Friday, August 07, 2009

self esteem


Remarkably, randomly and unrelatedly, I have been having discussions with a fair few of my lady-friends recently about SELF ESTEEM. To tell you the truth, I hate even writing the word SELF ESTEEM. The words alone fill me with shame and embarrassment. It's so 1980s after school special. I am a teenage gymnast who feels fat and develops anorexia after pressure and sexual advances from my coach.
How is your SELF ESTEEM? Do you feel super-awesome? Confident? Beautiful? ENOUGH?

Yeah. Me neither.

It genuinely distresses me to think how much time and energy we ALL secretly invest into feeling bad about ourselves. All that time and energy we invest wanting to be thinner, smarter, beautiful, more creative, more like that other girl over there, I want to live in their house, but have her bank balance and that wardrobe. I don't want my daughter Ruby to grow up feeling like she needs to change herself in any way to be happy, the idea makes me both angry and sick. I don't want to pass on all my paranoia and fears and moments of self loathing. I have spent a LOT of time thinking about these sorts of things and subsequently removing all the people out of my life who don't make me feel good to be around.

I am sick of media who attempt to make us feel unworthy so we spend and waste money to feel better about ourselves. Mean people who put others down so they feel better about themselves, but I don't blame them. I am 100% responsible for how I feel about myself and whether I fall for that bullshit. (note: edited to clarify that I don't read magazines apart from Frankie & cooking ones usually!)

So today I will tell you that I am TOPS. I am very, very nice. And especially so are you. Every day for a week I am going to write something that I like about myself and I think you should too because I like you and we need to spend our time and mental energy on more positive and productive things, yes? We need to live and be happy in the here and now, rather thinking that we will be happy or more desirable if we were different in any way. We are perfect now. You know what IS IN. Confidence and happiness. I'll be having some of that please.


So for me I am working up to this slowly, today I like my: skin. I am super-dooper palepale and burn to a crisp in the sun, but pale goes with anything for any season. I get to have freckles and rosy pink cheeks and dark hair and no skin cancer. Today I am all about SKIN. It keeps all my insides safe and warm, and that is why my SKIN IS AWESOME. It looks good and is practical. I am going to like my skin today and look after it.

Wow. this is hard to do. Apparently as either a) ladies b) Australians or c) humans, we don't like to give big props to ourselves. I was debating even posting this because I felt so naff, but it's time to get over that and move on, isn't it? Yes. So this is me.

17 comments:

Betty Jo said...

Yep, Yep, Yep, Giving daughters the tools to be proud and strong are definitely the best gifts a parent can provide. I'm tip toeing through touchy times at the moment, but I think i have (for the most part) a confident teenage girl. So, although it's sometimes hard to say, I think I'm doing an OK job as a parent.
Not withstanding the judgmental books and media that can make you question what you are doing. I DONT read them..xLiz

misskit said...

Sally, you're just tops!
I love your blog and wish often that I lived in Georgie Love land. ( Not just because I want every single thing from your shop at the mo!)
I think we hit a point as women when we're not even allowed to talk about self-esteem anymore. Its seen as boring and whiny and immature so we don't talk and we just fester away slowly. But being silent doesn't change anything.
So I'm following your lead and giving my inner fat teenage gymnast some love this week.

CurlyPops said...

Well I think your TOPS too! Yah for pale skins and no skin cancers.
I think the best thing to do is to stay far far away from any fashion/glamour type magazines that just push the myth that we must be beautiful. They're only in it for the advertising money.

Georgie Love said...

Oh! I only read Frankie and cooking magazines, I must edit to say that!

Free People Search said...

nice blog.. :)

pepper said...

oh AWESOME! I agree completely and am I'm going to join you in the look-at-me-don't-I-fit-together-nicely quest. yay us all.
x Pepper

Veronica Darling... said...

Hey! You're unreal!

