- I am doing a job I love which brings me reward, both financial and spiritual each day
- I am in a healthy, happy and enriching relationship with the love of my life
- I don't smoke
- I don't drink, to excess - I still love a G&T and a nice dry white
- I am 7 stone lighter, lean, strong and healthy
- I don't obsess about how I look, I focus on living a healthy life
- I have been medication free for 3 years
- I am not depressed
- I am not anxious (all the time, I still have bad days!)
- My thoughts are mostly filled with love, light and the excitement of possibilities
- I smile often and broadly
- I am at my happiest
Now again, I feel the need to apologise for fear of sounding like a right Smuggie Smuggerson. But I won't because once again this is simply a list of facts. I have been on a journey the last 5 years. Actually, I consider myself a constant passenger. (Beagle is now asleep, but STILL guffing!)
It hasn't always been easy, and there have been really bad days as well as the really good! The difference is now I'm in control of that journey, mostly. I make sure that I live a life which is happy, making good decisions, looking after me and those I love the most, challenging my body to continue to get strong without obsessing over those days when I just don’t feel like it.
I pride myself on being kind, always. Unconditional positive regard is an incredible thing, and breeds that quality in others. I don’t compare myself to ANYONE. EVER. I'm me, and that is more than enough.
I'll say that again. You. Are. Enough.
So what, Kerrie? Why are you telling us this? Well, that's a good question. One I'm not sure I can confidently answer with anything more than this.
'I'm telling you, because I can. Because the life I lead now allows me to be confident in sharing my story with you. That through sharing, I hope I can touch just one other human and give them hope that change can and does happen. With a little courage, conviction and some hard work - change is possible.'
Yep, I guess that's why I'm telling you. I hope that's OK? Well, best I take this stinky little hound dog off for a trudge in the snow. He's now terrorised the post man, chewed one of my Ugg boots and had a punt at the recycling. *Sighs* I love my life. I hope you can love yours too.