What is wrong with us?

“Be Kind”
Illustration by Frances Cannon

We have all had that experience of being tagged in a photo and just dying a little bit inside because we’re pretty sure that the gremlin on the far right is us.

To make it worse your friends insist that it’s a great picture of you and in your head you are already praying to all deities to erase that image of your mind and soul forever. 

Obviously, that doesn’t happen so you are stuck for the rest of the day wondering:  if that’s you looking great, what does awful look like? And, oh boy, that consumes a lot of time and self-esteem.  

Lately, I’ve been reflecting about how much I can lack on being compassionate towards myself and how my brain has been forging a misleading idea of what people look like in reality and the impact it has on me. 

I’ve come to realise that the culture of filters and editing pictures for social media has distorted the way I expect people to look like and it might have produced an impossible beauty standard for myself.

Relax. I’m not saying that people using Juno as a filter are making me feel bad about myself. What I’m trying to say is that all the micro innocent editing might not be that innocent after all. 

A couple of months ago, I’d scroll down social media and not even think for a second that some pictures that look so candid were actually heavily edited. I had reached a point where I’d feel bad about my skin texture because if you look at pictures nowadays there isn’t a single person with skin problems. Go ahead. I dare you to go to Instagram and find some acne or rosacea.  

And here’s the catch we can argue about how these pictures are a form of people expressing themselves or just a little fix that if they wanted to they could also take care of but in the end we are not thinking about these things when we scroll down those pictures. For all we know that’s what they look like. We are seeing these people without imperfections and taking for granted that it’s a reality. 

Obviously people like that don’t exist though. Please remind yourself. And if after that you are still feeling unsure the next time you are with someone simply observe. If you really pay attention you will realise that the things that make you feel imperfect are the most common things in the world.

After a couple minutes you’ll discover that pores still exist and no amount of primer and foundation will cover them fully. Foreheads can get oily after a couple of hours and hair can get a bit crazy after some wind and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. Please stop to reflect on what kind of standard you are applying to yourself. Always focus on being a better version of you but don’t seek perfection because it does not exist.

Embrace what makes you your own being. Look at your body with more love and appreciation. It is doing so much to keep you alive. Those legs that you might feel like they are too chubby or too skinny, they are taking you places and those arms and hands are allowing you to grab your lover’s hand.  

Question yourself and reflect on what is actually wrong with the way you look. If you are compassionate enough and treat yourself the way you’d treat a friend you might discover that there’s nothing wrong in being human.  

The Addict in Your Head

Everything is going quite alright. You’re nailing it. You are feeling happy and you have started to feel some positive changes in your body and your mind. You have more energy and you are proud of yourself for sticking to the plan. That’s when you finally hear it. It comes like a whisper and a silent spell. Shu…shuu… sugar.

No way you’re falling for that one. Who needs chocolate, donuts or cake? Biscuits, ice-cream, cheesecake, cherry pie…oops, sorry. I’ve almost lost myself there. As I was saying, you’ve been eating quite well and it hasn’t even been a week since you’ve started. It’s not happening. You were even planning on working out today. And you won’t give into temptation. There wouldn’t be a problem then, would there? You’d burn it in the blink of an eye. N-No, no! Thanks, I’ll be fine.

Somebody gets home and they are overflowing with Christmas joy and after doing the groceries, besides the usual chocolate bars and the other sweet and savory things you love, they’ve bought extra Christmas special chocolate boxes. It’s Christmas! Treat yourself. 

You are fighting on your own. Every time you walk into the kitchen the chocolate boxes are smiling at you. Almost mocking you. Still, you discard all these intrusive thoughts and decide to eat an innocent apple instead. Candy apple?

Dear reader, don’t worry, I understand. You feel like you can’t win and like the whole world has it’s back against you. I don’t know about you, but I’ve come to realise that in the back of my head there resides an addict. It loves sugar and spice and everything nice.

There will come a time where it starts to speak to you regularly with words of innocence and whispers of a dying habit. Stay strong. It’s going to be hard. Really hard. However, I’m sure it will be worth it.

Right now, there are plenty of people like you, struggling but still saying no. You are not alone. Please remember that. What you actually want and what the addict wants are two very different things. Fight to reach YOUR goals. Don’t let the addict win.

The Art of Self-Sabotage.

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Have you ever found yourself questioning, why is it that life doesn’t seem to work out for you? Maybe you’ve had a bad day. Your boss was being a good old jerk, someone spilled coffee over your beautiful, freshly washed white shirt or your crush has left you on read for four hours straight.

Every single time you are logging in to social media, everyone seems to be having a blast. Meeting the love of their life, achieving things you could never dream to achieve, making coin and travelling the world to the most fantastic destinations which are so far beyond your reach.

Don’t get me wrong, some of them are your friends, you love them and I know you are happy for them. However, you know something’s off. If it were only them, it’d be fine, but that’s not the case. In matter of fact, every single person in the entire world seems to have achieved their pinnacle of happiness while you weren’t looking.

Scrolling down Instagram has literally made you shook to the core with all these beautiful, confident, empowered people, with abs more defined than a vintage washboard and a degree in something so extremely impressing that you’ve forgotten the name of the course two seconds after hearing it.

You are sick of it and without realising, the day has passed. Another fruitless day, and by that, I mean literally… you probably haven’t touched an apple in years, unless you take cider into account, in which case, I guess you really are getting one of your five a day…anyway, you finally get home after a monotonous day with nothing new to tell and you start by trashing all your belongings on the floor or over the magical chair in the corner of your room.

You sit on the bed, look out the window and sigh to yourself, but this time you remember something. And for once today, you are walking with glee. You know what’s coming. You know what to do. There is no hesitation. And you’ll only stop when you’ve reached your goal: a full-on massacre to your fridge and the fellow chocolate cake.

For a brief moment, you’ve made it. God, you are happy. No one, I mean absolutely no one can take your happiness away from you. You don’t have to worry about anything. Screw whatever was pissing you off. You’ve had a rough day and you, yes, YOU deserve it. Who cares how many calories those 3 slices of cake have. What matters right now is that you are going to eat them and you are going to feel unstoppable.

There’s not a single care in the world. You will sit down on that sofa, watch some spooky stuff on Netflix and chill the hell out of your head. In the end, there might not be many things that you feel sure about in life however one thing you do know is that after an awful day, food will never let you down.

Or will it?

Spoiler alert: It will. I don’t have a tragic job (definitely because I’m unemployed) nor have a dramatic dating life, I’m actually quite successful if I say so myself, but there is one thing that literally has been dragging me down, and that is my body. For all of you getting ready to jump me, I do love myself and my body, but my health and the way I have been treating my temple, to be fair is a bit contradictory.

After years of dieting hard and gaining weight once back again, I’ve realised that something was missing and that was: true understanding that I need a lifestyle change rather than a temporary diet mentality.

I’m creating this blog to document my journey of weight loss and maybe reach out to some of you who are struggling with the same issues as me. In the long run, I hope that this can be a space where we can all share our stories and support each other on the path to a fulfilling, healthy and mindful life.

I invite you to join me on this journey, say your goodbyes to the cake and leave art to the artists.