Forget the cardio, lift some weights!

thiscomplicatedjourney

Like most women, as you age, it gets tougher to keep the weight gain at bay. It is a natural order of ageing when your metabolism slows down. And if you choose to reproduce, losing that extra weight gained in pregnancy, does not make it any easier to keep that slim, trim figure. At the age of 35, I am finally happy with the body I have. I am in the best shape of my life, in terms of fitness.  I do not own the body of a supermodel nor will I ever be walking down any runway soon. But I can finally look in the mirror and be happy with the reflection in the mirror.

June 2013 – Pre-insanity

June 2013, I was at my heaviest weight. I completed Insanity by Shaun T and lost a good bit of weight (went from a UK dress size 12/14 to 10)…

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Day 14 – Mental Health

As a Psychiatric Nurse I thought this would be a subject I would find easy to write about. I have re-started and deleted this blog so many times. So many things I want to say, struggling to condense the many things I want to say!!!

Everyone copes with stress and trauma differently. We all have certain levels we can tolerate before things break down. I have randomly picked two common Mental illnesses to describe what the person is experiencing.

Source: google

Depression

Probably most misunderstood diagnosis. Most people can’t fathom why you can’t just get over it and get on with things. How can you be depressed when you have everything??? Only way to explain is like being slapped or punched in the face and not feeling any pain. That’s how someone experiences depression, feeling numb, hopeless and empty inside. If you have ever experienced grief after the death of a parent, for example, you will understand. People describe it as being in a dark hole, you can’t climb out of.

Source : google

Schizophrenia

To truly understand the experience what people with auditory hallucinations go through, I challenge you to complete this exercise a University tutor did with us. Get someone to sit beside you and start shouting derogatory comments about you, at the same get a second person to have a normal day to day conversation with you. After this, you may be able to understand why a person may abuse alcohol or drugs to alleviate these symptoms. Sometimes these voices are not negative in nature, and some clients will tell you they couldn’t imagine their lives without them. The voices are a source of comfort for them.

Source: google

Stigma about mental illness has reduced significantly in developed countries. In developing countries like Zimbabwe, to say stigma remains is in underestimate. Mental Illness is not acknowledged. Brushed under the carpet. Anyone who has auditory hallucinations or delusion is more than likely to be described as a) having a demon and can only be helped by the power of prayer or b) witchcraft involved (akaroyiwa) and a visit to a witch doctor (n’anga) is necessary.

By understanding the experience of mental distress, only then can we begin to reduce stigma and support people who experience distress. In an African society, it is hard as traditional and religious beliefs are so fixed, it will take a longer time to change.

In Zimbabwe, the department of psychiatry at the University of Zimbabwe is the only 3rd level Institute that teaches psychiatry to medical students who want to specialise in that area. A google search suggests there are currently 12 psychiatrists in the public health system that service the entire population of Zimbabwe. To bring perspective, the catchment area (population approx. 160K) that I live in, in Dublin is serviced by approx. 4 Consultant Psychiatrists at the in-patient Unit. The Independent Mental Health service provider I work for, has 16 Psychiatrists for approx. 400 service users.

Funding almost always gets diverted or cut, so Clinicians are unable to offer a reasonable standard of care to this client group. I feel this post has dragged on a bit. What do you think should be done in Zimbabwe to reduce stigma and offer better care for those with mental illness?

Day 9 – Ode to my Skin

I love my skin tone!!! Took me 20 years to appreciate it. But I absolutely adore it! Light skin, does not equal beauty. The emergence of people like Bobrisky encouraging people to use lightening creams is such a shame.

It’s not just black people. My white friend commented they spend a lot of money on tanning products because they are made to feel their natural fair complexion is not attractive. So for today, I am just going to post pictures from an Instagram account I follow. Pictures that celebrate the beauty of melanin.

http://instagram.com/isaacwest

Source : Isaac West

KEEP THAT MELANIN POPPIN’

Day 8 – Religion #30dayafriblogger

Basically, I am not religious at all!! I honestly have problems getting to grips with the belief that there is a “God ” up above who would allow such atrocities to happen especially to children. In particular, child sexual abuse. I just CANNOT deal with that. What God would allow such a grotesque thing to happen to a child, and then I hear from another blogger participating in this challenge, about a 9 year old prostitute.

What gives Christians the right to judge my lifestyle and label me a heathen? The bible says “he without sin cast the first stone.” And don’t get me started on the whole homophobia thing. Like seriously, you are going to judge someone on their sexual preference??????

For me, Christianity should be about the New Testament. I feel the God in the Old Testament was an angry God. But in the NT it’s about turning the other cheek, being non-judgemental and unconditional positive regard. Does not matter if the person has broken every rule in the bible, they deserve to be treated and regarded impartially. He without sin, cast the first stone. Do unto others, as you would have done unto to you. The latter two are my rules for life. If everyone treated each other in the same way, the world would be a better place.

I do not go to church, unless for a specific occasion. In fact, if I walked in for any other reason, I would probably self-combust 😀 Seriously though, I feel the obligation to pretend to my fellow Africans that I go to Church. Simply so I don’t have to explain my religious conviction to them and be judged for it. It’s far easier to pretend to be I went to church. I am honestly sick of it, I need to stop being a liar and just say “actually, I didn’t go to church because I was busy.”

