Browsing Tag:

self love

My body, my home

my-body-my-home

Mirrors, they are forever betraying me.

Enlarging my flaws.

Highlighting my weaknesses.

Pinpointing my insecurities.

A sheet of glass that always manages to find my achilles heel.

 

Why are my eyes so puffy in the morning?

Are my thighs really always that big?

I scrutinize every inch of myself until my stomach feels sick.

 

But it’s not the mirror who despises me.

It’s not the glass that leaves me feeling this way.  

It’s my own head, my own thoughts that betray me, conditioned to believe beauty is only skin deep.

 

I shake the horrible thoughts out of my head. I hug my arms around myself.

I will not fight my own flesh anymore.

This is my body, this is my home.


 

I have always had a tentative relationship with my body.

 

There have been times when I have treated it poorly. Depriving it, over exerting it, attempting to squeeze it into jeans that were never designed for these hips.

 

Our relationship is one filled with one-sided animosity.

 

It seemed unfair to me that as I grew up, I expanded in some areas and not others. Like a balloon blown up all wonky instead of precisely into the standard shape.

 

I thought that women came in a standard shape too.

 

Blonde hair, check. Blue eyes, check. But what happened to my large breasts and tiny waist? Where is my golden tan and long, lean legs?

 

It seemed some pieces were missing from this perfect puzzle.

 

So I wrestled with my body for years. Desperately trying to manipulate it into that ideal shape and degrading this home of mine in the process.

 

Allowing weeds to take over the flowerbeds. Letting paint start to chip. Not worrying about the cracks in the ceiling or wallpaper beginning to fade.

 

Making it look from the outside as though everything was as it should be but on the inside I was crumbling into disrepair.  


 

But I thought I had put all of that behind me. I thought I had made peace with my body. I thought I was finally free from this crippling, self-loathing mindset.

 

In the back of my mind I always knew that my body would eventually change, I was under no illusion that I would stay the size of a twenty year old forever. I just didn’t expect gaining weight to affect me so much.

 

But it has.

 

I was surprised how quickly the tears would come when I looked at myself in the mirror. I was shocked just how easily I allowed guilt to dictate what I ate. I was saddened to watch myself slipping back into the same old habits and not knowing what to do to stop it.

 

Because it’s easy to love your body when it fits the mold. It’s not difficult to have self compassion when you believe you are the right size.

 

It’s when my jeans began to feel too tight and my stomach still stuck out a little even when I was sucking it in that I discovered how difficult self love really is.

 

Self love is not something that comes naturally like taking a breath as you come out of water or blinking when a bright light flashes.

 

Learning how to love myself, my new self  has been hard.

 

Possibly one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Which perhaps makes me sound vain and conceited but in a world which constantly reminds me that I need to change in order to fit in and be lovable, it’s not surprising at all.

 

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I’ve been down this road now a few times and I’ve learnt that restriction and shame are not the answer. Loathing myself or fighting against my body just doesn’t work.

 

So it seems that a new attitude is in order.

 

I cannot be at war with myself anymore. It’s too exhausting. I cannot just sit idly by while the place I live begins to fall apart.

 

This is my body, this is my home.

 

And so I remind myself each and every day…

 

My worth is not dependent on my weight.

 

While this body is my home, it is not my full person.

 

I am singing along to country music with the windows down driving along the highway. I am laughing at the ocean waves lapping around my ankles and squealing when the water gets too high. I am giving a cheeky wink to my Father on stage at our school production. 

 

You cannot contain me within the walls of this body, I am more than layers of flesh and a foundation of bones.

 

I am a gentle warmth, a cool breeze, a soft whisper.

 

My body is remarkable and it deserves my utmost respect.

 

To diminish its purpose to simple aesthetics is outrageous.

 

This body can run for miles and miles. This body can hear a rhythm and melt into the music. This body can heal itself, transform itself and grow another whole human being inside of it.

This body is incredible.

 

Change is inevitable, adaptation is crucial.

 

Nothing in this life stays the same forever. It has often been said that change is the only constant.

Therefore, I will not be surprised nor phased by change, I will simply adapt and move forwards.

 

A changing body means a life that is progressing. We are growing older and wiser. We are tracking towards new adventures and achievements.


 

Women aren’t like balloons. We don’t come in a standard shape or size. We are unique and that is something that should be celebrated rather than diminished.

 

Trying to squeeze us into one mold is a crying shame. There is so much beauty in our diversity. There is so much wonder in our individuality. 

 

When I look at the women in my life I feel that this is a battle that might not be won overnight. Because I’ve seen these precious ladies fighting against their bodies my whole life.

 

But that makes me no less determined to win this war of self compassion.

