You’re Weird

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Image courtesy of the WWW

Have you ever been told you’re weird? Or that thing you did was weird?

I have. In some sentences, repeatedly so.

This is a tag I have decided to own and not be ashamed, embarrassed or withdraw from. I own this tag like a boss and wear it proudly like a badge. A big, shiny, badge sitting on my chest for everyone to see.

Is this statement…weird?

Weird is a term people use when they don’t accept, agree or understand you or your choices. Often it comes from a place of insecurity, ignorance or  judgement.

Knowing this is empowering.

Information is key. Typically, there are now three choices to make; you can either invest the time to bridge that understanding, let it be and agree people are different, or just walk away from the situation or relationship .

Each situation will require a different chosen path.

People will always have different view points on you and your decisions. A friend or family member might not like the way you cut your hair, the size of your ass, your new nose, sexuality, new boyfriend or holiday locations. The list is limitless and can be as petty or significant as one can imagine.

Some people will disagree with you, others will agree with you and the rest will accept those decisions as yours whether they agree or not.

If you’ve thought out your decisions, believe they reflect your real self and are in your best interest, then it is what it is.

Everyone is different and it’s time people start accepting it.

 

 

A Worthy Video #HereIAm

Over the last few months I have been looking into some interesting opportunities and taking time to learn. I needed to do this so that I can learn about myself and remind myself why I genuinely like who I am. I want to constantly find ways to become more aware and improve myself so that I can focus my time and live a life which fulfils the many, and various dimensions to my personality.

One of the areas I have been focusing on is self worth; or in other words how I view myself. Like anyone I have insecurities but I’ve always had a strong understanding of who I am. I’m grateful to have an ability to say “this is who I am, enjoy me or move on.” I don’t completely understand where this came from, but I do remember making conscious decisions along the way to enjoy my life, especially if others don’t agree. Not surprisingly there have been PLENTY of people who do not agree with my choices; mostly because they struggle with their own.

I recently found an Unworthy video which I wanted to share with you. Several plus size bloggers were interviewed about why the size of ones body, shouldn’t define who they are. A message I wholeheartedly support and have done so since I was 8 years old; way before it was in vogue.

But, this message seems to be focused at the more voluptuous lady (like myself). For me, the message needs to be far further reaching than big girls. I am yet to meet a person who doesn’t have an insecurity lurking deep within their soul – some people just have a better way of dealing with it. And, if more people were comfortable with themselves maybe they would be more accepting of themselves and those around them. So, no matter who you are, I hope you can benefit from this message too. And go live YOUR life!!!

 

 

My journey to & beyond anorexia nervosa

 

Earlier this year I joined a Lulu Lemon Summer Series Yoga class, down at Balmoral Beach in Sydney.

I started chatting with the instructor; a gorgeous, blonde and incredibly sweet Canadian. We started talking about bodies, wellness, confidence, body positivity, fitness and health…we focused on mental health. It was at this stage that Lauren opened up about her struggles with anorexia nervosa (more commonly known as anorexia).

The fascinating thing about humans is everyone, EVERYONE has something they struggle with – but the stories which unfold as a result are even more fascinating. How do people find a way to keep moving forward?

I am proud to say that Lauren agreed to pen her story for A Quaintrelle Life. So this is her story about her journey to and beyond anorexia nervosa…..

 

Thank you for the opportunity to share with you the journey my eating disorder – from the beginning to end and all that happened along the way.

I was 10 years old when I first experienced a deep sense of loss and uprooting in my life. My mum sat down with my sister and I, her arms around each of us, and told us that our Dad has just passed away. From the moment I heard the news, I felt unraveled, afraid, and just not okay.

That year was by far one of the toughest yet, and when I was 11 years old, I was hospitalized with anorexia nervosa. After my Dad passed away, I felt depressed and lost my appetite. I wasn’t trying to diet or to lose weight, but food was one of the only things I felt in control of in my life. I felt worthless, that I was fat, and that I was not enough.

My relationship to food became destructive & soon I was limiting and restricting all food into my body. I lost so much weight that my body was hardly functioning and I ultimately lost complete control.

Eating, or controlling my eating, thus became my way of managing the psychological distress, the grief, and the fear that I was experiencing. I became completely disconnected from my body and overwhelmed by my thoughts, leading to feeling hopeless and lost for such a long time.

