When I was a child, my Dad asked me what I was afraid of. My reply: Everything. And I was. I remember feeling so afraid of being alone.
I was never popular at school. I was the ‘weird’ girl. I was fat. I never felt like I fit in. I never did, no matter how much I tried.
I was told a lot ‘You’d be so pretty if you lost weight’ or ‘We would be your friends I’d you weren’t so annoying’ I tried to make myself smaller. I tried to be less annoying. Tried to make people like me by giving them my things. It didn’t work of course. I was too much, or not enough. I never quite figured it out.
For my sixteenth birthday, my parents hired a movie theatre to screen Rocky Horror Picture Show. Full dress up, prop, interactive experience. It was fully catered. I was so excited. I invited everyone in my year. I had the invites professionally done. I hired my costume (Magenta, of course). 3 people came. 3. Not including my family. We were eating party food leftovers for days. This is a memory that comes up a lot for me. Whenever I throw a party, whenever I organise anything, even my wedding, I think no one is coming. Even when I organise my daughter’s parties. I am so deeply afraid that then same thing will happen for her. And I don’t ever, ever want her, or anyone else ever to feel that way. But, worse than that. The thought that my parents spent all that money, bought all that food, and I wasn’t even good enough to have more than 3 friends come.
I tried everything. I tried standing out, I tried to fit in. But nothing worked. I would never be enough, or was it that I was too much? All I found wasn loneliness, depression, an abusive boyfriend and an eating disorder. I closed in on myself. I had no confidence. I pushed everyone away. I resigned myself to being me. Someone no one would ever like, least of all me.
I put myself through endless diets. I cried myself to sleep most nights. I wished, prayed, hoped I’d wake up anyone but me. Why me? Why did I have to ben so different. Why couldn’t I just be like everyone else?
Then, the day came when I couldn’t do it anymore. I asked my Dad for help. My parents, would literally do anything to help me. They had. They had supported me through everything, they were always there to help me pick up my pieces. They still are. My Dad sent me for my first Neurofeedback session.
I woke up. I gained the clarity, and the strength to change what I could. I opened up about my situation. I found the strength to leave it. I came across the fat acceptance movement. I saw other women with bodies like mine who actually didn’t actively hate themselves. Was that allowed? Who said they could like themselves the way they were. You mean they didn’t diet? Could I do that too? I wanted to know more about this loving yourself for who you are thing. I read more, I devoured every blog I could find. It literally changed my life.I quit everything I hated. I quit my job. I quit my relationship. I quit dieting. I quite hating myself. I figured I’d be on my own. But, at least I’d be happy. I planned travel, I imagined my amazing life. On my own.
The Universe had other plans for me. I found my people. And I belong. Every day, I work hard to show up as my vulnerable, best, most authentic self. In belong, and I am me. I am who I am. I like who I am. I absolutely will never change myself to fit in again. And, I’m still discovering new parts of me. And I really like who I am. I like that I still experience child like joy. I like enjoy reading serious books about the brain, and also romance novels about cowboys. I like that pretty dresses and sneakers is my go to. I like that I am sensitive and that my emotions are always close to then surface. I like that I am still working on myself every day. I like me.
And I do all this, because I never want Matilda to hate who she is. Or think she isn’t enough. Or think she has to be anyone else other than who she is.
And that is why I am so passionate about the work that I do. It is so easy to feel alone, it’s so easy to feel like you aren’t enough, or worthy, or that you matter, especially when you’re a mum. You lose your sense of self when you become a mum. You might find you do things differently than other mums (hello, me!) and feel like you’re doing it wrong. You’re not.
You deserve more. You deserve to be yourself, to like yourself and to be so secure in who you are that you refuse to debate it. You deserve to choose yourself every single day. I see you. And you are enough, and you are loved.