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To Live and not Just Exist

Choosing life, happiness, peace and joy. Oh and weight loss too

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living life

Me

Hello.
You don’t know me. Not yet anyway. I am you, 27 years on.

You turned 40 the other day. It came and it went much like any other day. There was some celebration, there was some sadness. But it passed. Much like any other day.

You worry so much about not fitting in. About not having friends. About what people think of you. About whether your mom and your dad value you. About whether your brother and your sister love you.

Stop worrying. All those nights of tears and fretting get you absolutely nowhere. Not one bit of the energy you expended ever changed anything anyone ever thought of you, did for you or meant to you.

Stop worrying Jessie. You will be ok.

I have to tell you that your dad dies soon. A massive heart attack. Norine comes, and Stephen eventually. And then they leave and it is just you and mom.

In time, you forget what he looked like. You forget what he sounded like. You forget who he was. Because you barely knew him. All that becomes important is whether or not he was or is proud of you. And it doesn’t matter one way or the other. The only person who has to be proud of you, is you. Learn this now. Learn it well. Because you will fight this demon all your life. And it will win. Every time someone doesn’t measure up to the ideals you have set for them. Every time someone leaves. Every time someone disappoints you. Somehow, you manage to turn it into something you did wrong.

Stop. Learn the lesson. Don’t take other people’s shit on as your own. And try to remember your dad as best you can, for as long as you can. Because you will miss who you think he was, who you hoped he was, who you believed him to be every day for the rest of your life.

Over time, your mother develops an unhealthy attachment to you. Your nature, and her nature, clash and crash and nothing good comes of it. It will shape you and affect you in ways that no one will ever understand. Don’t let it. So much of the heartbreak you face, comes from this one simple fact. Your mother, however unintentionally, will mould you into a soul that is very damaged. Stop. Learn the lesson. Don’t let another person’s weakness become your own. But remember always, she did her best. It may not have been good enough for you, but it was her best. Don’t turn away from her. Love her as best you can. Because she is your mom. And one day, she will be all the family you have close to you.

When you get a bit older you are going to fuck up monumentally. You will think your life has ended. You will think you will never recover. You will believe that you are done. Don’t. Stop. It makes you strong in ways that no other person will ever be strong. Although the fear of it will haunt you forever. You will recover. You will get better. You will be okay. I promise. Just keep breathing. One breath at a time. This one moment does not define who you are. You fucked up. You are not a fuck up.

Even older still and you will get sick. Some weird mystery illness that they still argue about. Stop. Don’t let any doctor who you think knows better, tell you who you are. Don’t let them pump you full of the meds that will balloon you to 170kg’s. Don’t let them. Question everything. Make sure it makes sense.

Older still, and you will realise that you are ok alone. But that being alone all the time is hard. It is hard to never have anyone to rely on. It is hard to do everything alone. But you will find a few souls that hang out in the periphery of a life. Always there. They love you. Find them. Keep them close. You will need them.

One day, you will realise that your family is made up of so many animals. People will laugh at you when you call a dog your closest. Don’t care what they say. Every single life in this life, is worth love. Love them completely. Time will come when they will become your reason for waking. Your reason for going home. Your reason to be.

So much doom and gloom. So much to face in a short life.

And I haven’t even really started.

So let me tell you this.

You are beautiful Jessie. You are compassionate and kind and generous and smart and funny. You are loyal and true.

You are beautiful.

I am proud of you.

Every little bit of you.

Every big bit of you.

Every broken bit of you.

Every whole bit of you.

Learn your lesson Jessie. You matter to the only person that matters.

Yourself.

You are exactly who you are meant to be.

And you are awesome.

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It’s gonna be Epic

For almost 40 years I have existed.

True to the ideals and standards that society, circumstance and family impose on us.

Forever striving for an unrealistic version of my best self.

For almost 40 years I have struggled and tried and cried and chafed against the restrictions I have put on my own self.

For almost 40 years I have not quite fully embraced my own path.

I have never found the way to my heart, my hope, my love and my joy, unequalled and without judgment, settling and doubt.

For many, I have come a long way. They see this version of me that is completely foreign to the version of me that they used to know.

For some, those who have circled my orbit for longer, is this version of me any different to the one they have always known?

Does it matter?

Or have I finally come to realize that I can be the version of me that I chose? That I decide? That I like? That I embrace? That I have found, after 40 years of struggling to be me?

The one me that loves so completely that any creature is welcome?

The one me that is loyal and true and kind and generous?

The one me that finds joy in the art of a lost art?

The one me that draws her perfection on her body?

The one me that finds faith in her version of a God?

The one me that is actually pretty damn fine?

We all have a need to be accepted and loved.

For too long I have not accepted and loved myself.

So I shall stand before this metaphorical mirror and look at my emergent self.

I am.

I was.

But now I am. And I am so much more than you thought I could be. Than I thought I could be.

I am true.

I am bold.

I am.

Watch me.

I have a feeling it’s gonna be epic.

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.

Glue

We are not born with a good life or a bad life. We are born with a life. And it is up to us to make it good or bad.

We are not the sum of who we are born to. We are every moment we chose to do good or bad. To help or hinder. To love or hurt.

We are not constrained to the family who share our blood. Sometimes, they leave. Sometimes, they hurt you. Sometimes, they are not anything in your life.

We are not alone. Never truly. Whichever God we believe in watches over us. Even when it doesn’t feel like it.

We are not destiny. We are what we make for ourselves. We are what we fill our lives with. The people, the creatures, the environment.

We are as unique or as uniform as we chose to be.

I have a generated family. A family of crazy rat loving, healthy food eating, boot camp addicted, introverted, child rearing, fabulous, stupendous, random people I have met and assimilated.

I have a traditional family. I try very, very hard to be something in this family. Probably because I have always been the black sheep. More probably because I have always thought I am loved and part of it just because they have to.

My traditional family is slowly leaving me. And the fear of being truly alone is just terrifying. The sad part is I am probably already alone.

My generated family – I don’t quite know why they love me. Why they have chosen me.

I just know that to surround yourself with the people who actually want you around – that is a life worth living.

So I thank them.

Every last crazy one of them.

They are what fill the little gaps left in my soul. The little gaps that self-doubt, fear, harsh judgement, self-hatred leave behind. The little gaps that will sink you if you let them.

They are the glue that holds my Self together.

Even if they don’t know it.

Space to hang yourself

I grew up in the wide open spaces of a farm in the middle of Vereeniging in South Africa. The animals and my imagination were my friends. The wind and dust my companions.

I grew up solitary and alone for the most part.

I learnt to amuse and occupy myself. I used the gifts I was born with and crafted entire worlds around my existence, where I was always the hero. I learnt to be alone.

Which is not an easy thing to one who is a vociferous extrovert. At the time I had no idea what introvert or extrovert meant. I didn’t have enough human contact to be educated in the matter.

I was simply alone – so I learnt to be alone.

That skill has served me well over the years.

Now, older and wiser and way more careful with my heart and affections, I find myself spending allot of time alone.

Tonight, at the  tail end of a traumatic week, I wondered – when does a life becomes too solitary?

When does the silence of no answer start to chafe a bit too vigorously?

In a normal day, I will spend 9 hours in the company of colleagues. Talking all the nonsense and business that makes up a working life.

Coming home – I will spend 9 hours sleeping. I do love my sleep. Or is it rather that I hate the silence more.

6 plus hours, barring the odd outing, I spend in my own company.

The radio is always on. The animals become white noise. My thoughts, which are more often than not at odds with me, my company and my companion.

I think my life has become too solitary. And I do not know how to change it.

 

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