The Reality of a Photo: Looking My Best, Feeling My Worst

Last week I wrote about my horror of feeling old.

I spent a lot of time feeling regret about my past behaviours; why did I not get myself into a gym routine when I was 20? Why did I eat all those takeaways instead of salads when I first met the husband? Why didn’t I implement a good skincare routine 10 years ago? The list of shoulda, coulda woulda goes on.

Until recently getting old and ageing had never really bothered me. I always said I would “grow old gracefully,” but to be perfectly honest, I don’t really know what that entails anymore. I’m not against Botox or surgery. I know lots of people who have these treatments and they look fabulous. For me, there is an underlying fear about not only the effects of them but also the worry that if I started, would I be able to stop?

You see pictures of celebrities and sometimes their appearance changes so much that they no longer look like the same person, and that scares me. But then I also look at pictures of myself from over the years and realise that I am not the same person I was back then.

Take this picture taken in 2009 as an example.

Every time I see this picture, my instant thoughts are along the lines of “I have really let myself go” or “I wish I still looked like that”

I was 28 I could wear pretty much what I wanted, my hair seemed to always sit right and my skin was in fairly good condition, despite my continuous late nights and partying.

But, the reality behind that photo is that I was a complete mess. I was averaging about 4 hours of sleep each night, was in a toxic relationship, drinking every single day and I was doing anything and everything to distract myself from the reality of everyday life.

Despite, looking my “best” on the outside, on the inside I was a mess. I had no purpose and I was quite simply floating from one night out to the next, the moments in between a groggy blur. I couldn’t really “feel” anything, because I was numbing the pain I was in with alcohol, constantly out drinking and partying so that I didn’t have to go home, where I would only have myself and my thoughts to sit with and I couldn’t face that.

So as much as I would like to look like that girl again, I never want to be that girl again. I want to be slimmer, and I want to have better skin, but I want those things without it costing me my happiness.

I now wake up each morning and look forward to the day ahead instead of just living for my next night out, I know the importance of feeling all of my emotions, good and bad and that I will usually learn something from them. I enjoy life, not just on weekends.

I know I probably won’t ever look like her again and that is ok, it doesn’t mean that I should give up on wanting to improve myself. Which is why last week, I started improving my skincare routine and my next focus will be on my eating habits & nutrition, I want to start looking after myself on the inside as well as the outside.

2023-03-25 14:12:30

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