Growing Up.

As a kid growing up I thought I would be in danger of a rouge shark attack, being eaten by an alligator, or being bitten by a poisonous spider. Turns out the only thing I needed to be aware of was the snakes that you greet in the hallway. People are the biggest hazard I’ve yet to come across. (Living in New Zealand away from scary animals has probably played a big part in this.)

You’d be mad to willingly jump into an alligator infested swamp (is that where they live?) or to go swimming where sharks have been spotted. Yet with humans we let them into our lives without much hesitation even though they’re the species that cause the most pain. You could be mistaken for thinking this is going to be another blog about my dating life, but seeing as I’m not dating at the moment, there is nothing new to report on that front.

While I haven’t been hit with the confidence stick, in social situations I somehow manage to slide just enough funny remarks into conversation to make people like me. Making friends has never been an issue for me, but selecting genuine people who have good intentions is what has proven difficult. Luckily I have a few select friends who mean the absolute world to me. It has been a lengthy process though and there has been many tears shed over the females that turned out to have ulterior motives.

Ladies raise each other up, while girls tear each other down. After being hurt beyond belief by other females I’ve decided enough is enough. I appreciate that not everyone in the world is destined to be friends but there is no need for the nastiness.

This last month I’ve had two incidents unfold that have made me question my ability to live on this earth anymore. Both situations occurred in places I should have felt safe and were handled with utter disrespect and total disregard for my mental well being. The first incident made me unable to return home and the second has left me nervous to leave the safety of my bedroom. I could go on for hours about each situation and believe me, those around me have heard all about it in depth. However dwelling on these situations and others that have occurred previously is not going to help me achieve anything.

Instead I am going to learn from these situations. My home and work life has been difficult as of late, but that doesn’t mean that I should end it all. It feels like my world has been crumbling around me, but it just means that I have another chance to rebuild it right.

I will become even more selective of who I allow into my close inner circle, even if this means I come across as a bitch to those first meeting me.
I am not immature for cutting people out of my life, I am just putting my own well-being before that of people that bring me pain.
My anxiety does not define who I am and what I can achieve.

Not everyone in the world will do for you what you would do for them. From now on I will be using my resources wisely and if I still wake up with a knife in my back, I know that karma will catch up to the backstabber.

In this world, no one is perfect but that doesn’t mean that we can’t try harder to be better people. We can leave the sneaking around for the snakes, the lieing for the lions, and the cheating for the cheetahs. There is no need for manipulation and mind games. We all end up the same, eventually we are all die, don’t become someones reason it happened before their time.

Staying Single

Early 2018 I started dating a boy I absolutely shouldn’t have. Every possible red flag was there but what can you do when that’s your favourite flag colour? 🤷🏼‍♀️ I fell for this joker like I’d never fell before. Rookie mistake.

Unsurprisingly it wasn’t a great relationship from the beginning. There were amazing times spent together but the secrets, the lies and the other girls destroyed any self esteem I’d had. No one in his life even knew I existed, which trust me makes ya feel pretty worthless.

The whole time we were seeing each other I knew that I needed out. Occasionally I’d gather the courage and call it quits. I’d try meet new guys to distract myself but that wouldn’t work out either so we’d always try again.

Beginning of July we had a proper sit down and a lot of truth came to the surface. This was the final nail in the coffin of any further relationship between us. The truth was definitely a hard pill to swallow and it only solidified my feelings of rejection.

Which hasn’t at all helped with being rejected by the five lucky lads I decided were eligible to go on dates with this year. At least two of the five were decent enough to make up excuses as to why they didn’t want to see me again. The others just seemed to forget I existed which is just super for my dating confidence. 🤷🏼‍♀️

It seems that no matter how many improvements I make in my life I’m still not good enough for any one. And finally I’m ok with that! As I said in my last blog I’ve already accepted the fact that I need to save my arse off cause I’ll be purchasing my first home alone. Last weekend I went and brought myself a whole lot of stuff to make my bed more comfortable. As I’ve finally accepted that Prince Charming with a comfy bed isn’t actually hiding around the corner.

