Tag Archives: self care

GONE.

The thing about memory is that it is so easily reconciled. People say ‘I’ll remember this moment forever’ but the reality is that they will probably remember a version of that moment. One that has been contorted to fit their needs. The mind is weird you see, it never really remembers completely, it never does what you think it will or even what you will it to.

When I remember standing in the hospital room looking at my Dad three years ago today, it’s not, as I might have assumed, the numbing pain of his death that I remember most or the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, the disbelief that it was me standing in those shoes looking at that bed. It’s the way he looked so dead already, hollow and suddenly very small. Old. Even though he was so young. I remember the rose they put on his chest and thinking how inappropriate that they should think we would want that, that he would want that. I remember thinking my mum would hate it but still didn’t move it. Maybe she wouldn’t hate it after all, how could I know? I remember being annoyed that they couldn’t close his mouth.

And this is the part of my grief that I struggle with most. Those slightly mundane memories hurt. Sometimes, less now than last year, perhaps more than next year, when it’s late at night and my mind has no other focus they seem to fill up my brain until the top of my head hurts. But still, I want them. I don’t want an altered memory of him. I want real memories. All of them. The humour, family morals and the incredible generosity but also the dubious political views and the fiery temper I inherited. The holidays and his laughter and the sound of his voice, but also the way he looked when he took his last breath.

Because that is what will keep him alive in my head. I won’t allow his memory to become a watered down version of him, sitting behind yearly platitudes about endless sleep, meeting again and Heaven. I don’t want to hear poetic words of comfort. I want to dwell. In the good stuff and the shitty stuff. In how fucking unfair it is that he isn’t here. In all the stuff that makes his absence real and all the stuff that makes him real, that makes him my Dad.

Because then he isn’t really gone. In that place, in those memories, he’s still here.

 

 

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MY BIG FAT WEDDING

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This is a blog post from the past rather than the present, but I have decided to go ahead and write a little post on being a plus size bride. Not without a certain amount of trepidation I should add. I might start first though with setting out my views on the body positivity movement which, since the boom of social media, has really taken off over the last couple of years. I am, and pretty much always have been ‘plus size’. I read and follow lots of inspiring accounts on body positivity and mindfulness, they have been amazing to read and it’s so uplifting to see other women embracing their bodies and feeling good in a world where looking fat is still a bit of a stigma. So much has changed. I truly wish this movement had existed when I was in my early twenties. I had an awesome upbringing, with loving parents and a very happy childhood, I wouldn’t change much about it.. but being fat wasn’t cool. I was aware from a very young age that my body wasn’t the ‘right shape’. I went to an all-girls school where I held up what I looked like against others on a daily basis and it was tough. I remember having an operation which required me to be nil by mouth aged 13 and, after a week of liquid dieting, looking at my reflection in the mirror and my mother saying my tummy could always look like that. Now, it’s important to say here that I love my mum, and she loves me, whatever I look like…so this isn’t where I tell you that my childhood created a vicious cycle of depression and eating… the reality is that this is how women feel. It wasn’t considered cruel, just how it is. I have had many experiences like this throughout my life. The diet industry, the media, whatever, and whoever you want to blame has created a culture that says it’s not sexy to be fat, and that is regardless of health or fitness, let’s be very clear here. It’s about looks. Nobody knows what health is harboured in a body,  people with the shiny perfect BMI can be unhealthy in many ways too. So, to see a movement gaining strength and numbers shouting about how you can be happy with the way you look, whatever the size is pretty fucking awesome actually.

I got married in March. And it was great. I had the best day ever with lots of love, dancing, laughing and joy despite failing singularly to do the one thing everyone expects you to do when you say you are engaged… lose weight.

It’s not that I didn’t think about it… I thought about it a lot. I have lost a lot of weight in the past, mostly from liquid dieting (seriously, don’t do it) I just didn’t do it this time… I considered it, panicked about it, delayed dress buying because of it and in the end when I got married I was the same size as when I got engaged a year earlier, Big deal, literally.

You know what? I still had an amazing day, I still wore a dress and I still got married to the most perfect boy. But wow, do I know how hard it can be to overcome the assumption that being a skinny bride will be your primary concern. Personally, I was more concerned with the table centres, invites and canapés.. even being sneaked an article entitled ‘it’s not too late, 6 ways to lose weight quickly’ a month before the big day didn’t sway me from my concerns over what type of cheese I wanted to serve.

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I didn’t actually plan to wear a ‘real wedding dress’ I had always assumed I would probably look a bit shit in one, it wasn’t my style and was frankly the least of my weddingly concerns but after much nagging from mother and sister I agreed to at least try some traditional dresses on. And that was that. I’d been weddinged. I decided that, actually, I didn’t look at all bad in one and settled on this Sonsie dress by Veromia designed by Jason Jennings.

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Now, I wouldn’t be sharing the full story if I didn’t admit that on the day itself I had a total crisis of confidence before I left the house. You can take the fat girl out of her teens but you can’t change a lifetime of what you have understood to be wrong, and fat girls being pretty was wrong. I am on a journey. Would I wear it again if I could go back? No, I probably wouldn’t. I didn’t feel comfortable in it and I wish I’d gone down a less traditional route that spoke more about who I am but the point I want to make is an important one. You can wear that dress, that outfit, that swimming costume, those leggings.. whatever you want if you want to and nobody should ever make you feel like you can’t. Don’t ever let anyone else define what you can and can’t be.

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