Carla is one of the most caring members of the Operation Move Community and will often attend events, like the Melbourne Marathon pictured above, purely to support those that are running.
Zoey asked me to write my story about 3 years ago. I really wanted to and felt honoured. But I didn’t feel like it was the right time to. I avoided doing it. I didn’t forget, I avoided it. I wanted to wait until I had achieved the very pinnacle that I was hoping to, I wanted to lose more weight, I wanted to have run another half marathon (with no walks), I wanted everything exactly the way that I wanted my life to be before I shared my story. Kind of so it had an awesome ending, and that it felt like it was good enough, and to be honest, so that I felt good enough.
But that day never came. I waited. I loved reading other Op Mover’s journeys and didn’t raise them up to the same high standards that I was placing on myself. I genuinely applauded their honesty, vulnerability, and owning their struggles. I just couldn’t bring myself to write my own story. Plus, I had to wait until I could get that perfect photo of me to share with my story.
For the past few years I haven’t been able to articulate these exact feelings or even really understand them. I have been beating myself up about missing opportunities, purely through avoidance. This was happening in many areas of my life. I seemed to go in cycles of all or nothing. I would focus on one thing for a while, ie training for a run, I would manage to eat well and do most of the training to get me through. But if something happened that was out of my control, I would seem to completely lose all ability to commit to anything. I would avoid. I would seriously eat terribly, I mean really terribly. I would not even consider any form of movement or self care. It was like I was punishing myself. I could never understand it. I always felt so guilty and ashamed of it, but I didn’t know how to change it.
I didn’t realize I was living in chaos. It was the way I have been for a very long time, and most people wouldn’t even be aware that all this was going on for me. How could they? I couldn’t actually share this with anyone, no one would understand. I was just lazy, non committal and I didn’t deserve to be able to achieve great things and to love and honour my body. Don’t get me wrong, I have had times in my life when I felt proud of my body and of my achievements. But those times have been few and far between. Even with all my time in Operation Move and the opportunities I have been given within this community, I still couldn’t see that I was worthy. But you wouldn’t have known that’s how I was feeling. I kept that to myself.
I have been quiet in the community of late. Lots has been happening for me. I am studying to become a counsellor, I am seeing a counsellor, I have been doing the Crisis support training with Lifeline, I have been working through some historical grief and trauma, I have been eating my way through much of this and I haven’t been moving my body much. Up until recently I had been feeling pretty guilty about this last point, not moving. It is something that I honestly value so much but I just couldn’t do it. It was like something was blocking me from doing it. A wall. Or something.
Now, as I sit in the Aldi carpark, this is spilling out of my head at a million miles an hour. I am ready to share my story. I need to share my story. I am beginning to understand and be able to articulate some of my feelings and behaviours, and I am okay with them. I understand that they are a part of a much bigger picture and a symptom of some things that really were out of my control, and they were left unsaid. They were pushed down so deep that even I didn’t know how much they impacted me. Now I understand that much of my behaviour is underpinned by anxiety. Anxiety that I didn’t see, I just saw the behaviours and felt the impact, but I didn’t see that there is a genuine reason for my avoidance.
So, in a way I got my happy ending. I have learnt so much about myself and my behaviour patterns. I have accepted them. I have recently begun moving my body again and nourishing and nurturing it with good food and gentle exercise, and meditation. I am not pushing feelings away or avoiding them, I am allowing myself to feel them and accept them. They are okay. This is me. I am happy. And I am worthy.
So while this isn’t really the story about my moving, it’s still a story about my health, my mental health, and it’s moving in a positive direction. I have a feeling that you will be seeing me back in the community a bit more.