The Game

He doesn’t want a relationship. He wants something casual that has the potential to turn into a relationship. He wants to go with the flow so there’s no commitment. He wants a woman who will make him a priority whilst he only makes the effort as & when it pleases him. He wants a woman that will be starved of his presence so that she’ll drop everything just to see him. I know this because I know this game very well. 

We all know when a man truly wants a woman, he will go to lengths to impress her even if it’s with simplicity. He’ll make it known he wants to spend time with her. He might want things to start off slow but he’ll make sure she knows that she’ll be his & this is leading somewhere. A man that truly wants a woman makes the effort and pursues her. He makes himself available & plans on when to meet with her, not using spontaneity as an excuse to just see her when he has a spare hour or so to say he tried. It’s the expectation that she’ll drop everything because that’s the only time he’s available. If he wanted her to feel important in his life, he’d make sure she knew it. 

And this is where THAT game comes in. The game that’s meant to pull her in. But what he doesn’t know about her is that she knows exactly when it’s being played. The half hearted effort & trying to play it cool is boring as fuck. She needs stimulation and not just physical baby. He told her he doesn’t play the game whilst playing the game. He thinks it’ll pull her in but she’s enigmatic so this trick of trying to pull her in will only puzzle him because it will push her away. And she laughs. She laughs hard because what he fails to remember is she’s not one to play games with. She plays that game better and he’ll be the one to lose. 

Until next time.

Yours, 

The Unveiled Reflector x 

One sided love and why I am choosing to walk away

One sided love really fucks you up! If you love someone and that love isn’t reciprocated, it fucks you up mentally and emotionally. It’s a different kind of heartbreak. The thing about one sided love is that you are often left questioning your self-worth and wonder why you weren’t good enough for the person who wasn’t able to commit to you. What was it that you lacked that didn’t allow that person to fall in love with you? In reality, if you love someone and it is one-sided, you’re not the problem and sometimes, neither is the other person. After all, you just can’t help who you fall in love with. Loving someone who you think is worthy of your love is not the problem. It feels like the problem because you’re not loved back. You constantly overlook the flaws of the person you love and in the end, the only person you burn is yourself. You have this hope inside you that one day, that love will be reciprocated because you believe that your love is powerful enough to do that and you wait, and wait, and wait, and it doesn’t come. That’s when you get to the point where you are tired of waiting and realise that for your own sanity, you are left with no choice but to walk away. There is no one that can protect your heart like you can. 

When it comes to one-sided love, most people, including myself, have this idea that they will be able to do enough to make the person they love, love them back. You do the absolute most for this person because you can see something they cannot. You think that once they see how wonderful you both can be together, it will all fall into place. Often, it’s this idea that is completely in your head that somehow, you will both be perfect for each other. Instead, what happens is that you end up feeling confused, hurt and a bunch of other mixed emotions because of how the other person treats you. It’s almost like one minute they’re into you and pulling you in, and another they’re not into you so they’re pushing you away. But then you come to the realisation that you can’t make someone love you no matter how much you love them and how much you try. Instead, all that is happening is that your emotions are on a roller-coaster because you think that there is hope when they are into you for some moments and then suddenly, they’re not. When you start questioning how long you can continue taking this heartache for (because honestly, one sided love is one of the worst pains) you know it is the beginning of the end. The length of time a person fights for their one-sided love varies for people. Personally, for me, a year was more than enough. A man will not be hesitant to commit to a woman unless he doesn’t want to commit to her, no matter how much he tries to make a woman believe that he needs time. Too often, women give men a lot of time in hope this will change things and in the end, they still don’t get the commitment they had hoped for. A man is happy to go with the flow in case he doesn’t find someone better whilst wasting the valuable time of a woman just because she fulfils his needs whether they’re emotional, mental, or physical for that period of time she is in his life. And that is what I went through. 

I met a wonderful man and I thought this was it for me. I thought that because of how our relationship slowly evolved, this would be the perfect thing. See, we started off as friends and then slowly we became more than friends. As a woman, I naturally wondered where this was heading and every time I questioned it, I was told that it was better to go with the flow and see where things end up. We were practically in a relationship without calling it a relationship. We did absolutely everything together. We spent a lot of time together as couples do, and we were in communication daily, just as couples usually are. 

However, slowly, as things progressed and my feelings started getting deeper, we got to the six month mark and I was still wondering where this was heading. Reflecting on this situation, I can now see that six months is far too long for a man to decide if he wants to commit to a relationship with you. The problem was that the man I was in love with had never been in a relationship before and I was the first woman that he was like this with. I still had this hope that one day, he would realise that we were made for each other. Every time we fought, we would take some space and then we would always come back and fix things, no matter what happened between us. That for me told me that this was something special because I had never had that in a relationship before. Also, because he had never been in a relationship before, it made me think that he was learning in the process and would eventually realise that we were more than just friends and he would be able to commit. That was one of my very first mistakes – making excuses for this man. 

