It has been about a week and a half in Uganda and one more to go. I’m already dreading leaving this country. The feeling of being alive is present constantly. When you’re still, you’re surrounded by chirping of the birds or the choir of grasshoppers. In the night you wake up to the barking of the dogs and in the haze of your sleep you get a thrill wondering whether someone is trying to come and disturb your sleep or is it just a passer-by or some animal the dogs are barking at. In the morning you wake up to the cuckoos of the many cocks in the neighborhood. When you’re in the car you constantly try to hold onto something so that you’re not thrown around like a bag of potatoes. (Seriously, the Finnish bumps on the road are a joke.) When it rains, it pours. When you look around you see a range of colors that identify with Africa. But meeting the people who have gone through challenges beyond the imagination of most and connecting with them, touches me deeper and deeper in my heart every single time.
Being here is a balancing act in many ways. The schedules and traffic regulations are more like guidelines rather than something that people stick to. You just need to adjust and react to things as they come along. Still somehow when everyone is playing the same symphony, this chaos works. The most challenging balancing act anyhow is not becoming too cynical. You see people in need everywhere. Especially in the slums that we have been visiting regularly, there are people surviving until tomorrow in every corner. You want to help every single one of them. But to function effectively you have to have a pragmatic approach. This is what I learned in Ethiopia already. For example, to help the beggars on the streets, you should not encourage them to beg by giving them money, even though it felt like the right thing to do. But many earned ten times the salary of someone who did honest work so they had no reason to get off the streets even though proper work would’ve been better for the society. So you have to fight against the instinct to try and help everyone, because that would be very short-term, and impossible.
I feel like, also because of my childhood time in Ethiopia, I have mastered the pragmatic approach already. I guess it all comes down to logic… Here, the most effective way to help is to empower communities. Teach the most vulnerable people to provide for themselves, educate them, and improve their skills so that they will be the ones providing for their communities in the future. This is the long-term approach and Caring Hands, the organization I’m working for here, is doing exactly this and it is amazing to see the effects of this work in communities. All this said, I hope, that I will never become blind to the individual struggles of the people. That when faced with extreme poverty all around, which could easily turn into a blur, I hope I will always have the compassion, respect and love for the individuals in front of me. And when there is acute need, I will provide for them according to my strength. Luckily I have met someone to look up to when it comes to this. She's the Caring Hands director, Milla, who is living proof that you can connect with individuals while caring for the community.
TIA - This is Africa.
Write comment (1 Comment)
It’s been a few days since I landed in Entebbe airport. The moment I stepped out of the airplane I smelled a familiar scent. Hard to explain, but it seems like every airport in East Africa has the same smell. It’s a combination of humidity, zica (red dirt), heat and smoke. I think. The bumpy roads, the chaotic traffic and the darkness that’s different to Finland’s welcomed me back to Africa! Having been here a few days now I could actually write a book about the traffic. The roads belong to cars, vans, boda-bodas (motorbike taxis, no helmets), people, dogs, cats, goats, cows, poultry… Let’s just say that there is no space for checking your phone while driving.
Now that I’m here I feel like I’m at home. If you didn’t know, I lived with my family in Ethiopia when I was a kid. I also went back there as a voluntary worker in 2007 and have visited East Africa as often as I can. When I’m in Finland, I miss Africa every single day. Uganda, just like Ethiopia, holds so much beauty in its people, the nature, the culture. So many people have so little and live a life of a survival game, and still their souls are so full of hope. These people are fighters and just visiting here inspires me to work harder, every single day. My life is so blessed and I should be thankful for it every single day. And right now, the biggest blessing is that I get to be back in Africa.
