I Love You

I Love You

 

I got tagged this morning by a friend on Facebook in this ‘upload 3 pics of yourself, let’s promote the beautiful woman that you are’ kinda thing. (I’m sure it’s open to you guys too in this world of equality) I’ve already uploaded any photos of me so I won’t be joining in directly, but I really support the sentiment of the project. … but it got me thinking ( as I was sat on the loo, which is where I do most of my best thinking) about where our sense of beauty comes from. How it’s reinforced, or not. And for all the ‘self-love’ in the world, it’s (humanly) very difficult to keep that self-belief going without some kind of signal from the outside world that it’s true. And then I started to think back about when was the last time that I had a guy ( as in fella, in a relationship), look me in the eyes and say with all of his heart that to him, I was beautiful. Or to pen a love letter ( not email or text) to say similar. There’s been a fair few bf’s although not for a lot of years as a singleton for 5 years ….. but I had to go all the way back to the age of 16.

16!!!!!

And yet I could honestly say that to each of them, I have said it. Because if I’ve chosen to share myself with someone at that level, it’s because I think that person is. Beautiful.
That speaks volumes about what I’ve been prepared to settle for over the years.

Volumes!!!

Always being ‘okay’ with being someone else’s 2nd best. Someone else’s entertainment when they were bored.

Boom! Big wake up call.

My point of this post is not a call for compliments. Words on a screen mean very little to me especially in this world of disconnect between the living and breathing. My point was, how often do WE look at the person /people we love and tell them,

‘ You are the most beautiful person in the world to me and I love you’ ?

I mean REALLY tell them. Heart stopping, breath stopping, world stopping, eye contact and really tell them. And make sure they hear, feel… every word we say?

 

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We should do it! Every day! And if you are with someone whom you find it impossible to muster up those words for, because the emotions don’t exist behind them, you should question why?

Why?!?

Why you can’t? Why are you with them?  They deserve to have someone who does feel those things and who can say it.

As do you.
We all do.
I rarely say ‘I love you’. I’ve had my emotions abused and taken advantage of so much in the past that those 3 little words get stuck in my throat and won’t come out. The gamble is generally too high. So I (try) to go out of my way to show ppl. The chosen few. And hope and pray that it won’t get thrown back in my face.
It’s always a risk but it’s one we should take. No matter how teeny the ‘safety-window’ gap of opportunity is.

“You are the most beautiful thing in my world and I love you.”

Feel it. Say it. Feel it.

Anna J xXx

 

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High Maintenance or Self Care?

High Maintenance or Self Care?

In no way shape or form could I ever be described as ‘high-maintenance’. Not even in my younger, thinner, prettier days. The bottom line is I’m just too damn lazy. The second to bottom line is I couldn’t afford it (or justify spending that amount of money on myself). Having children and being married (or as good as without the dress and piece of paper), meant that the bit of time I did spend on myself, kinda went out of  the window. It wasn’t helped by living with a partner who would regularly throw around accusations of affairs every time  I put on some slap and high heels. However, that was then and this is  now. Yesterday I talked about the mirror. So insignificant to most but a huge step for me. My mindset has definitely  shifted recently. A need to self-care again has risen from the ashes. When I look in the mirror I no longer see someone who is beyond help. Not worthy of help. I see a woman with potential; to be better and greater than she was the day before.

My world is beginning to feel quite alien. It’s scary but exciting.

So with this new perspective on life,  and myself, I thought the time had come to try and go a bit more high-maintenance. I awoke this morning full of the joys of spring and with many many plans for today. A transformation from a dowdy 44-year-old to middle-aged glamour puss (*Miranda style turn to camera* “…no sniggering … we all need dreams…”) was on the cards. I have a birthday coming up and it seemed as good a time to start as any.

It hasn’t gone  to plan  and it’s only eleven.

It turns out this high maintenance stuff isn’t as simple as I’d imagined. First disappointment was remembering I wasn’t going to be able to lose 60 pounds between breakfast  and dinner. The second disappointment was remembering that to lose even a single pound there could be no breakfast or dinner. Unperturbed, I whipped out my pencil and paper and commenced creating my to-do list whilst munching away on my fat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free breakfast.

