self love

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.

Toxic

And I do not mean the Britney song. We all have them in our lives. Toxic friends, toxic people we work with. Even toxic family members. People that try to make you feel like shite. Those people that are not on your team. The ones that secretly smile when they see you fail, or they get a pang of annoyance when they see you succeed. They give you compliments, yet they are underhand and they somehow let slip an ounce of information that 'might' play on your insecurities. Toxic people that mess up your chi. Chi that you have spent a long time trying not to mess with yourself.

The thing is, when you start to question the people you surround yourself with,you have to look at yourself first. Holy moses, god forbid I am not a perfect specimen of grace and kindness. But... I'm not. I am human. We are human.

The question I have asked myself throughout the years... Am I Regina George? I can pretend that I don't have an ounce of mean molecules in my body. I can 'say' that I am the 'nicest person EVER. But no-one would believe me. Not even I believe me. Not even my mum could say that I was. My ego and insecurities can turn me into a big old mighty twat.

I've been that person to hear of someone's good news and get a pang of jealousy. I'd like to put it out there that we all have horrible thoughts (occasionally). About people, about situations. Even our loved ones. People we consider friends. If I am in this alone then stick a pickle up my bum hole and throw me to the sharks.  

As you get older, you start to ask yourself 'how can you control the negative feelings? How can I be a better human?' It's not that I do voodoo on anyone or wish that their hair would fall out (If you have seen The Craft then I know you know)I just mean the general crap. The slagging someone off, the bad vibes, the grumpiness, the ignoring of people, rolling your eyes when they annoy you, the little dig when they talk about their new, shiny expensive shoes 'Ooo babe, are you sure you should spend your money on that?' Or just the head chatter. The things you may not say out loud, but you think in your head for a slight moment, the smile you don't give or the 'hi' you don't wave...

We let our feelings,  which I believe are affected by thoughts, eat away our light and leave us in he dark.  

I found my old diaries.(the ones that prompted the blog) There is no way of avoiding that I have been that person. The only thing I try and do differently now is, that I catch myself. I have either said something judgemental or I am about to and I ask myself, what am I really thinking that is making me have this feeling that means I 'act like a C word'

I am on insta one day a few years back... I see that a fellow actress has booked an acting job. She's not a friend friend, but I know her. We speak here and there. My immediate feeling isn't happiness for her.(and maybe I am alone in this, maybe I am the worst human alive) But honestly, it wasn't 'wahooo' for her, it was 'oh' for me. It was 'How is that fair... Why does she get all this good fortune? Is she even that good?' And what ensued was a tantrum. A 'throw myself on the floor, literally off the sofa and ball my eyes out until I am swallowing snot and I can't breath. Jealousy. Severe, outrageous, pure jealousy.  And although I didn't project any nastiness onto the person in question (because I was still a decent human in many ways and wasn't one of those weird trolly types) perhaps I wasn't shitting out toxic turds onto her directly, but I was filling my flat up with the bad energy and I was intoxicating my own brain, my own soul. I believed my own thoughts enough to make me react like a two year old brat.

A while later I saw a pinterest quote (of course) and it said...

"jealousy is admitting to yourself that you don't think you will ever have what that person has and envy is knowing that you want it too, and can"

and something clicked a little. The feeling-(why not me?) jealousy, the thoughts deep down-(I'm not good enough) like someone's fortune was a lack in me. Like they were stealing something from me, like there wasn't enough jobs to go around, like the closer someone else got to (what? who knows) the further away I got. 

When I was eleven I became friends with the new cool girl. My insecurity fear based teenage angst grew and I slowly became toxic for a while. I abandoned my kind souled best friend and tossed her in for hair mousse and lip gloss. I no longer wanted to write plays and perform them, I wanted to write journals and adorn them, with names of boys and doodles of things mean girls doodle. Arriving at big school was one big toxic hell hole.  One place full of girls all going through that one thing that defines our behaviour time and time again. 'Who are we? And are we good enough?' And for most thirteen year old girls, the answer was easy, not as good as Nancy with the rock solid abs, not as good as Suse in her brand new hipster bootleg jeans (the exact ones) All Saints wore, not as good as Amanda, look at her round, pert, large boobs.  

Those feelings of inadequacy thrive on bad thoughts. Every action thereafter is to rid yourself of such thoughts of worthlessness-Of feeling less than. Not as pretty as, not as clever as, not as skinny as and in doing so you find people that you think are either 'more than' or 'less than' and you tell them they can't sit at the back of the bus. You maybe snipe at a friend who looks better than you. You may embarrass someone so you look 'funny' After reading my old diaries I found that I breathed toxic behaviour as a teenager. Whilst I was still learning who I was, who I wanted to be. I tried on different masks and characters. I joined forces with other mean people who I subconsciously felt made me worthy. My diary was full of 'people don't like me, my friends hate me, I'm fat, Ooo this boy fancies me, he said I was pretty' I can't read more than one page without feeling even my nostril hairs standing to attention whilst I cringe and my blood runs hot. 

The best way I found to begin ridding myself of the negativity,  was to be empathetic to myself. Aware and empathetic. When you know where your thoughts come from it is so much easier to see why you're being a fanny flap. If I was always beating myself up in front of the mirror, how was I going to go out into the real world and be nice to anyone else?

