Lots of my blogs lately have been about Ellis and his journey, updating everyone on his progress and what its like to be a cancer mum.
This ones a little different and back to my original blogs.
This is about me. Gemma. Not a mum for a minute, not a wife. Just me.
I’ve met a few new people over the last few months in different circumstances, but ones I consider friends none the less.
Talking about who I am as a person, what my fears are and my goals.
I was asked today if I had any regrets by one of these friends and my answer was no. This isn’t to say I have never done anything wrong, because anyone who knows anything about me knows I have more than my fair share!
But do I regret anything? Absolutely not.
Those hard times are the times that give you motivation to make things better.
No regrets, only lessons.
It got me thinking about resilience and mental health. I’ve read lots of studies on the relation between the two and used it to reflect on my own life.
Maybe the reason I have coped relatively well during the last 6 months is because of the shit thrown at me in the past. The blasé approach to cancer and operations. The confidence in my own ability to overcome and adapt.
I’ve been knocked down more times than I think is fair in my life, but I have always got back up stronger and braver every single time.
I grew up never feeling good enough. I sought praise from the one man in my life who was meant to fill me with confidence and set me up for life. The one man who still, to this day, I am not good enough for.
I fell in ‘love’ with the wrong kinds of men, the ones who made me believe I was special for that little moment, only to use it to shatter me all over again.
Being a mum awakened something inside me that told me I was, after all good enough and I can do anything I want. It gave me the confidence to fight for what me and my children deserve.
I wanted to do better not just for them, but for myself.
I was good enough.
At the peak of this new found strength I started to learn about reflection and self awareness. Something I had never though about. This was a turning point for me. I had to question myself on why I felt a certain way and what would I do different next time. It was powerful shit.
I learnt that the more you get to know yourself, the more you can trust yourself to make the right choices. And there comes the resilience.
I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2013, right in the middle of my self exploration. It helped me to work through my fears and feelings. I knew I could trust myself, therefore I was a little less scared.
Again, this doesn’t mean I wasn’t scared. I was terrified. I think back to my darkest times where I cried for hours, mentally started to make plans for the children’s futures in case I wasn’t there. I felt anger, guilt, denial all the things you feel when faced with something like that. But I allowed myself to. If I was sad, I cried. If I felt angry I went to the gym to take it out on the running machine. I trusted myself enough to know that once I had felt these things and acknowledged them, I would be ok. Whatever the outcome.
I took all of this and used it for positive. I supported others going through similar situations, I started my blogs to make others feel less alone.
I owned it. It didn’t own me.
People use the word brave and I don’t really like it. Brave is a choice. Brave is deciding to get that spider in your room instead of sleeping on the sofa . Brave is choosing to laugh in the face of danger, even though every inch of your body wants to run.
None of my situations have ever been a choice. I have never been brave.
These past 6 months I have seen little snippets of myself in my children. Not my big feet before anyone comments. Especially you Karl. Dick.
I have seen them face fear head on, not having a choice but to fight it. And they have fought so bloody hard.
Ellis is renowned within his medical team for being laid back. The kid who just takes things in his stride. Cancer? Come at me. Weak heart? Bring it on. New lump? Mess with me if you dare. He knows that whatever happens, he will fight and that is what is getting him through.
The girls are the same. They talk through their problems open and honestly. They are learning that in a situation where you have little control, they trust themselves and their choices.
They are feisty little people who know their own mind and enjoy challenging themselves. They can do anything they strive for.
I lost my way a little while back. Isolation was in full swing and shielding had just begun. I wasn’t taking any time for myself. From everything I have trained in and studied, I know the importance of some time to yourself. But its very easy to get caught up in everything that’s going on around you and put that to one side.
When I was ill, the gym was my thing. To get onto that treadmill, into that zone. Headphones in, music up. It was my time for reflection and to clear my head. I went in all angry and came out at peace. Then ate a kebab. I mean, I’m not perfect, right?!
I love cars and driving, a naughty RWD would be my kind of medicine for sure, but a drive in a 1ltr Hyundai isn’t quite the same. So that’s that out of the question!
So lately I have been making a conscious effort to get back to it. I’m eagerly waiting for Boris to open gyms so I hit the spin bike again. I have bought myself a step counter to see how lazy I actually am. 55 steps in whole day was an achievement. Lockdown hasn’t been kind to my waistline or to my liver come to that, so I need to sort it out.
Yesterday was my first day of challenging myself to do 10,000 steps a day. Probably easy for most people for a self confessed cake addict with no thyroid, it’s bloody hard! But I did it and it felt incredible. Not so incredible this morning when my legs are aching every time I move.
I know I can be anything I want to be. Not because I’m good at everything, but because I know I have the fight. If I don’t know something, I will learn. If I can’t achieve something first try, I will keep trying. I look at a situation now and think “What is this trying to teach me” and “What is the solution to that’.
The comeback is always stronger than the setback.