#GetFitChallenge – Recap of Week 2: Down & Out

I knew weeks 2 and 3 would be hard… however, I did not think it would be THIS hard.

Why?

I came down with some form of cold/ flu/ viral hybrid-infection. It started with a sore throat and losing my voice last weekend. This symptom slowly, but surely, progressed to a fever midweek and I’m still pretty congested. Feeling physically drained, congested (thank you, sinuses!) and all headachy is probably the worst limbo out there… you’re ill but it is not quite stay-at-home ill. You just feel crap. And the meds you take make you too restless to sleep – even though your body craves sleep. In addition to my “poor health”, I flew home to my parents for a few days.

Training

Exercising in any way, shape or form when you are ill is not advised. You put additional stress onto your already fragile body – plus you need the extra energy diverted to your immune system to fight off the bad guys or you’ll progress to more severe symptoms.

Because I can be an idiot sometimes; I thought I was fine and completed my second double class of barre and pilates on Tuesday. Physically I felt good and got through it. In fact, I really enjoyed it… until Wednesday morning. I woke up (not having the best sleep in the world) feeling more congested and just iffy. My sore throat seems to be returning and my sinus headache was unrelenting. Mid-morning I broke out in a fever – the first for this period of illness.  Blegh.

I decided to listen to my body and did not exercise for the rest of the week… While Week 1 of the GetFitChallenge saw me complete around 6 hours of training, Week 2 only saw me complete 2 hours. Sadness.

Diet

The win of week 2? I still have not succumbed to any confectionary items and soft-drinks (yay)! Or added sugar to any hot beverages.

I did however have lots of honey to soothe my throat…. Yes, I did “indulge” in sweet and fried foods. No, I did not stuff my face or binge eat. Which I’d like to see as a win. I’m not depriving myself at all… everything in moderation. Maybe I am taking this challenge into a new lifestyle?

Other goals

Another personal goal is to complete a project I have been stalling for a while. Fear of failure is my biggest downfall. I still have not had the courage to pick it up and plan the steps. I need to. Desperately. I’ve already given myself a shove in the right direction this week by getting in touch with people who may be able to assist me in achieving completion (I just hope and pray they agree!).

Stats 

Yes, the dreading weighing and mugshots happened in Week 2. we are to weigh ourselves and take progress pics weekly. I dread this part. I am the least photogenic person around (thank God for SnapChat filters!). Surprisingly, I managed to lose about a kg from Week 1 to Week 2. In addition I *think* I can see a difference in my photos (a bit more definition in the abs)… or maybe I’m wanting to see something so badly I’m tricking myself!

Emotions

As always, this is my most challenging battle, and perhaps the main reason I registered for the GetFitChallenge. This past week I have been exceptionally mean to  myself – especially seeing that I did not train as recommended. With me, there is always a head vs heart battle; intellectually I know I can’t stress out my body physically, yet emotionally I feel like a failure.

Seeing everyone on our group chats pushing themselves is truly inspiring but also makes me feel worthless… which makes me “hate” myself for not trying… and sends me into a slump and makes me feel physically worse… making me hate myself for being “weak” and getting a cold and not trying – it is a vicious cycle.

I’m consciously trying to work on my internal dialogue with myself and treat myself with more love, care and kindness. But it’s a 24 hour job and damn hard work!

The women in the challenge, particularly Robyn – our mastermind – are amazing; all smiling, energetic, ready to go out and kick ass… all so positive and full of life. These women are the epitome of what I strive to be… just being around them in class bring a smile to my face and brightens up my day. There is no drama, no external influences bringing me down. They make me want to lift myself up and be happy with myself. The pic below was taken after my one and only double class in Week 2 – I look so happy and chilled…. I’d love to carry that around with me.

2017-07-11 20.07.50
Feeling good after completing my Barre and Pilates double!

For this challenge, I made a contract with myself more than anyone else. Robyn’s challenge gave me a platform and a gentle push in the right direction. I’ve always broken promises to myself before and I REFUSE to break this one, too. I can’t handle breaking another promise with myself.

Even just coming to the end of the 8 weeks will be an achievement for ME. I am in competition with myself, the old me: quits when she hits a wall, has crippling self-doubt, very little self-worth and no self-love. I need to remember I can do no more or no less than what my body is capable of – and I know it is capable of a lot.

I need to do what’s best for me: physically, emotionally and mentally.

I need to cut out toxic relationships and mines negativity in all areas of my life…. and I’m worth it. I deserve to be confident and happy in my body and mind.

I need to take this challenge one day at a time.

Looking forward

Week 3!

I’m only back into routine on Wednesday and do hope to squeeze in three core-barre sessions this week – one on Thursday and two on Saturday morning… Unfortunately I’m working on Saturday so it threw my plans of trying the triple for a Saturday: barre, pilates, barre. Maybe next week…  The plan is to also train with P at least once. And – if I am feeling up to it, a hot yoga session with E on Saturday afternoon/evening.

Although I am feeling better physically, I need to remember not to strain myself and my body.

Diet-wise: I need to reset a bit and eat-clean once I get back into my routine. I am proud that I have not had any sweets or soft-drinks though. I am craving fresh food right now!

Emotionally – I need to remember what my friend Miranda always says (and which has become my source of motivation)…. Remember No Matter What: Chin Up, Tits Out. (I reviewed her first book here)!

Until next week!

k x

 

Miranda Oh

I previously reviewed the book “Remember, no matter what; Chin Up Tits Out” by Miranda Oh (you can find the review here). Miranda has become a friend and fortunately she agreed to let me (me….a nobody!) “interview” her for this blog! Book 2 of the Chin Up Tits Out series is due in February 2017 and I, for one, CAN’T FREAKING WAIT! One of the things I’d like to do moving forward is to interview people in my life… and I hope you like it!