You get older work out your own thoughts, your behaviour. You cut people out. You realise who your real friends are. The ones cheering when things go good. The ones that are happy because you are. There are still those people, ones that will be so unhappy with themselves that they will make you second guess yourself, doubt your own moral compass, cry when you get home,  but before culling them from your real life, Empathise and relate and look at why you act like a cock bucket sometimes. The world doesn't need more hate, but more love. I never got this before. I've been mean, selfish, self indulgent (I know right, me?) and gradually it dawned on me to try not let my own crap seep into the universe as much. (It's still a working progress) 

So to all the people I have ever been mean to, to my first friend in secondary school who I didn't support through a really hard time, to the pizza man I shouted at for no real good reason, to my friend in school I told her 'happiness seemed fake', to the girl I bundled at the back of the bus in year 8, to the pen pal I never wrote back to and the people I never smiled at in street. 

It's not you... It was me. 

"There is nothing in the world that can bother you as much as your own mind. In fact others seem to be bothering you, but it is not others, it is your own mind" 

Inspo from Squat Mango...

For the launch of my new blog  I wanted to speak to girls who have inspired me to dream big, be open, honest and put myself out there. After deciding to do more 'lifestyle' posts about food and exercise (soon as it is a massive part of my life) This one in particular is a massive inspiration for me. I stalk her Instagram like a crazy fan girl and always look forward to her transformation posts and her honest captions about how her journey is going. I have been following Kayla Itsines on Instagram for years, and working her twelve week training programme recently, you end end up following a massive community. Natsbbg (who is now on week 35) is one of the many I started to follow. She is nothing but open in her posts about her fitness journey and she inspires me on those mornings when I want to sleep or snooze for hours on end, to get up and go to the gym, because hard work pays off. Natsbbg begun her own blog Squat Mango and is selling a recipe book off the back of her amazing hard work and transformations.  Nati talks a lot about what she eats and how she trains on her Instagram  so I wanted to ask this gorgeous girl some different questions. How she began believing in herself and what pushed her on her journey... It is so awesome to get to speak to other girls about body image and liking ourselves as it is something I have struggled with since I was an eleven year old kid standing in Tammy girl wishing I could wear a crop top and denim shorts. I wasn't in it alone.

Were you always confident?

I’ve had my times where I’ve been very confident, and I've also gone through some times where I have had 0 confidence. A lot of this confidence has depended on my body image. I was always fairly lean, until the end of high school / beginning of college. I started drinking A LOT and my then boyfriend broke up with me right when I was starting university. I partied way too much and started gaining weight. I started looking for acceptance while partying, thinking the more guys liked me, the more I would like myself. I was dependent on guys to feel good about myself. For example, there’d be nights where I’d go out and lots of guys would ask me to dance with them. This would be a successful night for me. Then there’d be nights where no one would ask me and I’d feel incredibly sad. Its weird to think about how much random men’s opinions would mean to me. There came a time where I decided I shouldn't put my happiness in other people’s hands, let alone random guys who actually meant nothing to me. I decided I was the maker of my own future. My life kind of took a turn, as I decided I didn't need a man or anyone for that matter to help me feel better about myself. I decided to be happy and confident and I learned to love myself despite my flaws. Turns out, a few weeks after I decided all this, I met my current boyfriend (we've been together for 4 years now!). I know this answer might not really answer the question well haha but what I mean to say is, I've had times where my confidence has been on the floor. I've lost and gained weight and this has always been something that affected how I viewed myself. But my confidence has been great ever since I started loving myself for who I am and not for who other people want me to be.

What actions do you take to be kinder to yourself (physically/mentally)

There’s days where I’m so hard on myself! I have to remind myself that in order to truly be happy, I have to be good to myself. I have to treat myself but I also have to maintain a healthy balance. Food is very important to me. I’ve started eating healthy and it has changed me, physically and mentally. But I’ve reached a stage where I can’t be healthy 100% of the time, so I do enjoy some treats now and then. And when I do, I beat myself up. But then I say to myself “HEY! YOU DESERVE IT!” because beating myself up isn’t going to help anyone! I wake up everyday and promise myself i’m going to make a good day out of it! I smile as much as I can and I think positively, even when i’m feeling down. It’s easy to get caught up in the bad things, and it’s important to remember how many good things I have going on in my life and I have to remain thankful.

Have you always dreamed big?

No! I’ve always dreamed small actually. I started this instagram thinking, “hm, maybe i’ll share my picture and inspire a few people”. I NEVER thought I would actually inspire so many people. I was looking for small jobs that didn’t really make me happy (i considered working in a bank.. what!??) and suddenly I decided, "hey.. I could make a recipe book! That’s not hard right?” I realised I could do anything I set my mind to! And now my recipe book is being sold all around the world and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ve actually got a lot more plans for myself and my brand (squatmango) coming up!!

What would you say to your younger self, in hind sight, about loving yourself and body image?

Never let anyone define you. If you’re not happy about yourself today, make the necessary changes in order to be happier! Love yourself each and every day! Eat the right foods, and treat yourself right. Never settle for less than you deserve. You only have one body, so treat it right and love yourself every single day.

Love natsbbg x