There was a moment, when I realised no one had power of me any more (this included people from my past), where I got really scared. Every single decision was my responsibility and no one else's. Every consequence was a result of my own choices.
That was really scary. And very lonely. It took a bit of getting used to.
But I am used to it now. I take full responsibility for me.
When a photo came up on Facebook from 2011 I was really surprised. I didn’t realise how slim I had become. I didn’t realise it at the time of course. We often don’t see ourselves as we are, but rather as we think we are. All I could see was a fat tyre around my middle. Looking back I can see that I was fine.
Now, 4 years later, I am a million miles away from that person. I eat the same. I even eat a little less if anything. I don’t run every day any more, and that makes a difference. But not enough to get me to the size I am now. And I was gaining weight when I was still running regularly.
The difference is all down to the court case. From the point at which I reported the abuse to the police in 2013 I have been putting on weight. This is a protection thing, driven from my head. Keeping up the same level of exercise and the same eating habits, I began to steadily gain weight. In the months before the actual court appearance my eating habits also changed. I scoffed constantly. Clearly I needed to hide.
It’s frustrating. But it can change.
No one else is responsible for this change. It is all on me.
In the 2-3 weeks after court a barely ate anything. I didn’t feel like it. Before court I used to get through a packet of sweets one day a week when I drove to Aberdeen. After court, the same packet stayed in my car for months.
Everything returned to ‘normal’. I decided not to put my body through the Loch Ness Marathon. But I did want to do something. Something fun and good for me.
So I found Ricky Ross who is a strength based Personal Trainer. I started one day a week and now am up to 3 times a week. I love what it’s doing to my body. My arms are amazing. I am constantly ‘feeling up’ my arm muscles.
Nothing else is changing. I am still a million miles from the size I was.
But that is no one else’s responsibility. It is all on me. It is not my PT’s responsibility. I did not go to him with a task of helping me to lose weight. I wanted to get fit and do regular exercise. I love our workouts. I am stronger and fitter. He is helping me do exactly what I asked of him.
It is not down to what I eat. Because whatever change I make to get me to the person I want to be, it has to be permanent. It has to be about becoming the person I will be for the rest of my life – not about dieting to lose weight. Each action should be sustainable.
I have tried to return to the 5:2 approach which I love. It works brilliantly for weight loss and I can do it for the rest of my life. But I can’t do it. Because when I get hungry my head says “You don’t deserve to starve any more, that happened as a kid and it’s not fair to do it to yourself now”. And then I eat something.
So this is a head thing. And it’s all in my control. It’ my choice, my goals and my actions that will get me there.
I’ll probably call on a little help from fellow therapists along the way. There is a very stubborn younger version of me in my head who believes her choices are always right. In fairness, she’s done a good job for me all these years but I don’t really need her any more.
So work to be done. Yes, it’s frustrating. But I can change it and will. It’s just about finding the right switch
I don’t remember ever going to a Halloween party. I certainly never hosted one. But I have a rule in my head – if the little one asks for something I will always think about it before I answer. I will make sure my answer is based on the right thing for her rather than for me.
About a week ago the little one asked if we could have a Halloween party. I thought about it and asked everyone what they thought. The consensus was to go for it. And I have a good friend that has done Halloween parties that was more than happy to help out.
So I invited her closest friends by talking to the parents. I didn’t want her to go to school and invite some and not others and have everyone fall out with her.
In the end 8 kids turned up which was perfect.
I put everything into the food and decorations. I started the party at 5 so it would be dark already. Unfortunately that meant I couldn’t easily take photos of the decorations!
We all got dressed up
And I got loads of spooky food done. All Gluten free
I think it was safe to say they enjoyed the food…
The lounge was set up with the disco light bulb and the monster party mix was playing through the amp
The kids spent most of the party dancing. But we did have some games in between. We head dress the mummy, musical zombies and vampires, apple bobbing and decorate the satsumas
This is Dress the Mummy
And this is them having fun with the left over toilet roll. Amazingly I managed to get them all to clear it up after!
All in all I don’t think the party could have gone any better.
Minecraft. Crack for kids. Even more than the game are the YouTube videos. Stampy is one of the top YouTube stars of the last year. Kids watch him and his friends play Minecraft and talk about Minecraft. They often watch the videos more than they play the games.
My daughter behaves like she’s on drugs when she’s been watching the videos for too long. She shouts and sulks at every request. She grunts responses to questions. We don’t see her all day as she curls up on the chair with her iPod touch just watching YouTube. In fact, we have to limit time on it because of that.
