Don’t cause an argument. Don’t argue back. Don’t do that wrong. Don’t get in the way. Don’t be a burden. Tread carefully. Speak quietly. Don’t take up too much space. Be less competitive. Be less opinionated. Be less open. Be less of a show-off. Be less talkative. Be less insecure. Be less needy. Be less open to love. Be less keen. Be less stubborn. Be less emotional. You want to get more muscly? Ugh. No, be less. Be less negative. Be less anxious. Be small. Be smaller. Be less you.
Some of this is in my head. Some of this has actually been said to me. If you know my past it’s not difficult to see where parts of it came from. [See here and here for context]. Some of it is societal too – fuck the patriachy and all that, and some even comes from friends. And wow is it ingrained deeply. Deep down to my core; impacting how I live my life every day. Almost living my life as an afterthought. See those brackets I used a couple of sentences ago? If ever I express my true feelings, my true wants, my true needs, they’re expressed in those metaphorical brackets. Please don’t take this too seriously, ignore it if you want to, it doesn’t really matter, forget I said anything.
I guess you’re expecting some kind of revelation here about how I’ve managed to work through these issues and let myself become…more. The truth is, I haven’t. Not yet. And I’m not sure if I ever truly will.
This post was sparked by a photo of myself from 5 years ago, when I started running, and I was shocked by how small I was, how skinny. I’ve become a lot bigger since then – both through the natural evolution that comes from regularly training for three sports, and a conscious desire to want to get bigger. I’ve let go of the notion that ‘skinny’ is the thing that I’m good at, the thing that defines me, and have embraced trying to be strong in all its forms.
And physically, yes, I’ve achieved that. Mentally in some ways too. But there’s definitely some deep-rooted shit that still needs to be blasted away before I can embrace being openly and unapologetically me. Embrace taking up all the space that I want to take up, embrace being really fucking open about stuff – even if people don’t like it, embrace being open to love and all the fuckery that comes with it. Most importantly, embracing the fact that it’s reallybloodyokay to have feelings and wants and needs and to be big and bold about them.
Maybe I need a safe space for that to happen. And by safe space, I probably mean a safe relationship. Before you start, I really don’t subscribe to the idea that it’s ‘pathetic’ to want a relationship – they’re what life is all about – so I will continue to aspire to being in a healthy, committed, loving relationship. And not to fix me necessarily, but to allow me that room and safety net to be more. To be me. This is all conjecture really, and who knows, I might find the confidence and sense of self on my own. But for now, I’ll keep on keeping on and see where it takes me.