Weighed, measured & found wanting…

Well ladies, and maybe even some of you gentlemen too for that matter, and boys and girls of varying ages everywhere….if you are anything like I use to be, and maybe still am a little bit or actually a lot at times, then the words that come immediately to mind are fat, ugly, overweight and simply not good enough for one reason or another! Imperfect, flawed, not as good as all those other beautiful people out there in the big wide world or even in our more immediate much smaller and familiar world. At some stage in my life I have felt each of these things, sometimes separately and sometimes all at the same time.

In fact through most stages of my life I have felt fat but not necessarily because I was actually fat or overweight at the time. I got married on my 22nd birthday, which was almost a couple of years after the birth of my first child, but not quite. My wedding day was a wonderful occasion where I pretty much walked on air all day. I ate little, danced a lot, talked a lot, smoked a lot, and mingled well with the guests as any good bride should do. I was told I looked like a Princess that day, and in truth I felt like one on that special day!  I was  a small size 10 weighing in at a svelte 7 and a half stone. My collar bones were well defined, some would say maybe a bit too boney for their liking perhaps but I knew on that day I was slim. I had dropped a few pounds for my wedding. I am certain I felt beautiful on that day but then it was my wedding day, and I was marrying the love of my life. An earlier occasion of feeling aware of feeling fat was at age 14 when I had to have a size 12 school skirt. My oh my did I feel fat on that day!  This was just one of many times over the years where I felt this way!  I was told that maybe I was big boned. Big boned, I mean really? I was a size 12  for goodness sake, which I think is about a size 8 in the United States, so not actually that big at all really. The things we are told, and the things we go on to believe pave the way. 

Later at age 26 I felt like fat when I was 8 and a half stone. Really? Yes, really! By this age I was mother to two young sons. I have never felt what it is like to be the perfect weight because whatever weight I was/am I have considered myself fat and just not thin enough. I have been on every diet known to womankind in the quest for perfection and the perfect weight but it has always evaded me, at least in my mind. The mind is a mighty powerful thing! Our minds can work for us or against us. Perfection has never been part of my repertoire though I seem to strive for perfection in many things, and then when I fall short of what I think is perfect I berate myself, and feel disappointed with myself on a deep level. It has just been something that I chased on and off because I thought it was worth chasing! Is anything ever really perfect? My name is Liola and I am a self confessed yoyo dieter. There, I have said it, no more denial. I have poor body image and have always had poor body image, though at the time I never knew it had a label nor that I had it. I just did not like my body, it was too fat, my face because my jawline was too square, my hair, because it was dark and curly,  in fact I just did not like much of myself at all as I never felt I measured up to what I thought I should look like or thought was beautiful. Recent years has seen the subject of body image raised in the media because of it’s links with mental health or rather it’s links to a deterioration in mental health in all manner of individuals. I never realised I had an issue per se as did n’t all girls/women dislike the way they looked, and wanted to look like someone other than themselves? Was ’t that normal? It seems not!  It did not matter if anyone told me I was pretty or beautiful because I never really believed it. They were just saying it. I look back through photographs and find that I have cut myself out of my husband’s 22nd birthday photos. I had arranged a surprise party for him that year. It was a great party as I recall. Plenty of friends, and lots of laughter but for some reason, I cut myself out of all the photographs because I thought at the time I looked ugly. I look back at this behaviour, and feel saddened that my younger me, my 21 year old self should have felt the need to do such a thing!  Over the years there have been many occasions where I declined an invitation here and there simply because I felt fat and ugly at the time. There have been other times when I have cut myself out of pictures or refused to be in them. 

I think the media has a lot to answer for! They send out messages that say we should look a certain way, be thin, have straight hair, be blond if you want to have fun, have a little botox if we want to delay the signs of ageing. Ageing is natural! And yet, we are told to fight the signs of ageing as if it is some deadly disease! It is no wonder young girls of today (and boys too) feel so insecure in themselves and how they look. Society, advertising and tv have made us afraid to be our authentic selves implying that we are to be found weighed and measured, and found wanting.

Fast forward to now, I am overweight, I am not ugly, I am by no means perfect but I am me. I am learning to love myself now. I have a few wrinkles here and there, which are actually my storylines, and that is just fine! My once darkest brown/near black hair is silver/white and steel grey, and that is fine too! I am learning to love myself and be who I am, and not who someone else expects me to be. I was good enough, even though I never felt I was. I am good enough! I am me! I am enough as I am! These days its about being healthy and just feeling good about myself. 

