As I crossed the finish line, the grandstand empty, tired, disappointed, hardly able to walk, tears streaming down my face and in immense pain. I had at least done what I had set out to do – completed the London Marathon 2012…
October 2011 I found out with 1,000′s of others that I had not got into the London Marathon 2012. I was quite disappointed as I hadn’t got in the year previously through the ballot – I now know why I as I subsequently became pregnant with Harry so would have been unable to race anyhow. A good friends of ours, James St Pierre, suggested that I enter via a local charity that him and a few others were also entering through. I did, and to my surprise I was accepted!
At this point I was still a massive 3st 7lbs away from where I wanted to be following the birth of Harry – I could do this though! All the training would help me shift the weight, or so I thought…
By the end of December 2011 I had only managed to lose 14lbs. I was starting to realise that running and steadily increasing my distance, it was becoming increasingly difficult to decrease my calories and I found the more I ran the hungrier I was!
1 week before the event and I was still 2st 4lbs away from where I wanted to be. At this point I had to accept that and concentrate on completing the marathon. I may not have been as lean or as quick as I had wanted to be at that point, I did know that I should be able to complete the 26.2 miles in under 5hr 30 – this is what I looked to achieve.
Nothing can really prepare you for such an amazing experience! The atmosphere was awesome, the people were friendly and helpful and there was a strange bond formed by strangers, all striving for one goal – to complete the London Marathon 2012. For me it wasn’t only a personal achievement it was the fact that it was the Olympic year in the Olympic City – this seemed to make it all the more special.
As I sat in the holding pen with a group of others running for Farleigh Hospice, we watched the elite runners and wheelchair competitors start on the big screen; my stomach churned. Had I done enough? Had I got enough supplies with me? Would I finish within 5hrs 30? Why was I dressed in long sleeve when it was a beautiful day?! Such a rush and so many questions! Within no time at all we were ushered into out starting pen. I was joined with rhinos, clowns, gingerbread men, some guy in a mankini, 4 guys with the cool runnings bob sleigh and many, many more runners – all a little anxious and waiting for the off!
The countdown started “10… 9… 8… 7 I thought I was going to be sick, my GPS couldn’t find the satellites and I wish I could have taken another trip to the toilet! 6… 5… 4… OH SHIT, this was really it, this was really going to happen! 3… 2… 1… and we were off!!! The only way now was forward! Hundreds of us walked the 1/2 mile or so to the start line, my GPS panic was over and I just kept telling myself to just keep going, doesn’t matter about time, just enjoy the ride and atmosphere.
As I picked up my pace the streets were lined with hundreds of people, people shouting your name and cheering. By mile 3 I had got into my stride and felt relatively relaxed. I was feeling a little anxious about the whole hydration issue trying to make sure I had at least 2 large gulps at each water station. I heard my phone go and I knew that was my friend, Celia, who had got in through the ballot and that mean she had a different starting point to me. We were going to try and meet up and had agreed whoever got to mile 5 first would text – at this point I was 1/2 mile behind her and decided that it was probably best to forget the whole meeting up thing.
Mile 8 came and the spectator support was incredible! Pubs with music and bands playing, people handing out bananas, jelly sweets, chanting and still cheering and spurring us all on. I was feeling quite relaxed and quite pleased as I reached mile 10 as I was on target at that point for a 5hr 8min finish, I knew then that I would easily do it within 5hrs 30! Then BAM! out of nowhere my left kneecap felt like it had been wrenched sideways to the outside of my leg and I had terrible pain in my IT band from my hip down to my knee – OH CRAP! Now what do I do? I can walk this out surely? It’s just a bit of tension or a tight muscle? I jog walked and after about 1/2 mile the pain was so bad I was in tears, the crowd were calling my name “saying come on SARAH, you can do this, you’re almost halfway”.
