One Moment, Two Options
The other day I had an incredible day; I also had a challenging one. I’ve been working on something big, something with the potential to create change for young people around body image and the way they see their bodies. I got up early, did my makeup, got dressed, and felt good. My mind since leaving my teaching job at the end of last year, has been in overdrive creatively. Following my passion has been incredible for me, and I must keep reminding myself that I have time, I don’t have to do it all in one go.
I’m impatient by nature, I don’t like waiting for things. I’m an early bird, I don’t do lateness and once I know I want something, the wait kills me. Despite this, I’m learning that great things take time, I’m learning that no overnight success happens overnight and that if I keep my eye on the ball, I’ll get there.
The other day we filmed the video for a Kickstarter campaign I’m launching mid-June. I was pumped, having visualised it in my mind for quite some time, and having watched numerous successful campaign videos to learn the tricks of the trade. Mainly I was pumped because I truly feel so passionately about what I’ve been working on, that I knew that would easily be conveyed when I spoke.
I loved the process. I loved the filming, I loved talking about what I’ve been working on for so long, and then we decided that we should take some photos, so I could share them on my social media. That’s when things got less fun.
I didn’t look at the photo and see a passionate, driven woman who has overcome so much and potentially changed the trajectory of her life. Instead I saw a woman much less pretty than the one she thought she was, a woman whose arms were larger than she’d realised, as was her body. One image in one moment sapped all my achievements and suddenly brought me crashing back to the self I once was.
I had two options in that moment. Option one, was I stay there, allowing myself to feel anger at the way my body had changed, anger at myself for letting it happen, allowing thoughts of how I needed to punish myself with gruelling workouts and restrictive diets because without them I’m lost. Or, option two, was that I remind myself of who I am. The easiest option, the one I’m most comfortable with is the first, however I chose option two. I refuse to see myself one dimensionally. That image that stopped me in my tracks doesn’t highlight my hard work, it doesn’t highlight my achievements or the way I’ve overcome hardships.
In that moment I took a deep breath in and I exhaled the negative thoughts. I am the only one with the ability to quieten that voice, that can squash that negativity. I visualised the fire of that negative voice and I imagined dropping a fire blanket over it, as the smouldering smoke left my body taking with it its power.
I smiled at the photo on the phone that was being held before me and I said, “that’s great.”
You see when you weigh up how long you’ve struggled with yourself, thinking that recovering means things will always be rosy is unrealistic. The journey is a long one, but it’s learning how to deal with those old feelings, the ones that feel too familiar to turn away quickly, that make you realise that you’ve come quite a long way.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” -John Kabat-Zin
You can join the Mirror Movement here
Or read my blog about an important conversation I had with my daughter