Emotional Fallout

Sigh. I’ll try not to make this post too rambling and all over the place.

This is a long post – 3,400 words.

I’d suggest that you avoid it if you’re not feeling up to a journey through someone else’s messed up head!

I am suffering from an extreme case of self-loathing at the moment. My head is like a bubbling cauldron, full of a million and one things, mostly from the past, but also anxieties about the future, and I’m having a really hard time maintaining a ‘stable’ outlook.

Okay, so to try and break down what’s going on, I’ll try and lay out what’s bothering me (again, please don’t feel you have to read – simply the act of writing this out will help me get my thoughts clearer in my head).

1. Self-loathing

This is the big theme, and I think it’s a side effect of the other things I’ll talk about below. I am eating junk, every day. I’m not cooking proper meals for my family, we’re eating too much takeaway food, and instead of lunches, I just pick all day long at stuff that is no good for me. It is like an addiction, and I hate it. I think eating crap all day every day is also affecting my mood (loads of studies about sugar and depression). I don’t seem to be able to get control of this at all. And I think the reason for it is the comfort that it provides me while I’m eating. That nice feeling that sugar/fat gives you when you eat it (oh so brief, sadly). I seem to be hanging onto those pleasurable moments of actually eating bad stuff as some kind of crutch to get me through all the other stuff that’s going on in my head.

But then of course, because I’m aware of how important diet is, and how important it is especially now, I literally can’t bear myself for eating this way. It’s a horrible cycle of desire, brief happiness and then self-hatred. I know this is edging towards the emotions of a genuine eating disorder, and that scares me. My diet right now is the worst it’s ever been in my life.

There is a part of me, as well I think, that is rebelling for having spent three years obsessing over everything I eat in case it was affecting my fertility. The irony of it is that now I’ve actually got a baby to support, I’m eating the absolute worst ever. Yesterday for example, I had cereal and milk and a hot chocolate for breakfast. Then I ate food in the canteen at Ikea (chips and cake). I had an ice-cream in the afternoon, and egg fried rice and a glass of wine for dinner. I mean – practically ZERO nutritional value in that lot, and that’s just about a typical day.

Sigh. Anyway, as I said, looking at it objectively, this is in large part a crutch for my other emotions and in smaller part a rebellion of three years of being on the straight and narrow. Phew. So now I’ve quantified that issue, let’s look at all the other shit.

2. Parental angst

By this I mean angst about my own parents (primarily). In particular my mother. Becoming a mother for the first time resulted in such incredible feelings of love and protection that very slowly I drifted into total disbelief at the way my parents looked after me and my brother. Becoming a mother focused the reality of my own childhood and in a way, it took it away from me. I knew that my upbringing was different – I was aware of that even at the time, but it wasn’t until I knew how it felt to be a mother that I realised the enormity of the responsibility and how immensely my own parents failed to take that on board.

I’ve done a bit of work over the years, trying to move to a place of acceptance about my parents, and I think with my father I have finally got there.

He was overly critical of me and my brother (criticism was pretty much all he said while we were growing up), and very judgemental of us, but knowing him as an adult I get the sense that a) he is aware of this on some level because he always makes a point of encouraging my boys and telling them well done – words I never, ever heard as a child, and b) I can see other traits in him that I misinterpreted at the time, but that I can now see as a deep caring for my and my brother’s wellbeing. For example, my Dad is nervous of everything that could cause an accident. He’s the same with the boys – he tells them don’t touch this, stay away from that. And it’s because he fears for them. He was exactly the same when I was a child (and I have picked up this trait with gusto, inadvertently). But it comes from a caring place – a fear, as a parent, that a child could get hurt. I understand that now. When I was growing up, being told that everything I did was never good enough, and being told to stay away from everything that could cause me any danger at all made me  rebellious and angry, and sowed a deep inner feeling of low self-worth. I understand all of that now.

My mother on the other hand.

