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those childhood memories that ruin our creativity

Sydney, Australia “The Grounds”

Every time I try to diet, go raw, eliminate sugar, go dairy free, gluten free or paleo, the worst result of my efforts is what I like to term my “Hangry Bear”.

One day I am focussed, motivated and determined, next minute I want to tear the head off any person that is in my vicinity.

Food and I have a very sordid past.

I don’t have a long list of ex lovers or a deep history of family dysfunction but I have a whole cupboard full of stories that will make a decent memoir one day.

A memoir about diets, failure and the never ending New Years Resolution of finding my health again.

My Hangry Bear self is always associated with food or lack of it.

My Hangry Bear comes out roaring especially when I feel embarrassed, when I feel shame and when I feel defeated.

The Bear self is not actually hungry, it is just demanding attention, it is asking for my help, it is seeking someone to tell it to calm down everything is going to be okay.

Lately I have discovered a story that is directly linked to the birth of my Hangry little bear. I was ten years old, I remember the colour of my ballet leotard, I remember the moment when my Ballet teacher read out the words, that would forever change my relationship with food.

One line written in stone, that birthed a angry, shamed filled relationship with food that has plagued me ever since. A little ballerina, who desired so much to live her adult life on a stage performing and dancing to make people smile.

The examiners words on my report card that year, completely changed the course of my life.

She wrote this; (I was not even in highschool yet)

“Amanda, has the capacity to go all the way to the top with Ballet, except she is too fat.”

Full stop.

Hello Hangry Bear.

Hello food as my comfort

Hello food every moment when I feel shamed, embarrassed or on the verge of dreaming for greater days.

I battle with food, because it is my arch nemisis of both pleasure and pain.

Talking with a counsellor recently she asked me this question “If you could go back to that moment and speak to the little girl what would you say?”

I replied “I wouldn’t talk to the little girl, I would walk straight up to that examiner and I would tell her that she was wrong. That words have such significant power over children and do you know the damage you have done in writing such condemning and shaming words over a young childs life. A child that so deeply respects and reveres you.”

My adult response floored me.

I felt empowered, I felt overwhelmed at the capacity to stand up for my ten year old me.

I felt like for the first time in my life, I could rebuild those broken ruins and calm my hangry bear.

Maybe my bear could even go into hibernation for a very, very long time.

I am still battling every day at the moment with this area of my life, but Brene Browns latest book Rising Strong is completely unravelling these parts of my life and asking my shivering, shamed self to step out from those places that are holding me captive.

Chapter four and five have been very difficult chapters for me to read.

As we rumble with those Hangry Bears hiding in our deep places and when we face the true reason why we are responding out of shame, failure and hiddenness we cannot go back again without changing.

We can read words such as;

“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort, choosing what is right over what is fast, fun or easy; and choosing to practise our values rather than simply professing them.” Brene Brown

Here in this forum I can be all “you can do it”, “live the life you have dreamed of” and “Go make your dreams happen”…

I cannot be completely true to the whole picture, if I am not facing the sewer rats from my past, those stories from my childhood so deeply connected to my creative pursuits, dreams and passions and make you think that I have it all together.

I rumble and wrestle constantly with my weight, because I allow those stories from my past to frame my appetite instead of the truth.

When I choose courage when I look in the fridge rather than comfort.

When I choose to do what is right for my health, my family and my future rather than what is fast, fun or easy.

When I choose to practise the values I write about here instead of just professing what I think you want to hear.

Only then am I able to face those places of deep brokenness and see ever lasting change.

This year I am facing down that Hangry Bear and I am determined to discover what it is that provokes Him. I am determined to find ways to woo Him. I am wanting to live beyond this place of shame and embarrassment in my life.


That was heavy,

A question for our book club members who are reading along and commenting.

What goals have you set, that rock up on your New Years List every year? Do you have a Hangry Bear running around wreaking havoc, trying to undo your efforts every year?

Today, is the first time in a long time that I don’t want to press publish.


This book is hard work,



16 thoughts on “those childhood memories that ruin our creativity

  1. Wow … tears … and an internal me too … with a qualifier … do I really want to go find my Hangry Bear? I agree this book is getting harder. As I’ve said before though “hard but good”. Thanks for pressing publish xx

    1. Thank you so much. It took me all day to even come back and acknowledge that I had published this. Ha ha.

      New days, new ways.