There’s a saying, which I hear a lot: “This is Africa”. TIA. That phrase can be used in so many different circumstances, the good and the bad. Despite all the beauty, there has been a bit to worry about lately and some of my friends have been sending worried messages so that's why I want to address this. A few days before I got here there was a major robbery in our family friends’ house. The couple had been drugged and there had been stones all around the house so that they would’ve been stoned if they had woken up. Every single, even a bit valuable thing had been taken and many locals have been amazed that the couple is still alive. This has raised serious talks about the safety of the households here. It’s Christmas season and (violent) robberies are very common, because the stolen goods can be sold easily as Christmas presents. But, what I want to say here to all the friends who have sent the inquiries, please don’t worry. “This is Africa, if you’re afraid, you have to leave.” I feel like I’m in the right place now and I feel calm. If something was to happen, so be it. I knew the risks when I came here, but I wouldn't want to be anywhere else right now.
But to end on a happier note, there are already so many things that I have experienced since I got here! I’ve been an honorary guest at a primary school and held an inspirational speech there, I have met so many gorgeous women through the Caring Hands organization (the organization I'm working for here) and these people have stories that need to be told. I’ve also had talks with teenagers who don’t want to let their social status stand in the way of their dreams, I’ve laughed with them and I’ve danced traditional Ugandan dances with them. Btw, these kids know how to twerk! I’m in a very happy place now, being able to inspire and be inspired.
TIA, this is Africa – the people, the nature, the scents, the attitude, the inspiration, the smells, the colors, the electricity breaks, the traffic, the food, the beauty - even the risks.
Write comment (8 Comments)
Let me start by apologizing for my absence. Or actually no, I’m not sorry for not wirting for a while, because the fact that this is my first spare moment for a few months is actually a good thing. I’ve been working on projects that are important to me and even though it is a little tiring that I’ve had only one day off during the last 8 weeks (cannot recall the time before that, my brain capacity feels like it’s on constant overload) .
But now it is definitely time to get back to writing and updating my blog. And I’ll start that (this time for real) by telling a little what has been keeping me so busy. I guess this is a bit of therapeutic sensemaking for myself, too (if my thesis supervisor is reading this, he’ll be prud that I used that term here).
Project number 1. University courses. I have been honestly spending my every spare and not so spare waking hour in the car driving back and forth from Helsinki to Jyväskylä, just to attend a lecture or lectures and exams. They tell me I should’ve known that this was an on-campus program (international business and entrepreneurship in Jyvsäkylä School of Business and Economics) when I enrolled there, but the truth is they came up with the 80%-attendance rule only half way through my first year. But there have been so many people already trying to fight that and have failed and I don’t have time to tell my professors how to do their job so I’ll just drive and graduate in a million years. Luckily there are a few courses I can take from the States, too.
Project number 2. Master’s thesis. Working on it. Honestly am. Need to conduct a pilot interview on Janni Hussi. Keywords: Entertainment industry entrepreneurs and sensemaking.
Project number 3. Working my ass off to have some own money when moving to the States. Has been successful. Photo shoots, fashion shows, hostings, and presenting, to name a few. Have been lucky to have a lot of all of them.
Project number 4. Volunteering in Uganda for Caring Hands Organization. Included a lot of preparation before hand in Finland. Right now sitting on a plane to Uganda and writing this. Will continue this cooperation with them further into the future.
Project number 5. Girl like me vol. 2. It was a success and we’re already preparing for next year.
Project number 6. Moving to the States. How much paper work can there be?? And of course I’ve been scouting for some interesting things for me to do when I get there.
Project number 7. The wedding. Sometimes I remember that I’m getting married next June, usually when I’m reminded of one of my bridesmaids.There’s quite a bit of stuff I need to work and agree on before I move. Luckily I have my bridesmaids and Vanajanlinna as a venue. The people in Vanajanlinna have organized so many weddings before that I feel like half of the organizing has been already taken care of by them. Though there are a few pretty big pieces missing…
All this said, I’m happy that I haven’t had the time to miss Kristian. It’s been almost 7 weeks apart now, and only when I have the time to think about it, it’s difficult. Otherwise I’m enjoying everything that’s happening now. And btw, I’ve been booking some jobs here in Finland for January/February. I can’t wait to go and support Kristian, but I will never compromise my own work and commitments for his, becuase frankly, we both have to be free to do what we want. And in the end of the day I’ll support him and he’ll support me.Write comment (2 Comments)
Lately, I mean for the past year, I have been reading a lot of material about our bodily functions and what we can do ourselves to help them in the long-term. There’s a lot of talk about the toxic and synthetic chemicals found in our food and in our environment. Throughout the months, little by little, I have made changes both in my diet and in my living conditions, intentionally decreasing the amount of synthetic chemicals that I am in contact with. This should help my liver from tiring out as it tries to detoxify my body.