You may not realise but, although Minecraft wasn’t written in Dundee, it was ported to pretty much every game platform out of Dundee. The Xbox 360 version of Minecraft is thanks to Dundee Games programmers.
So when Stampy decided to go on tour, it’s no surprise that he decided to come to Dundee.
My friend told me about the event. Her 7 year old son wanted to go. So did her 13 year old daughter. The little one definitely wanted to go. The catch was, there was a limit of 3 tickets per person (why?!) and they were only releasing them to pick up in person first. My friend lives too far away to get there for the box office opening at 9:30 so I went in with her two daughters so we had 2 people and could get 5 tickets.
I headed in for 9 to queue for the box office opening at 9:30
When I arrived there was already a queue
Turns out the people at the front of the queue had been there since 5:20am!
Whilst the queue wasn’t that long – it was really really really slow. It took me 4 hours to get to the front
4 HOURS to move a relatively short distance. It was a stupid set up. And this was the day after my PT concentrated on legs! I was in pain all day and all night.
All for this
The little one can never say I don’t love her!
Apparently there were over 500 people that queued up and they only had 1200 tickets on sale. Each person will have had at least 2 tickets, probably 3. I don’t think there would have been any left
Some of you will have noticed I have been struggling. Maybe you’ve read this blog or maybe you’ve noticed my less-than-positive outlook on Social Media.
I started proceedings with the police. I made the decision to take him to court. The verdict was irrelevant. I did it. I took action. The verdict allowed me to let go of the story of my past. During the trial I stopped worrying about being believed. That was no longer an issue. The trauma of watching my video evidence removed the trauma of what happened in my childhood. I was free.
I got a notion in my head.
I should be ok now.
I should stop banging on about it and get on with my future.
And of course the news is full of stories. Stories of horrific abuse. Stories of trials. Stories of justice at last.
Each time I read something it reminds me of the verdict of my trial. Of not guilty. It feels so unfair.
I got another notion in my head. Maybe things just don’t work out for me. Maybe I don’t deserve anything to go right for me. The verdict became evidence to reinforce the notion. A notion that I could track right back to the earliest years of my childhood. A notion that started with my half sister having a happy childhood while I didn’t. A notion that was built upon by me speaking up for myself in later years and not being listened to.
Orr’s Law states what the Thinker Thinks, the Prover Proves.
The notion was the thought, the Prover found plenty of evidence.
The Universe keeps an eye on me. The Universe determined there was something to learn here. Business disappeared. Without the distraction of other people’s problem I had nothing to focus on but myself.
What the Thinker Thinks, the Prover Proves. I don’t deserve success. Nothing works for me.
This morning, on Twitter, I shared a photo of the chair in my therapy room 3 years ago. 3 years ago when I wasn’t a full time therapist
I was reminiscing with my Twitter friends over a successful 2 years as a full time therapist. Then I was pointing out that it might all change as business is so very quiet. This is why I love my Twitter friends. They know me and they can reflect stuff back with a different perspective.
It was pointed out that it’s ok to take time to get over it. It’s not even been 6 months since the trial. The whole thing was traumatic and the verdict was a shock.
The problem here is not how I am feeling. The problem is my expectation that I shouldn’t be feeling this way.
This is the lesson my Twitter friend helped me to understand today. It’s a lesson I tell so many of my clients – especially the ones that are dealing with grief.
This is the lesson I needed to learn.
So it will take me a little longer to work it through. But right now I realise I am ok with not being ok. It is ok to feel hurt. It is ok to accept that something happened that was very unfair but it was not about me.
When the little one is old enough and I reflect on what she might have learnt from her mother, I feel proud to think she will know that she has a mother that stood up for herself. She has a mother that fought for herself no matter how hard it was. She has a mother that used what she went through, not to feel wronged by the Universe, but as a positive to help others move on from the things that messed them up too. She has a mother that never judges other people for struggling, because she understand how hard it can be to move on sometimes.
It’s ok to not be ok sometimes. It doesn’t have to mean anything.
When I was at my PT session the other day, Ricky asked if he could take a photo for sharing on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.
I said yes.
Not because I wanted a photo but because I always say yes. We go through different realities in our lives depending on our state of mind. One thing I do know is any mental state is temporary – it always changes. Thing is, we can’t time travel. You can’t go back and do something over again. So decisions should not be made based on your current mental state.
This is why I will always take photos with the little one. Because one day, when I change my mind, I won’t have the option to go back and take those photos again.
So I say yes. I always say yes.
After all, I don’t have to look at the pictures.