I no longer feel the urge to constantly apologise for not ticking all the boxes on these guys checklists, when the only criteria on mine is to give me attention and the truth. The amount of times I have genuinely said “I’m sorry I wasn’t good enough for you” makes me sick because I believed I wasn’t. The thing is that I am enough. I have enough sparks to start a bush fire in the outback, I’m funny enough to have my own comedy show, and my face is just the exact same as the rest of my families. It’s no great secret that I’m sporting the famous Jackson nose. 😂

Its all good and well feeling positive about being single when I’ve had a productive day like today, but I know I will have hard days. Alcohol has never been a great one for my emotions, which is why I hardly drink anymore. No one wants to get on board that roller coaster. Especially when the only people I party with these days are my work mates or flatmates. People that I can’t avoid seeing again after causing a scene. So self care is going to be heavily implemented to keep myself preoccupied.

For the remaining 5 months of 2019 I’m focusing on myself. I’m not going to put myself in the firing line of being rejected by some boy that I probably wouldn’t like if I’d actually had the time to get to know them. Instead I’ll be giving myself the best life I can, taking the time to spend with friends and family, spending money on things I don’t need but just want, making plans for myself without needing to consult anyone first. I’m excited for what growth is in store for me in the years to follow.

Bring on 2020 so I can jump back on tinder 💁🏼‍♀️

My Weight Gain

Its no huge surprise to learn that I have gained 20kgs over the last three years. In fact people that have known me for less than 3 years struggle to imagine me ever being smaller. To them this is Shawny, this is how she always has and always will look. Between the ages of 20-22 I had shed and kept off the 20kgs and was in the best physical shape I could’ve been.

The last three years I’ve been half hardheartedly attempting to loose the extra kgs, and the only thing standing in my way has been me. When I was smaller I had no reason not to feel like a winner. I had a great body, a fantastic head of blonde hair and a tan to die for but I was still absolutely fucking miserable. This should have been my prime, I should’ve been able to find the best boyfriend imaginable.. However, there was no fairy tale ending for this princess.

I kissed more than my fair share of frogs looking for my prince in shinning armor yet all I found was toads. The first guy I tried dating was my flatmate, dam stupid idea wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy! He’d cheat on me every second night, sometimes with multiple people before making his way home to me, sometimes not coming home at all. This went on for far longer than I care to admit and eventually I got kicked out of that flat and decided that he was just a bad egg. He wasn’t a great person to use my new found confidence on, but it SURELY couldn’t get worse. Girl couldn’t have been wronger if I had actually tried.

The next guy told me that I made him want to kill himself after I asked if he would be able to help me move a couple of boxes to a new flat.. He dropped that bomb and blocked me. Nice one mate. Hit again to the confidence but surely you sometimes get two bad eggs in a carton and the rest will be perfect. DREAMS ARE FREE.

I started becoming nervous to meet new guys after this, so I would only go on tinder dates if I was drunk out of my tree. I’d just turned 21 so being drunk every weekend wasn’t an issue. The dates would go well and we’d date for five minutes before they’d all leave me saying they actually weren’t ready for a relationship. Would have been easier to believe if the next person they all dated didn’t end up being their long term girlfriends.

This just solidified the fact that it didn’t matter how skinny I was, how many times a day I went to the gym, how little my portion sizes were, that I just wasn’t someone that guys wanted to date long term.

The only thing I had control of in my life was the food that I ate, and I decided to stop eating my perfectly portioned out meal preps and turn to icecream and chocolate and copious amounts of RTD’s. Somewhere in this downward spiral I found an actual boyfriend. It wasn’t a healthy relationship, but I’ve thrown him under the bus enough since our breakup to divulge into details. I soon learnt that I really couldn’t control his actions and choices which again lead me to eat more. My gym membership lapsed, I no longer meal prepped, I had turned solely to processed food. This was my choice and no one could change my mind.

The weight absolutely pilled on, in no time at all I was back at my starting weight that I’d been at 18. This was the age that I had last been in a relationship with someone that genuinely cared about me. He cared a little too much and little old wild me wasn’t ready to be tamed at 18 so we went our separate ways.

Which lead me to the football fanatic that first sparked the weight loss adventure. It didn’t begin from a healthy place. He loved fitness and looked like he’d stepped out of the pages of a fitness magazine. I never felt attractive enough to be around him, and obviously without a heck tonne of money, I actually can’t change my face. So I joined a gym and got skinnier. Turns out this wasn’t enough for him as he’d been sleeping with half the girls in Christchurch behind my back anyway. The joys of dating huh?

