May 26

Not enough

Not enough.

Not good enough.

Not bad enough.

Not healthy enough.

Not fit enough.

Not thin enough.

Not strong enough.

Not fast enough.

Not exciting enough.

Not happy enough.

Not fun enough.

Not sexy enough.

Not wife enough.

Not woman enough.

Not mother enough.

Not daughter enough.

Not sister enough.

Not friend enough.

Not clean enough.

Not tidy enough.

Not organised enough.

Not dirty enough.

Not helpful enough.

Not efficient enough.

Not self-sufficient enough.

Not self-reliant enough.

Not capable enough.

Not confident enough.

Not enthusiastic enough.

Not supportive enough.

Not earning enough.

Not giving enough.

Not knowing enough.

Not worthy enough.

Not worth enough.

Not trying enough.

Not doing enough.

Not being enough.

Not good enough.

Not anything enough.

Not enough.

Permanent link to this article: http://butterflywings.twocockatoos.info/2014/05/26/not-enough/

Jan 28

We’re going to need a bigger car

Well, there’s not much point dancing around the subject. Basically, I’m pregnant. Again. The kind of funny thing is that it happened (yes, we know how) not too long after my last post, the one in which I was lamenting my fitness, my weight, diet, and my family’s mental issues. The “funny” part is that I’ve had to take another path on that whole thing, yet again.

I completed seven weeks of the weights regimen, with sporadic stints on the stationary bike in between sessions. I was feeling like I was making progress, and was actually looking forward to the sessions. I was getting stronger, it was “me time” (and even better, husband endorsed and supported so I didn’t have to find a way to justify it), and it felt pretty good.

And then I got sick. Some sort of cold thing, but it knocked me down for about a week, and I took a break from the weights. My health improved again, but I still had a niggling cough, and I was always tired. I didn’t feel like going back to weights yet. I was stressing about a certain inconvenient cyclical event coinciding with a family event, and then that didn’t happen either.

After the family event went smoothly, The Husband said “see, all that worry for nothing!” and I said, “well, maybe”. Because I had been starting to suspect there was more to it. I explained to him that there might be another reason, and he took that pretty well, but I waited a bit longer to confirm. As usual, my charting was not 100% clear-cut, and I succumbed and bought a home pregnancy test. I took about half an hour to prepare myself for the whole nervous visit-the-toilet-and-get-ready-to-wait-three-minutes thing. I had barely put the test on a flat surface when those two pink lines appeared. Seriously fast. No doubt at all. My body doesn’t mess around when it comes to hCG.

The Husband was at work, and I didn’t want to tell him over the phone, so I had to wait for him to come home. Which was torture. So one friend in the entire world found out before he did. He was OK with that. And he was OK with the news, too, even though he had half-jokingly implied that he was scared of having any more kids.

So now, we’ve passed certain arbitrary milestones, the older two kids know, and now we have told the other important people that need to be told “first”. You know, before telling facebook and the rest of the internet.

We have secured a lovely midwife, our kids are actually a little bit excited, and my psychologist is helping me to prepare for the best possible mental outcome. I’m hopefully starting to see the end of the first trimester, which always knocks me flat and despite all good intentions, makes it almost impossible to establish any sort of fitness plan. I’ve been trying to get some stationary bike time, and I’m working up to some real walking again. I’m looking into some pregnancy-friendly exercise plans to start on as soon as this ridiculous fatigue wears off, because even though I can’t start any crazy diets, or do anything stupidly rigorous now, I still want/need to be healthier, and I would love to be fitter at birth than I am now. In fact, I really need to be fitter at birth than I am now.

