What I would say to my 11 year old self

 11 to 31yrs

11 to 31yrs

My gorg friend asked me the other day, what would I tell my 16 yr old self... and I thought about it for a while, but for me, by age 16 I was already deep into negative thought patterns and teenagedom. So I thought I'd talk to my 11 yr old self instead.

This was the summer before I lost my 'puppy fat.' The last time I remember 'not' worrying about my body daily. The last time I wasn't concious of what I was eating, of what I was wearing, of how I felt in my skin. I did have moments where I would wonder why oversized maxi dresses (90s style) were the staple of my holiday wardrobe, but it would be a passing thought and the lack of Tammy girl hot pants didn't loose me sleep. If I knew, that holiday, it would be my last holiday for at least 15 or so years, where I didn't diet incessently before heading off; or where I didn't feel uncomfy in my costume around the pool. If someone had said that that holiday would be the last time in 15 yrs that I wouldn't feel frustrated at the body I was given, and would walk around the pool in my bright orange cosie feeling unaware of my size; comfortable; me. I would rejoice in that and make the most of such a beautiful feeling.

I would sit my 11 yr old self down, and gently tell her that when she was to accidentlily lose weight the following summer and become 'popular' 'fit' 'noticed' When she would start wearing so much mousse in her hair it would go crunchy' or plucking her brows so thin you could barely see them. I would warn myself that I would suddenly feel like boys fancying me would validate me and that I should be cautious of only feel good if I fit into hipster skinny jeans like everyone else. I'd tell myself to stop those feelings of inadequacy. That I was enough, before.

 

Her humour and vivaciousness were charasmatic and how free and unconciouss she was, was infectious. I would tell her not to listen to the people that paid more attention to her now she was 'less chubby.' I would tell her to enjoy her food, but to not eat out of fear of being boring, she is not boring. I would ask her to eat to nourish her body, experience yummy food and to never feel like there isn't more cake, there will always be cake, so there is no need to go on a binge fest.

I'd like her to know she was not 'bigger' than everyone else and even if she was it had no baring on her worth. That hipster jeans were shit anyways and high waisters would be popular real soon. I would tell her that it was good to love the spice girls and wear blue flares and orange crop tops. That she should stop plucking those brows because believe it or not she will want them to be bushy again in twenty years time. I would tell her that her love for Alanis Morrisette and her distinct disliking of 'cool popular unknown unpopular' music was ok. That she should go forth and embrace 'popular unpopular pop music' the way she did without feeling embarressed. I would sit her down and tell her how ridiculous diets were. That eating well did not mean 1000 calories a day. That thigh gaps did not make her better, more awesome, more attractive. That she should work to be strong, healthy, have the best body she could have for herself and not compare it to anyone else. Be the best version of herself by being kind to people, open, honest, and that being friendly was far more important than having a teeny body. That people wouldnt like her more just because she was skinnier. Nor would they like her more if she were bigger, and that if they did, that was not about her self but their own issues and she should not panda to them. She should not let her insecuruties let her be grumpy, cold, stand offish. That it wasnt cool to hate things, moan about things and be mean about people or herself.

I would tell her to not fear success. Not fear the good things in life, that there was no need to self sabatage. Trying is success. There is no failure in going for it and not achieving 'it all' whatever 'it all' is. Life will pass you by and you will spend along time waiting for things to go your way... a good job that pays well and allows freedom with a body that you will just 'get' from not doing much. You will wait for all the good things...  thinking that one day they will just land in your lap and deep into your 20s you realise that they wont, unless you go for them.

Dont be scared to go for them, try for them, work for them. And if you put in that work, the universe somehow, not always in the way you think, will repay you. Be grateful for these things. For your home and friends and health and family. Be empathetic, and forgiving and open to life. Stop choosing to focus on your body to avoid anything else 'not right' in your world. There is more to it than muffin top and thighs that rub together. But that its ok to work for a tighter leaner body. It does not make you boring. What will make her boring or bored is focusing soley on that and making it the be all and end all. Work on balance, on self love, on not hating what you see. Work on triggers and habits and thought processes rather than just loosing weight. Work on being connected to your body, to others, to the moment rather than always trying to rush into the future where you imagine a perfect world with a perfect job and a perfect body.

