Years ago, I used to make fake fur handbags to sell at markets. They were crazy bags, an explosion of colour and texture. My favourite, that I kept for my own use, I nicknamed Grungetta (after Oscar the Grouch’s gf on Sesame Street). The body of the bag was lime green fake fur with red and purple maribu feather trim. I wish I’d taken a photo, you’d love it 🙂

Selling at markets, you get a lot of immediate feedback and the overwhelm reaction I’d get was: ‘I love it but I’d never be brave enough to use it’.

That always struck me as strange. Handbags aren’t scary, you don’t need to be brave to use them. These are things that are scary: dentists, birds, people dressed in animal costumes, clowns, ventriloquist dummies, possums. Not handbags.

When I painted the lounge room in my old flat bright yellow, people said ‘I love that colour but I’d never be brave enough to paint my house that colour’. When I bought my purple car – ‘I’d love a purple car but I’d never be brave enough.’ I’ve never considered any of these things particularly brave. I see something I like and I go for it. It’s bright, it’s pretty, it makes me happy.

Some things that take real bravery. Sometimes bravery is getting out of bed in the morning and going through the motions of the day, smiling and pretending nothing’s wrong. Other times, bravery is opening up and saying something when the voices inside scream for you to kept quiet.

It’s the little things: fronting up to a gym or putting on a pair of runners and heading out the door for a walk when all your life you’ve only ever associated exercise with humiliation; turning up to a barbecue with your own (healthy) food when you are known as the Cheesecake Queen; refusing seconds; signing up for a fun run; walking into an exercise class you’ve never done before; deciding to do it anyway when your exercise buddy lets you down; ignoring the excuses you’ve used every other time; knowing you are going to be crap but not caring.

On the surface, getting started towards a healthy lifestyle doesn’t seem like that big a deal – it’s the smart option and much better than ruining your health and your looks – but beneath it all, it’s hella brave and hella scary. It isn’t just about eating right and doing some exercise. I hate people who say that, like they’d tell an alcoholic all they need to do is stop drinking! The hard part, the gut-wrenchingly scary part, are those moments when you dig deep into your soul and defy your own perceptions of yourself.

If you’ve spent years, maybe a lifetime, being the girl who mocks exercise and orders desert, it’s a huge turnaround in who are. I come from a family where our memories revolve around overindulgence. A good night out is one where you have to unbutton your pants. We take food seriously.

You have a role to play, and that role has never been the voice of reason or the voice of healthy choices. And within any group, these roles stack up like cards in card house. You move one and all the others shift. Sometimes the whole structure collapses.

Bravest of all is taking a long, honest look at yourself and realising you have to change. Being obese in our society is like farting in an elevator. Everybody knows but no one acknowledges it. You put on your poker face and pretend it’s not you. For years, I’d hide the shopping bags from Fat Shops and take the label off of my clothes. If I shopped with friends, I’d say I only needed shoes. If nobody knew I bought fat clothes, then they wouldn’t realise I was fat. You can’t change without acknowledging what you are.

Everyday I see examples of people being brave, people who challenge themselves and push themselves, who fail yet get up and try again. You all are wonderful people who have said some mighty complimentary and head swelling things to me lately, without the motivation and support you give me every day, I’d be nothing. We are all brave in the steps we take, the small things we do every day and we should be justifiably proud of us.


20 responses to “Brave

  1. You are about the only one that can make me cry and laugh at the same time.

    Being obese in our society is like farting in an elevator. Everybody knows but no one acknowledges it What a fantastic line.

    You know, you aren’t bad on the whole support role either 😀

  2. My mother once forbade me to get a purple car (well she was paying for some of it) because people would think that I was a lesbian. Seriously.

  3. You hit the nail on the head chick! Bravery is just the word to describe what is needed on this journey :O) Birds are definitely big on my scary list!!

  4. Truly brilliant post. Loved it.

    It’s so hard to comminucate to people who don’t have food issues what is truly means, day in, day out to take control of your lifestyle. But – you have done it perfectly. Communicated it and done it.

  5. kick ASS 🙂

  6. I can’t add anything because this post was perfect…you rock the kasbah.

  7. This is a brilliant post. Thanks for writing it.

    Love the new blog-look!

  8. That is a beautiful post Kathryn. Very wise words indeed and you just reminded me to go for a runeven though I don’t feel like it. We are all indeed very brave as we continue to step up to the plate each day even after we have been knocked down.

  9. Thank you for this post mate!

  10. Mate – on the mark. A wonderful post!

  11. what a fabulous post Kathryn! your blog looks great too!

  12. Holey moley…I have 31 of your posts to catch up on!!

    I love this particular post on bravery and I think you have such an amazing way with words to get what you’re saying across. I really appreciate having come across your blog and being exposed to ideas that make me think.

    You’re one hell of an amazing woman Kathryn. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  13. A truly fabulous post, Kathryn.

    I too loved the “farting in the elevator” line, lmao!!

  14. You know it….luv the new blog style, luv the pics and luv your sentiment… is really motivating to read your thoughts Kath as I can sooooo empathise with them. Thanks for sharing – you really make me feel like I can do it.

  15. Oh Kathryn – I absolutely love reading your posts – I have to agree with M on this one – you make me want to kill myself laughing at the honest truth of what you say but at the same time you talk about the reality we are all facing and this can sometimes be sad and a little bit hard. Nevertheless, we are all in this together. Glad you find such support in the blogger world – I find equal support too.

  16. What a great post Kathryn – you have such a great way with words and just putting it down in such a wonderfully easy readable way (I am sure all those words shouldn’t be used together but they say what I want to say right now !)
    I love the new look of your blog too.
    Looking forward to meeting you next month – keep up the great job that you are doing !

  17. What a great post!

    Occasionally I read a post which I think to myself “I wish I wrote that” and this one is one of those posts!

    So eloquently written. I love reading your thoughts 🙂

  18. What a wonderful eloquent post Kathryn. You write so well.

    It takes a lot of courage to take a good hard look at yourself, and to change. I’d never really thought about it in those terms before. People use the words determined, controlled, inspiring, self-assured, confident, etc. when it comes to successful weight loss, but we need to add brave in there too. That’s what it all comes down to.

    Wishing you a great week as you get closer and closer to goal!!

  19. That was a fantastic post. You write so well. And you are dead on, changing your body and your life is more about bravery than simply exercising more.

    If I could have bought a purple car, I would’ve. My choices were green or black.

  20. I feel that you have taken a tour of my inner most thoughts and put them onto paper. seriously, it feels like you just wrote this post about me!
    Thanks! For getting all that out there! Its so easy to lose track of where we’ve come from and how far we’ve come.
    You are seriously one of the bravest and insightful people I have ever met.

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