Before anyone started to panic, I’m ok! I swear.
Help Me! Is in fact a book I came across online when ordering The Chimp Paradox and thought, yeah why not. Yet I have just finished it in less than 24 hours and it has made it’s mark by being the most relevant book I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Marianne Power – I salute you!
I used to love reading, as a kid and up until my mid to late 20’s I would easily devour a book a week, if not more, always having a couple in my bag for holidays, bus journeys, doctors appointments etc. Then Depression decided to take that pleasure away from me. I struggle to concentrate for longer than 10 minutes at a time. I find I have read 5 pages and not actually taken in a single word, so I go back and repeat the process, often 3 or 4 times before I give up. This then frustrates me so much I don’t pick a book back up again for months.
Thing is, I also realise now, I am depriving myself of this pleasure. I am not letting myself do the things I enjoy because I don’t feel worthy, and this alone has hurt me deeper than I can describe.
So, what has this book got to do with this blog and why the sudden epiphany? I won’t go into much detail about the book as I thoroughly recommend EVERYONE reads it, women and men! In a nutshell, Marianne is a freelance journalist who feels something is missing in her life so she decides to take on a “Self Help” challenge, where she vows to read 1 self help book a month, for a year, and follow its advice to the T. Her journey takes her on one hell of a self discovery and there are parts where I laughed, but equally, there are parts where I cried my eyes out. Poor Noah, he could not understand why I was crying at a book, “but Mammy, there are no pictures. Is that why you are sad?”
Bless him. Oh to see the world through an innocent 5 years old eyes!
There are so many relevant quotes that I loved in the book, but one that really got me was:
“Remember, you have been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
Right now, in this very moment, the thought of approving of myself feels absolutely bloody terrifying. My whole sense of humour is based on sex and self depreciation. What a woman ey?
See, there you go! I cant help it. It’s like a disease!
How do you even go about starting to like yourself? Why when someone gives me a compliment do I reflect it back on to them, say a quick thanks and change the subject or worst of all, react with at least 1 if not 2 things that I don’t like about myself? Why do I have these thoughts that people are just saying these things? Why do I not believe that they mean what they say? Why would they bloody say it??
If I start down a route of being proud, not minding my wonky nose or not being hugely upset over my battered, Pilsbury Doughman stomach, I instantly call myself up for being a self obsessed narcissist. How can I be thinking good things about myself when there are so many people struggling? With what I do now, I come across many people who aren’t in good places. I try where ever possible to help, but I know I cant help them all. I want them to see how amazing they are, how worth it they are, that they can do anything they set their mind to. Yet, I cant even tell myself these things! Is that not the biggest case of hypocrisy you have ever heard??
All I have ever wanted is to be happy. I’m not 100% sure how or what the happiness is that I want, but I am starting to realise that if I don’t open up and if I keep pushing people away or keeping those that care at arms length, how am I ever going to really know? I am a strong, independent woman and I know I am. I don’t NEED anyone, I can manage amazingly alone, but I don’t want to. Not anymore. I am terrified of being hurt, it is something I have felt many times in my life, but I suppose if you don’t take a risk, then how can you ever really know that you have what you want. And I don’t just mean on a “love” basis. I mean in all aspects of my life. Friends, family, career, fun. I can’t do any of them to the best of my ability if I keep trying to do everything alone. I open up in this blog, to a degree. More than I ever would face to face. But I never really show anyone it all. I have been told on more than one occasion that I keep my cards very close to my chest. I am very matter of fact about a lot of things but at the same time I am incredibly closed off. You can’t tell what I am thinking, and unless I am pissing my pants laughing or snotty nosed crying, two extreme emotions you cant ever really hide, you certainly never know how I am feeling!
I have to stop. I have to stop piling so much onto my plate in order to keep busy. I have to stop hiding from myself. I have to start listening to what is going on in my head, acknowledge it and then deal with it. I have the tools, and amazing people in my life, that will enable me to do this. But I have to start believing I am worth it. I have to stop thinking that every time something doesn’t go to plan, that I am a failure. I had to cancel my Red Balloons London Marathon Fundraiser and I was, and to a degree, still am, furious at myself. But it was a balloon that I had to let go, and not chase after.