Eventually, 3 years later, with the support of physicians, psychologists, social workers, nurses, dieticians and my family and friends, I was discharged from the hospital. However, the negative thoughts I had about my body and the struggle I had with food never really subsided, and every day was a battle against the destructive and distorted perceptions I had of my physical self. As you can imagine this lead me to feel more disconnected to my body than ever.

So what changed? The biggest influence on my recovery was my introduction to yoga. Disordered eating and thoughts of being ‘fat’, worthless or not enough are destructive, and for me, yoga has played a meaningful role in reviving my love for my body and myself just as I am.

Disordered eating is like a war against the body, and for me the practice of yoga played a role in reviving it. I am now able to listen to and respect my body, have confidence in myself, and feel empowered. My relationship with food is positive where I don’t restrict what I eat, diet or let food determine or control my sense of self-worth.

It was a long journey that was full of ups and downs, lots and lots of tears and lots of pain. However through the journey there was a lot of growth, learning and understanding of myself and who I am. Fully recovered now, I have a purpose. I have a purpose and have made a commitment to share yoga with those who are on their own recovery journey.

Don’t ever be too afraid to seek help when it doesn’t feel right. Whether your appreciation for yourself isn’t there or your relationship with food is a struggle. You deserve to live in place of joy with yourself, your body and with food – you’re too important not to.

Lauren is a social worker, yoga teacher & fitness instructor. Lauren is the co-founder of Love Body Yoga, a program in partnership with eating disorder treatment centre BodyMatters Australasia, that introduces yoga as a step on the journey to eating disorder recovery.
Lauren also teaches yoga at Yoga Sivana in Mosman & Heat Studios in Balgowlah and is a fitness instructor at Physicore Sydney.

How to Spot an Emotional Grown-Up

Over the last 12 months I have realised that being emotionally aware, and then regulating those emotions, is probably the most important practice in living a fulfilling, successful and peaceful life.

I have been lucky to attract some amazing men in my time, but until recently I’ve not really dated. Relationships yes, but dated no. I also reflect on these relationships and it’s clear one or both of us were not ready – but that’s the beauty of age and (hopefully) wisdom!

Going through the motions of chatting with men, meeting them, exploring their personalities and beginning to understand them, has taught me a lot about myself. Mainly the buck always stops with me. My choices, actions and reactions, are mine and mine alone. I still have a long way to go regarding where I want to be, but I’ve become more attune to identifying an emotional grown up and becoming one myself. The pain of falling for someone who isn’t emotionally available is one I will try to avoid wherever possible. The pain of falling for someone who is more emotionally developed is equally as heart wrenching.

When I read this article on Goop.com, I needed to share it with all of you. I found the advice to be very helpful for all elements of my life.

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How to Spot an Emotional Grown-Up

BY ROBIN BERMAN, M.D. AND SONYA RASMINSKY, M.D.

1. Emotional Grown-ups manage their feelings: They don’t pout, slam doors, or give you the silent treatment.

It’s great to be able to express your feelings, but being able to regulate your emotions is the most important quality of an emotional grown-up. When the skill of controlling your emotional thermostat (and it is a skill) isn’t learned in childhood, you end up with a simple on/off switch: On the one hand, there’s unalloyed joy and passion (the fun part); on the other hand, rage or uncontrolled crying in response to insignificant events. We expect to see toddlers screaming in public; but when a middle-aged man yells obscenities at a stranger for cutting in front of him on the road, we wonder what went wrong during his childhood. One of our biggest jobs as parents is to teach our kids how to self-regulate: how to recognize and name their feelings, how to react proportionally, how to calm themselves down. Emotional grown-ups have learned these skills and can keep themselves in check: They can express their feelings without blowing a gasket, and you don’t have to walk on eggshells or worry that they will lose it with the slightest provocation.

2. Emotional Grown-ups use language thoughtfully.

It couldn’t be further from the truth that “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.” Because words matter, words can wound; and knowing this, emotional grown-ups choose their words carefully. Everyone has moments when they feel that their partner has let them down, but phrases like “How could you be so stupid?” have no place in an intimate relationship. In managing a conflict, words and tone can mean the difference between a defensive response and willingness to change. Take the following example:

“Early in my marriage my husband had a crucial business dinner meeting. He told me that it was important that we be on time and he wanted to leave at 7. In the throes of multitasking—feeding our baby, drying my hair—I realized that it was 7:15 and braced myself, expecting my husband to yell at me like my father used to. But instead of blaming, he looked at me and said, ‘How can I help you in the future? Being on time is important to me, and it seems that you had so much to do before we left. What can I do to make it easier?’ Instead of putting me on the defensive, his language inspired me to want to try harder to be on time in the future. He may have been thinking, ‘What the f?!&!,’ but he chose his words in a way that I could hear him.”

