Stagnant

For the second week in a row I haven’t lost any weight. I knew it would come eventually – which is why I signed up for the 12WBT but I hoped that with my exercising a bit more it wouldn’t happen so soon.

I have stopped loosing weight at just under 88kgs. Before I I allow myself to be too upset that is a loss of just over 16kgs since November. Slow and steady.

My weight loss was first thanks to lowering my medication significantly. As it started to taper off I lowered the dosage again. I didn’t lower the dose too lose weight, but (if you have read the blog) because I didn’t like what medication had done to me. I was then also diagnosed with diabetes and discovered I couldn’t keep my sugars down while eating carbs. So I cut out almost all carbs and sugars from my diet and tried to stick to around 1400 calories a day and the weight continued to fall off while I sat in bed watching Spencer Tracey/Katharine Hepburn movies.Then It started to taper off again, then I lost almost 2 kgs, then back to nothing. I added in exercise, but at the same time I started adding back in carbs (much to my own detriment).

After attempting to add back in carbs with no effect on my blood sugar levels I have decided to, at least until I can see a diabetes educator, stay carb free. The carbs have left me feeling lethargic, extremely volatile in regards to mood swings, bloated and just awful. But I want to start cleaning up that diet. Initially it was filled with lean protein, salads and some yoghurt & nuts snacking on tins of tuna in spring water when I was really hungry. Now I admit I sometimes eat a big plate of bacon and eggs twice a day and find myself reaching more and more for the protein bars. The amount of fat in my diet has totally sky rocketed.

I also am going to slowly try to get closer to 1200 calories a day, without counting my salmon oil capsules (I take 10 a day which works out to be almost 100 calories on their own…but that is for my mental health, so not negotiable). This week I am going to try to stick to 1350 or less, the following week 1300 or less – and so on.

Exercise. I don’t like it. I also didn’t like pushing myself to exhaustion as it ended up leaving me unable to exercise for awhile. My gym trial is up tomorrow and I won’t be renewing it. The main reason behind it is the hours. I am currently sleeping about 5am-5pm. By the time I am concious enough to do anything they are closed, or I have missed the last bus. But I have enjoyed going and am going to look into the basic no frills gym literally 100m from my house that is open 24 hours a day. I am also going to try to commit to just 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week (with a rest day in between). While I am so proud of what I achieved with my 30km in a week challenge….I am currently in a fragile state of mind. I need to focus on my mental health more than anything at the moment.But I do love my swimming. The gym across the road doesn’t have a pool…but it looks like we are going swimming as a family once a week now (with the girls best homeschool friends) so I can swim then.

Doctors & Psychologists. I have had an appointment to see my new GP almost every day for the last 2 weeks and haven’t once gone. I am up long after she leaves the office and sleeping, any time, is so important for my sanity that I have decided to stop fighting it and just sleep when I can for the time being. I really need to see her to try to get some help in managing my sleep cycles better. I also am in desperate need of psych help to move forward. I am keeping myself just barely sane at the moment. The slightest thing could tip and I would be back to where I was a week ago (investigating the possibility of going back into hospital).

Medication. I have decided, at 150mg, to hold off on reducing any more. I still don’t have the clarity I want, or have many of the side effects lifted. I can read again though which is absolutely divine. I have read about 4 books in the last 2 weeks. At the moment I am too unstable to push myself by lowering the medication. Again, if I lower it and crumble and end up back in hospital I will loose the ability to make that decision for myself and will no doubt end up back on everything that has taken me forever to get off.

Stagnant. It really is how I feel at the moment. There is so much I want to do and try, so many plans I keep making and breaking….but if I push and fall apart….well I just don’t want to. Focus needs to be on my mental health first, physical health second and everything else after.

wish me luck and momentum

project:girl

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Carbs are Evil

After my fall where I ate 3 cupcakes and a bunch of pizza I had to go through carb withdrawals all over again (which was a bitch by the way). I had learnt my lesson…no more carbs for me.

