Day Twelve: The key is at the core

Firstly, a quick note on yesterday’s post. It was long. And there were a lot of links and no pictures, so apologies if it was a bit much to take in. I have a lot to say! Also, the link to Elena Rossini’s video didn’t work, so I’ve corrected it in yesterday’s post but here it is again – if you’re interested in women and body image, it’s worth watching. The video is called Femmes Ideales or Ideal Women on the Vimeo link. I called it ‘La femme ideale n’existe pas’ yesterday, which I must have got from somewhere as I’m not in the habit of making things up, but it doesn’t seem to be the correct name, so apologies again. And that’s enough apologies for one day – this is a blog about self-acceptance after all and sometimes I make mistakes.

Today, I’m hoping to write a shorter blog, but we’ll see how well I do with that intention. I seem to have discovered, or rediscovered, a real love of writing.

So I’ve learned a few lessons in the past few days – or re-learned them, because I knew them already. I just forget very easily. They are:

  • I take myself wherever I go (in the past, I might have added ‘unfortunately’ to that phrase but as I’m on a journey of self-acceptance, I won’t)
  • If I’m not at peace with myself, I won’t find peace where I go, even if I’m sitting cross-legged on top of a Tibetan mountain
  • If I’m not at peace with myself, I’ll start messing around with my eating (overeating, undereating, obsessing about food, weight and my body)
  • If I’m messing around with my eating, I won’t feel comfortable in my body or with my shape or size, no matter what shape or size I am
  • In order to stay at peace with myself, I need or deserve to do what I know works for me: connect to myself and to God every morning through 20-30 minutes of prayer and meditation, do the same every evening and throughout the day, ensure I get sufficient downtime, take care of myself and go easy on myself. Taking myself a little less seriously also helps
  • I can’t truly love others if I don’t love myself and I can’t give to others if I haven’t given to myself first. I can’t help others – or at least not in a way that works for them and for me – if I’m running on empty

And yes, I do feel a touch guilty writing about these issues when the Middle East is in chaos, when Japan has been devastated by an earthquake and tsunami and as people I know, and don’t know, are struggling to overcome loss or make a living against the odds. But as I mentioned very early on in this blog, negative thinking about our bodies and disordered eating lead many people to very dark places and we all have our own battles to fight. Perspective is very important but dismissing our struggles doesn’t make them go away.

I’ve also been pondering – after reading so much about the Endangered Species summit and all the related issues – what impact the media, advertising, airbrushing and so on has and had on me and my body image and eating issues. And to be honest, I’m not sure I know the answer.

What I do know is that at some stage in my early childhood, I developed the notion that I wasn’t enough as I was, that I wasn’t thin enough, pretty enough, clever enough etc. I don’t blame anyone for this and I can’t quite pinpoint when I began to feel that way. Was it around the time my Dad moved out? Was it before then? Was I trying to emulate my beautiful mother? How or why it happened doesn’t actually matter. But the truth is a little chunk was knocked out of my core, a dent was made in my self-esteem, leaving a hole that I subsequently tried to fill or make up for by striving to be the thinnest, prettiest, cleverest girl in town. That striving either cost me dearly (in some ways, because in other ways it took me far) or backfired. So for me, the key is at my core. The media images feed the feelings of inadequacy but the roots go a lot deeper. So it’s that core I’m trying to heal in those “small and beautiful ways” to quote Courtney E. Martin and yesterday’s blog.

So I began this morning by taking fifteen minutes to drink in the view and ‘centre myself’ (a phrase I don’t really like but one that seems fitting here) at a beautiful spot called Angel Cove in North Wales, before heading back to busy London on the train. The sun was out and the sea was incredibly still. I’m putting it out there, to God and the universe, that I’d absolutely love a little place of my own in or around this area.

PS I know some people are having difficulty posting comments on this blog, which is a shame as I’d really love to hear from you. I think the easiest way is through a Google account. But if you’d like to post a comment and aren’t able to, please let me know and I’ll try to help. Or email me your comment if you have my email and I’ll post it under your name. You can also contact me via Twitter @Just_AsIAm40. If anyone would like to ‘guest blog’ here also, please get in touch. It’d be great to hear some other voices.

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