Skinny or overweight, I’ve still been getting played, cheated on and lied to. For some of the guys I’m sure the fact that I was a little cuddly round the edges was an issue for them. But for the ones I dated when I was skinnier, they didn’t have that same excuse. They chose to cut me out of their lives because they didn’t like who I was as a person. It wasn’t my weight they cared about when they were lieing to my face. And that has been an incredibly hard pill to swallow.

I’ve kept the extra weight on because I need it as a blanket of protection. My whole life I have been trying my absolute hardest to be a person that people want to be friends with, a person that people enjoy spending time with, a person that is loved. That hasn’t worked out for me so far, so I don’t loose the weight because I don’t want people to look at me anymore. I don’t want to meet new guys just to have them break my heart again. I want people to write me off because of how much I weigh rather than because they think I’m not worth their.

As soon as I start seeing results from the gym or my weight going down on the scales I indulge in food. I eat in secret so that I still maintain my weight but can still put on the act that I don’t know why I’m still getting heavier.

I’m holding myself accountable this time. No more feeling sorry for myself for dating only idiots for the last 5-7 years. My true friends and family will support me no matter what bloody dress size I wear. This time my weight loss will be for me and only me. Not to try and find a boyfriend. I’ve already resigned to the fact that I’ll be buying my first house alone, and I sure as hell don’t need no man to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten, Mental Health, Broken Bones.

Just over four years ago I was diagnosed as coeliac, which meant from that moment forward I couldn’t eat gluten containing food. The first three years of eating gluten free were incredibly hard, but I’d gotten myself into a great routine and only cheated on the diet several times.

Then I turned 23 and my mental health took a turn for the worse. I had just begun a new job, I was coming to the end of an unhealthy relationship and I was due to move flats. For most people these are normal things to happen but for me it turned my life upside down.

Too much was changing and my mind couldn’t keep up. I begun hating myself more than I had ever before. I wanted to punish myself by hurting my body without anyone noticing or knowing the extent of the damage. At first it was just a Big Mac here and a pie there while still keeping the other meals gluten free. This quickly snowballed and before long I was eating anything I wanted. Nobody noticed as all the people in my day to day life were relatively new, and I didn’t tell them the severe consequences if I continued to eat gluten.

My mental health continued to spiral, especially as I was feeding myself poison. I knew my body was suffering, which brought me joy, because I didn’t feel I deserved good health. I wanted to suffer. When I eat gluten it’s as if a cloud descends on my brain and I can’t see anything clearly. This was the state I was in for the year. There was always a headache looming, my joints were always sore and even after sleeping 8 hours a night I was exhausted.

Fast forward a year. Eating gluten was just normal for me now, no one flinched if I didn’t ask for the gluten free menu, and I’d even confessed to some close family members. (I never told my dad though as this revelation would break his heart, but I need to hold myself accountable and come clean. Sorry Dad) Everything had come to a new normal for me, I could feel and see the obvious symptoms but I had no intention of stopping.

Until one day in bed I touched the top of my foot with the other foot and I realised it was kinda sore. Didn’t think to much more of it until I was at work and the pain became severe after I’d been running around. For three weeks I was rushing around work with a horrendous limp as the pain had become unbearable. I told colleagues, family and friends that I thought my foot was broken, but they all insisted that if it was broken I couldn’t walk at all. What none of them saw though was me crying myself to sleep because the pain was to overwhelming. Because I was still in a state of absolutely hating myself I chose to believe everyone else and not pursue it further. It got to the point though where I was shedding tears at work over the pain which is when I took myself to the doctor.

The doctor looked at it and said that it was extremely likely that it’s fractured, but I was sent on my way with a X-ray referral and a prescription for panadol. I had taken my pain so lightly that she had to. So I had to return to work the next day and continue working until I could get the X-ray. At the X-ray the lady said “yep I can see a stress fracture that’s beginning to heal, your doctor will be in touch with you”. So again I walked out of the office with no treatment.

