It’s Complicated, My Relationship With My Body

You remember when you had the option to choose “it’s complicated” as your relationship status on FB? Or maybe it’s still there, no idea. Yeah, that came to my mind tonight while I was walking and thinking things, like I usually do while moving. It made me think of my body, or more how my relationship with my body has always been a bit complicated.

It goes to my relationship with food too, but I feel that those two are basically the same, at least sometimes.

I was walking, fairly fast and thinking how this can be my best when it’s only four years since I ran my strongest Ultra Marathon. And how I build myself physically from close to zero to that in only couple of years. Four years feels such a tiny amount of time that it just doesn’t make any sense when I think about it.

Around that time I was also in the best shape in how I felt about my body in general. I was strong and still curvy in the right places to me. I was at least 20kg lighter than I am now with my little over 90kg. Which is the heaviest I’ve ever been. And I can tell that it’s a lot to carry.

You feel this amount of excess on you in too many ways. I’m also in that age that things like this really make a difference. I remember how one day few months ago I was walking the stairs to home after work, and I realised how out of breath I was. It scared me and made me feel super bummed out. I was just thinking how did this happen.

I was really active kid, and I loved to move my body all the way to my early adulthood and then it just stopped. I remember noticing that if I don’t move my body or do nothing, I gain weight really easy. But I was also battling one of the worst depressions at that time too. And when I get depressed, I eat. Those two go together way too well in me. And my poor body went up and down while I went through my depression.

That’s how it’s always been. My body has to try to hold on while my head is having it’s “moment”. It’s gone from healthy and active to overweight and sluggish so many times that it’s scary to really think back. And now I’m in that overweight and sluggish in a way I’ve never been and while I got tired of my overall nothingness, I got tired of feeling shitty about my body too. But it’s not any easier to be patient with your body than your mind, probably even harder as you really have to do the work yourself. I can ask for help but I still have to move my body myself and think what I eat.

And it’s funny how we view our self worth through how our body looks, and how we think others look at us. On my walk I remember how I viewed my self worth through how someone else wanted me, in a sexual way, when I was younger. It feels so crazy but it felt really normal back then, in my early twenties. Basically if someone wanted to have sex with you, then you were something. In my case, that kind of behavior lasted really short amount time, which I am extremely happy about. But it doesn’t change the fact that we all still in our adult years have moments when we think our worth through the idea of someone wanting us sexually.

Even as a 35 year old woman I have moments when I think if that someone thinks of me, or if that person misses me, or was I just a weird weak moment? I am fairly sure I’m not alone in those kinds of thoughts. And it’s such a weird combination because why does any of those matter when it comes to how I view my body. But the reality is that even though I’m in a fairly good place with myself, the way I view my body and self worth, I still want to feel wanted. Like any of us. But when you have a hard time getting your butt moving and feeling better about yourself, it’s hard to believe that I could be wanted in that way too.

So, yeah, it is complicated. The relationship between yourself and your body. It’s all part of the bigger picture of how you think of yourself. And as lately I’ve had to face my fears and thoughts of myself, this is coming up too. On top of the actual fact that all of my clothes are just too small for me. And my stubborn ass doesn’t want to or more like can’t afford to buy bigger just for the sake of it. I want to be able to look my naked body in the mirror and be proud of my capable and strong body, and not feel like I do now, a bit disappointed and sad. But it is tied together, the more I move my body and do things that make me feel better, I slowly see myself and the world in a clearer way. But it’s just such a slow process that the willingness to keep moving forward takes all I have in myself and I fail more than I care to admit. I still am the master of I’ll start tomorrow or next Monday. And I wish I would realise that I’ve done so many amazing things already that I should know that I can do this now too. But I guess I just have to show it all to myself once again. I already have a goal in mind, but I’ll keep that to myself for now.

For me right now, it’s baby steps, slow and steady. Trying my hardest to be gentle but firm with myself. Remind myself that I really can do and be better for my own sake. This is for myself, no one else. Even with all those thoughts, but they just make me a human with real and normal wants and wishes.