Red Balloons won’t fail because I had to change plans. People won’t think I am a flake and that I don’t know what I am doing. Although in all fairness, I didn’t in that area. It was a risk, an excited moment of madness that I thought I could handle, that on paper looks like an amazing idea, but with family, uni, Red Balloons general work and the marathon itself, who was I kidding? I couldn’t give it the time and focus it needed. And because I didn’t want to put on anyone, I didn’t ask for help. I never ask for help.
I know more than most these days what can happen if you don’t ask for help. I am also a believer that everything, good and bad, happens for a reason. Some people hate that phrase but I have always lived by it, more so since all this shit began. I also know that I can’t control the actions of other people. Some things that have happened in my past were not my fault. I let go of them balloons in counselling, to a degree, but I never let them properly float away, I kind of just tied them to a near by bench. They are there, I can see them, I don’t carry them around with me, but they are always there. When you start to self reflect, it is so easy to slide down into believing that it must be because of you that these things happen. Because looking at all the negatives is so much bloody easier than trying to accept the good things. I don’t think I am ever going to be capable of believing I am worthy of love until I learn to love myself. Well ok, I’m never going to be all hippy about it, but I do need to learn to accept myself for who I am.
So here goes, here is what I hope I am:
– a good Mam. Even if I am bat shit crazy. I hope my kids know just how much I love them.
– easy to talk to
– a good listener
– funny. Even if it is at me cos I am a massive div, being able to put a smile on someone’s face and even better, to make them laugh, means the world to me
– hard working
I want to stop thinking that I am not good enough. I may not have abs of steel but I have a kind heart. My teeth may be slightly horse like, but I like to smile. I may be absolutely crap at planning these days, but I get stuff done (eventually). I may not have money to go places and do things, but my door is always open. I pretty much live in gym gear, but I can scrub up if the occasion calls. I even wear dresses! I may have a seriously questionable sense of humour for a lass, but I am fun! I have no filter but that means what you see is what you get. I may not wear my heart on my sleeve, but if I care about you, I give you my all. Even if you can’t see it. I can have the patience of a saint when it’s needed but I wont bullshit you. I will say what I think if you ask, so if you don’t want to know, don’t ask. I am stubborn as fuck but it has got me this far. And it will get me to that start line on April 28th!
I have been questioning my future a little bit recently, talking myself out of what I am doing and what I have achieved already. I have kind of felt like a bit of a fraud because everything is, well, messy, at the moment. But I know now, that is normal. No organisation or business just slips into working like clock work. To see how much I have achieved in less that a year through sheer stubbornness and the absolute belief in what I am doing is fucking unreal. Because I do believe in it. It does work! I truly 100% believe that you can achieve your dreams. It might seem like a bloody nightmare in places, but realistically, I am! I was never destined to live a standard, 2.4 children life. Yes I am all for love and romance and all that shit, but there is so much more. I want fun and adventure and craziness. I want to dance around shops just cos I love a song I heard, I want to stand up and tell my story because I know that even one person in any given room may need to hear that is is ok not to be ok. I want to be living proof that you can live through some absolute shite situations, and still come out with some shiny bling! Scars aren’t there to make you look hideous, they are there to tell a story. I may never be happy with what I see in the mirror, but if at my funeral, in like 100 years time, someone can just say, “she was a good person. She really cared” then I will have succeeded.
I have more than my fair share of faults and I make many mistakes. I often don’t think before I speak, or act, and I don’t always think beyond that moment and therefore the repercussions of things, but life is for fucking up. Learning. Fucking up again. And then actually learning. I hear people say, “I cant” but you know what, yes you bloody can! If this daft lass, from a council estate in Chester-le-Street, with no aspirations during her teenage years apart from getting pissed and getting laid, sad but true, can now stand up and say; I am running my own organisation to help others, I am a full time university student as well as a mam of two, and in LESS THAN 3 weeks will be a bona ride marathon runner, how can you really say that you can’t?
Life is wank. It really is. It’s fucking brutal and hard at times, but you know what, you can never appreciate the good stuff without all that horrendous shit. And as I have said a million times over, nothing good ever comes easy. Never give up. If you want something enough, it will happen. Eventually. But don’t just settle. Unless just settling is what you want. Make those scary changes.
You’re worth it. And you know what? So am i!
Amazing what a day in your mamas can do for you! I am disgusted and delighted at myself all at the same time.
Thank you again Marianne Power! You’re mint!