Life Experience

Skipping Christmas

I love Christmas – from putting up the (real!) tree, to mulled wine & mince pies, and all the thought, care and effort I love to put into choosing gifts each year! It’s like this wonderful build-up of excitement, hope and expectations…. which unfortunately is not a healthy combination for me, or at least it hasn’t been so far.

Despite how much I love the festive period – I honestly do, it’s my favourite time of year – it’s also been a repeated source of heartache and disappointment for me over the years. Perhaps it was the fact that we didn’t have much money growing up, so I never got that Barbie dream house? Or perhaps it was because my father passed away when I was 7 so all I ever really wanted for Christmas was him, and that was never going to happen? Continue reading “Skipping Christmas”

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Life Experience

The Healing Power of Collaboration

Whenever people ask me how and why I came up with my collaborative community for women, ToGetHer Further, I think of the scenario that happened in the office I was working in at the time – where a senior female manager put her head above the parapet and offered a lifeline to a junior member of admin staff. To me, that moment was magical and inspiring – not just for the women involved, but for the message it sent to everyone that women do not need to compete with each other, and look how much we all can benefit when we do work together. And this story is true, but it’s not the whole truth. Continue reading “The Healing Power of Collaboration”

Growth, Life Experience

Letting Go

I’ve always found it hard to let go – whether it’s saying goodbye, or letting someone else take charge, but I’ve attributed that to my sentimentality or playfully ascribed it to my ‘control freak’ or ‘perfectionist’ nature. I used to think these were good things – it’s taken me a long time to realise they were warning signs of something I wasn’t yet ready to deal with.

Continue reading “Letting Go”

Life Experience

Value of Vulnerability

On Friday 22nd July 2016, it was the 25th anniversary of my father’s death at the age of 38. I don’t often talk about this, mainly because it happened so long ago, but also because it’s only recently that I’ve been able to emotionally connect with the reality of the situation. Thanks to the support of an excellent therapist, over the last few years I have managed to peel back the layers of emotional scar tissue and allow myself to feel the extent of grief buried within me, and, more importantly, allow myself to mourn his death.

Continue reading “Value of Vulnerability”

Life Experience

Breaking Free

For the longest time, I was unfaithful. To boyfriends/friends/partners/lovers – but mainly, to myself. I used and abused my own body. And not even for pleasure, but for power. I measured my worth in my appearance, and valued myself through other people’s eyes.

I would feel the seductive power of the male gaze, and immediately feel the need to harness it in some way – to take control and know that I held the power in this dynamic. Pleasure didn’t really play a part – and neither did I have any real sense of self-worth – I was simply addicted to being in control, and I would do anything to have it. Continue reading “Breaking Free”

Life Experience

Why weight?

For many formative years of my adolescence and early adulthood, I was obsessed with my weight. Not in a fashion-conscious, aspiring to be a model way, but in a weight-controlled competitive martial art kind of way, which seemed to validate my obsession and legitimise my disordered approach to eating. Continue reading “Why weight?”

Life Experience

Breaking The Rules

I recently realised that I’ve been living my life to an imaginary set of rules. I had this inherent belief that if I could just stick to these rules then good things would happen, or at least, bad things wouldn’t. These rules defined so much of my everyday life – from what I would wear, to what I would eat, and more than anything else, what I would say and how I would act. It was as if I had constructed this invisible box around myself – somewhere safe to live – but without realising that space was too small for me, and that it was actually holding me back.

It’s not difficult for me to understand why I would have such a strong attachment to a set of rules. Or why I would seek to create order to control against chaos. Because that is exactly how I would describe my childhood – chaotic.

I was 7 when my father committed suicide, and it only got worse from there. Continue reading “Breaking The Rules”