PMA ❤

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Fear. The Biggest Of Them All.

Fear. The ultimate thing holding us back, or at least me. Fear is something we don’t like to admit feeling, especially as a grown up. But fear is the biggest of them all, after love I guess.

I’m stuck in a fear filled living at the moment in my life. I’ve lost my confidence in a way I had it before, not even that long time ago. It’s only few years. I do get back to that Me at times, that confident me. But then the fear, the gut wrenching fear finds me again and wraps me in like an octopus.

I remember all too well how when I was a child, I didn’t fear that much. I rather drove headfirst to a parked buss with my bike than not, just to feel how it would feel. Not the smartest experiment but still. I did things on my own with no fear, just because I wanted to know and see and feel and taste. I had that fearless me in me for quite a long time, and then all of sudden it got lost.

It got lost in those years when others tried to find themselves but I had to grow up. Sometimes it goes like that and you try to find yourself in your adult years, like I am doing now. I used to jump to unknown a lot, learned maybe too many life lessons, but I still am grateful for all of them. Even the one that made me want to be alone for this long, as I have now, for probably closer to four years. Fear is the reason still, in my bones if nowhere else, why I don’t let people too close.

Fear is also the main reason for me not to give myself a chance to live a life I deserve. I’ve lived so many years, too many years in a constant struggle, with myself or the outside matters of my life that now, when I would and do have a chance to move on from all of those, I am terrified how my life and myself would be.

I’ve worked my ass off, to go through my issues, alone and with my therapist. I know that I have no reason to hold myself back like I am at the moment. Deep down I know that I deserve all the good, but this nagging fear of me not being enough has taken over and I’m not sure how to fight it off.

Or I do, I’ve taken many small steps towards that life, the life that I dream in my sleep and when I look around, or when I see myself in the mirror.

It takes so much courage to admit that you can’t do it all on your own, it takes all in you to ask for help. But I’m extremely tired of being this afraid of every aspect of my life. The fear, that F word has sucked me dry out of my confidence at work, with my own goddamn journey that feels like it’s moving on and I can’t keep up. You need to get to a point of reaching a wall of tiredness and especially being tired of your own bullshit of actually not giving enough fucks of your own happiness. I’m there now.

I’ve carried certain things for way too long, feeling like I deserve the shit. If I made a mistake with my finances in my twenties, which I am paying back with extremely high price now, that I should never have an easier life. Just because I fucked it all up once… But for fucks sake, I took those steps that scared me the most, and I searched for help and now things are moving to a better direction, but still. I get near panic attacks when my paycheck comes, as I see the hard work move to a place that is at the same time the best and the worst. As if there is one thing that will eat your confidence and let the fear of nothing in, it’s the fact that you as a 35 year old woman have to relie on your parents.

The fact that I’ve carried my shitty finance issues with me for as long as I have, is the main reason for my lack of healthy relationships, it’s the reason for my love for being alone, as then I can control the little I can. I was hurt extremely deep few years ago, but like my therapist says, I’ve worked myself out of that and actually am ready for love and letting someone in. But in me I know that as long as my finances are in a state they are right now, I just don’t want to start anything.

I also have couple of things to do on my own before I can stop fearing of actually having something special in my life. I did got a taster of how it could be early this year, and it reminded me that I’m more than worthy of it.

Fear. Sabotaging your own success. Those I am the master.

Loving myself, that I am still practicing, getting better as the days go by.

I am terrified of how good my life could be, so I don’t do any of it, I hide from it. Even if it doesn’t look like that to the outside.

I need time on my own to really face these things, and admit my actual fears.

But it’s also the time to let myself free and actually live this life and not just let it slip past me, like it has now. I’ve done everything myself to get where I am now, so maybe it would be time to remember that and be proud of it all. And move the fuck on. Stop carrying the past, as it is called the past for a reason.

I’m not too old for something, nor am I too young for other. But it is high time to let go.

Let go of the fear that I let holding me back.