That said, here it is. Me lifting a 15Kg weight in single arm rows.
I regard this as a ‘before’ picture. With 2 PT sessions a week it shouldn’t be too long before there is an after picture.
6 months ago we booked a holiday at the Craig Tara caravan park in Ayr.
A friend had been with her daughters for the weekend and loved it so booked a week for the whole family this half term.
It sounded like a good idea so we booked a caravan for the whole family too. It’s rare that the hubby comes on our adventures with us so it was great to have him along.
The catch was, as the date approached, I really didn’t want to go. Business has been quiet for weeks. If it wasn’t for the article in the local papers I would have had pretty much zero new clients.
And I’ve lost myself a bit. This whole injustice of the court result is really eating away at me. And there is nothing I can do. So I’m feeling helpless. About that, about business, about me. Not exactly the holiday spirit.
We travelled on my birthday and took our luggage and the luggage of my friend (and her family of 5!) plus her 2 daughters. She went on the train with her hubby, her son, his friend and the little one.
I got a new touchscreen laptop for my birthday. I got it a couple of days before so I could set it up. It meant on my birthday the little one was not here (she stayed at the friends) and there were no cards or presents. The hubby wished me happy birthday and that was it. Nothing. Until 4 ish when we were all settled into the caravan and my friend gave me these amazing pressies
The necklace is the chemical symbol for serotonin – the happiness drug released by the brain.
We went out for dinner in the evening but the little one was crying over everything. The hubby walked up to the main area where we ate and it had lots of little steep uphill bits – so by the time he got there he was knackered. So I decided it was best to fetch the car to pick him up – which meant no drinking. So the little one and I skipped dinner (she didn’t want hers) and went to fetch the car to take him back to the caravan.
So I guess you could say I didn’t start the holiday with the right attitude, having already brought the wrong attitude with me anyway!
The next morning, the hubby had food poisoning from the meal the night before. Luckily he had an en suite bathroom in the main bedroom!
It was a lovely caravan with fab views of the coast
I had booked the little one in for swimming lessons and the plan was that we would all go swimming lots (hubby included)
Thing is, there was no real swimming pool. It was all a massive play area. Little one enjoyed her swimming lesson then we all (except hubby) went to the main pool. After about 10 minutes the little one got a bit of water in her eye and started crying that she wanted out. So we got out. Then she started crying that she wanted to go back in! I have no idea what was up with her. This was really unlike her. Anyway, we got dressed and headed back to the caravan where I broke the news to the hubby that there was no way he could go in the pool. Apart from nowhere to swim, his back would have definitely got kicked and knocked into because the pool was heaving.
I started thinking that maybe this was not the right time to be on holiday. Meanwhile my friend and her family had ended up by accident with a lower grade caravan with no heating in the bedrooms. I began to think we might be better going home (only 2 hours away) and let them have our caravan.
I slept on it.
The little one was the same the next day but we did manage some fun stuff
In the bushcraft activity they made this shelter.
She loved the fair.
But as I went to pick up dinner on Tuesday night and struggled to find anything the little one could have, I decided we should just go home and cut our losses. The little one wasn’t very happy about the decision but she quickly got over it as she settled in at home.
We’re going to go for a swim and some lunch at our local pool later today.
On Friday I will pop back to pick up my friend’s luggage and the girls and bring them back.
Meanwhile I somehow have to get myself back on track….
This week I organised a special speaking event. I wanted to capitalise on the interest that came from having a feature in the newspaper.
So I organised an evening which I called “An Audience with Dawn Walton”
My friend Eleanor at Red Pepper Events organised a room for me at The Steeple in Dundee and organised all the refreshments.
I wanted to explain the caveman rules of survival, but also do a little more practical stuff to give specific tips and techniques. So I put together the following agenda
Part 1: A presentation to explain the way your subconscious works and how that can lead to problems in day to day life
Part 2: A practical workshop on 3 key topics:
1 - What is anxiety and what can you do?
2 - Why can I sleep and still feel exhausted?
3 - Why diets don't work long term
Part 3: Q&A followed by an opportunity for a 1-1 conversation with Dawn.
We had some technical difficulties with projectors. My own worked fine but the power cable wasn’t long enough to be able to put it in a suitable location in the room to project against a wall. Their built in projector was giving a bulb replacement message that wasn’t going away. This meant I couldn’t use the animation I had prepared. But that’s ok because I am a master at winging it!
The room quickly filled up. Every seat was taken with a total of 30 people turning up.
I really enjoyed the evening. The audience appeared fully engaged all the way through. The practical stuff got lots of nods from the audience too.