I hope that things will change and that we will teach young people to be true to themselves and not be what others say they should be. Young beautiful girls and boys do not need botox, fillers, fake boobs. collagen, filters or any of these things they are beautiful as they are. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

© Liola Lee 2019

This post only really touches the surface. I know there are many people who have far more severe body images issues than I have ever had. Again it’s all relative. The image shown is of me aged just 17. I was very insecure even then on how I looked. sometimes people can seem confident and happy but sometimes it is a mask. It’s been Mental Health Awareness week here in the UK. It’s great that people are now beginning to talk about these things. There was a time when there was a real stigma attached to discussing mental health. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Carpe Diem…

Carpe Diem!! Or to those of you unfamiliar with Latin ‘Seize the day!!’ I feel pretty good today. In fact the best that I have felt for the last couple of weeks. I am at work in the office today. My office is not far, in fact it is situated at the top of our rather tall Tardis like town house, for those of you unfamiliar with Doctor Who, a Tardis is in fact an old fashioned police telephone box which used to be seen on many streets in England, when I was a small child. Giving my age away now. Our home is rented not owned.  I wish we owned it but we do not.  We stopped being homeowners as a result of the recession a few years back, selling everything to keep the wolves from the doors, including our home, and then starting over from scratch. We had only planned on remaining here for a year but have been here now for five. My, how time flies!  Getting back to the office (I have a knack for wandering off at a tangent), it is not really a proper office but more a room where I do office type tasks when I really have to. I have to make a contribution in some way. It is only fair. At other times it is just my space, where I have books, books and more books and several piles of various papers, documents, magazine cuttings, pictures and just now a couple of saddles. Yes, I did say saddles. My daughter who owns two beautiful horses, has brought her saddles home to clean, and somehow they have have found their way into my space at the top of the house. The point is, it is my space, just for me so the saddles will have to vacate the vicinity soon, later today if I have my way but my daughter is quite a determined sort of individual, and if she is not ready to remove them back to whence they came, we will most likely lock horns for a bit, and then I will give in and say they can stay for a bit longer. We all need a space to call our own sometimes.

In my previous house, the office was in the back garden just behind the house. It used to be the garage but then it became the office. I use the term garage loosely, as no modern car would have fitted into it; most certainly not my present car nor any car that I have ever had. Cars today are so much bigger than the cars of yesteryear, and they seem to be getting bigger, yet the roads remain mostly unchanged. If anything, the roads seem to become more narrow which is I guess because cars are bigger. Once upon a time a family would be considered really lucky to have one car, a car, any car but now every adult member of the family has one. My family is no exception. My husband has a large works van, and me and my daughter both have a car each.  My own car has a personalised number plate which is something I attained along the way, and managed to hang on to when times were harder than they are now.  Sometimes I think about selling my number plate, and wonder whether I am too old to be such a show off but then again I think why not, and change my mind and decide to keep it. Also, if I do something brilliant and become famous or maybe even just a little well known or better known even, then my number plate will increase in value and will be worth more than I paid for it. A good investment maybe for someone with no pension in place. That all said, I will not sell my number plate just yet as I rather like it, and at heart I guess I am a bit of a show off. Mind you, I have to drive sensibly or everyone will know who I am as it is certainly a one of a kind number plate but then surely that is the whole purpose of a personalised number plate. Now where was I? and what was I talking about before I got onto the subject of personalised number plates? Oh, I remember, I was in the office,  about to settle down to some work or maybe even to be creative once work is complete. My husband hates my desk, although I really do not understand why? He really does not have to look at it, if it offends his eye. In the old house, in the garage come office,  his desk was adjacent to mine.  My cluttered mind deemed his desk as boring and uninteresting with nothing that screamed out who the individual might be. His was a functional, practical place of paper piles and constructive crap as I saw it at the time, whilst mine was I like to think laced with literary creativity that would in time inspire my imagination and spur me on to write my masterpiece, which is still inside me somewhere just waiting to come out and be written, which when done will add value to the aforementioned number plate and hopefully put some money into my bank account at which time, I will be able to say to my husband ‘See, I told you so’. All that said, I am eternally grateful to my husband who allows me to pursue my dreams, and although he hates the clutter, the paper mountains, and even more the saddles, he just lets us do what we do. Today is the day where I will seize the opportunity to create something worthy of his faith in me.

Carpe Diem!

