Hi, will you be my friend?

When I was 24, I moved countries. On my own. To a city where I didn’t know anyone my own age already. I had some family friends that I stayed with for a while, but no friends. No one to socialise with, to show me the cool places in town, or just to hang out with and chat about things we have in common. I had to start all over again, from scratch.

It was sort of a bit of poetic beauty perhaps. I also arrived to a new country, on my own with one suitcase. Everything I owned was in that one suitcase. I needed to completely start all over again, in every aspect. I needed more than a suitcase of belongings to make a life that I was comfortable with, I absolutely needed more than one pair of shoes, I needed a job to be able to purchase such items and I needed friends to make my life enjoyable, people to share adventures with, as much as I am independent and love to do things on my own, I love having fulfilling friendships.

I had been in my new city for about a week and took the 1st job that was offered to me, just to get some money coming in. It was for a very small recruitment agency. There were 5 of us. Including the manager. Thankfully there was this beautiful blonde bubbly girl who instantly took me under her wing. She was so warm and kind and made adjusting to working in a new place so easy. It wasn’t the most fun place to work, however having someone like her to hang out with made it so much better.

This blonde babe invited me out with her and her friends for Australia Day, I remember being so nervous and not wanting to go because I didn’t know anyone. I remember really having to talk myself into it. But I also remember having a wonderful time once I got there. And I met people that day that I have become the best of friends with.

Someone once said to me “You’re so lucky you have such a nice group of friends”. Yes its true, I do have a great group of friends, and they are wonderful people, however its not due to luck. I had to put a lot of effort into forming these friendships, put myself in uncomfortable situations, like asking to go along to things with people, and creating events for people to attend and contacting people I had only met and asked if they wanted to catch up for dinner or coffee without coming across as a weirdo. It was certainly not luck, in those days my self confidence levels were at an all time low, but I still had to push through. it was hard, and sometimes I cried and got super anxious, but eventually I didn’t feel like an outsider tagging along, I felt like part of the group. I felt like these wonderful, varied, beautiful people actually accepted me.

I recently asked 2 of my besties (These are two friends i have made since moving countries)to be my bridesmaid’s, and as excited as I was about asking them to be part of my day, I was overwhelmed with anxiety and fear and doubt. were we really as close as what I thought? Were the feelings of friendship mutual? I was adamant they would think it was really weird of me to ask them. But of course the moment I asked these wonderful women to stand with me I was at ease, their reactions put me right at ease. They are my friends, my wonderful people, who are my heart.

Making friendships after school / university can be really hard, especially in a new country, these are completely new people, there is no mutual friend in common to start with, its hard and confronting and uncomfortable. But you also get to make friends with people that you actually find interesting, not just people you happen to be in the same class as. Some times it can take more effort, but more often than not, it really is worth it.

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Hi, will you be my friend?

CAUTION!! Images in mirror may be distorted.

So naturally, when you lose a fair bit of weight, some significant changes come along for the ride. Changes like improved health and wellbeing, increased energy levels and fitness and a change in dress size and a change in the way we see ourselves, and also the way others see us.

In my last post I mentioned about posting a “before and after” progress picture and the fear I felt in doing so. One of the fears I did not mention in that post was about the way I saw myself. When I put the pictures side my side, I see a HUGE difference, it doesn’t even look like the same person, however I have a fear that when I meet someone in person they might be like “oooh so that “after” photo was obviously taken at a really good angle” like somehow I appear thinner in the photos than I do in real life.

When I look in the mirror, yes I see changes, and am really happy with the changes I see, however I don’t see significant changes in the mirror, it’s not a dramatic change in my eyes, I’m still a fat girl, I still have a spare tyre round my stomach (so maybe it’s just one now, instead of three). This is just one of the changes that I am learning to deal with. And I am certainly not saying that I am not happy with how I am, absolutely not, this is the happiest I have ever been in my life, it’s just sometimes, as most women tend to do, we don’t always see ourselves in the best light.

On the other hand, one of the other changes that comes along with weight loss is how we see ourselves in a good light, like when you manage to get into that goal outfit, or climb that mountain and you feel on top of the world and you want to shout it from the rooftops “LOOK AT WHAT I HAVE ACHIEVED AND DON’T YOU KNOW HOW BLOODY HARD IT WAS TO GET HERE”. Sometimes I feel rather insecure when I am feeling my best, It’s a very odd feeling, how do I take compliments, I’ve never really had to deal with many compliments before? Do I sound like a really obnoxious a**hole when I am talking about how far I have come? I am not posting weekly progress pics and weight stats on social media so everyone knows step by step my achievements, I have kept it pretty personal I think and just chugged along day by day, so I don’t think that I am shoving my progress down anyone’s throat (please if anyone knows me, correct me if I am wrong on this J ), I am so proud of what I have achieved and yes I want to tell people about my progress, but I feel so anxious and conscious about coming across “stuck-up”. I wonder if my friends find me annoying now, I was never confident before, are they finding my new found confidence annoying? The last thing I want to do is push people away, I am so grateful for the people that have stuck by me and supported me, and been such true friends. I am terrified of losing those amazing people.

I was chatting with a friend last night who has gone through a similar transformation to me and she also feels the same, anxious about being obnoxious, so I guess it’s just a natural feeling to have when you have lost a significant amount of weight. For both of us, our weight has always been a struggle, since a very young age, there was never a time that I was confident in how I looked and felt about myself, so at 31 years old I am discovering this for the first time and it’s a very peculiar journey, but a journey I am very prepared to continue on, who knows where it will take me and I am sure that once I “grow” into my new self, I will feel more comfortable about how I come across to other people and more importantly, how I come across to myself.

