Training Day

Today was day one.  I have a goal.  I want to run a 10k…fun run?  I don’t know how fun it will be, but that is my goal.

I’m not a runner.  In fact up until this point, if you saw me running then you better run too because something is obviously chasing me.  Me and running?  Yeah, we’re barely on a first name basis.

But all that changes from today forward.  It is March 20 and I am embarking on a training schedule that will have me in tip top and running fit for August when the Sunshine Coast Marathon comes around again.  Last year both my sons ran the full marathon – 42km – and then a couple of months later ran the Blackall 50k trail run.  I know there is no way I could even attempt that, but I think I can do 10k…maybe.

Why? I hear you asking.  Honestly, I don’t think I have a good answer for that.  My sons inspire me so much and while I was watching them and others put their bodies to the test I thought to myself that I should at least give it a go, even if it was just once.

I let my physical appearance stop me from doing a lot of things because I am afraid of being ridiculed, but I was watching other women my age and older who were not super-thin or super-fit run the 5k and 10k and I told myself that I could do it too.  I do 5k on the treadmill four times a week, why couldn’t I do it in a fun run?

So that was in August last year and since then I’ve had some health issues but in the back of my mind that goal has still been prompting me.  My health issues have not yet been resolved but I’m sick of being in limbo.  I want to do this and if I give myself enough time to train then there is no reason for me not to.

My goal for this year has been to be kind to myself and to speak positive things over my life.  Forcing myself to run may not seem like I’m being kind to myself, but I am.  I am telling myself that I can do this.  I am telling myself that I am capable.  I am telling myself that I am stronger than I think I am.

I tried to do a video of my first training day…I missed a couple of bits where I thought I was recording but I wasn’t – oops – but here is what I put together…warts and all 😊 which I will post on my Facebook Page…

Thank God I’m Fabulous Facebook Page



It’s All About Perspective

I used to be an eternal optimist.

I believed in the happy ending.

But travelling the journey of grief, depression and anxiety has changed me.  I wouldn’t say that I am a pessimist.  I wouldn’t even try to convince you that I was a realist.

I’ve decided that I’m a ‘worst-case-scenario-ist.’  Trust me, it’s a thing.

‘How is this different from being a pessimist?’ I hear you asking.

Let’s take the glass is half full/empty analogy.  An optimist says that the glass is half full.  Yay!  The pessimist says the glass is half empty.  Boo.  Me?  I see the glass as half full but what I also see is the harbinger of doom that is, if the glass is only half full then the bottle must be empty.

All joking aside, the things we experience in our lives leave indelible marks on us and they can change the way we see things.

I’ve recently be dealing with a government agency and a large corporation that I work with and instead of going into those dealings with a positive perspective – that this is just a small administration issue that we can sort out quickly and easily – I’ve had been running worst case scenarios through my brain on constant rotation.  Almost to the point where I am tempted to just throw up my hands and walk away because I just can’t see it working out in my favour.

What really got me thinking about the way my mind seems to head for the worst-case scenario was the other day when I was having a massage.  I had my phone on silent (as you do when you go for a massage) unfortunately it was also on vibrate.  So, there I was on my way to a lovely, deep relaxation and my phone started to vibrate.  I am not a person who receives a lot of phone calls so I was immediately trying to figure out who would be trying to call me.  My husband knew I had a massage appointment, so he wouldn’t call me.  My children were at work so they wouldn’t call me.  Then I remembered.  I had had some medical tests the day before – Monday.  I had made an appointment to see my doctor on Friday to get the results.  My brain somehow decided that the phone call must be from the doctors office and the doctor was calling me because they had received my results and they couldn’t wait until Friday to see me.  My mind tried to tell me that they had discovered some life threatening disease and that I was going to die.  So, instead of relaxing and enjoying my massage, I was busily trying to organise my funeral and what I would tell my kids.  I was trying to work out how to tell my husband and even deciding whether I would tell him or not.  My son is getting married in a couple of weeks and the last thing I wanted was to bring the mood down by my diagnosis.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking I’m a little crazy.  Let me tell you that when I got up from my massage, I was feeling a little crazy.  I couldn’t believe the things I was thinking about.  I couldn’t believe that one missed phone call had started off a whole chain of events that had me thinking I was going to die.

The first thing I did when I got up off the table was check my phone and guess what…it wasn’t the doctor.  It was a telemarketer.  A. Telemarketer.  I had wasted my entire massage worrying about dying when it was just a telemarketer trying to sell me something I don’t want or need.

I had let those indelible marks on my life hijack my brain.  After that incident I have been taking a bit of a closer look at what my first response is to any given situation and I’m always reaching for the worst-case-scenario.  I have to actually stop and talk myself off the ledge.

