15 Jul Originally featured on Voella
My Story by Jules Allen
(This was originally featured on www.voella.com in 2014)
Hello, a few of the gorgeous people of Twitter have asked about my weight loss and confidence building journey as they were looking for inspiration or advice. What better way to share it than through a guest blog on the very place that has helped me so much.
I have always had confidence issues. Horrendous bullying experiences in my formative years resulted in me leaving school at the age of 15. I left the building but the feeling stays with you always, I did things I am now ashamed of but it was a course I had to take. Even now a name, a song or even just a word can take me back and I have ‘THAT’ feeling again, hopelessness, like I am nobody. Driving me to want to hide as I can’t go through it again.
I remember watching Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and she says a line, “If people put you down enough you start to believe it.” That has stuck with me for years and I totally get what she meant.
The last 12 months of my life have been particularly difficult. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Rheumatoid Arthritis and PCOS. I was also having a difficult time with so called “friends,” so I did what I did best and I ate, A LOT! My life was a cycle of binge, purge, hide and repeat, not great to say the least.
The shining light came when my soul mate asked me to marry him. Even though I was at my heaviest he still wanted me. So in July last year my son walked me down the aisle, all 3 kids did a reading and it was a beautiful, perfect day. Luckily, I didn’t let the absence of my so called “group of friends” blacken my most precious day.
I was blocked on social networking sites just days before the wedding, no reasons were given, everyone just stopped talking to me. Memories of school days came flooding back, only this time the bullies were adults. I was ignored at school when collecting my children, remarks were made about me when I was within earshot. I hit rock bottom. Now I wonder, was that envy because my life was changing?
Weighing more than I had ever weighed in my life I didn’t leave the house. My illnesses were in full flare up so I just gave in! The demons I had been battling since I was ten years old had finally won and I had lost my fight!
So I stayed home. I stopped going to sports days or doing the school pick ups, the bullies effectively hurting my children as much as they hurt me. I hid myself away and I ate. I didn’t show my husband any affection or intimacy as I thought “why would he want me?” The depression had taken over completely. I received a disability badge in the post from Mr UK government who said I was unfit to work.
So, here I was 37 years old, overweight, scared to go out and with basically no reason to be here. For the second time in my life I considered ending it all! I lost a friend to suicide last year so I knew the devastation it left behind. I was not going there, not doing that to my family, so I sat and explained everything to my husband. He had been so patient and understanding I think he was relieved that I still wanted him. It was me I hated.
Time For Change
So I kicked myself up the butt and joinedSlimming World, shaking like you wouldn’t believe but knew I had to do it.
I started reading again and like the rest of the nation discovered 50 Shades of Grey. The story of love and desire sparked something in me. I wanted to be sexy for my hubby. I had been like that early on so why couldn’t I now? We had always had a great sex life but lately I couldn’t undress in front of him never mind anything else.
As the weight dropped I started to feel more confident and there is nothing sexier than a confident woman. I had been on Twitter for a while and followed E L James and Sylvia Day. Following them, I was directed to @voella and asked had I considered being a VOE Lady whatever that was… I said “Oh no, I don’t do all that!” to which I was directed to the website and WOW it blew my mind! This wasn’t all down and dirty, this was erotica at its best. TheScribblings, the stories, guides and interviews drew me in. I was so intrigued I signed up there and then. I was introduced to The Voice, who I don’t mind saying I have a big crush on, and I got to know Amanda Carrington (very big girl crush) who has taught me much more than I can ever put into words.
Then I met the VOE family and WOW! my life exploded. I had an old photo up as my avi and within a week the ladies of VOE had me putting a new one up and it felt good. Hubs saw a massive change in me to the point I had to stop him emailing Amanda and all the VOE ladies personally to convey his gratitude. It hasn’t all been roses and sunshine though. There have been moments on my Twitter journey where I have felt echoes of the demons of my past. But I did not curl up in a corner! I took strength from the lessons I have learned, the friends I have made and the family that loves me and I have put on my red lippy and said “if you don’t like me I don’t care”.
Looking To The Future
I am still on a weight loss journey. I’ve currently lost 40lbs, four dress sizes and thirty inches from my whole body and came second in Slimming World Woman Of The Year Award for the region. I am 12lb away from my target and I have never felt better. I still have my issues, who doesn’t? I still have negative days where I just don’t feel good enough and the demons take me, but I nip on Twitter and talk to my VOE family and I am usually smiling by the end. Who could fail to be inspired by an international community of like minded, beautiful women.
I have learnt so much since joining the family, how confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can wear and how you don’t have to be anyone other than yourself. A very dear new Twitter friend said to me “I got to know you way before I saw the photo, I love the real you and now quite fancy the gorgeous girl in the picture as well.
The main thing I have come to understand is this: you can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.
I have met some of the most inspirational people I think I will ever know and I am so pleased that I can call them my friends. I know I have made some true friends for life through the power of the virtual world.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story.
By Jules Allen