Miranda and I speak regularly (ok, we whatsapp regularly – time zones kinda suck) and she is definitely an older and wiser (metaphorically speaking of-course) “cyber-sister”. As Miranda pointed out yesterday, we are two VERY different woman – different life stories  and journey’s (I’m a scientist, she’s a published author), grown up in different countries (her in first-world Canada, myself in third-world South Africa) – yet we deal with similar struggles, insecurities and challenges. I completely agree and it shocks me EVERY TIME I take the time to process it!

We’re both “millennials” and it just goes to show that regardless of your background, we all go through the same “obstacles” in life – I guess its the nature of human life…and the stages, the transformations we inevitably all go through – if we like it or not! Navigating this thing we call life is not easy – well, that is my perception of it. Having a sounding board, a confidante who has experienced similar situations in life is possibly the only thing that keeps me sane (ok, somewhat sane)…. especially when you can’t live in a therapists office! (Yes, I believe everyone should go to therapy – the objective viewpoint and alternate thinking is eye-opening… I wrote a bit about it here).

It’s no lie, I have many people from different walks of life, ages, genders, family, friends who I can reliably reach out to. But each of them has taught me something different in my life – and made an impact on the person I am today. I learn so much about life, being human from these incredible people; and Miranda is definitely one of them!

By that fateful day in April 2016, I was a pretty lost cause (yes, the people in my life would agree to that… I can almost see them nodding)… There was no advice that was not given to me….lovingly and in exasperation, subtle and the not-so-subtle. The exasperation and not-so-subtle were the norm by April – for some reason i just couldn’t – for the life of me – get the advice to puncture my emotional side…. (I seem to have this problem often….intellectually I get it, emotionally… BIG PROBLEM).

The weird thing is, completely out of character, I reached out to Miranda after reading her book… to thank her for sharing her story – something in the chic-lit book jumped out at me… perhaps it was the signs I could see, perhaps it was M relating a bit more of the story? Who knows. But I knew I had to thank her. We started chatting and I recounted my situation… Miranda got it. She got me. Her advice to me actually got me. More than anyone else in my life at the time, she could relate to my situation. She not only survived something similar, she thrived!

So lets get on with the interview…. Interviewing Miranda didn’t really feel like an interview – it was pretty much us chatting… over email instead of whatsapp. My questions and comments are in bold, Miranda’s responses are italicised.

I’ve separated the interview into different sections:

  • Writing
  • Taking the leap and publishing
  • Personal

_________________________________________________________________

Hey M, thank you so much for allowing me to interview you (you know, before you become a world famous, best-selling, movies-are-made-from-your-books author)… 

Before we get to the “juicy stuff” can you please tell us a bit about yourself? 

A little bit about me, I work for a creditor insurance company as a corporate trainer. I love my job as it takes me across Canada, and it puts me in front of a lot of different types of professionals. I get to speak and assist them in their daily activities by training them on a software program created by the company I am employed by. As much as traveling for work is fun, it does have its downsides to it as well, in early December I stayed at a hotel and got attacked by bed bugs one night. (Gross and bloody itchy) And sometimes I am within 3 different time zones in a span of a few days. It is always an adventure when I travel for work, and I love it. It beats sitting behind a desk for 40 hours a week. 
I write on my off times, either in the evenings, weekends or flights for when I travel. I enjoy my writing, it gives me an opportunity to tell a story of mine in a new way. It comes out a different version of the truth, and it fuels passion and love within myself. I feel writing can be healing for me most times. (keyword… MOST times lol) 
I tend to live a healthy lifestyle; I go to the gym weekly; I try for 5 days a week, but minimum 2 times a week; it all really depends on what I have planned. I live off of lists, and calendars; for events or reminders, I have 2 cell phones that go off, my computer calendar and my written calendar outlining everything from events, monthly payments, and reminders such as; garbage days. I love going to the gym during the busy times, mostly because it works within my work schedule etc., but also because it is busy, I try and use the people around me as motivation to push harder. Also to check out good looking people working hard. I can appreciate someone kicking ass at their own workout. *fist bump*
My family is pretty close; my parents are happily married and living in their dream home, my little bro moved in recently with them to save some money for a bit.  We are pretty close, and like spending time with each other. They live out of town (about 30 minutes from my house), so I either see them on lunch dates during the week if they are around my office, and I try and get out to their house once every week or two. 
I live in a new apartment with 2 male roommates; both Nigerian. We are a little family, splitting chores, duties, and bills. The 3 of us have been living together for a few years now, we joke often that I am the adopted white sister they never had! Some people seem to believe us, we all giggle. Although most people’s initial reaction is WOW … 2 guys hey… well before anyone judges, I used to live with 6 men, and no it wasn’t a big orgy, it was more like communal living.  Honestly, guys are easier to live with, they are rarely emotional; unless I provoke it. When they do something wrong (like leave the toilet seat up), I kindly remind them, and then it doesn’t happen again (I mean it ain’t perfect, but they try, and that’s really all that counts) I draw it up to good practice for when I have children someday. 
Yes, I would love to be a mom some day, when I was 20, my goal was the be done having children by the time I was 30 years old. I turn 28 in April. (Ironically Hitlers birthday and National Marijuana Day), when I discovered and realized that I wasn’t going to be DONE having kids by the time I am 30, it was a bit disappointing, but then quickly came up with the idea that it wasn’t meant to happen like that for me; I was meant to write my books, maybe have those ‘babies’ done by the time I am 30. I did get my tarot cards read in December and the lady I went to said I was going to have 2 kids in and around 4 years from now… so we will see. If not; I am not opposed to adopting around the age of 35. 