      I want to change. Big love to you. Thanks for being such a significant part of this journey

  2. Courage abounds dear Amanda – my heart ached more than you can ever imagine, for your 10 year old self. I was the fat one in my family (as described by the neighbour within my hearing – there was the one with glasses and the one with the big ears and the pretty one and then me – simply the fat one. Food had been my drug of choice up until about 3 weeks ago. This book has given me tools to deal with my emotions that have been pushed down not for years but for decades. I am grateful that my Hangry Bear is in hibernation and believing that as I do the work with God’s help when it awakens after a long sleep a new leaner me will emerge ready for my last quarter – better equipped to do the work with more stamina and healthier than I have been for a very long time. Now for the choice ………. remain in denial or press post………….

    1. Oh Gosh. Thank you so much for commenting, it is such a great book but so confronting hey.

      That is such a beautiful expression of what I believe is just such a powerful revelation for us both.

      XXOO AmandA

  3. […] Today’s post by Amanda tells of a lifelong battle with food and all the issues that surround it. I think most of have battled this arch enemy. Food is really only fuel, but for many of us it’s a stumbling block to living life wholeheartedly. […]

    1. Thanks so much Elaine. Woah, what a big time this book club seems to be. Thanks for being such a significant part of the journey.


  4. wow! I can so relate, this is me all over. I can also remember the very first time I was called fat at the age of 12. It’s so true that words have such a big impact on our lives. It’s good to know there are great tools out there to help us in this area! I think I need to get this book!
    Thanks for sharing xx

    1. Gosh, Thanks for being so honest. Can’t wait to see the story unfold my friend

  5. Thanks for sharing Amanda, I’ve been the chubby one of my family since i was born. Infact, it is a very normal asian thing to say about family members and friends -_-, i have only recently lost a lot due to health reasons.
    The raw diet not only made me hangry, the stress of sticking to it, caused me to catch two viruses. I like how you are a balancing force to social media. God Bless, and also thank you, i love my Christmas Wreath. =)

    1. Hellooo,

      I cant wait to hang out with you again. It was so nice to meet you. Thanks for writing and being honest. Can’t wait to hear more stories of your ballet and creative pursuits.



  6. Hey Amanda,
    I haven’t had time to read this chapter yet, but I really treasured reading your post. Thanks for being such a courageous and humble leader for us. I read every word holding my breath knowing how sacred each word was. Thank you for sharing.
    The individual issues are different, but the feelings are the same, you inspire me to be a better me, to face my fears to be free of them. I really hope to nestle down and get those chapters read in the next day. Bless you.

  7. Hi ladies,

    As with you, I’m loving this book. I’m playing catchup at the moment, but not putting pressure on myself to speed read as I really want to absorb and process the treasures that lie within it.

    For me, this book will be one that I pickup time and again to re-gain perspective as I navigate through the twists and turns and bumpy roads that lead to wholehearted living. It’s very timely for me as this whole year has had both rewarding and painful moments, yet when I consider it I realise that what has been happening was me ‘coming up against myself’, as Brene talks about. A while back I decided and have been trying not to pass blame or make excuses but objectively look at some of my behaviours and responses that need to change. I want to mature, grow up and do things differently that will make me a more ‘integrated’ person. Boy it’s hard, and I still get it wrong, but this book I feel is an incredible tool to help frame and put into words my experience of this year and how to constructively manage my way through it. It’s life changing and empowering and I’m so enjoying reading everyone’s comments!

    Amanda – Although I’m yet to read the chapter you wrote about, I just wanted to say good on you for being brave and honest about a matter that is really personal. Honesty has a way of disempowering the Hangry Bears that lurk inside of us, that rear their heads from time to time. I think your Hangry Bear might be a bit stunned and licking its wounds as it comes to terms with the fact that it will now be facing a courageous and brave Amanda. Well done 🙂


    1. Thanks so much Rachel, It is such a big topic and yes Brene’s books will be ones that I pick up over and over. There is something about the connectedness between what we want our life to be about and actually living it.

      No matter how great our upbringings are, there are always stories and seasons that affect us so deeply.

      So nice to hear from you here.

      Thanks for being brave and writing. This book club is actually forcing me to keep up with the chapters. I am sure I will go back and read again and again.

  8. […] those childhood memories that ruin our creativity […]

  9. Ohhh my heart. I am late to reading this, but it has spoken to me deeply, you are so very brave Amanda!

    I have ALWAYS been the girl with ‘the pretty face’. But I am coming to learn that I am more.

    My relationship with food is unhealthy at best and devestating at worst. And this rollercoaster of weight loss and gain is directly linked to my creative pursuits. When lighter I feel worthy and talented and when I am heavier I am ashamed and want to hide away.

    I am learning to be content, in both seasons whilst looking forward to the pursuit of change.
    Thank you for this post!

    1. Hello my friend,

      The courage of all of these posts has been breathtaking. All the women who have commented.

      So Thankyou for your honesty.

      I am praying the vulnerability unlocks much in all of us.

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