So I’m asked to write a blog for MMNZ. It’s weird, my first thought was heck yes, I can do that. I love to talk about all sorts of random stuff that interests me and I think would interest at least one other woman out there reading it. Then self doubt kicks in and I think to myself, I’m setting myself up for failure here. I’m putting myself out there, making myself vulnerable and potentially sharing more of myself than I have already done. I need to run away and hide. This is blog number 2.

My thoughts whizz round in my head, what extra could I possibly offer this group? What would they want to hear about? Then I take a breath and remember how far I have come on my journey with MMNZ. What you have all taught me about self love and having my own back. What we preach to our sisters within this group is what I had to tell myself. I don’t need to be scared or to hide behind anything or anyone; it’s going to be OK.

For so long, many years actually, I have hidden. Hidden from my parents as a child, hidden from the window cleaner as a child, hidden under make up in my teenage years, hidden behind my husband in my 20’s and then I moved to NZ in my 30’s and I began to realise that I didn’t need to hide anymore. I could start to become my own person. To stand tall and not hide anymore. But alas, I still wasn’t ready for that and I soon slipped into another hiding place. A hiding place behind what I thought I should be. I still hadn’t got the confidence to be me and be confident just to be me. I still had to hide. So I hid behind my body image and fitness regime. I had to find a hiding place behind something I could control. I was convinced that people would like me; love me even, if I fit that particular mould. You know the one where you’re really skinny and really fit, that one. I tried all sorts of things to be that person and not hide from society anymore.

I took part in trillions of events and signed up to trillions of new ‘eating programmes’ and I felt like I came out of my awkward shell a little. It was good in a way but also really harmful. I was damaging myself without knowing it. Outwardly I was the picture of health. Slim, fit, energetic and keen to conquer everything in the world of health and fitness. My goals were big and I was constantly working towards them. The trouble was, there was no stop. No end. No goal met. No acceptance of reaching something I was happy with. But I wasn’t hiding anymore, or so I thought. In actual fact, I was hiding more then than I had done up ever and it was serious.

I was hiding my eating disorder I was on the verge of, I was hiding my social anxiety around people and food, and I was hiding my obsession with health and exercise. It still wasn’t the real me. I hadn’t found the real me. I was nearly 40 and still hadn’t found me. I was still hiding.

It was so tricky. I had this reputation to live up to and regime to adhere to. I was the lightest I’d ever been; I had muscle tone and abs. That surely meant that people would love me, respect me and accept me. I was convinced people would judge me if I stopped running or if I put weight on. I had to continue to hide, I had no choice. It was a trap. A constantly spinning wheel that had no escape route.

In my 40th year a major event happened in my life which I won’t go into now, but most probably on another blog if I’m not kicked out after this one! (Self doubt creeping in) This major event put me at a cross roads in my life. When I say my life, I really mean my emotional mindset (which pretty much rules my life!) I was forced to choose a path. A path that I had known all throughout my 30’s. The obsession path, the hiding path or do I choose to take the unknown path that leaves me with little control and just be me. To be vulnerable, honest and humble.

It was hard. It took me over a year to decide which path. It was a constant battle, that way or this way. I even had to see a therapist. My mind was screwed up so much. I’d spent all my life hiding. I had no clue. Did I want to go back on the path of hiding behind my body image issues and obsessive ways or did I want to learn what it’s like on a new path. A new path that I may not feel comfortable with to start with, a path that has no hiding places, a path that forces you to accept yourself and not to be scared of failing, as there is no failing on this path.

So here I am, in my third year on this path. My MMNZ path. The path that I now walk is filled with so many supporters and co-workers. There is no more hiding. What you see is what you get. Now I have set myself free to live the life where vulnerability, honesty, acceptance and self love are top of my importance list. Of course, I still want to look good, feel good etc but I’m now not prepared to stop myself from enjoying this path of just being me and not giving a fudge about what anyone else thinks of me. I’m not hiding anymore. This is my time to shine and to show the people within my world that my sparkle should never be hidden behind anything or anyone.

So my point is this, in a long winded nutshell. You have to back yourself, love yourself and have the courage to be you. If you have the right people in your life, there is no judgement. There is only love, support and openness.

Believe. Belong. Become.

I did.

Cazza xx