Several days passed and I finally got a call from the doctor, it was a stress fracture, I needed to go and collect a moon boot from after hours and wear it for the next four weeks. She also informed me that my blood test results had come back and that I needed to stop eating gluten. My iron was incredibly low, which with the amount of meat I eat is unbelievable, my vitamin D was also insanely low. The thing that broke me and made me cry at work was the revelation that eating gluten broke my foot. My bones are thinning as a response to my malnourishment.

I knew that eating gluten could cause long term effects such as cancers but I never thought that eating gluten for just a year would impact my body so much that my bones are loosing density. That news pretty quickly snapped me out of the year long struggle I had been going through. I had wanted to hurt myself but knowing that I was the only reason this had happened, hurt me more than I could ever anticipate.

Being in the moon boot for the past four weeks hasn’t been as hard physically as it has mentally. The moon boot has been a constant reminder of how much I fucked up, how stupid I’ve been, and just how much I have let my mental well-being slip.

Everyone around me has been so supportive and constantly asking how my foot is and making up affectionate nicknames for me. For a normal injury this would be fine but it has been so hard to keep a smile on my face and talk to people about it when the whole thing is my own fault. People ask how it happened and I can’t exactly say “I was in an incredibly dark place, my depression was the worst it’s ever been, so I ate gluten to harm myself. The gluten prevented my brain from getting the nutrients it needed to function, which just fed the depression. Over time because my bones weren’t getting the nutrients they needed to stay strong and healthy either they began to loose density, and here we are, my foot broke because I walked on it.” So there has been many awkward conversations where instead I say “It’s a stress fracture, I’ve just been working to hard” with a cheeky laugh at the end. Then with a confused look on their faces they move conversation along.

I haven’t touched gluten since and haven’t been in the slight bit tempted. While the savouries, cream buns, sandwiches, burgers, cakes all smell delicious and would normally taunt me. The smell now makes my tummy turn, I feel physically ill just smelling the food that I know kept me spiraling out of control.

Yesterday I had my appointment with the hospital to catch up with a doctor and see how my foot had progressed. Sitting in The Bone Shop took me back to when I was 10, sitting there waiting with my mum when I had broken my arm. I thought of how distraught she was when she collected me from school to take me to the hospital. She was hysterical because she couldn’t stand to see me in so much pain. It made me realise how absolutely destroyed she would have been if she was here to see me today, to see how much pain I have put myself through. It was a hard place to be remembering her but it’s helped with my clarity on how to grow from this.

I had gone in the hospital expecting that I’d be leaving my boot behind, I’d taken a shoe for that foot in anticipation. The doctor however said that I need to wean myself from the moon boot as my whole leg has weakened over the last four weeks. This wasn’t the news I had wanted, but I’ve accepted it. Today I woke up with so much motivation, I wanted to go for a walk around hagley park without the moon boot then come home and have it on for the rest of the day. I didn’t make it to the park before I realised that it just wasn’t going to be possible to walk that far without the boot just yet. My foot was filled with pins and needles and where the fracture was felt sharp pains. I swiftly returned home.

Just like weaning off the moon boot my mental health isn’t going to get better over night either. However I am incredibly lucky that the majority of people in my life are understanding and will never tell me to “stop complaining”.

10 Years.

This particular blog post has been on my mind for at least the last year. Even more so the last several months. I had intended to have it written and published on the 20th of June, but life got in the way.

10 years ago on the 20th of June I was sitting in my year 9 french class, it was a Friday and I believe it was period four. I had just received a great mark for my poster that I’d worked incredibly hard on, so the day in theory should have been going well.

Earlier in the week however I had been woken by the sound of my family rushing up and down the hallway and the back door slamming open against the wall. For some households this might be a normal thing, but for me this meant something was seriously wrong.

My mum had in January been diagnosed with a late stage of pancreatic cancer. Hearing all the commotion in the hallway sent me to the worst possible conclusion, that she had died in her sleep. She hadn’t, but she had gotten worse in the night and was being taken into hospital.

Half of my family encouraged me to keep getting ready for school and I would be picked up after school and taken into the hospital. My saviour, Aunty Wendy, took me for a day shopping with iced chocolates and treats instead, before taking me into the hospital at midday.

Even then I could see my mum was fading away before my eyes, but I never contemplated what life would be like without her.

