I’m not going to lie: this is far from an easy post to write, so unsurprisingly, its coherence is shaky and ommissions are frequent, with many a detail undocumented. But I’m going to write it and become accountable and responsible and all that jazz that comes with being a grown up. In many ways, 2010 was the worst year of my life. And yet, some of the most amazing times I have experienced have occured in the last 12 months. How I saw things during the year was altogether very dependent on how half-full or half-empty I was seeing the glass on any given day.

I’ve been told I have bad coping skills. I think I’ll agree. When it came to my first breakup, I was fine for a week before I went a day without much food, almost fainted off a bike in spinning class and cried all the way home. On top of this, I sat the HPAT, the most terrifying test I have done to date. I prepped for my Leaving Cert by studying from the moment I came home until bed time (with breaks for Grey’s Anatomy.) I was violently ill multiple times, including before my Chemistry exam and at Oxegen. Poor mom had to to listen to me bawl about how much I hated 6th Year many a time. I was a flaming disgrace at Mardi Gras. I had a few run ins with the boy of the aforementioned break up. I ate until I wanted to vomit and then I ate some more. I went without food and ran. I was completely overwhelmed by Medicine and left. I went from around 135lbs to 104lbs in 9 months. I have had days when I have wanted to do nothing but stay in bed. I hit rock bottom in Cork, summarised by an expensive ready meal.

But on the other hand…

I had the greatest school days of my life with the best friends ever. I turned 18. I started singing with Dad in the pub. I got 590 points in my Leaving Cert. I had X Factor nights. I had an epic time in summer camp. I spent a lovely three months with the only boy to every treat me nicely, and am luckily still his friend. I went out on the town – and to the Coach. I got Medicine – and in dropping out, realised what I actually want to do with my life. I finally got the courage to say that I needed to get help and I am finally working on getting healthy. Sinead introduced me to the most beautiful place in Ireland – and taught me to fish. I found yoga – saving my life one asana at a time.  I gave up caffeine and alcohol. I found a doctor who just seems to get me. I came home. I made excellent friends in my brief time in UCC. I had the opportunity to tutor and teach. I found inspiration and support through blogging, books and the people around me.

2010 was hard. And I’m not writing this for pity or advice or what have you. 2011 could be just as difficult but by writing all this down, I can try and make sure I don’t let things get that bad again. I have to keep reminding myself that it was worth it. I am on the road to being physically and mentally stronger than I have ever been. I am learning to get my priorities straight. I am learning to exercise for fun, not calories, and am rediscovering food, fun and being social. I want 2011 to be the year I run 10k, the year I climb a mountain, the year I find balance, the year I face my demons, the year I accept things for what they are, the year to find a happy weight, the year to learn the things I love, the year I undo seven years of bad habits and take responsibilty, the year I open up and the year I show my family and friends how much I appreciate them.

2011 is the year to build some character and bang out the goods.

I’ll keep you posted kids.


Questioning Coincidence

I had been looking forward to Saturday all week. The plan was: out to the country, night out at the local, sleepover! (It was my friend’s birthday.) Not spectacular, but I hadn’t seen my school peeps in a while (being such the townie) and I hadn’t gone out since grads night (and that barely counts. I was in my uniform. Because I’m cool.) So imagine my disgust, after being pumped all week, at finding out I couldn’t go.

So I stayed at home, sulked and bitched a bit to the family, and went to bed at a reasonable hour, sore and sickened. ‘Don’t worry, you weren’t meant to be there,’ says Mam. I spared her the ‘no rhyme nor reason’ conversation and went to sleep. 

I awoke Sunday morning to find my sister chock full of news and scandal from the night before. Fighting. Blood. Broken glass. People leaving in terror. Everything a good story needs but not so much when you’re actually there. So Mam was right.

A woman of science, I rarely subscribe to anything illogical or unproven. Sometimes I think it would be amazing to have that kind of blind faith in things. But, no. Beliefs require substance.

And yet, I’m often puzzled by the question of fate or coincidence. Sure, most of the time, there seems to be no underlying point to anything. There is death, natural disaster, destruction, birth, good deeds, love. One look at chaos theory should be enough to show us that any miniscule factor could have changed the outcomes of any event. But then we look again, and we see things which just seem meant to be.

Back in the ancient times (the 70’s,) two sixteen year olds bumped into each other at a charity dance, spent a few hours together and then completely forgot about each other. About a decade later (give or take a few years,) my mom met my dad while they were both working in a factory. One night, while leafing through my dad’s old photos, my mom spotted a picture of a young guy. “Who’s that guy?” she asked. “I danced with him for a night years ago.” My dad said it was himself. “No,” says my mom, “The guy with the long hair and the spots.” And again, my dad confirmed it was him. And so followed nineteen years of marriage. It may just be a testament to how small this city actually is, but considering my mom spent a year in Australia before my parent’s got married and my dad was previously engaged, I like to think, that maybe, just maybe, it was more than just an accident that they ended up together.

Eventually, I’ll probably sabotage my own dream of meant to be. My mind is constantly chopping and changing all of its notions and ideals, sometimes beyond recognition. It’s only inevitable that this evolve and change too. Until then, I’m happy to live with silly ideals. 🙂