This is a relationship that I didn’t even realise had hurt me until I had children of my own. It will take too long to go into detail over this, but to summarise:

  • My mother is the daughter of an abusive parent. She had an alcoholic father and a mother who beat her (and did other things – locking in cupboards, force-feeding until sick, just horrible stuff), for 17 years until she left home and married my Dad. She’s tried to commit suicide several times and been in and out of mental hospitals.
  • My mother hardly ever hit me – I literally remember one or two occasions where she lashed out.
  • She was so depressed throughout the majority of my childhood that she mostly slept on the sofa, watched the washing machine, stared out of the window and generally did not interact with me very much at all.
  • She had pets – birds, dogs, fish, tortoises – and they all got as much, if not more attention than me and my brother.
  • She avoided any kind of public encounter and pretty much hid herself away if my friends ever came to play. I walked to school by myself from age 5/6 and on one notable occasion aged about 10 I spent an hour waiting on a platform 3 miles from home, for a train, in the worst snow the UK had seen in ages. I was so numb and cold that I cried with pain when I finally got back from school after a near two hour journey, door-to-door. My mum was sat at home the whole time. With her car on the drive. I don’t know how long it would have been before it occurred to her that I might need help. Personally, if my 10 year old was two hours late coming home from school in a snow-storm, I’d be concerned enough to go looking. I have hundreds of stories like this.
  • She did the absolute minimum for me and my brother as kids. We didn’t get trips to the hairdresser or dentist. We didn’t go anywhere with her at all. I started cutting my own hair at age 10, and I was buying my own clothes in jumble sales at age 11 with my pocket money because my mother had stopped clothing us. I did 5 years at school wearing the same shirts I was bought when I was 11 (yep, they were miles too small).
  • She laughed at me for my entire childhood. I don’t really know how to explain this, but my mother’s emotional abilities were (I can see now), severely damaged by her upbringing. She has three main moods. Vacant (where she is going over the past, which she could do for hours at a time), angry (where everything is an annoyance, including me when I was a kid), and amused. She never really displayed love. She laughed at me all the time. It was her way. I see it now with the boys. One of them needs sincere attention over something, or the two of them are trying to explain something to her in earnest, and she laughs at them. She laughs in that “oh aren’t they funny” way, but she applies it to everything. She just laughs at you. Have you any idea what it is like to grow up with a mother who laughs at everything? Who laughs at your first period (and then sends you to the shops with your Dad to buy sanitary towels)? At your first bra? Jokes about your small breasts? Who laughs at your prettiest clothes? At presents people buy you? She simultaneously made me terrified of upsetting others and saying the wrong thing, and yet ridiculed almost everything I said and did by laughing about it. It wasn’t nasty laughter, it was just that she seemed to find everything inconsequentially amusing. I had clothes I couldn’t bear to wear because she’d laughed when I’d tried them on. I detested pink, and make-up, because she laughed at my attempts to be a woman. You can imagine that, combined with my father’s constant criticism. Fertile ground for a fucked up child, huh?

Anyway, I could go on and on and on about my mother. The facts today are that I love her, in some way, because she is my mother. I mean, I’d be sad if she died (possibly more for what never was than for what we had). But I do not really like her. And I am angry that I missed out on a decent mother. I have no idea what people are thinking when they post mothers day tributes to their own hard-working mums on Facebook. What a nice feeling that must be, to have a mum that cares for you and looked after you.

Hah. Anyway. The whole point of this is as follows:

1. I still have a lot of unresolved anger and self-pity for what I didn’t even know was wrong at the time.
2. I am absolutely terrified that this baby will be a girl and how the fuck will I know how to be a good mother and a good role model??

So there, I’ve said it. I was so relieved, SO relieved, when I gave birth to two boys. But this time around – this pregnancy has been different… I just think it might be a girl… but then it might not. I don’t know. If it isn’t, then that’s fine, I can do boys, I looked after my brother to a certain extent as a kid. Boys and mums – a bond that is unassailable.

Girls? Jeez. How can I ever be good enough for a daughter? How can I teach her self-respect, to stand up for herself, to look after herself, to make the most of herself, and to be a kind person?

