Embrace

Last week I went to a showing of the movie/documentary Embrace and then followed it up by going to a live talk by the creator behind the body image movement. These two events bought up so many thoughts, ideas and realisations for me that it has taken some time to get them all down and be able to share them with you and heads up this is a lengthy post.

Embrace is a beautiful, powerful, inspiring documentary with a big message, Embrace your body and don’t waste any more time hating your body. It all began when Taryn Brumfitt shared a before and after photo of herself, before was her competing in a body building competition after was herself as herself and the photo created some big conversations about body image. You can watch the little trailer here.

My Story

To start with I want to talk about my journey and thoughts around body image. I have a distinct memory of being about 9 or 10 standing near a gate with my friend while our mothers were talking. I think my friend may of bought the topic up and it went something like ‘yeah I think I’d like to loose a little bit of weight around my thighs’ I replied with something like “yeah me too and around my tummy”. Our mums must of overheard us at that point and said we shouldn’t be thinking about things like that. And they were right, we really shouldn’t of been thinking about things like that we were so young. I have another memory from when I was even younger of being in a school race and hearing a spectator, who happened to be another student only a couple of years older than me, say look at her little tummy moving. To say that comment didn’t impact on my life and relationship with my body in some way would be a lie. While the effect of the comment wasn’t huge or dramatic it did pop up every so often as the voice of my inner mean girl and critic and it made me a little hesitant about clothes or activities sometimes.

Somewhere along the line, and I’m not sure when, but I started caring a little less about how my body looked and for the most part I was and am comfortable in my own skin. Growing up I was introduced to Louise Hay and the idea of loving yourself and I think that’s what did it for me. I no longer cared as much about what the other students at school thought or said because I liked myself and I didn’t have to be any different just because they thought so. I also learnt that I am so much more than how I look and that it’s what on the inside that matters. In more recent years since I finished school I have been on my own journey of self love and acceptance with myself as a person and with my body. I still have moments of self doubt, and moments where I’ve thought to myself huh I look kinda yuck but I don’t let myself dwell on it.

These days majority of the time I can look in the mirror and smile back at myself and think hey yup I’ve got a pimple the size of a blueberry on my face but damn look at those leg muscles. I’ve become grateful for my body as well for all it does for me, for allowing me to explore, play and live life and for all the little things it does without me even thinking about it. I’m also grateful for being in tune with my body and being able to listen to it when it says, rest, more water, little less chocolate today, lets dance. My relationship with my body these days is to make decisions from moment to moment, to find the things that make me feel good and to create balance.

Discovering Embrace

I remember watching the project video for Embrace before it became an actual film, Taryn asked ladies to give a word or two to describe their bodies. At that point in time I had known that there were other woman who maybe didn’t like their bodies and that the media was a contribution to that but I didn’t understand just how many people hated their bodies or how much. It really hit me hearing so many woman say how disgusting their bodies were when all I kept thinking was but you’re beautiful and unique. I remember the last lady replying her body was soft and luscious and that made me smile. I thought heck yeah, I can call my body soft and luscious too. Every body is different and yet everybody is the same in that they are our homes, they do so much for us every minute of every day with out us even thinking about it. Our bodies know how to breathe and move and digest food. They really are amazing machines and why would you hate something that does so much for us. We are grateful for our cars that get us from A to B and yet our bodies do the same and we don’t really think about that.

Seeing Embrace

When I heard that Embrace had become a movie and that it was coming to my city I knew I had to see it. The first time it was on I didn’t get to go but the second time around I committed to seeing it. I was in tears before the movie even started when I heard the beautiful lady, Jess, who organised the event speak and share her story. I absolutely loved the film, I walked out in tears but also with so much love and joy in my heart. I don’t want to give to much away but thought I would share a couple of my thoughts from the screening:

  • You are perfect just the way you are, don’t spend another minute hating yourself.
  • Woman are freaking amazing and when we connect we can create a movement
  • Be gentle with yourself and be gentle with one another
  • Cherish, your body, your life, each other

Hearing Taryn Speak

Walking out of the movie screening I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hear Taryn speak, I bought my ticket as soon as I got home. Taryn’s presentation was about Embracing our bodies and also about sharing our voice and message with the world. Some little thoughts I took away from the event were:

  • Embrace that things happen
  • Live your life on your terms
  • Practice a little kindness
  • Tap into gratitude
  • Have a laugh
  • Do things on your terms
  • Move for pleasure not punishment
  • Do things that make you feel alive

Towards the end of Taryn’s presentation she asked we turn to the person next to us and share how we are going to share our voice with the world and what little step we are going to take to continue our journeys of embracing and loving ourselves. By some coincidence I ended up sitting next Jess, the lady who organised the event. I turned to Jess and burst into tears, I was feeling all the emotions but we had a beautiful chat. In that moment I did make a little commitment to myself to share my story (which is this post) and to continue sharing my stories here on my blog, even if it’s just for myself, and to continue to embrace my perfectly imperfect, beautiful and amazing body now and into the future. I have embraced.