Even though mum and I had serious talks about what life would be like, I never believed it for a second. She apologised to me for the fact she wasn’t going to be there for my first boyfriend, first heartbreak, first school formal, getting a car and license, graduating high school, moving out of home, starting university, failing university, the many bad dates and heart breaks, 18th birthday, 21st birthday, turning dirty thirty, getting married and having children.

Even though it’s not her fault, I have been incredibly mad at her for not being there. Seeing how close my friends are with their mothers has made me so jealous and filled with anger. I know the bond that I had with mum would have just solidified over the years and we would have this incredible adult friendship now. At 23 I finally forgive her.

She didn’t choose to get sick leaving behind my three young brothers and I. Which sounds like common sense, but that goes out the window when you add in 10 years of a broken heart.

The day she died started relatively the same, except I didn’t get to have a quick snuggle with mum before running down to the bus stop, as she was still in hospital. So the slobbery kisses from my 3 year old brother had to suffice.

This was the day that mum was meant to be coming back home from the hospital. I remember jokingly saying to my family that the ambulance can pick me up from school on the way home. No idea to this day why I thought the ambulance would be taking mum home from the hospital, but I was 13.

School was going fine, but I couldn’t help have a terrible feeling in my gut that something wasn’t right. In each class I sat my favourite photo of mum, my photo block of my family, and mums bracelet on top of my desk. It helped me feel close to her when she was so far away in Christchurch hospital. Which at 13 with no car and no money seemed like worlds away.

Sitting in french class I noticed that the guy I had the biggest secret crush on wasn’t there. He turned out to be the schools runner for the day. This boy that I thought was going to be my future husband was the same boy that came into my class with a note for the teacher asking me to go to the office. Neither the teacher or this kid knew this was the moment I found out my life was never going to be the same ever again.

My heart sank as I walked across the road and back into the school office. I was hoping that my family just wanted to pick me up and take me home to see mum. Deep down I knew that wasn’t it at all. I had to sit in the counsellors office for a couple of minutes before my step dad and Aunty arrived. Those minutes seemed like the longest minutes in my whole life.

When they told me the news I didn’t cry, they were crying but none of my tears came out. I had to go out to the courtyard to get something from a friend, telling them that she’d died still didn’t bring any tears. I had a huge group of year nines around me. Some were friends, some didn’t even know me but didn’t want to miss the drama. To cope, I was smiling and cracking jokes.

The thing that made me cry was when we picked up my younger brother from primary school, he was 11. Seeing him and realising that even though most of the time we hated each other, that it was now us against the world, made the tears flow. That was the moment that I knew I was in charge now and I had to be strong for this kid.

Even though I knew this day was coming, I didn’t realise it was going to happen so soon.

More so I didn’t realise it would be a permanent thing. Which sounds ridiculous, but as a 13 year old the only deaths I had experienced were those of much older relatives that you hardly saw anyway.

When mum was sick, I didn’t put as much effort into hanging out with her as I should’ve. The guilt has been eating me up inside for the last 10 years. I’ve finally managed to begin forgiving myself.

To say that I loved mum with all my heart is an understatement! Before she was sick we hung out all the time. We would wear coordinating outfits and would regularly go on late night shopping trips. When we’d get home from shopping we would put on runway shows for my step dad of all the new purchases. When we lived on the coast, each weekend we would walk down to the morning markets, hand in hand (even though I was 12/13). We were best friends and we did everything together.

When she was sick we hung out less and less. She was bed bound most of the time, so choosing not to hang out was my choice. Seeing my beautiful, vibrant, bubbly full of life, personality, love and energy mother starting to fade away was hands down one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to experience. While I wanted to spend time with her and find out everything she knew, it was hard visually seeing her get sicker by the minute. I am so thankful that she kept her brains throughout the whole time. There was only a couple of times where she was to tired that some funny sentences came out.

As I got older I got angrier with myself for not foreseeing things that would happen in my future and be able to ask her questions about it. Silly things that at 13 I couldn’t even comprehend happening in my life. Daily there are things that I wish I could ask her about her life that I’ll never get answers for.

It’s hard for me to get over the guilt I have held for such a long time. But at 23 I finally understand that I was just a kid when this horrible thing happened to my family. I get mad at myself for not coping with it better and for not being as strong as I could be. Most of my memories of mum are from before she got sick, and I’m understanding that this was the best thing for me. I remember mum how she was, the best mum, the loving, snuggly, devoted mum that all my friends were jealous of. Just because I can’t make new memories with her, doesn’t make any of the old memories any less precious to me.