Book 1 was quite a rollercoaster… from the initial meeting to marriage! How does book 2 compare?

Book 2 is a whole new roller-coaster of emotion. Hadley is really forced to grow up fast, and behave in a way that is unimaginable. You will tell immediately in the writing; the writing itself is incomparable to book 1. While book 1 was fast paced, high energy, young and whimsical, book 2 is equally as fast paced, but written to make the reader feel what Hadley is feeling, and really capture the reader’s emotion to help them relate to how Hadley feels. You will immediately feel the shift in tone, and really feel how quickly Hadley grew up. I mean, I also grew up a ton after the launch of book 1, I learned a lot on my journey with book 1 and you can tell the difference in my writing. I can’t wait for my readers to get their hands on it.

Writing 

What inspired you to write?

I have always wanted to write. Write what; in fact… I had no idea. But during my own life experiences, I always joked about writing about my crazy stories. Monday mornings at my desk were coffee driven story times. I wanted to utilize that eventually and somehow I ended up with a series of books.

My life inspires me to share my stories, paying a publisher to help keep my writing on track is what makes sure I get it done. LOL I was blessed with a very theatrical personality with a very robust life, I think it would be a shame and a waste if I didn’t utilize my experiences in the form of an art where people from all over the world can relate.

Are you self-conscious in any way in your writing? How do you overcome that?

Holy balls yes, I am. I fear that someone will hate what I have put on paper so much that it will compel them to send me nasty hate mail. LOL But to date, I can proudly say that it hasn’t happened, on the contrary the opposite happens, as you can see on my social media feeds, I post almost all reviews that come in to me personally. They are all raving positive and all my readers LOVE the book thus far. I don’t like using big words, since in my own life, I try and not use big words, I use words that everyone can understand. I also use topics that maybe we don’t all talk about out loud, but we definitely think about or do behind closed doors. I overcome my anxiety about my writing with the simple thought ‘I can’t please everyone’.

At the end of the day, if I am happy, then I have done my job. Anyone else’s happiness doesn’t fall on me. That doesn’t mean that if/when I do get my first hate mail letter I will be all cool and Zen with it, because honestly I think I would lose my shit, and cry until I had snot bubbles coming out of my nose. I can picture myself throwing a straw into a bottle of wine, lighting a candle, and sitting there in the dark guzzling back the wine and wallowing in my own misery. LOL I am far from confident with my writing, but I know in my heart that I am honest, and wholeheartedly putting thoughts down on the page and meaning every word.  That is really the only expectation I can put out there. I overcome my anxiety about my writing with the simple thought ‘I can’t please everyone’. At the end of the day, if I am happy, then I have done my job. Anyone else’s happiness doesn’t fall on me.

Did this take you some time to get to a self-worth and self-love place to able to confidently say you can’t please anymore. I know it is something I struggle with terribly. I know we’ll do a follow up after Book 2 is out, but can you share some of your tips for prioritising yourself, confidence in yourself and your work?

My self love and self worth I go through phases with. Some days I think I am hot shit, and other days i feel like a bag of shit. It is a constant battle every day to ensure that I am being the best I can be towards myself. I am trying a new thing that before I answer a question I really try and think the answer through all possible scenarios. It is time consuming, and sometimes hard. BUT I find that I am getting a better response and more productive when trying to coordinate people, or coordinate my feelings. For example, if I am feeling a bit insecure or unsure or unstable, and someone offers me something nice; since I am feeling down, my initial reaction is to wallow in self pity and say ‘no, im good thanks’ and then I sit there and suffer in silence. 

So now I try and work through the idea of WHAT IF I say yes, please let’s do what you are suggesting to make me feel better. It is working for me. But it is a new resolution, so I will have to get back to you on the progress with that. I also try and brush off any negative energy towards me, so for example if I get a bad reaction or bad vibe from someone close around me, my intial reaction is to think it has to do with me. that their unhappiness is my fault some how. I have mentally stopped doing that, I acknowledge that this person is suffering or struggling some how, and then i immediately change the subject or stop talking. If that person wants to elaborate and chat more about it, I leave it in their court to do so, instead of asking them to talk it out. and if they dont, then I have already mentally stopped thinking it was me, and just think about something else, if I cant drown out my brain I put on music that I can sing to. that helps my mind to move on from that thought. 

What challenges do you face when writing?

My biggest challenge while writing is reliving certain aspects of my own story I am using, and losing my cool about it. Since I write about some personal experiences, or experiences from others in my life, I am close to my writing, I take it personally. And I think the hardest part is to reread what I have written and judge myself on my actions. I think to myself that I could have done this, or that, and maybe it would have ended up differently… but truth is… If it ended up differently… would I be sitting here right here and now writing this masterpiece…NO; is the answer. And for that simple thought, I am grateful for my challenges.

I don’t suffer from writers block, I suffer from the opposite actually, verbal diarrhoea  I mean once it starts it doesn’t stop, and sometimes my brain thinks too fast for my fingers to type. Upon rereading a paragraph or section I have written, there will be 17 half thoughts in there, LOL. Before I can finish a thought, I start another. The editing is always the most grueling part for me.

