I always refer to myself as a work in progress. I know where I want to be and every day I move slightly closer towards my goals – even if in reality I don’t move at all. But how exhausting is it to be constantly acknowledging that you’re not where you want to be? It’s not enough. I’m constantly reaching for more, to be more, to be worthy of the love and attention that I need, and of the respect that I crave.
It’s fucking exhausting. And it’s demoralising. And I spend half of my time feeling like I’m not good enough, because every day I call myself a work in progress.
Being a work in progress gives me an excuse – not to do the things that my heart knows I need to do, because I feel like I’m not ready. Knowing I’ve still got a way to go before I’m where I want to be is the perfect excuse that sits behind “not today'”. I don’t make the big decisions that I need to make, because I’m a work in progress. I don’t tell the person that I love that I love him, because I’m a work in progress. I don’t take the jumps that I want to take, because I’m a work in progress.
But something amazing happened last Friday.
I’ve been a longtime user of Pinterest, and still use it regularly. Since I started using it, I’ve had boards dedicated to specific vibes or topics, but I’ve also had a board per year for inspiration – either through words or photography – the first one is 2013. I can look back at the person I wanted to be four years ago, based on the images and the words and quotes that meant something to me.
When I was looking back over my boards, I realised that in part, I’d already become the person I’d wanted to. I looked at the quotes that I’d pinned and realised that, although I could remember why I’d pinned them, I live by some of them now.
Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.
This is me. I always get into trouble in Q4, because I have too many holidays that I haven’t taken through the year. My life is full of work – doing the thing that I love – and I live in a lovely flat with my amazing dog, where I feel safe and secure. I’m single, sure, but I don’t feel like I need to escape where I am, so I don’t. I built myself a life that I didn’t need to escape from.
Do it for the holy shit you got hot.
I’d never pin something this cringe anymore, and sure it took me a little longer to get around to achieving this one, but I get this now! I love when media owners don’t recognise me from when they first met me, or when I get out of the blue messages from men I used to know when I change my profile photos… This is a dream. I hate to sound arrogant – but I did get hot!
In the interests of full disclosure, I write this as I’m sitting with no make up on, hair messily scraped back, in yoga pants and a jumper – this isn’t my best look.
In 2014, I pinned the below outfit (and over the years so many like it!);
For me, this look was so effortless and chic, and was so far beyond how I could imagine myself looking at the time – but not now. This is literally what I look like on a weekend, but usually with trainers instead! This look really symbolised for me being comfortable in my body and my look, and I know that I am now.
In 2015, I pinned a lot of quotes to inspire me at work, which figures given where I was at the time.
Always walk like you deserve to be right where you are.
This one took me a while. I’ve spent most of my career with the stigma of my young age hanging over me. People have often thought that I was too young to know what I did, or to be able to do what I do. But the truth is that I started early, I got into an agency young and I worked my arse off to get to where I am now, it took years and tears and sacrifice but I’m here. There’s a difference between walking like you deserve to be where you are, and walking with arrogance though – that was one that took a little while to learn.
Work out because you love your body, not because you hate it.
AMEN TO THIS. This one took me forever to learn. For so long I used to treat exercise as a punishment and as a way to hurt myself or my body, to remind myself that I was too fat, or I’d eaten something that I shouldn’t – as penance for just existing. It fucking sucked and this attitude to exercise was a huge part of the reason that I put on so much weight when I was unhappy. I was scared of the gym and of working out because it meant I’d been bad, so I didn’t do it. Realising that exercise was a celebration of what I could do, and not a punishment for what I’d done was a real psychological breakthrough for me.
This attitude helped me find another way of working out and loving my body – yoga – which has by far been one of the most transformative additions to my life over the last two years. Yoga is a way of slowing down, building strength, connecting my brain and body and listening to myself. I know it’s making me fitter, I can see the tone and feel the weightloss and understand the progress that I’m making. Taking time for yoga is an act of self-care, I do it to show my body some love and to celebrate what we can do – it’s never punishment.
So whilst I build my 2017 board, full of the things that inspire me and remind me that I’ve still got a way to go – it’s been amazing to reflect back on the person I wanted to be, and to realise that in a lot of ways I’m her already.
I guess being a work in progress is only a part of me, the other part of me is already exactly who I wanted to be.