I think I have given up. But in a positive way.
There are things I used to do, when I worked full-time, that I no longer do.
I no longer wear formal clothes everyday – no blouses with black trousers, no smart shoes. I don’t even wear jewellery on a regular basis. I rarely put mascara on and I don’t think I have pencilled in my eyebrows for months. I continue to wash – but only shower every other day! – and I still use creams and lotions to protect my skin. Got to look after one of my rare assets. But I don’t spend as much time getting dressed in the morning and I don’t worry about what I am going to wear the next day. I also don’t worry about the impression I am making and whether I sound stupid or unintelligent.
My yoga teacher was having a bit of a rant (her word) in class earlier this week. She had been reading about how the pursuit of health and the perfect body was driving everyone to distraction. We were reminded that the body we brought to our yoga mat was the body we had and the one we had to work with. That it was enough. I couldn’t agree more. Although at the time it was difficult to nod and express much of an opinion as I was laying out flat with my legs up the wall!
I have lived most of my time convinced that I was not enough and that somehow I needed to be thinner, prettier, cleverer, more active, busier. It has taken up a lot of time and energy trying to change who I am, to win this thing, to match some ideal. I’ve dieted to make myself thinner. I’ve worked-out to tone my abs. I’ve applied for promotion to appear ambitious. I’ve dyed and permed my hair to make it look thicker. I’ve shaved my armpits to remove body hair. I’ve used tanning lotions to get that sun-kissed look. I’ve worn make-up to look more beautiful. And I have worried about it, in the background, for what feels like forever.
It now all seems a bit silly and pointless. I haven’t won anything. I don’t feel any different for all that effort.
So I am giving up. It is my small act of rebellion. I am no longer participating in the competition. I don’t want to. I am never going to win and I don’t like the game anymore. If it means I am relegated to the sidelines, so be it. There is more space there – to be me.