 

Finally, and back to the title, now that we’re going from three children to four, our little five-seater car isn’t going to be big enough to fit all of us in. The Husband has already decided what vehicle he wants, but we haven’t quite agreed on that subject yet. Yes, there’s still time, but I’m sure that will go by more quickly than we’re prepared for. Feel free to throw some suggestions at us if you have any knowledge or experience with the whole six-plus-seats vehicle thing, and also the whole SUV vs MPV/people mover thing, particularly with relevance to husbands who cringe at stereotypical family cars. Australian suggestions are probably best. ;-)

 

So that’s it. Yes, I could have kept it short and sweet and said “Hey, I’m pregnant… again”. But where would the fun be in that?

Permanent link to this article: http://butterflywings.twocockatoos.info/2014/01/28/going-to-need-a-bigger-car/

Nov 06

Should

Bear with me. This one’s longish.

 

It’s been over a year since I posted here. So many times I’ve thought of doing it, but haven’t sat down and done it. So many words in my head that haven’t travelled to my fingers. Always thinking it won’t be good enough, or worth reading.

Should.

Should blog.

Should write.

Should update how I’m doing.

Should be normal by now.

 

The last time I was here, I had just completed a 60km bike ride. And then I got off my bike and gained weight. And then some more. And my bike started collecting dust.

 

Then I tried walking. I like walking. I strapped the toddler onto my back and walked. We walked the older kids to the train station and took them to school. We walked home again. Sometimes I walked 5km in one trip. Sometimes it was more, depending on the mood of the kid at the other end of the journey, or the timing of trains. But I didn’t shake that weight. I gained muscle, and strength, and stamina. But I didn’t get smaller.

 

And then life happened. The bigger kids were really struggling with things. Not academic things (not directly), mental things. Like my mental things, the ones I was just starting to overcome. We all went backwards. The walks stopped. The car trips started. Then came the appointments with the psychologist, first one kid, and then two. More driving. Always driving.

 

Should get back on my bike. Should at least start walking again.

Should figure out how to lose that weight again.

Should get myself some help.

 

The kids are improving. The counselling seems to be helping. I started seeing a psychologist too. More driving, but more hope. Just walking in that door was one of the biggest walks I’ve done in a while. Not physically, of course. Emotionally, mentally. It’s exhausting.

 

Should mention that “should” is a trigger word for me.

My husband doesn’t understand why. He claims that it’s a positive word. I agree that it’s possible to use it positively. More often than not, it’s used in a negative way. Shaming. Guilt-inducing. Not productive. I use it all the time. My psychologist has pulled me up on it. It’s one of the things I need to work on.

 

Should declutter the house (that endless theme).

Should try a vegan/vegetarian diet.

Should try a paleo/primal diet.

Should cut out gluten, dairy, grains, sugar, “bad” additives, nightshades, anything, everything.

Should figure out which diet really will help us, physically and mentally.

Should drink more water.

Should should should should should…

 

So here’s what I am, and have been, doing.

 

A few months ago, I obtained some starters for milk kefir, water kefir, and kombucha. I’ve been culturing these, and the whole family has been enjoying them. I want to get into more of a routine/plan with taking them, but we’ve just been using them as desired and being all freestyle about it. This is hopefully just the beginning.

Interestingly, since I had to wait so long for the cultures to arrive (ordered online and it takes time to grow them) I had plenty of time to arrange a space for them. I decluttered an entire corner, and I’ve maintained it so it’s functional. I’m a little bit proud of that.

This led to decluttering another corner that was originally intended for my creative/crafting space. It’s not perfect, but I’ve been using that space too. I even started sewing again, which is turning out to be almost as therapeutic as knitting. And then another gap opened up to create a space for The Girl, to play, to draw, to store.

Bit by bit, corner by corner, box by box, I’m making some progress. There is a lot of clutter to get through, in the house, and in my brain. As they say, when eating an elephant, take one bite at a time. And there was one awfully big elephant in this room (elephant metaphors, wheee!)