I am not 13 any more. Thank goodness. 2008 was one of the hardest years I ever hope to face. But I made it through with my family. I’ve always looked at it so negatively that this happened. If we can get through that terrible year at such young ages, life has nothing on us.

I F*cked Up.

Last night I broke my own heart into a million tiny pieces. I did something I knew I should not have done, I read Pearse’s facebook messages. He had left it logged on before we broke up and I couldn’t bring myself to log him out. I’d justified reading his messages, because if anyone were to read mine they wouldn’t find anything of interest. In no way am I saying what I did was acceptable, I fucked up. All I had wanted to know was if he was hurting from the break up as much as I was.

Since we broke up I have been drinking myself to sleep most nights, there are parklane cans and vodka bottles scattered throughout the house. Which is horrendously ironic seeing as his drinking was a huge contributing factor to our break up. Alcohol just seems to numb the pain and keep the tears in. The hangovers just blend into the heart ache, exhaustion and this cold I’m fighting off.

Despite how messed up my head is, I’ve managed to put on a brave face when I’ve needed to. Until Monday at work. Everyone was so worried as I wasn’t walking around like I own the show laughing every two minutes. All I wanted to do was go home and have vodka and uber eats. Last night I cracked a little more and went on a snapchat rampage.

I left Pearse because I never felt good enough for him, I could never give him enough. I wanted him to find someone that he loved more than anything in the world. It just sucked knowing that it wasn’t me. He really wasn’t coming back this time. Six weeks ago I thought this was the guy I was going to buy a house with, marry and have children with. Reality sucks, my heart is broken.

Last night I wanted to write a blog exposing all his wrong doings over the last 14 months we were together. I wanted him to hurt like I have been hurting, I wanted his friends to know that I wasn’t the bad person I had been made out to be, I wanted him to come back to me. Thank goodness my bestie intervened at the right time and took me for a drive to the beach as a distraction.

He has moved on, and that’s fine. I broke up with him and made him move out of our flat, so this is what I deserve. If he’s happy, I’m happy for him.

I don’t plan on dating again anytime soon. 2018 is going to be the year to focus on myself. I’m going to get my physical and emotional health back on track, get some sort of a social life, save loads of money, and go have mad benders in Auz with the lads. I will try and keep the single Shawny antics to a minimum, but who knows what this new year holds.

#newyearnewandimprovedme

Expectations.

From the moment we are born we are told how beautiful we are even though we resemble a potato with a mouth.
As soon as we make a noise we are told how brilliant and clever we are.

While these comments are said in a loving manner, are they doing more harm than good?

Growing up I was always much taller than the other kids, while strangers would tell me to join basketball teams, my family would tell me to model. They would tell me how beautiful I was, and how lucky I was to have the height of a runway star. My family failed to mention that the similarities between me and a model stopped at height. As a kid I was overweight, while my limbs were long, my tummy was well rounded, my face was so chubby and squishy, unrelated, but my hair also resembled a dirty mullet.
I grew up believing that I was an undiscovered talent, just waiting to be found. Whenever I would leave the house I was sure to wear my best, just in case a model scout happened to walk past. My best being a black mesh top with silver spray paint over it, baggy, low rider, bedazzled jeans with pink trim and a pastel blue lipstick. The pure comic relief I provided the citizens of Christchurch from my outlandish outfits alone should have been enough to secure me a modeling job.

My mum was a hairdresser, and I couldn’t have been more proud of her if I tried. While other peoples parents had boring desk jobs my mum ran funky salons that seemed like the happiest place to work. I’d always told Mum that I was going to be just like her and become a hairdresser. Her response was always the same, that I needed to go to university and become a doctor, dentist or vet. My school report cards were always perfect so this meant I was smart enough to be able to achieve these feats.

It has been relatively hard growing up having to remove the rose tinted glasses and see the world as it is. As an adult I know that my family only told me I could be a model because to them I am beautiful, to them I have always been a princess deserving of riches and fame. They told me to conquer in academics, because they believed I had the brains to succeed. It was just the rest of the world that got to see me and my true colours, mullet and all.