I got to mile 11 and the tears were now about disappointment and not wanting to let people down. I made my way to the next St Johns ambulance after being stopped previously by 2 St John’s people to see if I was ok, all I could do was nod at them as the tears fell and I kept going. I knew I needed to get it looked at – this was my first stop with St Johns. I carried on after this stop, by which time it has become impossoble to even jog. Every time I bent my leg, my knee was being pulled out to the side. Just as I found a comfortable position to move, the muscles in my lower left leg hurt, so I had to switch to another position. Not yet halfway the prospect of walking the remainder of the distance, in this much pain, was quite overwhelming. I wanted to carry on, I wanted to finish, I wanted to be at my party 6 days later having achieved what I set out to do. I completely broke down at my next St John’s stop and after pulling myself together I asked if they could give me a strapping to give the knee some support. They made me wait a full 10 minutes to make sure I was ok, so thank god, I had stopped my GPS every time I was seen
I crossed Tower Bridge, doing nothing more than a walk and cried the entire length. So disappointed that I could not run across one of the momentous landmarks I had been really looking forward to crossing.
I hadn’t heard from Mark (he was bringing all 3 kiddies to come and watch and hopefully cheer me on at some point) at all at this point and I felt like I just needed to hear his voice I called him and in tears I told him what was going on. He told me that if I was in too much pain I should stop and it was ok if I felt I needed too. I knew that I just could not stop; I had to keep going. As I rounded the corner into Narrow Street, in Limehouse, having just being over taken by 2 boobs (yes, really!) I saw Mark and the kiddies there waiting at the side. Needless to say, there were more tears and after a big hug and high fives from the girls I was back on my way. This was the point that I told myself if I was going to do this, I had to do it without tears and just get on with it; one step at a time!
I set myself a new goal: To complete the London Marathon within the allocated 8hrs 15 minutes in order to receive my medal.
I just kept walking being spurred on by the crowd and fellow runners. 3 runners stopped to help me and see if I was ok, 2 more offered me their knee supports and supporters also called out messages of encouragement. I made it to mile 17, by which time the pain had worsened and I was now resorting to walking with my left leg straight. Again I felt I should stop and see if St John’s would give me some paracetamol, maybe that would help? I was conscious that I was still 9 miles from the finish line, I just had to focus on getting to each mile; mile by mile, step by step. I was seen by a physio, the strapping removed and was given some paracetamol. Mark and the kiddies had caught up with me again at this stage. This was the point where I was advised to withdraw from the race. I just looked at Mark and said “I have to keep going”. He gave me 3 ibuprofen and said they would walk with me for a bit. This got me to mile 19, by which point I felt like the pain had eased, thanks to the painkillers! I said to Mark “I’m going to carry on, I’ll see you and the kiddies at the finish” with some high fives, a caffeine sports gel, I was off and managed to jog the next 1/2 mile. I soon realised this had not been a good idea – the jogging!
As each mile went by I just found myself closer to the finish. The streets had started to clear, there were a few hardcore supporters still there cheering. Mile 22 and the heavens opened, I now knew why I had worn long sleeves ! A Macmillan Cancer Support Stand was packing away and offered their ponchos, which I gladly accepted! I was now walking with a group of people one older gentleman and a younger lady (their names I did not get) were very kind to me and on speaking to the man this was his 4th marathon! Now he must have been in his late 60′s, if this wasn’t something to spur me on the I don’t know what was!
I had managed to pick up my pace, although still only a fast walk, and I remember seeing Big Ben approaching and I felt so relieved; I was so close! As I headed to Parliament Square the chimes of Big Ben rang out – I felt like they were just for me! I was in the home straight! As I approached St James Park a youngish girl came out from the side and walked with me and told me what an amazing job I had done and that I was so close. I was still a little disappointed at this time and with mixed emotions I ran, yes I managed to run the last 200m, as I was pretty damn sure I was going to run across that finish line! With mixed emotions, I ran past the empty grandstand and hobbled across the finish line, tired, hardly able to walk, tears streaming down my face and in immense pain. I had at least done what I had set out to do – completed the London Marathon 2012 AND within the 8 hrs 15mins.
I had a personal time of 6hrs 53 and an Official time of 7hr 20.
Would I do it again?
YES! Most definitely! I would not change the above experience for the world, I am truly grateful to have been given an opportunity to take part and to finish. My experience taught me many, many things, mostly about myself!
