Hello friends and fellow bloggers. It’s been a while since I decided any of the ‘thoughts that fall out of my busy head’ have been worth sharing. Mostly because they have been miserable and dark. No one wants to hear that shit.
However since the storm cloud of depression has lifted from me, I have found myself obsessing on something that many people of our generation seem to obsess about- how I look. How clear my skin is, how natural my makeup is, how small my clothes are, how I look in a bikini. All things actually that in the grand scheme of things I don’t care about at all. So why does it enter my mind so much?
I remember Kate Moss stating a few years back that she always felt best when she was at her skinniest. For a while I agreed. who doesn’t love it when they can fit into tiny clothes and have everyone notice? It is after all what is expected of us, no matter how old we are, where we are from, how active we are, how many children we’ve had etc etc.
I volunteer with young people and I was talking to a gorgeous girl who told me that everyone at her school calls her a hippo. The girl has a few curves and that is how she is growing up viewing herself.
How do we teach kids like her to feel beautiful inside and out without comparing themselves to each other? Or worse, without comparing to those that make a career out of looking pleasing to the eye.
I don’t want my children to surrender to the kind of competitive and self depreciating pressure that we are all burdened with. I want them to feel beautiful, confident and capable no matter what.
I have spent the past few years (after my more recent pregnancies I suppose) trying really hard to look ‘good’.
To be able to enjoy food, I worked out with weights and cardio on top for 1.5 hours four times a week. FOUR TIMES A WEEK. When I got really depressed and could no longer summon the energy to do that, I simply stopped eating. There was a point where I could hardly get out of bed (and often didn’t) because I was so low on energy. I stopped seeing people. I stopped bothering with the kids. And I was 7.2 stone. Which is for me very small. And I did not feel my best. Come to think of it, I felt the worst I’ve ever felt.
So after seeing various professionals and a couple of years of a high dose of antidepressants, I started to become happier. I got my appetite back and most importantly my energy back. But something happened, I could no longer fit into my tiny clothes. So of course feeling enormous, I joined the gym.
But now, I have a much busier schedule and I simply cannot fit working out into my daily life (unless I was to go at 6am which trust me after waking up 10 times a night with each child would be a very bad idea).
I read a book by Margaret Atwood once called ‘Oryx and Crake’. It was a few years back so I can’t remember the full story but one scene really stood out to me and I try to remind myself of it now and then. The book is set in a future where we are so advanced we can all look however we please. We are all ‘perfect’. Women all have tiny waists and big boobs. Men are all ripped and hair free. The main character chooses to live alone outside that world because he chooses not to conform. He misses variety. He misses character. He misses nature. All those things are beauty to him.
I want to be beautiful in that way. I want my children to want to be beautiful in that way.
So today, when I was beating myself up about once again not finding the time to go to the gym, I had a small epiphany. I do not want to conform. I’m not a model, my appearance doesn’t matter at all.
I’m not saying I won’t wear makeup, have fun with clothes and all of that. I am saying I intend to alter my standards of what I expect myself to look like, and learn to feel beautiful and happy with what I am without feeling guilty if I fluctuate in weight, when my hair greys or when my wrinkles deepen. I am after all ageing and I have given birth to four wonderful children. And I look freaking good. Without all the extra effort.
When I die, I don’t want the most memorable thing people say about me is how flawless I looked in a bikini or out of one. I don’t want it to be mentioned at all.
Here are the things I want people to see me as right now:
- A good mother
- A good friend
- An animal lover
- A musician
- A creative
- A home maker (Not in a housewife sense, in a way that everyone feels welcome in my home and I will always make room for anyone I care about who needs it)
- A student
I’m sure there are many more but these are the things that jump to me now.
So please children, friends, fellow bloggers, throw away your bastard torturing tiny outfit memories and make room for what is now. A beautiful, more mature, wiser version of yourself who has much more important things to put their efforts into. Like so many other inspiring people out there, let’s reset our standards and learn to feel beautiful, no matter what we look like.