Based in Frome, somerset, #fitMess is a blog by Joanna Beale. Her posts draw on her work as a personal trainer, as well as her own personal past experience of significant obesity.  Her general focus is overall wellness and body positivity.

Someone asked me today why I've not really been blogging in a while, they said they've missed my 'words of wisdom'. That kind of summed it up, really, because the truth is, I've not been feeling very wise. I've found the last few months, to be incredibly taxing on emotional and mental levels, and at some points as the day draws to a close, in all honesty, it felt like I've had fuck all wisdom to share. 

We all go through rough patches. Some are short, just a little bump in the road. Some are inordinately lengthy and troublesome and seem to last forever. I've been berating myself for all the things I've not achieved over the past months, when actually, in a lot of ways, I've done an ok job with the situation I've got. Things could be worse. It's not to say everything has been doom and gloom, but often the simplest of struggles have a knock on effect into the rest of our lives. 

Everyone's life is hectic in its own way. Everyone keeps themselves busy doing the things they consider to be important. Some people balance obligations with recreation successfully. I am not that person, unless specifically prompted to do so. I'll keep piling on (often unnecessary) responsibility until I can't cope with it anymore. I'll work hard, at the detriment of my health, putting every obligation before my own needs, until I reach a point where I feel I'm going to snap.

Frankly, the best part of the last 36 months has been dedicated to punishing myself for either making mistakes, doing the 'wrong thing', not doing enough 'useful things' or questioning why I am finding it so hard to get back on top of my life. This internal struggle isn't mine alone; I speak to women every day who have this kind of turmoil on so many levels. Guilt at 'abandoning' babies to go to work. Guilt for not working enough. Fear of stepping out of situations that aren't working or healthy. Fear of staying stuck forever in the same place. Not getting enough done. Taking too much rest. Taking too little rest. Not having children. Having too many children. Eating too much. Eating too little. Eating too often. Eating meat, dairy, gluten, carbs, secretly hating quinoa but eating it anyway. Everything we do, or don't do, has the potential to stress us out in some way if we get to a point where we've lost track of ourselves. That is the point where self loathing begins, where self esteem takes a back seat and lets insecurity take us for a drive through a bad neighbourhood in the dark. 

Sometimes it can feel like your whole life is a struggle to get back behind the wheel. Yet, sometimes, the door is open all along, we just didn't realise. 

Today I posted on Facebook and Instagram about a scan I had on my heart. The reason and results aren't important, but aren't sinister in the least. What I found jarring was my reaction, in the aftermath, to being shown my heart pumping, right there, before my eyes. Every beat I watched, every whoosh I heard, was literally the sound of me living for another second. The sheer viscerality of it, this almost clumsy, yet immensely powerful, movement of such strong, consistent muscle - it was hypnotic. No doubt pulling me back to a foetal memory somewhere in my subconscious, I was utterly entranced by the rhythm of my own lifeblood as it appeared on the monitor in front of me. I almost wanted to speak to it, to know how many more times it would beat like that, how many times it could beat like that. Whether it would grow weak and one day, give up. Whether something awful might cause it to burst. Maybe even if, one day, it might even end up beating inside someone else. 

These thoughts, though they might sound it, were far from morbid. There is little more life-affirming than realising your highest risk organ (for me, personally) is healthy and well at nearly 40 years old. That huge piston of a muscle has kept the blood moving in my veins for four whole fucking decades. It's never let me down yet, and I'm so in awe of the pure mechanics of my own body today. 

So, what's my point? It's this. I've spent a lot of time procrastinating, fearful, and sad. I've sometimes deliberately avoided doing things I want to do for ridiculous reasons. I've been depressed, but I've also wallowed in self pity. Crucially, and repeatedly, I haven't aimed as high as I knew I could reach.

All of these things have squandered valuable beats of my heart. I have no more to waste.

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For Bridget

Breathless