I live with a bunch of men, some students, some professionals, we were a little community of individuals that lived under the same roof. During the writing of book 2, there was at least half a dozen times where one of them would come up to me; where I would be sitting there with my noise cancelling headphones blaring R&B music, a bottle of wine, with a straw in it, or a big ass glass of wine. They would tap me on the shoulder, as I am sitting there sobbing and typing a mile a minute. “Miranda, do we need to go for a drive to get some fresh air?” they would hand me a tissue to clean up the mascara lines running down my cheeks and dangle the keys of a car in front of my face (like a dog on the treadmill). LOL I am beyond lucky to have such understanding people in my life.

Do you have a writing schedule? Or do you write when you have an urge?

When I make a commitment to writing, I have to get it done NOW, or better yet yesterday. LOL, I usually set myself a really tight goal, and try and work my life around that. I know successful writers have schedules, and/or a daily word count set. Since this is not my main career, I write when I can. If that means lunch breaks, after work, before the gym, or the entire weekend, so be it. I feel that the quicker I get it on paper, the longer I have to reread, edit and refine, which with my serious condition of verbal diarrhoea  It ends up being positive to have way, way, WAY more time to refine and edit.

Did you write book 1 and book 2 “off-plan”? Or did you have an outline for what each book will contain? How long did Book 1 take? Book 2?

I wrote book 1 with an outline, and that roughly took me 16 hours to do the meat and potatoes. Book 2 I wrote with more of chronological point form, and crossed off the point forms as I wrote about them. But the meat and potatoes with that book, probably took me closer to 100 hours. You will immediately see the difference in the writing when you open the pages of book 2. I had a rough idea of what each book would contain, but didn’t set myself a limit on how it portrayed in the book, the story came out as a wild beast, and then we spent months (for each book) taming that beast. 

Does writing energize you or exhaust you? Or is it release?

I think it has a touch of all 3, pending on what I am writing, and when I am writing; if that makes sense. Sometimes when I write a part that is exciting and happy, I feel accomplished and excited about rereading what I just wrote. There are times when I am writing about really crappy things, like hospital visits and drug addictions, and after I am done, I am defeated, exhausted and really depressed. Once it was all over, though, someone asked me if I felt a release after writing this book. The answer for this one is still undetermined. Honestly, I knew it was going to be healing for me to write this book, but at the end of the day, after rereading it a million times during editing, I quickly learned that it was no longer a release or healing, but more so like kicking the dog when its down, or continuously putting salt in the wound. I am beyond excited to release this second book, once that is out, the hard part is over. The final book of the series will be fun, light hearted and a lot easier to write. Maybe I get the ‘release’ once the book is launched, I will have to get back to you on that one!

During both books, you’ve juggled a full time job and writing. Was this difficult for you? How did you manage to keep sane 🙂

Sane… what is sane? LOL just kidding. My full time day job requires me to be smart, calm, cool and collected. My books allow me to be stilly, crazy and all over the place. I have found it a good mix while writing. I am also forever grateful to have a work environment that is so supportive of my ‘hobby’ of writing. As long as my work gets done and done on time, my team is satisfied with me. If I didn’t have my full time job, I probably wouldn’t be so productive with my writing. The more I have on the go, the more productive I am.

You write a lot about South Africa, having visited the country what are your impressions about it? How was the country different to your perceptions about it? Would you ever visit the country again?

I absolutely love South Africa, I love the weather, the culture, the food, not to mention the Biltong. (So much so, that I attempted to make my own!)

Prior to going to SA for the first time back in 2007, I was completely naïve about how it was there, the history, the struggles, everything. I mean to my knowledge, I assumed people lived there in manmade shacks, wore butt flaps, had bones in their noses, and did tribal dances every night around a fire…. BOY was I ever wrong. I mean way before travelling there, I realized that my assumptions, or dreams about Africa were only due to education I found in TV and movies. But living there, and living in the complexes with the gates, and garden people, and the maids that came daily to tidy, it was such a culture shock. I was completely enamored by everything that was there. I was also in love, and madly naïve to the possible dangers lurking around every corner. I was lucky and always had people accompanying me and never felt unsafe once. 

My biggest hope for South Africa as a nation would be to try and find a way to love more. Maybe it was the people I was around, or maybe it is an overall consensus, but I did find there was a lot of hate towards other races and ethnicities. Growing up in Canada and being white myself, I never once (prior to my trip to SA) was in a racial issue, or faced an uncomfortable situation due to race. I wanted a friend’s co-worker who was black to come join us at our table for lunch, as he sat at the other end of the restaurant by himself. To me that was unacceptable, and I explained it to my group of people, and they all compiled respectfully…but who knows what happened after I left there. I would love to go back for business one day, I think there are a ton of opportunities there. As for a leisure trip…there are a ton more new places I have yet to visit before going back to SA. 

If you could write a happy ending for Hadley, what would it be? (Note: I have no idea what’s coming in book 2)?

If Hadley had a happy ending, one that we all hope to see at the end of a Disney movie…it would be that her an Riaan finally get settled in Canada. Riaan gets a good job, and they have a couple of beautiful children with blonde flowy curly hair, dark brown eyes, and sun-kissed skin. And I would be the next J.K Rowling Author of Chick Lit. (oh wait.. Hadley… not Miranda… LOL… aren’t we one in the same) You have no idea what is coming in Book 2… I am excited for you. I wish I could be a fly on the wall to watch your reactions. 

I’m very excited about it and a bit nervous at the same time. At this point we’ve shared so much and you’ve been a guiding light but I’d probably message you at odd hours with tears in my eyes or laughing like a woman possessed…or both!