It got to the one-year mark, and I started realising that I was selling myself short. Things that were of significance for me in a relationship, were things that I had started overlooking because I always wanted to make sure that he was okay as he had never been in a relationship. I was more focused on meeting his emotional needs rather than my own. Even near the one-year mark, this man still wouldn’t commit to me. If that isn’t enough time, then no time will ever be enough! He was always confused about what he wanted and every time the conversation came up, I stressed the fact that this wasn’t going anywhere and that he should let me go so we could go our separate ways. I was okay with moving on because in my heart I knew that I had tried everything so I would happily leave with no regrets. I never realised this at the time but whenever the conversation came up of me walking away, it wouldn’t go anywhere and then the following few days, there would be this extra effort from his side. He would want to spend more time with me, and he would want to do things that I liked doing. Now, as a woman who was being stupid in love, I would always mistake that as an unsaid answer that he wanted me deep down and was just scared to commit, making excuses for him. It’s funny looking back. Even the times when he deeply hurt me with his words and actions, I always forgave him thinking that because he had never been in a relationship before, he didn’t know better and allowed myself to be disrespected. Again, making excuses for him. I think I had been very patient with him and although we were together but not officially together, I still had this unspoken level of loyalty towards him because of how I felt. The thought of entertaining another man was almost like I would be committing a sin and would be considered as cheating because in my head, I didn’t want to risk ruining a chance if we ever had one.

After a series of events where I started feeling like I wasn’t important enough in his life anymore and felt like he was changing towards me, that’s when it really hit me that this man never had wanted me in that way and would never be able to commit to me, no matter how many mixed signals he would give me. I started behaving in a clingy manner always questioning why he didn’t want to spend time with me anymore and why I wasn’t important enough. I wondered what had changed so much in such a short space of time. And that was the problem.  You see, if he really did love me and see a future with me, this man would do everything in his power to reassure me and help get rid of my insecurities. He would make the effort to spend time with me. Instead, he contributed to my insecurities further which made me feel even worse. I started understanding that he wanted me in his life because he was lonely, and I was fun to be around. I was useful to him because I would help him discover himself through self-reflecting, having deep and intellectual conversations and always being there for him. I realised that he was being selfish because he knew how I felt about him but since he liked how I was helping him become a better version of himself, he was fearful of letting me go. Despite him making me feel like I wasn’t important enough and not a priority in his life anymore, I still tried to be normal with him, but it got to a point where I just felt like I was bothering him whenever I would try to talk to him. He would respond to me very slowly despite being on his phone. And that’s when it hit me. If you feel like you’re begging for someone’s time and attention, you’re losing yourself in the process.

I decided that because he wouldn’t let me go, I would have to be proactive and decided that I needed to walk away from the thing that was hurting me the most. The first thing I did was decide that I needed to get out of the environment where we would spend all our time, so I booked a flight to come home and spend time with my family. Being away from our regular environment allowed me to gather my thoughts on matters and really question what it was that this man was doing for me apart from hurting my feelings. This allowed me to determine that I had no choice but to walk away from the man I loved. I realised I would have to love him from a distance. The next thing I decided was that I needed to walk away in silence because I finally accepted that this was not going to go anywhere, nor would it ever go anywhere and all I was doing was building myself up for further heartache the longer this continued for. His avoidant personality makes him fearful of commitment and he isn’t emotionally available, so it means that until he doesn’t work on himself, he unfortunately won’t be able to make that commitment, to anyone. It was also when I realised that I was doing all the emotional work in the relationship, and I was the one that was holding the relationship together. If I was no longer willing to do that, this relationship would fall apart. And I couldn’t continue being the one doing all the emotional work because the only thing that I was doing was not acknowledging how I had been feeling. Instead, I had been busy trying to understand him, rather than myself. I realised that my emotional needs were not being met and was always working on meeting his emotional needs. I knew that once I was ready, I would need someone who was mature enough to commit and was emotionally available. I crave security, maturity, and stability in a relationship, and I knew I wouldn’t get this from the man that I waited so long for. I had to walk away for myself.

Now, because I know that every time I discuss leaving, he doesn’t let me go, I decided I am going to do that by taking ten steps back. It’s never easy to walk away from someone you love. In fact, it’s one of the most heart-breaking things. Maybe in time, he will realise that he is ready to commit and, if we’re meant to be, we will. However, I just decided that I couldn’t be around anymore waiting, building him up in hope that he would commit to me whilst wasting my own precious time. I decided that I needed to put my own needs first. I know that it is difficult to walk away from someone you love, and it is a process. A long, difficult, and hurtful process. But in time, that hurt will subside.

I finally started that process, but I haven’t figured it out completely and I will have to figure it out along the way but currently, I decided to not respond to any contact from him for a minimum of 72 hours to slowly start reducing contact. I also made a list of pros and cons about the person I am in love with. The final step in the process that I decided to take was to write a list of all the reasons that I am choosing to walk away and refer to this list daily. I re-read it to remind myself of why I need to walk away. It’s only the start but I also know myself and know that if I decide to do something, there is no doubt that I will succeed. I remind myself of all the hurt I have been through in the past and know that I was able to get through that, which in turn made me stronger, so I know I will also get through this, no matter how difficult it currently seems. Time heals all wounds and there is no doubt that time will heal this one too. I am just exhausted and emotionally drained of giving love and not receiving it back. All I am doing is giving it to the wrong person because I know that for the kind of person I am, someone out there will be lucky to receive the love I have to offer and the right man will appreciate it from the beginning, rather than making me feel insecure or make me question my own self-worth. 

