What if I told you that a positive attitude doesn't always involve sunshine and rainbows and motivational quotes? I used to be *that* person nonstop posting 'inspirational' memes, but in all honesty, I'm not sure if anyone benefitted. Of course, I did, because I was able to demonstrate to all of Facebookland just how calm and zenlike my perfect life had turned out to be.
However, anyone who actually knows me is super aware that my life is not so much meditative self-reflection as it is relentless chaos. So, yeah, I guess what I'm saying is that I was being an enormous hypocrite. Beyond enormous, probably humongous. At times, my stress levels would require medicating, rather than meditating. At the time, the posts themselves were as much about convincing myself as they were reaching out to a perceived audience, but what it really boiled down to was that I was trying to be someone I'm not, because that's what I thought everyone expected me to be. I created a marvellous, buoyant, serene version of myself. 'Cheerleader Jo', we'll call her. Unendingly positive in the face of all adversity, varnished with joy, they were my superpowers. Cheerleader Jo fitted right in on Facebook because that's where everybody goes to show everyone else how perfect their lives are. Here are our good pictures, here are our perfect meals, here are our positive mantras, here we are with no cracks showing in our mental porcelain. Cheerleader Jo was a bit like a virtual Stepford wife; a painted smile, saying all the right things... but I would struggle sometimes to reach a conclusion, often lazily opting instead just to post some empty motivational meme without comment.
I thought that's what I had to be in order to do my job. I thought in order to motivate others, I had to pin my smile to my forehead and wholeheartedly throw myself into clichéd meme-spouting. And then I got to a point where I wasn't even convincing myself anymore.
Trying to change a wriggling baby's nappy, one hand plastered in Sudocrem, one hand speckled with a malodorous and somewhat inhuman brown paste, I hear a shout from upstairs: 'I'm being siiiiiiiiick mummy'... oh no, not germs, how fast can I disinfect the house? Shit, that means I have to tidy it first, bollocks, where even is the hoover?
'Have you managed to get it in the toilet, darling?'
'No, I'm having a poo'
Oh fuckballs, this is serious. All I can imagine is the house gradually filling with human waste quicker than I can deal with. But the burning? What's the burning? Dinner, damn, well it would have been terrible anyway as I can't cook for shit. I stand up, tread on my sprained ankle the wrong way, go straight back down like a bag of bricks, face to the floor, notice an unpaid, overdue electricity bill that I've unknowingly filed cunningly under the sofa so I don't forget about it. Ah well, at least downstairs' crap has been cleaned up, I think as I head for the stairs.
In the time it takes to rectify the poo/spew situation, I reply to three emails, take a phone call and edit my blog. I plan my next two classes and text my next PT client to confirm, as well as texting tomorrow's morning client because she's been poorly. I do a mental shopping list and try to map my route around two separate supermarkets to see if it's achievable before I start work and OHMYGODDOIEVENHAVETHERIGHTBRAONFOREXERCISING???
My point is this: some days are insane and some days are just plain fucking shit. It's not just a #fitMess getting to class, sometimes the whole day is a massive SHitmess. Some days are absolute dicks and no amount of cheerleading or sickly sweet meme-ing is going to change that. You can talk it up as much as you want but the likelihood is nothing will make you feel as good as sticking up your middle finger to your wanker of a day and telling it to go fuck itself so that you can move onto tomorrow. And guess what? That's ok! It's not polite and it's not lady-/gentleman-like, and it might not even get you any Facebook shares. But, being honest about the way you feel will give you a freedom that will warm your filthy, foul-mouthed spirit.
#fitMess came about because our lives aren't easy, and the pressure to conform to the perfect parent/partner/colleague/employer/role model norms can result in stress, anger and sometimes even difficulty coping. You can acknowledge negative emotions without becoming negative in your outlook. You can be angry and you can feel anger without being an Angry Person. You can want to punch something without actually doing it. You are allowed to want a break from your family or from your job. Don't swallow down your feelings or paint a fake smile on them, because that's the moment that 'positivity' turns into the hypocrite's poison, and eventually you might just choke on it. Find an outlet where you are free to be, and to, express yourself. I've heard exercise can really help in these situations (haha! See what I did there?).
My outlook now is mainly sarcastic. You probably haven't noticed, right? I'm still positive, because I now laugh at the utter ridiculousness of my chaotic existence - which definitely feels a lot better than pretending that all is a soothing ocean of calm, whilst dying on the inside. Positivity doesn't have to be saccharine, it just has to believe that tomorrow will be better.
Today's blog is dedicated to my amazing friend, Sylvia, who has taught me so much about the healing, positive power of honest ranting 💕