While my being was a blessing to my family, especially my Mum, it turns out that as a person I am just severely average. My head was filled with these big ideas from such a young age, so now that I am 23 and just leading a normal life its left me feeling underwhelmed with what I have achieved so far. I hold no resentment to my family for giving me such big dreams, it makes me realize more than ever how loved I am.

**Insert throwback photos to when I believed I would be a world renowned model and doctor by the age of 20. Can’t blame a kid for dreaming. #model

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Becoming Shawny 

The last six months have been a great journey of self discovery.

I had become so lost, my anxiety was taking over my body, I had no control.

Everyday was a flurry of being so upset that my life was flashing before my eyes, but being too anxious to change any part of my routine. Leaving the house held the fear of the unknown, but staying at home was a wasted day.

Each day was long and tear filled. I felt consumed by anxiety, as if there was no way I could ever just be Shawny again.

With the guidance from my better half I managed to seek the care I needed to start feeling better. While I had previously refused taking anxiety tablets, I knew this was the point that I needed the extra help.

Visiting the doctors and asking for help seemed like the biggest hurdle I’d need to face, but more was to follow. It took me a week or so after filling the prescription to begin taking the tablets. My anxiety was preventing me from taking these new anxiety tablets. I really wish anxiety came with a handbook, because it really likes to throw curveballs  out of the blue.

The first several weeks of the tablets were terrible! My mood swings were uncontrollable, I would be happy one minute then be inconsolably crying, then distressed and confused. To top it off my body was overthrown by non-stop nausea!

Eventually these nasty side effects wore off, which was when I began questioning if the tablets had even been helping. I thought that perhaps I had just gotten better and my anxiety was under control and I no longer needed medication. The box of medication advised to not stop the tablets suddenly without recommendation from the doctor.

Naturally I stopped the meds suddenly without the doctor’s approval. Turns out that I hadn’t gotten better at all and it was in fact the anti-anxiety tablets that had made me much more level-headed. Safe to say that battling through the side effects twice was far less than ideal.

Through the process of becoming medicated for my anxiety I thought I was losing who I was, luckily as it turns out it has been the best self discovery. There were days that I thought I felt numb, but I wasn’t numb at all, I just was no longer afraid of living. I could now walk out to my car late at night and not fear for my life. No more questioning whether or not there was a masked murderer lurking in the shadows, or if I would trip and seriously injure myself only to be found weeks later. The medication gave me my life back.

If someone had told me that 6 months ago I’d need to dye my hair brown and get a new job to help fix my anxiety I’d have laughed at the very idea of it. My job at the pharmacy and blonde hair had become a huge part of who I thought I was.

Upon confirming my first ever job interview, those close to me began fearing for my anxiety. Even though I was taking the medication and becoming fiercely independent, this could have been the unmaking of all the hard work.

I to was fearful so went deeply into denial. No one knew that I was going for this interview, besides my immediate support network. Even after I had accepted the job offer I kept the news to my self.

Leaving my safe place of 6 years made me sad, but not anxious. Starting the new job I was overwhelmed with excitement rather than fear. And luckily I have been kept to busy learning my new role to even let my anxiety get a look in. While my hands like to shake with each new customer, my confidence is slowly but surely building.

I can honestly say that the only thing that has made me as happy as this huge life change, is all the support I have received. Everybody’s faith in me gave me enough courage to put my anxiety to rest for now. I am sure it will rare its ugly head again in the future, but for now I can happily say I am 11 days panic attack free!!

I am Shawny, I have anxiety but it no longer defines me. 

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I have news! 

It is outstanding how quickly news travels! Luckily this time it’s good news, and the only reason I haven’t yelled it from rooftops is because I am in denial. I can count on two hands the exact amount of people that I have told. Yet at least quadruple that amount of people know. So it must be time that I make a public announcement as to what it is I have been keeping secret for the last fortnight.

I HAVE A NEW JOB!

Whaaaaat? Well this may seem like such a small deal to some, this is a huge deal for me.

While I am so excited to start a new potential career path, I am so scared about leaving my safe place. I am struggling with understanding if my fear of changing jobs is amplified by my anxiety or whether this is just one of my personality traits.

