Putting myself back together or self-care is ok.
I have always been suspicious of the self-care movement and rejected it as nonsense.
Until recently I didn't question these feelings just enjoyed basking in my smug self-satisfaction and dismissal of it all.
Hippy rubbish, woo.
Whilst the movement is certainly problematic due to the white female marketing bandwagon it has become attached to and it's appropriation of so many other cultural practices in the name of social media traction and "likes", some value does lie within. You just need to tease it out.
I have come to a better understanding of how deep my self-loathing has been throughout my life. Being a master at seeming fine I have managed to hide it even from myself. This has led to a deep suspicion of anything which would celebrate myself, my body and my work.
Now, in my 40s, I have decided to battle my core values of irrelevance and unimportance at last. I am attempting to stare down the demons in the mirror and reevaluate my opinions on self-care.
It's hard. So bloody hard.
Ironically, when I seemed most active and fit, dressed in outfits other than jeans and sweats and strode about the world with confidence, my self-loathing was at it's highest. Now, as I have plumbed the depths and recognised the damage my heart has suffered, I've done very little physical activity, put little thought into how I dress my body and appear to have given up.
Yet I AM winning despite outward appearances. Let me explain.
If you consider the fact that outwardly I was "taking care of myself" but internally I was a mess it kind of makes sense that the opposite has to occur while I am restructuring.
I turned 40 four years ago, acknowledged my eating disorder, and the 30 years of damage I have done to myself. I embarked upon a weekly program of therapy sessions and medication and worked hard towards sorting myself out. I'm not done and will likely never be "done" but after 4 years I can say that I am turning a corner at last.
30 years of disgust takes a long time to repeal and my focus turned inwards. The fake-it-til-you-make-it lifestyle had to be discarded utterly and replaced from the ground up.
My greatest desire has been to create a strong Woman who believes in herself, to write and to share and to support other Women. I believe that is what I am meant to do and the first step in getting out of my own way has been achieved with beginning this blog and continuing it for an entire week.
This may not seem long to some but I've been so exceptional at self-sabotage that I have never managed to post regularly about myself in the past. Frankly, writing about myself was just too triggering. Spending so much time in my own company was so very uncomfortable. It still is, often, but I find that it gets easier every day.
In some form of subconscious celebration I went to the gym yesterday. I took my wobbly body to a public space and worked out. I felt my long-despised body parts bounce off each other and rub together as I lifted the weights and rowed on the machine. I gave my body what it most needs and it felt ok. I'm not going to lie and say it felt wonderful (in fact, I felt light headed and nauseous when stretching at the end due to how triggering it all was) but ok is more than enough for now. Ok is wonderful.
The key to making a success of it this is to take it very slow. Patience when trying to achieve something has never been my strong point but I am getting better at celebrating bite-sized successes and accepting the constant interruptions of daily life and the mess they make of my plans.
I must not focus on too many other aspects of body love as the pressure will likely tip me over the edge into the pit of destruction. Regular trips to the gym are enough. My food relationship is an enormous onion which will take a much longer period of time so I must be gentle with myself.
I will talk about food a little later on the blog. For now I want to share my thoughts regarding self-care. The things I find useful and how small efforts are enough and are enormously meaningful as long as you honour them. This is possible with awareness. When you listen to your thoughts you come to notice how often you punish yourself for not being enough.
You think you are stupid for forgetting or losing something, bad for eating that cupcake or drinking that glass of wine. Lazy for not getting to the gym.
It is essential that you recognise the labels you apply to yourself. Listen hard and carefully and then tell yourself to shut up. You do have the power to censor the nasty thoughts in your head. That bully. Kick it to the curb, start today.
You are enough. You deserve love and peace and success. We all do.
Stay with me this week as I share some tips and ideas for practical self-care with you. Let's focus on small, realistic goals. We'll take it easy.
But for now, just take a moment. Listen to your thoughts. Reconsider your belief in them and push through. Every nudge in the right direction is incredibly helpful.
It's actually the best self-care activity you will ever participate in.