I'm a little weird, because I feel pretty great 99 per cent of the time, and then feel weird about liking myself so much, and more paranoid that I don't feel bad about myself and then I worry that people notice that I'm loving myself sick, and then think I'm up myself. I'm also pretty simplistic, and have a really silly uber optimistic outlook about life in general. (It's also a Friday, and I'm SO happy to finish work, so good day feeling here at my house!)

BUT, I'm totally with you that you should focus on the positive bits about yourself and your life, because overall you might be unhappy, but if you look at the little bits (like how great your pins are in those tights etc), things are on the up!

Plus, all this negativity shizzle on tv and stuff is just yuk! It has been said elsewhere that people don't actually want negative messages; look at Australian Idol compared to Masterchef, where the judges on the latter are encouraging and complimentary compared to the former where contestants who are getting judged on their singing ability gets picked on for the jelly bellies.

Oh, and I agree with Curly Pops, if you steer clear of bad media images, you do tend to love yourself sick more often. Not to be mean toward Frankie, but there are often 'too beautiful to be real' images there too, and it still confirms a consumeristic 'I want' kinda world.

MelbourneVintage said...

i like this post - it's so important to give yourself a thumbs up every now and then (without losing the excellent ability to laugh at yourself, too!). And it's nice to be surrounded by positive encouraging people.

Leonie said...

Good on you and why not!

stephanie said...

I love it!! Dito, dito, dito :) I am actually one of the fortunate ones who does love herself (In the least up-myself-kind of a way) I've never had body or appearance issues or skills, financial or 'self esteem' issues. And you know what.. It's totally because of my Mum!! So go Sally, you just need to love Ruby )and it is soooo obvious that you do).. so no need to worry about her having any kind of issues at all :)

Mama Mogantosh said...

I think you are just fantastic.

From one paleskin to another.

I find myslef struck by these things for two reasons, connected in an age-old way...

1. As a mother of a daughter and a son, and wanting them to waste no time in pointless self-doubt, but to use all their time on the Earth for loving, being loved, creating, laughing, etc, etc...

2. Those damn kiddos have aged the bejeezus out of me. If I'm gonna obssess over the face, I'm on a road to heartbreak...

SO today...

I love my delicate dancey fingers that can type fast, just whipped up a yummy dinner and are currently rocking an onyx engagement ring.

Cindy said...

I always find the ones that are the hardest to write are always the best. I really loved it.
I think you really get a whole new perspective once you have children. I take great pains to make sure that Caleb hears all the time that he is super special as I think the boys need to hear it too.
I am of the pale skinned group too, but no freckles - ripped off.

lillipilli said...

GREAT post, Sally. And particularly relevant for me at the moment because my therapist has diagnosed me as having particularly bad self-esteem and has asked me to start thinking more about the things that make me great. Also she said that I suffer from a kind of cultural cringe of my own personality, but that the things that I worried made me less worthy than, say, another girl who managed to convince my partner of eight years to cheat on me (i.e. my love of arts and culture, the fact I don't drink, party or play computer games) is actually part of what makes me a desirable package. So here's to self-esteem!

ClaireBee said...

what an awesome blog post! good on you Sally, this is great. Though I haven't always, I like my pale skin too. I inherited nice youthful skin from my mum and nan.

Gina said...

This is really great to read. You're right, it is hard to 'talk ourselves up', but I'm learning that the more matter-of-fact we can become about both our strengths AND our weaknesses, the less power other peoples' opinions (or media hype/societal pressure) can have! We look for contentment in the things around us - material stuff, physical stuff, relationships - but contentment is really an internal state, an attitude towards the external stuff (which constantly shifts and changes anyway).

Blah blah. I'm content. I'm generous. I'm grateful for all the good things in my life. That's my contribution to the self-love-athon! Hard to say, but powerful.

Natalie said...

MOST EXCELLENT. I love body image blogging! I've done my list on my blog. Horah, and thanks for being rad!

Thomas said...

This is just a wonderful post, and a fantastic idea! You're really awesome!!