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  1. Dye Eyebrows -Kids have thrown away the box of dye I’d secretly stashed in the bathroom cabinet.
  2. Make hair look lush (Hair colour) -I can’t find the gloves, and no one applies Sebastion Cellophane without gloves. No one.
  3. Tidy up eyebrows – “… ya tweezers fell down the plug hole last week mum…”
  4. Nails –  No nails!! Probably should have stopped biting them last week in preparation
  5. Legs – I still have a pair. Possibly an orangutan sanctuary existing in ‘undergrowth’. (Half way through my shower I remembered new packet of disposables is still downstairs.)
  6. Face mask – Do Avon still do those peely ones? A bit like the glue we all painted on the back of our hands as kids but smelled of lemon. (Remembered I was supposed to do one an hour after my shower.)
  7. Exfoliation of entire body! (I remembered two hours after my shower. Fitness levels probably aren’t ready for this yet anyway. There  is a lot of body and a lot of exfoliation.)
  8. Feet – Urgh, I’m not ready to go there yet.
  9. Yoga work out on the Bastard-Ball –  The day isn’t over yet. It’s still a possibility. *Crosses fingers behind back.*

And so it goes on …

How do you girls do it?!!!

There is so much to think about and plan! It’s like having another full-time job on top of the full-time work that most of us already do! I’m going to need extra pages and columns in my diary if this has a cat in hells chance of working. I probably would also benefit  from a sugar-daddy / crowd-fund / Swiss bank account (full) / trust fund / lottery win. I’m thinking this high-maintenance would be so much less stressful if I could afford to hire a housekeeper to do my chores and look after the kids, whilst I pottered off to see a ‘lady wot does’ to get all the beauty stuff done.

I need to reassess how I can make this happen. Or bits of it at least.

Current High Maintenance Level Achieved: I’ve washed my hair. 😀

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Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall.

 

Going through any kind of trauma presents challenges; walls that need to be dismantled. Brick, by brick, by brick. The journey of recovery is different for everyone. A short skip, jump and a hop for some; for others, much longer. I’ve travelled one of the longer ones. Five years and it’s only  in recent times that I’ve felt brave enough to properly stick my head above the parapet.

Today I took a huge leap.

I bought a mirror. A full length, scary as shit, mirror … And then I looked at myself in it. Something I’ve avoided for more than half a decade. I refused to have them in the house, became adept at ignoring my own image in store windows etc.

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I hated what I saw BUT I did it! 

So many of us spend our entire lives listening to the voices outside and in, continually telling us that we aren’t good enough. Breaking that record is really difficult and I take my hat off to those of you who have already found the courage to do so. Domestic abuse left me afraid of everyone and everything, including myself. I tried so hard to make it all okay, to stop the vileness that ran through the veins of the relationship. To make him stop. But I couldn’t.

‘I wasn’t good enough.’

 Despite my ‘logical-head’ knowing exactly where the land lies, the other part of me … the one that thrives on love, and passion, and warmth, and trust … has still got a way to go. I’m still not finished wrestling with the ‘it wasn’t my fault’ element of the equation. I’m not sure I ever will. And with that self-blame comes the need to avoid. People, contact … emotions.

I’ve spent so many years, walking around, avoiding my own reflection.

Avoiding me.

Myself.

And I.

I don’t want to do that anymore.

I have no clue what lies beyond the looking glass. The thought of stepping through makes me feel sick with fear ,but for the first time in as long as I can remember, there is something else. Buried deep inside that knotted ball inside my stomach.

Excitement. Hope.

 A seed that’s been dormant.

Waiting to grow.

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When ice starts to melt…

When ice starts to melt…

 

After far too many years of being incredibly unhappy in a dark and turbulent relationship, I remember the exact moment I ‘remembered what happy was’. The exact second. My brain suddenly woke up and discovered that it still knew how to ‘do it’; despite having laid dormant for almost a decade. The exact nanosecond that I made the decision that I was never going to allow myself to be put in that position, where there was nothing but shadow, again.

That I would never let go of it.

Would never settle for less.

 

And I haven’t.

 

Life brings up and downs. I wallow in the high times and release low ones with relative ease; keeping hold only, of whatever lesson or gift was left on the beach as the waves rolled back out to sea. And there is always at least one of those. Usually both.

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Such basic emotions like happiness should be a given. A human right. But for so many they aren’t. No matter how dire an individual’s circumstances, the effect is the same. Our reasons for living, are stripped away until all that remains is a shell that exists on a diet of fear and self-protection. Eventually it becomes so much the norm that we all but lose the ability to let back in any light. Love and warmth becomes the stranger we hide from.