I am terrified.

When I was 5 my Dad took me to the hospital to visit my mum after she gave birth to my brother. Back then, having a baby was a several day hospital stay, so Mum hadn’t been home for a while. I remember Dad gave me a drawing to give to Mum of her and the new baby, which he’d done himself. He told me to tell her that it was from me. I was embarrassed because I knew that she’d know I hadn’t drawn it, and it seemed silly for me to pretend. But most importantly of all, I wasn’t even missing her. As a 5 year old, I didn’t miss her when she wasn’t there. Because when she was there, she wasn’t really there either, she was off with the ghosts from her past.

And I am terrified that my children might feel the same way about me.

So yeah. That’s a lot of parental angst floating around in my head at the moment.

3. Getting older

My god, I think often about the fact that I am forty. Forty!! And here I am with a big pregnant belly… I see other girls half my age carrying bumps and I feel… embarrassed. A kind of niggling embarrassment that “at my age” I am having a baby. I never gave age a second thought with the boys. I felt a LOT younger at 36, when I had my youngest, than I do now. And I looked younger. 5 years of parenting two boys, many miscarriages and a whole pile of emotional stress has left me looking older, and more importantly feeling older. I know now that people look at me and can tell I am older. It’s a hard thing to deal with, ageing. Especially for women – you lose your looks, your figure, your hair greys, the end of your reproductive years looms… For men (if they look after themselves), they become distinguished, wise, mature. A mature man is a good thing. A mature woman? Not as good as a supple and fecund young woman, eh?

Sigh.

So, I know in part this is all about self-perception, but dammit, I just feel OLD some days. It’s not a lack of energy, or physical problems (thankfully), it’s just that I know I don’t look as fresh as I used to. The plumpness of youth has vanished. My cheeks are more hollow. I have the beginning of jowls (they run on both sides of my family). My eyes have clear wrinkles when I smile. My legs are developing thread veins at an alarming rate, like old lady legs I used to stare at when I was small. I wonder if the boys look at me and think I’m a pretty mummy or not. If I have a girl… (back to the girl thing again), she’ll only ever see me as way past my best. I would never want a daughter of mine to grow up afraid to make the most of herself (like I was), covering herself in ridiculously baggy clothes and hiding her youth and beauty. I have mum friends who manage to be super-glamourous and their daughters follow their lead, with an interest in clothes and make up and fashion. I wish I could be more like that. How can I teach a daughter about dress-sense and fashion, when I have so little of my own? I still cringe at the idea of painted nails (there’s my mum laughing again), but I know mums who paint their own nails and their daughters nails to match. What a wonderful thing to do – how I would have loved that when I was a child! To be initiated into the grown-up world of beauty instead of being laughed at for my attempts (from a woman who wore neither make-up, nor nail varnish, nor perfume, nor much in the way of jewellery).

This might seem a highly superficial concern, but the fact is, our outward appearance, whether we like it or not, has an impact on the way we are treated all through our lives. So I have a double issue here – my own ageing process, which is alarmingly rapid these days, and the fact that I want to be a mum that my kids are proud of – not a baggage lady!

You might say kids don’t notice these things – but my Dad admitted to me once that he was embarrassed by the way his mum used to hide at the back of the crowd on the school run, with no make up on, while all the other mums were dressed up and looked so pretty to him. He used to wonder why she wouldn’t just wear some make-up and dress like everyone else did. How awful would she have felt, if she’d known that’s what her little boy was thinking?

4. Expectations and Anxiety About The Future

Now’s not the time to get into my whole breastfeeding saga – I’ve written more than enough already – but this, among other things, is weighing heavily on my mind. The birth, the aftermath, feeding, how we’ll manage… how it will all go down. Will I be as broken as the previous times?

And then – family. VISITS.

