I appreciate that some people will have felt seen by that title, and others may think why am I writing about odd socks?! I regularly wear odd socks, and I have worried about what people think. Maybe they thought that I hadn't been organised to sort my washing, that I didn't care about my appearance. In my head, such a wee thing was linked to a lot of judgement. The reality is really it doesn't actually matter, if some days I choose to wear odd socks.
Which brings me on to this quote;
“Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female’.”- Erin Mckean
It is part of a larger quote but that was this section that I originally found. It really resonated with me. Sometimes a few lines can reroute your perspective. It's like when you are riding, and you can be told how to ride something 10 different ways, and the 11th variation the lightbulb goes on.
There is a lot of pressure to look a certain way, some of it is really subliminal, some has been just accepted as the every day.
This is just what has helped me feel more accepting of myself in my head. It is still a bit of a process, I still find some of this really hard and what I am writing about are small wins on good days, which are still wins. Even talking about it can feel difficult or awkward but the conversation still feels important to have.
The easiest things to talk about are probably relating to social media. I no longer use filters when I am on stories and haven't since starting my horsey page. They changed my face and while it took a lot of talking to myself; I don't want to change my face for anyone else. The other thing is, I try to no longer apologise for my face either! If I have a spot, or bags under my eyes, I try not to apologise for it. No one should have to apologise for their own face, but we do and we are almost wired to do it.
It has been the weirdest of changes that have helped. Previously, I'd never have scraped my hair back, it made me feel self-conscious. Now it is my favourite thing- practicality is very exciting at a certain point! I noticed I was wearing makeup just to feel ok for an everyday task, so whilst I still love getting done up, I've chosen not to wear it day to day, it's a physical action that really helped how I think about myself.
Dougal or Gem don't care what I look like and I absolutely love that about going to the yard. There is a really specific kind of escape going up there, that I just don't have to care what I look like and I really value that. The goal is to feel like that anywhere.
Why am I even talking about this? I just really wish I had stopped caring about some things sooner. I think a lot of us struggle with self-confidence, self image etc and it can be something that takes a lot of space up in our head, all I can say is I feel a lot better now it takes up a little less space.
The wider media doesn't help with its photoshopping, filtering, undiverse range of people they use, and the equestrian sector also falls into the same patterns in some areas.
My biggest “why” is I have a little girl who’s currently two years old. I want her to grow up knowing that who she is and how she looks - or wants to look - is absolutely enough. She shouldn't feel the need to change for anyone else's approval.
The habits I am trying to change are a tiny gesture in the grand scheme of things. However, changing what I do, to what I want to see, makes me feel like I am in some small way contributing to the change.
So wear odd socks, be unapologetically who you are, and in the encouraging words of Becky (@Heidiponyhooverpig) just wear the shorts!