Language can inflame or inspire, and mindful language is a gift. Taking a moment to edit your thoughts and choose your words goes very far in a partnership.

3. Emotional Grown-ups have empathy for others.

Emotional grown-ups try to see things from the other person’s point of view. Let’s say that your mantra is, “Where’s the party?” and your partner’s ideal night is Netflix and ordering in. And yet you make it work. Having empathy doesn’t mean that you agree. You might not even fully understand where your partner is coming from—but it does mean that you do your best to respect and even celebrate their viewpoint. Take the following example:

Bill likes to socialize, but his partner Steve is an introvert and hates to have people over to their home. This was a significant source of conflict in their relationship, as Bill felt guilty about never reciprocating invitations. Steve felt that Bill was being insensitive; Bill felt that Steve was holding their social life hostage. The breakthrough came when Bill came to understand that for Steve, their partnership was enough to sustain him; from Steve’s point of view, Bill’s insistence on being with lots of people felt like a rejection of their dyad. Trying to see things from Steve’s point of view, Bill was able to make more of a conscious effort to spend time together as a couple. At the same time, Steve was able to see that Bill’s desire to be with others was not a personal affront, but rather his way of recharging his social batteries—something that Steve didn’t really need. They came up with a compromise: No more than one social engagement per weekend, and when they did have people over, Bill would act as primary host.

The spirit of compromise is key to being an emotional grown-up. Here’s the mantra for the partnership that goes the distance: If it’s important to you, it’s important to me. When one partner is a neat freak and the other is messy, the messy one has to learn to tidy up—not because she suddenly cares about being neat, but because it’s important to her partner. Sometimes the annoyance of putting the clothes in the laundry hamper or unloading the dishwasher in the morning is worth the peace of mind that it gives your spouse.

4. Emotional Grown-ups own their stuff.

Owning your stuff is the most underrated sexy quality. The real hero isn’t the man who never makes mistakes; it’s the man who owns his mistakes! When emotional grown-ups mess up, they don’t point fingers, make excuses, or blame the circumstances; they take responsibility for their own actions. There’s nothing more appealing than a man who will thoughtfully say, “You’re right; I messed up. Consider it changed.” rather than retort with “But you…” Take the following example:

Jeff and Anna have been married two years and have a new baby. Sleep deprived and overwhelmed, Anna gets frustrated that Jeff doesn’t spend more time helping out at home. When he comes home late for the umpteenth time, Anna is seething. But when the first words out of his mouth are, “I’m so sorry, I screwed up. Let me get you a glass of wine and take the baby,” it’s hard for her to stay mad—especially if it leads to change in the longer term.

Owning mistakes doesn’t make an emotional grown-up weak; it makes them trustworthy and safe, it diffuses conflict and allows people to move beyond blame toward real change. The capacity to hear and incorporate feedback is a gift to the relationship; it helps both people to become their best selves.

5. Emotional Grown-ups don’t keep score.

All this empathizing and stuff-owning can leave us feeling very pleased with ourselves, but it’s hard work that may leave us wondering what we get in return, and whether our partner has done as much. The biggest gift that you can give your relationship is to throw away the scoreboard. Tit-for-tat is not just petty, it’s emotionally damaging. Relationships are give and take, and a generosity of spirit is essential. Keeping track of minutiae—who did the dishes last, who picked up the socks, who put the baby to bed—is a great way to breed resentment. This doesn’t mean that you should give and give without getting anything back; it means that balance is determined not in individual actions, but over time. As long as both partners give freely to one another, the relationship itself is the reward.

6. Emotional grown-ups love and care for themselves.

Emotional grown-ups take care of themselves as well as taking care of you. This means tending to their physical health—exercising, not using alcohol to self medicate or marijuana to escape, making healthy food choices, getting enough sleep—and also being attuned to their own emotional needs. It feels good to be needed, and having a partner who depends on you may be appealing. But in the end, people need to be responsible for their own well-being.

What’s true for your partner is also true for you. If you expend all of your energy looking after others without recharging your batteries, you’ll burn out. We charge our cell phones every night; why not ourselves? For people who are natural givers, this is a hard lesson to learn. But if your partner is consistently asking you to put aside your own needs for the sake of the relationship, that should be a red flag. Self-care is not selfish; it’s essential.