My door is forever open. I am currently getting updates on every few chapters from another local girl who picked up my book from some where. I love hearing what my readers have to say, regardless if I have been friends with them for 25 years or have never met them before. My goal was for my readers to feel Hadley and her feelings, to feel the actual love, the pain, the excitment, the exhaustion, all the feelings that she felt in this part of her story. It was important for my readers to feel the overpowering feelings she felt. It really should resonate with all different types of people. at least that is my hope. 

Taking the leap and publishing 

What gave you the courage to send your book out to a publisher?

I needed the motivation to start writing, and I didn’t know where to start. Once I found a publishing company that I was comfortable with, we sat down over drinks, and I explained my story idea to Osamede; my creative director. He loved the idea, and loved me, and likewise. He gave me some insight and some research to do, and before I knew it, I had a contract signed, and a book outline was done.

Did you face any challenges when trying to get published?

I always pictured my writing life as; sending in the manuscript and having publishers gush over it, and fight over it, and then Miranda would get this big old fat cheque in the mail for an advance… boy oh boy… I wish I was that blessed or that lucky, or even that talented. I found a publisher that I was comfortable with and paid him to help me get it done. I think since there was a financial burden put on me, that I was so motivated to finish and get it on the shelves and start to make money off the book. I can only hope that one day I have big publishing houses fighting over me throwing book advance cheques in my face… A girl can dream, right?

Did you ever expect/ dream of being published, author?

Bahahaha – NOPE. Honestly, I still don’t see it some days. I look at it as, that I had a story, I wanted to share it, and I did what I had to do to make that happen. It is often when people ask me how it feels to be a published author… my response is always the same… I feel the same as before. We all write out stories or tell our stories some way… I drink a crap ton of wine and put it out there, no shame, no style, just me. And somehow in that mindset, I have become a published author.

Personal 

After reading book 1, I did something out of character and reached out to you. We’ve become good friends and I know you’ve helped me in navigating through life’s turmoil’s and you are a role model to me… how do you describe your own inner strength?

My inner strength is nothing without people such as yourself. I am loud, outgoing, happy, and share all those feelings with as many people as I can on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean that I take those exuberant feelings home with me every night. 

There are times sometimes more often than not, where I cry every day. For what might you ask? Oh, you know… I ran out of bread, dropped my make-up and it broke, realized I only have $25 to last me until pay day, someone’s tone with me at work was too abrasive…etc.… (Obviously world ending situations!) I won’t cry in front of people, but mostly in my own home, in my room – in my safe place. As much as I pride myself on always thinking ‘chin up tits out’ there are just some days where you want to tell that slogan to go f*** itself.

I hear ya! But in those moments you know that you aren’t dealing with it alone. I am miles away but always an eye to listen and a metaphorical shoulder to cry on. Anytime, I get those days too (more often than not).

I swear women are meant to be the soulmates of other women. Like we literally have extreme opposite lives, yet struggle with the same struggles, just in our own way. relaying and exchanging those thoughts, struggles and stories is what enriches our lives with hope, confidence and inner peace. (in my opinion anyways… some yogi’s will beg to differ, saying that breath in, and breath out will give us inner peace…. NO.. I want to know that I am not the only person who thinks these thoughts, and says these things… lol cuz in reality I am not the only person out there that has similar thoughts, etc – I agree with you 100%! I’d rather know other people are in the same boat, too). 

LOL I also don’t cry long, like a minute or two or like five at tops. But nothing longer than that. My eyes swell and my nose starts to fill with snot and shit, and then it gets ugly. LOL But my inner strength is really reliant on the ones around me. I don’t ask them for compliments or anything like that, I just like to make people around me feel great and laugh and enjoy themselves, if I see happy people around me, I tend to be happy too. 

I am constantly working on my inner peace, and my ability to enjoy my alone time. I DO enjoy my alone time currently, and feel myself getting better at it. BUT it is a constant struggle to make sure I allocate enough time to self-love, self-heal, and self-grow. My relationship and love with myself will be the biggest most important relationship in my lifetime. It should be #1 on my priority list, for many people it isn’t.

As much as I try I can never get to a point where I “love” myself. How has your journey through this been?

Hell I am not even there yet. I mean I love myself enough to continue living my life and moving forward in my life. But honestly it is a daily battle. Some days are great and some days aren’t  and the days where you dont have self love, as long as you do something, even the smallest thing to love yourself on purpose, it should make the tomorrow day that much better. If I am finding that my bad days are more then the good days, I book an appointment with my therapist. I am actually meeting with her tonight. I havent seen her since summer of 2015. So its been a while. BUT I am really excited to go see her. 

When trying to let someone go (someone who broke your heart) what is your advice?

Cut all strings, the good, the bad and the ugly. Refrain yourself from sending the last text, and the check in text or the random good bye phone call. Silence is key. And move on, no matter how hard. I forced myself to date only a couple of months after my ex left. It was horrifying, literally … well you read book 1 prologue … lol but the more dates I went on, the less I thought about my ex, the more things I did, the fuller my memory became with all these new memories. and before I knew it we were months apart and my mind was else where. It is when you stop and stand still that the past catches up with us. Always keep moving forward. Forward always (gosh I wish I knew what movie that line was from, I love it)

Hadley had her fare share of heartbreak – Riann leaving, breakup, engagement. In retrospect should she have been a bit more cautious? Do you think she will ever love/marry again?

Ohhh this is more so after book 2 is over … I think living cautiously you run the risk of missing out on the joys of life. I think Hadley has enough love in her to find love again. I think love comes in all shapes and sizes and that the word love evolves into much much more than just a life partner. The journey has made me realize that I love my parents differently than I love my BFF, and I love them differently than I would love my life partner, I have taken time to realize the differences in those types of love, and am learning to appreciate to love the love I already have in my life. It gives me less of an urge to find the ‘true love & prince charming’ love. it helps give me peace that i have enough already and that i would be only blessed if I got more people in my life to love. 