At the end I gave out my business cards which are specially designed to promote my book too
I also sold a few copies of my book. One person even popped out and came back with cash.
I am sure I will be organising another event at some point soon. If I can work out how to promote it, I would like to do one in Aberdeen.
I might even organise a Periscope event if people would be interested in that?
Sometimes everything becomes too much.
Usually it ties in with being quiet. And it has been very quiet. If it wasn’t for the article in the Courier newspaper I would have almost no clients. I don’t know why. It’s certainly not through lack of action on my part.
And now it’s a couple of weeks past the article, it’s gone totally quiet again.
So I start worrying about money. That’s the thing about being self employed. If you don’t see clients nothing goes into your account and stuff is always coming out!
That’s the first thing that eats away at me.
Then there’s me. Where I am. How I am dealing with stuff.
There are so many stories in the papers right now. Abuse cases. People who’ve done awful things being sent away. Not for me though. That’s not how it worked for me. The unfairness of it all grates on me. Yes, I went back to Anglesey. I didn’t let it stop me. But it hurts and it’s unfair because he’s still walking around knowing he got away with it. Believing he did nothing wrong.
And my weight. I don’t eat anywhere near enough to be the size I am. I used to. I was this size before and I definitely ate in a way that kept the weight on. Now I don’t. I’m doing the strength training. I love it and I’m getting stronger. But nothing is changing. I’ve tried to accept that I am who I am. I am ok most of the time. Then I saw a video of a talk I did. Now I understand why I am struggling to get jeans to fit. I have no idea how I got this big again. And I have no idea how I convince my head to let go of this weight. Because it’s not a physical problem. Somehow, apparently, it is not yet ok for me to let go of this protective fat suit.
And yet there is nothing more I can do. I don’t know what to do.
And so it sometimes happens, like it has now, that I fall down a hole.
Everything ahead looks hopeless. It feels like everything I do is for nothing. It feels like things are not meant to work out for me. It feels like I don’t deserve anything good. Days become about living moment to moment. Working with clients and watching them blossom. Wondering why it’s not ok for me to do the same. Wondering how I can do the same.
I am going away next week with the little one and a friend. I really don’t want to go. The little one has been looking forward to it for months. I have been too. Until now. 5 days of not being able to see clients (if there were any). I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything right now.
It will pass. It always does. But right now, I’m in this hole.
I’ve now had 5 sessions with Ricky, my personal trainer.
Until I started, I didn’t realise that this was what I was meant to be doing all along.
I’ve never liked exercise for the sake of it. I only started running because it was the only exercise I can do straight out of my front door – no excuses.
As I ran more I realised that it was great for clearing my head. I had my best ideas while running. But I still didn’t enjoy it. It was always hard work and never fun.
I ran the London Marathon in 2012 because I was given the chance and couldn’t say no to an opportunity like that. I hated the training and I didn’t enjoy the marathon at all. I enjoyed the sense of achievement.
Still, I was looking for something.
After the court case I wanted to start reclaiming my body. But I only believe in doing something that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life. I don’t believe in short term fixes.
I started playing squash again but that is dependent on someone else to play and everyone is busy. It’s not a reliable regular form of exercise.
I thought about classes like Yoga and Zumba but I didn’t want to go on my own and it’s still exercise for the sake of it. I wanted something I can stick to.
So I started looking for a personal trainer. I hate exercise that gets me out of breath (one of my millions of issues). I know enough about myself to know I won’t stick to something like that.
So when a friend said Ricky was great I got in touch.
5 weeks ago I had my first PT session with Ricky and I loved it.
It’s strength training. Lifting weights. It’s challenging. It’s knackering. But in the way I love.
In the first week Ricky let me try a bench press. I couldn’t even lift the 20Kg bar with no weights on it.
On Monday I went for my 5th session – the last in the block that I’d paid for.
This time I did a bench press and was able to lift 25Kg. I can now lift the bar on its own for 8 reps.
5 sessions. I love the way it is possible to progress so much between each session. The first time you try something it feels impossible. But it’s almost like introducing your body to something in the same way you might let a horse see a fence before you ask it to jump it. You show your body an exercise with no expectation that it will be possible. Then the next session you repeat the exercise and miraculously you can now do it.
It’s so much fun. I enjoy the feeling the next day of the aching muscles. I enjoy the very real sense of progress you get between one session and the next. There is a real sense of achievement and progress in each and every session.
So I’m in. This is me for the long haul. I am upping it to two sessions a week and I’m going to be doing that from now on.