I will RUN a marathon, the complete course, and within 5hrs – try and stop me!
Yours in taking one step at a time…
So much had happened in only 10 months and to give the way I was feeling a label of post natal depression just seemed wrong! I was determined not to be given medication; I knew somewhere deep down I could be better than all of this….
I knew that it was just a battle of my mind and my thoughts; I needed to take action! I needed to get out more, make friends and learn how to get on outside the realms of a community that I once knew.
To cut a long story short I joined my local NCT group and made some lovely friends and had it not been for those group of women and babies I would most probably have been declared insane! I didn’t find making friends easy by any means. Most of the ones I’d had previously I had grown up with and we just knew each other. It was now a case of having to get to know people and given that part of me felt let down by my previous friends, I found it hard to let people in and trust them. I still kept myself to myself and was very guarded, even now I tend to be more stand offish with people, especially those I have only just met. It was only after Emilie’s 1st birthday, whereby I had invited all the new Mum’s I had met, that I felt able to open up to them and explain what had happened. Deep down I struggled with the sadness that I felt not sharing these happy times with my once best and closest friends. I learnt to focus on the things I did have and the people that were now in my life. I was truly grateful to these ladies for joining us that day and the support those last few months; whilst they did know why at the time, now they do, they have been as supportive as ever – a few in particular
I had returned to work when Emilie was 7 months old. Oddly, when I was growing up and in my early 20′s I always figured that when I had children I would be a stay at home Mum and housewife; that was more of the culture I was surrounded by. It was a little bit of a shock to me that I did not find it easy staying at home. I got bored very quickly and still felt lonely. Just before I had left work to go on maternity leave I had worked hard that year and received a promotion. I was keen to get back to the office and pick up where I had left off. It was not that we needed the money; I needed to work my brain and have that human connection with people. I think there was also part of me that felt that I now had something to prove! Mark and I made the decision for Emilie to go to nursery 4 full days a week.
I remember the very first nursery we visited… I was certainly not prepared for the emotion that I felt! The children seemed so young and the rooms seemed so small. How could I leave Emilie here? She needed to be at home with her Mummy; what were we doing? I was in tears before the visit was over and as we left I seriously started to question whether we were doing the right thing. I had a gut feeling that particular nursery was just not right for us. Mark suggested having a nanny, although given my experience whilst growing up I was quite uncomfortable with the one on one nature of that decision; for me it was just not right! We continued our search and eventually found one. I just had the right feeling when we went in, it was open, the rooms were bigger and all the children seemed happy. I had to stop myself thinking about whether going back to work was the right decision. At that time it was balance about what I needed, what Emilie needed and what we as a family needed.
My transition back into the office was relatively smooth and it was nice to be with my colleagues, some of who I classed as friends and had been extremely supportive the last year. I struggled slightly with the guilt of leaving Emilie at nursery and the guilt of having to leave just before 6 to get her – I felt that I was being judged in that regard. Four weeks or so of having returned to work Emilie had 3 ear infections one resulting in a burst ear drum. I really struggled at this point as I had noone to look after Emilie outside of nursery, and again felt a wave of guilt that I was letting work down. Things settled after that and whilst I had more moments of similar feelings in general I feel that being back at work had really helped me. It completely changed my focus and it meant that I now enjoyed the time I had with Emilie.
Who knew the strange and mixed up feelings that having a baby would bring?
Six weeks before Emilie’s 1st birthday, we discovered, much to our surprise, that we were expecting baby number 2. I say to our surprise, as in true Davies style, we had talked about more children, we hadn’t planned when and after my first birth experience I was reluctant for myself or Mark to go through that again. Again, I felt plunged into an unfamiliar world of mixed and strange emotions…
To be continued…
Yours in mastering the power of the mind…
As I laid on the bed and closed my eyes, it was happening all over again; this time much worse. I wished that as I closed my eyes that I would just never wake up. Feeling unable to control the way I felt or my thoughts, I just wanted it to stop.
That was November 2011.
