Well, actually, I'm hoping some of you will come out of the closet (or fitting room!) and tell me you do the same thing. Or maybe it will be one of those naked at the school assembly kind of situations!
I have a few confessions actually. The first is that while this blog isn't updated as much as it should be (or as much as I would like), I can assure you there is a veritable cutting room behind the scenes. I write posts, or get halfway through them, and then the "this is boring/dumb/irrelevant/too risky" thoughts start happening and I lose heart and hit "save draft" instead. I can't tell you how many draft posts I have sitting out the back.....well, actually I can.....92. That's quite prolific, don't you think? And a bit sad too. The moment for most of those thoughts has passed now, but when I occasionally reread them I wish I had shared them at the time. Some of my favourite posts are ones that I hesitated hitting "publish" on. And they seem to be some of your favourites too :) So maybe I should just stop fucking censoring myself. Yes, I said fuck. I realise it's not the most ladylike habit but I say it a lot! (I had to curb the habit on the visit home though, around my young nephews and niece, and didn't always succeed. Whoops!)
For most of my life, certainly my adult life, it has been all about presenting the nicest, shiniest, most likeable Phil to the world. I'm a bit over that, to be honest. I just want to be who I am. And who I am is a sensitive, complicated woman who at the moment is wavering between two extremes - absolute certainty and utterly crippling self doubt. I am also a woman who is loved and supported, and who is loving and supportive in turn; who is giving her biggest dreams in life a shot; who is not prepared to let life pass her by; who wants to do good in the world; who wants to live a life that matters. I have my flaws but I want to embrace those and start using them to my advantage instead of trying to beat them out or starve them into submission. I'm tired of worrying about what other people think. It's exhausting and, I'm discovering, unnecessary. Liking or approving of me is not up to other people. It's up to me.
Which is a radical thing to say when I have been so dependent on external validation for most of my life. In effect, this blog too has been about presenting the nicest, shiniest, most likeable Phil to the world. It is a conscious editing of my life. I show you the things I'm happy for you to see, that I'm comfortable with you knowing. Everything else - the uglier, needier, riskier stuff - gets hashed out in my journal, or with my husband, friends and family. And that's probably a good thing. After all, this is the Internet and I have been burned by revealing too much in the past. I know my critics will take however much or little I reveal and twist it to suit themselves anyway. The good thing is that as I've got older I've felt less of a need to share absolutely everything. But I would like to feel less censored, and to do more on here, to really lift my game and show you that there is more to me than weight loss, nice pictures of things I cook, positive thinking and marathon running. So much more.
There have been a few WTF moments over the past week. It may have something to do with Venus being in transit but mostly they involved me realising that life is pretty great and all the things I worry about and torture myself about are based on old ideas/perceptions of myself or things that happened or that were said to me or about me five, ten, even twenty years ago. I'm really tired of letting those things hold me back. It is my choice to let these things still upset me or affect whether I hit "publish" on a post or not.
And I don't know why I ignore the evidence I have in front of me. I have the power and ability to change things; to set goals and reach them. Every time I take a risk, it pays off (even if it isn't straight away). Every time I leave my comfort zone, my life is all the better for it. It's just that some days I catch myself acting like the me of ten years ago, the girl who was too scared to fill the car up with petrol by herself in case people pointed at her and laughed (it did happen once, in my defence). That terrifies the hell out of me. But what the hell am I afraid of, after everything that I've been through? I know I won't get anything done if I'm afraid, and I let the fear win. It's a very convenient and seductive excuse.
I actually wrote this myself three years ago:
You'll get there if you believe in yourself. You'll get there if you understand that from every choice you make there is a result that will either bring your closer to or further away from what you want. You'll get there if you don't give up. You'll get there if you stop letting your frustration and desperation beat you. You'll get there if you want it badly enough. (from the post accountability)
Did I write that?! I might need to print that out, I think ;)
(and at the same time, there's a part of me that's thinking really? That was three years ago? And you're still rehashing the same old crap?!) [please be quiet, Inner Critic. Your job is easy.]
As I write this, there is a vegetable broth simmering away on my stove. For the past few months I've saved all the offcuts of carrots, celery, peppers, leeks and any other vegetables and kept them in a bag in the freezer for making stock. Now I've boiled everything up together. Once it's ready I will strain away all the old vegetables, put them in the bin and keep the golden, clear, beautiful vegetable broth. Which, now that it is free of all the bits that it doesn't need any more, is ready for its true destiny.
I'm sure you get the metaphor I'm going for here ;)
Thank you for allowing me this space to tell you what's going on in my head. It helps writing it all down. Five days out of seven I feel pretty great and not much scares me or gets on top of me; it's those two days where it's all just a bit too scary and bit too hard that sometimes overwhelm me. I need to remember that days like that are normal and not a sign I am destined to get nowhere, and that I am worthy of the effort it takes to see a few more of my dreams become reality. I fought for everything else, I will fight for this as well.
I also need to remember that if I want the body of a long distance runner I have to run long distances. Ditto, I cannot follow the diet of a long distance runner if I am not running long distances. That has possibly not been helping my freakouts and feelings of heaviness. I too need to get back to biting it and writing it, I think.
Now, on to the mystery behind the title of today's post! Not just a homage to Madonna but a rather weird idea I had while flicking through all the photos I've taken on my iPod touch since I bought it in January 2011. It is such fun having a look through them, seeing a visual record of everything that was going on at that time. There were pics from our late honeymoon in Madeira (which I will write about sometime, it was such fun!), marathon training shots, walks we used to do in our neighbourhood in Pimlico, bunches of flowers (does anyone else take photos of bunches of flowers for posterity, like I do?), meals I'd made, visits to Chez Bruce, then it went through to India, my 30th birthday, the summer and moving to the country. Such larks.
But I noticed many snaps among these ones - the detritus of failed shopping trips!! When I go shopping alone and happen to be trying on clothes, I will often take photos on my phone or iPod of myself in them just to see what they "really look like", as if the mirrors in fitting rooms somehow can't be trusted. And somehow, I think not. I swear the mirrors in New Look are MUCH more flattering than other shops! Anyway, there were so many of these snapshots!! It's a bit embarrassing really!
Don't you just hate it when something looks better on the hanger than it does on you?! Welcome to a typical Phil shopping trip!
In the spirit of no longer censoring myself, I thought, before I deleted them, I would show you some pics of me pulling silly faces in clothes I did not buy....except for the Abbey Road t-shirt. I bought that.
|Those polka dot shorts looked like jammies on me! |
I actually do wish I'd got the white cardigan,
but I probably would have spilled something on it by now!
|Aargh! Yellow is SO not my colour!!|
|Embracing my inner Frida Kahlo with the skirt on the left|
|Again with those polka dot shorts!! WTF?!|
|I was not drunk in these pictures! ;)|
And what the hell is with all the ORANGE Phil?!
|I actually liked the top on the left but I just can't wear floaty tops |
no matter how slim I am as they invite "when's it due?" stares!
And guess which store I'm in on the right?!
So there you have it - something silly, something a bit random, something weird, something you might not have expected.
Expect a bit more of that kind of thing from now on :)
And, here's a little teaser for you, the opening scene of my novel is in a fitting room. But, needless to say, my character does not take any pictures of herself in what she's trying on! It is a far from pleasant experience for her but one that sets a whole chain of events in motion!
What about you? Any fitting room confessions? Thanks so much for reading xx
PS: Thank you Tam for telling me about the picture frame app :)