I’m pissed off already that everyone will want to visit. People will want to congratulate. Hold the baby. Sit in our house and expect tea, and nobody will bring food or anything to help. I’m angry about how everyone imposed themselves on us before, spending hours and hours here, expecting tea and lunch and more, when all I wanted to do was cry over my bleeding nipples and have a house that wasn’t full of other bodies, upsetting my newborn with all the passing around. A week after giving birth to my second, I still hadn’t made it into the shower (yeah, gross I know, but I had a toddler to look after and was sleeping maybe three hours a night), and my in-laws were here for HOURS. In the end, the husband had to ask them to leave. It was awful. I just wanted a wash, and to be left alone. Awful.

I’m already angry about what hasn’t happened yet! I’m fantasising about booking myself into a birth centre for days after the birth so people can visit only between certain hours.

With my first baby, I was in the kitchen making lunch and my mother in law (who is a smoker) sat with my brand new, perfect baby on her lap and put her finger in his mouth for him to suck on. She got my father in law to take photos and I missed it all – I was in the kitchen.

When I later saw the pictures I was absolutely livid. I was trying to breastfeed and was paranoid about “nipple confusion” (bloody midwives – don’t listen to them, babies never get confused about what a nipple is), I hated the fact that she ‘tricked’ him into sucking her finger, not to mention I freaked out about the idea of nicotine residue making into my son’s system… I was so ANGRY and felt like he’d been violated while I wasn’t there.

And of course, because my mother never taught me how to set boundaries and be assertive, none of this was ever confronted, or assertively mentioned. We just let it all go, swept along on a tide of crippling exhaustion, desperate to make it to some kind of shore of stability as soon as possible.

And as if all that isn’t enough, I’m still carrying a lot of anger and resentment over how everyone has dealt with our miscarriages. Fuckers!! Seriously – the thought of them being all happy and wanting to get involved in holding the baby and cooing over the baby… eugh!!! The same people who told us it wasn’t meant to be, that a third child wasn’t a good idea, that things happen for the best. FUCK all that. Hypocrites.

So yeah, I’m pretty much dreading all the excitement and cooing that will happen when this baby is born.

(Hey, maybe it won’t. Maybe everyone will leave us alone! Then I’ll really have something to complain about, lol! I wonder if I can arrange emmigration to a warmer country before the birth? Might be a bit optimistic. Perhaps book an extended holiday in New Zealand for the 5 of us? Hmm. Possible. If I win the lottery. Ha! How AWESOME would that be??)

Anyway, I’m feeling tons better already having written all this out. I sure have a lot of shit swirling around in my head, and I need to get it all straightened out before my due date. Clearing my todo list right down has given me more time to think about things, which is good – I need to get them sorted. And partly this is, I suspect, the aftermath of three very stressful years with zero support from our real life folks.

I know I need to be more assertive, and clearer about my boundaries and what I will and won’t accept. I know I need to reach some kind of peace over my mother. I know I need to lay to rest these thoughts of not being a good enough parent.

I’ve just got to work out how.

23 Weeks

This is going to be a numbers heavy post.

Weigh gain this week: 900g (1lb 15oz)

FAR too much for a single week.

Again.

My weight gain is really driving me crazy. It seemed to plateau last week, but for the first time since I got pregnant I’m now starting to feel heavy. I hate it, and I don’t want to end up a big fat heffalump like I did with the boys. I’m getting quite a lot of inner thigh/groin pain as well at the moment, which I’m terrified is the beginning of SPD. I didn’t have this with the boys – it was all in my hips and coccyx.

The thing is, I’m totally responsible for what I put in my own mouth and having tracked my calories daily for three weeks, I’m still coming in way over what I should be each day – TOO MUCH! I really don’t know how to control my cravings for sweet, fatty foods. I know in part this is biological – we are predisposed to scoff in pregnancy because in caveman times, food was always scarce.

However, when I can get a chocolate bar or ice-cream anywhere, at any time, it’s a Very Bad Thing. I have never struggled so much to stay away from it all. Multiple times a day I will eat something I know will not help me.

Sigh.

Gotta work on this.

