We are now into week 3 of the 12WBT, and those of you who don't know me in real life are starting to get to know a little bit about me. Some of this will be a double up to previous posts, but it's a cathartic business, doing a bit of a summary. And it links nicely with my love of lists.
Perhaps I should pad out a bit more of the picture of who I am and how I got here.
I am Becc, Rebecca Jayne when I am in trouble. I prefer to view the extra consonant in my middle name as a bit different rather than a bit bogan, but it is from slightly bogan roots that I come.
I was born to a beautiful 17yo mother,
and an emotionally stunted handsome 19yo father. She, the gorgeous oldest daughter of a family of 5, an unhappily alcohol tainted home, looking for an escape and someone to love. A baby, her ticket out and her unconditionally loving possession. He, the young buck, leader of the pack, all Monaro and cuban heels, tatts (give us ya pay, darl. I'll get one with your name on it) and a fondness of alcohol. He thought that a baby would be great.
An instant love from my mother, after a long and traumatic birth. Told she would be better not to see me, then it would be easier to give me up. Told she'd never make a mother with those long fingernails, told she'd never breastfeed with those little things. Told she'd never make it if the father wasn't there (well, hard to be there when you are a little bit incarcerated).
But she did see me, and the love was big, big love. And when he came home from his 'trip' and found it all a bit too grown up, and real, well she started to realise that there was probably not going to be a lot of growing up from him.
When he went to the shop for ciggies, and didn't come back for 2 weeks, she shaved off half his chest hair and one eyebrow while he slept.
When he sent a postcard from Perth, she followed. Only to find that he'd had a truckie post the postcard for him, and he was in Darwin. When he made it to Perth, and said that life would be a bit more fun if they gave the baby away, she knew she'd made a mistake, but she didn't know what to do. A short period of separation and care by the nuns showed her that the game was up.
She and I got on a plane on my second birthday, and returned to Melbourne and didn't look back. No more input of any value from him, now referred to as the Donor. And so my life as an only child began.
bummer for you, donor man, you missed out.
At 8, I went to live with my grandparent for a year in Queensland while my mum finished the nursing training she began when she was pregnant with me. It was the first time I reacall being separated from her, but it was a fantastic time for my social development and my 'social graces' as my grandmother referred to them.
Beautiful Boyne Island. Worth a visit.
When I returned, I was a new girl, and my mum had done a little growing up too, having behaved, I expect, like she should have been when she was raising a baby. I was a well behaved kid, a little boistrous, keen for attention and the recipient of much bitchy girl carry on. That kind of mean girl stuff persisted into high school where I was relentlessly bullied by my nemesis and namesake, Rebecca. Arrrgghh. I will never forget the hateful way I was excluded and taunted and had my friendships undermined by her and her cronies. They called me fat, when I wasn't, and compounded the self doubt I already had.
More than 20 years down the track, and I still remember how it felt to be so personally victimised.
Fortunately, I had Julia and Cassie, my 2 best high school friends. We wagged class to hide in a rehersal room above the school hall and eat hot chips. We each had our own very different personalities, and we each had other people that we got along well with at school. But for me, Julia and Cassie were my talismans, my touchstones when the world got hard. It was them I went to, to confess that I had vomited every meal I had eaten in the last 3 weeks. It was Julia who bought me a pastie every single day from year 9 to year 12 - I always promised to pay her back. It's more than money that I owe her. Julia had her own complicated relationship with food and body image, and with a retrospectoscope and a rekindled preliminary connection courtesy of Facebook, I realise that she had a great deal of complicated stuff going on at home and could have done with some reciprocal support, but she was such a selfless person, that she revealed little of that. Ah, what we'd do differently....
From school to Engineering, and a relationship with Toby, The Bastard (TTB). Now my theory is that every girl needs to go out with the Bastard. The sooner in her life she gets it over and done with, the better.And my what a time that was. Terribly dysfunctional with daily purging, I looked the best I'd ever looked. Inside I was a mess. An emotionally manipulative partner, an accidental pregnancy that ended in miscarriage before I knew it and a moment of realisation... I cannot change this person and this relationship is making me sick.
I walked away believing that I would lose the group of friends I had come to know while we were together, and felt very alone. Little did I know that they all thought he was a shithead too.
A month or so after I broke up, for the last time, with TTB, his flat mate, Nigel, a great guy who'd driven me home when TTB had cracked it and abandoned me at a party 200km from home, with no purse and no phone; who'd driven me to the station when TTB said that he couldn't because every kilometer that he drove devalued his car; looked at me and said
"Did you know I am the only guy who treats you the way you deserve to be treated?"
Lightning crash. Lightbulb moment.
And so it goes. Almost 20 years together. Fast forward in point form, because some of it is tough.
- My mum rekindles a friendship with a great guy who is widowed. Mum and Mike are deliriously happy. We had known them as a family all my life, and missed their mum too.
- I complete my nursing degree after realising that I was never going to be an engineer, he does most of his engineering and starts work as a draftsman
- We get married.
- I do more study, qualifying as an ICU and Emergency Nurse
- Mum and Mike get married, making me an adult sibling to 4, and 3rd in age order.
- We get pregnant, amazingly after a very complicated gynae life for me since puberty
- At 20 weeks, we discover that our baby has a very complicated collection of cardiac problems, the most overwhelming of which is the absence of one of his ventricles. We are told there is no hope
- After 14 hours of labour, Max is born 17 November, 2000. He weighs 325g. He has died during labour. He is buried after a quiet service with only his parents and grandparents and the funny quirky priest that married us. His grandfathers carry his coffin.
- I become profoundly depressed and try to run my car off the road. I realise then that I need to get my shit together and start a bit of talky therapy with a psychologist
- 3 years of secondary infertility follow, 4 cycles of IVF and we are blessed with the Pickle, a gorgeous healthy baby
- My best friend, another nurse, my brideslave, gives birth at 20 weeks to her first baby with major cardiac and syndromal problems. I cannot believe how cruel life can be. (she since has had 3 healthy bubbas. We will always remember our missing babies).
- 18 months later, another healthy boy, Curly, courtesy of 1 round of IVF
- 22 months later, with one opportunity for conception (if you get my drift) while still breastfeeding Curly, the Goose is born.
- 6 months after the goose is born, we move to a little town called Tumut. So beautiful and we loved it.
- Then we moved to the NSW/Vic border, and here we remain. A lovely life, nice neighbourhood, golf course and pool. Bliss
- A hysterectomy at 36 releases me from a world of gynae misery (no grief here, only fabulous joy for a painfree life), and the Nigelator surprises both of us with his domestic and shopping skills while I am convalesing. I am ready to rejoin the working world. I start work back in ED, my favourite kind of nursing.
- After realising that work for the Nigelator means moving away for projects or FIFO work, we made a big change and I go to work full time. The Nigelator truly hits his domestic straps and runs a very tight ship. Our relationship strengthens with a new understanding for the challenges previously faced by the other.
- My steppy, Kate is diagnosed with breast cancer at 36, with a 2yo son and 2 stepsons. We are sad and worried. She inspires me to run, run, run.
- A reassessment see us trial me working nightshift only to smash out a stack of hours in a short period of time. We decide a week on week off plan suits and give it a burl.
- 6 months later and we are in a good rhythm. Work/ life balance is good and our relationship is great.
That gets you up to speed with the BeccyB story. Posts from now will be more about my path to optimising my weight and physical health, and my newer parallel path of getting my mental health under control.