It's me, Aundrea... I know what you're thinking 'It's been 3 years, you don't call, you never write...' I know, I know! The truth is, I haven't really had anything to say. I've spent the past few years being encapsulated in my own little world but I always promised myself I would come back when I have something to say, so here I am.
Most of you know me either in real life, through social media or for my ramblings and reviews in the world of fragrance and cosmetics or at the very least, that one post where I had my bottom and vagina waxed for your entertainment... yeah, they were good times right? Actually, some of the best, but thats not what prompted me to sit down and open up Blogger tonight. Yes this post is about me, but it's the part of me you've never seen. The insecure, lost, and slightly irrational side of me that I have been battling for as long as I can remember.
Last June something happened in my personal life that prompted me to take a long hard look in the mirror, and let me tell you as someone who had spent the past 10 years actively avoiding mirrors, the reflection that stared back at me was not something I was ready for. So you can understand what I mean when I say this let me explain a few things to you.
If you had known me in my late teens, early 20's the girl you would have known was genuinely happy, she was funny, smart, sarcastic, loving and a little bit of a push over. This post is about how I lost that girl, became one I didn't like and found a way to become a woman I love.
In 2006 I met a guy in a bar that my friends and I used to hang out at a couple of nights a week... that night changed my life and would lead to a series of events that would rock the very foundations of the person I was and would have a lasting effect on the person I would become for the next 10 years. I often look back on that night and wonder how different my life would have been if he hadn't joined us at our table...
I have written about my experience with domestic violence before... For me, the daily abuse I suffered while I was pregnant with this mans child is still something I have trouble comprehending. When I talk about it, I feel like in a way I have become so detached from the situation that it almost feels like I'm talking about events in someone else's life instead of my own. I went through things that no man or woman should ever have to go through and as a result it changed the very foundation of the person I am. One person went into that relationship, a very different one came out. A girl who was afraid of confrontation, who saw no value in herself or what she could offer people, someone who was afraid of letting people get close to her, who couldn't take even the smallest criticism without falling apart, who couldn't trust and because of all this, someone who hated what she saw when she looked in the mirror.
It is important that you know this to understand how I ended up at that point last Summer. Yes my life continued and yes I've met people along the way who have shown me that there is good out there, that I can trust and above all know my worth but this battle hasn't been an easy win. My coping mechanism to get from that girl, to a year ago was comfort, and like when I was a teenager my comfort was food. My weight began to creep upward from the moment that relationship ended, and it continued to do so for 9 years until I saw a picture of myself at my daughters communion. I was completely and utterly ashamed of the image that stared back at me. Was that me? Was that what I had become? How did I let this happen?
This led to a couple of months of soul searching on my behalf to try and figure out where it all began and the truth is what I just described above is how it started, I used food as a means to either reward or console myself every single time something went right or wrong in my life. And here I was, disgusted with the person I had become. No self confidence, once again, no self worth, avoiding social interactions, not to mention mirrors. I needed to do something, I needed to take back control of my life and begin to shape myself into the person I wanted to be. Thats when I decided the weight had to go.
This meant having a fairly serious conversation with myself about realistic expectations. I have never in my entire life been what you would refer to as thin, and I never will be. It's not about that, the goal here is my health and happiness. I wanted to be a reasonable weight and in all honesty if I got to somewhere between 12 and a half or 13 stone I would be over the moon. So thats the target I set myself, the next issue was HOW?! I spoke to my GP who I adore, she is literally the most supportive person, the kind that gives it to you straight without reducing you to tears... always a bonus right?! We spoke about a variety of different options and I decided on Slimming World.
I found my local group online and called the number attached, a lady called Sinead was the group leader. My heart was in my mouth as the phone rang out, when she answered we spoke about group times and locations and I decided on a Tuesday group at 7.30pm. That gave me 6 days to mentally prepare myself to attend and face the numbers on the scales. I feel it's worth mentioning at this point that I hadn't stepped on a scales in oh i don't know 10 years?! I knew it wasn't going to be easy but I also knew that this was what I had to do to take control over a situation that was making me desperately unhappy.
Tuesday January the 24th rolled around, it was the day after my birthday... and I promised myself that if I was going to do this, I was all in. I left the house at 7pm, poised for an anxiety attack, worried about being judged and afraid of the harsh truth that awaited me when I stepped on those scales. I'm not going to the the breakdown of the induction and meetings that inevitably come with these weightloss posts because no doubt you've heard it before. Just know that when I stepped on those scales, NOTHING could have prepared me for those numbers that stared back at me. Sinead never batt an eyelid, she asked me for an interim target and told me I could do this, and for the first time in my life, I believed that.
It's been 4 months of my weekly Tuesday night meetings, and my life has changed exponentially for the better. Already I have more confidence than those 10 years lost combined, I'm a happier person, I'm a healthier person and I am also happy to report that I am also nearly 2 stone lighter. Some of this I had hoped for, dare I say expected? But the one thing I didn't expect was the love and support that have come my way since making the decision to join that group. The women and men that I have met have become family in a way. We are there for each other each and every week, we're genuinely delighted for the losses and targets achieved and we feel the pain of those bad weeks and gains, my group have taught me that I'm not alone in this struggle and that I have people there to lean on in times of need and who I can support and encourage in return in their times of need. It is honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made.
My life has already changed so much, I still have a long way to go, but knowing how great it feels to have come this far and seeing those positive changes in myself as well as my body is really the best gift I could have ever given myself. I feel like I have become fully aware of who I am, and the person I will continuously strive to be, because I know how shitty it felt to be so utterly lost. Thats why I wanted to write this post, it is in a way, a testament to myself and how far I have come in a year. I can look in the mirror and know that instead of hating the person looking back, I can be proud of the one I've become. It has taken a lot to get to this point and it'll take a lot more to get to where I want to be, but I'm a work in progress and there is nothing wrong with that... it has taken me a long time to learn to be kind to myself and show myself some sort of love or encouragement. If even the smallest part of this post sounds familiar to you, or prompts you to try and improve your happiness then writing this post has been worth it.
Deciding to take the steps to work and improve on yourself is never easy, but one of the most important relationships we have in life is with ourselves... don't you think thats a relationship worth cultivating? I certainly do, my only regret is its taken me so long to do it.
If you've gotten to this point, thank you for reading. Be kind to yourself, and if you've been trifling with the idea of some self improvement, my advice is go for it! You never know where it may lead you...