Journaled Thoughts ~ A Letter to My Team

Dear Team,

I just wanted to write you a letter. I’ve been working as an assistant manager for nearly a year now and I thought by now I’d have this role down pat but I’m realising that I’ve still got a lot to learn and experience. I want you to know that I still don’t know everything, that every single shift I am presented with opportunities to learn and grow. I have had to accept that it’s ok to be a beginner and you probably don’t realise how much learning and making things up I’ve done on the go.

I am still learning how to ask for help when I need it and how to face conflict and confrontation instead of running away from them. My ideas about myself are constantly challenged and I have experienced a rainbow of emotions in the last year. I’ve realised that if I can be happy and full of ‘positive’ emotion I can equally be angry and experience a variety of ‘negative’ emotions which is natural, I’m learning too that these are just emotions and that they pass.

I’m also still learning to accept that sometimes I am wrong and that it’s ok to be. Sometimes I struggle to accept feedback and advice because sometimes for me this highlights that I don’t know something and I don’t like like not knowing or sometimes even being told.

I’m learning a lot about people, their values and their why’s. Why you all want to come to work besides the money and how you want to feel. I’m learning how to work with such a large group of individuals and how to not only keep myself motivated but everyone else as well.

I am learning how to be gentle with myself and how to look after myself. I am constantly being reminded that when I’m not looking after me I can’t show up as the best version of myself.

I am learning that everything happens for a reason and that mistakes are what make us human, mine and yours and that they help us grow. I’m learning how to teach and guide and leave space for creativity and individuality.

I’m learning about perspective and how it can make the difference between a ‘good’ shift and a ‘bad’ shift and how everyone has their own ideas, thoughts and opinions.

Dear Team. I am far from having it all figured out and to be honest I probably won’t but please be patient with me as I continue finding my way through this chapter of my journey.

As a final note something I don’t say all that often is thank you. Thank you for being part of this journey with me. I am also learning to accept you are all individuals on your own journeys and we have all just happened to cross paths in this job for a reason.

With Much Love

Caitlin xx

Forgetting to Play – Little Thoughts Part 1

  
 

What did I like to do when I was younger? Where would I loose time?

I’d read or scrapbook in my early teens. But going back even younger I’d play games where I used my imagination and creativity.

I’d play with my dolls for hours, be their teacher, take them on holidays, throw them parties.

I’d play with my barbies and polly pockets. Living out intricate stories where the dolls would go to school or run shops and have sleep overs.

I’d play with my brother with lego. Building big lego worlds for a family who ran a day care centre and went on holidays in a big lego truck.

I’d play with paper and pens. Writing books and stories.

I’d play with my friends and siblings. Being the teacher for bike school, fairy school, scooter school, actual school.

I’d play on my own. Imagining a job for myself where I was the host of a craft show, a secretary for events offices.

I’d play with design. Designing the interior floor layouts of houses, classrooms, fairy shops and craft shops then play out a story in those scenes.

I’d play with young children. Filming our own TV show, planning school games with them, taking them on little adventures.

I’d play with scrapbooking. Loosing myself for hours in the world of paper, photos and creating.

I’d play with my laptop. Creating videos and designing little inspiational pictures.

When I was younger I’d play. I’m not saying I’m old now but I do think that maybe I’ve forgotten the act of play. Of loosing yourself in your own imagination and just trusting your creative process. Not second guessing everything.

Back then I didn’t fear not being creative. Dreaming up worlds and ideas and making plans was fun not scary. In the imaginative games we were in control of how everything happened. There was no fear.

But now I don’t play as much. I second guess all the time if I’m really creative. The plans and ideas I dream up don’t seem like good ideas or justifiable. I let fear take over and let it keep saying ‘What if?’. But it’s not what if something magical happens it’s what if something bad happens.

Sometimes I get in the flow things start happening and I start creating and dreaming and getting carried along a beautiful ride and then all it takes is a pause. A pause in the thoughts and the moment where a single fleating thought or feeling can pass and be gone but in it’s path leaves the thoughts of the mean girl again. The thoughts that say I’m not left handed so I can’t be creative, I’m not trained properly, my art doesn’t look like others I work in hospitality, you’re not a writer. What are you doing? You’re not creative? Things might go wrong.

I read a book the other day by a beautiful Irish author. The last paragraph of the book was a quote about thoughts and moments. How thoughts are fleeting and a lot can happen in a moment, it was beautiful and perfect.

I feel as though I’m reaching a point where I want to play again. I want to create and I want to let go of those what if’s and doubts because playing and creating is what lights me up and fuels my passions.