 

Mind Over Marathon And What Does That Mean To Me

Those who know me a bit, know that I’m fairly sensitive and cry easy. Well, super easy, whether it’s good or a bad thing or anything in between. So when I had heard that my two great friends have been part of two piece documentary series for BBC about mental health and movement, I knew that I’m going to cry my eyes out. For some reason I thought that it’ll hit close to home, and because I’m so happy and proud of my friends being able to put something so important out there. But what I didn’t realize back then was that those two hours will also remind me of my own journey with mental health issues and how I have overcome and learned to live with them, and how movement has been a massive part of it all. And that part, that part of realizing your own journey was the hardest for me. That was and is, what that documentary meant for me. Mind Over Marathon.

Watching those documentaries made me cry even before they started, even before they had come out, the first teasers and I was ballin’. At times I wondered why, because I’ve seen loads of documentaries about mental health and they haven’t made me feel this much. A friend of mine said to me that they will hit close to home to me, in a completely different way than to him. I wasn’t sure what he meant, until I watched them.

What I understood, was that my tears were about me realizing how similar my own journey has been to those in the documentary. How they spoke about those feelings I’ve gone through and not knowing how to describe them, even to myself. How hearing those words made me feel that I’m not alone with this, something I wish all the time I can give to someone else. But with all of that, I also really, deeply, realized how I genuinely don’t give myself pretty much any credit for the journey I’ve managed to push myself and the work I’ve done with myself and my life.

It was almost heart wrenching to realize that, to see myself almost from the outside and understand how little I pat myself on the back for all I’ve done. How hard it is to take compliments and how easy it is to forget your own journey. It’s maybe one of those things that you’re just too close to see it, so it’s easy to forget and not see all the amazing work you have done. Btw, writing that is really hard, that amazing part.

If you’ve lived with mental health issues, you know how deep those thought patterns are in you and how insanely hard it is to break them and learn new ones. And how frustrating it is to fall off the wagon and try to get back on, which happens a lot, maybe for the rest of our days. How hard it is to learn to be gentle to yourself and not to feel guilty about every damn thing. And how easy it is to downsize it all, because you do feel guilty and tired of how you feel, and like it’s just easier to hide it all. Even if that makes you walk to a wall and feel really really shitty until you admit that you need help. Which is by the way, THE HARDEST THING TO DO.

For the past five years now, I’ve grown stronger with myself, made changes in my thought patterns and slowly been able to change my life for the better, loose the mainly negative outlook in life to more positive, learn how to be more confident in Me and to love myself for the first time ever. But that’s only little piece of my life. When I’ve said or say that without running I wouldn’t be here anymore, I’m not lying, I just wouldn’t and that’s the truth. No cliches.

In my life I’ve been in phases where I’ve wanted to end my life, because there was nothing in me to keep going. I still remember looking down from our balcony when I was around 18 and thinking that it would be so much easier to end that numbness and nothingness I was feeling. I am eternally grateful that my little sisters head somehow creeped in my mind at that point, because without that I doubt that I would be here either. I’m also insanely grateful to my Mom who made me search help. But back then I never thought where this journey would take me.

I’m 33 now, and I’m in a place in my life that I know that in the “official/proper way” of living your life, I’m nowhere close to any of them. I don’t have a job, which would make me independent, one thing that I work the hardest towards. You might ask why haven’t I just found a job and be happy with it, well I was on that path until this whole wrist operation chronicles started and made few U-turns in those plans. I do however have a path finally that I worked hard for and feel that is right for me. I don’t have a partner to share my life with or even wish to have kids, which I know is very wrong because doesn’t everyone want them. Honestly, I have no idea if I want them or not. We’ll see when I have someone to talk about the issue with. I have no money what so ever on my bank account to fall back on if something happens, I’m so used to struggling every month that I have no idea how it would feel to not. But what I do have, is really amazing and supporting family and friends. Who have seen the journey I’ve gone and remind me of just that. Whether I see it or not.

But that’s the thing, I don’t have a husband or a house or a kid, those things are super alien even on a idea level to me. Those are also things that someone made up that we all should have by the time of this and this, long ass time ago, which we still keep pushing towards. And when not having them, you feel guilty even if your life is good on your own standards.

