So how’s being back?
I’ll admit it; I twas worried. Well not worried as such, but a bit concerned. Just that I would be automatically sucked into the Pop of old. You know, rigid, on edge, a bit panicky about time.
Granted it’s only been about three full days but that those mere 72 hours have hammered home that I have really and truly changed.
Friday was a date with Deb. She’d taken the day off work to hang with me and we had a lovely day just doing nothing in particular. We went for a smoothie (yes, I had one too, with dairy in it!), roamed around seeing people, met Henio for a coffee and were just together. In the afternoon we went and met my new main man Blake (post to come) and then early evening I walked the dogs with my Dad and then went for a run. Just a nice, normal day doing nothing in particular but doing everything that meant the world.
Friday evening I’d planned to have a wine with M&D and show them all my photos and such; however, my younger brother and his mate appeared and voiced that they would be venturing out for a rager, so I decided to jump on board and join them. So much for my quiet night in with the parentals, complete with lots of H20 and early departure to dreamland to get over the jet lag.
Although Saturday mid morning proved a bit painful, it was worth going all out Friday eve. I saw lots of people, had good yarns, and was just so happy. Unfortunately, my two-point-five glasses went straight to my head (a mere four beers over the last eight weeks combined with travelling to altitude and living clean and green has done nothing for my tolerance) and the night past 11pm is a bit of a blur, but I woke up with many messages from people saying how good it was to see me, so must have been a good night, right?
On Saturday morning I vaulted out of bed (still partially hammered at this stage) and went for a good run in my hiking boots (I just cannot seem to break away from them). Deb and I went to yoga (the hangover set in and I lay in Child’s Pose for the majority of the class), then we had a smoothie (yes, yet again!) before heading home to shower and freshen up to head to Tauranga.
Sunday was started with a good treadmill pounding, catching up with multiple mates including three of the besties – Katie, Laura and Beaver, then a family excursion to the movies to see Everest. How ideal was the timing that it was released the day I returned from the mountain itself? I took great delight in claiming that yes, I did cross that extremely high swing bridge, and oh I did sit on the base of that very statue (well, it was probably a set remake but I’m claiming it anyway).
Just a jolly weekend to return to, with only one episode of pining for Nepal.
Points of note:
1. I have insinuated before that I do not relish in wearing bras and undies. It’s the restriction of them you see, the feeling of tightness on my body. If I do happen to bust some on it’s always a sports bra, and a good few sizes too big.
I woke up on Friday with the chant, “Start as you mean to go on”. So I began the day with a bra – a proper one too – and undies on. And I have been wearing them from dawn until beyond dusk every day since.
I also had the habit of as soon as I got home from anywhere, immediately taking off my clothes and putting on my pyjamas or “fat pants”. I loved the looseness, the bagginess, the feeling of being swamped and seeming small.
But the last few days I’ve been wearing jeans – yes jeans!! – and keeping them on as I potter around the house. And not even consciously! It was only when my bestie Beaver pointed it out that I even realised. Seems extremely small, but to me it is gargantuanly significant.
2. Walking around town on Friday and Saturday had me bumping into lots of people, with the “thin” comments flying thick and fast.
I walked into a café and a man said, “Well by Christ, you certainly didn’t get any fatter did you?” A woman remarked, “You’re a slip of a thing! How many kgs did you lose?” and visiting my old work had the Indian boys crying, “Christ! You need to go and eat a big big meal. You are so skinny.”
I admit, I preened in pleasure. I haven’t changed that much, and it felt fantastic. I was a bit miffed when one woman looked at me dismissively when her friend made a remark and said, ‘Well, you’ll out it all straight back on.” Cheers hun.
But the difference this time was that people also commented on how healthy I looked. How happy I seemed. How glowing I appeared. And this time, such words didn’t fill me with despair and heartache.
Before, the word “healthy” held so many connotations. It meant “well”. It meant weight gain. It meant I was failing. I had no willpower. I was getting bigger.
Now? It still means “well”. But it means lively. Full of vitality. Fresh. Strong. Blossoming.
My friend’s mum really made me understand the sudden change. She said while I do look on par with the thinnest I’ve ever been, I am so in a healthy way. Second year Uni the light was out of my eyes, I was drawn, downcast and dismal. I had black bags beneath my eyes sockets, my skin was pallid and pasty (endeavoured to be rectified with gobs of fake tan) and even when I was in the midst of a conversation with someone, I was a million miles away.