I would tell that chubby little girl to stay happy in her body no matter what form it takes cos the soul wont take bashing forever. But I will also tell her to embrace it all and learn from it all. That if she does get to her 30s and she hasnt found peace with herself, to start. And that their is lessons to be learnt in being patient with herself. That the universe will push her to grow and find comfort in who she was, is and who she will grow up to be. That that chubby little girl who wanted to show off her tan lines, will shape her to be the person she is today. And today she will look back at herself and see love. Because that last summer of freedom from the negative thoughts and the unease at not being sure of herself was such a special summer as thats who she would return to one day, who she would find herself looking for and who she would stand lookin at in the mirror over 15 years on and see what she saw back then. And be who she was back then. And laugh how she laughed back then. If I could tell my 11 yr old self anything. Its would be to love. All things. With all her heart and all her might as this love will discourage fear, and there right in the middle, she can get comfortable just at just 'being'

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Adulthood... one year in!

As my first year of being 30 comes to an end, I thought I'd reflect upon my first step into real adulthood. Was it any different? Did I grow? Progress? Learn anything? Does my future look bright? Is it orange?

You could say this has been an interesting year. I spent the first few months in LA, truly living in a bit of a bubble. The experience was the best of my life and it changed me incessantly. I came back, changed my job (well got a real job sort of), not before spending two weeks working in a hair salon with the most camp, most flamboyant Evisu jean wearing, receptionist, who told me the salon was not a 'top knot' friendly salon and then proceeded to do impressions of willy hungry men he had met at old school garage raves.

That particular job nearly sucked my soul and starved me of my top knot love, so I began working in a bar that consisted of two customers a day and a pair of the most small minded, ignorant men that said such eye opening statements... 'what's the point of chasing your dream, get a job, buy a house and do what we all do' followed by the other insightful mentions that 'the media is not to blame for (women's) insecurities with their body image, but we ourselves (women) are in fact our own worst enemies, we are a conniving,  competitive species hell bent on being the brightest flower with the brightest petals so we can win the muscle, to procreate, thus causing our own demise into eating disorders and the like'

Luckily the place went into liquidation before I bread crumbed someone's penis and dipped it into a boiling pot of old, dirty oil.

By this point half the year had gone by. I was half way through my first year of "the year that was going to be my year" I'd told my agent not to put me up for any acting jobs because truly, I didn't know what I wanted any more. I didn't know who I was without acting and I didn't know if I could survive without the possibility that life could just change dramatically, or if I'd survive without thinking I was on the path I'd always thought I was meant to be on.

When you come back from the land of opportunity you feel full of hope and enthusiasm. You then spend two months with irrational 'top knot phobe' men or guys with no more than one brain cell between them and the enthusiastic, excitement dies down and you coast for a little while figuring what next.

What next?

I'm a good coaster. I've been good at waiting for life to happen, for something to change without me doing much to steer it in another direction. Hence the trip to LA to try and shock me out of my comfort zone. But it's not long before your patterns catch up with you and you're at home tired from a days work watching an episode of First Dates, scrolling through Instagram replaying those words that shook things up in the first place.

Stop dreaming, start doing.

None of the above sounds very exciting. It's not the stuff IG filtered squares are made of. It's not the life I imagined when I balled my eyes out to my mum aged 24 telling her that I just knew, I was going to be a successful actress, I just knew it in my bones.

It's not that I stopped believing it, I just feel like I stopped wanting it. Or was that a figment is my imagination protecting me from the real thought, that maybe I didn't believe it was possible at all?

People talk about having a mid life crises. That you get to middle age and you start questioning what it was all about, the decisions you made, were they the right ones and should you have done it differently? Maybe our generation have these moments earlier. Because we are adorned with option after option. We see lives that look appealing to live, daily, and we heart it, comment on it, repost it, tag it... the whole world has been made 'obtainable' our dreams have been made acheivable, because our thumb brushes over it scrolling through what our lives could be like if we just... sort of... cropped and filtered it slightly.