The last 6 years at Unichem would not have even been possible without the incredible staff. They took me in as a 16 year old girl, and have helped me grow into who I am today. Together we laughed, cried, and laughted till we cried. They have supported me through some of the hardest times of my life, as well as celebrating turning 18, turning 21, finishing high school, trying and failing university, moving out of home.

The staff at Eastgate became a second family to me. I will never forget everything they did for me and all the beautiful friends I made along the way.

Today is my last day working at Unichem Eastgate. I can no longer hide behind denial. Six years and one month with the company and it’s finally time to say goodbye.  It hasn’t sunk in yet that on Tuesday I will be driving to the opposite side of town, pulling on a new uniform and being taught the ropes of tourism.

To say I will miss Unichem Eastgate is an understatement. My job became a huge part of my identity. Hopefully the Shawny without Eastgate turns out alright to.

Blonde? Blue? Brown?

For as long as I remember I have been blonde, or been wishing I was blonde.

Having my Mum as a hairdresser for the first thirteen years of my life certainly came in handy. If I wanted more blonde foils put through my hair all I had to do was smile nicely in her direction.

This was all going great until I hit high school and decided dark brown hair would be the way to go! If I could turn back time I would tell myself NO over and over again. The next six years were filled with every shade of orange hair imaginable! All I wanted was to be blonde again!

Eventually I got referred to a wonderful travelling hairdresser! During my teenage years I had quite a lot of anxiety surrounding hair salons. My first 13 years were spent in salons that Mum had worked in, surrounded by stylists that I had known forever. Walking into the unknown petrified me! Which made the fact that this new hairdresser was coming to my house even better! Win win.

I was FINALLY blonde again! She had done an amazing job and my hair wasn’t destroyed from all the bleach.

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I stayed bleach blonde for roughly four years until 6 weeks ago I went and made a terrible decision.

There was a new product at work. YAY! Wash out pastel hair colours. The rep even gave us a free bottle to try. That night I raced home and put the pastel blue cream on the ends of my hair and hoped for the best. It was very subtle, to the point most people didn’t even notice. So I went bigger. I brought another bottle and got my friend to come over and put it through all of my hair.

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It looked awesome, she had done an amazing job of coating the hair evenly.

I loved the blue hair, for one day. Day two the regret sank in when I realized I wasn’t blonde anymore. Blonde hair had become a huge part of my identity. I had become known for my blonde hair and in a spur of the moment decision I had thrown it away again.

The washout hair colour had promised to last 10-15 washes, slightly longer on porous hair. However it didn’t seem to fade much at all the first 10 times I had washed it. So I brought in the big guns. Dish washing liquid. For those who have never heard of fading hair colour with dish washing liquid must have been lucky enough to never have had a bad brown hair dye experience. To an extent the liquid helped fade it slightly, I had however scrubbed my hair with it five times in one shower.

Next step, the product L’Oreal released alongside these hair colours, Colour Eraser. It certainly did not erase the colour even after using the whole bottle in various washes. I tend to be someone who washes my hair twice a week at most, to now be washing it at least 5-6 times a day was madness. This product wasn’t giving me the instant results I needed! I needed the blue gone, it had been 6 weeks!

In comes Selsun Blue, the anti-dandruff shampoo, well known for stripping colour from hair. It did take the colour down to a much lighter shade of blue but it didn’t take out near enough to be classified as blonde again.

I had already made the decision that if I wasn’t back to a colour I was happy with before Sunday morning I would try my luck at a walk in salon.

The stylist I struck was incredible, I told her that ideally I’d love to be blonde again but I understand if I need to go darker to cover what was left of the blue. She bleach bathed my hair and remained optimistic that if enough colour came out I could go blonde. Unfortunately after sitting in the bleach anxiously waiting for what seemed like an eternity, my hair was now mint green.

Enter BRUNETTE Shawny.

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I did end up needing to go quite a bit darker so that the green hues could be filled with a red base. As the last thing I needed was dark green hair. While I am guttered that I am no longer blonde for the time being I am happy with how the brown turned out.

It seems so silly holding an emotional connection to hair colour and I know in time it will feel natural. At least the colour makes my blue eyes pop and it will give my hair a good break from the bleach, giving it the best chance for growth.

#BROWNHAIRDONTCARE