There’s a Dutch legend about a young boy who goes out walking one night by the canals. A storm comes to the area, and the water begins to rise. The boy notices a hole in the dike, and knows that if the hole is not plugged, the entire area will flood. Instead of returning home, he stops and puts his finger in the dike, spending the whole night outside in the cold, lying on his stomach, keeping the city safe. In the story, a towns person comes by in the morning and summons help, and the boy is a local hero. But what happens if no one comes by, or no one calls for help? Our friend says, “My natural impulse in relationships has always been to put my own needs aside and to think about the other person. I have the image of putting my finger in the dike to keep the floodgates from opening, except I’m putting my whole body in the dike. At first I feel like a hero, and then I realize that I can’t move.”

7. Emotional grown-ups plan and follow through.

We can fantasize about a free-spirited partner who whisks us off to Fiji on the spur of the moment with only a bathing suit and a toothbrush. But the reality is that long-term relationships require long-term planning. Children have the luxury of living exclusively in the here and now; grown-ups have to think about the future. The practical necessities of paying the rent and putting food on the table—not to mention paying for college and retirement—require a certain amount of planning. Emotional grown-ups have a plan and they follow through. If they promise to pick up the kids at a certain time, they’ll be there. If they are running late, they call. Trusting your partner is one key to feeling safe in a relationship. For emotional grown-ups, actions and words align.

8. Emotional grown-ups fight clean, not mean.

All couples disagree. It’s how you argue that makes all the difference in the world. Emotional grown-ups stick to the issue at hand; they call out your behavior rather than generalizing about your character. Instead of “What kind of a person spends $300 on a pair of jeans?” they say, “I really wish that money wasn’t an issue because you look amazing in those jeans, but the truth is I worry about how we’re spending our money.” While it’s tempting to bring up old arguments to prove why you’re right, or to pile old grudges on to the new, statements like “You always…” or “You never…” have no place in a grown-up argument.

Emotional grown-ups express their feelings without name-calling, blaming, shaming, or devaluing the other person. Cheap shots (“And by the way, you DO look fat in those jeans!”) and hitting below the belt (“You’re such a loser, just like your father!”) are not in their repertoire. We all like to win, but when you love someone, staying connected is more important than being right. Reality TV-style conflict makes good TV, but it makes terrible reality.

9. Emotional grown-ups can be flexible.

Emotional grown-ups know that there are multiple ways to get from A to B. Sometimes it’s important to let go of the need to always be right. Mothers are particularly guilty of this one: Wanting Dad to take his turn with baby, and then being upset that he doesn’t feed her the organic veggies, get her to nap at the “right” time, or put all the toys away in their proper place. Sharing responsibility means truly sharing—accepting the idea that if someone else is in charge, they get to make the rules. We all benefit from being exposed to new ways of doing things. Not only do both ways often work, but together they create a richer overall experience. Take the following example:

“We were never allowed to have junk food in the house, but when my mother had late meetings, my father would always take us to the drive-through. I have wonderful memories of open windows, music blasting, and the sweet smell of French fries. Those evenings with my father were truly special—memories of freedom and spontaneity.”

Recognizing that there is more than one way to be right leads to mutual respect—and an appreciation for your partner’s way of seeing things. Sameness is not closeness. The poet Khalil Gibran enjoined us to “fill each other’s cup but do not drink from one cup,” stressing the importance of maintaining your individuality in the context of a relationship. Appreciating your partner not only for the qualities and interests that you share, but also for those that you do not, enriches both of your lives.

10. Emotional grown-ups don’t need to be propped up.

Emotional grown-ups score low on narcissism. Narcissists take up all the air in the room; in order to feel good about themselves, they need others to adore them. When you live with a narcissist, it’s a full-time job attending to their needs—often so much so that you forget that you have needs of your own. It can feel good to bask in the reflected glory of your partner’s success. But here’s the problem: no matter how attentive you are to your narcissistic partner, you can never fill them up. Most of the time, they never get around to taking care of you.

Emotional grown-ups, on the other hand, can come into a room and say “There you are!” instead of “Here I am!” They may not be as flashy or colorful, but they are secure enough in themselves that they don’t need someone else to constantly prop them up. They both give and receive support. They are thrilled with their partner’s success—not as a reflection of them, but on its own merits. The highest form of romance is to be truly seen for who you are—and that requires a partner who can see outside the lens of his own reflection.