I don’t stress about the changes (stress being one of the biggest causes for hormonal imbalance) and it’s been a very gradual process and will continue to be one, but I still find it necessary. While food is probably the most obvious one that delivers the good and the bad to the body, there is quite a lot of chemicals absorbing through our skin and breathing, too.
I have made some pretty big changes in the synthetic chemical-intake in my diet so I will talk about them later, too. But here are some of the products we use in our household to prevent the overload of toxic chemicals from our habitat.
Companies say that their products are completely safe and dermatologically tested, but over time, there is still quite a bit of synthetic materials brewing on your face and the build-up is unavoidable. My solution has been quality mineral make-up. Some (most) of the mineral make-up lines contain only a fraction of real minerals so be sure to find a line where most of the product consists of good ingredients. My absolute favorites are Jane Iredale and Reviderm mineral make-up. They both have very versatile product-ranges and offer clean produce to stick to your face. And the end-results are even better than with traditional make-up! Both of these lines are available in professional salons around Finland. Click here to find your closest Jane Iredale-reseller.
Body lotions and shower gels:
You probably realize that your skin absorbs the creams and gels you apply on it? Exactly. Absorbs. So you might not want to spread the most indulgent smelling chemical-cocktails on yourself the next time around. Weleda produces the best shower gels, body lotions and other body-care products that provide natural nutrients for the body. And the products smell awesome, too! They also have massage-oils that release tension in the muscles. Very actively used in our household. These products can be found at least in your closest Ruohonjuuri store, but I think they are sold in plenty of other places, too. As hand-wash, we use LV that can be found in grocery stores.
Our cleaning detergents have been biodegradable for years now, thanks to my mom who gave all her girls huge boxes of different L.O.C.-cleaning products as Christmas presents. But now we’ve also changed into organic dishwasher detergent by Ecover, and instead of basic liquid or powder for the washing machine, we use washing “balls” by Ecozone. They last for months and are extremely easy and kind on the environment, too.
Last, but definitely not THE last, change we’ve made is that we’ve started changing plastic bottles and containers into glass ones. This way the harmful chemicals off plastic don’t diffuse into our food and water and keeps them tasting a lot better, too! Me and Kristian even got his and hers-bottles of Lifefactory glass-bottles that you might see us carrying around when training or out about on the town. Yeah, sure, they’re a bit heavier, but it’s worth the taste and knowing that the water doesn’t get contaminated. I’ve found my glass containers in Ruohonjuuri.
This is how far we’ve gotten, and as I mentioned, we’re not extreme with this. I/we still use products that aren’t ecological, because there haven’t been good enough substitutes. I also realize that it’s not possible to shield from all the toxic chemicals around you, but at least it’s nice to know that your home is a little safer. Small changes will count in the long term.
Let me know what kind of changes you have made around your household, maybe I can get some hints there! JWrite comment (1 Comment)
As some of you might know, we're getting married next summer with Kristian (the previous blog post on our engagement party might have given some sort of a hint ;) ). So I had to decide who I'm going to recruit as my bridesmaids, considering that I'm going to be half of the year away in the U.S. so I'll be needing lots of help, both here in Finland and there in the States. Therefore I wanted to make the proposal a little more special and got my bridesmaids survival packages, or proposal gifts as you might want to call them. The products I included are ones I use and thought that they would make the duties of my bridesmaids a little more bearable... ;)
The kits contained:
- Wella SP's miniature hairspray and mousse. My bridesmaids will need these in their purses to do quick fixes while on the run.