 

We’ve been working towards a diet that leans towards GAPS/gut-healing, nutrient dense. We’ve been mostly gluten free, but not 100%. I would like to say I’ve been 100% gluten free for almost two months, but I know I haven’t avoided every tiny bit of contamination, so I can’t say that. I actually want us all to try grain free, at least for a while. We were originally going to also try dairy free, but decided to give the milk kefir a try for the gut healing, and to allow cultured dairy. We’re still being a little slack on the other dairy, another thing I need to rein in.

Researching diets is so overwhelming. Everybody is so sure that they are right.

You should be eating this. You should be avoiding that. You should do this because it worked for me. It’s just not that simple. And I’ve given up before starting, so many times, because of it. So we don’t have a label for what we’re doing, because I don’t want to give up this time.

 

Finally, I’ve started an exercise plan. It’s a weights training regimen, and so far I’ve managed to stick with it for over a month. Dishearteningly, I’ve actually gained a couple more kilos since starting, but I’m hoping some of that is muscle. I feel stronger, and I know that somewhere under the fat, muscles are becoming more toned. The program did come with the warning that measurable weight loss could take time, so I’m counting on that. I’m also fitting in a few sessions on the stationary bike, and trying to figure out a way to get back to walking, at least a little bit, with the kids again. I’m eyeing off the dusty bikes, and working on getting us all riding again too.

 

I’m not going to promise to update every day, or every week, or even with any kind of regularity. I am, however, going to try to write something sometimes that doesn’t need to start with “Well, it’s been a while…”

I’m not even going to promise to use this as my public way of holding myself accountable for progress. It doesn’t work for me. I only end up rebelling.

So here I am. I’m not sure where “here” is right now, but I think, just maybe, I’m headed in a positive direction again. Wish me luck.

Permanent link to this article: http://butterflywings.twocockatoos.info/2013/11/06/should/

Oct 20

Fit for a fatty

The other day, I received an email from the official photography company that covered the big bike ride I did two weeks ago.

I hesitated to open the email. At first I thought it would be a link to every photo of the event, which would mean that everybody could see my photos, and also that I would have to look at thousands of other people’s photos to find mine.

As it turns out, they had sorted all the photos they had taken that day, and somehow (I don’t know how they do it, but they do) selected all of the photos of me personally, and sent me a personal link to view them, with the option of buying copies.

I finally made myself click the link. Seven pictures, undeniably of me, irrefutable proof not only that I was there, but that I was fat.

I mentioned last time that I wasn’t the fattest person there. And I wasn’t. It is actually possible that I was the fattest female there, but not the fattest person. At least, I’m pretty sure some of the people I saw would qualify as fatter.

One thing I’ve observed is that there seem to be more men willing to get out there with a “beer gut” and hairy legs. And I think it’s great. I just wish I didn’t feel like the only fat chick on a bike.

I’m focusing a lot on that word. Fat.

Fat. Fatter. Fattest.

That word — fat — has followed me around for most of my life. I’m sure there have been many times that I’ve been the person in the crowd that has made somebody think “Wow, that person should really do some exercise”. I’ve also been the person walking with a child (or two) on my back and/or shoulders who has made at least one toned, lycra-clad cyclist stop and comment. Okay, he was stopped at a red light, but he seemed impressed with my effort.

My point is, I’m relatively fit. I’m certainly not conventionally fit, like those people with huge, muscly legs and expensive road bikes, who rode 100km at an average of 30+km/h without ever once using granny gear or walking up a hill.

I have huge legs too. The muscles are just a bit better disguised…

But those legs can take me a long way. And they do. So I say I’m fit, with a disclaimer. I’m fit “for a fat person”. I’m trying to lose that disclaimer. That tag. Maybe I should turn it around. Maybe I should say I’m fat for a fit person. Actually, no, that sounds worse.

This endeavour has not been helped by the fact that, in the week following the ride, I gained almost 6kg. For a number of reasons, I believe that some of it was fluid/water retention. I’m sure some of it is just plain old fat. I didn’t get back on a bike for a week after the ride. There were certain aspects of recovering from a long ride for which I hadn’t prepared myself. I’m still trying to lose the last bits that will bring me back to where I was before the ride. And then I have to lose the weight I gained in the past few months, after I had finally reached a weight that felt like I was making progress. It’s frustrating. It takes the edge off the feeling of achievement.