The sad truth is that despite several relationship experiences I have had; I am still a little oblivious when it comes to figuring out if a man is emotionally available. It always seems like they are at the beginning. My problem is I am too understanding, accommodating, and giving in a relationship. There have been far too many times where I have put the other persons needs before my own, but I don’t want to do that anymore. For a while I lost myself by giving all my love to someone else rather than to myself. I don’t want to go through that ever again where I forget my self-worth. I chose to walk away because I am prioritising myself. I am the most important person in my life. Which leads me to a quote that I feel is relatable; ‘what doesn’t break you, only makes you stronger’. 

Until next time, 

Yours, 

The Unveiled Reflector x 

Forgiveness

What is forgiveness? How do we truly forgive someone? Why is it that we can forgive what people say or do to us, but we find it difficult to forget? For me, forgiveness is about understanding. It is the understanding that people sometimes do things without giving it much thought and what the repercussions of their actions could mean. Forgiveness is an individual journey that requires a lot of practice and patience. It is about our own peace of mind. It is about letting go of our ego, accepting the hurt and truly allowing ourselves to feel it. It is only then, that we can release that hurt and forgive people. In fact, forgiveness is cathartic because it allows us to continue with our lives without being stuck in the same place for too long. We’ve all been in situations when we’ve needed forgiveness or needed to forgive. So why is it then, that although we forgive or are forgiven, we find it difficult to forget the person’s actions? 

My take on why it is difficult to forget a person’s actions that have caused us hurt is that words truly do cut deeper than a knife. You see, words stay with you forever whereas a knife leaves a wound and the pain is physical, but eventually that physical pain subsides, and physical pain can eventually be forgotten. It leaves us with a faded scar and we are only reminded of the physical pain it once caused when we see the scar. However, when pain is caused emotionally or mentally, that pain doesn’t ever truly go away even though it also lessens over time. You battle with the emotional and mental pain because it is more difficult to reason with why that pain was caused. For some reason, it is more difficult to forget the emotional and mental pain because it is a different kind of pain, one that in my humble opinion, is a bit more difficult to explain. When it comes to emotional or mental pain, I feel that as humans, we have to make the choice to not let our emotional and mental pain get the better of us for our own sake, but is something that is never forgotten.

One of the hardest acts of forgiveness is when we forgive those whom we never truly get an apology from. Despite this being one of the most difficult acts of forgiveness, it is one of the most liberating. It is the willingness to understand that at times, despite people hurting us, sometimes it can be unintentional, even though that can be difficult to comprehend. It is also about having to make peace with what was said and done whilst acknowledging that the person whose actions have caused us the hurt, was maybe coming from a place of insecurity or a place where they are hurt themselves. I feel this because we never truly know exactly what another human being is going through. You see, every human being has two versions of themselves. The one the world sees and the other that the world doesn’t see, and it is often the version the world doesn’t see where the hurt caused to others usually comes from, even if they don’t know they are causing hurt. It is deeply embedded in their trauma which we all have as humans. Even though we can acknowledge and understand why someone might cause us hurt, it is still not justified to hurt another human being. Can you imagine a world where everyone thought like that? Where we were so intentional in our actions that we didn’t hurt other people? 

Another difficult act of forgiveness I feel is forgiving when we are in love. Often when we are in love with someone, we choose to forgive the person we love for many things whether it is comments they make about us, accusations they throw our way or generally not making us feel like we are important enough in their lives. But my question is, how long can one keep forgiving until those doors forever close? How much forgiveness can one person give to the same person over and over because they either claim they don’t know better or didn’t think of it in that way or see it the way we do? And how much understanding is too understanding? I am starting to think that forgiveness in love maybe continues until we are one day strong enough to walk away from the love that ends up causing us more pain than it should. And we all have different breaking points in this. It is when you realise that you drop your ego each time by forgiving and trying to be understanding of the person you love, but you also realise that even though you are trying to be the better person by forgiving, that love will continue taking from you because it benefits them, which in turn can lead to resentment. It is only then that the doors of forgiveness for the person we love must close. Why is it that we are willing to continuously forgive those we love even when they sometimes hurt us so deep, it is almost like a knife has been stabbed in your heart and twisted? 

I have been hurt so many times and I have had to forgive those who hurt me with words, their actions, their accusations, and by those whom I thought would never hurt me. Forgiveness means to not be resentful towards those who have hurt us and sometimes that is difficult. As humans, we can often be resentful because we are hurting. And that is okay. That is part of the process of allowing ourselves to feel that hurt, to acknowledge and accept it. But how long can one be resentful for?  Sometimes revenge is also something people wish to partake in when they are unable to forgive but, I feel that being revengeful is a waste of one’s own time because I am a true believer of karma. Whatever you put out into the world comes back to you at some point in your life, which is why I choose the path of forgiveness, no matter how much I have been hurt. It is human nature to hold onto resentment for a while, but I think some people hold onto it much longer and the negative consequences of this only affect their own life. 

I think the beauty of forgiveness can sometimes be when we forgive those who never truly apologise to us but one day, they have the realisation that their actions must have hurt us. Sometimes we get the apology we deserved much later than expected and it can be difficult to fathom, especially if we have moved on. This is when you appreciate that the person who is seeking your forgiveness has been able to reflect on their actions and has finally understood why they may have caused you hurt. However, for some strange reason, despite doing all of this, I feel it still doesn’t allow us to forget, and I am unsure why. 