- Sebastian's hair conditioner, miniature. Best prep for your hair and easy to take with you wherever you go! Especially for the bridesmaids who will be traveling around with me...
- Wella Professional's Enrich or Shimmer Delight. The other one is extra hair care, the other one gives some immediate sparkle, but both are perfect for extra radiance! Naomi decided to come and check them out, too :D
- Elo by Salon Klipsi (my hairdresser in Helsinki) has also said that they would be happy to help my bridesmaids to get their tresses in shape before the wedding! :)
- Dermalogica Antioxidant Hydramist, the best way to feel fresh while on the move! I even spray this on top of my make-up. It's got long term benefits too!
- Dermalogica Skin hydrating Masque. My go-to masque before a photo shoot. It gives instant radiance, but also is light enough to use multiple times a week. Extra hydration whenever you feel like it. Lots of my bridesmaids travel a lot so it's ok to "forget" this on your face, too, and when you take it off upon arrival, you will feel refreshed and pretty rather than dowdy.
- Dermalogica Skin Perfect Primer. Perfect primer to use under make up, but gives the wanted "blurr" if you want to go au naturel. Has also an SPF30. I'll get more of this for the girl for the big day, now they can test it before hand!
Naomi checking out the goods again :D
- Reviderm lipgloss in a nude pink shade. I wear this all the time. Looks great on both blondes and brunettes and many of the girls put it on immediately! And the styling of the package is cool... ;)
- Some chocolates from Kalpis. Of course you need to keep your blood sugar steady when shopping for a wedding dress or having a flower meeting or planning the program!
BTW, they all said YES!!
How did you or would you propose to your bridesmaids?
Write comment (3 Comments)
It's not often you have such a special and energizing weekend. My mom and Kristian's mom had arranged a beautiful engagement party for us in Jyväskylä, but the fact that so many of our loved ones traveled the distance to join us on this amazing day left our hearts with love and joy. <3 If the engagement party was this heart-warming, I cannot wait for the wedding! I'll leave the text quite short and just try to convey the feeling with a few photos from the party.
Janni said "yes"! She's going to be one of my bridesmaids <3 On the right you have the "ring bearer" with his "blowing a kiss"-face.
Beautiful flowers by Minnan Ruusupuu. I love the light pink/peach color, but also the white and green. They look so fresh together. Ideas for the wedding...
I know, the pink sparkling wine is a bit of an over-kill, but it was organic and rosé. ;) I just LOOOOVE marshmallows so we had to get some strawberry-shaped ones to nibble on later on in the evening. You can get these from Kalpis in Jyväskylä.
We prepared most of the food ourselves. My mom had the recipe for the most delicious reindeer soup EVER, which both our mom's prepared, alongside with some vegetable puré for vegetarians. We served some fresh rye bread and oat buns to go with it. Coffee was served with some Brita-cake (marengue base, whipped cream and strawberries), lingonberry cake and I made some white chocolate chip cookies. Burned a few batches, though. :D We had some friends over for the evening so we grilled some chicken and served it with fresh salad prepared from mom's garden goods and some potato salad. Everything was just overtly delicious! I couldn't be more thankful for both of our moms for doing this all for us. It really makes you feel loved. <3
I attached a few photos from our garden that our friend took in the spur of the moment. There is so much laughter behind these pictures with our friends joking around on the side, but I tried attaching the ones where we look at least a bit eligible. :D
The dress is from For Love and Lemons and shoes from Jimmy Choo, earrings from Glitter. I loved the dress, because at the same time it was light and a little revealing, but still modest enough for a family party. And I really like the long-sleeves, but so many brides have had them in their wedding dresses so it has started to feel a little too common for me. So having them in my engagement party dress kind of gets the idea out of my system and I won't feel like I need them for my wedding gown anymore.