Then, two days ago, I was “forced” to walk the kids to school. I haven’t done that in a long time. Toddler rode in the Ergo carrier on my back, which, interestingly, meant that our combined weight was close to the weight I started at back in 2009, at my heaviest, all by myself. We walked to school, then home via the shops, a round trip of almost 5km. Then we did it again in the afternoon. Yesterday we did the same thing, with a bit of extra walking to try to find a shop that would sell a hat to replace what the toddler somehow lost along the way. Yes, there is a downside to carrying the toddler on my back where I can’t watch everything she does every second.

Today, I’m sore. It’s mostly good hurting, muscles that were reminded of their usefulness. There are also some aches that remind me that I have to adjust the Ergo so that it’s more ergonomic.

I have to say that the 60km ride hurt less the next day than the 20km of walking spread out over two days. But now that I’ve done it, I know I have to keep making the effort. The days are getting hotter, which will be more of a challenge, but I think the nesting birds are possibly starting to calm down. At least, they didn’t bother us while we were walking.

So this fatty is looking forward to working on the fitness, regardless of how the photos look.

I’m still not sure whether to buy one. I’m thinking about it. Maybe I need a big fat reminder to hang on my wall for days when I’m wondering if it’s all worth it.

Permanent link to this article: http://butterflywings.twocockatoos.info/2012/10/20/fit-for-a-fatty/

Oct 18

Revisiting the trigger that started it all

I walked into the coffee shop (technically a pizza restaurant/cafĂ©) with my newborn in my arms, wanting to introduce her to the people who had watched my belly grow and chatted with me every time I had dropped in for the previous few months. It’s a small, family-owned place, and while their main fare is pizza and pasta, they also display a generous selection of sweets made in-store. I admit to partaking in their baked goods on several occasions.

But I digress…

I walked in the door, committed now to buying something. However, those who had seen me most frequently were not there that day. The woman there, not unfamiliar to me, but not my favourite, is, let’s say, not the most gentle or tactful person I’ve ever met. Friendly, in her own way, but not the face I was looking for.

“Did you have another one???” — referring, of course, to the bundle in my arms.

Um, yes. Apparently I did. I wondered how long it had been since I’d seen her.

She served our food, scooping icecream for my iced coffee, and pulling the cheesecake with red fruit jelly topping out of the cabinet. She asked my baby’s name, made idle chit chat.

I observed marks on her arms. They looked dark reddish-brown. They could have been healing burns from the kitchen, or dried scabs, or bruises, or open wounds. They may even have simply been pigment spots or moles. For all my brain would register, they were to be avoided. And I had already committed to buying the food.

I tried to ignore them. I told myself that she wouldn’t be serving food with open wounds. I tried to convince my brain that there was no danger. I started to collect the food and kids together so I could leave and have my panic attack in peace.

She finished serving the food, and then started to come around in front of the counter. She brusquely asked “Can I have a nurse?” (note, in this country, particularly with older people, to “nurse” a baby is to hold or cuddle it, not breastfeed it).

I started to protest. “Even my friends haven’t held her yet.” She replied in her entitled-because-I’m-somebody’s-grandmother-or-want-to-be kind of way that she hadn’t nursed a baby in ages. Because, apparently, my baby was brought into the shop for her benefit.

Stupidly, numbly, I handed over my baby. I know, I know. I still don’t know why. I could feel the anxiety building, the panic bubbling. In that moment, I hated myself, my weakness, my lack of ability to protect my baby, even from some old woman in a shop. At eleven days old, I had already failed to protect my baby.

I started to stammer that I thought there was a poo in the nappy. In fact, I was pretty sure there was, but I was just kicking myself for not mentioning it sooner. It was excellent ammunition, used correctly.

