These Are The Lines Of A Story – Mary Martin Wiens

I discovered this blog article today, and it moved and inspired and calmed me — BWG

These Are The Lines Of A Story

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Change and Acceptance

I found a similar image to this on Pinterest a few days ago and have been debating whether or not it’s something to share on this blog. As luck would have it, I finally managed to track the original down on google from my inaccurate memory of the words, and discovered this, better version.

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The original didn’t have the last frame, but it still made me think. I’ve been cutting out junk food and trying to do a little exercise every now and then and I am finally starting to feel a bit different. But I think that this ‘Fitspiration’ doesn’t have to refer to diet and exercise, maybe it can refer to breaking harmful habits, or studying or anything else that we commit ourselves to for the betterment of ourselves and society. Four weeks for us to start changing from the inside, eight for those close to us to notice our change and twelve for everyone to see the difference. When the fitspo is removed, it still holds true as a positive reinforcement that, whilst change is not always easy to achieve instantly, it is noticeable and worth it in the end.

And that’s what I mused upon before I found this version, which I like infinitely more. Yes, we can change, it takes time – but we are also enough as we are and should have confidence in ourselves even if the change we want takes longer than we would like. — BWG

Cheerful Encounters

This afternoon, my son went to his weekly nursery session and I had an interesting walk home after taking him there. First, I paid a visit to our rental agency, where they admired my little daughter and we shared a few jokes together. I then popped into a new cafe by the bus stop to try one of their fruit smoothies as a treat and got to know the owner, a nice smiley guy. After that, I went into Tesco and had a lovely chat with two of the women who work there, talking about our children and exchanging funny stories. On the way home, one of our downstairs neighbours passed us and we had a wave and a smile. I came home feeling confident and cheerful.

It was only as I got in the lift, with its mirrored wall that I realised that I had not once considered my weight or my figure. The feeling of not being constantly aware of it was liberating. In retrospect, I saw that the people I had chatted to had all been different sizes and shapes, but that hadn’t registered at the time either. They were funny and kind and relaxed and friendly and that’s what mattered to me, and made me feel funny and kind and relaxed and friendly. It only occurred to me when I got home that the really beautiful girl in Tesco could be considered slightly on the bigger side after I recalled something she’d said about my baby liking her ’round face’.

This ties in really well with another blog I read today, in which the writer confronted the difficulties of being both a feminist and the subject of an eating disorder. Whilst every bit of me wishes I could say I am totally at ease with my body, I have to admit I feel more confident when I’m slimmer and more toned. However, it doesn’t seem to make any difference to those who love me. And one of my favourite relatives, who is a brilliant, wise and funny friend sometimes says she experiences difficulties with her weight due to a long term disability, but it has simply no effect on the way I see her. I see her energy as a person, her spark and intelligence and life, her physique is way down on the list of things that make her special. My figure has changed and the number on my scales frequently changes but the way my family and friends react to me hasn’t. Their acceptance and love, no matter what my size is something I think I should extend to myself more often. I’ll keep looking for more positive images online to remind me of this. — BWG

Ingress

This is a great read (in fact, the whole blog looks pretty darn good), and uplifting in exactly the way I like! Thanks, missmaddie95 🙂

Down With The Norm

I absolutely DESPISE when people say, “don’t let it get to ya, champ!” after someone else tells you something hurtful or offensive. Trust me, sir, if I had a choice in the matter, I would not “let it get to me.” But there’s this cute little thing called emotions, and when people are insensitive, it makes me hypersensitive. 

I have noticed recently that it is mostly when a select few males give their oh-so-entitled and completely unwarranted opinions that I get the most upset.  

“I liked your hair better blonde.” 

“Are you gonna eat that whole thing? You’ll get fat!” 

“You should start running, or go to the gym!” 

“You’re skin is pasty.” 

Not to generalize, but I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I verbalized my verdict on a man’s appearance without him asking for my opinion.  

But for some odd reason, many men I’ve encountered in my life…

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Positive Body Image (thank you, Jennifer Lawrence et al..)