How do I plan on doing this? I don’t know, well I don’t know logically. But if I pause and allow myself to feel what I need to be doing I know it’s just to release all inhabitions and do it. Let myself explore and create with child like wonder, play and allow the magic to happen. 

I need to remember again that I’m a beautiful being with a light that can’t be dimmed and a love for play and creating, dreaming and imagining, wherever and whatever that takes me. I find joy in the little things that make me happy and that in turn helps the world.

I feel there’s more to this story, how teaching/leading seems to be a common theme, the need to create, and how I sometimes forget to do my own thing instead of what everyone else is doing, little stories that I feel like sharing.

I think I stopped playing as much somewhere along the way which has changed how I think about creating. Too much listening to what others have to say. Too much observing what others do and what they create and how they live life. That’s their story and I have to live mine. There’s freedom in that.

I am free to play and create.

Much love

Caitlin

xoxo

PS Just after I presse publish on this I saw the most fitting quote shared on Instagram by Susana Frioni “It’s not who you are that holds you back. It’s who you think you’re not.”

Journaled Thoughts: I am Excellent At…

Little Things

Hey Beautiful,

How are you today? I just wanted to share a little something with you that I just experienced this morning. I am currently reading Melissa Ambrosini’s book Mastering Your Meal Girl, if you haven’t already got it go buy it right now, it’s seriously an awesome book. There are a lot of common ideas in the book that I am already aware of but Melissa’s book takes it to a whole new level.

So this morning I’m reading away on a chapter about worthiness and there was a little exercise to share 20 things you are excellent at. I thought this will be easy so raced up stairs to grab my journal. Then I just sat there, looking at the blank page thinking “Am I really excellent at anything?” After a few moments I thought this is ridiculous, you could easily list things someone you love is excellent at, why not you? Like I said before I thought this would be easy and that I’m getting good at loving myself but this little exercise showed me I’m still learning.

It took a bit but I ended up coming up with a list of 20 things I’m excellent at. I think there’s still a bit of work to do about really owning the things I’m good at and feeling worthy of being good at these things, but it’s a start. I’m going to share my list as inspiration to get you thinking what are you excellent at? I also want to be able to come back to this post and list and think heck yeah I am awesome and excellent at all these things. So here’s my list:

  1. Traveling Solo
  2. Being a big sister, daughter, friend and cousin
  3. Taking beautiful photos
  4. Being a team leader and assistant manager
  5. Creating a warm and welcoming home environment
  6. Sharing love and inspiration
  7. Finding joy in the simple things
  8. Having a laugh
  9. Creating things with love (photo books, crafts & my cooking attempts)
  10. Throwing myself into dancing (I may not be professional but I love to grove)
  11. Prioritising my to do list when I have to, dropping it when I need balance
  12. Teaching
  13. Drinking water
  14. Dreaming, planning, imagining
  15. Learning
  16. Coming up with a solution
  17. Me time
  18. Writing
  19. Manifesting
  20. Being ME

So what’s on your list? Just a couple of notes, remember to stop and celebrate the big and little things you are awesome at and can do, give yourself a big hug. Also it’s not enough to just think yeah I’m good at that, good just doesn’t seem to be a powerful enough word, be awesome, amazing, excellent.

I’m Still Learning ~ Journaled Thoughts

stilllearning

Learn:ləːn/verb:1.gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught.

I’m still learning about balance and being gentle with yourself.

I’m learning about filling my cup up first.

I’m still learning about self care and loving myself.

I’m learning about the power of believing in yourself and having a little trust in you.

I’m learning how to be a leader and I’m learning about management.

I’m learning to speak french and how to nourish myself.

I’m learning in the kitchen and I’m learning how to garden.

I’m learning yoga and how to flow with change and embrace it.

I’m learning that I’m perfect as I am.

I’m learning that you have to begin somewhere and that everyone has to be a beginner first.

I’m still learning how to learn from mistakes and challenges.

I’m learning about letting go, moving on and embracing each and everyday.

I’m learning about relationships, trust and connections.

I’m learning about hard work and not giving up when you want to and being strong when you need to.

I’m learning to dial down my inner mean girl and tune into my heart.

I’m learning about my passions and  loves.

I’m learning there’s things I can work on.

I’m learning that I’m never not learning and that everything I learn is a stepping stone in my life.

I’m being taught daily by family, friends and work colleagues.

I am being taught daily, at home, in nature and at work.

I am being taught by social media, books and people.

I’m being taught by not so random meetings with strangers.

I’m being taught by life and the world.

I am learning I’ve still got a lot to learn and I am no where near being done.

Thank you for all the lessons and teachers so far and the many million and more to come.


Thoughts from my journal a couple of nights ago while a storm rumbled around me and I was feeling a little out of sync with things. I needed to be reminded that I’m always learning, that it’s ok to be a beginner and to welcome the teachers and lessons into my life.