Write comment (4 Comments)
I'll make an exception this time and write in Finnish, because the video I'm attaching is in Finnish. :)
Polttarit on parhaita silloin kun kaikilla on kivaa ja polttarisankari saa elämyksiä. Olin kaasona parhaalle ystävälleni ja hänen ollessa dramaattinen henkilö, piti myös polttareissa olla draamaa. Tämä on oikeastaan alustusta sille, että Heidi (polttarisankari) suuttui syvästi järjestettyäni hänelle kidnappauksen Wayoutin poikien toimittamana ja sen jälkeen pyörimme etsimässä "liian pitkään" parkkipaikkaa.
Wayout Jyväskylässä on ongelmanratkaisu-peli, joka vaatii samalla kylmähermoisuutta ja yhteistyökykyä. Tärkeintä on kilpailla kelloa vastaan ja päästä ulos tunnissa, mutta kaikkien aikojen parhaat ajat kirjataan Wayoutin seinälle. Meidän joukkueistamme kumpikaan ei sinne uhoamisesta riippumatta päässyt; paremman joukkueen aika reilu 50min. Siinä teille haastetta jos haluatte mennä testaamaan! ;) Alla olevasta kuvasta näette myös noita muiden pohja-aikoja.
Koska polttariporukkamme oli niin järjettömän kilpailuhenkistä, niin pakkohan se oli pistää kisa pystyyn siitäkin, että kumpi pääsee ensin ulos. Videolta selviää, kumpi sitten voitti.
Joka tapauksessa, huippuhauskaa ja pakko päästä uudestaan! Paikalle kannattaa mennä vähintään kahdestaan, mutta yhtä huonetta selvittämään mahtuu maksimissaan n. 5-6 tyyppiä. En voi hirveästi paljastaa pelin kulusta ja siksi sitä ei tuolla videollakaan oikein selviä (muuta kuin, että Ukko-Nooaa EI tarvitse soittaa lobotomiahuoneessa), mutta suosittelen kyllä lämpimästi kaikille ongelmanratkaisua rakastaville!
Ja loppu hyvin, kaikki hyvin. Myös morsian antoi meidän myöhästymisen anteeksi ja nykyään kertoo ylpeänä tarinaa kuinka hänet kidnapattiin brunssilta.
Lisätietoa Wayoutista tästä.Write comment (1 Comment)
When you wake up in the morning what do you do first? Do you lay in your bed, pat your tummy and feel if it has grown? Do you check yourself in the mirror, notice that your hair is a mess, there’s a new pimple on your forehead and your eyes are puffy? Then you lift up your shirt and check out your tummy or turn around and criticize your butt? Or maybe you stand there and make sure your thigh gap hasn’t gotten any smaller? If it has, you make a mental note that you have to exercise more and tell yourself that sugar is off limits and maybe feel a little disappointed that you have come to this. Over all, on most mornings you feel disappointed with yourself even before you make it out of the bathroom, even if you just went there to brush your teeth.
I’ve been that girl. I’ve ruined countless of mornings and even days feeling inadequate, because I was disappointed with myself. And I don't even prioritize my looks. Never have. I have mentioned in my previous blog posts how I’ve found a better balance now, how I think it’s important to respect myself rather than be my worst enemy. One could say that I’ve embarked on a mental process of finding my identity and figuring out who I am and what my values are. I’m in a better place already, but I believe it will be a life-time process and one will never be ready. By simply living your life, rather than executing a project after another, you will get to know yourself better. What you like and what you want to do and what makes you you.
