A Life-Long Romance, Starting With An Apology

I've been going to the gym 7 days a week for a long time now but this particular morning felt a little different to any of the other sessions. My heart was pounding, I was out of breath but I was struggling to keep my head in the game. I had an overwhelming feeling of, what I can only describe as, emptiness. I had music blaring through my headphones at max volume but my thoughts were suffocating the music, disallowing any distractions.

I was only 25 minutes into my session at this point but I had to stop.

Going to the gym, for me, has always been about maintaining a good level of fitness. I don't want to be the next Jodie Marsh. Instead I want to worry less about the outside and aim to ensure that I'm healthy on the inside.

Whether I'd pushed myself too far, I don't know but the day before this, I'd injured my calf. Piers advised that I take a couple of days off to let my body heal before going back at it again. I was okay with this idea (to begin with anyway) until I woke up the next morning and although I was in pain- decided to push through anyway.

The thing I had failed to notice was why I felt that I needed to go. It wasn't because I enjoyed going but because I knew I would feel guilty if I didn't. To push through, I was imagining being skinny again, thinking about all the clothes I could comfortably wear if I lost a few inches off my waist. I even thought about life in the bedroom if I lost a couple of pounds. It's kinda embarrassing to admit that these are what came to mind in pursuit of pushing through.

"If you could see yourself, just for a day, you'd see how everyone else sees you. And my god, you are fucking beautiful."

It was honestly so innocent to begin with. I was soon to be starting a new job (yay) and I wanted to get as much exercise in as I could before I started. I'd recently given up smoking and so wanted something to fill my time with and most of all: I actually enjoyed going. It became a part of my morning routine that I looked forward to. I loved the feeling of achievement after a hard session and I loved, even more, the sheer amount of energy I had in my day-to-day life. Somewhere along the way, I lost that. I'd never congratulate myself unless the scales agreed that they second those cheers.

I was starting to adopt an unhealthy mindset. Since then, I've made the decision to stop weighing myself and to not take any pictures of my progress and most importantly- listen to my body. This way, I forget about a specific aim and concentrate on simply staying active and healthy.

I suppose this is less of a blog post and more of an apology letter to myself. Learning to love myself and my body is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Sometimes I am going to slip up and I need to learn to forgive myself for these mistakes. After all, I'm only human.

Is there anything that you need to forgive yourself for?



Dividing The Creatives From The Non-Creatives

There's something about creatives and their endeavours which scare people. To do something that hasn't yet been done and to throw yourself into a line of work which doesn't have set rules of what is right and what is wrong, often creates a blurred line when it comes to 'success'. There's this idea, often depicted in movies and almost exclusively applies to artists and writers, that creative souls spend the majority of their lives as failures, having to choose between their passion and their profit. Until they finally stumble upon an idea which becomes a phenomenon and then they crawl back into their hole which they came from, never successfully topping that and becoming a 'one hit wonder'.

I think this fear comes from the occurrence of writers block or creative block and thus stops people from reaching for this dream of creating. The truth is, creators don't need fancy degrees or 'permission', if you will, to be creative. Sure, there are areas of expertise where their creativity flourishes at it's best but it isn't exclusive to that one area.

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to understand." - Albert Einstein.

Creative people are often portrayed as mentally unstable, alcoholic insomniacs. But why? If you're a creator yourself, you'll relate to getting ideas at the most inappropriate times and having a small window of opportunity to write them down before they leave your mind. Whether it's 2am and you're trying to get to sleep or you see some strangers in the park and need to perfectly capture the scene you've just witnessed. This feeling of sudden creativity can spark assumptions that we are impulsive.

It's not only this fear of creatives that stops people attempt to achieve something in their life or to work hard on something, it's also the fear of failure or judgement. This type of fear is instilled in us, not from birth, but from negative, unproductive criticism along the way. I'm sure we've all had moments in our lives when we've been really proud of something you've spent hours or maybe even weeks working on and someone had a good laugh at your expense. If you're constantly told that you are not good at something, eventually you just stop trying. It knocks you.

We need original thinkers. There's no question about that, but what we need to work on is our division of creative people and non-creative people. Someone who could achieve great success and fulfilment from painting may never pick up a paintbrush because he's 'not a creative person'.

What we're in need of is a little more positive reinforcement so paint things, make music and write poetry. Create and don't stop creating. If someone says you're not good at something, do it anyway.

Do you consider yourself "creative"?

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