All by myself…

I’m an ‘independent woman’. I’ve lived alone for basically my whole adult life. I take care of myself (I pay folk to do the manual labour, but still). I enjoy my own company. I can usually get by without too much hand holding.

I have, however, recently become aware of an infuriating blip in my self sufficiency. Since becoming single again I have noticed that I can’t go to the cinema alone. It wouldn’t be a big deal, except for the fact that I love seeing films on the big screen. I used to go weekly with my sister, but the advent of her baba has ruled that out. Almost all of my friends also have little ones. The few that don’t, live in different cities. Obviously, I no longer have a boyfriend to view blockbusters with & the cinema isn’t really a good date place. Which leaves me with, go alone (until I line up a cinema buddy) or don’t go at all. Neither of which felt appealing.

With each passing film that I had really wanted to see I have grown more frustrated with myself. Why can’t I go to cinema alone? I can’t think of much else that I wouldn’t do alone. I’ve travelled solo and eating out by myself doesn’t bother me. I have no problem sitting in bar or cafe, whiling a away an hour or two in my own company. I love living alone, to be honest I think it’s my preference. I attend scary medical appointments and pursue a variety of opportunities alone. Sitting in a darkened room staring at a screen unaccompanied shouldn’t be an issue. I can handle big grown up things without a partner. Why can’t I tackle something so trivial?

The only thing I could come up with is some weird insecurity about being judged. Would people think I don’t have any friends? Are strangers going to think I’m a loser? The obvious answer to these questions is who cares! I’ve never given much credence to the opinions of randoms. I’m not sure why I would start now. Yet, the anxiety persisted. There are of course lots of things that I felt worried about doing alone. Loads of occasions when I required back up or missed an event because I couldn’t face a crowd without a buffer. Whilst, not ideal, I can accept that as part of life with mental health difficulties. I couldn’t, though, make myself ok with just giving up a thing I regularly enjoy.

So, to utilise a cliche, I faced my fears. Full disclosure, I made it really easy. I picked a 10.30am screening when the cinema is practically empty. I also booked my ticket online. Thus minimising the amount of actual person to person contact I had to engage in. I did have all those negative thoughts running through my head. I did it anyway.

I can’t say that I was aware of anyone paying attention to my solo status. Note to everyone, hardly anyone cares about what the people around them look like, wear, are doing & so on. For the most part we’re all too busy dealing with the nonsense that’s going on in our own lives/days/heads. In short, if at all possible, do the thing. Don’t give yourself a hard time if you can’t manage every thing, but at least attempt anything close to manageable. It feels really bloody good to meet even little challenges.

My first me, myself & I movie was Long Shot. It’s not a classic rom com, but it is cute. I find Rogen’s charming outcast bit pretty attractive & there were enough feels to keep me interested. Definitely not a bad way to spend a Monday morning. Oh & I won’t have to see a superhero movie next time. Single life is actually pretty good.

There’s nobody else here, no one like me…

I’m about to get a bit happy clappy, so if that gets your goat (I hear you), skip this one.

I know it’s been disaster movie of a year. There are truly despicable things happening all over the globe. So, I feel quite guilty about this, but 2016 has been my personal best for a very long time. Selfish or not I want to acknowledge my successes. Queue the happy bit. 

This year I have been comparatively sane. I’m not cured and of course there are bad times, but I have felt psychologically healthier & happier than I’ve been in several years. I’m pretty confident that I’m finally taking the right medication. Meds aren’t magic beans, but the right combination has given me much more solid ground to build on. I’ve been able to push myself, expanding  my social & professional lives in the process. 

Now, here comes the big one, I have not purposely hurt myself in well over a year. Again, I’m not recovered, I suspect the urge will always be with me. The difference for me has been releasing there are things I want more than blood. I’m not going to bullshit anyone, it’s a grind; it’s a battle I decide to fight every day. This is a war that’s been raging for 17 years, but I’m stating to believe I will emerge the conquerer. 

Next up; gettting all proud of myself & shamelessly blowing my own trumpet. 2016 has been a professional triumph. My writing has featured in publications I have long admired. My blog hits have soared & more importantly I produced more work of value than ever before. I am proud to be writing about issues that need to be talked about & creating work that readers really connect with. 

This year I also took a leap of faith & extended my wee empire to include oPeration BoPo. I wanted a thing that didn’t exist locally & so, I just went ahead & made it happen. My first event was an amazing success. I believe there is a need for accessible body positive projects & I am determined to meet it. I have some exciting things in the work for 2017. Get ready to join the self love revolution. 

This year I have gained a confidence that I feared was gone for good. I took charge. I had some big scale health issues & disappointing discoveries, but I kept rolling. I let go of yearning to be the girl I was before life got fucked & embraced the woman I am because & inspite of it all. 

This has been a year of seizing what control I can & trying to accept that it will never be the unbridled authority I desire. My body & mind will continue to usurp me. I’ll just have to wrestle them into the best submission I can manage. 

I’ll be honest my life can be brutal. You know what? I can be too. I’m heading into the new year with a 5 year plan, a growing business, my first nude photo shoot under my belt, ovaries that are really trying & the very best people supporting me. 2017, I’m ready for you. 


I hope there were some bright spots for all of you too & that next year brings you all you’re hoping for. 

I would be good…..

So, here it is, the obligatory New Year’s resolution post. I doubt it will surprise anyone to learn that I will not be worrying about any of the dieting bullshit. In fact I shall be trying my best to eschew all negative, body policing type thoughts. My focus shall be on enjoying life & challenging myself in positive ways.

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Living with chronic illness can make seizing the moment difficult. Sometimes I really am too sick to do anything, no matter how amazing the opportunity. This year I have decided I will try to be a bit more strategic about my day to day life. I’m hopeful that simple changes such as keeping track of how much sleep I’m getting, taking gentle excercise when I feel up to it & keeping up with my food diary will ease managing my illnesses. I have also resolved to make bigger changes for instance trying a gluten & dairy free diet & pushing my consultants to make a care plan of sorts instead of just constantly adjusting/altering meds. Of course none of these things will cure me, but perhaps a change in diet, being conscious of getting enough rest & so on will improve my symptoms somewhat. At the very least I will feel more in control & I am big on control!

That time of year can be a nightmare for fat folk. Everywhere you look there are diets & fitness regimes. Friends, magazines & celebs alike insisting we must lose any xmas weight gain, pushing us to aspire to a ‘new you’ for a new year. Well, I am hoping for a slightly new me, but it has nothing to do with my weight. I am striving to block it all out completely. I no longer want to think of myself in terms of fat/thin. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you will know I have already come a long way on the body acceptance trail, now I want to consolidate that. I don’t want to waste energy worrying about weight loss (through ill health) or any future weight gain. My plan is to divest my identity of it’s link to my size. I will be me wether I am a size 22 or 12. My writing, opinions, talents & interests will remain unchanged. This is the message I hope to drive home.

On the challenging front I want to push myself in healthy ways. Instead of berating myself or being
weighed down by guilt, I plan to make it ok for me to be unable to achieve certain things. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving myself permission to stagnate. In fact, the opposite, by stretching myself to try things I worry will be too much, I will perhaps surprise myself. However, if I prove unable, I refuse to beat myself up. With a bit of luck this approach may help me extend my freelance work & possibly even branch off in new directions.

Finally, I aim to have as much fun as possible. I will see friends & family as often as I can. Try new activities, even if they scare me or I am rubbish at them! I don’t want to deny myself anything that will make me happy. Be that expensive shoes, a man, a big cake or a day in bed.

2015 is my year to get living.

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