Yes, I am talking about what the general medical practitioners, midwives and health visitors all refer to as Post Natal Depression (PND). I prefer not to label myself with this, and perhaps you will see why as I relate my experiences
It first started after the birth of Emilie, back in January 2008. For me the whole idea of having a child and the reality of it were so far removed; it was a complete shock! At the time, I had no real friends, due to my departure from the religion I had been brought up in, and I’d had to leave early from work as I had suspected PROM at 32 weeks (premature rupture of membrane or they thought my waters had gone). I ended up being induced at 40+ 10, so had gone almost 10 weeks with very little contact with the outside world. Due to a life threatening incident at the birth of Emilie I found it difficult to bond with her; I was emotional, tired and lonely. Mark had returned to work in the city 2 days post birth and I was left on my own with a newborn, muddling through, not really knowing if I was doing “the right thing”. I had no family support and no one to turn to.
What had we done? I wanted to put her back!
It was at this time the impact of leaving the religion, resulting in leaving my friends and family behind, hit me like a bulldozer! I was used to a lot of support, being part of a community and had many friends. Up until the point I left work I still had friendships with colleagues, some of which had supported me though terribly difficult times and had joined Mark and I on our wedding day. I had my freedom, and I could do whatever I wanted when I wanted. I was suddenly thrown into a completely unfamiliar situation.
To make things a bit more difficult my grandfather died about 6 weeks after I had had Emilie. I had not seen him in 2 years. The feelings of guilt were overwhelming. I felt so deeply sad that he had not met Mark or I had been unable to introduce Emilie and share all my most happiest times with him and other members of the family. I was adamant that I would go to the funeral; although unsure how family members would react to me. There were cousins, uncles and aunts that I had once been close to, not to mention immediate family. I remember that cold February day that we buried Gramps, like yesterday. For me the whole family dynamic had completely changed. Whilst I received a relatively warm welcome, it was clear that there was a distance. My eldest brother who I had once been close to and who I’d not seen in over a year, did nothing more than acknowledge me with a nod of the head. Although, I knew why and I understood it did not stop it from hurting or being something which I found difficult to cope with.
Two weeks later I was due to see my Doctor for my 8 week check. I had no idea what to expect, and definitely not the experience I ended up with! I was in and out within less than 10 minutes having being labeled with post natal depression, after a series of checklist questions. It seemed as I didn’t tick all the right boxes this Doctor, who knew nothing about me or my personal situation, made a so called professional diagnosis based on a series of checked boxes! I came out in tears, as in my mind I thought I was doing ok considering everything that had happened. I phoned Mark and was so upset I was unable to talk to him; I eventually calmed down and managed to relate my story to him. He immediately called the Practice Manager to complain and I was offered a 30 minute appointment with one of the Senior Partners. It’s not that I didn’t have post natal depression and it’s not that the diagnosis was necessarily wrong, the truth was I didn’t know, but I did know that if I accepted their label then I would adopt their belief and I would definitely manifest post natal depression.
He was very understanding. He listened to my story of leaving the religion and the consequences that had brought, the moving in with Mark, getting pregnant, getting married, giving birth, nearly losing my life after and my Grandfather dying. So much had happened in only 10 months and to give the way I was feeling a label of post natal depression just seemed wrong! I was determined not to be given medication; I knew somewhere deep down I could be better than all of this….
To be continued…
❤ ❤ RIP Gramps ❤ ❤ sadly missed & forever in our hearts ❤ ❤
Yours in fighting back…
“Close some doors. Not because of pride, but because that no longer fits your life.” Paulo Coelho
I had to remind myself of this quote in the week as I ran through the town I was brought up in (part of my marathon training – a whole other post ). So many places and years, held so many memories; a feeling of sadness swept across me.
After no longer being part of the religion I have spent many a time and quite a few tears on the things I once had. I have often contemplated going back to ‘where everybody knows my name”, where I had so much support and always someone to turn to. It is only now that I have realised, I had to move out of my comfort zone as this is where the greatest personal growth is achieved. In order for me to be where I am now and have the things and relationships I now have, that had to happen.