I've been contemplating buying a Red Ferrari or starting flamenco classes and then you get reminded of what a horrendous state the world is in, and how humanity can burst your egotistical bubble and you ask yourself the question.

Am I living the life I want to? Am I doing all of the things I want to be doing? Would I be happy if this was all I ever did or all I ever was? Was who I was enough? And what does success really mean?I have a beautifully, lovely life, with lovely friends and a wonderful family. I am grateful beyond belief. What I do for a living, isn't who I am and I can accept that I can live in the moment and stop wanting or needing more (sun/money/plans/gap in between my thighs)

What is it that we are all chasing and wanting and needing? What is success and happiness and do they interconnect?

The Metro did an article on "Where are they now?" (Stars of Harry potter) and they had taken from my blog, that I had given up acting and become a personal trainer. My ego went into over drive. Hearing someone say out loud that I had given up on my dream, hit a nerve so deep that I felt numb. I didnt want to be that person. Even if I wasn't sure if it was my dream or not, I didnt want to be the one that had given up on her dreams. Its those people that never make it. All you have to do is just hang on in there.

Right?

A few months ago, prior to the article, I had gotten myself a new agent. One that I liked, one that was good, one that I wasn't scared to call and a new chapter begun. All the whilst gaining a growing client base of PT clients and finding my feet with what I really want to do with my life, in my life, for my life.

Some people may say I have too many fingers in too many pies (as a client liked to point out) "Oooo you want to do a lot don't you?" And for a slight moment I felt ashamed. How dare I. How silly of me to be so obnoxious to want to do more than one thing, or to attempt to try more than what is to be considered the norm. How ridiculous to think that I would try and take on all of the things I want to tackle.

What an obscene, absurd idea.

Turns out, after a realisation face plants you out of nowhere and old age (alright I'm not that old) makes you reassess what it is you really want, you come to the conclusion that perhaps you want it all. That maybe you want to be your own boss, you want to write a book, you want to facilitate young women workshops on self love and confidence, you want to train clients, and share the journey with other people and hopefully relate to their own, you want to help encourage healthier choices and write a fitness programme that will help get them their fitness goals, and more than anything I want it to be OK that I don't know how the hell I'm going to get there, that I am shit scared, cacking my pants; that it might not all turn out, in anyway that I may hope. Sometimes I have bad days and question my journey and other days I feel like Beyonce. I am fearful and vulnerable and we ask ourselves the question, are we progressing? At the right speed in the right direction? Can I trust the process, the path, the journey Im on. Will I survive it? Embrace it? Be, all, in it. Because what if I fail and suck at all the things I want to try. What if I try and none of them amount to 'success' whatever that success looks like on paper? And if not apparent in bright bold ink... what if I don't end up just plain and simply, happy? What if I don't doubletap a huge bright red heart on my own life feed, because I was too busy double tapping other peoples.

So as I reflect upon my adulthood as if I have all the time in the world and yet none at all, I take a deep breath and swallow the same fears I always had, accept now I'm not afraid to say them out loud, I'm not ashamed to say, I'm not sure if I will get all of the things I would like, but I am very, very up for trying.

30 days until I am over 31... lets go.

Personal-ly training

 Dance moves in Ibiza...

Dance moves in Ibiza...

So I haven't written a post, or finished one even for soooo long. I have a good reason, I swear. I started a new job a month ago. Honestly it was a nerve racking decision. Between my acting and writing I have been so used to bar work, waitressing and temp jobs, which despite their boring, tedious nature, there was slight security in them. Always someone to rely on for hours. Regularity. So the leap to taking my own responsibility for hours and clients did and still does give me the nervous poos. But I am happy to say I am enjoying it. Every second I'm with a client it feels good to get them doing stuff they don't normally do and pushing them further than they usually go.

That's just one side of it. The other side is harder. For the clients themselves and for me. The nutrition side. The day to day part of it all. In some ways it's easy to come down and do your hardcore sessions in the week. Get showered and go about your day. I do my job and then technically I'm done. Although for me it doesn't feel that simple. I don't want people to come to me and work their butts off, but not discuss the nitty gritty. Why they want the results they want and how really they can achieve them and in what realistic time. 