 

If not for me than for my daughters, my nieces, my best friends. For every woman who looks up to me and watches how I treat this place I call home.

 

I hope they will see something different in me. A deeper respect, an honest disposition, an abundance of grace.

 

A woman who bears the wrinkles of decades of laughter. Who proudly wears stretch marks from bringing new life into the world. Who has freckles from glorious summers in the sunshine and perhaps carries a little extra weight for all the meals that make life worth living.

 

I believe that in the end, the struggle is worth it.

 

Because this is my body, this is my home.

Authenticity and finding happiness by accepting myself

authenticity

There is a temptation we face when we meet new people to put on a mask.

Strangers are blank slates. Yet to witness our baggage or keep a record against us. It is all too easy for us to morph into someone we’ve always wished we were.

 

If you are of the obliging sort like me, when you meet someone new you will agree to almost anything.

I so hate making waves that I will bend over backwards just to keep the peace.

 

I will nod along to their every suggestion. I will eat whatever is placed before me. I will go wherever they want me to go and do whatever they want me to do.

 

I’m a puppet on a string with a clumsy, oblivious master.


 

But after awhile of this masquerade I begin to feel exhausted. Worn out from pushing myself to be an extrovert, an adventurous type or the kind of person who stays up past midnight on weeknights.

 

I get this icky, sticky feeling of something not being right. The uneasy, conflicting feeling of not being true to myself.

 

Authenticity it seems is a necessity for me. Much like a lack of oxygen, without it I am breathless. Like an absence of food, I get queasy in my stomach. Like the deprivation of sleep, I get sharp and unkind.


 

I have been out of town for the past couple of weeks and with the change in routine I’ve found myself withdrawing from my blog and social media.

I haven’t written at all since I left and it has made me feel smaller and less valuable.

 

Because writing is a part of my identity. The part that makes me feel most connected to the world around me. The part that allows me to create and add something rather than just taking all the time.

 

Without my blog to fall back on, I have felt dry and empty. And like a vicious cycle, the worse I feel the less inclined I am to write which in turn makes me feel less and less useful.

 

On the other hand, my absence from social media has been refreshing.

 

I hate uploading every part of my day on Instastories. I hate retweeting pointless things on my Twitter feed. I hate the edited, filtered, lack of spontaneity that I see all over Instagram.

 

It just isn’t me.

It doesn’t align with my values. It doesn’t fit my brand. It doesn’t fill me with joy.

 

And yet as a member of the millennial generation I don’t know how to escape it. As a struggling creative who is desperate to share her work, I don’t know how to avoid it.


 

Authenticity is an internal struggle. A fight to remain the truest version of ourselves when all around us we are tempted to fix our flaws, patch up our problems and become someone better.

 

I have discovered that a lack of authenticity breeds discontentment.

 

It fosters ideas that something is missing from our lives and if we just had that one thing, we would finally feel fulfilled.

If only we could lose that last 5 kgs. If only we had a wider social circle. If only we had a supportive partner. If only we had more time to pursue our passions.

 

But it’s just a mirage. Chasing after an ideal that we can never obtain.


 

The pursuit of authenticity leads to increased creativity, deeper relationships and an abundance of new ideas.

 

When I am being myself I feel happier. Because I don’t waste energy pursuing things that drain me. Because I use my time to write, create, bake, and share, to do the things which make me feel alive.

 

When I am being myself I find more pleasure in the company of others. Without the fear of judgement or pressure to perform I find I have more patience to listen to other’s stories and more compassion for them.

 

When I am being myself I feel more inspired. Because I take the time to notice things I might otherwise miss. Because I feel confident, secure and comfortable in my own skin which enables me to stretch out, take risks and explore new ideas.

 

Authenticity requires courage. Looking in the mirror and accepting myself as I am. Going out and facing the world without make up to hide behind. Speaking up and sharing my opinions even though I could get shut down.

 

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I’m a big fan of self improvement so I’m always looking for ways to extend and grow myself. I want to increase my productivity. I want to tap into my creative side more. I want to push myself to try new things.

 

But perhaps an even greater challenge is to grow into myself rather than trying to imitate someone else.

 

Maybe what I really need is to become more self aware and to live from a place of authenticity everyday.  

 

For me I think that looks like withdrawing in social settings because I am an introvert and being around people for too long makes me feel exhausted.

Or making the time to write because of all of my hobbies it is the one thing that makes me feel most alive.

Or not posting all the time on Instagram because it feels like a chore to me. And when I do, not being fussed that it makes my feed look scattered and unplanned because that is what real life looks like.

 

Authenticity is a daily practice of accepting who I am and finding new ways to allow myself to shine.

Because I have spent a lot of time trying to change myself but I’ve never been happier than when I was just being me.

 

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.