Return to Glory

Following on from my blog on Deforestation for my soul I decided that enough was enough. To truly be well I need to take all possible steps to achieve this. At the moment it is a fact that I am not able to walk far enough to go to a beauty salon, neither am I well/strong enough to bend over and shave/wax my own legs. Amazing friends and lovers have offered to help me, for which I feel immensely blessed. However, taking care of my body is something I have always done myself, something, which ultimately I do for myself so I felt that it was important that I maintain independence and dignity.

love hair

If I have learnt one thing by being forced onto this journey-to-health, it is that giving up, staying in my PJ’s, crying, not washing, fearfully monitoring every single brain wave, scared by every spasm, staying in the house, watching TV and blindly ‘following Doctor’s advice’ is not the way I want to go. All that I will find on that path is more pain, less confidence and depression, affecting not only myself but the people I love. I think that when you love someone, you are really happy when they are happy. Therefore to make the people I love happy, my confidence and happiness are essential. Health and Happiness are intrinsically linked and it is my mission to achieve both, come what may! YEAH! UP YOURS SPINAL INJURY & EPILEPSY!

Conquer

With this in mind, I set about searching for beauticians who might be able to come to my house rather than me going to them. I figured it was probably going to be expensive, but I came to the conclusion that a beauty therapy session would be as valuable to me a Physiotherapy, so it would be worth it. Google provided a host of interesting possibilities, some rather less savoury sounding than others! I felt rather naive and innocent as my searches brought up dozens of ‘specialist, private massages…’ hmmm…. anyway! I eventually found a couple which I thought looked a) real b) had trained beauticians and c) where less likely to stab me and burgle the house!

So having made the decision that I was actually going to do this and I was going to pay for it! I rang the first one, I was so disappointed when a grumpy sounding woman told me she couldn’t possibly come to our house for less than 3 hours and I would have to have at least FIVE treatments…charmed. The next one I tried told me they were so busy they couldn’t come to see me for a month! I then came across a service with a fantastic name: Return To Glory! (although the name sounds a little religious-cult-esq!) I thought that’s exactly what I am trying to do! I want to return to glory… man!

On further inspection I discovered that Return To Glory, are a well established mobile beauty service started in 2007, initially aimed at new-mums wanting beauty therapies but unable to leave their new babes. Return To Glory therapists now work all over London, have featured in Vogue, are in partnership with Neals Yard and interestingly for me, also work with the NHS and as if all of this wasn’t enough, to top it off their latest blog is entitled Hands on treatments: they’re real medicine in which they discuss scientific reasons why incorporating beauty therapies into daily life should be seen as a necessity and not a luxury!  Return To Glory, you are SOLD to one (easily) excited Mrs Baena!

Return to Glory

So I rang them up and they were friendly as could be, they explained how it all works and answered all my questions about their different services and were totally un-flustered when I mentioned my medical conditions and amazingly arranged for a therapist to come to see me the next day. They take payment online or via phone prior to the therapist coming, which would normally alarm me, but actually I think in this instance it was safer and then when the therapist comes you don’t have to worry that a stranger knows you have cash in the house and about all the negativity around money, you can just enjoy your treatment. I also thought they are very well priced considering everything, it was only £9 more expensive than super-posh salon down my road, so that rocked my world too!

The beautician who turned up on my doorstep was called Pam she radiated calm and kindness. A quality often so undervalued. Pam was very professional and relaxed, as well as waxing Pam also did some of the best threading on my eyebrows I’ve ever had, the world honestly looks brighter. Pam seemed to intuitively know when I wanted to chat and when I wanted to be quiet, she was accommodating and never made me feel rushed, she listened to me, let me move when my back ached and gave me time.

I had to fill in a ‘health questionaire’ as you always do, I wish I’d kept a copy actually as this one was one of the most lovely I’ve ever seen. These questionaires often put a knot in my stomach after once being refused a treatment after ticking ‘yes’ to epilepsy, but  after the first question, this one didn’t at all. It was also more than just tick boxes and asked questions like ‘How do you hope to feel after your treatment: relaxed, happy, beautiful, energetic?’

In summary and with thanks to Pam, I truly feel that today has been a massive step forward on my return to glory. I felt so much better that I even walked to the pond ON MY OWN today, something I haven’t dared to do for at least a month. Proof, if you need any more that beauty therapies are as valuable as medical treatments and should be seen as such. One Love to all especially Holistic Beauty Therapists!

I love puddles

 

 

 

 

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One Love Lawyers

It has come to my attention that people enjoy making sweeping negative generalisations about certain occupations. Traditionally, Estate Agents, Parking Wardens, McDonald’s employees, Energy Companies, Lawyers and most recently Bankers have come under fire.

Today I thought I would share my experience with the world regarding one of those most terrible of people…a Lawyer. Until I met this man, until I found myself in need of him I too was likely to think Lawyer = gold-digging-blood-sucker. He opened my eyes and changed my mind.

I was having a very difficult time with my employers at the time, they freaked out after ‘remembering’ I was epileptic, one thing lead to another and I soon found myself battling mountains of paperwork and discrimination. I didn’t know what to do, where to go or how to even get out of it. I was so stressed my Epilepsy got worse. Citizen’s Advice were sort of useful but could only tell me enough to know I needed more help, charities had too little funding and sent me back to the Advice bureau. It was a vicious circle and I was stuck. My family tried to help, but what could they do? None of us understood all the legal jargon being thrown around.