Despite being a super star dieter, I finally came to my senses and realised the error of my ways. The quick fix for an immediate results-diet for three months, look good for one whole week before it all piled back on. The belief that I could quickly get down to the weight I wanted and once there maintain it. It's unfathomable and unrealistic. 

The hardest part is trying to 'unlearn' what we have been taught. The idea of what breakfast is, what snacks are, what food is for. I mean it's tough. I'm a foody. Food for me is better than s... oo many other things. So when a client says to me, they had some profiteroles because, well, how could you not? I get it. I am in full agreement. Eat those balls of sweet, creamy, soft goo coated in a sweet bready type coating. I don't want to make people feel like they are restricted, that they have to now deprive themselves of delicious things, but I do want to show them that there is a difference between eating those things daily, and picking to eat them, occasionally. There is a difference between eating because you want it, and eating it just because you think you shouldn't, that there is a difference between what is nourishing for your body and what is nourishing for your soul. 

Scoffing a chocolate bar on the way to work mindlessly, is not nourishing for your mind... you didn't even clock what you were eating. The pleasure lasts for twenty seconds, if that, and then the guilt sets in. Why not save the treat of non nutritious food (Good for the soul, not so good for your waist line) to a time when you can really sit and enjoy it. Dinner with friends, a trip to the cinema, a Sunday in front of a good film under the duvet, where you can take a bite of your muffin and savour the moment and the dough of sweetness swishing around your mouth for more than just that quick on the go unsatisfactory moment. 

But there is nothing worse than sounding like you are preaching. Sounding like you think you find it easy. That the choice to make better choices is as easy as picking which big knickers to wear today, the grey ones or the beige ones? NO. I know it's not easy... It has taken me a reallllly long time for it to sink in. A potential client said to me in a heart to heart today, that she was just one of the unlucky ones. That I was lucky to have the body I have and she was doomed, so may as well not try. I can honestly say it broke my heart. How do you explain that, (Side note: it doesn't feel like luck when you bust your gut in the gym and change your eating habits of chocolate bars every night to kale juice every morning)But really, How do you explain that she can work for a healthy body. That she needs to love herself enough to want to take good care of herself. That she is just as 'lucky' as me or anyone else, to just be here, wanting to make a change. 

The biggest, meanest battle of them all. The body image, mind trap. What is it you really want? Why is it you really want that body? Will you be happy when you get it? Seeing other peoples qualms with their own image has opened my eyes to my own. You see it from a whole new view and a light bulb goes off. You hear yourself repeatedly,"you won't see change unless you put in the work. You won't lose fat if you stay stressed, don't sleep, starve and then binge. You don't need to worry about what the scale says. You need to eat, you need to be kind to yourself, you need to drink water, don't restrict anything completely. You need to be consistant, give it time, make it a lifestyle and not a short term fix. You need to love yourself enough to nourish you mind, body and soul and most of all, you cannot compare your body or your progress to anyone elses and you cannot worry about what anyone else thinks..."

FOOK everyone else... Noone freaking cares. They are all concerned with their own stuff as we are ours. I want to work on myself. I want to exercise, so that I FEEL like a Spice Girl or Beyonce or Lena Dunham or Bette Middler. So that I feel like all those women I find enchanting, fascinating, powerful and sexy as hell. If I am round the pool in Ibiza and my boob falls out my bikini whilst I dance badly to some Ibiza tuuuunes, I shant worry if onlookers will approve of said saggy boob or not. I shall carry on with my two step and tuck that baby right back in, and by the time I have done that, said onlooker will be scratching his ball bag, flexing his guns and chatting himself up in his reflection in the pool. 

So it turns out, personal training is personally training me to look at things differently, with more empathetic eyes... So throw out the scales, eat those profiteroles, pull up those snazzy Mr Motivator cycling shorts and do some dead-lifts-for you and only you. And get a glimpse in the mirror whilst your looking bad arse with some dumbbells, take a mental snap shot and bottle that feeling right up... 

 Checking to see if I still have feet?

Checking to see if I still have feet?