 

It’s taken me five years to reach my next ‘wake up’ moment. And my life has changed all over again. This weekend, someone gave me two gifts. The first is one I already treasure. Time. Given with no demands. No expectations. Nothing required in return.

The second, was one I didn’t even realise was (still) missing from my life.

Safety.

Security.

Total trust.

Twelve hours spent wrapped up in someone’s arms, and for the first time in as long as I can remember, not just feeling but knowing that nothing was going to hurt me. No matter how big the boogeyman hiding under the bed, I had nothing to be scared about.

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No adrenaline required.

Fiery relationships force you to adapt to survive.Each and every action meticulously planned to maximize damage limitation.   Fiery childhoods mean it’s a honed skill that is entwined with the atoms that create your very being. Self-defense and protection, as crucial as breathing. 

It never switches off … you can never let go … there is no relax…

Until the right pair of arms finds you. And for a brief window in time, all the bad stuff disappears.

Just for a moment.

What is a moment for them, for me, is a gift that will last forever

I remembered what is to feel safe.

From this point, I will never again settle for less.

Life is supposed to feel good. You are supposed to feel happy for the majority of the time. You are supposed to feel safe and secure, for the majority of the time. Anything less is a sign you are walking the wrong path. Only you can step off. Change your route. Change your life.

Only you.

No matter how scary, the reward is always worthy of the leap of faith.

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We should spend less time analyzing why people are in our lives, and more time thinking about the reason we are in theirs. We all leave a mark. Shallow or deep, we should  strive to make the footprint we leave, a positive one. We may not be destined to be in their life forever, but the memory of us will be. We should make our footprint one that is treasured …

Just like the one I now have, etched across my heart.

People, We Need To Talk About Balls.

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I’m not talking chocolate salty balls, or the sort we have to grow in pairs to push out of our comfort zone. I’m talking Yoga Balls. Or Balance Balls. Or, as I have already come to name mine, Bastard Ball. 

I had a few sessions with a fabulous trainer a couple of months ago. Circumstances have altered since then, making any more impossible for the foreseeable future at least, but everything he showed me, is logged in the old grey matter. I have to take my hat off to the guy. I can’t believe he gets clients any less fit than me, but he didn’t raise an eyebrow as I puffed and panted walking ten yards on the treadmill. Nor did he flinch as I wailed at the 2kg dumb bells he handed me, and to my horror, couldn’t control in a safe nor lady-like manner. “Not a problem,” he said; and handed me some 1kg weights instead. I wailed again. “Still not a problem,” he reassured me and handed me a couple of peapods instead. The workout went well from that point, once we’d established exactly what my level was.

I probably didn’t burn more than a 100 calories that day, but I walked out of the gym feeling 10 feet tall and empowered, and my mood was elevated for days. One of the other things he introduced me to was the Bastard Ball; and in a bid to recapture that incredible jubilant feeling, I finally purchased one to use at home.

“Simple!” Thinks I.

Buy it, blow it up, work it. Slinky Dinky Rejuvenated Me!

As with many great plans ( especially mine … and I do have many… on an hourly basis), things didn’t quite go as I expected them to.

Blowing it up. Let’s start there! The box said ‘Pump Included’. Hastily I ripped open my new toy, pulled out a flaccid rubber item ( the ball folks!), and then this thing drops out after it. Something akin to what you might find in a Christmas Cracker. A Cheap Christmas Cracker. That was the pump.  After much examining of pointy plastic bits, chin rubbing  and sucking in air, I still hadn’t figured out how to make it work and deftly handed it over to The Captain and The Colonel to deal with. In all fairness, they did well. It only took them an hour, two punch ups and one tantrum / storming and  I had my ball.

“Great!” Thinks I. “I’ll just read the instruction leaflet to make sure I’ve got everything covered.”  In teeny print at the bottom it read ‘leave ball for 24 hours to get used to its new expansion’.

Que?

I was fairly certain they weren’t referring to the balls spiritual progression, but a threat of possible splitage or explosion, that risk I suspect being much greater when about to be plopped on by a female such as me with  ( to steal a phrase from Plenty of Fish) a few *cough* extra pounds. Despite much reassurance from my FaceBook tribe, I decided to err on the side of caution and leave the grand christening until today.