“But now,” she said. “You stand taller. You look different. I can’t tell you what it is but you look completely different in how you seem. Your smile goes to your eyes. You’re not nervy and on edge. You look healthy in your size. You look happy.”
I’ll embrace that with wide-open, now slightly muscled arms.
3. On Saturday night I returned from Tauranga with James. I was meant to go to a flat warming with him but twas struck with a major bout of jet lag (and hungoverness, but let’s go with jet lag), so I decided to stay home.
All else were out; Deb and Henio had a work do, so it twas just me and the boys (i.e, the Schnauzers). Fantastic, I thought. House to myself to finally finish unpacking, indulge in a Coronation Street marathon and to just be on my own. I was pretty pleased for all of fifteen minutes.
I’ve always loved my alone time. In the past, the house to myself has been absolute blissful beatitude and I’ve revelled in it. But something has shifted.
I haven’t been alone for two months. Even on my Delhi tour, when I was the single soul, rather than call room service in my temporary abode I found myself trotting to the lobby to be around people. When I was jamming out blog posts, others’d still surround me even if I wasn’t contributing to conversation or even really listening to what was being said.
So Saturday night? I was lonely. I was sad. I wanted to be back in Nepal. I just wanted someone around. Even Coro’s Carl finally being caught for setting the Rover’s Return alight (the episode I’d made Deb lock so it wouldn’t be accidentally erased before my return) couldn’t capture my attention and keep my mind occupied. In fact, I found I couldn’t even watch TV; I hadn’t done so since before I’d been away, and I just couldn’t get involved. I wasn’t bored – one thing I absolutely never ever am is bored. I don’t allow myself to ever get bored as I always have something in line to do. I was just unbelievably lonely.
I ended up sloping off to bed feeling sorry for myself. When 1am arrived along with a slightly drunken Hank and Deb, I leapt out of bed and went and hung out with them, so overjoyed to have company.
I’ve always liked my solitude and alone time. To suddenly not find such glee in my solo stagness? It’s almost slightly frightening the transition to hanker for constant companionship.
4. On Sunday arvo my bestie Beaver busted up and we ended up hanging out for a good five hours or so.
Beaver and I met at Cambridge High School at the tender age of 16, where our first time spent together was walking around rating girls out of ten between us. In the eight years since, we’ve lived in different places, done different things, but whenever we are together it’s like we are those teenage tykes wagging class and cavorting off to Countdown for snacks all over again.
Consequently, Beaver knows me better than I probably know myself. Him and I discuss everything under the sun from the mundane to the acroamatic and he knows the inner workings of what makes Pop tick.
We were in my room and I was unpacking as we yarned, when he suddenly realised he’d left his cellular device at his friend’s. “Want to come get it?” he asked.
“Sure thing,” I responded, dropping the clothes I’d been folding and heading to the front door.
He stared at me nonplussed. “You have really, truly changed,” he said. “Before you went away, you would never have just dropped what you were doing and spontaneously just gone to do something like that.”
It suddenly hit me. I have changed. Like Beaver said, really, truly. All those efforts in India to be in the present and not be sucked into putting the banal and humdrum chores in my diary first have become intrinsically inherent.
5. I am astounded at the feedback I’ve been receiving on my blog. Like stupefied. I have had countless people, both those I know well and some I don’t know at all, coming up and hugging me saying how proud they are of me, how riveted (two actually used that word) they are by my tales, how they’ve passed my website link onto others to have a squiz at.
I’m stunned, I knew people were reading my yarnings and ponderings; I’d looked at the statistics of visitors and had a moment of being a bit overwhelmed thinking a few thousand people have been reading my rattlings, but to actually have people in person voicing their thrill in my writings? It’s bringing me so much self-love.
I’m proud of Pop. Going from never being able to please or impress myself to being able to give myself the fist pump? It’s cool. It’s fucking cool.
Maybe it’s only been three days being home. But everyone I’ve seen again has commented on the change in me. It’s evident in my face, my words, my actions. I think, I truly do think, I’m actually turning into UltraPop and the person I set out to find.