I am many things. Mum, wife, sister, friend, colleague, random lady in the gym… many things to others, but only one to me. I am me. And in the 41 years that I’ve been on this planet, there is only one time that I can recall ever being totally 100% confident in who that ‘me’ is. I was two. Two. I was climbing the mountainous stairs at the home where I lived at the time, and I remember looking up and feeling like those stairs would go on forever, that to reach the top would be the biggest achievement of my life. And someone- I don’t recall who- asked me, ‘How old are you?’. I replied with such gusto, such self importance and such confidence: ‘I’m TWO!’ To be that sure of myself, that proud… I mean, on a literal level of course I know how old I am now. Old.
But on a whole other level, I envy this two year old me who was so happy in her skin, so self assured and so determined. These are all attributes you could apply to me now, from time to time, and there are indeed days where I feel like that feisty toddler climbing those huge stairs again… but there are also times when I definitely don’t. I am many things, but I am not always that confident in my ability to be ‘me’.
Last week I posted on my Facebook page about starting ‘Project Comeback’ with one of my favourite Youtubers, Marisa Chaela, aka Miss Fit and Nerdy. I don’t write much about it here, but those who know me in real life will know that I place health and fitness very high on my list of priorities and over the last four years I’ve fallen in love with the gym, of all places. For me, its more than just plugging in my headphones and hammering out a workout. It’s an essential part of my mental health recovery, my ongoing journey towards re-capturing the spirit of two year old me.
I’ve documented my son’s birth here on this blog many, many times. What happened nine years ago is the reason this blog exists, but I’m tired of it being the only reason why I write. Struggling to find a new voice is part of the reason why I simply haven’t written in so long. Wanting- needing- to move on and change direction has been holding me back and perhaps this is a vital part of the healing process… perhaps it really is time to move on.
Maternal mental health will always be a topic very very close to my heart and I will always want to support, be a shoulder, and a listening ear to anyone who needs it. The messages and comments I get from women who thank me for sharing, or tell me they ‘get it’ are so important, so cherished and absolutely the reason why I do it. We’re a village right here and I do not want that to change. But I do want change.
I want this blog to transition to a place where you feel inspired to take control and make steps towards healing. Where you change your belief in the common definition of the latest buzz word: self care. It’s a phrase that really bugs me. Over the years its made me feel I’m doing something wrong if I do not take time to paint my nails or take a bubble bath without kids at least once a week. It’s a phrase people use when they want to show the world they are in control, they are confident and they are happy to take ‘me time’ with no regrets. It’s a phrase that makes my toes curl. I am not, for one second, suggesting that any of the above actions are bad or unnecessary. But I am suggesting that, for me, self care goes way beyond a bubble bath.
For many, self care is turning down that invitation to a prestigious event because you just know your anxiety is too high right now and the journey alone will make your heart pound and your legs shake. It’s finding the courage to realise there are people in your life who simply aren’t a positive force and allowing yourself to make changes to protect your emotional wellbeing. It’s accepting that you are allowed to love yourself enough to take care of yourself.
Allowing yourself to love yourself.
Loving your body. Enough to treat it well. Enough to challenge it. Enough to respect what it can do.
Yes, ok, so eating cake can also be part of this process- and god knows life is short enough to deny yourself sweet baked goods… but true self care? True self love? It doesn’t really have to involve cake at all.
This has been my stand point for the last few years. I try to eat well because it makes my body healthy and in turn it makes my mind heathy. I go to the gym for ‘me time’, yes, but also so that I can show my body I care, at last. I am proud of what it can do, the changes it can make the new things it can achieve. This is my ‘self care’, my way of healing. My journey back to two year old me.
I’ll be documenting my experience on Project Comeback here and on Facebook too. This is a refresher for me. A reminder, after a tough few weeks that I am good enough, important enough and special enough.