CAUTION!! Images in mirror may be distorted.

if you’re happy and you know it…. ????

I never really knew how unhappy I was, until I was happy.

It sounds a little cliché, I know, but its kinda true.

When I sit here now and reflect on my past life, the person that I was and the feelings I had, I get very emotional and sad about the person I let myself be, and angry that I didn’t make changes earlier in my life.

At the time when I decided to make major life changes, I was miserable. And yes I knew that I was then, that’s why I made the changes, however I was miserable for a really long time before that, I just never really acknowledged it. It really was like I woke up one morning, looked in the mirror and really saw myself for the first time. 29 years old and only just realising I was missing an actual life. I can actually pin point the exact day I really acknowledged I was unhappy.

When i look back at photos, I was always smiling, so I must have been “happy” right?. But every single picture is basically a head shot, at one particular angle, I had worked out the best angle to hide my double chin and make it look like I kind of had cheek bones. I mastered the selfie very early on. I had always been told i had “such a pretty face” so I always made sure my make-up was on point, a big smile and no full length pictures. Or if there had to be a full length photo, I was in the back, making sure my body was covered, hidden behind a couple of other people where possible.

A few nights ago I was shown a photo of myself from about 4 years ago, I remembered that night so clearly, it was a friend’s birthday, and I had felt so slim in the dress I was wearing. I look at it now and I want to cry. I was kidding myself back then. I remember getting home after that night, cursing my shoes, because I had terribly sore feet, of course it was the shoes fault, it had nothing to do with the fact that I was carrying an extra 50kgs than I should have been.

I was in a strange, very one-sided relationship for nearly four years, at the time, I thought I was happy with how it was going, happy that I actually had someone to cuddle on the couch with and watch movies. But when we never did anything but sit on the couch and watch movies, I was never really happy with that, I think I had accepted that it was as good as I was ever going to get, and well that was going to have to be ok, and I was overweight so didn’t deserve any better than that. Now, I am in an amazing two-sided relationship, where I feel loved and challenged and secure and motivated and actually happy. I never knew this was how I was actually meant to feel.

Today i posted my very first progress “before and after” photo to social media. One of my super amazing friends has been encouraging me to do so for a while. And while I am so proud of how I have come on my weight loss journey, posting a before and after photo meant that I would actually have to acknowledge that sad unhappy person and sort of show the world what a mess I really was. It was rather confronting but liberating at the same time.

I look at the photos, side by side, and I know now exactly how I really felt on the day of each photo, how I really really felt, not just how I may have looked. In the before photo, it’s a rare uncovered full length photo, I was uncomfortable, unfit, breathless, and sad. In the after photo (I actually prefer to call it “during”, cos I ain’t done yet) it is pure happiness and pride, loving the new outfit I had just purchased from a “slim girl shop”. It is a representation of hard work, sacrifice, blood, sweat and millions of tears. Its more than a physical thing, yes, I look better than before, but I am healthier and I am actually happy with who I am for the first time in my life.

xx

if you’re happy and you know it…. ????

IDENTITY CRISIS … The FFF to ????

For as long as I can remember I have been overweight..  Actually… that’s a lie.. I can tell you the last time I remember wearing a skirt that was above my knees… I was 12.

Even before then though, I was always on the chubby side.  Imagine this.. a chubby, 12 year old, freckly girl, with braces and a spiral perm. I knew I was never going to be the popular girl, my looks were certainly not going to get me anywhere, I had to create an identity that made me mildly interesting to my peers, and lucky for me I guess, I had a sense of humour and a quick wit.

I became the FFF – The Funny Fat Friend. I was called “The Comeback Queen”, I always had some smart ass comment to whip back at someone, which everyone thought was hilarious. Especially when comments were directed at me about my weight. Somebody once pinched my soft doughy arm to see if I could actually feel it through the layers of fat. I punched that person in the nuts and asked if gave them a headache, given they were a massive “Dickhead”.

2 years ago I made some massive life changes. I needed to loose weight. I did not want my weight to be a contributing factor to not being able to have children, I suffer from PCOS which can cause difficulties anyway, and I did not want to end up with Diabetes or any other weight related health issue. And whilst I knew embarking on a new healthy lifestyle regime was going to have its ups and downs, what I did not plan on was the anxiety about my identity.

Who will I be if I am no longer the Funny Fat Friend? Will it be enough to be just a “funny friend”. What if I changed and people didn’t like me, maybe I was accepted because I was mild and meek and didn’t stand up for myself?  What if I became confident and proud of who I was? It was a totally unexpected side effect of loosing weight,  I thought once I was dropping the KGs I would only feel amazing and confident. I never knew I would suffer this worry and anxiety and doubt.

I have been working really hard on dealing with these feelings and reminding myself that its all ok and that I am enough. Sure, some friendships seem to have run there course over the last two years, I may have “a bit less” friends, I have “a bit more” friendship – stronger, better relationships with wonderful people.  I am so thankful for the amazing friends and family who have been nothing but supportive of me, especially those who ate nothing but chicken and broccoli with me when I went through that “phase”. Although there is “a bit less” of me, I have “a bit more” of life.

xx

IDENTITY CRISIS … The FFF to ????