With all that being said, from personal experience, once you let go of the hurt a person has caused you by choosing to forgive them, you generally live a healthier and happier life. You may never truly understand why a person hurt you whether it was intentionally or unintentionally. Forgiveness is more for your own sake, rather than theirs and that is what people who hold onto resentment fail to understand. You don’t forgive for someone else, you forgive because it is something that will make your own life better in the long run. But the hurt is not something we will ever forget and every so often, I am personally reminded of the hurt I have been caused no matter how much I try to forget. I am starting to think that maybe it is a part of life and it in turn, enables us to become the people we become. 

Until next time,

Yours,

The Unveiled Reflector x

Outgrowing Friendships

I never thought we could outgrow friendships until I outgrew one not that long ago. It’s funny, isn’t it? We make friends and sometimes we think friendships will last a lifetime. You meet someone and you think this is my person that will go through life with me. Sometimes you make friends in the most random ways and don’t imagine you would become so close but then slowly, one challenge in your friendship turns into another and then suddenly, the friendship starts deteriorating. I had a friendship like this of eleven years. We were inseparable and we grew together a lot. But things started to change the moment a man entered her life. For me, I feel that friendships shouldn’t change just because one person gets into a relationship. I feel that when the rose-tinted glasses are on, some people don’t value their friends as much anymore. However, at some point when you get complacent in your relationship and the rose-tinted glasses come off, you start missing your friends and by this point, it could be too late. 

I made a friend in my first year of university. I had moved away from home so friends were of a lot of significance whilst living away. In the first week, I was the only one in my accommodation. I’d been away to a different city to meet with some friends and whilst I was away, a girl moved in next door. I introduced myself and that was the end of the conversation. In the first semester, because we lived together, we ended up spending some time together and after bonding over some music we both liked, we realised we had a lot more in common than we initially thought. During our first-year at university, our friendship slowly grew from strength to strength, and we just worked. We shared a lot of things about our lives and started hanging out with each other all the time. Eventually, our circle of friends became the same and we did everything together. We were always there for each other, but the thing I liked most about our friendship was that we could be our authentic selves, yet it never affected our friendship. Even after we left university, we stayed the best of friends. We would go to family events our families had and we would go to each other’s houses regularly. We would sleep over and travel together. We went on quite a few holidays and we would have the best time. There was just this unspoken level of understanding that we had. We were from similar cultures, so this strengthened our friendship when we discussed issues relating to our culture. Our friendship was this solid for eight years. Meeting at the age of eighteen, you can only imagine how much we went through together, with all the changes a young adult goes through around that age. We grew as people and there was this unbreakable bond, until it slowly started breaking.

In 2017, our friendship started to change when she met a man who didn’t like me. This was her first serious relationship and despite always saying that no man would ever be able to get in-between our friendship, one did. We were on holiday at the time in Dubai (not knowing it would be our final holiday) and had an argument about something which I guess marked the beginning of the end. Things were not okay for the rest of the holiday, but we made it through and got home. After that, there was this distance between us, but I valued our friendship so dearly that it didn’t make sense that we had fallen out and felt things were unfixable. I always like to fix things because I am one of those people that doesn’t feel content if things aren’t right, especially with someone who has been a significant part of my life for a long time. We eventually made up after me turning up to her house and wanting to talk through things. Her boyfriend at the time still didn’t like me but that was okay as long as I had my best friend. However, from then on, it was never the same. 

See, the thing is, sometimes, when a friend gets a partner, their priorities change which is completely natural and I can understand that. However, no matter happened, her boyfriend decided that he just didn’t like me even though I tried to make an effort with him. They eventually got married in 2018 but we both were busy with our lives, so it wasn’t the way it used to be and we were both in different places. I don’t think that is a good enough reason for such a solid friendship to change so drastically, but I appreciate that if your partner doesn’t like one of your friends, your natural instinct is to be a little distant because you don’t want to upset them. This is not me agreeing whether that is right or wrong but just outlining that I can understand why this happens. As we continued with our lives, again we grew distant, and months would go by where we would no longer make the same effort with each other. In late 2018, I lost a college best friend and wanted some support from whom I thought would be able to provide that for me. I had never seen death so closely and it had impacted me in more ways than one. However, my ‘best friend’ just didn’t know how to be there for me so another nine months went by and when we spoke this time, I asked to meet up so I could tell her that I had a job offer and was moving abroad. I didn’t want to move abroad with our friendship being so frosty. Despite everything that had happened, I still had faith that our friendship could still make it through any difficulty we went through. This was in mid 2019 and we again, talked about our differences and what was going wrong in our friendship. We talked about how this could be fixed which was great! We were back to being semi-normal and were making more of a conscious effort with each other. At the start of 2020, we had a disagreement over something but this time, my best friend was quite rude and honestly, it just wasn’t what I needed. I think I was just fed up by this point of things always seeming to go wrong and me always being the one to initiate repairing the damage. A few months later, she tried to contact me to tell me about her sister having a baby and I just felt like I didn’t care anymore, especially because the real issue had been brushed under the carpet. It was a brief conversation, and we didn’t speak after that for months until I got a birthday message. I replied to her message but when her birthday came a couple of months later, I knew that not contacting her would mark the end of this friendship completely. And that is exactly what happened because I made that decision of ending a friendship I didn’t think would ever end. Since October 2020, we have not spoken and honestly, I am content with that.