But on the other hand, I understand how religion is a source of comfort and strength for some people. I would never think of arguing otherwise to those people. That’s their belief and I respect it. So please respect mine, if I tell you once I am not religious, DO NOT make it your mission to convert me. We will become enemies, if I do find God, it will be in my own time and own way. In the mean time, as the Irish would say, piss off and don’t be so judgemental. I treat try to treat everyone with kindness, and hard as it is, I try not to judge people’s choices. Essentially be like a child as Jesus said in the New Testament.

I could write reams of pages in this but that’s my view in a nutshell. I’m sure I have offended a few people but, sorry, I am not sorry.

Day 7 – top 10 Zim tuuuuuuunes

Ever walked into a room and the silence, for want of a better word, deafening??? You felt if there was a bit of music to ease the awkwardness or create an ambience??

For me music is BAE!!! Come into my house and there is ALWAYS blaring, same story in the car.

Can’t explain to you the joy music brings me. Back in the day I was one of those who would buy blank cassette tapes and record my favourite tunes on the radio🙈

I left Zimbabwe 2002 and it’s only after leaving that I started to appreciate local music. Distance does makes the heart grow fonder. I only wish more artists would had their music available on Spotify. I have a Zim playlist on my Spotify but can’t find most of the artists I search for.

Below are songs that bring back fond memories for me. Watching a lot of these videos on Coke on The Beat, Ezomgido or a teen Scene.

1. Calvin and Muzi – Tombofara : video was whack but eish it was a ballad for sure! I remember the first time I saw and heard it was on Teen Scene hosted by Otis ‘The Flow’ Fraser.

2. David Chifunyise – Tauya Naye : put his own twist on a traditional Shona song. Probably one of the first artist to come out when Urban grooves started.

3. Fortune Mparutsa – Wangu ndega : may his soul rest in peace. One of those catchy tunes that everybody just sang to, probably played every week on Ezomgido.

4. Calisto Nyamhute – Special Meat : only becesuse my nephew looovvved this song. He was two at the time and he gets so annoyed when I remind him how much he used to love it.

5. Oliver Mtukudzi – Neria : my Generation will have enjoyed this movie and the soundtrack was equally as good.

6. Mateo – Pamuhacha : most romantic song I ever heard at that time. Beautiful voice too.

7. Papa Joze – Ndochi : this was a must on a playlist at any wedding when it came out.

8. Nelson Chibwana – Mamoyo lean on me : one hit wonder, a guilty pleasure.

9. Prince Tendai – Character : another guilty pleasure. May his soul rest in peace.

10. Mahobho – can’t remember who sang this! For those who listened to Junior 3, on radio 3, it was a kids favourite and probably the most requested.

That’s my trip down memory lane complete. Never thought I would be one of those people who reminisced about the “good old days” but here we are! Guess I have come full circle ☺️

Day 6 – My experience at an event/restaurant

First thing that comes to mind is a week end trip I went on with Uni buddies to Budapest.

The whole week end was eventful. Lots of food, laughter and drink. And best of all there was no fights. Last girlie week end I went on, two girls had an altercation the first night, and ruined the weekend.

It was nice to get away without the kids. Let’s not lie, kids are great and everything, but they drain the life out of you at the best of times.

We went at the end of January, mid winter, and I have NEVER been so cold in my life. I live in the Republic of Ireland, but our weather never gets that extreme. Temperatures were -7°C and then the wind!! You needed a balaclava! The highlight though was the outdoor thermal baths! Yes in those temperatures we put on our swimsuits and went outside into a pool. Water was heated by thermal spring water – and hands down the most u forgettable experience of my life. It was warmer in the water, than outside.

For a couple of days, I could forget about running a household and it accompanying stresses. It’s also good to have “me” time, to take care of your mental health so you can de-clutter. I don’t have the luxury of a maid out here. Though from what my friends say, maids are more of hassle???? Is that true?

Day 5 – Are your parents included in your retirement plan? #30dayafriblogger

(The Parents, back in the day)

Put it bluntly, no!!!!!! I am the youngest in a siblingship of 4. My father passed away 9 years ago, and my mother is 73 this year. I am 36, by my calculations, dear Mama will be 108 when I retire.

Both my parents were civil servants, and my mother receives her own pension and my fathers as well. My father was a frugal man, and preferred to invest his money in property. No luxuries in our house growing up. I thank him now for that. My mother earns rental income from two properties my father bought.

Having reflected on this, I realise how lucky my mother is. She only needs minimal financial support from her children. I realise I don’t really have a retirement plan. I only started working full-time last year and thus only a year into contributing towards my retirement.

After reading a few articles on this topic, I appreciate that I can actually visualise not having to work when I reach 65. For those living in Zimbabwe do you think, the situation in Zim will “normalise?” Do any of you have investments in retirement plans through your employer or independently if self employed?

I have 3 siblings living in Zimbabwe, so am I facing a situation where I have to put them into my retirement plan?????