Monday, December 31, 2012

Independent Woman

Second Birthday ~ July 1977

Over the last few months I have had a chance to really think about the things that make me “me”. Quite a few of these things are what I have learned (or inherited) from my parents.

I have realised that I am so like my mum and so like my dad and because my parents are quite different to each other (in so many ways); in certain situations I often find myself split.

I am so like my mum. From time to time I need my space and need quiet time to process things. Basically, there are times when I just want to be left alone to think. It is not a personal reflection on anyone around me i.e. family, friends etc. it is just that I need space. There are days when I wish I could be stronger and more tenacious like my mum. I love deeply like my mum. I adore animals. Oh and I proof-read like my mum used to proof-read all my work; much to Mark’s horror!

Mark, mum and I were having coffee one day and mum said “I brought Vanessa up to a be a strong, independent young woman because I did not know if she would ever meet her birth family and I wanted her to be strong in case anything happened to us”. Mark’s response was “did you have to make her so independent?” It was then that I realised that I can be independent to the point of wilfulness in some situations.

It was through my mum’s tenacity and strength that we met my birth family.

I am so like my father. I love being the centre of attention. I love to talk and have lots of people around me. I love to tell my stories over and over again. This is probably why I have an online blog. I love huge celebrations with family and friends and I adore good food and wine. Actually, it is all about me! I do appreciate music and often get emotional listening to particular songs. I am compassionate like my dad.

Once I asked my dad if he regretted never having (biological) children of his own and his words will stay with me until I die. He said “you are my daughter”. I was enough for him and I filled his heart with joy.

So you can see why I am sometimes conflicted...mum sometimes wants space vs. dad loving people around etc.
Like both of my parents I pretty much trust with all my heart and have an amazing amount of admiration for them both.

Then I also share traits with my birth mum and biological sisters. A few months’ ago my sister Bec said “oh my goodness that expression is so mum!” So it really speaks volumes about nature vs. nurture.

I was adopted out at birth and from an early age my parents told me that I was adopted and when I was a bit older I knew the circumstances of my adoption. I grew up as an only child within a loving family; I was cherished. Did I feel like there was a piece missing; yes. There were times when I would wonder about people walking down the street and whether they were my biological family. There was a time when I meet a woman at the local beach who constructed a huge lie about knowing my birth mother etc. and I believed her. My mum was absolutely heart-broken for me.

I can clearly remember really wanting a sibling to play with and I did ask if we could adopt another child or even provide a home for one of the children from the permanent placement articles. Mum just told me the other day that I would be gutted when my friends (or cousin) went home after staying the night or the weekend. I also got used to playing on my own and also let my imagination run wild within the realm of books.

I guess what I am really trying to say is that I honestly do not think that you can understand growing up as an only child if you grew up with siblings in your physical space.

When I was about 13 my cousin came to live with us. We shared a room. We shared physical space. We laughed, we fought, we cried. Finally, I had a friend and confidant…a sibling. We have so many shared memories. What I cannot remember, she can fill in the blanks. Seriously, we could write a book with our teenage experiences. I was trying to sum up my life between the age of about 6 through to 18 and I realised that a 20 minute car ride is no way near sufficient time.

I met my birth family at 14 years of age and found that I had 3 biological sisters. Suddenly, I had sisters in addition to my cousin. My teenage years were pretty tumultuous (you will have to read the book) and it took time to develop and nurture relationships with my sisters and birth family. 23 years later we have a pretty incredible bond.

I still keep things to myself and do not share a lot of my very deepest feelings with anyone, not even Mark.  I believe that this comes from being an only child for the first part of my life and I guess in essence I learned to self-soothe and be strong. As an adult, it is probably unlikely to change.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Before Photos

This is probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

This morning after commenting on Allie’s before and after photo blog I decided that I had to take before photos so that I have a starting point. I think I prefer this to weight as I believe that seeing your body change has to be a strong motivator.

We thought it best to take the photos in a sports bra and bike pants.