 

Exercise log for last week

Mon
20mins strength and core
43min hill run
Tues
15min cardio
55min yoga
Weds
20min strength and core
20min walk to preschool and back
20min short flat run
Thur
15min cardio
50min yoga
Fri
55min long slow run
15min yoga
Sat
REST
Sun
REST

Step count

M: 12,513
T: 7,441
W: 13,202
T: 3,275 (first day of school hols and a tv day at home with boys!)
F: 11,186
S: 7,827
S: 6,340

Week total: 61,784

Other stuff

My skin is very slowly calming down. It’s still a long way from photogenic (ha!), but at least it’s not a daily embarrassment.

I’m getting to the end of my to-do list, for the first time in my life! We picked up a sofa for the conservatory and some other bits from Ikea at the weekend, and very soon, very soon, the house will be completely cleared out, and comfortably live-able, in the way I wanted it to be before the baby arrived. Hurrah!

I’m enjoying being at home with the boys. I’ve gotten super-organised and ordered school uniform for both of them for September and this week we’re on an intensive swim course.  Life is much easier, and much more fun, with a 5 and almost 4 year old than it was two years ago with a 3 and almost 2 year old (that summer was not a happy one!).

So, alls well.

Just got to get the eating thing under control…

Here’s a bump pic from this morning:

IMG_8194

22 Weeks

So, pregnancy-wise, all is well. Kicks and movements are distinct now, and regular on and off through the day. My morning sickness has almost completely abated (will it ever completely go away?). My energy levels are great and I’m in my third week of regular workouts and loving it. I did my second run yesterday (a very gentle hill route), and am looking forward to getting out again tomorrow. This morning I did pregnancy yoga. I’m aiming to workout Mon-Fri and take the weekends as rest days. I might start blogging my weekly workouts… we’ll see how much time I get over the summer.

My weight gain has also slowed down this week, which I’m pleased about because about 70% of my gain happened between weeks 17-21 (I had a ridiculously huge appetite for about three weeks), and I was concerned if it carried on at that rate I’d be well over what I wanted to be by 40 weeks.

In total I am now 5.0kg up, or 11lbs up from my pre-pregnancy weight, which is great. My bump is still small enough that most of the time it doesn’t get in the way. I’d like to hang onto that feeling for a while longer – the third trimester can get pretty miserable towards the end, and I had a fair bit of pelvic, coccyx and hip pain with both boys in the last couple of months (although I was a lot heavier, which won’t have helped).

School finishes tomorrow, so I’ve finished a lot of my to-dos (including the nursery, yay!), and am really looking forward to spending some time with the boys. I’ve cleared the decks so that I can now sit back and relax for a few weeks before school starts in September and I begin some more diligent work on focusing on the birth and making sure I have everything ready for the big day and beyond.

My big (background) focus for the summer is on creating a more varied set of “go-to” meals for all of us to eat, and on expanding the boys’ tastes so they are not quite so picky and can eat with us without complaining so much about not liking what I serve. One step at a time…

Here’s a (yoga!) pic from today 🙂

22w

 

 

Social Media, Blogging and The Best Use of it All

For a long time I’ve scrutinised my use of the internet, wondering if it really is enhancing my life, or just taking up time I could spend doing other things. At the moment I’m stuck in a kind of limbo over how to manage it all.

We’ve cleared out so much stuff over the last few weeks – it’s moved our decluttering onto a new level to be honest. And inevitably, with the increased sense of space and clarity around us, I notice more the things that feel cluttered and unmanaged.

My internet time is one of those things. I use lots of sites, but only a little bit, if that makes sense. I have a handful of friends on Facebook (less than 40 I think). I follow some folks on Instagram (mainly raw food and yoga types). I use twitter infrequently, but more ‘professionally’ and it tends to be full of software related people. I’m on LinkedIn. I blog here, plus I have a currently unused blog on minimalism. I’ve wanted to create a writing blog for ages (and do more writing). I have a professional blog, which I’ve just announced a sabbatical on (the weekly newsletter has now ended as I’m home with the boys for the summer, and the baby is due November, so I have little interest in maintaining it right now).

It’s all a bit piecemeal and bitty.