BUT what was interesting is even with 3 cupcakes and pizza my sugars barely spiked at all. A little while later we had burritos for dinner and the first was so yummy (27g of carbs per tortilla wrap – my carb limit for one meal is about 20-30g) I had another. Again…no spike.After a truly shitty week the girls father got me some green curry from the local thai place (a worry as they seem to put palm sugar in everything…their red curry is almost a desert dish) and he included about half a cup of rice with it (OMG – was rice always this amazing??? What me? A cab addict?) again no spike. The real kicker was the girls had plain white pasta for dinner with cheese one night and I had a cup of pasta, some cheese & cracked pepper….not a single spike. Hmmm. I started to suspect that maybe all my body needed was a true carb/sugar detox…which I did over the course of about 6-7 weeks. Maybe I could start adding back in low gi carbs (I wasn’t stupid enough to think it was a good idea to have rice and pasta and white bread…well apart from my slips which for purposes of this blog I will call scientific experiments).

So yesterday I popped some of my home made toasted muesli in a bowl (made the first week after my diagnosis and originally cause my sugars to jump up 5 after eating – a healthy meal will see my sugars rise no more than 2 after eating) and some milk and enjoyed every last bite. Oh how I have missed my carbs. It was absolutely delish. As I am more than used to smaller meals I was pleasantly full after my 1/2cup of muesli. Just 40 minutes later I was absolutely starving. Reading to eat my own arm. Crying because I was so hungry. Angry. Sad. Angry. Sad. Hungry. Hungry. Hungry. I had to wait two hours after eating it to see what my blood sugars did. They were a bit higher than after other carbs – but I put that down to it having dried cranberries (dried fruit is full of sugar) and even then it was negligible. But I was really creeped out by the mood swings and the fact that I was starving again so quickly. The muesli had whole oats, bran & dried cranberries. Again it wasn’t white, it was really low gi and isn’t low gi suppose to mean “fuller for longer”?I shoved a protein bar in my gob as fast as I could (which is really quite slow as they are pretty much bricks) and was fine for another 3 hours til lunch.

Today I decided to go back to my standard breakfast of full fat greek yoghurt (low fat dairy is generally full of sugar/carbs) and berries. I opted out of having nuts and decided to try some of my muesli again. It was super tasty. Thankfully I made it about 3 hours before I ate … but I was out with the kids, so I don’t think it was necessarily that I wasn’t hungry – just too busy to think about it. I grabbed a protein bar on the way home and some strawberries (fresh strawberries only have 27 calories in 100g and almost all the carbs in it is dietary fibre), had a nice salad for dinner with some salmon in it and went to have a shower. I almost had a heart attack. My stomach was HUGE. I was so bloated I looked about 6-7 months pregnant…with twins! My waist measurement this morning was 38.5in….it was 42in tonight.

Also I might add – I feel like shit. When I was eating protein, full fat dairy and lots of vegetables (and low sugar fruits) I felt amazing. I was loosing weight. I felt healthier. I had managed to stop my massive food addiction. I no longer craved starchy food. I no longer craved…full stop. I had a lot of bloating issues before, but since stopping carbs it just hasn’t been an issue.

The other reason I have been thinking about adding back in carbs was because I had read somewhere low carb diets are dangerous for diabetics as you apparently need the “slow release carbohydrates to stop sugars fluctuating”. After all my diabetes nurse was completely useless and until I get my referral to a diabetes educator I am pretty much flying blind.

But now I just don’t know if I can do it. I have always loved my carbs. I have always loved baking and bread and pastries. But I haven’t had sugar cravings in ages. I stopped my food obsession and began eating food purely for fuel, not enjoyment or to sate some other emotional need. I have long suspected I was gluten intolerant…but what if I am just plain carb intolerant?

Before you launch into the balanced diet tirade (that I have heard too many times…thanks to my mother in law) I just want to point out a few things.

  1. Grains were only introduced into humans diets in the last 6000 odd years when we started farming. It is unlikely our bodies could evolve that quickly to be able to break down and use these effectively. Just have a look at what happened 2000 years ago when we introduced sugars and white carbs into the diets of Australian natives.
  2. The governments that put together the healthy eating pyramid are under pressure from meat councils, dairy councils and no doubt other large farming groups. Just because the government says something, doesn’t make it true.

