I’ve been thinking about things recently, thinking about some of the things I felt insecure about when I was younger and how my relationship with myself has changed so much over the years. I can honestly say, I have never been so content in my own skin. I don’t mean to sound full of myself by saying that, I just mean that as the years have passed, I have a greater sense of clarity about myself and there is something liberating in that. Things that I would jibe myself about in my teens and twenty, now seem like total bullshit. Here is a list of a few of the things that I focused on and felt a sense of shame about, alongside my feeling about these same things at the grand old age of 37.
|Thought/Concern of my Teen/Twenty something self||My view on it now, 37 yrs old|
|Why is my nose so wide? It looks so weird in pictures. Maybe if win the lottery one day I will have a nose job and make it look dainty and cute.||It breaths. That’s all.|
|I wish I could read as quickly as other people and not feel so self-conscious when I have to read aloud. Why do the words always jumble on the page and my heart begins to race! Arrgh, I’m such a dumbass.||Turns out I’m dyslexic (no shit Sherlock!) Yes sometimes it takes me longer to process things but that’s okay. And remember to breathe when you have to read aloud, it will make the whole thing less fucked.|
|I can’t ever wear a bikini because all of my lumps and bumps will be on show. (said by my size 8, 17 year old self)||SHUT THE FUCK UP! I wear bikinis whenever I’m on holiday and I actually have real lumps and bumps because I birthed some humans.|
|Why do I have stretch marks? It’s so unfair because Mum and Dee (sister) didn’t get them so why do I?! The world it so unfair.||Ha ha ha. You thought those tiny things were bad, you wait until you have your UNIT babies and then you will really see what stretch marks are. And you know what, I’m indifferent to them. I can’t say I love them, but they are there and they ain’t gonna vanish any time soon. To me they’re just meh. (Shoulder shrug)|
|I don’t like wearing skirts or things that show my legs. I’ve got scars and I don’t want people to see them.||I wear skirts, shorts and things that show my legs. They are legs, they allow me to move. For that I am thankful.|
|I have worked so hard to get to where I am in my career, I won’t ever give up working. It’s just not who I am. It’s the twenty-first century, women can work full time and raise a family. Women can do it all!||So here I am, a full-time mum! I tried the whole working full time and raising children thing, and you know what, it turns out it’s FUCKING hard and really really exhausting. That’s not to say that being a full-time mummy isn’t exhausting! That’s another thing I didn’t realise until I was in it. It’s tough either way but my children, me and the family in general is benefiting from me being at home. This is not intended to throw shade at anyone else’s situation if they are working full time and being the best Mummy they can be, this is just highlighting how naive I was about the realities of having a family and the types of guilt and turmoil you go through.|
|My birthmark is so massive and gross looking. When I’ve got the money, I think I’ll have it removed.||I barely even think about it. It’s definitely on the bigger side in terms of birthmarks, it’s about the size of a plum and lays on the very top of my right thigh just under my bum bums. It’s another thing I’ve just become indifferent to. I don’t love it, don’t hate it.|
|I wish I had bigger boobs. They are so east and west. Why aren’t they plump and gorgeous like other women?||My boobs fed my two children. They are awesome.They became huge and it turns out, I much prefer them itsy ditsy. My boobs and I are friends and we beez cool with each other. The end.|
I am sure that I could add so much more to this list if I have myself the time, but actually, I don’t want to even bother typing that rubbish. Most of it feels so stupid and silly now.
I have found my thirties to be the most content, mentally calm and happiest time of my life. I think it’s a combination of lots of factors; I always wanted to get married to my life long love, that has happened and we have children. I am lucky to have a wonderful set of loyal friends where there is a balance of care, love, giggles and dancing. I have found a lifestyle which really works for me, being fit and active is important to me and it’s now a permanent fixture in my lifestyle. (I’ve got a post about this if you fancy a read) I know that despite loving my children until my heart aches, sometimes I need time away from them whether that be a trip to a cafe with my kindle or a stay away with a friend; this makes me a better mum and general human being.
I think having children totally re-centres your brain because your relationship with the universe changes. When you’re busy making memories with your children, you don’t have time to worry or berate yourself about the cellulite dimples on your legs. You’re busy teaching your kids to be kind to each other and use meaningful and positive language, so much so that I find myself adopting it more to myself. I’m not totally immune to the pressures social media and social image have, I still have moments where I put myself down, but I try where possible to be aware of this and refocus my thoughts.
When going through some of the list, it occured to me that so much of it was based on aesthetic and outward facing qualities. It seems that I was worried about the way in which others and the world was perceiving me and I don’t know if I was as confident about my own voice. That’s not to say I was a push over, I’m sure my friends and former colleagues would attest to my ‘assertiveness’ when someone needed to know about themselves (!). As I have gotten older, I feel like I know myself a little better, and a little deeper. With that, I have learned to value myself a little more and share the kindness that I try to give to others to myself.
This recent pondering of thoughts has also made me realise that thoughts and ideas about oneself are so transient. The things listed on the left of the grid felt so firm and focused in my brain at the time, they consumed some of my thoughts and made me feel less than. But time has passed and so have those feelings. This exercise has reminded me that I’m not a fixed person, my thoughts and feelings will change, develop, rethink, reprocess and progress because nothing around me is staying the same. Everyday I am reminded by my children that progress is taking place and I am so happy embracing and knowing that. And with that, I am so so fucking happy that I didn’t get a tatoo of Winnie the Pooh when I was 18 because I was utterly obsessed and thought that I would love it forever and ever. Turns out, that didn’t last beyond 18 and a half. What a twat move that would have been!
Have your feelings about yourself changed as you have aged? Would love to hear your thoughts.
Peace, love and kindness,