In Chin Up Tits Out, Riaan seemed to be the love of Hadley’s life. Do you believe there is only one love, or are there different loves at different stages of lives – the trick is it grow simultaneously with that person.

I think at one point as a little girl we all want to find our prince charming, and i think at one point i believed in that. My mom and dad are happily married still after 30 years, they practically look like barbie and ken (in a more human fashion though.. I mean my dad has grey hair… but looks like George Clooney) I think that everyone has thier own path, and sometimes people find 1 true love, and sometimes people find multiple true loves. Those true loves can be in the form of partners, friends, family, children; whether birthed or adopted. I have seen so many different types of ‘true love’ over the last few years, that I have opened my heart up to any type of love that comes my way, and i am sure to work hard at appreciating what I have, instead of point out and stress about what I dont have. I think the trick is exactly that… both parties must grow, sometimes one will grow faster or different then the other, but thats when you lean on each other. sometimes you will be stuck and the other partner will grow and vise versa. I think the path is always changing, and at the end of the day if you choose to be a life partner with someone, than that someone is your teammate. you wouldnt go on the playing field (of any type) without your teammates, so why make life decisions without them knowing or understanding why. whoo whoo teamwork …  

Miranda, thank you so much for allowing me to interview you! I can’t wait for Book 2!!! 

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I really hope you enjoyed my interview with Miranda. If you have any questions you’d like to ask her, please feel free to comment below or contact her via website (which provides links to all her social media)!

Please do check out her book, “Remember, no matter what; Chin Up Tits Out” and watch out for Book 2 – out in Mid-Feb!

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Acceptance… Why is it so hard?

I was in my hot yoga class on Sunday and there is something my favourite (and awesome) instructor said something that just stuck. Stuck like I can’t-get-it-out-of-my-head, stuck. Its been ruminating within me…and making me feel a bit vulnerable.

While lying in corpse pose mid-practice, Eliza mentioned that moving your body in yoga allows you to learn how to love yourself (side note: I am paraphrasing). Loving yourself is not in a vain way – it is more accepting yourself wholly for who you are, what you are, what you look like, what you believe in.

And thats a big thing for me.

All my life, for as long as I can remember, I have been hating myself… for not being enough – not smart enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough, not confident enough. I take things too personally and am too sensitive, I trust too much and place too much emphasis on what people say about me. I am a people pleaser.

Society has placed a lot of expectations on the world and in this digital age we are bombarded by images and an influx of advertising imprinting on us what we should look like, how we should act, what we can do. I am also a millennial – a member of the instant gratification generation…we want things our way, and we want it now. Not a good combination.

So, why did the phrase “love yourself” stick out to me  THIS class. Especially when the same two words are everywhere – from social media to local magazines… It is the theme du jour, so to speak. I’ve heard and read the phrase many times before. What changed in that moment, in that yoga class?

Perhaps it was the “right time”. I was too exhausted to over-think and analyse and question. I was sweaty and vulnerable and my mind was “still” (well, as still as an ADD mind can get!). It was the first time I actually heard the words. I “felt” the words. And it scares me (not just because I feel very un-scientific saying that I “felt” words).

Just the day before I heard news that threw me… and made me sink into the depths of self-pity. Not the most attractive trait, I know. It made me question the world and the unfairness of life. Why do “good” things happen to “bad” people? “Good” as in lucky, getting everything handed to them, not struggling. “Bad” as in  superficial, arrogant, treats people as consumables. The whole nature of it all makes me question and over-analyse life….is life really that unfair? Or is it a perception? What do I really feel about “everything happens for a reason” and “all in good time”?

To add insult to injury, I’ve been feeling forgotten… I seem to attract emotionally unavailable people to my life and then berate myself for giving 150% of myself to a one-sided relationship. I care too much. I love too much. Almost to the extent of losing myself in the process. While they only know me when they want something. It sucks.

I get that each person has their own journey in life. Their own obstacles, trials. But why is it that those who suffer the most are the most humble, genuine, compassionate people? I’m not saying I am any of those qualities but I feel as though I am respectful and caring. Why have things been such a struggle for me these past ten years? Why have their been so many bricks along the path which caused me to stumble at every single step? These questions have been haunting me for the longest time.

As I was in the corpse pose during that class, my heart physically felt as though it was being squeezed, constricted….remnants of muscle breaking away and falling into the deep abyss (so to speak).  I’ve felt this way before – I know it well. It is my not-good-enough feeling – I remember it from early 2015, when I had my heart broken. When Eliza said the words “love yourself” it was as if it was a “lightbulb” moment. Don’t get me wrong, the feeling is still there…but my thoughts have “shifted” slightly.

I know I need to persevere, keep at it, take it all in my stride. Intellectually, I know this. I need to move forward. “Embrace” the lessons and learn from them. Grow as a human being – and get stronger, more adaptable, resilient, disciplined (shout out to my 2017 theme)! However, emotionally I am “stuck”… It is so much easier to feel sorry for myself and stay in the same metaphorical place while lamenting my fate, blaming the world – hell anything and everyone – for my situations. I have so much to be grateful for and when I reflect on this it makes me feel worse for even feeling sorry for myself. Vicious cycle all leading to “hate-me” avenue.

