Monday 20th February 2017

I’ve now been doing The Climb for 30 days and that in itself has been an interesting journey.
I liked the idea of documenting my journey, capturing my mood and what was on my mind day to day.  I knew some days would be a little lean.  I knew some days I would be raving about tornadoes or sword fighting or some video game rather than writing (which is the focus) but I also knew that writing is so much a product of those things around me and it would be fun to capture them.
Of course, posting a blog post every day would mean I needed a new image to accompany it each day.  I went through several ideas but I eventually came up with the idea (mainly because this tied in with my social media plans) to take a selfie each day.
And that’s been the most interesting discovery over the last month.
You see, on one level I’m pretty confident.  Having high-functioning anxiety means I can chase tornadoes or go and talk in front of hundreds of people (although try and get me to make phone calls I don’t want to make!).
But years of being fat (I told everyone it was because I was ill, no-one listened and now it seems to be proving it was true), and then successive genetic skin disorders… and leggedon has left me very self-conscious about my looks.   It’s not something I really talk about for that very reason.  I will do things, for example, such as wear glasses when meeting a group of new people as I don’t want people to see the Vitiligo around my eyes.
Whilst I lost more weight in the preceding 4 years, people have been commenting about my weight drop over the last year.  I suppose because the 10 stone I originally dropped saw me go from very fat to just fat, but the 2 I’ve dropped in the last year have seen me go from fat to athletic.  And I ain’t done yet!  😉
There’s still problems though.  My remaining weight pools round my middle; I look like I’m an action-figure who’s been held over a fire between my belly button and groin.  The Vtiligo doesn’t go away and now the latest diagnosis adds dark patches to my light ones.
So I guess in many ways, doing the daily selfie was a way for me to try and combat this and feel good about myself.
I can definitely say that I felt incredible self-conscious snapping a selfie, even more so when I realised I needed to be quite expressive in the pictures for The Climb.  But I’ve grown more comfortable with it.  I guess it’s easier to explain away if you say it’s “for something” rather than just doing it for yourself.
But there’s been this surprising upside to forcing myself to be confident…  I’ve actually started to get a lot of compliments.
Yesterday was one of those days.  At least two people inside the swordfighting community referenced me in terms of remarkable fitness gains in the last year.  And then elsewhere, I’ve had a lot of really positive comments over the last week or so.  They’ve almost been a little distracting.
Now all this doesn’t mean I now feel 100% confident taking selfies, or that my horrible gut flab doesn’t still bother me, but I’m definitely feeling much more body positive than I did 30 days ago.  Isn’t it amazing how these little projects result in these previously unthought-of benefits?
Now what I wished for instead today was better word count.  This chapter is going s-l-o-w.  I’m heavily editing at the moment and I wonder if I’d have been better suited to just rewriting the whole damn thing.  I’ve already found a plot strand I need to plant much earlier but that needs to go into the next draft.
But, I remind myself, writing isn’t always about those days of throwing confetti into the air because you get 10,000 words done.  Some days they are about getting down and dirty where progress is measured in inches rather than miles.  I just keep thinking to the upcoming chase scene and how awesome that’s going to be, in order to get through this horrid chapter.
This is what The Climb is all about… documenting the hard times as well as the easy times.
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.
Twitter: @figures
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