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This made me smile, and appreciate the fact that there are talented, high-profile people out there willing to confront the ‘ideal body shape’ myth. I’d have liked there to be a couple of men on there, but maybe I’ll find some great quotes from them some other time. Enjoy! — BWG

29 Celebrities Who Will Actually Make You Feel Good About Your Body

Lessons From My Body (How I Got Here)

My body and I have had an interesting relationship over the years. When I was little, I was similar to my son, constantly running, bumping into things, picking up grazes and occasionally getting a stitch or wearing myself out. As a teenager, I joined school teams and loved PE lessons. When I hit my post-school days, I didn’t exercise as much as I would have liked, I missed organised sport and there weren’t any women’s football teams for me to join. At University, I had a pretty good balance, running about with like-minded people who enjoyed exercise but didn’t take it in an all-consuming way. After that, I got fat and happy in relationships, the odd game of squash or trip out cycling alongside a lot of indulgent meals. Then I got controlling and obsessive, living with body-conscious beauties in a beach city of bared skin, fake tan and glamorous nightlife. That was the one which my body couldn’t handle: a constant pressure of exercise on a diet of very little.

At my worst, I took a small Tupperware box of grapes to eat for lunch, with a nutrigrain bar in my drawer in case of emergencies. I spent a day teaching children, often covering other classes for PE lessons, coached the school football team and spent a few days on an FA coaching course, playing football all day. Before going to football training for the local women’s team, on a small meal of pasta and pesto. That was incidentally during the time I had already torn a ligament in my leg playing football with some friends in the evening. If I was lucky, I’d get to bed around 2am after finishing planning, preparation and marking, before waking at 7am to get to work. Now I’m writing it all out, I’m beginning to realise how badly I was treating my body. And that’s before I mention the evening runs I went for, just to get out of the house and feel the fresh air and push myself even further.

Inevitably, my body broke down, and my life did too. Hospitalised at 26, unemployed at 27 and back at my childhood home, I was in the thick of a physical crash. Doctors eventually diagnosed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, after MRIs and the threat of a lumbar puncture and my losing the ability to walk, make cohesive sentences or concentrate for any length of time. I was crushed. And horrified at my weakness, suffering from an illness I had never even believed really existed before. I remember talking to a trained counsellor friend who had a long-term diagnosis of ME, wailing that I felt I would never get my life back, I would never get back who I was. It was a shock to me when she asked, “Do you really want to?”

No. No, I didn’t want that relentless pressure I had put upon myself. I didn’t want to deny the obvious pain and uselessness of my body any more. I didn’t have it in me to fight the diagnosis or whatever people would think of me. And, slowly, very slowly, I started to rebuild my life. I never believed that my body would improve, but to my astonishment, as I started listening to it, it started co-operating. I met someone who accepted my weakness far more readily than I did, someone who simply offered to call a taxi when my legs failed me on a romantic seaside walk. I understood that my family were prepared to make allowances for me far more easily than I granted them of myself. And I learned to resist the urge to control my physical condition, rather more to enable it to be the best it could be. At times, that wasn’t much at all, but it was improving.

Having my son changed everything, seemingly in a permanent way. I was lucky to have a midwife who had personal experience of ME, I took hypnobirthing classes and found it easy to focus on a healthy diet and exercise balance for the sake of the little life growing inside me. And my boy, who is the most incredible bundle of energy and life and spirit, raised my metabolism back up to a point I’ve never had before, where the weight melted off and my stamina held up. The second pregnancy and having two children has been exhausting, but I’m still miles better than I could ever have dreamed about eight years ago.

So, what have I learned? I’ve learned that exercise is good, but not too much. Decadent food is a treat. Eat too much fatty, sugary food and I feel sluggish and low, eat healthily and I feel nourished and confident. And I’ve learned about the importance of sleep, how it allows my body to rest, process the day and rebuild itself. It’s taken me 34 years, but finally I’ve caught on to the basics. Living a more accepting life has also led me to realise that self-worth can come from not just being attractive and in peak physical condition, it can come from trying to be a good person. I feel better when I offer my time or help to someone in need than I ever did during my self-obsessed diet and exercise frenzy. I do still slip, find myself putting too much of my self-esteem in how I look and feeling the pressure, but I’m determined to be body wise these days and concentrate my efforts on giving it what it needs – decent food, moderate exercise, and sleep. Well, as much of that as I can manage with my funny, lovely little ones. As the mighty Meatloaf once said, two out of three ain’t bad… — BWG