Now I am not saying either of those things makes grains and carbs instantly bad. I am just pointing out that maybe the “balanced diet” that has been touted around since I was at school might not actually be based on science.

After reading the book “How I Gave Up My Low Fat Diet and Lost 40 Pounds” I felt quite empowered. I was reading it because I wanted help with managing low carb dieting. Any time I touched carbs my sugars spiked and I was totally lost. It gave me a lot of great information and really opened my eyes to the world of carb intolerance. But I just stopped thinking about that when I realised I could keep my sugars stabilised and eat carbs.

Of course now I need to look at whether or not having a low cab diet is ok with diabetes. I need to assess whether or not carbs are “worth it” for me. Bloating is not fun. Mood swings aren’t fun (I have enough mental health crap with bipolar). Neither is being hungry after you just ate (no wonder I over ate so much before). On the whole I am tending to lean towards the carbs are evil (for me anyway) and get back to protein.

project:girl

Warm Up Challenge #3

I did it! I actually completed 30km walking/pool walking/exercise biking/swimming in 7 days! Well actually 30.4km…if you want to be pedantic, which I do.I won’t lie and say it was easy. It was hard. Remember I have been in bed for almost two years. I lost a lot of fitness. I am heavy and unfit. But I did it.

After my 3.3km walk I realised I just needed to do a little bit, as much as I could, whenever I could. So the next day I took advantage of a 10 day trial at the local gym/pool. That day I managed 10km on the bike. It seemed so easy. I blame that entirely on the gym supervisor who came over to show me how to use the exercise bike and got to talking to me about what made me decide to join the gym. I gave her the condensed 20 minute version and she was just so lovely. It all started because I wanted to know what would be the most effective way to use the bike to get a decent work out – so she asked how fit I was. Which led to me giving her way more information than she asked for and she just encouraged me at this stage to do my best (which was working at about 20rpms less than what she normally recommends). It took me around 30 minutes to get to the 10km and after that I rewarded myself with a swim. Laps.

I was a total water baby. Some of my earliest memories have me in water. I remember my nana taking my brother & I to swimming lessons. I remember my dad taking my brother and I to the pool (then promptly falling asleep in the sun…safety was always a total priory to my stoner parents), I remember water skiing on the Murray river and body surfing in 6ft waves off the beaches of Coffs Harbour. I reached the highest swimming level I could when I was 12 and would have to wait another 3 years before I was old enough to do the next level. When I was pregnant I went to aqua aerobics and every other day would be at the pool with a friend I met there. I loved the feeling of weightlessness.

Of course the last few years I have avoided the water. As I slowly grew out of my swimsuit. The only things available in my size were hideous or way too expensive and even then…I didn’t want to reveal that much of myself. But then I lost a bunch of weight after cleaning up my diet (thanks diabetes) and a local homeschool mum said she wanted to exercise with someone so I asked her if she wanted to swim with me. The second I was back in the water I just felt…right. Unfortunately then her husband changes work hours and our swimming never happened again. But this gym has a pool.

After my 10km I was determined to swim 1km (or 40 laps of the 25m pool). Unfortunately I didn’t realise how slow I would be now. I certainly won’t be winning any races these days…in fact even in the slow laps lane I was being over taken and growled at. I didn’t even come close to the 1km and was ready to give up at 200m. But I just would take a few seconds to compose myself and do another lap. I made it to 500m. 20 laps. It took me about 45 minutes…but apart from the people who I pissed off by swimming too slowly – who cares? Add in the 1.7km round trip walking to and from there and I had reached more than halfway already! 15.5km. Not only that I went home with a spring in my step and had a massive high (I think they call it endorphins) for at least 2 hours after.

