Authenticity & Me

I’m struggling with what authenticity means for me

In my 20s I was very social, life and soul of the party, a legend in my own lunchbox and a few other peoples to boot.  I was also not entirely secure, a little needy even.  Definitely on the hunt for love romantic comedy style, my happy ever after, my own Mr Right.

50 Shades of Inadequacy

I am going to have a wee rant while sitting here with my (carefully measured) glass of low alcohol wine.

Do join me.

Yes drinking alone; I’m just 3 steps away from AA’s own 12 steps.

Today I’m not going to give myself a hard time about hitting wine o’clock at 5 pm on a Tuesday.  After all, there are so many more shades of inadequacy that the information age is throwing t me and you.  It is these 50 shades of inadequacy I would like to rant about.

But first, let me ask you; Did you floss today? Meditate? What is your fruit and veg intake like? How many steps have you done? Did you sit?

WTF?

Are you telling me, you don’t have a standing desk?

How about super-foods? Ancient grains?

Why are you eating grains didn’t you know beef was the new Quinoa? (FYI it’s not true, but there you go). 

Did you try my recommendations about pacing your breathing?

Parents, how are your school volunteering hours? Is your homework done? Screen time?

How many old resentments have you let go of today? 

Gratitude, now you must have shown at least some gratitude today? Patience?  What about charity?

Is it just me feeling the pressure?  It used to just be beautiful woman on bus stops and TV adds making me feel not-quite-worthy.  Today every manner of pressure is beaming into every area of my life, via multiple channels and devices.

10 easy steps to this

5 steps to that

50 things to never say to your children

13 things to always say to your children

3 weeks to flat belly

Isn’t motherhood a chance to hate yourself even more?

As I try and hide in my office enjoying my wee rant my child screams at me “THE. INTERNET. IS. NOT. WORKING!!”.

What is my response? 

Guilt. 

It must be my fault.  My inability to set boundaries. My inability to consistently honour the 6-steps-to-awesome-parenting. My strong desire for a quiet time and glass of wine ahead of a meltdown. When did I become responsible for so much? For my chances of early death by any cause? The vibe in my office? The Syrian crisis?

It’s a fact that reading woman’s magazines leaves us feel worse about ourselves. I had thought that not all woman magazines were created equal, that ‘my’ magazines were different, motivating … packed-full of useful health information and tips and stories of real woman.

Increasingly I notice the same celebrity focus as the ‘trashy’ mags.   The difference is the celebrities must be self-made, super healthy and perky and usually selling their own book or advice or magic elixir.  

Sure, they throw in a few uplifting articles about positive ageing but don’t seem to notice the “10 steps to younger skin” on the facing page.  The last health magazine I read left me with the same slightly guilty, cheap and unworthy feelings I always associated with the trashy mags and nights out on the booze chasing boys in my 20s.

I am a woman (in truth a middle-aged one), I am interested in my physical and mental health and I want to be motivated and supported in those goals. The key subtlety that seems to be missing from my media just now is … I want to feel those goals are achievable. I want a gentle nudge forward. I don’t want to come away feeling my goals are further away.  Feeling that somehow only the beautifully presented, perfectly coifed, naturally slim are allowed these joys.

In case you think my rant on pressure and judgement is unjustified, consider for a moment what the media did to Renee Zellweger a few years back, when she dared to get cosmetic surgery (maybe). This is tough for Renee because if she was not aging well and dared to step out – what would have happened to her then?

It is actually ironic (in an Alanis Morrissette way at least) that she is most famous for a role that made us feel OK as we were. She was everyone’s girl.  She was ‘our’ Bridget.  All our young women neuroses plastered on the big screen and still loveable, oh so loveable, and she got the man. Wow.

Around the time I entered my only midle-age I was thrilled to see Renee back again in ‘Bridget Jones Baby’.  Renee/Bridget reminded me that we are human first and foremost, we sometimes get drunk and fall down, sometimes we care too much about the wrong things, and don’t follow the 12 steps to anything much…. and that we are perfect in our imperfectness. 

Wouldn’t you sooner a day with ‘our’ imperfect Bridget than any number of perfectly coiffed and 12 step following gurus? I know I would.

Of course, don’t get me wrong I, like Bridget, will continue the self-improvement journey, I will even post my own 30 steps to an evidence-based life well lived.  And, like Bridget I will blunder my way through. Like Renee, I’ll get plastic surgery (maybe) if the world starts telling me I can’t earn a living in my industry if I don’t. 

Go well (or should I say ‘blunder on’) in the direction of your dreams,

Yours as Ever,

Dr Rach x