After seeing the photos I am dubious whether it was the “best” thing to do.

It is kind of funny when you have an idea of yourself and what you look like and then you see the photos. It is actually a HUGE eye-opener. When I looked at the photo from behind I thought “holy heck…that is what I look like from behind…..shit”.

I text them to a good friend and she told me that I was brave for taking the photos and to also consider the positives with the negatives. This is her text “yes, there is the weight thing but you do have really good posture (i.e. the weight isn’t pulling your spine out of alignment) and you have strong legs and arms, which will hopefully help with exercise”. So there you go…the good with the bad. Also, even though I might not look it, I am stronger and slightly fitter than I look.

My mini goals for January
  • Tracking my food and exercise via MyFitnessPal
  • No takeaways
  • Preparing healthy lunches
  • Exercise everyday i.e. Gym, walk or swim

I have also decided that I am going to weigh myself on the 1st of every month, rather than weekly. So the 1st of January will mark the first weigh-in for 2013.

This morning I found a crazy event that I am interested in doing. It is actually a 6km obstacle course in May. I am seriously considering it and am probably 95% convinced. If I train correctly for it, then I am confident that I will be able to do it. 
I will be updating my 2013 events blog here with new events and times. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 In Review Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Did a 10km walk on Motutapu

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I probably made some….

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
One friend had a gorgeous little girl

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes; an old work colleague that I respected and admired.

5. What countries did you visit?
The Cook Islands and Australia

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Patience and tolerance

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
14th July – the day we arrived in Rarotonga for our honeymoon
1st August – the day my life changed forever
12th December – the day I banked the overpayment of my student loan and my debt was paid

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Completing 9 walking events

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not going to the gym regularly

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Gifts for other people

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Wish for a Smile Charity, Garden to Table, KidsCan and Claire & Jon Huxley

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
People in NZ killing their kids and babies or letting them go without food

14. Where did most of your money go?
Little and Friday on coffee and treats

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The fairy lights on our house for Christmas

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Price Tag / Don’t you, Forget About Me (Pitch Perfect)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) Happier or sadder?

b) Thinner or fatter?
Slightly thinner

c) Richer or poorer?
Slightly richer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Exercised at the gym and walking

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Eating and procrastinating

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Mark and I will be spending Christmas with my parents at their house in Titirangi and my close friend Raewyn will probably be there as well

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?

22. What was your favourite TV programme?
Switched at Birth – it is really just like real life for me

23. Do you dislike anyone now that you didn’t dislike this time last year?

24. What was the best book you read?
Lots of great paranormal-romance books

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
DJ Fresh

26. What did you want and get?
A holiday overseas

27. What did you want and not get?
The perfect bra

28. What was your favourite film of this year?
Pitch Perfect and Rock of Ages (I watched both twice in under a week)

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 37 and went to the hospital after work

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Disorganised chaos

32. What kept you sane?
Mark, family, friends, our cats and chocolate!

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Jeremy Wade

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Animal cruelty…not sure if it is political but it is one thing that truly gives me the shits!

35. Who did you miss?
Friends that I have not been able to catch up with as much as I would like

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I met Penny who is a truly inspiring, lovely amazing person with a heart of gold.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012

“It sounds cliche, but don’t take your life for granted. Days shouldn’t be lost or thrown away thinking we have endless buckets of them. I’m not being morbid, we just don’t know what’s around the corner. We always think ‘the really bad things’ happen to everyone else, not to us. But we are ‘everyone else’. We all have to appreciate our life. It’s a blessing. If there is something you have always wanted to do, go and do it! Make it happen. Make the most of everyday. Stop making excuses. Stop and smell the roses. Watch the sunset. Watch the sunrise. As I said earlier, Yesterdays history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift…that’s why it’s called the ‘present’.

One of my favourite sayings is now my life’s motto…

Life is not about the number of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away.

You’ve been told, with love.”

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year
“Hit me with your best shot”

Thank you to Tara for the inspiration for this post.