Be confident. Be bold. Know your worth and own it.
Hello you lovely lot! It feels so good to be writing this, I’ve missed you! How’ve you been?
Before I go any further, I want to start this post in the same way I want to finish. And that is to tell you all that you are perfectly you. That I hope you spend the same amount of energy building up your own confidence as you do building up your friends. That today, and every day, is a day to be as kind to yourself as you are to others.
I cannot believe it’s been four months since my infertility blog post. Thank you so much to everyone who’s checked in to make sure I’m ok. Mostly, I’m doing alright. Every now and then I have a little wobble, and it’s always there in the back of my mind. I don’t think that’s ever going to go away, it’s a part of who I am now.
BUT…I am moving forward and some days that feels incredible. You know when you’ve had a stomach bug, and you finally feel strong enough to have a shower. And that stream of hot, steamy water feels glorious, like it’s come from the pool of the Gods, washing away your funky germ-ridden filth. That’s how I feel on my very best days. Fresh and clean, like I’m breaking free from a dark, dirty, smog cloud.
What I’m only appreciating now, is how much the events of the past two years impacted my confidence.
It was my decision to leave my job, to give myself the best chance possible of successful IVF. But I’d been the corporate career girl for so long. I loved being her, she made me very proud. Even so, for years I’ve been prepared to give her up to become the world’s coolest mum.
Now, I’m neither. I lost both who I was and who I wanted to be.
Physically, it took me back to a place I haven’t been for over 10 years. I lost all confidence in how I look, from top to toe. Coming off the pill to try for a baby had already made me spotty. The ovulation drugs I took for 6 months made that worse. Then the IVF drugs on top sent my skin haywire. Simultaneously as spotty as the greasiest teenager AND as dry as the oldest bone.
And of course, my dearest companions, the good old flabby rolls began to rise like bread dough left to prove overnight in a cling film covered bowl.
For various reasons, the process piled more pounds on. And when it failed, may the universe have mercy on the souls of anyone who suggested I shouldn’t eat cake. I can’t have kids my dude, I’ll chuffing well eat YOU if I feel like it.
I learned to love my body long ago. It was a hard fought process and a small number of people along the way suggested I was wrong to do so. But I knew that as long as I was working on my body being strong and healthy, they could kiss my jiggly arse.
But the physical and mental toll of the treatment ate away at my aura of self love. That body positivity I’d worked so hard for, disappeared. My logical brain knew exactly why I was spottier and chubbier, and that I should give myself a break. But my emotional brain didn’t want to hear it. Now, I realise it was resentment. I was cross with my body, at the things she couldn’t do. And I couldn’t look at her in the mirror and love her unconditionally anymore.
It doesn’t take long for that negative cycle to begin. It can feel never-ending, and the spiral just goes on and on.
Thankfully my spiral was disrupted, and in the most unexpected way.
I was contacted out of the blue. A big organisation were looking for someone to capture real life stories about real life people. Through the power of social media, my infertility post had made its way into their LinkedIn newsfeed. It had the harsh reality tempered with the gentle warmth that they were looking for.
Fast forward three months and I have just completed a big piece of work for them - my first ever commission as a freelance content writer.
Ladies and gentleman, I AM A WRITER. The biggest revelation though, is that this isn’t a new identity at all. I was always a writer. It’s what I’d always intended to do. Just ask my poor senior school teacher who “willingly” read my first attempt at a novel when I was 11 (I am so sorry Madame Barbier).
Over the years I’ve gone back to it here and there. But ultimately, I forgot. My working life took over and I forgot that sat at my very core is a notepad and pen and the electronic typewriter Mum and Dad bought me for my 12th Christmas. That’s what you would find if you cut me open.
So now, I’ve set the ball rolling on making Written by Lyds an actual business. I’m seeking opportunities to write content for businesses, large and small, to help engage, educate or entertain their audience.
And I’ve ramped up the focus on two fiction books I have on the go. One, a children’s picture book. The other, a chick-lit chapter book, ultimately a love story but peppered with the tragic comedy of online dating.
It’s given me new life, new focus, a return of the confidence I’d lost.
The knock on effect has been tremendous. That clarity of who I am and my purpose, spilled over into the photos and videos I share on Instagram that are completely unfiltered. It doesn’t matter that my face is full of spots when I’m talking to you about the things I love. It doesn’t matter at all, because right now, this is me. And I’ve remembered that I love me. That I’m worthy of love, spots and rolls and all.
I’ve also remembered that even though I can’t control my ovaries, there are some things that I can control. Whilst I’m embracing my body, I can make changes if I want to. My Mum has always championed the notion that “it’s important to invest in you.”
So, I’m investing the time and the energy to intentionally move my body most days. I’m investing my conscious thought and effort into what I’m eating and drinking. Water. Vegetables. Protein. With pizza and cake headlining at the weekend of course. I’m investing in improving my skin. It isn’t cheap and it isn’t always pleasant but week by week it’s getting better. Week by week I’m getting better.
So, my friends. What about you? How do you invest in yourself? How do you grow and maintain your own confidence in being you?
Self-confidence is so important. It isn’t arrogant to be comfortable in your own skin, to be proud of the person you’ve grown to be. It isn’t vain to post photos of yourself or to shout about your achievements. I love seeing people’s selfies because I know that in that moment they either felt incredible or brave. That should be celebrated, not mocked. Encouraged, not squashed.
Life can kick us square in the crotch, and there will be times when it’s overwhelming. You don’t have to pretend that it’s not.
Just, in those moments, try to say to yourself the same things that you’d say to someone else who is hurting. Treat yourself with the same compassion, love and care that you would a friend.
Because you are, always, perfectly you.
Lyds, out x