Until a friend of a friends, friends, friend (you get the picture! someone I totally didn’t know!) heard my story. Out of the blue I got an email from a man saying he was an Lawyer specialising in employment law. He said he would advise me pro-bono. From that moment, I felt a huge weight lift. He explained all my rights clearly, un-patronisingly, he responded to emails/texts/calls within about 5minutes. He came tomy house to talk things through with me several times. He wrote letters in support of me. It was an enlightening experience to see how Lawyers really work. How they have the amazing power to really help transform someone’s life for the better. He helped me to hold my head up, and have authority in a pretty grim situation,  having a stranger believe in you is a powerful thing.

Sadly for Legal reasons I can’t name him, but I wanted to share this story with the world wide web. I am sure there are Baddie lawyers. It is a human fact – Baddies are everywhere! But I hope my story will make people think twice, before they brand entire occupations as the embodiment of evil and greed. One Love to all including Estate Agents, Parking Wardens, McDonalds employees, Energy Companies, Bankers and especially Lawyers!

Awesome

 

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Our female bodies

Whilst I was researching for my previous post Wave Rider I came across a few images which really frustrated and saddened me. These are perhaps the worst two.

Firstly, anyone with even the tiniest bit of knowledge of Sport, particularly surfing or kites would know that, if the shiny-skinny lady standing with that board, tried to get on it with all that oil she’d slide straight off! It is also highly likely she’d snap in two if she did manage to stay on the board, as her skeletal frame couldn’t manage the strain!…(a little poetry there as an extra treat for ya’ll)

Secondly, and I’m looking at you Mr.Branson! You sort of made me laugh with this picture but if this is how you like to spend you spare time -great, enjoy! but don’t publish it! Whilst you are demonstrating your Testosteroned-Manly-Prowess, living out some sort of pre-pubescent fantasy there, you are also undermining every surfing girl, every woman that has ever dared to Kite surf alone! You might as well have had a Kite reading: “The only way women can access surf is by being models and nakedly clinging helplessly to my back!” It makes me sad that in the C21st  in the supposedly ‘developed’ West there is STILL so much gender and body discrimination, illustrated by sport images like this.

Everyone knows that Male Footballers get paid trillions, entirely because they are male. People in general do not even know who the female players are and no one knows or cares if they even get paid. In Surfing if you look at the female surfers they rarely have model body shapes. They are serious athletes with bodies that show it. However, there is also no doubt that it remains true that women who fit into the skinny-model body shape category still find it easier to get sponsorship and be able to continue as athletes. Sex-sells. These are the current ASP Top ranked female surfers, I would like to see more of them coming up when you google ‘Surf’ and less of Branson.

I am not going to rant on about Gender discrimination in Surfing, if you would like to see an article on this check out SurfSister which does a brilliant job. My aim as ever is to be positive, to celebrate that progress has been made but I also want to highlight that more is still needed. I hope we will continue to see more women in the water and less pictures of bronzed bottoms, lovely as they may also be!

Underlying all of this is, (I suppose my main reason for writing, perhaps a selfish reason)my fear that because of my spinal injury I might not be able to do some of these physical sports again. I don’t know that yet and I won’t dwell on it. But if that is the case, at the very least I want to support and champion those women who do. They are women who truly, independently use and appreciate their bodies, in harmony with nature and I think that is an amazing thing to behold!

 

 

 

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Wave Rider

One of the hardest things dealing with both Epilepsy and my spine, is accepting and understanding that both these ‘conditions’ are not going to ‘totally-heal’. Whatever that means. They are part of my life and I have to learn to live with them, not let them rule me. I need to learn to manage them and not wait for that elusive day when ‘it’ll all be back to normal‘. That day won’t come. Sometimes you have to know when it’s time to SUCK IT UP. This is one of those times. These health challenges are part of me, but do not need to define me.

My problem or perhaps my blessing, depending on how you see it is that in my mind I am an adrenaline junkie. I LOVE (in capitals) extreme sports. I can watch Surfers and Snowboarders for hours. I love climbing, I love Kites so big they can carry you around the world. I love watching humanity pushing themselves against Gaia, working with her. It takes my breath away. I love sand in my toes and salt-stiffened hair dreaded by cold wind.

I love the simplicity in these sports, the way they all force you to be in the moment. I am so deeply Pisces, maybe in a past life I was a Ceatecan. Huge Ocean swells and wild winds call to me. When I look out of the window and see trees leaning over in the wind, the hairs on the back of my neck prickle up and I can’t wait to get out into the elements.

This is all at odds with reality. I really feel the cold, I’m actually very fearful, I’m not especially good at any of these sports. I am downright terrified on Snow! I hate the competetive-too-cool-for-school attitude that is so dominant on the slopes. As I’ve got older, I’ve definately developed some Vertigo too. Last year on my probably-all-time-happiest-holiday-in-europe in Sardinia, I actually had to be helped/pushed/cajoled down from an oversized rock…! Hardly the extreme sportswoman of my dreams! But despite all this in my mind this is me:

I think it’s great that I have this Schizophrenic image of myself! It is my dream to make at least some of it a reality. Some of it already is. I am brave, I suspect actually braver than alot of the people in those pictures. I might not slide into Giant Barrells and stare down a mountain abyss. But I have stared into strangers eyes and not known my own name (and not because I was intoxicated), I have been next to someone I love and been unable to reach out and touch them. I have known when to ask for help. I am no less a rider, no less a surfer. It’s just that the waves and couloir’s Gaia sends to me are currently a bit different to other peoples.

 

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