There are many reasons I feel content with my decision, but I felt like it got to a point in our friendship where I started wondering why every time something went wrong, it was always me that was making the first move to fix things. I think I am at that point in my life where I have realised that sometimes, you can’t always be the one to fix things, regardless of whatever trauma someone has been through in their lives. I realise that at times, you have to let things just fizzle out because sometimes, things have an expiry date. It can never be justified that one person in any kind of relationship is always the one doing the emotional work just because the other person has a certain type of mentality. One thing I learned towards the end of our friendship was that maybe my best friend had a slight ego problem which is why she could never be the one to initiate fixing things when they went wrong, no matter how she felt deep down. Maybe it is also one of the reasons that things used to get brushed under the carpet unless I was the one wanting to communicate about them.

I personally think that the decision to not make contact with her on her birthday was because I had made peace with how the friendship turned out. I felt that regardless of how much we tried to make things right, they would never be the same. It wasn’t always an easy journey for me. Since 2017, I was deeply affected by how our friendship had turned out because I talked about it a lot with those closest to me. The way the friendship turned out bothered me. I mean, of course it bothered me because if it didn’t, I wouldn’t have talked about it so much. I also think that in the process of talking about it so much, I had already mourned the loss of the friendship which is why I was very content with the friendship fading away. It is completely normal to mourn a friendship because when a friend has been a huge part of your life, you feel the loss when things are no longer the same. I feel everything so deeply so the fact that this friendship had turned out the way I had never imagined, really did break my heart.

Reflecting on the friendship we had, I now believe that sometimes, people only come into your lives for a short period of time to teach you things or because that is exactly what you need at that point in your life. I am not sad anymore because I have made peace with the fact that maybe throughout our twenties, we needed each other for whatever we went through. We were destined to grow as much as we did together before we both progressed onto separate chapters in our lives. I always remind myself that not everyone that comes into my life is supposed to stay and I feel that is how I have made peace with the fact that even when we don’t ever want someone to leave our lives, sometimes people do and we have no choice but to accept this bitter truth. It does however, get easier as time goes on.

Now, my ex-best friend is married, and she has welcomed a child into the world which is wonderful. There are no hard feelings from my side. I feel we have both moved on with our lives and I am personally very content with where I currently am. I don’t think I would ever want to fix this friendship anymore or try to attempt to go back to how it used to be because that is impossible. Plus, I feel too much has happened in the interim period for it to go back to how it was once upon a time. Instead, I cherish the memories we made, and I will always wish her the best. It’s just, I choose not to be a part of her life anymore because too much has happened for me to make that effort. And that is how I know I have outgrown the friendship.

Until next time, 

Yours, 

The Unveiled Reflector x 

Bariatric Surgery: Post-Op Thoughts

I did it! I had the bariatric surgery on the 25th of June! I travelled to Turkey, Istanbul because it was cheaper than other places. The hospital itself was a private hospital and it was an excellent facility. I was admitted the day before the actual surgery where lots of tests were done, including an endoscopy. The next morning was the day of the surgery. It was a little scary because you just don’t know what the outcome will be, but it went smoothly, and it was a success. I have never seen an operating theatre before, so that was a strange experience in itself. I thought I would feel a lot more emotionally just before I had the surgery, but I was surprisingly quite calm, and my brain really was not thinking much. I think I just wanted it over and done with. I remember seeing them inject the anaesthesia and within thirty seconds I was out. After waking up from the surgery I was in complete agony. I could feel where I had been operated on. My vision was very blurred, but I remember seeing that I was being given morphine through a drip after crying out in pain. Thank whoever invented morphine! I stayed in the hospital for four days in total which was an adequate time to recover a little. I say a little because bariatric surgery is a surgery that needs a few weeks to recover properly in my humble opinion, but this is best done at home as you start to resume daily life. I slept a lot after the surgery and each passing day, the pain lessened a little. I started a liquid diet one day after and personally, I loathe liquid diets. However, it is a necessity for two weeks post-surgery. This is definitely the worst part for me. I am on a liquid diet until the 15th of July where I will then be able to start the puree stage. The puree stage lasts for two weeks and then it is solid foods, but still with some restrictions. I am okay with this as this is only the beginning of the journey. I know this part is temporary and eventually, I will be able to cook flavoursome food. 

I did this alone and I am glad I did because this journey is mine and mine only. I wanted it to start off with just me and I am very independent as it is. I travelled to Turkey, had one day of sightseeing and eating delicious Turkish food (their breakfast is divine) and then it was time to go to the hospital. Despite doing this alone and being content with that decision, it has been tough at times. It is the little things you need someone to help with, like helping you get up so there is no pulling near the incision sites, or someone to lift your suitcase at the airport. However, I managed all of that and I am now back in my own little space which I am grateful for. There is no place like home after all. I have been back a few days and have managed to rest a lot so already, I am feeling a better. I am also doing normal things such as driving, walking, doing household chores and so forth. The only things I am struggling with are not being able to bend over to pick things up, so I must bend down by squatting and just do things very slowly in general, like getting in and out of the car. I can sleep but only on my back whilst being turned to the side a little, just so there is no pulling near my incisions. The most difficult thing is getting out of bed because it adds pressure in my stomach, and this is the most painful part. I remember in the hotel one day I got out of bed and cried out in agony because of the physical pain. Since then, I have been taking it much easier, but it takes me a solid five to ten minutes to get myself out of bed. I have low levels of energy, but I am putting that down to the lack of nutrients with only being on a liquid diet. 

