My Weekly Writing Wish for You

Currently I am indulging in blueberry bagels with Nutella, Ginger Nut biscuits dipped in Irish Breakfast Tea, and any other food that my body is craving. Having spent years being fastidious about every morsel that passed my lips (I’ve done every fad diet under the sun, and I’ve even done the “sensible” approach of exercise and healthy eating), I’ve reached a point where I care not about how many calories I’ve consumed in a day but about my feelings of good health. Sure, I still have days when I look in the mirror and think eek, lay off the carbs, but then I promptly go out and get some dumplings. Mmm, I do love dumplings …

This reaction, you see, has changed. It used to be an all-out glaring competition with my reflection as I ripped apart every tiny thing that was wrong with my body (the stretch marks, the cellulite, the big hips and small bust … right down to hating the position of certain freckles and the angle of my toes) before starving myself for the day (and then crashing with a binge of chocolate, cheese, wine, and whatever other food I could get my hands on).

In tandem with my changed approach to food and transformed perception of my appearance (I still have the stretch marks, cellulite, big hips and small bust – they haven’t disappeared and aren’t likely to vanish any time soon) has been a changed approach to writing.

When I write, I no longer rip apart every word that appears on the page. I no longer glare at sentences and point out their faults. Like my body, my writing simply is. Instead of criticising it and hating it, I’m accepting it for what it is and making choices based on the fact that right now, everything is great. Right now, my big hips look great in yoga pants. Right now, my extended metaphors aptly describe a character. Right now, my love for Ginger Nuts is being sated. Right now, my long-winded exchanges of dialogue fit the purpose of a draft and they’ll be made snappier when I revise.

Maybe it’s about perspective, but I like to think it’s about love and acceptance.

My body has been around the world. I’ve fed it belgian waffles in Brussels and pizza in Naples (and a few foods I couldn’t quite recognise or name in other countries) – and right now, I’m halfway through a packet of Ginger Nuts and I’m feelinggood.

My writing was abandoned at one point, just as I would have liked to abandon my body for a new one – one with bigger breasts, narrower thighs, and a flat stomach. But writing waited for me to realise how silly I’d been, how thoroughly ridiculous I was to try and disown core parts of who I am.

I’m learning to be kind to myself. I’m giving myself what I want and need, rather than trying to starve and berate my body and writing into submission.

It’s working out. As a consequence, my writing is improving because I’m actually writing rather that convincing myself in the first sentence that I should quit while I’m ahead. Powered by Ginger Nuts and Irish Breakfast Tea, words are pouring out and ideas are flowing.

A friend recently said to me, “Wow, Stef, you look great! You’ve lost so much weight!”

“No,” I laughed, “I haven’t lost anything. I’ve just … gained happiness.”

My writing wish for you this week is for you to indulge. Whether it’s a trip to the day spa for a massage or a triple chocolate fudge cake just for you, enjoy yourself. Write a list of the things you love to do and do them! Then write about it – good things come from being kind to yourself and giving yourself what you want and need.

16 comments on “My Weekly Writing Wish for You

  1. Learning to be kind to myself about weight, behavior, thoughts, ideas, all of it, is still the hardest thing to do. It’s ironic that I’m extraordinarily kind and compassionate to others struggling but don’t extend that kindness to myself. Thanks for the post.

    • It is hard, and I’d be lying if I said that I’d mastered self-kindness. But it’s progress – small steps forward are better than no steps at all!

  2. I watch how much (and sometimes what) I eat for health reasons (it comes with middle-age). Being able to still eat what teenagers can is already an everyday indulgence for me. 🙂

  3. Love it. I was just thinking something similar about my writiing, as I approached the Bayside Literary Festival photoshoot. Writing should be wild, not tame. And our bodies are there to move well, to be lived in. It is never about how they look — it is about what they can do. Thank you for expressing just what I was thinking!

  4. What a great post, Stef, and a great journey. I’ve been there too in my own way but many aspects similar and come out the other side, happy. It’s so easy and you think why was it so hard before? Why was it? I don’t know but it’s great to read the words you have written, and know I’m not alone – it makes it real, and if there’s 2 of us, there must be more. Maybe it’s one of those collective consciousness things, like when I wanted a big old watering can & none were to be found until every shop/market had them. Happiness is the new black. Yes! 🙂

    • Haha, I love that: “Happiness is the new black.” 😀 I don’t know why it was so hard … maybe we build up expectations thinking we’re “supposed” to be/do/look like something else and it takes a while to realise we are already what we’re supposed to be, doing what we’re supposed to be doing, and looking just how we’re supposed to look. We are definitely not alone! 🙂

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