101 things IN

and other things thrown in between

101 Things in 1001 Days: Skin

Friday, September 29, 2006


At the age of 36, I am only just becoming comfortable in my own skin. I am discovering what works for me – what sort of books I really enjoy reading, the clothes and colours that suit me, what friends to keep and which ones to do away with (only in the literary sense of course), what foods to avoid and which ones to consume in copious amounts and how to treat my Self with respect and gentleness. In other words, I am discovering myself as I never did in my teens and twenties.

In my twenties, I engaged in a few disastrous relationships that in hindsight I should have avoided like the plague. I conformed to the wants of the other person and so was never really myself. They liked to party then so did I, they skived off lectures then so did I, they loved fast motor bikes then so did I – you get the picture? It was always about the other person. I moulded myself to what they wanted because I wanted to be a part of something – a relationship – no matter how unhealthy it was. But there you go. I am sure this is a familiar pattern with many of you as well. I sort of darted through those years directionless and unsure of who I was and what I really wanted out of life and quite frankly, I didn’t give it much thought – life was too fun.

My twenties also spelt lots, and I mean LOTS, of fashion bloops. I was the type of girl who hung onto every word the glossies would tell you about what was in and what was out. I would wear those built in shoulder pads that planes could taxi off even if it killed me! Oh, how I cringe when I see photos of myself from the 80’s and the early 90’s. HOW COULD I EVER HAVE WORN THOSE CLOTHES?? Somebody shoot me!! I would destroy them all if I had my way, but I have to keep something for my daughter to laugh about in the years to come.

I think I really started to try my own skin on for size when I relocated to live in England. At 30, I was all alone for the first time – far away from my comfort zones which were family and my then estranged boyfriend (now husband). I had no choice but to discover the stuff I was made of. It was either accept defeat and return home with my tail between my legs or accept the challenge and embrace the next chapter in my life with abandon. I chose to embrace. And between the ages of 30 and 32 I grew so much – not in terms of size, but in terms of discovering myself, my strengths, my abilities, my likes and dislikes, and navigating, on my own, in my way, the stepping stones that will lead me to where I wanted to be.

And now fast approaching my thirty seventh birthday, there is no more pretence. Being a mum and most especially a wife gives you no other option but to be yourself. If you’re not then you are faced with being someone else for the rest of your life and your family will never have the joy or misfortune (as the case sometimes is) of experiencing the genuine you.

So I am myself now. Not anyone else. I am far more confident now than I was in my twenties. I speak up for myself and if I don’t like something I don’t hesitate to say so, diplomatically of course. I don’t follow the crowd and neither do I live a life that has been deemed the ‘right’ one to live by the experts. I wear my own skin, and I wear it well. It has the odd wrinkle here and a few stretch marks there – but I think they suit me. They are the battle scars of life that say Been There and Done That. I look forward to stretching my skin a bit more in the years ahead – new challenges, lifestyle changes and if all goes well, another baby perhaps.

And after all is said and done, I know I would much rather wear my own skin than anyone else’s.



Anonymous my backyard said...

Excellent theme! It's so important to be comfortable in your own skin.

Friday, September 29, 2006  
Blogger Michelle said...

I often imagine what life would have been like if I had had the confidence to speak my mind in high school like I do now!

Saturday, September 30, 2006  
Blogger Skyelarke said...

My wish for everyone would be that they could live in a new place long enough to really figure out who they are without the comforts of "home." Way to go to figure out your authentic self. I am discovering my true self more & more each day and loving who I am! I like your quote that our skin is the "scar" of "been there, done that."

Saturday, September 30, 2006  
Blogger Chelle Y. said...

Don't you wish we could have had the same insight we have today now that we are "older" when we were young. What many tears would have been avoided by the worries and insecurities of life. I am still trying to make up for them!

Saturday, September 30, 2006  
Blogger Verity said...

Finding the right balance between making others and myself happy has always been a struggle for me. I still repeat these unhealthy patterns, even at 34, even if it's less so now than before. Thanks for this post, it gave me heart and hope.

Saturday, September 30, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on meeting the real you!
It was the early 30s for me too.

Sunday, October 01, 2006  
Blogger paris parfait said...

A very beautiful post! Yes, there are benefits to getting older - mainly knowing one´s real self. Your writing describes that feat beautifully.

Sunday, October 01, 2006  
Blogger Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

to be happy in one's skin is a gift isn't it!!

Sunday, October 01, 2006  
Blogger susanlavonne said...

A truly insightful piece...and, truth be told, I am quite impressed that you achieved this attitude while still in your thirties! It took me a full decade longer ;-) Good for you!

Sunday, October 01, 2006  
Blogger ian russell said...

i do something like this too, a personal timeline, though i have an extra decade! i suppose our mistakes make us as much as our successes - i like the old saying, a person who never made a mistake never made anything.

this was enjoyable reading!

Monday, October 02, 2006  
Blogger Belle said...

wow... aren't you blessed. I'm still trying to find myself...**sigh**

Tuesday, October 03, 2006  
Blogger dorinny said...

"I conformed to the wants of the other person and so was never really myself." >> oh gosh, how I can relate! I've only just started discovering myself this year.. It requires not being bogged down by a relationship, and although I sometimes reminisce about having someone to lavish affection upon, the upside is, I get to be myself - an experience I can't remember having before..

Tuesday, October 03, 2006  
Blogger dailypanic said...

In my thirties,I find that I fit in my skin quite nice also. Nice reading.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006  

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