It actually reminded me of the story of Lot’s wife in the bible (my many years of being taught the Bible has stood me in good stead!). God instructed Lot and his family to leave the city of Soddom and Gomorrah and told them to flee and not look back, Lot’s wife looked back and craved for the things she once had. It was at this point that God turned her into a pillar of salt. I’m aware that this story is usually used as an example of what happens if God is disobeyed. In my mind, it just illustrates my point that looking back on the things I once had does not serve me! This does not mean that I shouldn’t have memories or reminisce. Dwelling on the negatives from the past, or craving for the things I once had, is taking the focus away from what I have now and what I want to achieve in the future. Learning to focus on the good memories and using them to drive me forward into wanting to achieve more, is one of the best things I have learnt!
Negative feelings, words and thoughts damages our potential in so many ways! Not only that, it can affect your health, it can affect my health. Whatever the situation, whether you have nothing, whether I have nothing, YOU can CHOOSE, I CAN CHOOSE, the attitude towards it. Another favorite quote that Mark often reminds me of
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Maya Angelou
I have shared my story not to illicit sympathy or make judgment. I tell my story to show whatever happens to a person, whatever story or experiences or beliefs they have – these DO NOT have to stop you being the person you want to be, or achieving the things you want to achieve! Everybody has a story and it’s not the amount of times we fall down that indicates our failure, it is the amount of times we pick ourselves up and carry on that measure the extent of our strength!!
Where am I today? Well, not where I want to be and certainly not where I will end up! I have 3 beautiful children , a loving husband and am getting closer to my goal weight (having lost 4st 3lbs to date after baby No 3), busy training and fundraising for the London marathon, fulfilling the Sales and Marketing Lead role for the voluntary organisation YES Group London, contemplating writing a book and lastly and by no means least, considering a move from being a well paid city career girl to starting my own business . YES this is where I want to be, today, though life is a journey through time and like time, we should only move forwards, and not look back as forwards is the only way I want to be going!
Yours in continuing my journey…
I was the poor, fat, religious kid at school. To top it off the importance of personal hygiene was never really impressed upon me – this I learnt the hard way! I was teased at school for being the fat, smelly, poor, religious kid, I’m not sure I’d go as far to say I was bullied; I was never physically hurt. Right from an early age I realised that I was different.
One of these ‘afflictions’ would have been tough to handle, 4 were just a recipe for emotional instability ! We were taught that we were different, because of the religion, and that it was ok to ‘not conform’. I’m not sure this was what they were alluding too! I would often find myself on my own. Needless to say my school years were not a happy time.
I grew up in a family of 9, 5 brothers, a sister and my parents – 4 older brothers and a younger sister and brother. We lived, for the most part, on a council estate, in Essex – I have no doubt providing for and raising that amount of children was tricky in itself – I find 3 tricky!! This proved to be a weirdness in itself, as I would often get asked “do your parents have a telly”. We had just enough money to get by, as I mentioned in a previous post, material things and career aspirations were frowned upon. Although, we never went hungry and we did have a caravan and my parents did ensure we had a holiday at least once a year.
This is one particular memory that sticks in my mind. It was 1983, nearing Christmas – I was 5 years old and in the infant school. They were doing a Christmas play, Hansel and Gretel. I had been told by my parents that I wasnt to take part. I vaguely remember telling my teacher “my parents said I can’t be in the play’ so I was given a chime bar to play – I think this consisted of hitting it several times, at particular moments during one song. I, of course, never told my parents. The day of the performance came and I performed my part. A couple of days later my parents had clearly found out that this had happened, needless to say I was punished – I felt very confused. Looking back and being 5, I don’t remember why I wasn’t allowed to be part of the play and why this was so significant – as I grew older, I knew it was because we didnt celebrate Christmas. Every year I dreaded that time of year, the having to explain and the sticking out like a complete freak.
Children can be so cruel, and the sad part is that they will never know the impact of the words and taunts that they spoke and found highly amusing at the time. Can you imagine what its like to try to explain to other children that you don’t celebrate birthdays, christmas, mothers day, fathers day, easter, halloween, buy raffle tickets, play out after school or go round other childrens to play? Why you didn’t wear the trendiest, new clothes and shoes? I had to sit out of religious education and sex education, often in the corridor on an empty desk or in an empty classroom. All the normal things that every other child does – my school peers thought I was weird! I just thought there was something wrong with me!