Despite the period of grace I’d given it to adjust, it was still with some trepidation that I leaned across it this morning, fully expecting one almighty bang as the last ounce of my full body weight succumbed to the ‘power of the ball’.

There was no bang!! I have no idea what witchcraft they use to make these things, but it held my weight!! 

I pressed start on the YouTube Yoga Ball for Beginners video I’d found.

“How hard can it be?” says I. Outloud. “It’s only ten minutes long.”

Well, let me tell you, it could be very sodding hard, and it was. I didn’t even know I could travel across my bedroom, horizontally, at that speed. But seemingly, I can. And that was only whilst I tried to get into the correct position for the back stretch.

The whole session swiftly disintegrated into me, playing ‘ball-boy’ for half an hour. How do people DO those positions and movements without the bloody thing shooting out from beneath them like a pinball machine?

And then we need to talk about the issue of boobage. Seriously.

I’ve tried pushing them up, pushing them down … even attempted one either side of the Bastard Ball at one point. I’m only left with two options now. Sucking them in, or tying them up behind the back of my head. It’s really painful!! I’m sure the guys wouldn’t be so enthusiastic about playing football if they had to have their knackers clamped in a vice for the entirety of the match.

I crawled out of the room a sweaty, but triumphant, mess. Not sure how much I’ve actually benefited from it exercise wise, but I smashed the Ghost of Procrastination in the bollox and that will always be a great achievement.

I may try again tomorrow, or I may not. I’m undecided. The last piece of fitness equipment I bought, that stands neatly behind my bedroom door, is near to reaching it’s full capacity of how many clothes it can hold. Additional storage may be required.

I’m never going to love exercise, but I’m working on not hating it.

 

First World Problems:Long Hair

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The reality of having long hair is a bit like sex and the movies. On film it’s great. Romantic. Dramatic. Perfect. And frequently accompanied with a great backing track. The reality is somewhat different; usually involving some awkwardness, probably a bit of cramp, general emotional disappointment and a backing track of noises that we most definitely didn’t hear coming out of Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis, in that scene in Top Gun. In fact, that film has a lot to answer for regarding romance / my expectations after it heavily influenced my vulnerable and innocent young mind. (Family and friends can leave the room at this point if you are unable to stop sniggering).

Anyhow, I digress. Hair. I was brought up on Timotei adverts and White Snake videos. It set the bar high. Think Rapunzel tresses, strolls through golden fields of corn on sunny days; a perfectly behaved grey horse, casually wandering along beside me as I smiled and laughed at nothing, whilst flicking my super long locks every thirty seconds without so much as a hint of whiplash.

So, as I ran to the bathroom in the early hours of last night for an emergency wee (caused by new fitness fad of drinking heaps of water … not by tired old bladder moving into the realms of night-time incontinence) with not only a set of headphones tangled up in the birds nest but also the laptop still attached too, it was a far cry from those heady days of childish daydreams. Apparently going to sleep listening to music when wearing headgear that also has a mouth-piece arm, is reserved only for the brave and the foolish.

<Queue Village Idiot’ess stage left>

A wave of horror swept through me as I attempted to remove said attire and found that I couldn’t. Despite numerous firms tugs and a prayer sent up to the God of Ablutions, there was no way my toilet necessities were going to wait. It was either cut the hair, snap the headphone set or…. carry half the electrical content of my house to the loo with me.  I chose the latter. I’m happy to report that twenty minutes and a near panic attack  later, I managed to release myself. To celebrate my newly found freedom, I jumped back into the safety of my bed and deftly trapped my hair under my own armpit and almost ripped my head from my  shoulders.

Long hair comes with responsibilities that, in all honesty, I’m  not sure I’m mature enough for yet. As it’s grown, so have the hurdles.  Meal times – attempting to serve / eat without consuming some keratin-spaghetti. Accidentally dunking it into gravy or whatever saucy pleasure is on offer. Clearing out the plug hole in the bath has become a task that requires courageous and sturdy excavating skills, and don’t even get me started on what it’s like trying to handle a windy day whilst wearing lip-gloss.

Yes, I know there are such things as hair bobbles, but I’m fairly certain my hair trained with Houdini. And besides, I am at heart, a hopeless romantic and I’m sure that if I hold out long enough, one day I will catch the wind in the right direction and get my Timotei moment.