The birds on the rooftops

I found myself listening to the birds singing their evening tweetings and was suddenly aware that my eyes were leaking. The massive panoramas of beautiful vast places are easy to feel a sense of awe about. A sense of spirituality. I think that we all find this in our day to day, generally without even thinking about it. This world is a place filled with possibility, and we are people of much curiosity.

It is seriously easy to assess our time with negative things, to mark off the milestones with the disappointments and hardships. But what if we marked off our time by the things that have amazed us, by the things that have elevated us. That would be better.

I went to university when I was twenty-five and made a conscious decision not to share any of my sad stories. Before this, I had sort of carved my personality around them. It wasn’t that I was always unhappy, as there were definite ‘up’ times, but I didn’t understand myself well enough to be able to maintain that for extended periods of time. So sad stories became something of a theme. However removing all my sad stories, it transpires, wasn’t enough to make me happy. So I began to make changes.

For me, change wasn’t an all overnight thing. I have the deepest admiration for those who can make decisive cuts into their lives and have the tenacity to stick with it. So from my mid-twenties, changes have been small.

I think that the purchase of me new rock boots marked a new era (aged twenty five). They are massive, they are striking, they are happiness in the shape of a boot. I stand over six foot when I wear them (the platform is intense!). However the boots themselves are utterly arbitrary, but it’s how when I wear them that’s important. And I feel amazing. The same applies when I dye my hair. My hair when I was small was a rich chestnutty auburn, but has faded up over the years. And as such, I occasionally put a bit of colour in it. My favourite would likely be a bright post box red. The feeling that I get when I change my physicality, be it through different clothes, hair or make up, gives me an instant inherent confidence, I feel like the person that I am meant to be.

In understanding the link that my physical self has on my mental state was empowering. But it didn’t change the basic way I was feeling, it could provide a short term boost, but nothing that could be sustained (I now understand why some people obsessively clothes shop!). Then after my daughter’s dad left, things started to change emotionally for me. I learnt who I wanted to be. This was the first time in my adult life that I had been single for a sustained period of time, and I also had a three year old to take care of too. It was scary, my Mum’s support was invaluable, and I coped. I developed a strong circle of friends around me, people that I could genuinely rely on, which although I had epic friends before, I acquired more! Through these beautiful friendships, I learnt so much more about me. For the first time, I could see my strength. And from that position, I started to see beauty and my place in my world.

The birds are still tweeting.

Map Point. What changes have I made recently?



I feel pretty

Last night I was sitting in Maggie’s garden, she and her son were cleaning the decking, and I noticed my reflection in the long glass door, and it really surprised me. It wasn’t that my clothes didn’t match (always a possible) or that a bird had sporadically landed on my head (this would be impressive), it was that I looked really relaxed. And also poised which felt unusual to see.

I think it comes down to feeling pretty. It makes me smile as I say that, in a somewhat wry and self-depreciating tone. To me feeling pretty isn’t just about what I look like, it’s about how I feel. When I am confident, feeling self-assured, I feel mighty, I walk taller. And it genuinely doesn’t matter what I am wearing, or if I have makeup on, or whether my hair is scruffed up in a ponytail (although optimistically I don’t have leftover smoothie on my face, this has been a contention and no one ever tells me..and most of my smoothies contain spirulina. Which is green.) . When I feel pretty, I am pretty (irrespective of green cup lines on my face).

I guess we all have our own standard of deciding what it is that we think we should look like. From a myriad of variables, how long or short our hair should be, whether or not our clothes are on trend, or whether we are aiming for a particular physique. And I think it is generally a good thing to aspire to better, but what if that comes at a massive cost, or simply isn’t an achievable goal? I know myself well enough that as much as I might think some hairstyles are utterly beautiful, they are not for me on a daily basis. When my hair is done by somebody else, I love how it looks, but I also know that there is an incredibly slim chance of me waving my arms above my head to attempt the recreation of aforementioned incredible hair. So my hairstyle needs to be low maintenance. This could change at some point, but currently, I would hypothesise, unlikely. Because I understand this, I have much love for hairband (and also my hair!).

Having a realistic understanding of how I function is important to how I perceive myself. If I set goals that are not reachable then that is a world of sad. I don’t want to be in a position where I feel disappointed with myself, where I look at myself and see only things I have failed to do. When I look at myself, I want to see¬†beauty that makes me smile. And that’s what I saw in the reflection last night.

It isn’t that I have changed dramatically, it isn’t because I was wearing new clothes, it’s because I am learning to feel content with myself. And now I feel pretty.

Map point. Where am I judging myself too harshly?