She handed my baby back, and I retreated as quickly as possible.

And then the panic exploded. I couldn’t tell if baby’s feet had touched “those” parts of the woman’s arms. I worried that baby’s toenails had scratched scabs. I tried to work out how I was going to disinfect my entire baby. The thoughts swirled and snarled and shrieked.

When I arrived home, I tried to explain to The Husband. That, of course, was an exercise in futility and frustration.

That was two years ago. Minus one week.

 

I didn’t walk through that door again until a month or so ago. There was somebody completely different working there, somebody who didn’t know me at all. She had no idea how difficult it was for me to buy a coffee from her that day. I’m sure she wouldn’t have cared, had I told her.

 

Then, today, I did it. I went back.

Due to a number of circumstances, I walked with the kids to school, instead of driving, which I’ve been doing far too much lately. With The Toddler in the Ergo carrier on my back, I decided to keep walking to the shops. I glanced in at the door of the coffee shop as I passed, but couldn’t see anybody at the counter. I bought The Toddler another pair of sunglasses at the pharmacy (I’m sure her others will miraculously resurface now), and then went back towards the coffee shop.

I walked in the door, and saw one of the people who had been there throughout my pregnancy, one of those I had hoped to see that first day. She remembered me, commenting that it had been a while. I said “two years”. Two years after I had first tried to introduce her to my new baby, she met that baby.

She didn’t ask to nurse my toddler. Then again, most people don’t, after the baby has passed a certain age. She listened as I told her I had struggled postnatally.

I didn’t tell her details, and she didn’t ask. I didn’t tell her what had made me so afraid of revisiting her shop that I hadn’t returned for almost two years. I didn’t tell her to blame her colleague (relative?) for prompting my first major postnatal breakdown with this baby. I didn’t tell her how that one visit was the catalyst for a cascade of breakdowns and meltdowns. She probably didn’t really care, but she responded appropriately and politely. She wished me well, and I left.

I still feel cheated. But just a teeny, tiny bit vindicated. Or victorious. Or proud. Or something.

For a day on which other triggers are already rearing their ugly heads and pushing me to the edge, that one small victory is feeling a little bit bigger.

Permanent link to this article: http://butterflywings.twocockatoos.info/2012/10/18/revisiting-the-trigger-that-started-it-all/

Oct 14

Not the birth story (two years)

Two years ago right now, I was learning how to be the mother of a newborn all over again. I had done it twice already, but it had been so long between babies that it might as well have been the first time.

I meant to have written the birth story by now. I still intend to write it. I need to write it. I need to write all of my babies’ birth stories. They were all so different, as different as each child. Something keeps stopping me from sitting down and really putting them into writing. It’s not always the same something, but there’s always something.

Two years ago, my baby was born at home, into water, in my bedroom. I touched her head first. I caught her. I pulled her out of the water. I held her to my chest.

My midwife sat nearby, quietly observing, gently encouraging when needed, but not interfering. Not once did I have my dilation checked, neither in pregnancy, nor in labour.

My husband, the father of my children, was close, helping to make me as comfortable as possible, supporting me physically, mentally, emotionally.

My children, our children, the two older brothers of this baby we were about to meet, were asleep in the next room, their own room, until I became loud enough to disturb them. They were (mostly) awake, and present, to witness their sister’s arrival, and to celebrate in the wee hours, before creeping back into their own comfortable beds.

The boys were not born at home. They were born, as most babies in this country are, in hospital. One day I may write more about the reasons their sister was a planned homebirth. Their birth stories are all intertwined and part of each other — which is one of the reasons it is so hard to write just this one.

The past two years have been amazing, in all sorts of ways. I have experienced highs and lows with greater depth than I remember experiencing them before. Deep in my soul I feel certain that this birth needed to be at home. I know it wasn’t the miraculous, healing, perfect, preventer of postnatal depression that I had hoped for, but I sincerely believe that this battle would have been so much harder, for me, in my own situation and experience, had this birth not been the birth that it was.