My parents never attended any parents evenings as it always seemed to fall on a ‘meeting night’ and to them that was more important. To my teachers, they didn’t seem interested, to my parents their worship was more important. Gaining qualifications and further education was also discouraged as earning money was seen as a means to an end, as it was believed that the end of the world was very near. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I left school and my parents took very little interest; the bible and the beliefs were their focus. They would have been happy for me to clean or work in a shop, and whilst there is nothing wrong with either of these professions, deep down I knew I could, and WANTED to do more than that.
Whilst we weren’t allowed to associate with other children outside the religion, there were other children within the religion we would associate with. Although, for the reasons above I still found myself struggling to fit in, I was a complete social retard and didn’t really make proper friends in the religion until I was around 16, and I seemed to gravitate to the ones who were a bit naughty!
It was probably around this age that I started to try a few things that I shouldn’t have done, smoking, drugs (only weed), drinking etc. This, I guess, was my first taste of the ‘real world’. Safe to say I never really suffered with attention or ‘temptation’ from the boys, so the whole sex thing had never been an issue.
I learnt quite quickly that being the funny, smart one earnt me some attention. Right until my early 20′s I was always the fat, funny friend with the great personality of the slim, pretty girl. I would do all that I could to be accepted, and to please people so they would connect to me in some way – I know that I still have this need.
I know some of these things were not a direct result of the religion, and it is not criticism of that or my parents, as I truly believe they brought us up in the way that they thought was right and proper. I now, being a parent myself, have the beauty of hindsight and have learnt many, many things on my 34 year journey to date. Most of these realisations and understandings have been in the last few years, and I have Mark to thank for that – he is my inspiration. I believe that anything is possible if you want it enough.
“what your mind can conceive, it can achieve” Walt Disney
Yours in fulfilling your dreams…
“The months leading up to that night, I had become terribly unhappy, so much so, that I had developed an eating disorder and had used alcohol to blank out those feelings of unhappiness – despite my many friends, I felt lonely and so indescribably lost. I only realised that months after Mark and I had got together.”
These feelings that I was experiencing were not a direct product of being in the religion, they were an culmination of many things. More than 4 years previous I had started a relationship with a guy in the religion, and 4 years on he still did not know whether he wanted to marry me or not – I tend not to over analyse this one, as I feel, this was not a direct result of the religion.
Why was this a problem? The religion prohibited sex before marriage, and as a consequence pretty much everywhere we went we would need a chaperone, to avoid being led into any kind of ‘temptation’. This meant that in terms of our relationship, once it reached a number of months I became increasingly frustrated that the relationship could not naturally grow and we could not share experiences and get to know each other on any other level.
We broke up and got together about 3 times, and I felt I was no longer in control of what was happening. For him it was such a huge decision, especially with the religious belief of living forever; if we got married it would be forever. For me, I loved him and wanted to be with him – it was that simple. With the beauty of hindsight, we clearly were not right for each other, and perhaps I mistook love for a special bond we had formed during a very traumatic situation some years back.
It was those months leading up to me finishing the relationship that I had sunk so far down, that I couldn’t even help myself. I started to believe there was something wrong with me, why didn’t he want to marry me? Was I not good enough? Was I too fat? I’d been overweight until my early twenties and suffered low self esteem thoughout my teenage years, so this was easy for me to believe.
Food was the easiest thing to control, I would starve myself in the quest to be thinner, the sign of any kind of frustration or feelings of not being wanted I would binge on anything I could get my hands on. I would even walk to the local shop to buy bagfuls of junk food, just to satisfy my emotional attachment to food I had formed in my childhood – this in itself is a whole different post! The only way I can explain it, was like a switch being triggered and as soon as my brain had made the decision that I was going to eat then vomit it all back up, I would go to any lengths to make it happen; I felt excited. As soon as I had ‘finished’ all I felt was guilt, emptiness and hated myself even more. Alcohol was my saviour, so I thought!
