Have you ever found yourself thinking this?
" I can't wear that, what will people think?
" I don't want to run because people will laugh."
" I can't do that in front of my friend/family, they'll think I'm an idiot!"
or the classic.....
I catch my self thinking that ALL THE TIME! In my head, it seems everyone is just watching me for a chance to point the finger and laugh, or to mutter behind their hands...discussing how much of a fool I am. This type of self conscious mind has stopped me from doing so much, pictures with my kids, things I want to do or achieve, even wearing a miniskirt ( mutton dressed as lamb anyone?)
But you know what? You have only one shot at this life. One go. Only once will you have this day, at this age then it's gone forever. Let me share with you what brought this home to me.
I had the most beautiful friend called Bek. She was just the sort of person that made you feel at ease straight away, always smiley, positive, just a perfect beautiful soul.
Then breast cancer came and it took her away. But not before she gave it the hardest fight of its vicious life and right up until the end, she fought and fought hard. She never EVER surrendered. She sucked every piece out of life that she could and she LIVED every second, and not once did I see her lose that calm, the positivity, that smile. While I was worried about asking questions that might be considered rude or that might make her feel bad, she took great pains to put everyone at ease about what was happening and what treatment was like.
Her Send Off is still etched in my mind today, it was my turning point.
On the screen above us all came a series of photos, lots of photos. Photos in hospital, out of hospital, smiling, thinking, sleeping, every day sort of photos. Photos with hair and without, photos of looking healthy and when she didn't. Photos of every facet of her life. It was powerful. Bek got her motorbike license while undergoing treatment....she didn't stop to think " Oh, I wonder what people would think, if I should do this or not?" She just did it.
On the plane on the way home, I realised, if I died right now.......that screen would be pretty empty. Too many times I've hid behind the camera because I thought I was too ugly, too fat, too SELF CONSCIOUS to be in a photo. Too many missed years of pictures with my children. That led me on to thinking, what about life? What about all the things I wanted to do but never have? What about things I've never considered doing before? Because what would people think????
Go and take a look in the mirror, who do you see there? Is it 'other people'? Or just you? Why are you living your life according to 'other people's wishes? Are you not JUST as important if not more than them? Who is living this life? Who has the responsibility for it?
My life. No unnecessary regrets. No more waiting for other opinions, or worrying so much about what people think. Stuff them, are they me? Do they have to make the decisions that affect my life? Do they have to take responsibility for my actions? And if I make a mistake? At least it was mine to make.
I determined then that I would live my life as hard as I could.
What I choose to do may not be to everyone's liking but it is to mine. And I found, after making this decision, I began to like myself better. I'm not such a bad person after all!
Now this is not to say I don't still have moments. Just this morning at gym, dressing in the dark, half asleep, I discovered at the end of my workout I had been merrily running on the treadmill and lifting weights with my pants on inside out! No hiding it, it was out there for all to see and I had done this for an hour before I noticed. Now when I did, I immediately wanted to crawl into a hole and die a red faced death and skip the last 2 ab exercises. Because "OMG what has everyone been thinking!!!!!!"
Then it struck me.
a. Noone else has noticed or thought to tell me so it can't have mattered too much to them.
b. Why skip exercises now when I've done a whole hour with all the tags hanging out?
c. WHO CARES WHAT THEY THINK? IT'S ONLY 6 AM FOR GODS SAKES!
Finally....Bon Jovi's words of wisdom......