I didn’t know what I was going to write tonight, when I sat down here. I think I thought it would be something inspiring and beautiful, addressed to my daughter, for her to read one day. Or maybe her birth story. I’m not even sure what it is, now that it’s done. It’s late, and I’m tired, and I’m thinking of all the fun that not-so-little-anymore baby of mine had today, on her birthday. I’m marvelling at how those two years flew by just like that, and knowing that before I can blink, her birth will be a more distant memory still.

I need to write that birth story.

But not tonight.

Permanent link to this article: http://butterflywings.twocockatoos.info/2012/10/14/not-the-birth-story-two-years/

Oct 10

Bruises

There is a bruise on my body that has been there for two years, two weeks, and two days. It has faded in that time, but has not completely disappeared. It is there because my iron levels were dipping so low during my pregnancy that my GP suggested I needed more drastic action. So she offered me an IM iron injection. I accepted. I don’t even know if it was worth the effort, because I never had a follow-up blood test to check for a difference.

Two days ago, I saw my GP again to talk about my ongoing mental problems. I had intended to talk about medications, and then I had felt like I was doing a bit better. And then, as always, the appointment felt rushed and disjointed (it was actually an appointment for me and all three kids), and I didn’t even think about it. Additionally, my GP is very open to alternative/complementary therapies, and came up with a new potential diagnosis and plan.

I walked away from that appointment with blood test requests. Yesterday, they took enough blood (and I survived yet another trigger factory: the blood collection place) to check my full blood count, iron studies, copper/zinc balance, and thyroid. In the meantime, she has put me on a new supplement regimen to kickstart a solution to what she suspects will show up in the tests. Chances are I at least have low iron and zinc, and high copper. If she’s right, I may yet avoid the medications I’ve been so scared of considering. Maybe. I think it’s worth a try.

Meanwhile, I have a new bruise, in the crook of my arm where they took the blood. I have no idea why it looks so angry there; it was extremely easy to find a cooperative vein, and I don’t think I lifted or bent my arm too much. It’s kind of funny that there is a new bruise from trying to find out if the old bruise was worth it.

Permanent link to this article: http://butterflywings.twocockatoos.info/2012/10/10/bruises/

Oct 08

I did it! I really did it!

One month ago today, I wrote about my lofty goal. I agonised over it. I felt myself constantly torn in two over the prospect of making a decision. The final decision had to be made four days before the event, at the latest. I studied my fertility signs to try to decipher whether I would be likely to drop out on the day. I bargained with myself, using if:then statements.

If my period arrived within a particular time frame and avoided another one, then I would sign up.

It didn’t.

If our home internet problem was solved by the registration deadline, then I would sign up.

It wasn’t.

If I was sure of a decision before the earlier deadline so that my ride kit would be mailed to my house, then I would sign up.

I wasn’t.

If I could find where I had put the membership number I needed to get the discount, then I would sign up.

I couldn’t.

My fertility signs were all over the place, but I convinced myself that there was a decipherable, favourable pattern, and hoped for the best.

I waited until the last possible hour on the last possible day. I rang the office to ask for my membership number.

I registered via the internet on my phone.

We drove to the office to pick up my ride kit.

And then I waited for the Universe to throw something else in my path.

It didn’t.

Well, not really.

Due to a number of reasons, I actually didn’t ride at all on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday. My last ride not on the bike stand in the back yard was two Sundays before that. I started to doubt myself. And I obsessively continued to check my fertility symptoms to convince myself one way or the other.

I really wanted to be more open about my plans, but I was terrified that I would end up not going through with it and feel incredibly stupid.

Then, yesterday arrived. I woke early, terribly nervous, after staying up too late trying to organise the things I would need so I wouldn’t forget them. The butterflies in my stomach decided to hang out in my legs. I even shaved my lower legs (don’t be shocked, but I hadn’t done that in a while, and yes, it’s another OCD thing).

