5 January 2015

Roundups and Resolutions

Happy 2015! I intended to do an interim post between Christmas and New Year, but life as ever ran away with me a bit, not to mention the looming deadline of my Creative Writing journal…

Consequently, this will be both a 2014 roundup and 2015 resolution - I adamantly stated a mere couple of days ago that I was against this particular convention, but since then I have thought of a few things I would like to accomplish this year, and what better place to hold myself accountable than here? Writing out possibilities for the new year, and seeing how many I can realise. 

Roundup 2014

Christmas will be omitted from this part; partly logistics, as I have yet to get my hands on dad's camera, but also because there is simply too much Cavachon cuteness to condense into one section of a post… However, I here's a little snapshot of New Year's Eve at the wonderful Brasserie Blanc! Just the four of us - mum, dad, sister and I - which was so lovely. 

After a quite tumultuous year in our family, it was nice to do something relaxed and more laid-back, as a family unit. An evening of nattering, 'fine' dining and playing our signature game of 'celebrity lookalike' (my best was James McAvoy in action as Mr Tumnus) was definitely more suited than rushing off to some social soiree or faraway land... sorry Newcastle, I love you really. 

This cod deserved a John Torode
"melt in your mouth" accolade
We bottled the stars...
…and I loved it to the moon and back

Simple… but always sophisticated! The champagne was utterly delightful, signalling my sister to remark that I have "expensive taste". Well, you can't put a price on stars.

The food was rather tasty too; very French, which was fitting given the location - our collective menu featured two souffl├ęs, a cassoulet, not to mention a particularly pungent cheeseboard. For me, however, the star of the show was my sister's mussels. Next time we go (it is more of a treat place, but worth its weight in gold), I am ordering mussels! The words 21st and Le Manoir were also spoken of in the same breath, which was just a tad exciting…

So, I described New Year's Eve as being all about our family unit and, as famous as the four of us are, we're nothing without our fab fifth member:

After one or two (or three) outfit changes, I succumbed and reverted to my Christmas Day outfit! Never has £20 been so well invested in an item of clothing - this blue velvet Topshop creation was my first foray into Ebay, and let's just say the High Street may have lost a devoted customer… 

…Resolution 2015

On a rainy 31st December day, I realised that a New Year list is pretty much a summation of my blog title… penning down possibilities for 2015. On that note, here are a few items in my bucket box; I hope to dig out a good majority of them, before my 21st year is over, but am not setting any expectations. Let the chips fall where they may… 

Build my blog

This virtual home was first constructed in 2012, but made a little comeback in February when I published my article for Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Since then, I have been blown away by how it has grown. In the past year I have received almost 20,000 new hits, then my foray into the Vlogging world somehow didn't result in the epic fail I had anticipated!

The response to my Dear Meghan Trainor video has been incredible, and also made me realise… wow, maybe I could actually make a difference? Maybe what I write - or say - could bring some positive change, however small. Even if it is just one person who can read/watch and feel less alone in something, then I couldn't really ask for anything more. 

For me, it isn't about the stats, although if I am hoping to raise awareness through a post then of course the wider the reach the better! Nonetheless, I care more about the stories behind the stats. Reading the comments on that video, or people even contacting me to simply say "I'm glad someone is speaking on this, raising awareness, being open with struggles past and present". These messages in turn motivate me, and I am very grateful for each and every one of them.

I am unsure where I will go with the vlogging - I don't really feel my voice is made for video, if truth be told! I also know how saturated the vlogging world is, and I don't think I will ever have the credentials to do a make-up tutorial! Then again, maybe that is a good thing? I do want to do more lifestyle features - possibly about clothes, as I do have a 'passion for fashion'… yet maybe my genius use of rhyme there is an indicator that I should venture down the writing path more? On that note… 

Write With D 

*I have to give some credit to the brilliant "Walk with D" campaign here, lest I risk being sued for name thievery! 

At the start of this post I referenced a certain Creative Writing journal - submitted as of this morning! I also think on a previous post I mentioned how, for the poetry side of said-journal, my theme is chronic illness. Specifically, writing about my experiences of living with T1 Diabetes. 

During the research that forms a part of the journal, along with my own writing, I discovered that there is very little creative work exploring diabetes. My reaction was similar to the realisation of how little resource there is for diabetes and eating disorders. Basically, D is downplayed a lot, and greater awareness is needed. 

Enter writing. I did find a truly wonderful anthology titled No-Sugar Added and, on the last day of 2014 (over star-bottled champagne no less)  I had an idea… why not do it again? I have a sequence of poems written, which I plan to share on this blog after submission (apparently there's such a thing as plagiarising your own work…), but I am sure that there are so many far more talented writers out there who also have experience of diabetes! They need to be heard. They have a story that needs listening to. 

So, my rather ambitious plan for 2015 is to try and gather together a collection of poems, centred on life with T1 Diabetes. I have also been intrigued by the eBook world for a long time, so this could  offer me a way of exploring that, in addition to building on the skills I have amassed through my role as Online Books Editor for Exepose. It is likely a pipe-dream, but you don't know until you try, right? I thought no one would ever read this blog, but they did. Miracles can happen! 