It’s easy to reach for the worst-case-scenario.  It’s easy to let your mind walk down that well-trodden path, but you always end up at the same place.  If you want things in your life to change, then you have to change your thinking.

An Open Letter to my Family & Friends

To my dear family and friends (and anyone who loves someone with depression and/or anxiety),

I know that sometimes you don’t understand.

I know that sometimes my behaviour comes across as selfish or snobbish or as if I just don’t care.

I want to assure you that it is none of those things.

Anxiety and depression has stolen a lot of things from me and I know that it is asking a lot to plead with you not to let me lose you too, especially if you feel that I have hurt you.

I want you to know that I am trying.

I want you to know that I am getting better.

I want you to know that even if I don’t answer your phone calls or don’t text you back, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from you.

I want you to know that if I don’t come to your party or go out for coffee with you, it doesn’t mean I don’t want you in my life.

I want you to know that if I don’t initiate contact with you, it doesn’t mean that I have forgotten about you.

Sometimes being around other people is hard – too hard.

Sometimes I feel like I am a burden.

Sometimes I feel like you don’t want or need me in your life.

All of the time I feel like I’ve let you down somehow.

All of the time I question the things I say and do.

All of the time I wish I could be different, better.

I wish I could be the person you need me to be.

I’m sorry that it is so hard to love me.

I’m sorry if my behaviour has hurt you.

I’m sorry.

I love you, even if sometimes I can’t show it.

All Ends Well

There is a quote that I love…

It will all work out in the end.  If it hasn’t worked out, then it’s not the end

I don’t know who said/wrote that, but it has always stuck with me.

Is it strange to be thinking about endings when it is only the beginning of the year?  Probably, but you see I’ve been dealing with some pretty big stuff over the last couple of weeks and I’ve had to keep reminding myself of this quote.  It’s the only way I can get through it all without collapsing in a heap.

As a romance writer, I am all about the HEA – Happy Ever After.  It’s why I love the genre.  No matter what happens you are guaranteed that everything will work out.  The girl will get the guy and the job and the million dollars and they will ride off into the sunset with their story wrapped up in a neat and tidy little bow.  That may be over-simplifying it, but you get the gist.  Some people even disparage the genre because of it’s dogged determination to stick with the HEA.  For me?  It’s the reason I read it.  I need to know that everything will work out in the end.

I was listening to a song today called ‘All Ends Well’ by Alter Bridge (who are a heavy metal/alternative metal/hard rock band).  It’s a great song with some incredible lyrics.

I know that not everything always works out in the end, but I have to keep believing that it will.  When we lose hope in a better future, we lose the reason to get up in the morning.

I heard another quote:

Stop expecting it to be easy

Now you might think that this quote contradicts my belief in a happy ever after, but I don’t agree.  If you go through life expecting things to be easy, you will be constantly disappointed and disillusioned – your happy ending will seem impossible.

Knowing that you will face adversity doesn’t mean that you are not still hoping for a victory. When you stop expecting life to be easy, the pressure to have everything just fall in your lap eases and you are better equipped to deal with adversity when it comes.

Expecting to face adversity stops you feeling like a failure when it inevitably lands on your doorstep.  It also means that your hope of a happy ending doesn’t perish.  When you expect things to always be easy, when they are not easy it will seem like your happy ending is lost.

It sounds a bit like reverse-psychology but it is a matter of holding two conflicting ideas in your head at the same time – simple!

Yes, there will be hard times and they will hurt like hell, but all ends well.


What if it’s not what you think?

Happy New Year!

I know the title of this post is a bit ambiguous, but let me explain…

I’m injured 😢  I didn’t ‘do’ anything in particular, it was a build up of ignoring little signs that everything was not right with my body until my body finally said – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Consequently, I’ve been seeing a physiotherapist.  He’s a really nice young man who’s probably the same age as my eldest son (so about 24-25) and he’s been great with helping me get back on my feet – quite literally.

Curiously, though, he said something to me the other day that struck me as odd and got me thinking about this whole topic.  You see, I am a middle-aged woman who is carrying more weight than she should and pushes her body a little bit more than she should considering her age and weight.  Age, not taking care of myself and just general life has put a strain on my body and I suffer from aches and pains.  Aches and pains that I have come to except as normal.  When I mentioned my various aches and pains to my physiotherapist he looked at me quite earnestly and said, “Why?”

Of course my response was, “Why what?”

To which he responded, “Why are you in pain?”

“Because I am old,” was my immediate response.  A response that he didn’t agree with.  You see, this young man couldn’t understand why I would simply accept the pain I was in as if it were normal.  To him, pain has to have a reason.  Pain is your body telling you something isn’t right.  Pain is a symptom of something else.