I would often sit alone in my flat with a bottle of vodka or wine and cry. The alcohol gave me a false sense of confidence, after several drinks it gave me feelings of depression and anger. There were times I would phone my boyfriend, after several drinks, and get so extremely frustrated I would shout at him – I felt completely out of control! I would wake up the next day feeling guilty and annoyed with myself; the whole cycle would begin again. I did not know how to break the cycle.
I’m not proud of that time, or the way I treated my boyfriend and friends in those last few months – I had got to the point whereby I could no longer help myself and I certainly could not accept help from anyone, I just blamed myself. I know now that what happened wasn’t about me, things rarely are!
So what was it about?
It was his issues, his limiting beliefs that he was dealing with that did not enable him to make a decision. This was NOT about me, and looking back I was arrogant to think so! I kept telling myself there was nothing fundamentally wrong with the relationship so we would have to try ‘to make it work’. I know now that you do not have to work at a relationship, if it’s not working, then there is something fundamentally wrong! Yes, you have your challenges you both face, on a day-to-day level Mark and I don’t have to ‘work at’ being friends – we just are
This was one of my biggest breakthroughs; the realisation that what people say and do is never about you, it is whatever issue, feeling or limiting belief they have. Needless to say when you use this filter it is easier not to take things personally and make them your issues.
The emotional attachment to food, being overweight, low self esteem and the drinking, however, WERE my problem and something I had to deal with.
Yours in an emotional battle,
“It was 6:30am and as I heard the front door close behind him, I had no idea this was the moment that would change my life forever!”
This is how I imagine my book would start. The truth is, one small unconscious decision that I took exactly 5 years ago to the day, changed my life as I knew it and it has never been the same since.
At the time it seemed completely insignificant, that I had agreed, without really having to think about it, to go out for a drink with 2 of my work colleagues (outsourced IT partner to be precise!). One of those, is my now husband, Mark. On the surface of it, you may wonder why this has been so life changing, aside the fact we have just celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary and have 3 small kiddies , whilst these are life changing events in themselves, this isn’t what I am referring too.
I was brought up in a devout religion. It was a community of like minded people that would worship 3 times a week, be there to support you in times of need; I had many friends and a good social life. Making friends and associations outside of the religion, were frowned upon, as were career aspirations, acquiring material possessions, sex before marriage was prohibited, as were celebration of Christmas and birthdays, just to name a few of the beliefs and values that I had become my everyday ‘norm’. I believed this was right and everyone else had it so very wrong.
That night 5 years ago having made the decision to go out for a drink, looking back, was a little out of character for me! Especially, as it was on a night whereby I should have been at one of our ‘meetings’ of worship. The months leading up to that night, I had become terribly unhappy, so much so, that I had developed an eating disorder and had used alcohol to blank out those feelings of unhappiness – despite my many friends, I felt lonely and so indescribably lost. I only realised that months after Mark and I had got together.
The whole evening with Mark is a story in itself, and maybe not for now. All I knew is that we had made a connection on every level; I never wanted that night to end, and it didn’t! When I woke up with him beside me, it all felt like a dream – what just happened? Why him? Why now?
Six weeks on, he told me that he loved me. 4 months in, in a tent in Hamble, we decided that we wanted to be together always and start a family. 2 months after that I found out I was pregnant. It was at this point I knew I had to bite the bullet and face my friends and family. I knew that I would no longer be accepted for not only seeing someone outside of the religion, but having sex, moving in together and being pregnant all outside of marriage – I had always known the consequences to these actions, although to me they had all happened unconsciously and seemed so natural. That did not prepare me for the reality of losing all my friends and some of my family and adjusting to life has, at times, proved to be challenging!
Imagine, not having celebrated a Christmas or Birthday until you were 30, never having tasted champagne, never having aspirations or to be involved with charity work, voting, or having sex! Imagine your parents and close friends not sharing your most special and happy time, being at your wedding or sharing the joy of giving birth to your children. I know exactly how all of that feels! I don’t want sympathy, because without all of this, I wouldn’t be the person I am today or be in the position I am today.