I used to compare myself to others and think I was inferior. I knew I shouldn’t and I didn’t want to, but I did, because I didn’t know any other way to find out if I was good enough. The world had silently pointed me to believe this. It's a sneaky thing. We might not even notice it, but still for some reason we end up believing that we should look a certain way or act like the others do if we don't regularly get back to ourselves to make a reality check. I’m a perfectionist and the world offered me goals in the form of other people, so I took my pick, and started comparing myself to those goals. I thought my self-worth was dependent on whether I would accomplish them or not. And I never would, because I wasn’t them. In some areas of life I was confindent and even thought I was doing well, but some areas felt like I was never good enough. My appearance was one of them. And they were just tiny things I was telling myself: Brunettes are sexier. I wish I was taller. I wish I had brown eyes. I wish I didn't have these chipmunk cheeks... Just this year I got so fed up with feelings of inadequacy that I finally decided for real that I will be just me and that’s ok. I still don’t think that I’m perfect, but I really want to be me, which is the coolest thing I can be! I don't care if I look a bit like an alien. At least I look special. And I'm damn good in so many things. I want to be a girl like me.
It has been about three weeks now since me and Janni Hussi revealed our brain child called Girl like me. But it has been about three months since we came up with the idea. We were in LA with the intention to produce some promotional material for a few sponsors and at the same time spend a little time together. It was constant chatter about the stuff that girls usually talk about: body image, make-up, hair, exercise, food… But for the first time in ages we felt like we weren’t alone with our thoughts. In the industry we both work in it is very normal to be on constant diets, exercise regimes, to wear make-up every time you leave out the door, to be judged about the way you look like and to desperately then prove through social media that you are beautiful after all. In addition to the image in the mirror, one’s morning might be ruined by a very unflattering photo of oneself in the entertainement-section of the newspapers. And right after this you end up desperately selling yourself short either on social media or to someone who promises you something that soothes your self-esteem.
Girl like me is a campaign that me and Janni started to promote genuine individuality and help women feel good about themselves, just the way we’ve started to feel good about ourselves. The campaign is to some extent focused on the pressure women feel to look a certain way, but we also wish to promote individuals’ talents and capabilities, to help them see what the package of me consists of without feeling one bit unapologetic about it. We are who we are and finding peace with it and wanting to focus the energy on improving oneself is extremely empowering. It also allows energy to support others in doing their thing rather than trying to pull them down. I bet you’ve had these experiences in life, too. When you feel more comfortable with yourself, you find the energy to be there for others.
Our debut of Girl like me was an Instagram challenge of smiling genuinly. The idea was to use social media as a tool to improve self-esteem rather than cause feelings of inadequacy. We used hashtags #uskallanhymyillä (I dare to smile) and #girllikeme and everyone challenged a few friends to do the same. Seeing all the beautiful smiles under these hashtags was so AWESOME!! When normally Instagram feeds are full of duckfaces and sexy poses, this time people posted a feeling rather than a carefully edited photo to add to their polished social media-persona. We got a lot of positive feedback and many beautiful women posted their brave stories about accepting themselves. We are so so proud of you all! It is a huge priviledge to be a part of this group of thousands of women who want to make the world a happier place. Thank you to all!
What comes to Girl like me: we will keep on reminding you throughout the summer how worthy you all are, how beautiful and powerful and unique. There’s quite a few amazing things coming this way! And in August we will take a roadtrip around Finland and have workshops in schools. We hope that by the end of this round of the campaign, there will be women who will have started the process of getting to know themselves and loving themselves. We hope there will be women who will go to the bathroom in the morning to brush their teeth, wink at themselves in the mirror and say to themselves: ”It’s gonna be an awesome day. I’m gonna rock my world and be happy, feel great, and look awesome doing it!”.
Ps. These awesome campaign photos are taken by Petteri Peltonen. We've been so touched to see how many people want to be part of this campaign. You can check out some more info on the campaign on girllikeme.fi. You'll also find our wall of smiles there! :)Write comment (1 Comment)
In my previous post I talked about being body positive. I could've talked about it a lot more then and there, but maybe it's better for all of us that I break it down into a few separate posts. Meanwhile a less stressful, more mindful lifestyle is something that I want to achieve and live so I will be writing a lot about things related to the positive mindset, whether it's about one's body or work or love or whatever.