That’s the thing I’ve struggled lately. I never had a crisis when I turned 30, but now I seem to make my life a living hell at times because I’m not “there” yet. And why? No idea. It’s not like someone is making comments about it all the time, well yes, thank you Grandpa for being afraid that I’ll be a spinster. But other than that, no one is putting any pressure on me for those. It’s coming from myself for a reason I don’t understand. It’s probably the same place where the “give yourself shit when you really shouldn’t / you’re supposed to be able to do anything all the time” comes from. That place that makes you feel like shit and numb and stupid and like a looser when things are actually going well and you start sabotaging your own success. And the thing is… even if I have these issues, it doesn’t mean that I’m not capable of a lot of things. Do not get those two twisted! People with mental health issues, aren’t people who aren’t amazing and capable and doing amazing things. They’ve learned to deal with their issues and work towards their goals anyway, while having shitty times and not feeling anything at times. But we have to remember that there’s too much stigma and false argumentations around this whole thing. And because of that people are incredibly terrified of asking and searching for help.

And how familiar am I to that? Sabotaging my own success, and not believing it’s because I’ve done the work… It’s basically at times my middle name. Though I have to admit that I am getting better at not doing it so much, but that’s because the past year I’ve managed to crank up my courage levels to a all time high and that shit has been extra hard. I’ve also been so incredibly smart that I’ve learned how to be selfish with people who are around me, and dropped those who aren’t good for me and chose to let few closer than before, because they’ve been there for me when I’ve needed that push. But those days come, usually when you feel like you’re on top of your game and just fly high, then that depressive mind just kicks in and makes you doubt every damn thing. Even now after I wrote that I had to take a breather as damn those days are hard and tiring, and I’ve had quite a few lately. Just when things have been going so well.

But that’s what living with mental health issues is, you live with it, you learn ways to deal with it and go on daily. I don’t honestly know why I chose to not give up as that was all I knew. I have no idea why I still don’t let myself fall that hard off the track. Because this shit is terrifying and so damn tiring. Depression doesn’t mean that you’re always sad and not capable of doing things, at times it feels like you’re completely empty and feel nothing. That numbness and emptiness are probably the hardest. Not feeling anything about anything. Not being able to do any of those things that you know would make you feel better. Not even think about running or writing, even though you know so well that they were the things that kept you alive. You have days when all you can do is try to stay alive, and to be okay with that is a hard ass work. You have days when all you have energy for is to sleep the day away. Then you have days you feel good again, that’s the cycle of it all.

But what’s been really hard lately for me is that these are the things I want to work with, what I do work with now already a bit. Combining this conversation and movement, but I forgot myself and my own feelings. I got so tired, so deeply tired that I didn’t realize anything before I hit a wall a bit. I needed the reminder of this all from that documentary and from those two incredible friends who are part of it, Chevy Rough and Charlie Dark. I needed Chevy’s honesty about his struggle to believe that mine is okay, and Charlies answers to my help me messages to realize that I’m not alone.

 

When we help others it’s unfortunately super easy to forget yourself. That happened to me, and now I’m slowly learning my way back again. I said it out loud that I’m tired and I don’t have anything in me. I admitted it to myself that I’m terrified of being in front of people as a coach even though it makes me feel the best and I feel that I’m great at it. I’m still insanely nervous before every session. I need to find my why I run to be able to run at all, as now I’ve drifted so far from the reason why I did it, that I don’t want to run on my own time at all. Which I feel is not doing me any favors. I stopped writing for really long time, because I was so afraid. I still am, both this and running. But I want to learn again those routines of being good to myself. Doing that meditation in the morning, sending that email to my therapist asking for help, going for that run for myself not anyone else, and writing about whatever and whenever I want and feel. Eating better as I’ve gone back to my old ways of feeding my body processed junk as a coping mechanism. Giving thanks every evening and being thankful for every day. I know that this all will be hard, it feels the hardest now, but I’m tired of hiding my own struggle even if I’m afraid of it or sharing it. I can’t preach about something, if I don’t do the work for myself. Though I also need to be gentle and good to myself to be able to change my ways and there’s still nothing wrong with not being okay all the time.

