I’ve been meaning to do this post for a long time now but things happen and it’s only when I’m on my dog walk I remember posts I have thought about before.
Joinavision was never meant to be a predominantly female group – it began by connecting two groups of people in Suffolk that was all. So it was interesting that as we grew and looked at our FB statistics they have remained the same ever since we hit around 1,000 members – 85% women and 15% men.
However, the men who are here are so supportive and pro-active. What I often notice is a complete lack of ego, or wanting to be right.
Dealing with Dad Issues
I come from a family where my Dad was very dominant and very ‘stuck in his ways’. Women were women and men were men – fine with that. However, many of the farm workers were female and he’d often come home saying, ‘bloody women’. He was also very keen that women be at least slim but preferably thin. My mum said to me when I was about fifteen that he was so keen on his women being thin he even wanted his dogs thin.
This gave me a very dysfunctional view of myself. When she told me that it all fell into place… the reason he didn’t love me was because I wasn’t thin enough.
Years of Dieting
That begun a twenty year habit of weighing myself, dieting and supplementing food with protein drinks. The only thing that kept me away from bulimia was a hatred of throwing up and thankfully I did like food too much to starve myself.
My friend from uni told me recently that I was the first person she’d ever met who was on a diet. To me dieting was normal though as mum was always on a diet – cooking us all amazing meals whilst she sat there with a plate of rather unappetising looking vegetables on her plate.
About ten years ago I got rid of our scales and I haven’t looked back. I realised, as my dad got ill with cancer and subsequently died, that it wasn’t my weight that meant he didn’t love me. It was because he didn’t love himself and projected that onto his children. He fought with us, turned people against us and did everything he could to control us while we tried to break free.
Learning to Like Ourselves because of the men around us
I find it difficult to genuinely feel happy with myself but know that this is all part of the control system so I don’t listen too much to that negative voice that we all have inside ourselves. The men on Joinavision have continually shown me how kind, thoughtful and compassionate they are. They know themselves in a way that means they don’t have to put women down to feel better about themselves. I am eternally grateful to all the men who are on Joinavision and who continue to offer support on-line and in person. Our builder is from Joinavision, we’re about to embark on another adventure with someone from here (more of which later) and we’re in touch with many men here about moving forwards with Joinavision. They really are changing our lives here for the better.
Love Yourself Messy
This has to be the best named book I’ve ever come across. I haven’t read it yet as it’s next on my list but this is what I’m learning to do. To accept myself for who I am not what I wish I was. I’m very lucky to be chatting to Miriam MacMillan about hosting a book launch together in the very near future. In the meantime I think we can all learn to love ourselves messy.