Diary of a Female ‘Soutie’ (pronounced So-tea)

My partner teases me that I’m a ‘Soutie’ and I ask him what that means. “Soutpiel” he replies. It’s an Afrikaans word. I find out it’s rude. It means ‘salt penis’. “But I don’t have a penis,” I protest! “I’m a girlie, in case you hadn’t noticed…”

Let's face it
Let’s face it

A Soutpiel for those who are in the dark, is a derogatory term for a South African with an English Heritage. He has one foot in each country, with his penis dangling in the ocean between. He’s not English and he’s not South African either. He can’t let go of either identity.

My partner has a point. I’m English and I live in South Africa. I wanted to let go of England and immerse myself here, but I can’t. Not fully. I was born on that small grey Island in the North and lived there for half a century. I spent almost thirty years in the dazzling metropolis of our Capital with its bloody history and cornucopia of eclectic places. London, as they say, is a collection of villages strung together to create an exciting city. My earliest memories were of being taken on the train to Waterloo, then catching the Bakerloo Line to Oxford Circus with my mother. I vowed to live in London as soon as I was old enough and I did. The City is overcrowded now. The infrastructure is at breaking point. Roads, trains, tubes, buses have reached capacity. Every hour is rush hour, unless it’s 3am in the suburbs. It chewed me up and spat me out… onto a beach on the Cape Peninsula.

I can’t go back now. Cape Town is raw and beautiful. It’s a clash of contrasts amid wild nature. It’s a small city with a great big mountain in the middle. Each neighbourhood has its unique personality. You can be anyone you want in Cape Town. You can do more or less anything you want. There is a certain disregard for rules which I love. Health and safety would have a seizure here. Variety. Food, great wine, music, people, weather. All four seasons in one day. Wind like you wouldn’t know. Hot penetrating sun. Biblical rain. Extremes. Sharks, Dolphins, Whales. Sports, dangerous and not so dangerous. Mountains, rivers, forests and long white beaches with fine sand and clear blue ocean. Freezing ocean. The pace of life is slower. There is a greater emphasis on leisure and enjoying oneself. Who wants to be slaving in an office when you could be lying on a beach, paragliding or sipping ‘sundowners’ somewhere trendy?
I miss my children terribly. Phone contact is not the same as a big hug. Following them on Facebook is not the same as watching them step into the world of work. I miss the thrill of London and the fact I know exactly where to buy anything unusual. I miss my friends and my old haunts. Every morning I check the weather app on my phone. Another sunny day in Cape Town. I check how the weather is doing in London. You can take the girl out of England but you can’t take England out of the girl.

The Battle of Evermore

You wouldn’t know it from the outside, but I’ve been battling with myself for over 40 years. On the one hand I love food and on the other I love being slim. I’ve never been overweight and most of my life I’ve been on the lower end of the acceptable weight range for my height. I’ve never had a full-blown eating disorder, but I have controlled my eating habits. During my late teens and twenties I was fashionably underweight, with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 18. The healthy range is 18.5 to 24.5, as almost every woman reading this will know. My current BMI is 23 and I’m the fattest I’ve ever been apart from when I was pregnant. And there’s the problem.

Weighing up the odds
Stop the insanity

I’m used to being petite. I’m used to wearing slim-fitting clothes. With every decade, I’ve allowed myself to put on a few pounds. Age 30, after the birth of my daughter, I allowed myself an additional 8 lbs -about 3.5 kilos, BMI 19.8.  I was a mother and I was older, I told myself.  Age 40, my weight increased by another half Stone – about 3 kilos, BMI 21.  I figured it was healthier for my age and a comfortable compromise. I was a little heavier but it was easier to maintain. I was slim and remained in the lower half of the range despite toned muscles, which we all know weigh more than fat. I was happy with my body until last year: I hit the menopause, age 52. I’m now in the upper half of the healthy range and I’m appalled.

I enjoy food and the occasional alcoholic drink – wine, champagne, whiskey. I’m not going to exist on a low carb, low fat tasteless diet. I’m not going to eat 100% raw or juice for seven days: It gives me heartburn and an acid environment. I feel weak and miserable, dizzy and light-headed. Don’t tell me that’s the toxins coming out because I did raw and clean for three months once. My nails broke, my hair fell out and I could barely get out of bed. It simply didn’t suit me. Chinese Medicine and Indian Ayurveda would agree.

I’m at my best emotionally and energetically when I’m eating a balanced, wholesome diet. I enjoy quality food made from scratch. I eat meat, eggs, fish, salad, vegetables, fruit, olive oil, butter, coconut oil, seeds, nuts, rice, sweet potatoes, stir fries, dark 70% or more raw chocolate and sometimes a sweet treat. I try to eat organic and free-range when I can. I feel better when I eat porridge for breakfast with a little honey and rice milk. When I slather butter or olive oil over my vegetables, I feel more satisfied and have more energy. My skin is smoother. I don’t eat highly processed foods. I don’t eat lots of wheat. I don’t do crisps or sweets. I eat very little dairy and my portions are quite small. It’s rare for me to eat more than one course in a restaurant.

I try to walk every day for 45 minutes – exercising my heart as I head up towards Table Mountain. I try to do yoga two or three times a week, and I try to dance for an hour on Thursdays. I’m pretty fit for my age, considering that three years ago I was burned out with adrenal fatigue.

So why am I beating myself up about the 10 lbs (4.5 kilos) that just won’t budge?

It horrifies me to realise I’ve probably passed my neurosis onto my daughter. It horrifies me to realise I’m jealous of every skinny lady I see who is over 40. It horrifies me that I have wasted so much time, money and effort keeping myself below my natural, healthy weight for most of my life. Has it made me a better person? Has it helped me to grow and mature? Has it contributed to society or humanity in any way? Did it make me more attractive? Probably not, but it did make me more confident… Why must my confidence rest on the size and shape of my body? What am I (and Western Society) teaching young girls?

Do I want to continue the daily battle to eat like a sparrow and exercise like a race-horse? Do I want to defy my genetic inheritance by insisting I must be thinner? Do I want to believe that every skinny woman out there is judging me because I haven’t had the willpower to exist on grilled fish, green leaves, juice and coffee? Do I want to believe I’m unloveable and unattractive because I have curves in the wrong places? I’m 53 for God’s sake! Something has to change.

I look at the world around me. Cape Town, London, any First World City. I see women. I see two categories: Skinny and overweight. I filter out the average, normal figure. I focus on the skinniness and feel shameful. Why aren’t my legs like that, I lament? There is nothing missing in my life save skinny legs, hips and buttocks. I have a feeling it’s time to let go. My health is more important: Glowing, vital, vibrant health… and the green juice ain’t doing it.

#weight #diet #menopause #women #health #slimming #eating #self-esteem #confidence #curves

Hello World!

SunsetWelcome to my blog, Musings from the Far Reaches. I suppose you could call it the Diary of a Conscious Woman:  By that I mean spiritually aware and awake.

I hope to inspire you through writing about my personal experiences.  For the past few years I have been creating my life ‘on Purpose’ – according to my Higher Purpose and purposefully.  It took courage to live the life I love by following my true bliss – my Soul’s Purpose –  but in doing so, I continue to grow, heal and  create more love and joy.

You can read more about what I do on my website – http://www.bridgetfinklaire.com – or take a look at the pages on this site (click ‘menu’ at the top right).


Happy Reading!

Love & Blessings – Bridget 🙂