I’ve toyed for a long time with creating a single, personal blog, that I can just use for everything, and link all the other accounts to. But then…

Do I really want my in-laws reading the same things as my work colleagues and as my friends?? Would people even be interested?

No – there are different audiences for different things.

But then I think – but I’m me, regardless of that. Surely I shouldn’t have to only show certain parts of my personality to certain people. That almost feels deceptive.

So then I wonder, perhaps all this social and linking stuff is overrated. Maybe I should focus on real-life relationships and stop putting myself out there. I mean, why do I do this at all? What do I get from it?

And then I think about the incredible support I’ve received online, and the connections I’ve made with like-minded people that I would never have met otherwise. And the journeys that I’ve been able to follow and even become emotionally invested in, and it becomes clear that connections are a good thing. That they can help you find people in the world who will support your goals, and even agree with them, or even join you, when your local family and friends might not understand why you would even want to do them in the first place.

But how to manage it all??

It’s causing me discomfort. I don’t like the way it’s all spread across loads of different platforms, and I seem to have to segregate aspects of my life for different audiences. I hate all the apps on my phone! I deleted loads of them a few weeks back, but I still have far too many.

In part, I think it’s down to the fact that, as with all of us, there are many different aspects to my personality – I love programming, software, computers, gaming, but I also love minimalism and get excited about organising. I’m into health and nutrition. I have a family and adore my kids. I love to write, and have had work published and would love to spend more time on that. I love to travel (even though we haven’t for years).

Some people seem to focus on one thing, and they become famous for it. Whether it’s raw food, yoga, software, or minimalism, that is their “niche”. I find it impossible to commit for one thing for any length of time!

Sigh.

And Facebook just feels so soul-less at the moment. Most of what I see in my feed are other people’s likes, and shares, which is fine, but I miss the days of knowing what people where thinking about, talking about and eating for dinner. Facebook used to be about the person, but now it’s more like a news-stream. That’s fine, things change, but I miss that part of it. I’ve also noticed that Facebook is becoming more like twitter – I had a look at my friends’ profiles last night and I was astounded at how many people some of them were connected to. When I left Facebook a couple of years back, most people had around 100 connections. Now a lot of the people I know are topping 400+ people. Perhaps the problem is I am using Facebook in the wrong way? That it is much less personal now and I’m ignoring friend requests and connections because I’m still stuck in the “you have to be a proper friend” line of thought. After all, I follow a few hundred people on twitter, so why should Facebook be different?

I’m rambling now, and getting off point.

The point is: I want a clean, simple, solution to being online.

I don’t want to have to check different websites, and I don’t want to feel that I’m scattered all over the place. I want to be genuinely me, to everyone, so that I can be confident that if they are still interested in me, it’s because they ARE interested in me.

But also, I don’t want to be a jack-of-all-trades, with no focus.

I just don’t know how to bring all the threads together.

Maybe part of the problem here is that I am still not certain what I want to be doing with my life.

Since I left paid work, I’ve wanted to earn money – somehow – but haven’t been able to pin down anything sustainable that is flexible enough to suit me. I’m not even sure what field I want to be in. Do I still want to program? Write software? Or do I want to focus on writing, finally? Do I want to be freelance, or just turn up and get paid by someone else?

I don’t even really know the answers to these questions, and perhaps that is part of the problem. Part of me keeps thinking I should be earning money online somehow or other, but then I know how transient and difficult that can be.

I really just don’t know what to do at the moment. I love to write, to connect with others and to blog, but I need a more efficient way of doing all of it. I want to be, more than I ever have, authentically me to everyone I know, but I’m not sure how to go about it and I’m frightened that some people will think I’m weird/crazy/boring/stupid/ or worst of all, not worth bothering with at all (sob!).

I have a domain, faye.tv, that I’ve owned for years and years. There’s nothing on it, but I love it, and it’s my little corner of the internet. I kind of want it to be my central place, where everyone knows they can find me. But I’m also scared of what people will think of me. And to a certain extent, what the hell would I write about that anyone would want to read anyway?? I do feel that I suffer from a lack of confidence in who I really am.