Get back to "Blue"  

'nuff said really…. I miss my little blue box! He has endured mountains, survived roller coasters, been dropped a fair few times too…

In short, he's a tough nut and I am a nut lover at heart. Maybe it's a shot in the dark to hope we will be reunited soon - when I tried putting a set in over the holidays it was a bit of a bloodbath…

But I will keep trying and keep hoping, because in short lantus seems to place my blood sugars at the top of aforementioned mountain, and leave me rolling down it. As I ended my satirical poem Divorcing my pancreas:

"I'll concede you're no saint,
but I still wait for you at 
the gate - please take
the soonest flight
back home."

Lose Gain Weight

Huh? More like a New Year Revolution, isn't that? Perhaps. Because it turns out that the January onslaught of the Diet Brigade just isn't for everyone. This doesnt make it any easier to turn a blind eye to.

For anyone with an eating disorder, however far into recovery, this time of year can be very hard.  Weight loss conversation seems to be everywhere, from society to our tv screens. 6:1 is the new 5:2, The Times Magazine presented us a delightful little piece on 'High Fat Low Carb' that gave insulin little devil horns… not that this could give someone with diabetes a complex or anything.

Resolution: give things the thumbs up. Just say yes. 
How do you turn it off? Well, turning off the screen is one option, but I'm not so sure running away is the solution. Placing yourself within the context of your life might be. Yes, people around you may choose to diet. Yes, this may be very difficult to watch, but it is their choice. Their life. Their health. What's more, it is not necessarily unhealthy for them. 

I have spent 2014 at a weight which, in my heart of hearts, I know is not natural for my body. In the last 12 months a combination of things - diabetes the primary one, but also bereavement and general life stresses - has seen my recovery wobble and waver more than I would like. Nonetheless, it has been a sobering reminder to me that you must always remain on guard; especially considering where I was only two years ago. 

I could go back over so many "if onlys" and "what ifs" of the past year and a bit. How I got too caught up in "living" upon going to university, and didn't immediately identify little slips. Then there is the ever-present self-criticism over how I manage my diabetes, wondering what more I could have done or still do? I can lose count over the number of times I have said "no" to pasta, pizza, and that piece of chocolate from the selection box. 

That being said, I look back at this year and see how I finally said "no to skinny". I have lost count of the number of cappuccinos purchased this last term at uni, although the free Boston Tea Party drink I am owed, courtesy of my stamp card, can tell me that it is at least 8 from that particular cafe alone… I have eaten dominoes, I went to Asia for two weeks and and it was a real test in terms of 'adapt and evolve' . Two years ago the mere sight of an oil bottle sent me running.

Yes, I have said no, but I have also said "yes". This latter word needs to become the default.  

2015 can be the year that I commit - restoring my weight (not gaining - it should never have been lost) to the point where my body and mind will be at their healthiest. These other things on my list can never be realised, unless I fulfil this one first. 

Keep drinking coffee

I've probably posted enough coffee photos.

I did say probably, and this one is vietnamese complete with awesome straw, so it's practically ambrosia. In short, my continued love affair for 'real' milk coffee will ensure my life is never blue-less.
I do love it a latte. Except that I'm a cappuccino order. Always.

Practice what I preach 

Quite simply, making a choice everyday to walk the walk. This includes self-care and taking the time to be kind to myself. I am the worst culprit for self-deprication, and I have found that this has grown even stronger in recent months - diabetes plays a significant role in how I view myself and measure my own value. To this end, over this holiday I have finally acknowledged that, perhaps, I need to be open to more help from others. I should not be ashamed of the psychological impact my diabetes has left; I have read how many diabetes departments are engaging a psychologist within their team, a recognition of just how great the mental toll can be.

I am constantly telling others to be kinder to themselves, willing to move heaven and earth for them. What is preventing me from applying this to myself?

Something I read a year or so ago has stuck with me ever since: 

"And if your daughter came to you, crying with hunger, would you tell her no? 
Would you tell her she wants too much, she must shrink into society? No.
Then why would you tell yourself the exact same thing? 
You are somebody's daughter."
- Michelle K. Somebody's Daughter

Regardless of where you are in life, you can take something from this. Treating yourself, not just like you would a daughter, but also a friend, sibling, parent… pet. Just a couple of Millie's nicknames are Beyonce and Duchess. Mariah when her diva displays are particular on point paw. 

My first birthday with D was a flying affair… 

Sometimes, when I am having little moments of self-doubt, it helps to look back at photos from my childhood. I look at this girl, and I think of that Michelle K. quote. This girl is me - she still is me. Would I have told her she wasn't worthy of self-care? Of proper nourishment? Of a life free from diabetes' puppet strings? No.

You don't have to wait for the writer. You can pick up that pen right now.
How can someone fall in love with your life, until you have yourself? 


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