I put on the clothes I would wear, feeling embarrassed at my body shape, all too clearly outlined. I wasn’t clad in lycra, but it wasn’t my usual baggy preference.

I begged the kids to get themselves organised so we wouldn’t be late.

We ran out the door, later than we wanted to be, but just in time to not miss the cut-off time.

I kissed them all goodbye, and suddenly, I was on my way.

I joined the steady stream of cyclists, some just starting out like me, some leaving the rest stop after having already covered 40km. I smiled as I passed the 50km sign, with its encouraging “You’re half way!”, thinking “no I’m not!” — but now I realise that, while I was only 1/6 of the way through the actual ride, I was well and truly past my personal halfway point.

The next rest stop was at my 40km point — 80km into the main event. My husband and kids were waiting around the corner to greet me and encourage me onwards. The toddler was happy to see me, but seemed happy enough to let me go again. This had been another concern of mine, that she would be upset and I would feel guilty and anxious about continuing. By this time, I had already ridden further than I ever had in a single ride.

Police and volunteers made sure major intersections stayed safe for both cyclists and motorists. Kids on the side of the road cheered us on. There were some cranky, impatient drivers, but most treated us respectfully. Of course, there were also cyclists giving us all less than a good name, and there were the usual challenges of riding in fairly close proximity to other people.

There were all sorts of people and all sorts of bikes (even one tandem decked out to resemble Star Trek’s Enterprise). There were serious people, funny people, smiling people, fast people, talkative people. I wasn’t the fattest, or the slowest, or the last to arrive. I only walked up one hill, and that was because I rang my husband after he texted me, and decided not to stay still while talking. I did use “granny gear” more than once.

Suddenly, the end was within reach. About a kilometre or so from the finish line, I started to cry. Just a little, but the emotions started to well up and had to get out somewhere. I couldn’t believe I had actually done it. As an added bonus, the last couple of kilometres ran within view — and smell — of the ocean. I had forgotten how fresh and amazing that smell was. And as an extra added bonus, on the final stretch, my kids spotted me as they drove along in the car looking for somewhere to park, and excitedly shouted and waved.

For most of the riders out there with me on that hot, sunny, breezy morning, I imagine it was a bit of fun, a physical challenge, yes, but just another bike ride. I obviously can’t speak for everybody.

For me, it was that and so much more.

A year ago, this would have been impossible for me.

My mental state made stepping out the front door an excruciating exercise, never mind riding to another city.

Yesterday, I achieved the goals I set myself.

I started the ride (definitely my biggest personal challenge).

I finished the ride.

I rode in close proximity to other people, without freaking out excessively.

I finished without needing to use the SAG wagon or the first aid van.

I finished without having to deal with flat tyres or witness anybody else being injured.

I avoided having to use public toilets, although my method is not recommended (I’m pretty sure I didn’t really drink enough to stay properly hydrated).

Most of all, I proved to myself that I could.

Now I need to find a new goal.

Permanent link to this article: http://butterflywings.twocockatoos.info/2012/10/08/i-did-it-i-really-did-it/

Sep 08

Lofty goal

I recently mentioned a lofty goal. It’s one I’ve dreamed about for three years now.

In January 2009, I started riding my bike again. That year, as I gained fitness, I learned about an organised ride/cycle challenge (not a race) that happens every October. I even thought about doing it that year. And then I had one of my worst weeks in a very long time, which left me drained, exhausted, and discouraged, and was relieved that I hadn’t signed up for something I would have backed out of at the last moment.

When this event rolled around in 2010, I was nine months pregnant, and I seem to remember it also clashed with another commitment. I think I had a pretty good excuse for not even considering it.

Then, in 2011, I was in the depths of PND/PPD, OCD, anxiety, agoraphobia, etc. I was still barely leaving the house, and there was no way I would have even imagined participating in a mass group ride.

