- Strange looks
- Interesting (remembered) conversations
- Saved money
- Productive weekends
- A healthy liver
- A clear mind
- A king bed
- A teak bedside table
Every day, there are so many things to decide. What to wear, what to eat, what to say, where to go, how to act. Everyday we’re overwhelmed with choice and struggle to know what’s right or wrong, good or bad… How do we do it? Seriously, I want to know how every human being survives the day without collapsing into a heap under the sheer weight of the minutiae combined with the big, life-changing, course altering choices we have to make.
Decision fatigue is a thing. It’s a real thing (seriously, check Wikipedia). It’s a scientifically explainable thing that makes people really fucking confused. It saps willpower and eventually turns our brains to mush at the end of a long hard day of deciding things and stuff. The late Steve Jobs famously wore the same outfit every day to minimize the amount of decisions he has to start his day with. Mark Zuckerburg does it too. Personally, I can’t fathom doing such a thing (accessorising is a pastime for me) but I can totally appreciate the idea. It’s a little nap for your brain while you’re still awake.
That’s the little stuff though. The little stuff that makes the big stuff seem easy. And the big stuff… well that stuff is ACTUALLY scary. It’s the ‘what do I do with the rest of my life’ kind of questions that make you wonder why you even bother dressing – it doesn’t fucking matter because – WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING, WHO AM I, WHERE AM I GOING, WHY DO I EXIST?!
Not to be dramatic or anything but this is hard. Everything I do sets a new tone and drives a new story – sometimes for a moment and other times for many years to come. And that’s a bit terrifying.
What if I choose wrong? What if it’s too hard? What if, what if, what if!
Or… what if it’s the best thing I ever do? All I want is a crystal ball and a guarantee that I’m doing the right thing – is that too much to ask?
I need a sign. I need a plan. I need to figure out how to be alone. I need to figure out how to sleep again. I need to remember why I like myself, if I even do anymore. This living thing is hard, guys. How do we all do it?
We have to make a choice every day to keep going. We have to keep making choices, big and little. Life changing and outfit changing decisions – and everything in between.
You’re standing at the edge of a cliff.
‘I’ve got you. It’s all going to be OK,’ whispers a voice on the wind. It’s the only one you can pick out from the clamor.
You’ve climbed so far to get here.
Some days you were dragged up – the wind pushed you, the rain beat you forward and on the best days the path cleared just a little.
You still remember getting lifted into the sky. You thought it was an act of God. Instead you were dropped, a short time later, onto the hard rock. That hurt. There’s a little piece stuck in your chest still. You were so high up and you were so sure you’d stay there. It’s still bruised. You’re not sure that scar will ever fade.
But you had to keep climbing.
And now you’re here.
The wind won’t stop. It carries the whispers of the past, opinions and ideas, suggestions and warnings, from everyone you’ve met on your ascent so far. They all know something you don’t, they all would do it differently. But they aren’t you. You have to do this all on your own.
It’s not the kind of hill you can climb down. That’s not how life works. There’s only one way forward and it’s straight over the edge. You think you know what’s over there. But what if you’re wrong? You hope you’re going to land in the clouds. But what if there are sharks circling below, or jagged rocks or deep, deep water that will never let you see the surface again?
How does anyone ever know if they’re making the right choice? You want to be sure and you want to be safe. But there’s no safe, there’s no sure. There’s no crystal ball and there are no guarantees.
There’s just the edge.
And you’re all on your own up here. Sure, you can phone a friend but they can’t do it for you. This is your life. And the next hour, the next day, the next month – the next ten years – will be guided by what you do next. And that’s the truly terrifying part. This is the flap of a butterfly’s wing. This is the chaos theory in full effect. What you do next will echo through the rest of your life, for all your years to come. It will set the tone and the standard, the course and the coast. Are you ready for it? Can you handle the pressure?
You’ve already survived so much worse. Your heels are scabbed, your back aches, you’re sun burnt and wind-whipped, there’s sand in your eyes and under your fingernails. You’re so fucking done. And you’ve done so fucking much. And now you have to leave it all behind.