It is much, much harder to be an active participant in my life and love myself – flaws and all.  The perception requires me to take 100% responsibility for my life, my actions, my decisions. Which is scary because there is no-one or nothing I can blame but myself. When I am in the middle of a hot yoga class and sweating profusely, thinking I am going to fall flat on my face, my mind screaming at me (you’re going to die!)…the heat, the instructions and pure instinct kick in and my body surprises me. I can do it and make it through the class. So perhaps I need to trust my instinct and intuition more in everyday life…and learn to accept myself – flaws and all. Easier said than done.

What do I need to accept in life?

  • I will never have supermodel looks or a supermodel body or look like anyone else.
    • But I can be the healthiest, fittest person I can be.
  • I will never be the smartest person in my field.
    • But I can work hard, be disciplined and focused on where I would like to be.
  • Some people will only know me when they need something.
    • But I can set boundaries to protect myself.
  • People I love and care about will not feel the same about me.
    • But I can hold a place in my heart for them, wishing them well, without expectations.
  • Some people will not have the same values in life as well.
    • But I can know my own values, morals, ethics and not be pressured into saying or doing things that does not feel authentic to me.

All these things require diligent action –  especially when I’m having a bad day and my default is to feel sorry for myself. Its damn hard work. Today, is a particularly hard day. I deep in wallowing mode and trying to pull myself out of it. My discipline and habits for the day have fallen to the wayside and I’m harder on myself because of it. Talk about a catch-22. Again, vicious cycle. But my crappy feeling is somehow different this time around… I’m fully aware of it… not just feeling “bleh” for no real reason.

I’d like to think my hot yoga practice and my facilitation sessions with Eliza have opened the gates to a new perception of myself and my world. The combination seems to have pushed my boundaries – in and out of class. I only started hot yoga in October 2016, at least once a week so I am still a newbie! My first and second facilitation sessions were in December 2016.  Those are the only new things I’ve incorporated in my life and since then I found I’ve been bubbling with the urge to write more. I’ve somewhat started to  accept my body (the moments are few and FAR between but there have been glimpses of acceptance).  I’m still working on being disciplined, learning to set boundaries and say no… hopefully it will come with time! And I am definitely a work in progress when it comes to comparing myself to others.

Hopefully putting my words down here will allow me to “let go” of some of the thoughts occupying space in my mind and let me get on with my priorities and goals. And, I think, most importantly figure out my vision and passion in this world… so I can see the bigger picture and accept myself more…

Am I the only one who struggles with this? What do you do to get yourself out of a slump? Do you find accepting yourself hard? Please let me know below 🙂

kush

x

Happiness Jar

Yesterday I received the most thoughtful, inspiring gift. I’ve seen it on Pinterest but, as with all things Pinterest something else distracts you.

I was gifted a “Happiness Jar” by someone very close to me and who has seen me at my worst…and still loves me…which makes the whole thing more special and more emotional (in a good way). The premise behind it is that whenever something makes you happy or inspired you write it down with the date and pop it into the jar. By year end there will (hopefully) be a jar full of little moments that made the year special.

The whole idea of a jar of happy things may seem a bit strange for some people – and its mostly those (and I’m stereotyping) who need it the most!I’ve made versions of the Happiness Jar for other people before – just little sayings, thought, phrases for every day to make them feel special (and I’m sure they didn’t like it and thought it weird/stupid…they didn’t see that it was my way of showing them how much they meant to me) but I’ve never ever did it for myself. In hindsight I would have loved something like that.

Jar Instructions

“2016

Dearest Kusha

This is your “Happy Jar” for this year.

Every time something good happens, write it down on a piece of paper, with the date.

Put it in the jar and build up a collection go awesome things!

You can read them on New Years day 2017.

You can decorate your jar, I started you off with a star just to remind you what you are!

Wishing you a VERY full jar!

Lots of Love”

 

I simply love having people in my life who are quite literally kicking my ass into doing something good for myself. I’m guilty of prioritising everyone and everything else before myself.  Too often, as a member of the “entitlement generation” I forget the little things that made my day – even if its only a moment. I’ll be the first one to say I go from 0 – 100 in negativity and despair… in about two seconds. I’m hoping the jar will make my cherish the little things in life.

So now, my aim is to make my nearest and dearest keep jars too… Its something so simple yet I can see us reaping the rewards later on; if its only for our self-esteem! At least when we look back on it we can have a laugh, be grateful or smile – even when times are rough!

 

“tears are beautiful”

A dear friend and colleague sent me this yesterday (when I was feeling so overwhelmed, emotional, drained and just over this shitty year). It is such a beautiful message I had to share it… And it is definitely something I need to take into 2016!

Thank you, M…You really know how to make me look at things in a different perspective… You are always there to put a smile on our faces, listen to our issues and complaining (!) and be there for us…

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2015

After my somewhat “enlightened” previous post I fell into a rough patch – and it made me go back and read those words.

Again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

 Intellectually and logically it all makes sense but emotionally – to the very self-critical person I am – it did not make sense.

2015 has been a bitch of a year. To say the least. I’ve experienced a few rough years but honestly 2015 was a tumultuous one. And to be perfectly frank, I didn’t think I would be here at the end of it.

2015 saw me broken into little pieces, feeling used and abused, unworthy, unlovable.

I think I’m in the middle of my mid-life crisis… It is in essence my existential crisis. I’ve been thrown head-first into an ocean of emotion and question…

Who am I?

What do I stand for?

What do I believe?

Who honestly has my back?

For anyone whose been faced with these questions, it tough. But try being faced with them at an incredibly vulnerable time where the last thing one wants to do is figure this shit out – especially when you turn 30 and everything around you has crumbled…included yourself.