The next day I went back all positive and perky. But my legs felt like lead while using the bike. It took me almost 20 minutes to reach 5km and I just couldn’t go any further. Incredibly bummed I took my wobbly legs into the pool. They had removed the divider so it was now a 50m pool. The first 100m (50m up and back) almost killed me. I was actually crying while swimming…thankfully there was no one around to growl at me otherwise I may have had a complete nervous breakdown. I managed another lap up and back – 200m – and just couldn’t do it any more. I stepped out of the lane and decided to just keep moving. So I started walking up and down to the 20m mark (otherwise my head went under water). When I felt I could do another lap I went and swam another 100m. Then I walked some more. Then did another 100m swim. Then walked more. Then a final 100m swim. I ended up walking 20 laps of the pool – 400m + 500m swim + 5km bike +1.7km walk. Not too bad. It brought my total to 23.1km. I had used the philosophy I heard Michelle Bridges push on the 12WBT “Leave nothing in the tank”.

Unfortunately leaving nothing in the tank may have been a mistake for me. I barely made it to the walk to the bus stop. I was exhausted and bummed all the way home…where were my lovely endorphins? When I got home I was a blubbering mess. I have been really struggling with my mental health lately and this exhaustion catapulted me into a total tail spin. The next day (Sunday) I spent in bed. I had to recover. But I didn’t. I slipped further and further into my depression. My sleep cycles are also currently reversed. So Monday I slept all day and missed my doctors appointment and a much needed psych appointment. My new psych only works Mondays. Tuesday I missed another appointment – then it was ANZAC day.

Wednesday was my last day to complete the challenge. I slept until 5pm. Then the girls father was out until 10pm. By now the negative self talk had started “I knew you would fail”, “you fail at everything” “you suck”. Oh how I hate those little voices that come out when I am down. It was cold. It was dark. It was after 10pm on ANZAC day and it was raining. I decided that it was going to be worse for my mental health to “fail” than to get off my butt. So I did. Thanks to the “Just Start Walking” App I was able to track how far I walked even though I was just walking around the outside of the local school. It was freezing when I left and I figured I would probably last about 10 minutes, but if that’s all I managed…at least I managed something. It seemed my rational mind was slowly returning. Of course it started raining heavier – so I couldn’t keep my glasses on. Great – now I was almost completely blind. I kept squishing poor snails that I just couldn’t see. I just kept looking at the distance not noticing the time. But at the halfway mark I realised I had been walking for 40 minutes. It really didn’t seem that long. Under my coat (to keep the rain off me) I was sweating like a pig. I wasn’t cold any more. It stopped raining so I was able to pop my glasses back on and avoid a few more snails. At 6.5km I started heading home. 7.3km in 1hr 22 minutes. It was just before midnight that I walked through the front door. I had made it. I actually managed the whole 30km in a week. Even with 3 days in bed. Even with depression that is so bad that I might be heading back to hospital for a little stay. I did it.

Of course my hips, knees and ankles were all screaming abuse at me. I needed help to get my shoes off and I barely remained standing during my shower. I did it.

Now onto warm up challenge #4 – keep a food diary. Too easy – have been doing this since my diabetes diagnosis.

project:girl

Aroma Queen Clay Mask Review

After discovering how well my skin has responded to a more simplified and basic routine – cold cream, witch hazel and rosehip oil (with the occasional scrub of brown sugar mixed with my cold cream) I went in search of a simple clay face mask.

This task was harder than you would imagine. Every tube I picked up at priceline may have had mud or clay on the front label…but the ingredients list showed anything but. In fact it was downright scary how long the ingredient lists were.

When I was nine we moved from the suburbs of Sydney to my mums crazy hippy friends 30 acre property 30 minutes out of a small town and half way up a mountain. We had no electricity, no running water and no indoor plumbing. It was over winter, it snowed, and I once got shot at using the outdoor dunny/hole in the ground. But my mums friend would dig up fresh clay and we would give ourselves fresh, truly organic, face masks.

My “backyard” is a concrete slab, and I am a true city girl and probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between dirt and clay. So I had a little hunt around and discovered that getting pure clay was actually pretty easy but what I didn’t realise is that there was such a wide variety of colours…which each are suited to different skin. Go nature!

I eventually settled on Aroma Queen – who I actually found on eBay (and purchased through eBay) but who also have a website that you can also purchase through. They had a list of their clays and what skin type each one was suited too. I ended up settling on the pastel pink clay as my skin is maturing and I as much as I have always ignored it and just chosen the strongest product (the one that would strip away every last inch of natural oil), I actually have quite sensitive skin. They have a little bit of information on each clay and it’s uses which I will add below.

