The moment when I liked my reflection

Yes it happened. It goes with the story that it was only fleeting, and it wasn’t my whole reflection. BUT IT HAPPENED.

Having been on a crazy starvation diet earlier this year – I was desperate – I’ve since been trying to eat more intuitively. It’s going ok. I’m still treating myself too much, but I assume this is what my body wants and need right now. I’m listening to what my body wants, while sorting my head out. On the low-calorie diet I did lose a good amount of weight, and I can feel (and see) that some of it has crept back on. As my head and body find the happy place where both can live together without fighting each other, I’ve been trying to a) not stress out and hate myself for being a bit heavier than where I want to be and b) work on loving and being in love with myself as I am – hey, we only have the one life so spending it hating yourself is so so dull!

As I was heading home from work the other day, I walked past a building with reflecting windows. This is where I would usually turn my head to catch my reflection and proceed to notice all the things I don’t like about the woman looking back at me. This time, the woman gazing back at me looked different, she gave off a different vibe – AND her bum looked VERY GOOD in that pencil skirt. Yep, instead of focusing on my belly or my hair or whatever, my eyes were diverted to my derriere, and I liked what I saw.

It looked feminine and plump. It looked good. And I confidently continued on my journey – not focusing on negative, instead floating on the positive energy that

This feeling was a revelation.

It tells me I’m capable on seeing the beauty in me.

It tells me I’m on the right path.

It tells me I’m falling for myself.

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I’m setting up a fuck-off fund and so should you!

There’s been a lot of talk online recently about the importance of a fuck-off fund and why every woman should have one. This story on the Billfold is a great read about it.

Whether it’s to leave a dead-end job that’s making you increasingly more depressed each day, having to vacate your flat within days, escape a partner that’s no good for you or simply decide to say “fuck it, I’m off travelling”, we all have times in our lives when we desperately need some extra cash.

I’ve been in most of these situations.

A breakdown in a relationship made me homeless for a couple of months. I could have stayed in the home we shared, but for my own sanity I decided that living out of my suitcase and on friends’ sofas was a better solution than seeing the face of the man who had crushed my heart every day. Had I had a bit more money in the bank I could have parked myself in an airbnb and waited for the storm to pass somewhat.

I was working at a place which I over the years had grown to hate. Not so much the work (sometimes this too) but mostly the people, the politics and the slaughterhouse that a major agency can be. I used to wake up with dread, feeling trapped and not seeing the sun above the clouds. I have escaped, but it would have been a much easier decision had I had my fuck-off fund. Now, as a freelancer, I can see an even greater benefit of having a fat piggybank – who knows when I might have to live off savings for a month. This is the life of a freelancer. It’s exciting, but also a little terrifying. Mostly exciting though!

I’ve never had a partner that was abusive so that’s a bonus, but can totally feel with those that need a clean break and sharpish.

I’d love to go travelling for an extensive period of time – three months or maybe a bit more. I want to explore the world. Experience different cultures, meeting new people, and live. And for that I need money.

One of my key things for the next twelve months is to get out of the disease called debt I have and become financially independent. A fuck-off fund can be a lifesaver and the fact that most of us don’t have one is quite silly really.

5 ways to feel happy, instantly.

If you’re ever in a need of a happiness pick me up, there are ways to increase the happy levels instantly. No I’m not talking about a bag of Haribo or popping open a bottle of Prosecco – though both can be joy inducing in their own ways.

For me there are certain things that bring my mood right up in an instant.

Dogs. Cats. And all cute animals.

There’s something in animal therapy. The repetitive motion of stroking a furry creature, having a cuddle with someone who is SO happy to see you and be with you (dogs are best for this as cats, as you probably know, are very much their own masters and like things happening on their terms). Seeing cute animals are psychologically proven to make us happier. And this is not only in real life, also photos of cute furry friends are mood boosting. If there was ever a reason for allowing myself five minute ‘cute animals on Instagram’ session each day that’s it.

Go outside.

Soak up those vitamin Ds! Grab a blanket, bring a book or download your favourite podcast and head to the nearest green space – or if you’re lucky enough to live near a forest, go wandering.

Look out at the sea.

There’s something so grounding by sitting quietly in your thoughts looking at the sea. The waves moving towards you, the white noise, the next wave never exactly the same as the last one… When I feel sad, anxious, or simply need to think, I feel drawn to the sea.

Buy yourself flowers.

Surround yourself with beautiful flowers. Let your life be filled with the colours, variation and delightful smells of living plants. And buy them for yourself.

Take a break from the digital world

We all need it sometimes: to unplug. Like our computers and smartphones that need to be switched off once in a while to get a rest, so do we. In a super-connected world, it’s ok to say Pokemon No and leave the social chatter, flurry of emails, articles and Netflix binges aside for a weekend.

Chub rub. The struggle is real.

It all starts so promising. The sun is out. The temperature is hitting high 20s – or as with this particular heatwave we’re experiencing in London these days a high of 33C. People are actually smiling. Summer has finally arrived!

As a woman, these kind of temperatures means that the trusted tights are left at the back of the drawer, jeans are swapped for floaty skirts and flirty summer dresses. With this change also comes another one. Skin on skin contact. No, I’m not talking about the sexy times that hot summer days also might make you want. I’m talking about the way your thighs rub against each other as you walk around, it getting hotter and hotter as the pavements ooze of heat underfoot and the sun is sizzling you from above. It gets sweaty and sticky, and for a while all seems fine. Until.

