Sticky back plastic 

This is a bit of an odd one for me to write about, but I think it is relevant so bear with... 
If you’ve followed me for a while, you might have heard me talk about my “dodgy hip” that I’ve had since birth. If you’ve seen me out and about, you’ll know I walk with a limp that I’ve had since childhood. If you’ve spent any time with me, you’ll know that I’m usually in some kind of pain with my back or my knees and it restricts my standing and walking. Some days are better than others. I carry a folding walking stick with me at all times when out of the house. It’s in and out of my bag like a jack in a box. Any trips out are planned around where I can park and are usually short because of struggling to be on my feet for long. After being out I usually have to plan in some rest the following day as I’m achy. I’ve had quite bit of surgery over the years and I’m no stranger to crutches as well as my stick. I have covered them in leopard print sticky back plastic to make them more aesthetically pleasing. Prior to having my hip replaced Jan 2011 I relied on heavy duty painkillers daily to cope with the pain from bone on bone arthritis. I probably shouldn’t have waited as long as I did but that’s a story for another day. 

Unkind to myself 

Anytime I go to the doctors I’m asked if I’ve ever thought about losing weight as it will help with my muscoskeletal issues. I’ve struggled with my weight and thought I was fat since puberty. I’ve got heavier and rounder with age, particularly over the past 20 years and now have “obese” formally recorded on my medical notes. I’ve spoken often about my self esteem being affected by my weight. I won’t go into lots of detail, but I’ve felt desperate at times and tried every diet under the sun. I’ve been offered bariatric surgery by my GP, but I am not keen for a variety of reasons. I’ve been very unkind and not very compassionate towards myself too because of it. I’ve journaled in the past and referred to myself as “fat and defective”. I’ve done a lot of ‘work’ to get myself to where I’m at today, but I still think I’ve got more to do. The reason I’m sharing this is because it relates to how I feel about myself and my self worth, it’s all part of my baggage and helps me have compassion and empathy in my work as a personal style and brand mentor. 

Ever decreasing world 

Particularly since Covid I’ve found my world getting smaller. There’s a whole host of contributory factors. I was stuck indoors while all my mates were meeting up and going out for walks. Paul was made redundant and started to do all the shopping, which meant I didn’t need to go out. All the business networking and meeting clients went online. I stopped leaving the house, I walked even less. Then in 2021 I suffered an injury that made my knee swell up massively and took 3 months of weekly physio to get me back to where I was mobility wise. Then throw in a menopausal loss of confidence and anxiety into the mix with not leaving the house regularly... 
When I did start to go out again, I realised I was much less able than I’d ever been and my back was so sore all the time. I tried Pilates, swimming and yoga to help with my mobility, but it all seemed to make my back ache worse. (I’ve recently learned that I’ve got a slipped disc and nerve impingement so that could be why.) 

A step too far 

Anyway, earlier this year I eventually spoke to friends and family and disclosed my concerns. I didn’t like the idea of becoming a hermit. With their help I planned in a few trips to regain my confidence. I have a couple of friends who really understood my concerns and are happy to make inclusive plans with me. On a trip to Liverpool in July we spent a lot of time on the open top tour bus 😄. It was great fun, but I did struggle with the walking side of things despite my trusty stick. 
When I had my hip replaced my first trip out was with my sister. We went to Sainsbury’s and borrowed an electric scooter with a basket on. That’s my only experience of a mobility scooter and over the last couple of years I’ve been umming and arring about whether that’s what I actually need. I’ve used a wheelchair several times over the years and wondered if that would be right for me. But because I can actually walk, albeit not very far, I don’t think that’s an answer. (Little Britain have got a lot to answer for if you remember the character.) 
Psychologically they both seem like a massive step too far to take, and in my head, I think I’d feel more disabled rather than things being more accessible. I’m kind of in limbo really. 
The gift of a reframe 
However, I’m starting new chapter today and I’m hoping it will open up my world and make getting around easier for me – hence this blog. 
I recently went to an amazing 2 day event that was full of wonderful people who I’d have liked to have chatted to. The problem was, everyone was standing around chatting and networking. I was very limited and had to keep sitting down at the edge of the room. I felt like I was missing out. I didn’t like it. I wanted to be in amidst the action...despite all that I did have the best time ever. 
So when the host, Dani, announced the details for the next event, I knew I’d be there. I actually committed to sponsoring a table and in March the FAB Business Club will be there with me!!! How exciting is that? So I kind of knew that, before then, I’d have to find a way of not having FOMO during the networking stuff. 
Then, ta da! Last week I was given the wonderful gift of a reframe around the situation. Dani suggested I had a “wandering throne”, i.e. a rolling walking frame with a seat, all pimped up with glitter and flamingos ...blew my mind. All of a sudden this seemed exciting. It captured my imagination, and I could see how actually *this* was the solution I needed. 
A few hours and a bit of research later Paul had ordered me the funkiest, lightest one we could find! It’s just arrived today and I’m actually excited possibility of being able to go for a walk around the park again. Something I’ve not done for a few years. I’m hopeful that this is going to open my world back up. 
Making strides 
The relevance and lesson in all of this is about me making strides (literally) and not caring what people think, not being embarrassed or ashamed of not being able to do what other people can or seeing myself as not worth it because I’m fat and that doesn’t help my issues(thanks Doc)’s about so much more than a walk around the park. It feels quite liberating. And it’s another layer of the onion being revealed. What deep rooted things are holding you back from living your best life. 
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