We have a next door neighbour who goes walking with her girlfriend in the mornings and often stops to chat on our corner afterwards. Once she wore a t-shirt that said: sweat, blood and tears. We haven’t called her anything else since. This slogan comes to my mind often since I have started working out after my second pregnancy. When Seby was born, I was extremely grateful, not just for a healthy baby, but also for being one again. For not being pregnant. I was probably the least inspiring pregnant woman of all times and it was really tough. Yes others have it worse, but that didn’t stop me from being depressed, fat, unhappy, crying and in pain unable to exercise. So unlike with my first pregnancy, I swore. I SWORE!!! to myself that this time I will be kind. This time I will treat my body with the kindness it deserves for what it endured. It has lasted me exactly two and a half minutes before I started to analyse my butt, my boobs, my arms for godsakes my arms, where did the definition go? Why are all my t-shirts tight around my arms? So this kindness that I am so happily and willingly able to extend to other people unfortunately does not reach me. As much as I would love to appreciate my body for how well it is carrying me through the world, for how well it performs when I run, for all the hills and mountains it took me up to, for the two beautiful children it has cooked, I can’t. Maybe one day, I will get there. For now I am here. I want to be strong and I want to look strong and fit. One thing I am proud of now is that I refuse to take comfort in other women’s imperfections. Whilst in the past I would judge myself comparing to other women, now I only compare with my past self.
With two children and with no family members to take them off my hands at times, to get to my happy point, this is exactly what’s required: sweat, blood and tears. To put on running shoes when the kids are sleeping instead of having a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. To unroll a yoga mat in a middle of a living room that looks like a bomb has exploded. To drag both kids to mums and bubs pilates that requires, snacks, toys, changes of clothes, mats, blankets and putting one to sleep at exact times. To drive to a studio with a screaming baby in a car every week for an hour of reformer. To wake up at 5.40 when I could still sleep to be at the first yoga class. To have that determination to do your butt lift challenge every single day, even on the days that you haven’t slept. I have not had a grain of sugar for whole of November and it’s not been easy. It maybe does sound a little extreme, it almost sounds like I don’t like myself very much.
I do think about it a lot, where does it come from, this criticism of myself. It it the social media, is it the fact that I was once chubby when I was 16, is it because once a friend told me that my calves are fat and I thought they were in fact fat until I was 25, it is because my parents have always criticised me?
I might never get to the point of being happy with myself, but I want to get to a point where I actively do not criticise myself, especially not in front of my daughter because I don’t want her to think it’s ok and that it’s normal. That she has to be “somewhere” or ”someone” to be happy and to be appreciated by others. I want her to know that she is absolutely perfect the way she is. So how can I make it so that any comment on her looks will just brush past her ears? I am actually asking, what steps can I take for her to be so confident that she will never have to explain herself to anyone and that no comments will keep her up at night? That she will only judge her body by the ability to swiftly carry her through the world and the fact that she can run up the stairs without being out of breath?