© Liola Lee 2019

I actually adapted this post from one of my old ‘Today is the day’ pieces from a few years back. Life is strangely cyclical and not much has changed. I am still waiting to produce something wonderful but will keep working at it

Image  captured by Liola Photographic at Longleat Safari Park May 2019. Titled ‘Locking Horns’

Maybe it’s time…

‘Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die’. Sometimes we see a film, hear a song on the radio, hear a line in someone’s conversation, a book comes our way, or just something happens that makes us sit up and pay attention, and take note. It’s almost like a nudge from the invisible realm. For me recently, that something was the film ‘A Star is born’ starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. It is the third version, I have seen over the years. The first I saw when I was just a little girl. It starred the late, greats Judy Garland and James Mason. The next version starred the brilliantly talented Barbara Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, and just recently the current version. All three films are tear jerkers, all three films have excellent casts, and fabulous soundtracks. The story conveys powerful messages for those of us that would listen.

The song ‘Maybe it’s time’ speaks volumes. The song performed by Bradley Cooper opens with ‘Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die, maybe it’s time to let the old ways die. It takes a lot to change a man, hell it takes a lot to try, maybe it’s  time to let the old ways die.’ To me or for me, it is about releasing those things that no longer serve us and letting go of the past. Change is not easy. We as human beings are creatures of habit. We get bound into rituals, and stuck in a rut that become part of our daily routine.  It takes effort, resolve and focus to change our lives but change is the one constant in life.

We all have the power to create different realities, and although I believe life unfolds exactly as it is meant to, I think that we have to go through certain challenges in life,  and overcome certain obstacles which are often of our own making to become the people we are meant to be. We all get lost sometimes, and darkness reigns or at least it seems to. Sometimes for a short while and sometimes for longer. The light at the end of the tunnel evades some. For some, they never find their way out of the darkness, and they die with the music still inside them, never finding their song.

It’s been a long time since a film has had such an impact on me but impact me it did.

So, maybe it’s time to let the old ways die. Out with the old, in with the new.

May you find the music that sings to your soul, and release those things, people, and situations that no longer serve you.

© Liola Lee 2019

Image © Liola Photographic 2015

Dragonflies symbolise change and transformation, self -realisation and adaptability. This is change on a deep emotional level, where we look at things from a deeper perspective relating to the meaning of life…

 

 

 

Time for change…

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One day in time, just when the time seems right to do so, the stubby little Caterpillar decides that he/she will stop eating, for that is what Caterpillars do for most of the time. A Caterpillar is, after all just a Caterpillar, and Caterpillars will repeatedly do what Caterpillars do. Said Caterpillar then finds some branch, some twig maybe or just somewhere where it can hang out, hopefully undisturbed by too much trauma, and hang upside down for a bit. In this upside down world it spins itself a cocoon and remains in the dark place for however long it takes. A wonderful, beautiful thing begins to happen in the darkness. A beautiful transformation is taking place. The old body parts of the Caterpillar are undergoing the miracle of metamorphosis to change into the beautiful parts that become the Butterfly that will at just the right time emerge and soar upwards.

We can learn so much from nature! Trust the process!

© Liola Lee 2019

Wake up!

Wake up Lolly it’s time to move on.

Who is Lolly?

I am she, and she is me.

We are one and the same. I am still Liola, for that is my name, that which I was given at birth or somewhere thereabouts by my parents.  I will always be Liola but Lolly is the girl in me, my inner child who for so long has lost her way and lingered in limbo. The child within us is always there but sometimes as we get older we lose our sense of fun, our sense of adventure, even our sense of childlike wonder.

We get bogged down with responsibility, work, bills, debts, unhealthy habits, mess, clutter, mental, emotional and physical. We become full but not whole; fragmented, not complete. Our lives are full of stuff that is surplus to requirements, that we find hard to release and let go. We live in a material world, and fall for the hype of consumerism. Life gets complicated, when what we really crave is simplicity and space. We become self-saboteurs, often blaming circumstances and everything other than ourselves. We become obstacles in our own lives, and find ourselves stuck in an almighty rut that sometimes we just can’t see our way out of.

However, it is not all doom and gloom, even though sometimes we convince ourselves that it is. Life is truly beautiful with all it’s ups and downs! It is in a constant state of flux. Just look at nature, the changing of the seasons from one to the other. Look at how in the Spring everything is new and coming to life. Then with Summer everything is bursting with life and an explosion of colour. Autumn too rocks a rainbow of colour that is equally as lovely as  her sister Summer. Then with Winter we see what we think is a loss of life but we are wrong, Winter is just a time of rest before the cycle begins again.  Change comes no matter what, and time changes everything. We have it within our power to create the changes we want to see in our world and the world at large.

Life is cyclical. Life is like the seasons. We as human beings go through a life cycle but during our lifetimes, if we are lucky enough we go through many cycles of change. What at times may appear as a time of emptiness, poor growth and stagnation even, is merely a period of rest before we are ready to refresh, restart and renew.

So to little Lolly, my inner child, I say, time to come out of hibernation and fill your world with colour again. The World is waiting!

© Liola Lee 2019