This is no walk in the park. The part I struggling with is that I am still feeling hunger and because my brain thinks like a fat person, I think that I can still eat the same as I used to. Deep down though, I know my stomach will not allow this and I am glad. This is the part that proves just how challenging this is because I must constantly have a conversation with myself to remind myself that I do not need a lot of food to be content and that I must listen to my hunger cues, not my brain hunger cues. This is so much more than just having an operation to help you reduce hunger. It is the psychological work that goes into it to help prevent you from getting into the same situation as before. The hunger I was feeling was intense after surgery. I wondered what the difference was because immediately, I did not feel any difference. However, this is down to the fact that the hunger hormone ghrelin has not reduced completely yet. As time progresses, this hormone reduces, thus, not feeling as hungry. I have noticed now, nearly two weeks post-op, that the hunger is reducing and my protein shakes, water, fresh juice (selected fruits) and broth do keep me satisfied. I am interested to see how much I will be able to eat once I do start the other stages and will be able to eat actual food. 

Despite some of the challenges I am currently facing, I don’t regret doing this. After having the surgery, it has become even more clear that this was the absolute best decision for me. I have no regrets and I would highly recommend this to anyone that has had several failed attempts at trying to lose weight. It is not just about losing weight, but it is also about the healthy lifestyle you gain when your entire being is not focused on food. I have already started noticing small differences such as my face looking a little smaller, sleeping more restfully through the night, not to mention a 4kg reduction on the ‘glorious’ scales thus far. There is so much to look forward to but the thing I am looking forward to most is being satisfied with less food that is nutritious, building that healthy lifestyle I have always wanted to achieve. This is a progressive journey where I am learning each day. I am excited to see how my life will be as I continue this lifestyle change. I will document this journey with honesty because I know it is not going to be smooth sailing. It’s going to be one hell of a rollercoaster, but I am in for the thrill! 

Until next time, 

Yours, 

The Unveiled Reflector x 

Bariatric Surgery: Pre-Op Thoughts

I can’t believe I have made the decision to have bariatric surgery! I have never had surgery before, so I am nervous as hell. I hate needles and hospitals, yet here I am, willing to go under the knife! But I guess that just proves how much I want this and how much I need this in all honesty. The surgery date is approaching fast and with it nearing the end of the academic year here in the Middle East, I haven’t had a lot of time to really sit down with my thoughts and gather them until this last week. This is when it hit me like ‘Oh f***, it’s happening’. The fact that the surgery is becoming a reality is scary and nerve-racking. I can’t believe I am about to start a whole new chapter in my book of Life! There have been so many thoughts that have been going through my mind as the date gets closer, but they have all been chaotic. They have been hard to articulate. There has been so much to think about that I almost feel like I do not know where to start. 

I am excited as I embark on this new journey. I wanted my thirties to start off with a healthier and happier me. I can’t help but wonder what this fresh new start will bring. As I have been sitting with some thoughts, I am excited because of what this means and the positive changes I am hoping it will bring. I feel I will start seeing results quite quickly and this will motivate me to keep pushing when I am struggling. It’s also the little things like the fact that my clothes will fit better. I won’t constantly be worrying about my next meal. I will be able to be more physically active because my body will allow it. I won’t be exhausted all the time because of my weight, I won’t be out of breath for walking small distances, food won’t control me, and I won’t have to feel completely uncomfortable in the skin I have, are just some examples. 

Despite all the positive thoughts I have and the excitement of a new chapter, a part of me deep down can’t help but be apprehensive a little. See, the thing is, if you’ve never had to battle with weight to the extent where it has impacted your entire life and it feels like everything has revolved around physically being a certain way, it can be a little difficult to understand why someone like me might have such fears. I’m not saying that my fears are overriding my positive thoughts completely, but at the same time, if I fail with this then I question whether there really is hope for someone like me. See, my biggest fear is that I won’t be successful long term. And that’s what it comes down to. My weight has been a problem for me my entire life. I can’t even begin to imagine a life where it won’t be a problem. However, I think I have come to terms mentally that my weight and this health journey is going to forever be a personal struggle for me. It’s the biggest mental challenge that I face, and it requires a lot of inner work to form healthy habits. I am trying to work out why I am an emotional eater. I am scared that even though I am having surgery, will it really mean I eat less? I can’t imagine what it will feel like to not constantly feel hungry or be worried about food. Bariatric surgery is such a personal decision that I am worried people are going to question how I am losing all this weight and judge me when and if they find out, even when they might not know anything about surgery. I’m trying to do the mental work but it’s hard. It takes a lot, and it is an evolving journey. I can’t imagine what it will feel like as I am changing physically. I’m scared about whether this will even work for someone like me. I can’t imagine what it might feel like to not always be the biggest person in the room, wondering if I am taking up too much space. Maybe I won’t feel like people are judging me all the time or only staring at me because of my physical appearance. Maybe I won’t think that the only thing people are thinking when they look at me is how I let myself get this way. I can’t imagine what it will feel like to eat smaller portions and feel full. I am wondering whether even after the surgery, will my eyes be bigger than my stomach and want to eat more? Will I be able to differentiate between head, emotional and physical hunger? Will my brain be able to catch up to my body whilst I am losing weight, or will I go through body dysmorphia? I am scared that I will go back to old eating habits, feel uncontrollable around food, and that emotional eating will get the better of me. Will I be able to meal prep enough to cook homemade healthy foods and be able to listen to my intuition as to when I should stop eating? Will I be the mindful eater I am working on being? I wonder if I will ever be able to love my body the way I want to because of the loose skin I will most likely have. I know loose skin isn’t the end all and be all and it is something that can eventually be removed, but I feel that feeds into the body dysmorphia and will result in me not feeling different. I am scared that I won’t become active like I want to because I will still be hesitant that my weight will stop me. Most of all, I am scared that food will still be my vice and I will eternally be self-conscious about my physical appearance, feeling like I am not living in the present moment.