I am afraid (and have always been), that I am not as good as other people, as worthy as other people, or even just as interesting as other people. I’ve lived with a lifelong fear that my life isn’t interesting or glamorous enough. As a family, we are neither rich, nor hugely successful in the traditional sense of the words. We don’t go on expensive holidays, we don’t have hundreds of friends or a bursting social calendar. We especially do not have a dedicated family network (something I have always been very self-conscious of). I come from a highly dysfunctional background (drug addiction, schizophrenia, depression, suicide, abuse, the lot) and unlike most of the friends I have made in my 40 years on this planet, I don’t spent any significant time with family members. My husband comes from a very small family that he is not close to. We are basically bereft of that whole side of life. I’ve spent years trying to pretend otherwise.

Maybe it’s because of this that I spend so much of my time online. Reading and researching (because I never had a parent to teach me as I was growing up), sharing and exploring, and pouring my heart out into open digital space. Consequently, I’m kind of spread all over the place, in lots of nooks and crannies.

I want a single solution. A single, streamlined approach to sharing my thoughts, my photos, my writing, my life.

Why do I want to share?

I thought about this question a lot over the last few days. What drives our need to share what we do?

Sharing is a way of connecting. We want to connect, we want people to like us, so we share in the hope that they will like us. Often that means sharing turns into ‘peacocking’ where photos and status posts are all about how great things are and how wonderful everything is and hey, check out my new designer bag and the cruise I’ve just booked…

That’s not what I’m interested in. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad with what I share. But I do want to be a better, more open, person, and part of my failure to commit fully to any one platform is that I don’t have the confidence that I’m worthy of it.

I also would like a way to record what we do as a family – a kind of online journal of our weekends, holidays, and ordinary days. The little snippets of conversation that make me laugh and the photos that make my heart sing.

I basically want my whole digital life to be centralised from a single hub.

And then, as soon as all these feelings threaten to overwhelm me enough to be the catalyst for action, I feel fear. Fear that I don’t want to share myself with anyone because I will be judged. I remember my father telling me that he thought my blog (in 2006) was “kind of private”. At the time I was writing from America because I wanted to keep in touch with people back home. The fact that he seemed to disapprove of airing my thoughts – which weren’t particularly soul-searching or private – made me feel small and sad and like what I was doing was wrong.

🙁

But I do feel a change coming. I want to get this sorted out, and clear up all my scattered and far-flung digital profiles and half-started digital projects.

As the house we live in becomes ever more clear, I see with more clarity how things eat up our time, and how all of our ‘commitments’, from Facebook (because it is a commitment) to blogging to caring for our houses and possessions, right down to our regular jobs and daily/weekly/monthly chores, reduce the space and creativity for what we are really passionate about doing.

I want to build a life that I feel no shame in telling other people about. I want to create, not to endlessly consume. I want to share what I learn with others.

I want my use of the internet to be easy, genuine, and fun.

I just have to figure out how.

A Grown Up Day of Inspiration

Yesterday the husband took charge of the school run, and of looking after our 3 year old, and I headed off to London for the day. I booked a ticket for the “Achieve the Impossible Breakfast Club” a couple of months back, which was basically a talk by Greg Whyte (former Olympian and incredible sports coach to the stars), to promote his new book Achieve the Impossible.

The book is great, but seeing the man talking about the “brain of success” in person was amazing. He is super fit (at 48 – I just looked up his age!). He’s full of energy, happy, enthusiastic, but also deadly serious about hard work. He’s the kind of man that, if you had him as your personal trainer, would help you achieve incredible things.

I got my book signed at the end, and you can just see me at the edge of the twit pic below!

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After the talk, I walked up to Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road. Total heaven. A MASSIVE book store and all the time in the world for me to browse in it. And I started thinking… why am I waiting until the baby is born to start running again? I have all this passion for it that I can feel overflowing – I’ve tried to look up 5k races for next year, but it’s too early for them. I’ve put running on hold for 3 years in case I got pregnant and because I was too depressed to run. Why should I wait any longer when I can’t wait to get out there?

