No, it isn’t easy

Trigger warning: abuse, weight loss surgery.

I’m still recording the lyrics I love, this time it’s P!nk’s (Hey Why) Miss You Sometime. No doubt she was writing about a partner but, for me, this could easily be about food. Yes, food – chocolate, savouries, ice cream. OMG Sante Bars!

 

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I had weight loss surgery, three years ago this September, and have lost over 70kg. It probably saved my life. But here’s the thing – I’m still a food addict. Surgery is a tool, not a cure. The line “thousand nights I’ve said goodbye, almost lost my mind”. That’s me and chocolate. Chocolate is my answer to grief, pain, shame, embarrassment, loss, fear, boredom, loneliness; anything and everything.

For me, food does two things. It smothers my emotions, and I’ll do anything to avoid feeling emotions. I’ve lived most of my life carefully flat. And, as an addict, certain food gives me a dopamine hit and my brain lights up with sheer joy. That’s the hard truth of it.

On book I’ve read on addiction suggests pain and shame is at the heart of all addictions. For me, the pain and shame stems from low-level but damaging abuse as a kid by a friend of my father, and an abusive first marriage. Now’s not the time to write more about it, just putting it out there and parking it for now.

Despite the weight loss surgery, and a lot of work on “fixing my head”, maintaining a healthy weight will be a lifelong journey for me. If you think weight loss surgery is an easy out, think again.

And, to finish. I love people, love people’s bodies and think all bodies should be honoured – including fat ones. I don’t hate fat bodies, far from it. My father died of a heart attack at 65, Mum died slowly over more than a decade – my decision to have surgery was to try and avoid what happened to them, and a recognition that I could never lose weight on my own. I have *no* judgment of other people’s bodies.

We don’t all have the same values

We don’t all have the same values, and we don’t have to in order to get along. But we should be prepared to respect other people’s right to live their lives their own way, without fear or hate. This is something I just wrote in my art journal:

This week I have been exposed to some awfully bigoted people, with views I find abhorrent. It’s mainly been around the Rainbow community but also the way people live their lives. My job as a librarian exposes me to myriad views!

I’m a sociologist so see marriage, gender roles, etc as social constructs originally designed to make society safer etc. Many ‘rules’ and institutions have survived long past their logical need.

I don’t care what people do, or who they do it with, provided it’s truly consensual, with no power imbalance and no one is being hurt. There’s infinite variety in the human condition … people should be free to do whatever floats their goat.

Many people know Tony and I started as an affair, and 26 years on, we’re still together. Of course the relationship is different to those early days. We’re not young anymore! We share a strong companionate love & rely on each other.

We’ve always said it’s who you go home to at night that counts. Heinlein wrote that “sex is just friction between two bodies”. That’s a simplification but also a good point. Emotional connection matters, sex alone not so much. I wish people were less judgemental of others because the world needs to be kinder.  

Adding to what I wrote in my journal, although I have been married twice, I don’t see marriage as essential, sacrosanct or any other moral words. Nor do I have a problem with people having an affair, being bi or pan sexual, and so on. I think some of us have the capacity to love many people in our lifetimes, and sometimes they overlap. As someone who has suffered abuse in the past (which I won’t ever detail), what I care about is power imbalances, consent, safe choices and so on.

I occasionally have someone in the library who I can tell wants to ask me something but is scared of being judged. I smile and say “I don’t care if you dance naked round a fire in the back yard with your neighbour’s wife and a dead chicken, drinking moonshine and smoking mushrooms! What I care about is finding the information you need. Tell me what you’re after.”. Generally people smile and open up. Usually what they want is far from shocking anyway, but that fact they were so hesitant speaks volumes about how judged people feel. Maybe if we all listened more and judged less, there’d be less abuse in the word.

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Opening up old wounds

Sometimes you have to open up old wounds if they’ve never really healed. It’s hard and it hurts but, ultimately, it’s the only way to heal and move on. I had a message from my best friend of 50+ years last night, Sandra, talking about my infertility and some of the stuff that happened. I won’t share our conversation, or what prompted it, but that kind of honesty is gold and I’d expect nothing less from her. She has my back, and always has had.

I’m starting to journal out my deepest thoughts about my miscarriages and all the things that went along with being infertile when everyone around me was having babies; the impact on my marriage, the people I loved and who loved me. Some of this is really shitty so I have written on the canvas in such a way that it’s unreadable – but my heart and soul know what’s written there when I look at it. As is often the case, the images might not mean a lot to other people, but each one has meaning for me. 

These wounds are deep (deeper than I have ever before acknowledged, even to myself). It’s going to take more than one or two journal pages and paintings to work through it, but I feel like I’m finally on the journey. Thank you for being part of it by listening. 

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I don’t remember

I don’t remember why these photos are so blurry, but I do remember why I married Tony 18 years ago today. He made me laugh back then, and he still makes me laugh. Most of the time he looks quite serious; this is the Tony relatively few people get to see (mind you, looking at these photos, how many would want to?).

My wish? That we grow old together, still laughing. I know how fortunate we are to have each other.

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