After I purchased an paid I received an eBay message from the seller thanking me and letting me know it would be in the post that day. Sure enough just two days later I had the resealable pouch of pure organic Australian pastel pink clay. Because I am terribly impatient I raced straight to the bathroom to mix some up. I keep a small mixing bowl in the bathroom for mixing masks and scrubs so I popped a heaped teaspoon of the clay powder into my bowl and then, rather than using water, I spritzed the power with my Trilogy Hydrating Mist Toner until it was a nice creamy consistency. Then slathered it on my face.

Now I might also mention here that when I use my cold cream at night, and when I use my face masks, I always treat my neck and decolletage. I wear a lot of scoop and v-necks and during my younger days I always forgot to sunscreen there…so now I am doing everything to look after my skin.

so pretty!

I left it on for about 15-20 minutes and then took a warm face washer and gently started to removed the mask. Now I will admit that I totally freaked out. As I removed the clay it seemed like it had severely stained my face. While it may have been “pastel” pink in powdered form, it got quite dark red once damp and it seriously looked like it had totally stained my face red. Turns out you just need to wash it off quite thoroughly. I ended up following with my cold cream which got every last bit of colour off. My white face cloths may never recover, but half of them had red lipstick stains anyway. After I cleaned off the cold cream I gave a quick spritz of my Trilogy mist and then popped some of my Trilogy Rosehip Oil on.

Verdict? Amazing. My skin felt so beautiful, soft and clear and left my pores even smaller than cold cream leaves them. Absolutely baby soft, glowing skin. The next day I noticed a few breakouts – but isn’t that half the point? Dragging all the gunk to the surface. I have used it three times in the last two weeks all with the same satisfaction and I am getting fewer breakouts each time. The last time I added a few drops of rosehip oil when mixing the powder as I was all out of cold cream and I didn’t want my face to dry out. Absolutely divine!

I have barely made a dent in the packet so I have a feeling this is going to be total value for money with the cost being $5.75 + $7 shipping (shipping is a flat cost, so order more and get your moneys worth…I will next time). I think I might just have to order another pack for my give away at 100 posts!

project:girl

So which one is right for you? Have a read (taken from their ebay page)

WASHED BLUE
Australian Washed Blue clay is an excellent treatment for oily and problematic skin as it can assist in regulating sebum flow, cleanse hair follicles and dissolve impurities on the skin. Use up to twice a week for particularly troubled skin.

OLIVE GREEN
Australian Soft Green clay (inc Bentonite) is one of the strongest and most absorbent of clays, particularly suited to oily or acne-prone skin. Green clay can assist in detoxifying the skin and reducing and balancing sebaceous production; it can revitalises tired, dull complexions, leaving the skin glowing with vitality. Use up to twice a week for particularly troubled skin.

YELLOW
Australian Golden Yellow clay (inc Kaolin) is excellent for all skin types. It is a mid-strength clay that has a tonic effect, helping to improve the condition of tired and devitalised skin. An excellent pick-me-up.

PASTEL PINK
Australian Pastel Pink clay (inc Kaolin & Iron Oxides) is mild enough for use on all skin types, particularly skin losing its tone – pink clay particularly suits mature skin. It can cleans, firm and tone the skin, especially with repeated use. Aside from the face, it’s great as a body mask for the bust, neck, upper arms and stomach.

WHITE, or IVORY
Australian Pure White, or Ivory clay (inc Kaolin) is the gentlest and least absorbent of all the clays. It assists in soothing and softening the skin and is suitable for sensitive and dry conditions, even for the elderly and young. White clay can also be used to tone down some of the stronger clays to make a milder mask, or to mix with some of the darker clays that are prone to staining when used alone – for example, mix a ratio of 10% deep red clay to 90% white.

