I mentioned recently that I’ve been motivated to give myself something of an overhaul. I don’t mean the type of ‘Glow Up’ where you drop four dress sizes and everyone on Instagram suddenly starts praising you for your ‘hard work and determination’ like you never did anything else worthwhile in your life and citing you as an ‘inspiration’ because you no longer offend their eyes or their idea of what women should look like in clothes.
I won’t lie – I could do with that too (the weight reduction bit, not the fake love) because I’m staring pre-Diabetes dead in the eye, and my knees no longer feel as robust as they used to be.
But I’m talking about all the stuff that makes no difference to other people but is important to me and my health. The stuff that can’t be instagrammed. That’s about me, not what I look like to other people. Inside, as well as out. A ‘journey’ (if you’ll forgive me for being a cringebag) of self care and improvement.
To do this – and I was going to say ‘to know where to begin’ but I think we all know I’m going to go at this with something of a scattergun approach – I’ve decided to take stock of what I’m trying to address here. Then to tackle it. Or at least work on it.
So, even though they say the Glow Up should technically be from the Flo’ Up, I’m gonna go for the good old fashioned Top-to-Toe approach.
Ah, the head. Where to start? Inside and out, there’s a lot to unpack here.
My hair is lacklustre and not in any definitive style right now, and my scalp is a weird and unfortunate combo of both oily and scabby.
On the inside I’m a constant work in progress and believe it or not this is the thing that might seem the hardest to tackle but I’m most used to, so I’m actually looking forward to it. I need to work on stress, anxiety, confidence, and depression, how I think and my relationships with other people – I mean there’s more to it than those things but I’m happy to let other issues take a backseat for now while I work on priorities.
I’m prone to headaches and migraines too, and can’t for the life of me work out what triggers them but would love to lessen their frequency so I imagine there’ll be some diary-keeping to do there.
Got my work cut out, haven’t I?
My face is wonderful and I’m lucky to have it. Sorry if you know me and don’t agree with that statement but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I can cross my eyes, roll my tongue, and wiggle my ears all at once so I really don’t know what else you’d want in a grid.
However, I suffer from dry eyes and the occasional stye, so need to take better care of my eyes. My skin has become dull and bloated and could do with livening up a little, and not so long ago my darling son told me I had a smelly mouth so I’ve got the unenviable task of giving myself a mouth makeover and maybe a spot of teeth whitening too.
So far, it’s all pretty much a bit of self-care and a spruce up but I’ve also got to tackle a peculiar and ongoing problem: my clamped jaw. I’ll have to tell you more about that another time because it’s an odd one…
I’ve recently, and for the first time, experienced a bad back. Believe me when I tell you I have never felt so old and decrepit in my life. This isn’t what I’ve got planned for my later years (they’re going to involve a lot of body glitter, a cult following, and my own channel on whatever the 2077 equivalent to YouTube is).
I have tension in my shoulders so extreme that my back regularly goes into spasm.
I’m not as flexible as I used to be. I’m sluggish. I eat every meal like it’s my last day on Death Row. I can’t touch my toes. In fact, I’m not even sure if I can touch my knees. I defo can’t see them anymore, I know that much.
I’m carrying dangerous weight around the middle and while I’ve give up caring about what I look like (in part because instead of Z-list celebrities peddling fad diets and bikinis on Instagram, I follow so many wonderful women in all sorts of packaging who remind me every day that you can look good in your skin no matter how much of that skin you’ve got) I do care very much about being able to be active with my son.
I sit on the bench in the park and let him play without me. I get out of breath at Saturday morning footy training and was glad when he moved up to an older group this season in which parents aren’t expected to join in. I get out of breath and have to hold my boobs whenever anything faster than a normal walking pace is involved. I’m cross at myself for letting this happen, I’m cross at myself for not tackling this sooner, and the sooner I improve this the sooner I can forgive myself.
To begin with, I am going to concentrate more on what I’m putting into myself rather that trying to change massive cultural and emotional eating habits overnight.
On the Inside
On the inside, I’m the proud owner of a ‘slow bowel’ which is every bit as glamourous as it sounds. This too can be helped with diet so reluctantly it’s about switching some of the butties for smoothies with milled flaxseed in, getting more leafy greens and fibre, and trying to drink more water every day.
I’m also a fully paid up, card-carrying member of the endometriosis club and am still going into battle with terrifically heavy periods each month, anaemia, as well as those migraines that may or may not be linked to hormones.
Once you start taking stock of all these things, you start to wonder how you make it through each day, don’t you!
Then there’s the exercise. Quite the vicious circle when you’ve got no energy, your knees cry out every time you walk upstairs, and you could fall asleep at the drop of a hat.
The distant memories of netball teams, long walks, the gym, sports for actual real life fun, and going out dancing three times a week all seem like they happened to someone else.
This isn’t how I want to be. This isn’t how I wanted to be these past four or five years. But I can’t look back, I can only look forward. It’s sink or swim time. Possibly very literally.
These are slowly beginning to be real indicators of the state I’m in. They’re stiff and weak, and I can no longer fit rings on my fingers. My knees begin to pain me after not-very-much exertion and I feel like they can’t cope with the burden of the additional weight I’m carrying anymore.
I need to build some tone and strength and suppleness, because it’s these legs that are going to take me on adventures and my arms that are going to get back into playing on climbing frames, giving my son a leg-up onto trees and walls, rowing boats, and carrying picnics. If I can do any of that more comfortably then I don’t really care about the sausage fingers.
Considering the massive stock take I’ve just run through I feel like my feet have got away pretty well with things. They’ve changed a lot since pregnancy and my heels are showing the signs from extra weight, but nothing that a good pamper won’t improve.
So there’s my rundown of what I’ve identified in myself as needing attention. I hope it’s a balanced, holistic view of what’s going on with me physically and emotionally. There’s more that I kind of want to bring into the mix: new experiences, personal development, and improving my environment. But first things first. I know none of these things will happen overnight but that’s ok.
Wish me luck!