It’s a fact that bariatric surgery isn’t going to be a quick fix. In fact, this surgery is just the tool I need to get started. It’s the mental challenge that can be the most difficult part. That’s all it is – a mental game. I know nutrition, a healthy lifestyle and fitness is something that I will forever need to work on. My weight will always be something I need to keep an eye on, and it will forever be a work in progress. It’s a lifelong journey that I am about to commit to, which is why I am fearful. I am wise enough to know that it isn’t going to be smooth sailing and a perfect journey. But I want this change. I have wanted it for so long! I want to be the best version of myself, and I am hopeful that this will enable me to succeed. I don’t want to be who I am physically anymore. It’s tiring and makes me unhappy. I’m just fed up with constantly feeling this way. I hate it and feel like this is always on my mind and prevents me from living the life I dream of living to the fullest. I just wonder if I will ever feel supported on this journey without feeling like food choices are a constant mental battle. Finally, all these chaotic thoughts lead me to one final thought. I have no idea what to expect. A life after bariatric surgery will be completely new territory to me. All I know is that as frightening and as scary as this seems, I am excited nevertheless to begin this new chapter in my book of Life.

Until next time, 

Yours, 

The Unveiled Reflector x 

Frenemy

Do you have a friend that can be identified as a frenemy? That one who is your friend but secretly hates on you? Your friend that seems to be competing with you? Or reminding you of your shortcomings to make themselves feel better? I feel many of us have that one friend at some point in our lives. Friends play an important part of our journey as we progress through life. From a young age, we try to make friends with ‘our’ type of people. Someone we can connect with and share parts of ourselves with. We place our trust in them and hope for a lifelong friendship. Sometimes that works. Sometimes, two friends remain friends forever, because they have a mutual understanding. You trust each other whole-heartedly, they can respect your boundaries and you theirs, you celebrate each other and your successes, and know how and when to give each other space. This is the definition of friendship for me. But I feel that sometimes, friends can secretly envy you.  

At the age of eleven, I made friends with a girl at school. We are born one day apart, both the same star sign, from the same culture, yet we were different because she was skinny, and I was fat. That automatically makes her better, right? Well, according to her, it does. We spoke to each other all day, every day. But from a young age, there was some bullying that was a ‘joke’ in her eyes, all because she made fun of me being fat. See, my thoughts are that if someone is insecure about something, and you do everything to make them feel more insecure, then you are deliberately being malicious. You should not use people’s insecurities against them. Friendship is about trust and trusting your friends enough, to not do something like that because if they do, then that is intentional. They are making a choice to make you feel that way. Growing up, I wanted to be skinny because that is what was classed as beautiful. Anything other than that, would resort to being taunted about things such as not being good enough or not being desirable. So, my alleged best friend thought it was a great idea to nickname me ‘Fatz’, to remind me of my insecurity constantly. Despite having the conversation about how it made me feel, she paid no mind to, especially when she would say it in front of other people in an attempt to belittle and embarrass me. She had no intention of acknowledging how it made me feel because she was used to calling me that.

We got through our GCSE’s and schooling was all coming to an end where we started deciding what our next steps would be. This would be the starting point of where our differences became more prominent. I have always been an advocate of education because for me personally, academic growth is important. Academia is a personal choice. For me, it was important to have views on things happening around the world at a young age and it still is. I never dreamed of going to the sixth form attached to my school. It wasn’t the place for me as I have always been too much of a free spirit. But my friend wanted me to stay because it would mean that she would be lonely without me, and I was selfish for wanting something different that didn’t necessarily involve her.  

Although there was some tension, it was fine because we had a weekend job together at the same place. Here she met a man who was a good ten years older than her and was our manager. Now, being in a new relationship at the age of seventeen with an older man was the best thing that could have happened to her, until it was the worst thing that happened to her. Over a short period of time, our friendship started deteriorating. Namely because she broke the best friend code by talking about all the bad things about her beloved boyfriend to me, and then repeating to him, everything I was advising her, which wasn’t necessarily what he wanted to hear. I ended up becoming the problem in their relationship and he hated me. She was in love so that was the end of our friendship for a year. We eventually reconnected because he was out of her life and she realised that she had made a mistake by sharing everything with him. However, our lives were very different at this point as she had taken on the working world and I had chosen the student life at university, completing my undergraduate degree. 