Slow and steady is the way to go again. That, almost annoying, twinkle of hope is still there and I guess I have to listen to just that.

PMA ❤

 

Running, Running Less, Running More, Running You, Running Them

adidasrunners_170215_osk_5324I’ve been thinking my own relationship with running a lot now that it’s pretty daily in my life again, in a totally different way than before. It’s not all about me anymore, it’s mostly about me being there for others through running. It’s a different way of looking the whole thing.

It’s been super interesting listening others speak about their journeys and stories with running, and obviously you go through your own next to it, in your mind. It’s been interesting to answer questions about how I look at training or the lack of it or whatever running related.

I’ve had my massive ups and downs with running, from being completely in love with it, to hating it to a level that I didn’t want anything with it. I don’t think that running is for every one, why should it be? We all have something that makes our blood pump in a way that it shines with the biggest smile from our faces. Everyone can run, and if running is something that you want to try, I highly recommend it, as even though my own journey being so vast I’ve had more positives from it than ever negatives. I’ve learned so damn much about myself that it doesn’t even make sense on my day to day life.

But the thing is that like with any other relationship in life, it might end up with running that you just don’t love it anymore and you need to breakup. My beautiful friend, Bangs and a Bun wrote an excellent piece about this exact thing. You can read it here. I’ve had my own breakup with running, and it felt so damn good! I needed to take that break from it all to see why I even wanted to run, or did I? I needed to see why I had run in the first place and why I had fallen so far from the fun aspect of it. Why didn’t I feel like it was fun anymore.

So much of the time, majority of the time, we put this massive pressure on ourselves through others. When it comes to running or any other activity in life, we seem to do it even more. With all these tracking apps and groups, it’s easy to loose the sight of why I do this, rather than compare yourself with what and why others do what they do. But the truth is that what and why or how much others do, is their business, none of ours. If you move for the likes, you’re already on the wrong path. That shizz ain’t bringing you closer to the benefits that you could get from the joy of moving, it’s drawing you further. Yes, when we see someone doing something that we want to do too, it can be used as a motivation to push ourselves out the door when we least want it, but it needs to come from an honest and loving place in you. Not hating what you aren’t doing, and or feeling guilty that something just doesn’t feel like you now or anymore. Wanting to change is totally okay, taking a break is totally okay. Taking a year long break is totally okay if that feels the right thing to do.

I’ve been jealous and felt envy of people, a lot at times but the truth is that that’s always my insecurities speaking their ill language to me. If someone is skinnier or faster, so fucking what. That’s a mantra that I have to remind myself with, still. I’m not perfect, thank goodness! I have jiggly bits, my belly is far from having six pack, and YES I have cellulite, but when I move I feel strong because that’s me and I am doing something that has given me a chance of staying alive.

We tend to compare ourselves to others, or to some past moment with ourselves. I do that too, I have moments when I wish that my body right now could be where it was almost two years ago, when I was in the best shape in my whole life. But hey, life happened, and stuff changed, jiggly bits came back and that booty got little bit more stuffing, ain’t nothing wrong with that. If and but, you can look at yourself with loving eyes and say that no matter what is the situation right now, you still love who you are. That is not easy, I’m not saying that it’s easy for me, but with almost 5 years of fighting myself while at the same time realising that I’m feeling so much better, noticing the positivity growing and growing, I had to admit that being loving to myself and speaking lovingly are just the things that make the most sense, that’s it.

So, if running is your thing, do it! If not, don’t and find something that puts that massive smile on your face. 🙂 Run alone, run with friends or crews or groups, do it hard, do it with all the dance breaks in the middle, do it slow, stop and smell the roses, the end “line” can always wait and it will be there no matter the pace.