So what’s next?

Finding an emotional grown-up applies to both sides of a partnership. Before being with an emotional grown-up, you have to be an emotional grown-up. The movie Jerry McGuire did a head-trip on us with the line, “You complete me.” The phrase suggests that finding the right person will fill an emotional void; that love transforms us out of immaturity. On the contrary, love is the reward for doing the work of transformation! Any psychiatrist worth their salt knows that you don’t get anywhere simply by trying to get other people to change. At the end of the day, the major thing that stops us from finding an emotional grown-up may be that we have some growing up to do ourselves. If we cultivate these virtues in ourselves, they are much easier to spot in others. Now we are at the heart of the real fairy tale.

Robin Berman, MD is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, and the author of, Permission to Parent: How to Raise Your Child With Love and Limits.

Sonya Rasminsky, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at University of California, Irvine. She has a private practice in Newport Beach, specializing in women’s mental health.

For Community and Challenge: Blackmores Sydney Running Festival – 20th September 2015

My dislike of running has been well documented on this blog.

But for some strange reason, I decided to sign up for the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival on the 20th September.

There are four different events – 3.5km family fun, 9km bridge run, 21km half marathon and 42km full marathon.

I will be doing the 9km bridge run. Well, mostly walk but I will attempt to jog along the way because why the hell not!

Despite my dislike for jogging, running or anything faster than a walk, I decided to participate for two reasons: community and challenge. It has been a long time since I have connected with, or done anything with the Sydney community. And as a member of the Sydney community it was time to get involved in some way. I am definitely looking forward to being spurred on by the people of this great city and enjoy the party vibe I am sure will be alive and well.

The other element which has been missing from my life is a challenge. You know I like to challenge myself. Goals are important as they help me achieve more and keep me focused; it’s also important to keep things spicy – in all parts of my life!

I only signed up a couple of weeks ago, and my training really only started last week – whoops! I was told the final week in the lead up to a run is to rest….well, as my efforts have been so limited I won’t do this, but was cause for much amusement! Different kettle of fish for true athletes!

My training has been my personal training sessions with Vision PT Neutral Bay in addition to extra walking/jogging, steps and some gym classes.

There are 5 days till race day, so if you too would like to participate, or would like further information, click here.

I will let you know how I go, but maybe I will see you there!

R U OK?

Today is R U OK day.

I pay attention to this day every year however this year it is particularly important to me.

Earlier this year a friend of mine committed suicide. Needless to say he had a rough trot and ultimately could not find any other way to find peace. I think about him often, and wonder if he had the opportunity to really deal with the issues he faced. Being a male did he find it harder to talk about what was going on and decided to keep the extent of his concerns bottled in? The last time I saw him we shared an amazing bottle of red, and we did discuss some of his previous challenges. What I didn’t know was how much they still haunted him. I don’t have the answers to many questions I would love to ask him but I do know that he was surrounded by people who loved him and were shocked and devastated by his passing. People who did, or would have, listened to the answer to R U OK – no matter how raw the answer may be.

As important as it is to ask R U OK and start the conversation, it’s important to continue having meaningful conversations all year round.

I’m a ridiculously lucky SOB and am surrounded by people who love and accept me as I am. I’ve had some challenges this year, and for the first time, have truly needed my friends. Not just need them, but they have literally supported me. They have been my legs and carried me when I couldn’t carry myself.

One friend in particular, a true soul mate (Hey, Fi!) and one of the loves of my life, would call me once, twice, or as many times a day as I needed. To talk, to cry, to vent my anger. She would listen, discuss, encourage and follow up. After our kooky greetings, she would always say “How are you?” It would usually be followed with “Talk to me” or ” Tell me, what’s going on?”.

For that, I will always be grateful. Always.

So please do ask your friends how they are. Sometimes you know if they are having a shit time, and other times, you won’t – so go on, ask the question. You may never know the difference you’re making to someones life.

For more information about the R U OK campaign click here.

Wise Words: Know Your Friends

Women, no matter what size, are judged. By society, the media, men, and most harshly (I feel) by other women. So much judgement is going on, that many women (of all shapes and sizes) prefer to be plain in the hope of being invisible.

When I saw the below quote, it certainly rang true. If you’ve had a period of invisibility, don’t ever forget those who stood, or are standing by you. They are the people who love you no matter what. They are the people who matter.

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