RED OR BLACK CLAYS MAKE EXCELLENT ADDITIVES TO THE LIGHTER CLAYS ABOVE:

REEF RED
Deep Red clay (inc Iron Oxide) is the colour of the Australian desert. An oily clay with a gentle absorbent action, it is particularly good for dehydrated and mature skin. NOTE: While deep red clay is very gentle on the skin, used alone it is prone to staining. Red clay should always be mixed with another clay at a ratio of 10-20% maximum – see our other listings for clay colours to suit each skin type. WHITE clay is a great mixer for red.

BLACK
Midnight Black organic superfine clay contains exceptional iron and oxygenating properties. It is a non-toxic mineral with cleansing and conditioning agents, particularly good to assist in nourishing the skin. NOTE: While BLACK clay is very gentle on the skin, used alone it is prone to staining, so it is recommended you tone down your mask by mixing it with one of the lighter clays, such as white, at a maximum ratio of 10-20% – see our other listings for other clay mixer colours to suit your skin type.

12WBT

My weight loss started when I lowered my medication. Then with my diabetes diagnosis I started eating better and even more weight started to come off. As of Sunday I weigh 87.9kgs…down from my high of 104 around November last year. 87.9kgs seems so tiny compared to where I was.

12WBT Progress Tracker

Seeing that little man almost halfway there surprises me. I have always had trouble with weight loss. Loosing & gaining the same 5-10kgs over and over again. Of course my bipolar diagnosis and then heavy medication added even more weight…but I don’t know that I ever really believed I could stick to a healthy eating plan. After all I loved food and am was a total carb addict. I would sometimes have a bowl of pasta from breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then there was my gigantic portion sizes….when I started weighing my food and realised I was eating anywhere up to 5-6 times the recommended portion size I felt physically ill. How was I going to survive on such small amounts of food?

For roughly 6-7 weeks I have been eating a maximum of 1400 calories a day. I am no longer starving all the time. I actually seem to be thinking of food very little. I am closer than ever to breaking my emotional eating habits. I am also starting to think of food purely as nourishment…not enjoyment. WTF? Who is this person who has taken over my weak mind who would buy a box of 4 cupcakes and eat them all in 5 seconds? I used to have a meal at KFC then walk down two doors to do it all over again at maccas. I would order 2 full mains at thai food and eat them both…with tonnes of extra rice of course and follow it up with a magnum or three. Some days I actually struggle to eat 1200 calories. On those days I dip a celery stick into some natural peanut butter just to push it up.

But something I knew I would have to face sooner or later was exercise. For almost 2 years I have been in bed. Sedated, thanks to my medication, I had little to no energy and definitely no motivation. As I am slowly weaning off the medication I have a bit more energy…but still struggled with the motivation. Last year I almost joined in on Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation with a friend…but I realised I couldn’t get out of bed most days and that it would be a colossal waste of money. So I promptly forgot about it. Then the lovely Miss Directions started blogging about her journey through 2012 Round 1 12WBT. It seemed each week I looked forward to her posting about it. I went and put in my registration of interest and before I knew it I was signing up for round 2.

Round 2 doesn’t start until June, but at the moment we are in the “warm up” phase in which Michelle posts a new warm up challenge each week. Week 1 (make a small change) was almost over when I signed up and my small change was to try to get out of the house for a walk 3 times a week…but as it was over the next day I forgot about it and moved on to week 2 (halve your non water intake)…this was easy (or impossible depending on how you look at it) as I already only drink water. By now I am thinking this is fairly easy. Then yesterday I got notified of week 3’s challenge – in one week walk/run/ride/swim/row/whatever (except drive) 30kms. I instantly freaked out and thought there is no way I could ever manage that. Which led to me thinking…well if I won’t make it why bother at all? Then I attempted to distract myself with tv/movies/reading/internet.

In the cold light of late afternoon (my sleep cycles are currently reversed) I thought how silly it was to not even try. I used to live my life by a “Shoot for the moon, if you miss at least you’ll land among the stars” philosophy. I would dream big and do everything in my power to get there, and if I didn’t make it at least I tried. So at 5:05pm I popped on my runners knowing I had 40 minutes to walk before Miss 10 and her dad were off to soccer training and I needed to be home to watch the other 3. I decided to walk as far as I could in 25 minutes and then turn around and come home. I grabbed my ipod and I was off.