So I bought a couple of running books and resolved to do some research on pregnancy running on the train home. More on that below.

After Foyles I wandered down Oxford Street for old time’s sake (I worked in London for a decade before moving to the coast), and enjoyed the sound of a band playing Sweet Home Alabama in the morning sunshine.

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Next I headed over to the British Museum, primarily to have a look at the mummies in the Egyptian gallery – I’ve always been fascinated by them. There was a very interesting section on Egyptian nutrition and health – I didn’t know it, but the Egyptians were a really unhealthy bunch. Prone to arthritis, osteoporosis, abscesses, lung problems (from indoor cooking fires), tooth problems and scalp problems, they existed primarily on wheat grain (hah! no wonder) and vegetables, with some meat.

Eye-opening stuff.

Then it was time for me to eat, so after reading about all those ailments (and seeing the bone and tissue evidence), I headed over to Covent Garden where there is a raw (+vegan+gluten free) restaurant called the Wild Food Cafe:

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I’ve never dined out raw before, so it was great to tick this off my ‘to-do’ list. I had a green juice, a raw pizza and a raw chocolate tart. It was all AMAZING!IMG_7947IMG_7950

Finally, I was feeling pretty tired after all the walking, so I ambled back to Waterloo, looking in the odd shop here and there before taking the train home.

Running in Pregnancy

This was my primary research goal on the return journey – could I start running now? Was it safe in pregnancy? Does anyone run when they are pregnant?

Well, it turns out that as long as you have run before, feel well, and don’t push too hard, it’s no problem. I found blogs of women running races in their third trimester and lots of other info about keeping comfortable with increasing bump and boobs.

Wow. And I am just bursting with enthusiasm for it at the moment, so I thought why the hell not and set my alarm for 5:30am this morning to get out of bed.

I just had the most wonderful, soul-nourishing day yesterday. A day away from home where I was able to focus on enjoying my time, doing all the things I wanted to do, and thinking about how I spend my time and how I want to spend my time. And about the person I am continually striving to be.

And did I run this morning?

I did 🙂

I was out the door at 5:43am. It was peaceful, warm, still, and just… perfect.

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I’ll be honest here – I walked 90% of the way. And the bits I did run were at a slow pace. I thought that my bump might be the issue, but in fact, I could run and hardly notice it at all – bumps don’t bounce, it turns out.

My giant boobs on the other hand…. even in the strongest sports bra I’ve got they were still all over the place. WAY too much movement for my liking. We’re going shopping at the weekend for a better one. Or failing that an iron chest plate.

I “ran” 5k in 44:58, which I’ll use as my baseline. I’ve decided to aim for three times a week, Monday will be a short hill trip, Wednesday a short, faster run on the flat, and Friday my long amble.

I really noticed that the strength training I’ve been doing for the last two weeks helped. It just felt so great to be out there again – this time with a fire in my belly that has been absent since I stopped true regular running in 2010 before getting pregnant with my youngest.

I got home riding high on a massive endorphin rush, just as the sun made an appearance from behind grey skies:

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And if you need help on getting out of bed early in the morning (I certainly do), I can’t recommend this book highly enough, which is one of those I picked up in Foyles yesterday:

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It talks about using mindfulness to overcome the “It’s cold, it’s dark and I’m tired” thoughts that sabotage our best intentions. It’s buddhist thought applied to running. It’s full of practical suggestions on how to be more aware of your attachments to what you do and don’t like (rain, cold weather, running at 5am, etc), and to just accept things as they are.

So, one more thing before I go, and that is something that my yoga hero Kino McGregor said on her latest video blog that I watched this morning. It’s in the last few minutes, so if you don’t want to watch it, I’ll just quote her directly below:

Clean yourself from the inside, and the inner world will be a reflection of the outer world. Clean up your outer world, and it will be a reflection of the purity of your inner world.

And on that note, I’m off to clean up my outer world, and get some more things listed on eBay 😉

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