This blog is about where I started 5 years ago, my journey to date through many many difficult, trying and often challenging times and my now great plans for the future. I am writing this for many reasons not least because I am now feel able to share and doing so is quite cathartic! So many people live a life of beliefs that are, perhaps, not their own. Beliefs, which limit them in ways they do not realise. It’s only when you break through those limitations and see what a world of possibilities, sadness and happiness live on the other side.
Before I finish this first entry I want to make it clear this is my journey, my beliefs and my life and I have the utmost respect for anyone who has different beliefs and if they wish to lead a life within them then I applaud them for sticking to the beliefs so strongly. This is in no way meant to blame, criticise, or belittle anyone’s beliefs. If however you or someone you know would like to change their most fundamental of beliefs and values, spiritual or religious, and don’t know where to turn or feel isolated, then I want you to know I have done it, I have walked that path and would love to share what challenges I have faced and how I have managed to create a life of endless possibilities where my only limitations are me and my imagination.
Yours in an inspirational journey!
I DO! Although, I didn’t until March 2010.
This is the scenario… my husband, Mark Davies, and I had booked to attend an event, Expand your Brand, back in March. We did not know what to expect, anyway to cut to the point a guest speaker was announced, Jeremy Gilley… Jeremy who? we thought… why was he so special?
The following video played on the screen…
Now, if, like me, you had the same reaction watching that, EVERYTIME I hear his voice and Annie Lennox singing I get goose bumps. As Jeremy came up to the stage, that day, he received a 10 minute standing ovation. And again part way through his speech.
So, what made this one man so remarkable?
Why did he receive such a reaction?
This is why, in his own words…
In 1999, preoccupied with questions about the fundamental nature of humanity and the most pressing issues of our time, filmmaker Jeremy Gilley launched Peace One Day and set out to find a starting point for peace. He had a mission: to document his efforts to establish the first ever annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence with a fixed calendar date.
Remarkably, two years on, he achieved his primary objective when the 192 member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted 21 September as an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on the UN International Day of Peace. We call that day Peace Day.
The UN International Day of Peace on 21 September every year is not only about creating peace between nations, it’s about non-violence in our homes, communities and schools. Therefore Peace Day is relevant to every human being on the planet.
Now the next major objective is to introduce 3 billion people to Peace Day by 2012.
Up until this point the one thing that sprung to mind at the mention of world peace was the character Gracie Lou Hart in Miss Congeniality, who thought it was dumb that all the Miss USA contestants wanted world peace. It turns out by the end of the film that she wanted world peace also. In other words we all like the idea of world peace and what it stands for, but for most of us we would not know where to start to put a plan like that into action!! Needless, to say that I now, thanks to Jeremy Gilley , have a more sensible association with the term world peace! It is one thing to want world peace, it takes a whole other set of values, beliefs and dedication to take action towards making it happen. Jeremy Gilley is just that person.
I don’t think it is possible to sum him up in a few words, if I try…. he is awesome, inspirational and a true leader – that just does not do him or his work justice! His story, efforts and achievements have certainly had an impact on not only myself, but others too – would not the world be a different place if everybody did a fraction of what Jeremy does? If we smiled a bit more, did not take offense, did not hold grudges – these are small steps in comparison, but would make a significant difference if done in unity. Remember that thought, the reality is we can choose how to feel and act – what choice will you make?
We now knew who Jeremy Gilley was and, in fact, is! How did we not know????!! He is special and truly remarkable EVERYBODY should know about this guy, his story and the PeaceOneDay.org. I aim to raise awareness of Jeremy’s work and PeaceOneDay.org, any way that I can! You can get more of Jeremy’s story and information of the work Peace One Day carry out and more importantly, how you can show support for Peace Day by visiting www.peaceoneday.org
Following Expand your Brand and seeing Jeremy we both (Mark and I) support Peace One Day – we’ve even got the t-shirts ! Subsequently, Mark had the privilege of interviewing Jeremy for his blogtalk radio show, The Leader Within, which you can get to by following the links below
Listen to the interview with Jeremy
Download the MP3
You can also subscribe to The Leader Within Podcasts, via iTunes by searching for The Leader Within
Jeremy Gilley, you are… a truly inspirational man!
Let me leave you with this question……. “What will YOU do on Peace Day?” 21 September