I used to care what people thought of me. It used to bother me if people liked me, or if they thought I looked nice, thought I was a nice person or worthy of their attention. I worried about people’s perception of me-tailoring my reactions and actions to try and second guess their thoughts. How draining.
And then I grew the fuck up. It took a while, and it’s a process I’m confident we all go through-some quicker than others. I’m jealous of the fast-trackers. I guess I must credit my children with my new found ‘not giving a shit-ness’, I just don’t have the time or energy to waste or care. And this is a good thing. Let me tell you why…
I feel liberated
I feel confident
I feel beautiful
I feel strong
And all these things allow me to assess my priorities. Kids polarise everything – it all became starkly clear when I had my babies.
My children look at me like no other can. Unconditional total dependency. They don’t give a shit if I’m wearing make up. They also don’t care how many friends I have or what brand of clothes or shoes I’m wearing. I surrendered my body to them whilst pregnant – that was huge for me -and I’ve given my life to them now. That’s pretty all encompassing. I never thought I’d feel this way and I love it. I love that I have such strong feelings for my children – I genuinely would die for them. 100%. They drive me absolutely mental some days, and I may occasionally mention sending them back, but if someone tried to hurt them, believe me balls would be busted or whatever necessary. Do not mess with my kids.
Now the question of beauty is an interesting one. I was -what you might call- a late bloomer. I ‘blossomed’ as one family friend described (*vomit*)-I put that down to getting control of my mental hair, and discovering the art of make up. Now I feel that was a misguided notion. Not to say that a bit of war paint doesn’t assist in helping me feel my ‘warriorness’ occasionally, but it’s not my priority right now.
Despite rarely wearing makeup (my 21 year old self would be shrieking in horror at that revelation) -I actually forget to look in the mirror often and don’t care that I don’t. I’m not exactly wowing in the fashion stakes either these days (I got by before, was never a catwalk model but I chose my outfits quite carefully), and ironically I have more confidence and inner strength than ever before. That’s where the beauty lies. I guess it about getting to know yourself. I’m an honest person. Too honest I know at times-got me into all kinds of trouble in my earlier years. But it does mean I have few (not none lol) demons now-great stories, and some regrets, but I don’t feel haunted by unfinished business or truth/lies untold. I am comfortable in myself now-and I never thought I’d be able to say that. In fact I’m surprising myself that I’m writing it.
I have self discipline-and I believe this contributes a huge part of my self belief. If I say I’m going to do something-and it’s usually only to myself, I will do it. I sowed the seeds of this in 2011 when I ran the London marathon, maybe even several years earlier when I woke up one day and thought about going traveling around the world-once I’d had the thought, I couldn’t go back-the fear of regret made me find the confidence to go.
I love a challenge and am always looking for the next one. I also have had to accept how much harder they are now with kids, but that doesn’t dampen my resolve, just makes me test my patience alongside my self discipline. I’ve had to reassess EVERYTHING. Nothing is as it was, my battles now are so different to 3, 5, 10 years ago. The last one was ‘lose the baby weight’-tick, done that, now it is to get strong, really strong and stay healthy. That’s my priority so I can take care of my boys. I have so much more appreciation of health and strength now-I find myself not putting something off til tomorrow if I know I’m capable of doing it today. The lazy version of me is happily ebbing away.
In a letter to my 15 year old self, I’d probably tell me one thing:-
It will all be ok in the end-just believe in yourself.
I don’t think you can preach to a teenager, or get them to understand the changes you go through, or show them how to leapfrog the shit you had to struggle through to get to a more confident place. I think you just have to help them believe it will be ok.
Good times, bad times, happy, crappy-just be good (as much as you can), be kind-PLEASE be kind-to yourself, others and the environment, and be honest. The bad times highlight the good ones-they go hand in hand. If you don’t know how it feels to feel like a sack of shit on a shitheap covered in shit, how will you ever know what it really feels like to finish a marathon-against the odds? Stop giving a shit what others think and have a go, I guarantee you’ll surprise yourself.