Today I finally managed to bend just the top of my index finger. It was on purpose. Don’t go thinking I’ve found new and interesting ways to injure myself! Actually I have. More on that in a moment… It was a great day. Obviously I don’t get out much. But seriously, this is a major thing in my life, mainly because I told a friend that I would be able to do it one day. Yep, it was a thing that I couldn’t do, that I wanted to be able to do, that I did, regardless of my lack of flexibility and logic. I surpassed everything against me with the power of my mind. That’s why I’m feeling pretty freaking amazeballs right now.
I’ve always been a big believer in myself. I am a special snowflake of unicorn proportions, in that I possess super low self-esteem, (leaning towards the past tense possessed now, yay!) and a freakishly large amount of faith that I could do anything. Don’t try to think about it for too long, because it might start to hurt, but it’s true. So despite hating almost everything about myself for most of my life, I had major self-belief in my power to accomplish my goals.
From a young age, I was morbidly obese. It wasn’t a nice place to be. Anyone who’s ever looked differently to what society expects you to look like, (most of us, I think) knows that it sucks big time. It’s like the bullies are pushing you off a cliff into an ocean made of chocolate and cake. Of course, bullies aren’t exactly on a mission to get you to be a healthy weight and the owner of a brand new bucket of self-esteem, but if they were, they would be sacked and sued and possibly jailed, which might not be a terrible idea…
So I ate and I ate and I grew and I grew and life got harder and harder. But one day, something happened. My dad screamed at me “Just stop eating!” and it stung. In that moment I wanted to die, but there was something stronger bubbling beneath it. Stubbornness. Alright, I thought, I will. So I stopped eating. The fat, food-addicted, forever-face-stuffing girl just stopped eating for a week. My parents freaked out, of course, and normal service was resumed after that, but I had learned that I could do things. I could not eat if I wanted to. I could lose weight. I could be the person that I knew I was inside, if I just tried hard enough.
I didn’t lose weight in a particularly healthy fashion, but I lost it. I threw away six stone in total, eighty-four pounds, and I felt amazing. I wasn’t teensy, I wasn’t a supermodel, I was myself with the evidence of cheekbones and a chin, but I had practically run a marathon in my mind. I had flicked a switch that said ‘Ohmygosh. I’m not just doomed to get bigger and bigger, until someone has to wash me and cut a hole in my wall to lug me out when I have an inevitable heart attack. I have power.’ I wasn’t just a fat blob anymore, I was a person. You have no idea how incredible it is to realise that you’re worthy of life and everything you can take from it. Or maybe you do. I hope you do.
Of course, I’m not saying that anyone needs to lose weight, or that the only way to feel actually in control of your destiny is to lose weight. This is just where I found my control. Afterwards I carried on with my life. I gained a bit of weight, I lost a bit, life drifted by, but I never lost the lesson: That I could do whatever I set my mind to. I have used this knowledge to do so many things, from passing exams to getting jobs, to seeing my work published to learning to juggle. Oh, and by the way, my new and interesting way to injure myself is learning to unicycle. It’s going well so far, and I know that I will get there, because I’ve managed enough things to know that failure is just the thing that happens before I succeed. It’s a bump or a drop of rain, nothing worth worrying about.
I am currently about to embark on a juice fast, using the magic of willpower and the wonder of new gadgets, which I always find to be an awesome combination. Oh and books, books fix everything.* I’m really freaking excited for where I’ll be at the end, and more importantly, who I’ll be. Every mountain you climb changes you in wonderful ways. You get that bit more positive, a teensy bit calmer and more certain of your abilities. I love pushing myself to achieve things which people say I can’t do, or maybe in the past I’ve said I couldn’t do. I love to surprise myself. Unwrapping a new me is like creating my own Christmas. I love it.
Life is full of challenges, and I know that, but I also know that I have the ability to face those challenges, smack them upside the head and leave them handcuffed to a lamppost with a penis drawn on their face with a Sharpie. So I’m challenging you to challenge yourself**. Think of something that you’ve always wanted to do. Maybe you want to start running, or jump out of a plane, learn to surf, (also on my list) or ask out that sweet guy with the Chihuahua named Pedro. Well, what are you waiting for? No-one is going to do it for you, and that’s because you’re perfectly capable. You are the master of your own destiny, and they only gave you a key because you’re awesome enough to be able to use it. So go do some epic shiz, people of the internet. I believe in you.
*The book that has helped me most in my life is The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. It is my favourite book, and if you don’t like reading, (in which case, you’re being quite subversive by reading a blog. Stick it to the man!) then you can see it here. You’ll thank me when you’re an astronaut who writes French poetry about your llama farm, and lives in a castle on an island with your other half who just so happens to be Michael Fassbender/Jennifer Lawrence (delete as applicable). You’re welcome.
**Ooh, look at me breaking the fourth wall like a rebel. I’ve obviously been spending too much time with the person that hates reading but does it anyway. Bad crowd.