GOOD ENOUGH?


Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 19.14.25.png

ever since I can remember, I have based my value on marks, on grades, on percentages

on sheets of white paper with black, standardized text, asking standardized questions 

questions that mould intelligence, creativity, individuality of a beautiful child’s mind into a numerical value

a score out of 100

a red-biro fraction in a red-biro circle inked in the top right-hand corner.

that ink seeps into my skin, is etched into my soul; carving out what it means to be liked, to be successful, to be worthy,

worthy of love

worthy of being far, far away from that fear of failure and all that we are told comes with it;

worthy of holidays, of a nice house, of presents at christmas

things us children are told come hand-in-hand with ‘financial security’, with ‘a stable career’

with money

with happiness.

 

but now I am not a child, and I know that this simple equation is not all it seems

although I will never forget that my one ‘B’ grade in an ocean of sparkling ‘A’s’ was in maths

I still can believe my less than satisfactory brain when I think

that this mathematical equation is one that is,

in fact,

incorrect.

a subtracted mark from that all important score

a mark I would agonize over; would question teachers about 

never feeling satisfied

never feeling proud

never feeling quite good enough.

 

and as a girl becomes a woman

it is too easy to fall into into another trap society has set 

placing self-worth on the external 

placing self-worth on our image or on our ‘health’

where in reality as our physical health maybe momentarily increases

our mental health steadily dwindles.

there was a day when i looked into the mirror to see the progress of my teeth growing in 

not the progress of my ‘abs’ as a marker of my ‘fitness’

a day when we were told our ‘bottoms were a seat’ and not a marker of attractiveness

of admiration

of envy

a day when we did not know beauty was linked to an image of a ‘perfect’ female form.

 

the word anxiety creeps its way through an innocent child’s skin

red ink, swirling, into my bloodstream

and settling

deep in my stomach

wrapping one arm around the space that once, I trusted 

a space that so effortlessly nourished and cared for me

and the other arm around my mind

it’s fingers skillfully placing a tint over my eyes

undetectable

making me see life through glasses of fear

of hate

of insecurity 

before closing it’s arms together, in a toxic embrace

forming a link between my worth and what I choose to enter this area of my body

or what I choose not to

creating irrational fears that see-saw from being so obsessed with health

wanting to improve

wanting to be better

to not feeling worthy of the money that nourishment costs

hidden behind the frugality of a loan-dependent student 

to not feeling worthy of nourishment unless, maybe, if following certain rules

because following rules is a perfectly measured recipe that bakes a sugar-free, fat-free cake of success

 

a see-saw between the achievement of being so clean, so pure

and the achievement of being empty and thriving

a see-saw between the fear of never reaching my best self

and the feeling 

of not having one

 

because if even if that red ink writes 100/100 

like it has on occasion for now-trivial past achievements

 

even if i rebuild my outer shell that has shrunken in the laundry

as my self-esteem was washed away with the suds of perceived ’imperfection’

 

even if what i see in the mirror does finally satisfy me, even with a number on the scale that does not inflict worry or concern

 

even if the red ink completes that circle

once again encompassing my worth and compacting it into the top right hand corner of a piece of paper i’ll never see again

 

would I then be freed from this never-ending cycle that society has created?

these expectations, ideals

images

the fears that almost are ingrained into our genetic makeup

 

the circle of the grade

the circle of the percentage

the circle of my stomach

the circles of my eyes

the circulating thoughts in my mind

 

maybe then

I would feel

good enough.

 

 

 

 

 

- Alexandra Murray-Reynolds (@thehippychickpea)

find more at thehippychickpea.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More in Self-Love:

More Poetry:

voices


IMG_2211.JPG

Uniqueness given but too insecure to discover it.

You are inferior, they said. Alone. Not enough.

My tries to adjust failed bitterly, my opinions tossed by winds and waves.

The illusion of earning my affection through meeting others expectations crushed me.

The voices became louder.

Pulling back from my outer world, trying to create a perfect one in my mind, didn't work.

All I felt was a crazy mess in my inside, growing bigger while my attempts to fight my way out of it failed.

All of it changed with a small whisper.

And as soon as I started listening, it became louder.

Louder than all the other voices. Louder than my own insecurities. With a mighty roar it silenced my storm.

One word and it was done.

Then gently and loving, it began to tell me who I really was, who I really am.

Loved.

Accepted.

Beautiful.

Art.

Uniquely created to represent the One who created me.

My thoughts began to untangle, my heart to heal. Slowly discovering the world inside of me through the eyes of the Artist.

My true self is what I found.

My true self is what I find.

The start of a lifelong journey.

I fell in love with it.

He has started and we will continue.

More in Self-Love:

A LETTER FOR JANUARY


Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 15.22.55.png

A soft stream of light escaping through the blind, the blue, cold sun ray resting onto every surface, illuminating the room. January. Month of determination, of procrastination, of biting frost and biting words, belittling yourself; knowing you can do better, can be better. The months of good intentions, intentions that can so easily be taken wayward; manifesting into destructive, unhealthy thoughts and routines, inflicting pain and insecurity and a lack of self-worth.

You deserve for your resolutions to manifest from those seeds you have planted deep within your mind, for them to flourish and grow, intertwined with your mind out into your physical life. Be conscious of those toxic seeds that you know could so easily become ingrained, poisoning your actions with superficial, detrimental thoughts. You are not a robot; you do not need fixed or changed. You are seeking growth, expansion, inner peace, and most importantly, self-love. Eat healthily because you feel good doing so, with the intention of fuelling yourself in the best way possible, not because you want to change the way you see yourself in the mirror. Exercise because you love the activity, because you love the way the adrenaline and endorphins run through your veins - not because of the guilt that would seep through them instead. Not because of the voices in your mind making you feel bad for indulging or for that number on the scale or for the fat that you pinch every time you look in the mirror. Focus your thoughts and your energy on your long-term goals. Get that dream job, raise a family, travel the world. Realise that none of them have anything to do with your image or your weight, and how achieving ‘the perfect body’  or those superficial goals won’t help you achieve them in turn. The perfect body is not defined by body fat percentage, by muscle mass, by the abs visible, by the clothing size. It is one that is nourished and fueled and indulged and moved and stretched; one that explores and dances and hugs and laughs and cries. A perfect body is one that is loved by the mind.

 

@thehippychickpea

More in Self-Love: