I haven’t done a #BMKBucketList challenge update in a long while. I guess that with pregnancy my BoPo journey came to a halt and it has taken some time to figure out why. It really started back when I first conceived, I didn’t know that there was a little lady bug growing inside me, but I did start noticing that I was constantly bloated and that my clothes weren’t fitting as they usually do. I was due to go to Jo’burg at the end of October and knowing that I’d be seeing family, friends and people in my industry gave me a bit of anxiety. Obviously, a lot of people knew that I had started this journey, that I was going to gym and although I understood what this challenge meant, I felt like they had this expectation that with gym, I’d be a slimmer more beautiful me. I was very hung up on thinking I wasn’t good enough or that I had failed somehow. Packing for the trip was horrible and I was quite grateful that I was only away for a night.
As you can imagine, my first trimester wasn’t exactly easy and finding the energy to go to gym was nearly impossible. I was full of guilt for having not gone – I had this picture in my mind that this pregnancy would be different. I’d be a healthier version of myself, I’d learn to be strong and prepare my body for birth by going to gym. But as each day passed, the morning sickness left me bed bound and wondering if there was an end in sight. Still, today, at 16 weeks, I struggle with morning sickness and on days that I wake up feeling okay, as soon as I get into the car I feel like I am going to vomit. That, in addition to my very low blood pressure and sugar means that I have very little to no energy to exert at gym and just thinking of going makes me scared; scared of passing out, vomiting or hurting myself and the baby.
I have decided that I want to go back though, no matter what. Not because I have anything to prove to anyone else, or because the guilt can be overwhelming but more because gym was and is my escape. Even if I only go 2 or 3 times a week, do a single round of the circuit and go really slow, taking breaks on the mats, I will feel better than I do right now. Gym makes me feel great – I hate having to find the energy to go to gym especially in this heat, or the schlep of getting ready, but once I have done it, I am grateful for having done it.
The last few weeks I have had a lot of time to think about this challenge and what it means to me. Looking over the list of challenges that I set out for myself, all those months ago, truly seems like it was written by another person. I know that I have made strides in this journey and that I have become more accepting of my own body and instead of worrying about what it looks like, I continue to credit it for what it can do! It CAN go to gym, it CAN wear bold colours and patterns, it CAN manage a 5K without any preparation, it CAN wear boots and jeans, it CAN go out without a stitch of makeup and still feel confident but there are challenges on that list, that looking back aren’t really written for me.
For instance, this summer, I swam without shorts, something I would never usually do – it meant overcoming the fear of my wobbly thighs being seen, which I had always covered up since as young as 9 years old. The other challenge on my list is to wear a 2-piece costume and while I still haven’t completed that challenge, I don’t have the desire to do it either. I feel that getting over my fear of not wearing shorts while I swim is far greater and more “me” than wearing a 2-piece. I have never worn two-pieces not only because of what I perceived was wrong with my body but also because it is not very me, the same goes for crop tops. I watch countless body activists show off their bikinis and crop tops and I applaud them, but again, I just don’t like it for me. I find crop tops really silly and now that I have a preggy belly, I by no means want to encourage people to rub my belly more than they already try to.
I guess that what I am trying to say is that this challenge was far greater than overcoming my fear of wearing certain items of clothing, it was about overcoming that voice inside my head. Somedays, I win the battle and others the fight is a little harder and I come out a battered and bruised.
For example, I recently went an entire month, or even longer not wearing makeup. It wasn’t really a matter of ticking it off my challenge list, but more because I didn’t feel that I needed it. I was feeling great – my skin was looking good too! One day, I was feeling particularly sick but still went out to see some family, who kept commenting on how bad I was looking – I knew that I was pale, I had been vomiting all day and slept much of the day away, in all honesty, it was a miracle I brushed my hair! But the voice crept in and even made me wake Darren up, that night, to ask if I was looking worse than I thought – was I was being delusional thinking that I was looking good? The voice got louder and the next day, before anyone could wake up – I sat doing my makeup, not because I felt like playing with my makeup but because I felt I needed to cover up. It has taken about 2 or 3 weeks to talk myself out of being so silly and to regain the confidence to rock #NoMakeupDays. The stress and insecurities showed too, in the form of a crazy breakout which I hadn’t had in months!
I felt I had failed my BoPo journey but then I realized that that’s just it – it is a journey. There is no beginning or end in sight, there is just small changes that I make with the hopes of continuing to learn to love my body. That sometimes the voice is loud and obnoxious and that it is my job to nurture, care and love this body, my body. Acknowledge how far I have come instead of always seeing how far I am yet to go. Consider what triggers my negative voice and do what I can to feed the positive one.
So I have come to the conclusion that my #BMKBucketList is far greater than a 12-month challenge and that as I grow those challenges are bound to change. Some of those things will be small to overcome, while others will be much bigger but having the #BMKBucketList on my blog continues to remind me that I need to be accountable for my actions by means of showing you that I am ticking off those small milestones, one day at a time!