Ever looked in the mirror and fucking HATED what you saw?
Every single spot, stretch mark, cellulite dimple, extra roll of fat looks at you and screams “YOU ARE UGLY”
Your hair’s not thick enough, your skin’s not clear enough, you’re not thin enough, you’re too thin, you’re too tall, you’re too small, love handles are soooo not in anymore etc etc etc
You wish that you looked like that model in the magazine, the girl on the catwalk, the girl on the TV show or in the fitness magazine you’re reading – she looks happy, she’s pretty, her figure is amazing, life’s so fucking unfair right???
I have a question for you? If you looked like the girl you want to look like, if you shed those extra pounds, if your skin was clearer would you truly be happy? I ask for one reason – I was all of those things and I still fucking hated what I looked like, honestly I still really struggle sometimes.
I was a size 6 fashion model living on baked beans and Heineken terrified that I was too fat to go on the catwalk:
Then I was then a size 10 reality TV star who saw herself on TV and cried coz she thought she looked fat:
Then I was a size 8 CrossFit girl who wore two pairs of leggings to the gym coz she wanted her quads to look bigger and beat herself up most nights coz she couldn’t lift as much as the other girls and now she was too skinny and weak to be hot:
7 out of the 10 times I look in the mirror I don’t judge Myself. 7 out of the 10 times I see top level athletes compete I don’t judge Myself.
You see accepting Myself and not hating on my reflection is difficult. I was brought up in an environment where it was real important to look good. My first modeling assignment was when I was 2 years old, I was doing Jane Fonda exercise videos when I was 9 years old, I was a ballet dancer, a ‘princess’, my hair was down to my ass and getting dirty was never an option. I didn’t hate on Myself then, my parents told me I was beautiful and I believed them and being beautiful was very VERY important…
That backfired though…joining high school I got teased for being a model, girls hated Me, I wanted to fit in. I cut my hair, dyed it dark, dark brown and used my dancing as a way to make friends. I wore baggy jeans, zero makeup and taught hip hop classes on my lunch break. I finally felt accepted!
When I joined the Irish modeling scene my insecurities about fitting in kicked in again. To the outside I was this outgoing, confident girl, beautiful some people would say, damn I could walk the runway (thanks to my dancing background) – but inside, I felt fat, not tall enough to be a ‘real’ model, I had no idea how to manage nutrition and as runway jobs would come up I would just eat next to nothing because you couldn’t photoshop a live show and I was terrified everyone would see the fat I could see. I should prob mention I was a small size 6 during this time (there I am – hidden at the back)…
Then ‘The Apprentice’ happened. So that was great fun, I had a ball! Considering there was a TV camera in my face all day every day for 12 weeks you’d think I’d of been worried sick about how I looked! I didn’t, I felt good, great actually! I loved filming the show it was so much fun…then I watched the first episode. I went home from my friends that night smiling and the second I got through my door I burst into tears. I hated what I saw on the tv, I thought I was fat – I was a size 10. To give you an idea of how fat I thought I was this is my ‘transformation’ from the airing of episode 1 to the airing of episode 4….yeah I lost weight! Quickly, TOO quickly and by cutting out meals – lots of them…
I stayed skinny then for a while and then I kinda fell into CrossFit and BOOM more insecurities..these ones were harder to accept though. You see fitness became to me about muscles and big lifts. I wasn’t in the ‘scene’ long enough to know what fitness really was and I immediately hated myself for having skinny legs and only being able to backsquat an empty bar. This time though I didn’t know what to do!
You see I didn’t have an eating disorder/body dysmorphia or any of those horrible, heartbreaking diseases, what I had was serious insecurities and lack of confidence in Myself. I only knew how to manage this by what I looked like and I knew how to make Myself thinner. I did NOT know how to make Myself faster, stronger, healthier and gain muscle.
I’ve been at CrossFit for just over 2 years now and it’s been an incredible journey – physically but more so mentally. There was never going to be a quick fix for what turned out to be massive insecurities rather than an actual need to look good. CrossFit and Weightlifting has taught me about pride, persistence, hard work, channeling my anxiety, health, nutrition (eating for performance), it’s allowed Me to accept Myself and be accepted by like-minded people in a non judgemental atmosphere.
I’m learning that success isn’t about what I look like but about doing my best on any given day, it’s being with people who push me, support me and don’t judge Me. Finding something I love more than the feeling of liking my reflection in the mirror, the feeling of mastering a skill of challenging Myself to do things way out of my comfort zone and ultimately being able to help other people do the same by becoming a Coach Myself.
I most certainly still have those days where I compare Myself to others, think I should lift more, think I should look leaner or have more muscle but they are few and far between and a quick chat or workout with my Team and those feelings disappear, they fade away with laughs at missed lifts, hugs after PR’s, coffees on the Couch, deep and meaningful’s with my friends.
I’m a work in progress, I think we all are really, but the main thing I’d like for you to take from this today is that no-one knows what’s going on behind the scenes of that smile, that perfectly photoshopped magazine cover, that VIP magazine feature or that perfect six pack. Don’t be so quick to judge yourself (or others) – everyone is fighting a battle that most of Us don’t know about and it is far far easier to lash on a smile and some red lipstick than it is to admit to yourself what your feeling and go fix that.
Be kind to those around you, be kinder to Yourself, self-love is the hardest love and it’s also the most fulfilling.