Within 5 minutes I was huffing and puffing and sweating and red faced…and this was at what most people would call a leisurely pace. I had mums pushing prams overtake me, people twice my age sped past…but I kept going. I hoped to make the trip around 5kms, but when I got home and plotted the route on google maps I had only made it 3.3km. I was disapointed.

Wait hold up. ONLY 3.3km? Yesterday I spent in bed doing no kms. The day before – same thing. Last year I might have been lucky to walk 3.3kms total. It wasn’t ONLY 3.3kms.

WOW is what I am now saying. I actually got up, got dressed, put on my runners and walked for exercise (not to get somewhere) for a whole 3.3kms. Go me!

No 3.3kms might not be a huge achievement to others – but it is to me. Just managing to put clothes on is an effort for me. Talking on the phone is an effort for me. Brushing my teeth. Walking 3.3kms? Well that is HUGE.

So maybe this time I can do it. Maybe if I start changing the way I think. Stop thinking that I am the same person I was 2 years ago. Start accepting who I am now and just try my very best then I can change.

After all, you have to start somewhere. For me that was 3.3kms.

project:girl

 

Framed

I think I was around 4 years old when my parents realised I was having trouble seeing. I was already reading so maybe I was getting headaches or something. I definitely wasn’t at school yet so it wasn’t the blackboard…maybe my parents actually noticed something about me (probably not)…or maybe my nana, who is super observant, noticed something (more likely) or maybe it was a before school precaution. Either way I walked out of there in specs.

That means I have been wearing glasses for more than 26 years! My gran must have bought my first pair as they were quite fancy and expensive and my parents weren’t in to fancy or quality unless they were dealing with their choice of mind altering substances. Unfortunately for me…I was 4 and not used to having something on my face each day so inevitably they got lost. For the next 6-7 years it seemed they were always being replaced. I would loose them, break them, throw them out a car window (on the freeway) during a tantrum and once, just for kicks, I wanted to see what would happen if I used a hammer on them. After that my mum got jack of it. My gran wouldn’t shell out anything else when I clearly couldn’t look after them and by now dad was long gong. So government issued glasses it was apparently mums pension covered her for one pair of hideous chunky plastic glasses. Now this may be fine if I just had to wear them for reading, but as I am nearly blind I need them all the time.

Picture this – new school, first year of high school. Look around in the sea of tanned, athletic and blonde girls around me. I lived in a small beach side town in rural NSW. Then look at me…lanky and yet hippy. Already a D cup. Bright orange hair, freckles, pale skin and big old plastic glasses. As you can imagine things went downhill from there.

But I was a stubborn person. I never once asked for contacts as the thought of sticking my finger in my eye on a daily basis didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t really care if people thought I looked odd. I always assumed those who really liked me would accept me as I was. With that thinking in mind though, I was even more a social outcast. I refused to change anything about myself to suit the other kids and that made me stick out even more.

After awhile not only did my glasses grow on me (I developed a mad passion for reading which would have been impossible without them…so I stopped loosing them) and when I was 17 my dad offered to pay for laser surgery and I declined. But for some reason I still chose not to wear them on my wedding day…which completely baffles me as my glasses are so much a part of me. Not only do I look super strange in the photos, but I couldn’t see a damn thing.

In the last few years each new appointment (held annually) has seen my eyes get gradually worse. So I fell back into the midset of not spending money on myself and just grabbing a pair of $99 specsavers glasses. After all, I tell myself, they will just need to be replaced next year.

This year I finally realised how ridiculous that thinking was. This is something that I wear everyday. The first thing I do when I wake up is pop my glasses on and its the last thing I take off before bed. I have (literally) an entire wardrobe filled with shoes that I almost never wear and yet I wanted to skimp on something that is on my face every single day? No more. After all project:girl is all about learning to put my best face forward.

So after my appointment with the lovely (read: hot!) Salvatore (highlight of my year) I decided to splurge and get myself not 1, but 3 pairs of glasses. And I am actually thinking of grabbing a few more pairs as well. I can’t wait to pick them up!

