Can I start off by saying how excited I am to be writing this post. It has been one I have been thinking about writing for a while but I think now is a fitting time to do it. Let’s just say that the last few days have been absolutely beautiful. The sun been shining (something I never get tired of), daylight savings started and it marked one year since Bruno and I started dating. When mini milestones like that happen I always find myself reminiscing on the year that has passed and reflecting how much has changed. If I think back to the person I was this time last year I would have to say that she would not believe me if I described to her the way life would be now.
Safe to say that this is definitely the happiest I have been in my whole life. I feel like I have just become so much more grateful for the little things and have really taken a big step in my self-confidence. I always knew entering a relationship that I would learn lots about the other person, what I didn’t expect was how much I would learn about myself in the process. Little habits I didn’t know I had, fears I didn’t know existed and sides of me I had never seen before surfaced. At first I was hesitant but looking back I really question why. Now I am not going to launch into an extremely mushy post, rather I just want to share what being in a relationship has taught me about myself.
Before I was with Bruno I had been on my own little journey of self-discovery. I was learning (slowly) the things I enjoyed doing. I was learning how to do those things and not care about what other people thought (table for one please). I was working out in my head how I want my life to be. I had always known I wanted to do something closely linked to food, that I want to help people, that I never want to stop learning and that family was something that was always going to be close to my heart. I always thought that some of those things would be my ‘side hustle’ and not something I would be able to share so much with someone. I have to say that Bruno took me by surprise with that one. We had been friends for almost three years before we started dating and I knew he was a foodie BUT what I didn’t know was just how good he was in the kitchen. He has let me explore my passion for food in a way that I could never have imagined.
He is definitely the more creative and patient one. It amazes me the way he can make perfect circles with dough, the way he can symmetrically cut vegetables, how he knows what flavours work and that he always is willing to try my concoctions even when I am not 100 per cent on them. Cooking with him is hands down one of my favourite things to do. I love the post gym morning breakfasts and the nights that we cook dinner together. In my future I definitely see myself working with food in some capacity. I never thought much about what I was doing in the kitchen. His encouragement is a big part of the reason that I have the confidence to share a recipe each week.
When we started going out I have to be honest and say that I was not fully recovered. My eating was still fairly strict. I wouldn’t be able to just go to the fridge and break off a block of chocolate unless it was some kind of occasion. I would pretty much eat very similarly everyday unless I was at his house for dinner and then I would just allow myself to eat what we were having. The more time we spent together, often bonding over food, the more I questioned why I cared so much about my strict regime. Every week I would find myself being super keen for dinner at his house to see what we would be having. Excitement over food was something I had definitely lost so when that got sparked up again I was elated. With gentle encouragement from Bruno I tried new foods and was reunited with old classics I had stopped eating. This seemingly simple shift changed the way I thought about food and myself. I watched my body change with resistance at first and with grace over time.
I came to realise that my family, friends and Bruno didn’t actually care about my physique at all. They, for one reason or another, love me for the person I am. That was a very special realisation to come to.
With my change in my mental state came changes to my relationships with others. I feel like I am more tolerant, more willing to go out and try new things and less likely to have to give excuses for the things I am doing. Now I am by no means perfect. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t care at all what people thought about certain things. However, I have to say that I am quite impressed that I can openly share parts of my life on Instagram every day and not stress too much when I click ‘share.’
Family is something that has always been close to my heart. I think for a while there I had kind of lost touch with it a bit. I let my studies consume my life more than I should have. I never used to see the value of just sitting at the table with family talking about our day or even just sitting in each others company to watch a movie. I thought that my time studying was more valuable than the time with my family because “family will always be there.” I look back now and realise that there are times when study takes priority but also that it is so lovely that I still get to see my family everyday and spend time with them. Now don’t get me wrong there are days when we want to kill each other but I acknowledge that we are just passionate people with strong heads that are going to clash from time to time. I love that there is usually always someone to go for a walk with, to talk to, to sing with (Whitney Houston karaoke anyone?) and to laugh with (or at). I now also feel incredibly blessed to have another family to do all those things with! Sitting around the table at Bruno’s nonna and nonno’s house with all his cousins is one of my favourite ways to finish the week. I love betting on what we are having for dinner and the random conversation always going on at the table.
Exercise for a while had been a chore. It was something I did so that I could justify the foods I ate without too much guilt. In the last year I have just let my body RELAX. It baffles me how lenient I can be with myself. I never thought that my exercise routine was something I would be able to bend on. In the past I saw a walk as just an activity and not exercise. I now see the value of exercise as something I do for me and my mental health. I have finally just started to listen to my body. Some days I genuinely enjoy a HIIT workout, other days all I want to do is go for a long walk. I have found value in the time I go and exercise. It is not just a monotonous task that sits on my to do list. It is something I actually want to do for ME and my heart and mind. it was pretty soon after I changed my relationship with food that I changed my attitude towards exercise. I thought “who actually cares if I went for a walk and skipped the weights today”… uhhh NOBODY! Why put my body under the stress of exercise when I just want to walk and talk with my sister?
Bruno does love to hit the gym, something I love because I find it hard to describe to people that I struggle to think clearly if I haven’t moved my body. But the kind of exercise he does that I genuinely enjoy is playing indoor soccer. Now if you had told me a year ago that I would be getting up at crazy times to watch Liverpool and the World Cup I would have told you that you’re crazy! But again things have changed. I actually get into the indoor games and love seeing how excited Bruno gets when Liverpool wins.
I think the common theme that has come across is that the way I look at life now is so much simpler. Sure I still have the occasional freak out of “what am I doing with my life right now” but they are not nearly as frequent. I have learned to go back to a place in my mind when I stop and reflect on how truly grateful I am for the things I have. I know how lucky I am to have family and friends I love and that I know love me too. I see beauty in simple nights in with my family. I value my own health so that I can give the best of myself to others.
I think that as much as all these subtle changes would have happened over time, there is no way they would have happened in the time that they did without Bruno’s influence. It amazes me how many things you can learn by spending time with another person. I literally was in the best mood all weekend. After 10 courses at Gazi, a picnic in Williamstown and plenty of laughter in between I know for sure that this was the first of many anniversaries we will have together.
“I knew the second I met you that there was something about you I needed. Turns out it wasn’t something about you at all. It was just you.” –Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire.