Monday, April 4, 2016

Clapping Wildly and Smiling Too Big

I've already yammered about my tendency to be a straight up bully to myself. We all do it, but I can't do anything about other people - only me. When entering a journey of any sort that involves self work ("I will be stronger"/"I will be kinder"/"I will not eat all of my child's leftovers"/"I will not watch Better Call Saul without my husband," etc), the hardest part for me is doing it with self love. Acknowledging that work lies ahead is not hard. Hell, I'm convinced I have work to do even when I'm already working on something sleep. Acknowledging that I am still a good person despite work that has to be done? Ahhhhfuckstick. That's harder. Even when it doesn't have to be, I make it harder.

Mmm. What a cozy waste of productivity. What do people call this thing? 

I begin by frantically listing the things I have to do, and make them sound super-daunting so I won't want to do them. "I have to call the unemployment office, All Kids, and the Health Marketplace to straighten some things out. I'm gonna be on hold for my entire life."

REASON: I booked a spot on a national television show and I got paid, so I had to file a new claim, my husband is now employed full time, and we are covered under his insurance as of April 1. These are GOOD PROBLEMS.

REASON TO ME: I am not going to get another gig and it's all catch-as-catch-can and I'm failing my family, good thing my husband is here or we'd be living under a bridge.

See? Asshole.

I also completed these calls and it took MAYBE 15 damn minutes.

When tackling something more common like weight loss and strength training, I can be even more brutal. Recently, I tried something as I struggled in a class. My muscles were tired and unaccustomed to moving this way (it's been a minute). My knee is swollen so holding my balance was a blooper reel of futility. I wanted to give up. I wanted to tell myself it was too late and I should probably accept defeat.

Then, I did it. I talked to my body like it was my daughter.

Simple concept, really. Except that most times it feels like I'm telling my daughter "no" or "don't touch that do not touch that it's trash what did I just say do not do not do no -- ugh." However, there's encouragement aplenty in our house. This week, I cheered her on as she made a basket with a wrapper she was growing away, because she kept throwing it until she got it. I also thanked her continuously for her impeccable behavior when we're out and about, her desire to clean up, her endless cuddles and kindness, and her sense of humor. Sure, a lot of those jokes currently involve poop, but dammit...still funny.

I started applying this encouragement to crunches and leg lifts.

"10 more? Pfffft. You can do that! You're doing it now! Yes yes yes. You've got this! Look at you! You're doin it! Yaaaay! Oh my God, you're almost done I can't believe it!"

It's important to note that thjs wasn't out loud.

It's also important to note that it worked.

It worked a fuckton better than, say, "Maybe if you did this more it wouldn't be so hard" or, "Your fat rolls are rubbing together." I mean, hitting myself in the face would work better than that shit, but still. This was GOOD. This was PROGRESS.

It's a long journey to be kind to yourself. I look at body positive projects like this one and the FIRST thing I do is notice the people with conventionally "acceptable" body types. I then judge. "Why are they worried? They're fine." Then my rational brain takes over; I look at their story and their struggle and I empathize. I am grateful they told that story.

I'm telling mine in bits and pieces, and this piece concentrates on the simple joy of mentally clapping and smiling and saying, "YAAY!" to yourself when you need it most. It works. I'm going to try it more often.

Even if it is out loud.