In this post it's a bit more about the body. The body we live in, day to day, and the one we can use to learn new skills and use to our advantage. Instead I find that a lot of people see only the outer shell and start treating their bodies as something they need to work on. In my books, treating your body in a positive way means that you don't treat it as a project, as something you have to start a war against, to fight the fat, the cellulite and flat muscles. That's one of the reasons I highly dislike the fitness-craze. I might piss off some people here, but I think that in addition to the 2% of athletes it includes, there's 98% of people with too little background in training and looking for another excuse for a diet so they could like their bodies and finally be happy. Instead of thinking of what your body can do, these people focus on what it should look like. And it's often messy. It only does not cause mental and health issues, it also causes one to detach from their own body and stop listening to its needs when the sole purpose of training is to force the body into some mold. Forcing yourself to play with your bodily functions is misuse of the body you're given. And mind.
Don't get me wrong here, I'm a true believer in pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and into improvement. There aren't many things I enjoy more than wanting to be better than yesterday. I love to challenge my body to do something I know it can learn or it can do. Like practicing how to do a flip over and over again until I nail it. Or running a marathon when the boy in your class tells you that tiny girls like you don't run marathons. (I ran it the next day on a five-minute notice.) That's pushing, when you decide with your body that let's do this! The difference between pushing and forcing then is that pushing involves mental strength, forcing involves stress. I know, I've tried both.
I guess everyone starts with kind of effortless mindfulness when they're kids and exercise comes to you in the form of playing and you play when you feel like it. Kids listen to their bodies wihtout realizing that they're listening to them. If you know what I mean. During my anorexia years, I was forcing myself to fight against my body and exercise when it was telling me to rest. After that I fell in love with cheerleading that became my outlet for pushing myself to new extents. Then there were the years in between where I tried and enjoyed multiple different kind of sports. And loved every second of it. And then came the time when my body became my work tool and I ended up detaching my mind from it in order to work out in a way I'm "supposed to for maximal results". Huge mistake. Honestly, before the Miss Finland tour I was in the best shape of my life, even in terms of the looks. I had quit the pill a while back and there was nothing in my body messing up my hormones. But as a perfectionist I thought that there had to be something I could work on and my body became a project. I would not listen to it telling me that it wanted to move in different ways, but I was forcing it to train and eat according to a plan. And that caused a stress-infused spiral. I was tired, anxious, messed up my hormones and even turned to methods that I am not proud of (I'll tell more about those when I'm not too embarrassed anymore). I messed up my mind, messed up my hormones and the project named "bikini body" became even more difficult and difficult. Even though I was doing everything exactly the way that my trainer and all the other trainers before were telling me to do. So the rebel in me got up and I decided to do what the **** I wanted. I stopped being a project and became me.
My road to recovery got a helpful nudge some months ago when I first went to pole dancing and circus&acrobatics classes at Pole4Fit. I had so much fun, got to try new things as well as relearn some old stuff and just let the endorphins flow. I got to challenge myself physically and mentally. Unfortunately, because of my work and other occupations, I don't stay in one place for long enough to go there regularly, but it helped me realize that I should move the way that my body tells me to (this is a que for all you cheerleaders in Helsinki to give me a call if you need a very rusty addition to your veteran squad). Training was and always has been a part of me, a way to express myself and I shouldn't fight the way it comes naturally. It's a process and now I guess I'm in a phase of deliberate mindfulness. I train almost every day, but I leave room for flexibility. If my body tells me to do yoga instead of a kick-ass circuit work out, I'll do the yoga. I don't stress about training anymore and I don't focus on the effects of it on my body. Which are by the way awesome, thanks for asking. Nothing beats the results that a stress-free lifestyle has on your appearance. I realize that to be the best version of me I need to listen first and foremost to myself.
Have a mindful, active and stress-free weekend! <3
Write comment (5 Comments)
I came across this quote on Instagram and so far I’ve already regrammed it, but I also feel like I want to open up a little what it means to me. I find that every other person on social media and many of my friends are on a diet or a fitness plan trying to get in shape of their liking for a reason or another. Almost every single time it’s because they want to look like something else than what they look like now. How stressful is that?? Not accepting yourself right now.
