Throughout my life I have found it very difficult to surround myself with a large group of women, and I am mostly comfortable within a very male dominated environment. This is largely due to the fact that I have found a lot of women I have come across to be catty and a large number of males to be honest and much straighter to the point.
Although I am proud to be a female and I have very strong female role models in my mother and grandmothers, I often find it hard to believe how presumptuous women can be. This is particularly something I have found since getting into fitness, which I hope never become.
It seems easier to criticise others than to praise them, finding flaws and weaknesses in those around us often distracts our minds from the problems in our own lives. It seems to be hard for a lot of women to admit their flaws too at times, believing this to be a sign of weakness too. I’m going to reveal some home truths about myself in the hope that people start to realise this isn’t a battle
I often get dodgy looks from girls in the gym, or from women outside of the gym who wrongly assume I am ‘arrogant’ or unapproachable. It is this kind of attitude which puts me off being friends with a lot of girls, and those I do have, I keep very close to me because I know they are genuine, straight to the point kind of women, who like to empower not criticise – and those are the women I want in my life.
So here goes, a few home truths, and bits I’ve learnt along this crazy journey of mine.
I was bullied. Despite being a very overweight child, I wasn’t targeted because of my size. Bullies at school picked on the fact I do actually have a rather large sized head, (it’s okay you can laugh!) and was constantly teased for this. This taught me a lot about the way people act and has transferred into my adult life. It doesn’t matter how you feel, people will always find flaws, they aren’t always the obvious things, but they will. You can change a huge amount of things in your life, including the way you look, but there will always be someone who can find a loop hole. As the saying goes, you can be the ripest peach, but there will always be someone who doesn’t like peaches.
I’m stubborn. Stubbornness in my eyes can be both a blessing and a curse and I am very head strong with my opinions and values. As much as this frustrates several people around me at times, it is also the drive that pushes me forward each and every day, and for that I will always be grateful.
I have polycystic ovaries, low oestrogen levels and will eventually have to have hormone therapy treatment. – My fertility fate was confirmed to me earlier on this year and is something I am learning to deal with gradually, I know nothing is impossible but I am confident I can make the best out of this situation when the time comes.
I finally have a good relationship with food. When I was younger food was definitely an emotional crutch for me. I used it to gain friends, often buying treats with my pocket money to share with the children in my local area. Think of me as the pied piper of the sweet aisle if you will. I also used to sneak treats from my parent’s cupboards and gauge on them in secret. Growing up in a broken home, this often gave me satisfaction in knowing this was the one area I could control and the thrill of getting caught was also a hugely rewarding feeling. I am glad this only kept at mars bar stealing and didn’t progress to carjacking and mugging old ladies for their pension.
I have a lot of body hang-ups like most women but my biggest vice are my arms. So much so that a large part of my reasoning behind my tattoo work, was to cover up a proportion of the body part I have grown to hate so much.
I will always compare myself to others – this is something which stems from childhood, and staring at my cousins and friends in awe of their ‘naturally slim’ bodies. I often stare at girls in the street and admire their physiques, but I no longer beat myself up about not having ‘what they have’. I have pushed my own body further than I ever thought I could, and this was partially because I stopped justifying my food choices by mirroring others. I don’t eat junk like ‘those’ because genetically I can’t, and I know I prefer how I look when I step away from the family sized galaxy.
I will always have reminders of my bigger past – Although I lost weight slowly, it is inevitable that there will still be signs of body shape changes which include stretch marks and loose skin in places. I am lucky that I did it at an age where my elasticity would be a lot better than some, but I still have imperfections that no amount of training will alter. Having spent years loathing my ‘tiger stripes’ I am now more grateful that as they begin to fade, so do my skin imperfection worries.
I am not as confident as I appear – I have never been one that relies on compliments to make me feel good, I also find it very difficult to reveal many of the worries that circulate my head each day. I’m a writer, I am good with words, but often speaking ugly truths can be difficult and so I tend to keep a lot of how I feel under-wraps. There are only two people in this world that know a majority of things I have been through and even those don’t know the extent. I had a wonderful childhood, but it was filled with moments which I like to refer to as ‘character building’ and my dad always taught me that nothing ever really came of crying. I seem to have this ‘tough exterior’ malarkey down, and in a way I like this. I may walk with my head held high most of the time, but in reality I am just as nervous as those who let it show.
I’m impatient – a trait that comes from my father and something in which I battle with each and every day. I fill my days with routine and list in order for them to pass by quicker and in all honesty – it’s exhausting! I can’t wait to find peace in my life, in which I make the days count, not watch them tick away.
I am not a settler – I’ve travelled, moved cities, left friends and relationships behind that weren’t enhancing my life, and will continue to make decisions which ultimately put me closer to happiness. Life is too short to be wasting time in environments and groups which don’t help you to excel.
I am not completely sure where I am heading – At 24 I should probably have some idea of where I am at, but the truth is, I'm not there yet. I am lucky I have found the person I truly believe I am supposed to tackle this crazy world with for the rest of my life, just where, and doing what… well who knows!
I didn’t scrawl all these feelings for sympathy, far from it in fact, I retold them as proof that behind every exterior there’s a world you know nothing about. Everyone is human, and my biggest advice, is never forget who you truly are, no matter what your journey.