But that’s scary in itself. You have to let it all go. All the hurt and pain. You have to finally move on, tackle the next mountain (or molehill) of your life. You have to let go.
YOU HAVE TO LET GO.
It’s for your own good really.
Are you ready for it? Are you ready to jump? You can’t hold on to anything once you do it. You have to forget the whispers and the people they came from. You have to forgive the people who hurt you. You have to forgive yourself. Can you do that?
It’s nearly time to jump. To fall. To fly. Whatever happens, you have to move. You have to keep going.
Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.
Just jump. Cry first if you have to. Feel sorry for yourself. Feel every ounce of hurt and pain that’s been inflicted on you and that you, in turn, have inflicted on those around you. Sob your little heart out for the mistakes and the misunderstandings of the past. Be sad.
Then jump. Do it with your whole body and all of your spirit. This isn’t the kind of thing you can fake or half-ass. Throw yourself into the future. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Remember that life happens for you not too you. You just have to know the difference and know that perspective is everything.
… Tell me what happens when you do?
It’s the smallest things that can make someone’s day. A good coffee. A tasty juice. A smile from a stranger. Or even better, the following words (accompanied by a smile!) from a stranger:
“I’m so sorry to interrupt and I hope I this isn’t impertinent of me but I just have to tell you that you’re one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen, you’re just absolutely stunning and I had to tell you. I hope you have a great day”.
This strangers words were beautiful. But more than the words he said, it was the intention – it wasn’t a sleazy come-on, he had no ulterior motive, he didn’t want my number or even my name – he just really wanted to say those nice words to me because he thought I should hear them.
I grinned like an idiot and said thank you as he walked away.
It got me thinking. I know I’m much more than my exterior. I know that. Maybe I was having a good hair day or my particular genetic composition appealed to this man’s particular aesthetic preferences. Either way, how I look doesn’t define me – I know that. And yet it made me embarrassingly happy to hear those words. Because how we judge people and even more so, ourselves, is so often based on looks. He didn’t know a single thing about me except the shape of the vessel that houses my quintessence.
I have always wanted to be more than my outside.
Any yet, three years ago the state of my ‘outside’ mattered a lot more than I care to admit. I was overweight, not by much, but by enough. It took two full years but I lost 20kgs. One more year on and I’m fitter and healthier than I’ve ever been, I’ve maintained my weight. I feel good. By all standards, I look better than I used to. Because I’m thinner now. There’s less of me, so that makes me easier to look at. It’s a perplexing thing, because it shouldn’t matter how I look, it should only matter how I feel… right?
I love being healthy. I’m a #fitspo wanker that drinks green juice and does yoga. It’s a fun hobby… that keeps me in a socially acceptable weight range. I make my own granola and try (though generally fail) to meditate and be mindful. These are all good things for my body and soul. But I think it’s important to recognize that I do these things as part of a wider need I feel to keep myself in a state suitable for social consumption.
The feminist in me wonders how good it really is that I’ve succumb to the pressure every woman feels to fit in – am I just a part of the problem, piling even more tension into an already heavy conversation about female objectification?
I think it’s important to raise these questions. To consider my own actions – am I helping or harming? Is my ‘fitness journey’ really just another sad commentary on the importance placed on looking a certain way? I write all this while I sit here drinking my organic green tea in my moisture-wicking (what even is that?) Lulu Lemons and am reminded that image is everything. Wearing the right clothes, eating the right things, even just for their instagramableness (screw you dictionary, it’s a word now) MATTERS.
A wank-y juice I instagrammed
I’d like to think that it’s more important to be healthy and happy. That, given the startling increase in obesity rates, I’m part of a solution in a consumptive and excessive society. That self-love and self-care are the ultimate goals of the health and well-being movement that’s swept across Australia in the last few years. Am I right or am I just kidding myself?
I’m not going to stop using raw cacao (cocoa is so 5 years ago) and I’m not going to start taking offence when a stranger compliments me. Yes, I am more than my outside. Yes, how I look matters. But you know what? It should be OK for those two things to exist in parallel.