Project status - very, very successful
I waved my friend off at the Skybus before work yesterday morning. After a weekend that was pretty legendary, this would be he next step in her evolution. I watched a woman who four days before had never been to an airport, scared to travel by herself, unsure of what to do confidently stride onto the airport bus to catch her flight back to Sydney and the embark on the three hour drive back to her home town. From all accounts she made it back home without a problem.
It really was an incredible weekend spent with fabulous people. My friend was great to have around - a wonderful house guest. She said she felt comfortable in my clean, but rather untidy flat. For me, she and I ticked along well and she was no drama having her about. It's interesting that both of us live alone but felt more than happy to share the space - I don't feel that with everybody.
There were also lots of events planned for over the weekend, so we weren't home that much. Shopping trips, exercise sessions, lunches, trips to a national park and of course, the main event, the 12wbt finale party.
Lunch at the Hu Tong Dumpling bar was a great ice breaker - we finally got to meet a couple from the group in person for the first time. People came from far and wide for this party. Brisbane, Sydney, Perth... you name it. The wonderful thing we all found is that although we may have never met in person, we all feel like we've known each other for a lifetime. We're friends online. Some of us use skype to talk to one another, but other than that, other than the Melbourne girls who I train and do the steps with regularly, we'd never met in person.
Completely fabulous it was.
I look at these women with utter amazement. I'd never meet them in my life. What would I have in common with a preacher's wife, a housewife, a day care worker, a night fill manager, a graphic designer an a landscape architect, among others, most of whom are ten years my junior? Seemingly nothing.
However, these women and I have something very much in common.
These women are my angels.
We've all been each other's angels over the last twelve weeks. These are the people who've picked me up and dusted me off when things have gone pear shaped, celebrated my wins, ran, walked, climbed and pumped with me - and supported me through this whole process.
I can't thank them enough.
But for all the camaraderie and fun, the demons did come out at times. We all have demons. We've all lost a substantial amount of weight, 20, 30, 40 kilograms - in two cases, one of them has shed 60 kilos from her frame, and my friend, now over 90... You're going to have demons when this happens.
We all know what it's like to be the large one, the outcast, the person who is overlooked. The shy person who doesn't put themselves out there. Some of us have been the butt of jokes, the person who gets stared at, pointed at, ashamed to go places, sometimes made to feel ashamed of who they are. All of us know what it is to be fat. All of us are well on the way to getting on top of this state and fixing it once and for all.
But the mindsets continue. It's a great thing to change your body. In some ways, that's the easy part. The hard bit is changing your head.
The morning after the party, tired, mild hangover beating at my temples, my friend and I got talking over a cup of tea before going off to the gym, a miracle as I'd hitched a ride home with a friend at midnight. Nine glasses of champagne had been enough - and my feet were hurting from standing around in heels. The two staying at mine that night made it back around three and I had to be up to let them in.
She was telling me about our night filler. 60 kgs lost, looking amazing, a quiet, shy acheiver really let her hair down at the party - which was a joy to see. When I left, she was going at the dance floor like a demon. She looked happy - like the rest of them.
Then the killer. They went for coffee after the club. Our night filler let it be known it was the first time she'd danced in public.
I broke down there and then, crying for the pain of what was, and spouting a few tears of happiness for the life she has found.
Everybody in the group had a moment like this. It was a night to shed the old. It was fantastic.
But our night filler's situation - the do dancing in public. This is indicative what the pall of obesity does to you. It suppresses the joy, the fun, the great things in life.
I know many of you reading this won't get the enormity of this. To have the confidence to dance in public, or catch a plane.Other smaller victories I won't bore you with for long - like being able to find clothes that fit, or to be able to walk and not get puffed or to just feel like you blend in.
Most of us have felt something like this. My angels understand the demons.
And this is what bonds us together.
For me, my demons are still haunting me - although they are lessening. In getting dressed up and having my hair done and putting on make up - I still felt fat. I felt awful on the inside at times. Thankfully not all the time, but the feeling was still there.
I was telling Pinochet about it last night. I'm putting the work in, I'd doing what I have to - but I still feel fat.
My head is telling me otherwise, I see the numbers, feel my limbs growing strong and lean. But I look at pictures of the night and I still feel fat and ugly. Part of me wants to obliterate every photo of me that has been put up online. Actually, that is a lie, there are some good shots out there, but the bulk of them, I'd destroy if I had the chance.
Okay, I hated what I'd let them do to my hair - I feel much better with it down and wish I'd gone with my gut. I was wearing an old dress, something I've had shoved in the wardrobe for ten years - but it fit well and showed off some of my newly firming curves. And mentally, I know I was looking good. I was looking great.
But the demons arose, and still come up for air. Despite the physical changes which appear to be coming quickly, despite the fact that I'm buying clothes are size or two smaller, that I can run up big hills, pump large weights, keep going after many others have fallen by the wayside, there is a bit inside that feels fat and ugly.
It is slowly changing. I can look at myself in a mirror now and like what I see. I will let people take my photo on occasion. I feel better having my photo taken when I'm in casual clothes, work out gear not dress ups, and I wonder if I'll ever get on top of this.
Regardless, Project Pandora may be over, but the journey continues. I've set myself a few goals for the next three months.
1) Participate in the Run Melbourne 10 km event and do it under an hour. If the Mother's Day Classic is anything to go by, I'm a few minutes off this. Training will get me there.
2) Get below 78 kgs by August - about 5 kgs away, an achievable goal. Then it's off to Sydney to celebrate my 43rd birthday, climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge and run in the City to Surf.
Of the latter challenge, I know my angels with be there on the bridge and on the road to Bondi with me, not only in person, but for those who can't make the weekend - in spirit.
Well these are my challenges. All of the group have set themselves new goals now that the 12wbt is over.
Knowing my angels are there to keep my head above water - it's knowledge enough that I can keep going on this journey.