Me, being me, had a bit of a revelation from this conversation.  Here I was thinking that the amount of pain I deal with on a daily basis is just me getting old.  It’s normal.  Everyone puts up with pain.  Everyone aches.  But according to my physio, that is not necessarily the case.

To take this example further, I began to wonder what else in my life I took to be normal that wasn’t.  What else was I ‘putting up with’ because I just thought that is how life is supposed to be?  Which had me questioning a whole lot of stuff in my life and had me asking the question, “what if it isn’t meant to be this way?”

It’s a new year and I had made my mind up that this year I was going to do some major renovations on my internal thinking.  Even before I had this conversation with my physio, I was thinking about the woman inside.  I was thinking about the way I treat her, the things I tell her and the thoughts that I allow to torment her.

I had committed myself to renewing my thinking and treating myself with more respect.  I want to be confident.  I want to be secure in the knowledge of who I am as a person.  I want to like myself.  I can’t do any of these things without changing the way I speak about myself to myself.

One of the hardest things I have believing is my own value.  My psychologist has posed this question to me a few times – “What if you just stopped doubting yourself and started believing in yourself?”  And do you know what my answer is?  “What if I do that and it turns out that it’s not true?  What if I start believing in myself and then discover that there was nothing there worth believing in?”  To which she says, “What if there is?”

My ‘normal’ is thinking that I have little value.  It doesn’t matter how I came to have this core belief, the real problem is that I continue to perpetuate it.  The things I tell myself, the way I rehash conversations in my mind, the way I walk away from a situation and tell myself that I handled it all wrong.  It’s true that we are all our harshest critics, but what if we were just a little kinder to ourselves?  What if those things we tell ourselves aren’t true?

Which brings me back to the conversation with my physio.  Thinking of myself as having little value was normal to me.  It’s something I have lived with and believed for most of my life – correction – for all of my life that I can remember.  But what if what I have thought all along is not correct?  What if I am putting up with pain that I don’t need to?

We are not born into the world believing that we are of no value.  This is a learned behaviour and it manifests in different ways, but ultimately it is wrong thinking.  Just as my physio questions me as to why I am accepting pain as the ‘norm,’ I am questioning why I just accept such a poor view of myself.

A friend of mine chooses a word at the beginning of each year that she is going to apply to her life.  I decided that I needed to do that this year, except that I chose two:

Eunoia – this is the shortest word in the English language that contains all five vowel sounds (just a bit of trivia for you) and it means ‘a well mind’ and ‘beautiful thinking.’

Querencia – this is a Spanish word and it means a place where one feels safe, a place from which one’s strength of character is drawn, a place where one feels at home, the place where you are your most authentic self.

These two words capture exactly what I want for myself this year.  I want my thoughts to be beautiful and I want to find my authentic self.  And that means questioning those things that I have always just accepted as ‘normal.’  It is about taking control of my thoughts and emotions and turning them to something beautiful and honouring.  It is about respecting myself and valuing myself.

What is it that you are just accepting as normal that may not be what you think?

Begin Again

It’s been a while since I posted anything.  I have no excuse…actually I have loads of excuses, but that’s all they are – excuses.

The initial reason I missed the first week was because I gained weight.  It wasn’t much but it was enough to make my mood spiral.  I think, really, it was just the last straw.  My life has been in a bit of upheaval over the last few weeks and then to put on weight just topped everything off.

I gave up.

With each week that has gone by I tell myself, “This is the week I am going to write something on my blog,” and then inevitably I didn’t.  I always had a very legitimate excuse but the more time between blog posts, the harder it was to write one.

It has made me take a good look at myself.  Why was I resisting something that I had started with all good intentions?

I was recently reminded about something that I knew about myself but that I sort of forgot…I am a beginner.

No, not how you think.  When I say, “I am a beginner,” I mean that I like to begin things.  Strike that.  I LOVE to begin things.

A lot of authors dread the first blank page of a novel they are starting.  I love it!  In fact I love it so much that if a story I am currently working on starts to give me trouble, I will begin a new one.

I am a morning person.  I love mornings.  I love the beginning of the day.  I love the sunrise and the endless possibilities that a morning presents.

I love the beginning of a new book I am reading.  I love those first few sentences that introduce me to the story and the characters.  I love the beginnings of movies too.

When we opened our cafe, the bit I loved most was all the stuff that came before it opened.  I loved the design stage, the concept stage.

I love change.  I used to think it was because I got bored easily but I’ve come to realise that it is actually more to do with beginning.  There is a certain energy about the start of something new.  There is beginning energy.

There is also ending energy.  As we come to the end of the year, everything starts to wind down.  In reality, the end of the year is no different to the start of a year.  Time is relative.  But because we have assigned a calendar to mark our days and months and years, when we reach the end of a year we all feel that winding down.  We put things off so we can start them fresh in the new year.