My own relationship with running took almost year long break, I just didn’t want to do it, I had done it so much. I felt that my whole life was all about running and I was tired. I felt that why had I once hoped to do a job that involves running. I felt that I was only about running and wasn’t sure how to have other things in life in a balance with who I was in my running shoes on. I didn’t know how to mix all the sides of Me. I needed to stare at the wall of why enough to want to try running again, to see if it could be something that I could love again. I was scared shitless when I laced my shoes again last summer, I was so out of shape, and it was just pure misery. But that teeny tiny flicker of Me was there from that first miserable run back. That’s how I knew that I need to give running another chance. And I don’t need to be in a relationship with it like I was before, I am allowed and can shape it how it fits me and who I am now best. That’s what I am doing now, as the founder of my own crew, KARMA Runners and as a coach on adidas Runners here in Helsinki. I am combining all my sides together and running just happens to be something that ties them together.

Be gentle with yourself. It’s okay to not love something that once you loved the most. Take a break from it all, try something completely new. It’s all okay and allowed. And it takes time. Remember to listen to your gut, that thing is smart!

PMA ❤

 

Asking For Help

img_4606Asking for help. Or admitting that I needed to ask for help. Or saying that I’m not feeling okay or that I’m not okay. Whether your journey with depression is old or new, the moment you have that realization that you need help is never easy.

I’ve talked and written a lot about my mental health journey, and still very much stand behind the fact that I think, that it’s a illness that you never fully “recover”, it’s something you learn to live with and find ways to deal. But when those ways don’t work and there’s too much stress over shadowing your life, it can be that depression is able to take the front seat without you even really noticing, before it’s “too” late.

Even with my open approach to my depression journey, the moment doesn’t get any easier for me. I still feel like I’m shit at everything and my self worth is just non existing. The loser feeling that my depression is able to put me under is so tiring that I just want to cave under it. It’s so hard to see anything positive, while at the same time you’re able to smile at certain things like before. As being depressed or living with depression doesn’t mean always or all the time that you are just lying in bed not doing anything about anything and wishing for your own death. That can happen, but there’s mostly days when you live your normal life and in those days you have moments when the pure weight of life is making your knees buckle. And those are the ones when your depression is able to weasel it’s way back to being the “main” feeling.

I’ve been struggling with my life and how much it’s full of change and uncertainty lately, not being able to just embrace it all. There’s been just too much. Way too much. And for example, I’ve really amazing things to wait to happen, trips to do, and I have nothing in me to truly feel exited. I know that I will be so happy while on them but at the moment, emotions of excitements are missing. It’s hard to push on when you are really struggling.

I managed to say to three people today that I need help. Two of them are my closest friends and I managed to say that I am not okay. One of them is my best friend, who knows me to the bones and back, who is able to listen and knowing really those feelings and bringing ways to see this all a bit lighter. The fact that I was able to say that I need help is huge to me, I remember times when that was just not even an option.

But the thing is, honestly, that admitting to yourself that you’re not okay is hard as fuck. You know in you that you are not shit like your depression makes you feel. You know that you are doing the best you can, and that feeling like you are a no good loser who never does anything good and doesn’t even know anything, is also coming from your depression. But those all are such a strong ghost to push out of your way that they have a tendency to suck you in, even for a bit. Depression is a bit of a motherfucker like that. It will find your weak moments to suck the last energy out of you.

Life is hard, and there comes moments when you just have had enough of those little things, which have piled to one huge one and you are ready to explode. I was so close to that yesterday and today I felt that it might really happen when I just start yelling out of nowhere because I’m so tired of so many things and couple small nonsense comments were almost able to push me over that edge. Edge that I have never crossed before in my life. But I’m so tired of feeling like my opinions don’t matter, and making myself smaller in front of certain people, tired of feeling like I’m not good enough. I think I’ve reached my limit and at the same time know and value my own self value. Finally.

I’m grateful that I’ve worked so hard with myself to find ways to live with my depression. I’m so damn grateful that I am so brave that I am able to say, with a lot of shitty feelings, that I am not okay and that I need help. I am so so grateful for my closest friends, for being there, understanding, listening, bringing some peace into this stormy mind and life of mine. I love you, thank you.

PMA ❤