Take a break from self-hate

Over the weekend I had a lot of different ideas about what I wanted to write about. My crazy mind drafted up close to 100 topics I felt a need to share. I “accidentally” polished off a bottle of Sav Blanc on Friday night, which I normally steer clear of these days (that’s another story) and at the latter part of the evening, I popped up some random post on my Instagram account regarding vanity and how superficial the world has become. I referred to a picture of my younger self in my Army uniform and compared it to a different version of myself during the height of my selfie-taking (and rather insecure) phase. I wanted to demonstrate how once, I seemed comfortable in my own skin – makeup free and untamed eyebrows yet, I wore an authentic smile, one which represented both pride and a curious lust for life.

I think my intention was to compare that photo to a time several years later, where I felt lost, unsure of myself and with a desperate need for validation disguised in the form of “likes” on a filtered, airbrushed (and most likely), filtered again, selfie and show the evolution of personal growth from then to the present day.

I deleted my Instagram post, because, at the peak of my “vino high” I was in fact, executing a false sense of confidence. I hinted that I was beyond the insecure phase and that I had somehow, woken up one day to discover the secret to self-love and acceptance. I insinuated that I was now some kind of empowered “confident woman”.

Pffffffffffffffttttttttttttt

To be clear, am I confident? In some ways. Have I learned to accept myself for all my flaws? Not really. Do I still take selfies and wack on a filter? Well, yes, but these days I prefer to use my camera phone to capture events and memories rather than my face. I’ve also long dropped the airbrush tool. Thank goodness.

I have four children. I don’t want them to see me constantly in the bathroom with my face masques, makeup and fake tan. I wish they could see their mummy throw on a t-shirt and track pants and head out to tackle the world, makeup-free, rocking a “DGAF” smile. No matter how much I run this dream through my head though, I don’t think I’m anywhere close to making it a reality. I wear a slither of foundation to spin class for Pete’s sake! Yes, I KNOW it’s only going to sweat off and clog up my pores! My fake tan sometimes sweats through my light colored tank tops too and I look like I’ve been rolling around in clay and smell like a rotting coconut. Ew.

It’s funny how it all works though. How many of us can see the beauty in others and aren’t afraid to let them know, “Your skin is beautiful” “You are such a caring friend” or “Congratulations on your promotion. You work hard and deserve it!” Accepting a compliment, however without being over-modest and shrugging it off or feeling the urge to respond by self-deprecating, is a challenge for many of us.

We can be successful, kind and compassionate. We might be raising articulate children, living a healthy lifestyle and outwardly, looking like we’ve damn well got it all worked out.

We can also have everyone fooled.

I don’t have to stand in front of a mirror to recite all of my physical “flaws.” I know each and every one better than the back of my hand. My head is too big for my body, my teeth are chipped and crooked, my nose is too wide, I have a double chin when I look down, I have scars all over my stomach, stretch marks on my boobs, cellulite on my thighs, I can’t wave excitedly, for fear of my “tuck shop lady” arms joining in on the party. My heels are so damn dry, they look like cracked mud plains. In fact, they’re so dry and cracked they look like an earthquake has erupted on each of my feet.. and they hurt when I walk. Yikes.

So that was kind of brutal.

Last night, I quietly cried to myself under the covers about something I recently felt excluded from. Childish, perhaps. I can beat myself up about things sometimes and I overthink and over assume and it can cause my heart all kinds of agony. I had my 6 year old daughter, Sophie next to me, and although it was pitch black and I thought I hadn’t made a sound, I felt her little hand reach out to me and touch my face. I don’t know how she knew or if she ever did, but she gently patted my hair and held my face as though she could sense my sadness.

I wiped my tears and I snuggled close to her. I’m not even sure if she was awake or asleep, but that one little act reminded me of what my purpose in life is.

I am a mother and I am loved. I am a wife and I am loved. I am a friend and I am loved. I am flawed, and still, I am loved.

And I love, right back.

I may pick my physical self to pieces which results in spending too much time in the bathroom but I am pretty content with the person I am on the inside.

This week, I have been truly overwhelmed by all the love and support I have received from family, friends, and acquaintances surrounding my new blog. The encouraging and heartfelt words have really aspired me to take the reins and see this thing through. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a good dose of “determination” and how bloody amazing it feels to have some goals. Thank you.

Today, I’ve decided is the day that I stop picking myself apart and instead, I am going to transform every negative thought I’ve held of myself into a positive one.

I might give myself a hard time about the 9 years I’ve spent out of the workforce instead of building a career, but instead, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend that time being a full-time mumma and guiding my four children through to school age.

My feet are cracked and sore, but I’ve got two strong legs to stand on. My teeth are a little crooked, but I’m lucky enough to have good dental hygiene. I look like a bobble-head, but that head of mine is host to a creative mind. I’ve got scars and stretch marks, but those are a constant reminder of my ultimate honor – being fortunate to carry and deliver four healthy children.

If I could flip myself inside out and put my heart out on display, you would see that every part of me is sincere and I would never be afraid to show that to the world.

I AM confident in my character.

I hope that for any of you who are reading my blog and who lack confidence and the inability to see what others see, can take something away from this. Together, let’s start practicing how to love ourselves and take care of ourselves. We don’t have to be cocky or overconfident, but we do need to give ourselves a break from time to time.

I’m a work in progress. To some extent, I think we all are. Some of us are harder on ourselves than others and many of us are just better at focusing our attention, elsewhere.

I don’t know if I’ll ever hit the gym without a tiny bit of “something” on my face, and I can’t promise I won’t revert to hair extensions if these sparrow feathers of mine don’t hurry up and grow!!

And, while I work on my ability to genuinely accept a compliment on my appearance, I’ll continue to do my best at just being an all- around good human – and so should you! ❤🙌🏼

If only, people could see their souls, instead of their faces in the mirrors they hold – Sulekha Pande

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