It’s starts off as a slight annoyance. To small to even notice really. Then, suddenly, it hits you. The burn. It’s as if the inside of your thighs are on fire. You get to where you need to be – I hope for your sake this place is home –  and it’s time to inspect. Yes, there they are, the red patches. Sore and raw. Like a carpet burn at the worst possible place. Now all you can do is a) find some garment that will let you cover up both thighs (don’t be fooled the pain will still be there or b) lay down, legs wide apart with some cooling aloe vera gel on the distressed areas. It doesn’t matter if you’re a larger lady or straight sized. Most of us get it – and if you don’t, praise yourself lucky!

Today is one of those days.

Now excuse me as I go tend to my sore, wobbly thighs.

#thestruggleisreal

 

Why do we think of food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’?

There’s an article in today’s The Observer which addresses the morality of food, and why we now see certain types of food – cakes! – as ‘bad’ while others – vegetables mainly – are taking the moral high-ground and get labelled as ‘good’.

“For as long as we can remember, the British have associated delicious food with depraved indulgence. Anything that tastes good has got to be bad for your body, soul or both.”

This echoes discussions found in podcasts I’ve been listening to recently (The Bod Cast and Mind Body Musings). The more aware you become of the fact that most of us think of food as good or bad, naughty or nice, the more you realise how indoctrinated we are to think this way. It’s a modern thing – pushed even further by the popularity of ‘clean eating’ in recent years. Hell, only today at brunch one of my friends said to the table: “Should I go for the good option or the fun option?”, putting the vote out to those around it as in an attempt to be persuaded one way or the other.

Why is there such a moral question around food? 

We want to eat better, nourish our bodies and souls, we want to ‘be good’, and then push decisions to our friends and families when we actually want something that’s been deemed as ‘naughty/bad’. Why can’t we choose things ourselves? Why can’t we look at food and think of it only as food, and that ANY AND ALL foods can and should be enjoyed. The problem is not the food. The problem is the amount and frequency of when we eat it. With food being abundantly available in developed societies, moderation has become problematic.

After years of dieting (feeling great as long as I stuck to the rules), then only to end up binging in secrecy and feeling shit about myself, I’m working on retraining myself into eating intuitively. This means no food item is on the naughty list. I’m going to listen to my body and what it wants – be it sugar, fat, carbs, meat, vegetables. It’s not going to be easy – years of abusing my body and mind, denying myself the pleasure of food will help do that. But it’s not impossible.

It’s time to feed my body and soul. Enjoy the pleasures of life and be happy.

Lost in translation online dating

Online dating. It’s a real joy isn’t it? Especially with apps such as Tinder. Swipe. Swipe. Swipe. It’ a match. Great, now let’s just not talk to each other… Don’t get me wrong, it can be fun – if you treat it like the game it is – but not if you’re looking for something a bit more substantial. Then it’s like looking for a fucking needle in a haystack.

When you do end up messaging, from experience, around 80% of the time the conversation quickly turn on to sex (him) and the request for nude photos. What ever happened to having a good chat and then possibly meeting up to see if there is chemistry?

Talking to a guy from overseas today, I shared some full-body photos of myself – yes FULLY DRESSED in all – as I don’t really have many on my profile. So, off on Facebook I went, found a few where I think I look pretty good and that are fairly recent ones, and shared them. Upon seeing them the guy says “Ah, you’re a little fat”. Now English might not be his first language, but by deus, he should surely know that this is not what you say to people? Fat is such a loaded word. I love the people driving the fat/body positive movements out there, but for me this is not something I want to be called by someone I have just started talking to.

Now, I like my curves and don’t want to be super slim – but I’m also only at the start of appreciating me for me and loving me, just the way I am. What makes matters worse, after I pointed out that what he had just said is considered quite rude, he’s then persisted in asking me for nude pics to ‘see if [he] can like that’.

THAT is my body. THAT is a person. THAT is me. And THAT doesn’t need this shit.

Time to take off the glasses… Reclaiming my mind and body

Over the past twelve and a bit months I’ve gone through a lot of changes: I’ve lost weight (heartbreak); I’ve gained weight (trying to fill the gaping emotional hole in me); lost weight (crash diet due to self hatred, no disgust); and now most recently gaining some of the weight I lost while intending to eat more consciously (time to change my mind and through it my body).

This is, sadly, nothing new. Since I can remember I’ve gone through similar cycles – less heartbreak caused by others at times, and instead a hefty dose of negative self-image and lack of confidence.

If you could compete as a jo-jo dieter in the Olympics – I’d be in the top 10. Maybe five even. I’ve tried every diet there is – Atkins, juicing, Cambridge, Weight Watchers, low carb – and guess what? They DON’T WORK. In the short-term, yes they do change the way you look and you feel amazing (for a while). But they’re not sustainable. As soon as you even think about going back to a more balanced way of eating, you’re screwed. Your body, which you’ve deprived of fat/carbs/sugar/calories [delete as appropriate] for however long, doesn’t know what the hell is going on and back the weight comes.Yep, I’ve fucked my body over. And now it’s time to treat it – and me – with love, care and compassion. It’s time to wave goodbye to silly diets. It’s time to be happy with what I have: a curvy figure, which by all means can be even more fabulous if slightly more in shape, but is still pretty darn gorgeous as it is. It’s time to embrace what I have been born with and work on becoming an even better woman than I already am through goodness, helping others and positive actions.

At thirty-something, I am going to fall into love with myself.