After finishing university and moving back home, we started to spend more time together. Now at the age of twenty-two, we were in different places in life. She had a stable job, and I was searching for one. I worked as a customer service advisor because it was something temporary until I figured out my next move. However, things started to change once again. There was this constant need to reiterate how she was beautiful because she was skinny and the snapchat pictures of a flat stomach were constant. Every time she headed to the gym, it needed to be known. It was almost like she felt the need to continue using my insecurity to validate herself. She had to constantly remind me that she was something I was not. It even went as far as her telling me that ‘all men want something pretty to look at’ when I trusted her with the experiences I was having with men. I mean how rude! She obviously needed my glasses to recognise that I am more than pretty. I am f****** beautiful!

However, after some time, she reunited with her psychotic long lost lover, and married him for reasons that are still beyond me. Whatever reason, low and behold, it didn’t work out. He was the same aggressive and psychologically abusive man he had always been. They got divorced and a year later she met someone else. Now this man is lovely. He really does love her. But since then, there has been this silent competition that she is in with me, but only by herself. Namely because I don’t compete. I am a firm believer that people’s fate is always different so there is no competition.  We get what is in our destiny and depends on how hard we are willing to work. It was a silent competition because everything became about how wonderful her life was, how much money she was earning and how much her things cost. See, the difference between her and I is that I don’t ever talk about money. It makes me uncomfortable. I feel that people who constantly need to reiterate the price of material possessions to have an interesting conversation are coming from a place of insecurity, almost like they are trying to compensate for something. There is something missing in their lives which is why they must give themselves self-worth and importance by making it a point to tell you how much they earn or what material possessions they have. I appreciate that sometimes we share these things with those who are close to us, but then there is excessively talking about it which is a red flag in my humble opinion. 

Whilst all of this was going on, I had decided to further my own education by studying for a master’s and working full time. However, because I was constantly busy, it was a problem as it meant I didn’t value our friendship. Yet, it was always me that was accommodating her needs for what she needed in this friendship. It was always me listening to her problems because they were bigger than anyone else’s. All the important things were happening in her life. She was getting married, she had bought a house, she was having a baby. The things in my life were not as important such as furthering my education and looking after my sick mum. She had a problem if I would make the effort to call her on my drive home from the library and say she didn’t appreciate that I was doing something else at the same time. It felt like she wanted me to make her a priority in my life, instead of me making myself a priority in my life. 

Now, the problem is we’re still ‘friends’ because you can’t prove someone is a frenemy. Instead, you get told that it is in your head and you’re the jealous friend. You become the problem! But the reason that we are so different is because we took different paths. However, she was never able to appreciate mine because it wasn’t the typical, wanting a fairy-tale ‘happily ever after’, whilst I did everything to appreciate hers. From when we were at school, I always said that I wanted a professional career whereas she was concerned about getting married. We grew up in different environments. My parents were strict but not as strict as hers which made sense as to why she wanted to get married young. She wanted the freedom her family wouldn’t give her and the only way to get that was to have a husband. It’s a cultural thing. 

At the age of thirty, again we are in different places. I work and live abroad; she is married with two children and a husband. We have very different lifestyles. I am grateful for mine. I cherish memories and precious moments with special people. But I feel there is this still this subliminal competition despite me living halfway across the world. I feel that maybe there is something missing in her life which is why material possessions have become a priority in her life. My successes have never really been celebrated in this friendship. Her successes are always extraordinary, and no one gets opportunities like she does which is why her successes are always more important. Everything is about all the job opportunities she has been receiving amidst a pandemic and the amount of money she can earn on a temporary role. I wonder though, is it because she has this need to overly glamourise her working skills because she didn’t pursue higher education and is trying to prove that she is better than me with all that comes her way despite not being as educated? 

As time has gone on, our conversations have become more and more about her life and I find it boring. I want to discuss things that don’t involve money, material things or the refurbishments to her house. Everything is about constantly shopping online and showcasing it on social media, and the minute you raise something about this not being healthy, the jealousy projections begin. She feels the need to be concerned that I am single because I should really get a move on with starting a family. Why is that associated with success? I am trying to understand what the real issue is here because I don’t think having a family is associated with success. Having a family like a partner or children, is a choice we make. And I respect people who make that choice. But I also need people to understand that for those of us that don’t, we also need to be respected just as much, without being labelled as ‘getting on a bit.’  

Why can people we think are our friends, be like this towards us? I am genuinely trying to work out whether this is all in my head. I am trying to make sense of it because if I am the issue here, I want to work on this. Is it that she constantly needed to make me feel like I was inadequate to make herself feel adequate? Or am I just experiencing this in a negative way, and she may be coming from a place of love? I’m uncertain. It’s just that the difference is, I have never spoken about her insecurities or used them against her. It’s not the person I am because I believe that unless you are perfect yourself, you have no right to do that. To anyone. Ever! So, in my mind, I am trying to comprehend why she would need to remind me of mine. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Tell me if you have, or have had a frenemy, how you knew and how you dealt with this. 

Until next time. 

Yours, 

The Unveiled Reflector x