Brave enough

I woke up feeling anxious. So, of course, when I got to the beach in the evening and saw that it was 4-5 foot onshore close outs (AGAIN), my anxiety erupted. It felt like I was being stabbed in the … Continue reading

A moment of selfishness can make you more selfless

Today was my last opportunity until after Christmas to go surfing. Unfortunately, my opportunity dissipated like the waves on a calm sea. I’ve been a bit down lately so I was really looking forward to hitting the water. When I … Continue reading

Influence

Become a positive influence in someone’s life. Smile at them, help them when they fall and listen to their words when others just walk by with deafness. Tell people to have a good day – it will happen by osmosis. … Continue reading

Going green

Green leafy vegetables are a vital part of our diets for vitamins, calcium, iron and fibre – but sometimes they’re a little bit too easy to “leaf” out of our daily intakes. Nutritionists say that our diets should be 50% … Continue reading

Running fitness is (yet again) spoiled…

I’ve been sentenced to time out of the water again, this time with a bad case of sinusitis. Snorting in nostril-fuls of icy water probably isn’t a wise idea but I really miss being in the ocean. It’s been a week and I’m going a little crazy.

My face feels like it’s been slapped by a dolphin and my chest feels like my horse has sat on it!

I was getting really good at my breathing with running a couple of times a week, so I’m so disappointed that (yet again) my running fitness has been spoiled. It’s taken me a week to feel up to sit up at my computer and type this. I’m hoping it’s a sign I am on the mend. I admit that I pushed myself a little too hard. I was exercising through the initial stages and now my body is weak and fighting against me.

What are some ways you can suggest to maintain fitness even though breathing is a little difficult? I’ve been doing V sit-ups and squats, but the only running I’ve been doing is to the toilet to paint the restroom in vomit. (Sorry for that image by the way…) I had a hell of a fever for a few days and it made me rather ill.

Are there any tips or home remedies you know of that I can use to get better quicker so I can back into the water?

My surfing journey (so far)

Surf = smile = stoke

Surf = smile = stoke

I always warm-up before I go out into the water, which gives me the opportunity to contemplate the ocean and how it’s behaving. I watch the water with a concoction of fear, self-awareness, anticipation, excitement, dread and hope. As soon as the icy water greets my feet and embraces my knees and laps at my chest, tickles my chin and washes over my hair, I feel a kind of senseless joy. Who could know that such a simple pleasure could (literally) wash away any negativities I have.

I paddle out to the line-up with the fantasy of riding a wave down the line and scoring that addictive hit that we surfers call “stoke”. I get pounded in the face by white-water as I paddle and my arms threaten to go on strike (not today you weaklings). I sit up on my board and wait. The waves are either a good size (aka, small and not so threatening) or massive and frightening. I still try. I’ve got the beach to myself. I don’t have to worry about getting in other surfers’ ways. My mistakes will be unnoticed (save by the ocean, myself and that little camera recording every sniffle, every grunt and every “looks-like-I’m-going-to-punch-somebody” paddle face).

The water walls up. Should I go? Am I in the right spot?

The critical moment

The critical moment

I’m more than likely not. I can never seem to get the “spot” part of the wave selection right. It’s possibly because I surf a beach break. Breaks keep moving around with every incoming set. I swivel and I paddle. I get excited and terrified. But I’m committed. Usually, if it’s a big wave, I start holding my breath already because I just know I’m not going to make it. It’s going to pick my tail up and haul me forwards and over the falls in mere seconds. Might as well start holding the breath and bracing for the tumbling of the hold down. If it’s small, I am excited. I can DO this! I think I can I think I can I think I can I think I can. Sometimes I can. Sometimes I miss the wave. Sometimes I fall off the wave. Sometimes I just utterly suck.

It’s a good day when I can get it right.

Freedom, gleefulness, mirth...all come from the ocean

Freedom, gleefulness, mirth…all come from the ocean

It’s even a good day when I can’t.

You have to taste failure (like a salty wave in the face) to appreciate success

You have to taste failure (like a salty wave in the face) to appreciate success

You have to taste failure (like a salty wave in the face) to appreciate success. My successes are little bits of incremental gains in confidence. I think I can do it. I think I can I think I can I think I can. My journey is long but I’ve learned a lot so far. Bring the rest of it on!

What’s in my “toolbox”…er…”lunchbox”

My emotional state is connected to how much or what I’ve eaten. The body is our vehicle, our instruments, our temples – however you’d like to describe it – it’s a thing that we are in. As an eating disorderee, I often find myself unable to join body with self. My body is a thing; a thing I can either torture or nourish.

So I need tools to find ways to connect what I feel to what I see. One is obviously surfing. I metaphorically paddle, get up and enjoy the ride (or the hold-down). But another tool in my toolbox is particular foods.

Food. Sometimes I question why I need it when it just seems to cause me so much heart ache. There are days I am voracious and days when you can’t convince me to eat a vegetable stock cube diluted with hot water. Emotionally and physically, I enjoy the numbness of emptiness and the lack of pain it allows me to feel. But what kind of food can make me feel good about myself? Good food. Here are four foods from my toolbox – food that can cheer me up and that I’ll never let my disorder make me resist again.

1. Bananas. Most eating disorderees* that I’ve met in support communities have the good old banana down as what we call a “fear food”. I’ve never allowed bananas to fill me with anxiety. They make me feel good. Unwrapping them is like unwrapping candy. Phallic symbolism and all, I enjoy eating bananas. I believe it stems from my mother giving me mashed banana whenever I was ill. It’s the Australian equivalent of the “chicken noodle soup”.

2. Pineapple. Pineapple is sweet and brightly coloured. Yellow! Come now, who doesn’t feel happier even just looking at a pineapple with its funky “hairdo”?

3. Oatmeal. I must have been the only kid in the world that couldn’t wait to have oatmeal for breakfast. Monday mornings were oatmeal mornings. I’d wake to the sound of my mother stirring it in the pot, the flame hissing as it licked the edges of the pot handle. I couldn’t wait for my next bowl even as I was finishing it.

4. Tomato sauce on a slice of bread. Since returning to vegetarianism, it’s come to my realisation that perhaps I never liked the Aussie traditional “snag in a bidda bread” (aka sausage in a bit of bread) for the sausage. I think it was for the tomato sauce with the bread!

I am getting better at remembering that I have coping skills and enjoyment in my toolbox, I need to also remember that I have foods that I can eat without fear of a binge. The psychologist tells me that I have nothing to fear from having comfort foods, even though comfort food is a huge aspect of my Bulimia. Refusing myself the foods I feel safe and loved eating is not an affective way to battle through my issues. So I thought I’d share some foods that I love to eat.

What are some of your favourite comfort foods?

*My own personal term. We are all different.

How much fun are the booties?

I amused my thoughts with the rubbery sloshness of my steps. The bridges of my feet wobbled like jelly. I sustained a mature enough approach as to not jump on the spot giggling like a freak. My calves looked like inflated balloons. Most of Bass Strait was trapped in my two-sizes-too-big wetsuit with no where to go. My booties provided me with the entertaining journey up the cliff away from the beach.

Removing them resulted in a near-on waterfall effect. The puddle that was the interior of my wetsuit suddenly drained. It was pouring with rain, 40+ knots of onshore blasting Antarctic wind and the outside temperature was hovering between seven and eight degrees. It was not the kind of surf you envision in your fantasies. But I had my booties. The booties made it all the more fun.