I am okay at endings.  I feel that winding down and I definitely notice a different energy when I am finishing a book (whether reading or writing it).  What I am not good at is middles.

I hate the middle.  I struggle to write the middle of a novel.  I get bored in the middle of a movie.  I dread the middle of the week.  I tend to tune out in the middle of a conversation.  I find the middle of anything seemingly interminable.

So how does that relate to this blog and my lack of posting?

As I’ve said.  I love beginning.  I have begun about six different blogs.  I have begun many more books than I’ve finished.  I have begun many more diets than I’ve stuck with.  I’ve started at least three different businesses.  I am a good beginner but I am lousy at the middle bit.

I have trained myself to get through that ‘sticky middle’ when I write.  I had to otherwise I would never have finished a book.  I’ve trained myself to stick through the middle of things even when I’ve lost that beginning motivation.  But the one thing I always have trouble with is sticking with the whole diet/healthy lifestyle/taking control of my diabetes thing.  I always start with good intentions and tell myself that this time I am going to do it.  I even started this blog as a way of keeping myself accountable. But I still fell victim to that awful middle bit.

So.  I am beginning again.  This will be my last post for this year, but come January I am going to renew my commitment to writing this blog and to getting myself healthy.  I know this is the equivalent of saying ‘I’ll start my diet on Monday,’ but I know I need the beginning energy of the new year to help me.

I am going to try and commit to writing at least one post every week for the next twelve months.  By this time next year I want to have proof that I can stick through the middle bit and have something to show for it at the end.

What is it that you are having trouble sticking with?  What is it that you can commit to doing once a week for the next year?  It might be as simple as saving a little bit of money every week (and not spending it) or, like me, you might be committing to changing your lifestyle so that you can be healthier and happier.  Whatever it is, use the beginning energy of January to commit to something that will give you a tangible reward at the end of next year and we can compare notes!

Getting Back on the Horse

Get back on the horse!

You’ve probably heard this a million times.  And you’ve probably heard millions of other interpretations of it too.  Things like, “Get up, dust yourself off and try again” or “Quitters never win and winners never quit” or maybe “You only fail if you fail to try again.”

Motivational sayings and quotes are great – I love a good quote – but they can become a bit cliched and cheesy.  Then they become the exact opposite of what they’re meant to be which is motivational.

In my household, when my kids were little, we had a few motivational quotes that were more tough love than the ones I used above.  Things like, “Would you like some cheese with your whine?” and “Eat some cement and harden up” or my personal favourite, “Pull up your big girl panties and get ‘er done.”

There have been a lot of times in my life when I’ve needed motivation, or maybe affirmation is more the word.  I’ve done the whole ‘pin up motivating and affirming quotes around the house so you can see them all the time’ thing.  It may have worked for a little while, but after seeing the same quotes every day, you become blind to them.

The truth is, motivation comes from inside you, not from anything external.  Sure, you can use quotes and affirmative statements to inspire you, but it isn’t until you actually DO that the motivation kicks in.

Last week I had a bit of a rant because over my holiday I put on weight, despite being super motivated not to.  This week I had a win.  I lost those extra kilos that I had gained.  So I’m back to what I was before my vacation.  Yay me!

I very nearly threw in the towel because of that setback and no amount of affirmations or quotes would have saved me.  It all came down to me.  It came down to me making the decision that I wasn’t going to quit.

It wasn’t easy.  I was very unmotivated to get back on the treadmill.  I was very unmotivated to get back on the diet.  But it came down to this.  I am the boss of my own life and I am the one who has to champion it.  If I want to change then I’m the one who has to do the changing.

If motivational quotes help you DO, then great.  Use them.  Use whatever you can, but don’t rely on them to do the work for you.  You’re still the one who has to get up an hour earlier to go for a walk or stay up an hour later to work out on the treadmill.  You’re still the one who has to say no to the cake or the pastry or the donut.

I find it interesting that the word ‘motivation’ comes from the word ‘motive’ which in turn comes from the latin word ‘movere‘ which means ‘to move.’  Motivation comes from motion.  If we move forward, then motivation will follow.

“That’s easy for you to say!” I can hear you yelling.  But it’s not, actually.  I struggled with writing these words because I didn’t want to come off as flippant.  I know how damn hard it is to get up when you don’t want to.  I know exactly how much it hurts to say no to a sweet treat when all you really want to do is say yes.  These words that I’m writing, I’m living them right now.  It took me an entire week to get back to the gym.  Every day I had an excuse.  It has been really, really hard to stick to my diet. So as I’m writing these words, I’m preaching them to myself as well.

I am not saying this from a place of victory but from the midst of the fight.  You are not alone in your struggle, I am in the trenches right along side of you fighting for my life as well.  Together we can do it.  There is no I in team (but there is a me 😉)