Through this year I’ve experimented with who I am, what I want to be and what I stand for, had to deal with loss (in all forms). As a scientist it is almost ingrained in me to question, understand and hypothesize. Try using that kind of cognitive process with the “unknown”. I’m definitely not a “hippy”, peace and love, talk-about-feelings kind of person. Far from it. I’m a Type A personality – give me someone else’s problems and I will find solutions and drop everything I am (including myself) to fix them. Venturing into unchartered waters of emotions and existential crises are definitely not my thing. Especially when my (extended) family is not big on the emotional stuff (and I’m the only emotional one in said family – everyone else are fans of tough love…)

Being physically, emotionally, intellectually and mentally shattered to pieces in 2015 had me being bullied (yes, bullied) into talk therapy (thank you, tough love friends and family) to help me deal with everything. My general approach is that my shit can be tucked away into the recesses of my mind and numbed with prescription drugs. Until they don’t work anymore… It was at a point where I was juggling too many things, refused to take each one and deal with it…pushed my issues aside to help others and eventually broke down, even on the drugs (pretty much clarifying that my problem is not biological pathways that need a boost of chemicals).

Having been in regular talk therapy, I must admit (the scientific part of my mind is cringing), is helping. I was hesitant at first (ok, a little more than hesitant). Therapy is making me realize how I’m emotionally “wired” – if that makes sense (trust me, it took me a LONG time). Its good having an objective opinion, have validation over some feelings and new ways to consider others – as my close friend mentioned, “they (my confidantes) are too closely involved in my life to be objective…it just makes them angry or mad etc”. In addition, I’ve unknowingly had “therapy” sessions while exercising – getting the stuff out of my head while moving my body and yes, that helps a shit load too – especially when I realize, after the fact, he has a psychology degree! Regardless he put up with my shit while making look awesome (well, I think so lol).

I’m generally the type who would push my emotions and feelings aside, taking care of others and making sure their feelings/emotions are met… To everyone’s detriment. There have, inevitably, been boiling points where I would – in a rage of tears and words (on text or whatsapp – never in person…I hate conflict!) – explode. More than a few people who can attest to this! I’m a naturally very sensitive, emotional person and “feel too much” so this year was one huge lesson in dealing with my emotional stuff… in the moment and not bottling it up.

I’ve learnt in 2015 to tackle things head-on. I’ve learnt to “call people out on their shit” especially where it concerns me (in a nice way, of course) – it sometimes has a good ending, while other times it doesn’t. Its human nature to defend yourself and your position so any dispute will always result in a tense situation. Certain interactions with people I’ve confronted were double-edged swords…nice in reply yet trash-talk me to others. Not being so emotionally vested (by dealing with the situations as they arise) made the whole situation a lot clearer. It is easier to see when I was being bullshit-ed and says more about the type of person they are than myself.

And with those whom I love, trust, worry about, think of and care for…I’ve had to learn to step back. Inherently I want to help my loved ones, but I’ve learnt can only help and support them when they ask for it.  I’ve had to learn that I am not the one who has to keep pointing out the truth, especially when they don’t or don’t want to realize it (I’ve had moments of anger when I let loose every single “issue” that a person was myopic about and I wanted to make them aware of…only to be “ousted” and be the one blamed). In hindsight, it is their cross to bear, not mine. While I do it with the best of intentions, to them it is an outrage and “who is she to say those things” – and I’ve lost these people. For that I am deeply remorseful and regretful.

This year I’ve lost people I care about and given too many chances to others, forgiven people for talking shit about me and tried to save friendships, held out olive branches to some only to be left standing alone. I’ve tried to be friendly with others, supported them with big news/life-changing announcements/sent tokens of friendship and support and tried, overall, to be a good friend. I see everyone I meet as a friend – and, yes, that is naïve of me. I’ve learnt, from other interactions, that friendship is a two-way street. I can’t be the only one putting in the effort. I can be loyal (to a fault), loving, supportive and caring to those who are the same to me. The others, people who don’t really appreciate it and don’t reciprocate the friendship, honestly, don’t deserve my friendship or support. It is a harsh stance, I know, but one that will result in less over-thinking and stressing on my part – which can only be a good thing. I can be friendly to everyone but I know who my true friends are. I guess the experience has made me a wise bitch.

I don’t regret being the one to step up and apologize, try and resuscitate these relationships however, I am now more wary in my interactions. I’ve regretted many moments this year and have regrets, which will always be with me, but I guess that is life. Not every single person I meet with like me or agree with me, and I need to be ok with that. Everyone fights his or her own demons and I need to conquer mine before I can go out and “save the world”.

Yet, in the midst of the darkness I’ve learned who my shining lights were. The people I can call at any time of the day or night and who are there for me. These are my “kindred spirits” – the ones who tell me what I need to hear, those who have sent me LONG emails, messages and phone-calls telling me when I’m screwing up and supporting me in the best ways they can. Some of incredible, inspirational people I’ve known all my life, some in my teenage years, others in my early twenties, a few whose friendships were rekindled and some for only a few years but each and every one has dragged me KICKING AND SCREAMING, “snot-en-trane” through the darkest days of my life (which co-incidentally happened to be THIS year). These people are role models to me and I am beyond grateful for our friendships. I may not speaks to them for days or weeks but when we chat I know its “real”, non-judgemental and right. That is my highlight for the year.

So 2015, thanks for being a bitch. Thank you for teaching me life lessons, being a SHITTY year where I had to figure ME out. Thank you for showing me who has my back and allowing me to show my gratitude and support for them. I’m still very much a work-in-progress (working through emotional stuff is craptastic and brings up tons of raw-ness) but thank you, 2015, for making me face up to my inner demons…

x