First up is this vintage pair of cats eye glasses I nabbed from Etsy

Then I fell in love with the Gok Wan pair that are a similar (but more subtle) cats eye look in white (they also come in black)

And finally this pair of Red or Dead glasses as I absolutely love red

 

Now on top of those I really want to invest in a pair of prescription sunglasses as I can’t wear normal sunglasses at all (as I end up blind…no vision and everything is dark) and Salvatore informed me that my prescription can’t be made into contacts. I have always wanted a pair of glasses like Miss Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffanys

After a little bit of research (god bless google) I discovered that these were Manhattan frames by Oliver Goldsmith and what’s more…they are still made today. What’s even better is I can get them right here in Melbourne through their distributor Eye Candy Optics! Now I just need to decide whether to get them in black or tortoise shell like below. Well that and save up…

project:girl

How to Lose Friends and Influence No One

I was reading the Madame Bipolar blog today about how few people come to visit you when you are in the psych ward (as opposed to any other hospital stay) and it really struck a chord. I was in the psych ward for 9 days then I went into a recovery facility for almost 3 months. Apart from my husband and kids I had just 3 other visitors in that time. Well I did have one guy who was taking over for me in the charity show up at the psych ward on day 4 (valliumed up to the eyeballs) and demand to know the answers to a whole bunch of (I can;t stress this enough) NON ESSENTIAL questions about the day to day running of operations. At that point in time I couldn’t have managed to tie my shoelaces (assuming of course I still had them…they take those away on admission). In the three months I spent in a quiet, residential, lovely facility (nothing scary at all) I had just 3 other visitors.

  1. A client … yup my first visitor was one of my clients. I had recently photographed her wedding. She would bring home baked bread. Or take me out for noodles. Her best friend had bipolar so she got it. She made sure to visit me every few weeks.
  2. My current assistant…basically to make sure she was kept in the loop so she could keep clients in the loop. Fun.
  3. A former assistant of mine. She lives in a fancy smancy mansion, in a swish part of town and she was pregnant…and she still came (even though she thought she was actually visiting me in the psych ward). She then gave me her beach house for two weeks when I left to transition back into real life a bit easier.

That is it. I was so bored. The girls father would bring me books from the library, but my medication gave me serious short term memory loss. I would get 3 pages in and forget what I was reading. So I would watch anywhere up to 15 hours a day of tv/movies on my laptop.

But what was worse, was coming home and not seeing any of those people again. I slowly started to build new friendships (people I knew before my hospitalisation not including family who I still see….1) mostly new homeschooling families who knew about what we had gone through and weren’t afraid of me.

But even they are starting to wane. You can’t really blame them. People meet you, realise you aren’t actually going to break down in tears or scream at them and decide yes, you are safe to be a friend. Then you organise to meet up again.

This is where it all falls apart for me. I love nothing more than hanging out one on one with people I like. I love going out for lunch or shopping or burlesque classes with a friend. But I can’t control when it will be a good day or a bad day. The worst part is often not knowing until the last minute.

How many times can you cancel last minute and still be called again? Not many I’m afraid. Eventually they take it for granted that you won’t show – who can blame them. Why make plans for something you know is unlikely to ever get around to happening. Eventually I start making “medical” excuses. I had a migraine. A stomach bug. My kid needed to go to emergency. Yup…I lie. I have learnt enough to know these things are considered suitable excuses. I couldn’t sleep so I watched 12 hours of gossip girl re-runs while crying and wishing I was normal…not so much.I absolutely hate dishonesty…so it doesn’t help. I just end up more upset, miserable and alone.

I know one or two people may read this and think I was talking to them (two people I have recently organised to meet and have instead been having very, very bad days)…but I’m not. You guys are still around….at least for now.

I really don’t blame anyone. It just sucks. It sucks I have to sit in bed and cry when I really wanted to be out shopping for these with the lovely Aly or having to have a new emergency gp appointment instead of sipping tea and learning about sewing with Lady Demelza. But I know the rest of the world won’t wait for me to get better.

I guess I just hope one day in the eyes of the world “I sat in my cupboard talking to myself” is as valid an excuse as “I was at emergency all night with a sick kid”.

project:girl