One of my favorite people on the internet – Carly from Crowning Venus – posted this video on her blog last week. I know most of you have probably already seen it since it made it’s rounds on Twitter and Facebook but I’m re-blogging it anyways because I love it so much.
Watching it reminded me that we live in a society full of conflicting messages. Where the “beauty ideal” doesn’t really exist. Where “Human Barbie Mom” thinks it’s OK to give her 7 year old daughter gift certificates for stuff like breast augmentation surgery and mini tummy tuck surgery in her Christmas stocking. Where TV ads for weight loss drugs play during the same commercial break as ads for Burger King. Where magazine headlines encourage us to dissect and hate on other women’s bodies so we can feel better about ourselves (“Worst Celebrity Beach Bodies Ever!”) while at the same time scrutinizing our own (“How to get thinner thighs NOW!”). Love Yourself. Hate Yourself. Eat. Don’t Eat. Consume. Consume. Consume. If this is the background noise to our daily lives, is it really surprising that eating disorders and other mental health issues such depression and anxiety are on the rise? Everyday we’re fighting a war against the cognitive dissonance that surrounds us and some of us are literally losing our shit.
Even if you manage to block out most of this negativity there is still a lot of noise to contend with on a daily basis. I’ve grown up as part of what I like to call the “Oprah Generation.” I’m a middle class woman who has had it hammered into her that she should be attune to her own needs, follow her dreams and live the best possible version of her life...because she can. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the self help messages that are out there. Live authentically. Live with Intention. Live in the moment. Affirmations. Goals. Inspiration Boards. Meditate. Juice. Cleanse. Eat meat. Don’t eat Meat. Go Gluten free. Find a spirit animal. Paint your life in crayons to get in touch with your inner child. Have a baby. Don’t have a baby. Be a feminist. These so called “positive messages” can be just as overwhelming as the negative ones. As someone who currently is self employed and spends the majority of their workday online, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in all the amazing, entrepreneurial things the people around me are doing & start thinking: “I’m not working hard enough! I’m not dreaming big enough! I should be doing more!”
THERE IS JUST SO MUCH NOISE.
It’s all this noise that sometimes distracts me from taking stock of what I’ve accomplished. For example, following the holidays I had a bit of extra “junk in the trunk” that I wanted to lose. I haven’t been going to the gym lately because my joints have been bothering me. Instead, I’ve been eating healthy and going for power walks. Over the past two weeks I’ve walked to and from all my appointments. When I Google mapped it last night I calculated that I have walked 19.6 km this week and close to 40 km over the past two weeks. The Christmas weight is gone, however the other night I had a moment in front of the mirror where I said:
“My ass still doesn’t look as good as it did when I was working out at the gym 4 times a week”
That’s fucked up.
I’ve walked the equivalent of a marathon this month.
Once I allowed this information to sink in, I took a cue from Carly and decided to cut myself some slack and focus on the things I have accomplished:
This week I’ve blogged. I’ve written for Canadian Living. I’ve written for Elle. I’ve gone to counseling. I’ve gone to the dentist. I’ve seen my friends. I’ve read. I’ve eaten well. I’ve booked a trip to Vegas (!!!!!) I’ve walked the equivalent of a freaking half marathon. I’ve done all of this even though my heart feels completely tattered and hanging by a thread. I’ve pushed through.
I’m proud of myself. Why is that so hard to admit?
If you’ve ever felt like this too, here is my proposition: Let’s be kinder to ourselves. Celebrate what we like about ourselves. Celebrate the big accomplishments but also the baby steps. Leave the negativity to the haters. Let’s go easy on ourselves.
Here’s to being imperfect & fabulous!
Happy Weekend! xo