So here we are in 2012. I’m far from better, but I’m doing better than I was. If I think about it, most days I’m doing a lot better than I was. And I’m saying that as I approach the end of another DUPSUFO week, in combination with a lovely relapse of this cold/flu thing I thought I was finally shaking off. I really want to do this ride. I’ve been alternating between talking myself into it and talking myself out of it. Until the start of this week, I was riding quite a lot. I have a great deal of trouble riding during “those” times, but I’m counting down the days (hours, almost) until I get back on the bike. That’s a good sign for me, not giving up completely, and looking forward to picking up where I left off. It’s going to hurt, because I’m not planning on taking it too easy, and it’s been a few days. Luckily, according to the suggested training plans, this week was a “rest week”, which meant easy rides and nothing too strenuous. I haven’t really been following the plans, since I actually have kids, and problems, and you know, things going on, but I fit in what I can and try to vaguely follow the recommendations.

I really want to do this. I may have mentioned that already…

I wanted to write about this yesterday, being exactly one month before the ride, or tomorrow, being exactly four weeks before. Instead, I’m compromising by writing about it today, nicely in between.

There are two courses: the first is 100km. It starts at some ridiculous hour of the morning that, even on our good days, is probably completely unreasonable for me to contemplate, since just getting my family to the start venue on time would be the biggest challenge of the day. The second course is 60km. It’s the same as the majority of the first course, joining up with them at the 40km mark. It starts at a conceivably possible hour, and at a potentially more accessible location. I just found out that the colour-coded bike bibs are purple for the 60km course, so for me, that seals the deal. ;-)

I have until October 3 for the absolute-last-minute decision to sign up. That’s just over three weeks to figure out how to deal with my fears of public toilets, unpredictable cycles, and other OCD triggers. The thing I fear least is being physically capable of riding 60km.

So, talk me into this. Or talk me out of it. Is 2012 my year?

Permanent link to this article: http://butterflywings.twocockatoos.info/2012/09/08/lofty-goal/

Sep 04

Wanting to be proud of myself for something

Last week I wanted to write about being proud of myself. From Monday to Friday, I rode every day. The weekend before that was a bit of a mess. Between being sick, having sick kids, and it being a crazy busy weekend, I didn’t manage to get on the bike, although I did a lot of walking, so I justified it that way. But Monday to Friday, I rode. Most of those days were on the stationary bike. Monday and Tuesday were on my bike, out and about.

I was particularly proud of Tuesday. I rode with the kids to school, and then the Toddler and I kept going. By the time we arrived home, my bike had travelled about 18km. In the afternoon, picking up the boys again, we added another 7km. I did 25km that day. And I was so proud of that.

And then, that evening, I had an anxiety attack, was upset with The Husband about something, and kicked a hole in the shower wall. Luckily, my foot stopped hurting after a few hours, but the shower is waiting to be repaired properly. It currently has a lovely painting drop-sheet taped to the area to stop water getting into the wall cavity.

It’s hard to feel proud of yourself for the day’s achievement when you ruin everything that night.

So, the rest of the week, relegated to the stationary bike, I beat myself up emotionally. Not only did I feel trapped by sick kids that prevented me from riding my own bike, and cranky with myself for doing something so stupid, but I just can’t find anything to be proud of, even when I think I can.’

Two days ago, I rode home from a visit with family. We figured out several things that day:

  1. driving there and riding back made for a much more pleasant (and less sweaty and smelly) visit;
  2. my bike fits in the car;
  3. making sure the bike fits in the car before you get to the other end is a wise idea;
  4. I can ride 26 km in one journey.

I rode 26 km. It took me almost 2.5 hours, but I did it.

I want to be proud of that. And I am.

But there’s still a plastic sheet lining the shower wall.

Permanent link to this article: http://butterflywings.twocockatoos.info/2012/09/04/wanting-to-be-proud-of-myself-for-something/

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