I’ve had my own share of this. After I beat anorexia in my teens I was left ashamed of looking healthy, because I still thought that meant too “big”. I knew I had to stay healthy and fit in order to be the athlete I wanted to be (I was in competitive cheerleading), but I still thought I looked wrong and I would some day look right again. After that, and especially during my Miss Finland-year, I have been told that I need to change. That I need to embark on some sort of a fitness or food regime in order to look right. For some it meant I needed more muscles and for some it meant that I needed to lose weight and some thought I needed surgery. There were days when I hated myself, especially during specific times of the month (my body reacts with crazy bloating during my PMS), and because there were people telling me that my body was not right, I started telling that to myself too. And honestly, there was nothing wrong with my body to begin with. In my head I knew I shouldn’t let others impact me, but still I thought at times that I needed to follow some strict plans to make myself look the way “I was supposed to” in the future, disregarding the fact that everything was great then and there. Seriously, what is it that we’re even supposed to look like? Come on.
I have a strong self-esteem, but at times I was a mess inside my head. I guess it’s because I’ve got really high work ethics and I thought I wasn’t doing my job well. Still, I couldn’t commit to a regime or a plan, because at the same time I was feeling rebellious and was telling myself that I’m not going to be one of those people who spend all their energy on thinking about food and fitness and forget to enjoy their lives. I’m not going to be one of those girls who lets others impact “me”, as in the person I am. I’ve got my own brain to use. Also, the people on a “plan that makes them look better” are always looking forward to the time to come and never satisfied with what they already have. Even though it’s already something awesome.
To be honest, I was actually very rebellious and decided that the best way to fight this pressure is to basically live on candy. And ice cream. And tell the people who tell me otherwise to disappear. I never quit sports on my rebellious streaks, because I couldn’t handle life without it. But I wasn’t going to let some fitness-regime, created solely for appearance-purposes, to ruin the joy of moving my body. I want to learn new skills and improve my fitness-levels, and, I’m sorry to say this, I do not want to look like a fitness-competitor. Not any kind of a fitness competitor.
Anyways, living on candy didn’t really provide me with the energy levels I needed. Sure, at times I’ve felt a little flabbier and soon after in good shape, but mainly the problems were my hormones, constantly being sick and mood-swings. The same stuff I experienced when on some specific plan. I’d gotten to the point where I decided not to let my appearance dominate my decisions. I’ve noticed that whatever I eat and however I move, my body seems to have its own will that doesn’t care if I eat bad or good, so I might just learn to accept it. So this is actually where the quote finally comes in. One of my goals in life is staying body positive from day to day, no matter what the circumstances. The reflection in the mirror is never the same and that’s ok. It alters from day to day and that’s ok, too. Today, instead of pointing out my flaws to myself, I try to tell myself something positive. It’s a learning process for someone so critical of oneself as me, but it’s made my life so much easier. A positive comment and after that I try to forget my appearance for the rest of the day and instead try to focus on listening to what my body and my mind want.
Lately I’ve been over-hauling my mind rather than my fitness or food regimes. I’ve been focusing on being kind to myself and nurturing myself through my daily fitness and food choices. I’ve been listening to my body and enjoying the process of learning new things about myself and challenging myself. I want to have a strong mind, be full of energy and focus on the good things in life. I don’t want to spend my energy on stressing about my appearance and whether or not I can or cannot eat something. That’s serious waste of time as it will never work in the long run. You’ll end up in square one, hating and blaming yourself again. Mind and body are so closely entwined to each other that if you mess with your head, you’re for sure messing with your body, too. And the other way around.
Oh, and guess what. My body has really been thanking me for this change of attitude. Also appearance-wise. So please, rather than going on another diet, try being kind to yourself for a change and mindful about your choices. You’ll end up enjoying life a lot more when you free up all the energy you use for dieting for something that actually matters! And this plan works in the long run, too, not just right before summer.
Write comment (2 Comments)