2017 has started. A new year, a new beginning, and an influx of messaging that you should be eating cleaner, get skinnier, updating your wardrobe, trying to look more youthful, being more mindful, becoming more flexible, being a #girlboss, and of course only surrounding yourself with things that make you feel joy and chucking the rest.
Now, I’m all for self-improvement and most of this stuff is great – if that’s what YOU want to do. I’m a big believer that we are here to learn, grow and evolve and pass some wisdom onto those around us. This messaging though isn’t wisdom. It’s very much based on exercising insecurities and getting us to buy some sort of program or product to help achieve the “goal”.
If you want to quit sugar and train mean – that’s awesome. But do it because you want to. Because I bet for most of you reading this, you are probably pretty awesome and fabulous just as you are. Your true authentic and real self has a lot going on and I bet you are just rad. I bet you do what you can and do it bloody well.
2016 wasn’t one of my best years, but as it drew to a close I realised that when I was being authentic and real, was when I was most content. I wasn’t necessarily happy, but I knew I was doing the right thing. So in 2017 I’m planning to flex my real muscle and train my authenticity to shine. I think if more women did this we’d just feel better and get on with things and succeed.
My road to learning this was rocky and I thought it might be nice to share a few things with you that I learnt in 2016 were OK to let me be who I really am.
It’s OK to look after yourself
Man, I cannot stress enough just how OK it is to look after yourself. To go to the exercise class, meet up with your girlfriends for dinner, prioritise your own learning, etc. My partner and I have gotten into the habit of committing to have mini-breaks on our own. He goes camping with friends a couple of times a year and I head to a health retreat or similar for a few days and we are much better humans for it.
I know I’m flogging a well-flogged horse by telling you this AGAIN. But once you make regular space in your life for YOU the benefits are far reaching. You’re happier, if you have a significant other (and they aren’t a jerk) they’ll be happier, your kids (if you have them) are happier and learning it’s ok to look after yourself, and the whole world will just see you glow.
So get out there lady – do your thing.
It’s OK to lean on a man / partner
I’m a staunch feminist. I provided for myself for 30 plus years and I have always been pretty proud of that. Walking my feminist talk, etc.
Last year though, when I was overwhelmed with the all of the things, I let go a bit. I let my very capable partner help me. It was the first time I let him without thinking his help was a direct criticism of my inability to do all the things. And you know what, it was ok. The things get done, perhaps not how I would do them, but they get done.
As a feminist I actually feel like my stride got stronger because I’m sharing the load. We’re splitting domestic duties more evenly and most definitely contributing to how things should be on the domestic work hours front, rather than further institutionalising how they currently are.
It’s OK to have junk in your trunk
I jiggle when I wiggle and that’s fine. I’m healthy and that is awesome. I have legs that are strong and arms that can hold two toddlers at once. I can dance until the wee hours of the morning. I have a bikini body because I own a bikini and I wear it even though I jiggle, even though I have F-cup boobs and even though the media would tell me a Nancy Ganz one piece is probably more “suitable”.
As our mate Taryn Brumfitt would say – embrace your body for what it can do. The rest isn’t that important.
It’s OK to not have a “word for 2017”, vision board, etc
Man I felt like I was totes failing for not having a “word” or doing a vision board, or keeping my gratitude journal going past 6 January last year. I understand the importance of mindfulness and gratitude but have learnt a weekly yoga class and the occasional guided meditation on You Tube keeps me in the space I like to be. Anything I can get in above that is cream really.
But go easy on yourself. If you don’t do these things, you aren’t failing. There’s many ways to skin a cat. If you are into these things, that’s awesome too. Use the tools that work for you.
It’s OK to talk about your gynaelogical history
I had two miscarriages in 2016 and it was hard for me and my partner. Many of my friends weren’t sure what to say and I was sad and angry. I still get sad, especially as the due date of the first pregnancy I lost approaches.
In the scheme of pregnancy and infant loss, miscarriage isn’t as traumatic as some other experiences. All of them however shake your foundations and make you question yourself and your choices. They are isolating and hard.
Now that I am 15 weeks into what is looking to be a healthy pregnancy, I have openly mentioned a few times to people who have asked various pregnancy related questions that I lost two pregnancies last year. The response is mixed. Sometimes though there is a bond because the person you are taking to understands because they’ve been there and you can share how hard and anxious pregnancy is after the experience and all sorts of other things.
I think in general we are groomed from a young age not to talk about gynealogical matters and I don’t really understand why. How else do we know what’s going on with our bodies or teach our daughters to look after themselves? So if you and I ever meet – please feel free to tell me about yours ok.
So these are the things I learnt just being me. I hope they help you a little bit too. Did you have any epiphanies in 2016? What’s your word for 2017 if you’ve got one?