Every so often, I go through a bizarre phase of self help books. I cherry pick advice on how to calm my anxiety, get slimmer, eat better, exercise more, nurture relationships and pluck my eyebrows so they’re even on each side. I don’t know where this habit has come from. So when my Twitter suddenly burst with Sarah Knight quotes and people talking about fuck budgets, I was curious but determined not to buy her books.
I ended up buying both of them. On Kindle and hardback.
Unlike most other self help books though, Sarah Knight’s books leave out all of the holier than thou positivity and good vibes only chatter. A woman after my own heart, she accepts that sometimes things can be shitty, and sometimes looking for the best in any situation doesn’t fix it, it just masks how shitty it is until you lose your shit, as she eloquently puts it. There’s no pussyfooting around in these books, and there’s times I found myself getting inwardly defensive of silly things I do (why? Nobody was even arguing with me!). By the end though, I was a new woman. A woman ready to start tackling both my sock drawer and my mental barn full of shit. A woman ready to stop forgetting to take the rubbish out and refill the sugar container.
Here are some things I learned.
I Definitely Give Too Many Fucks
If there is anything I’m guilty of, it’s that I give too many fucks and then guilt myself for doing exactly that. I want to attend work nights out even though I’m the only one that doesn’t enjoy having beer slopped over me dancing to Come On Eileen (a classic) in Bier Keller. I want to go to the gym and be stronger and better all the time even when I’m exhausted. I want to be the best at work so I take on heaps of responsibility that isn’t in my job description and wonder why I burn out. I find saying no to anything and anyone a challenge.
Luckily for me, Sarah Knight isn’t the airy-fairy type of guru who tells you to accept yourself as you are in all your too-many-fucks-given-ness. I can vouch for the fact that you’ll clear your mental space faster sitting on a hard wooden floor because it’s really rather uncomfortable. I’ve learned to analyse whether I actually give a fuck before committing, rather than waiting until I’ve bored myself to death or have burnt out to realise I didn’t really care to begin with.
Being Organised Doesn’t Strictly Mean You Have Your Shit Together
Here’s the thing; I run three diaries. I spent the first 20 minutes of every shift planning my next six hours. I plan my days off if I have things to do. I’m at least 15 minutes early for every commitment I have whether it’s work or social or Drs appointments or making Liam go to the hospital two hopurs early for his appointments.
But as I write this, I’m sitting on a pile of couch cushions in front of my desk because it’s taken 3 months to sort out fixing my glitched desktop and despite having this blogging space in our living room since August, I still haven’t bought the chair I want from Ikea. I’m about a foot lower than my PC. I also just put every bra I own in the washer so I’m crouched, gollum style, braless in my dressing gown. Not what you picture when you look for someone who has their shit together, I’m sure.
So I’ve learned I do need to buy more bras and I do need a computer chair to save my lower back. But I also learned that at any given time, I’m more likely to spend £7 on a Barburrito for instant burrito pleasure, than spend £40 on a new boulder holderthat straps the girls down enough to stop them knocking pens off the desk at work. I’m also more likely to buy that body scrub from TK Maxx and have silky soft skin than invest in the chair I have wanted since we moved into this house that means I’m not goblin crouching round the house.. I have weird attachements to my money and yet I spend it anyway. What a massive weirdo.
Also, in spite of the fact that I am clearly a huge thrill seeker and enjoy having every aspect of every shift and social event planned three days in advance, I also spend a lot of time lying face down on the couch actively avoiding doing things that need to be done. See also; setting up the direct debit phone bill, making sure my work uniform is ready more than 8 hours before my shift starts, cooking real meals instead of living on bagels and doing the dishes because we don’t have space for a dishwasher. If I had my shit together, I’d be feeding myself like a grown ass adult and be moving us to a place where we have the space for a dishwasher because I really fucking hate doing the dishes. Like I keep saying, it’s a journey.
I Waste An Extraordinary Amount Of Time
I am literally the worst for being like “oh I don’t have time to blog today” or excusing myself from other blog related tasks (boring as scheduling tweets may be), but then spending 45 minutes literally looking at a wall or singing the entire Moana soundtrack in the shower while also avoiding the fact my legs look like hairy tights. Part of sorting myself out has been re-downloading Buffer to my phone and spending my bus journeys to and from work scheduling tweets and pinning things and all the stuff I should do but don’t. I’ve also started tasking myself with writing and taking photographs around my shifts and on my days off instead of acting as if I don’t give a fuck and crying inside that my DA has dropped 10 points.
In an ideal world, I’d spend more time doing all of these things and start monetising properly here so I can drop the hours in a job I don’t particularly enjoy.
Sarah Knight has taught me there’s no such thing as an ideal world, and that if I want to do that, the only way to get there is to sort my damn self out and do it. Which means less time staring into space and brooding, and more time catching up on how many data pins I’ve missed and begrudingly following Yoast’s instructions to fix my SEO.
My Goals Aren’t Actually My Goals At All
Confession/stating the obvious time: I am really shit at following through with goals I set for myself. See also; blogging 3x per week, gymming 4x per week, deadlifting 100kg, keeping as many house plants alive as possible, learning to drive and earning more than £20k a year.
Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting (it happens when you meditate more and do more yoga, apparently). It turns out that you can learn a lot about yourself when Adriene asks you to clench your kegels for an entire practice, and if you can do that, my friends, you can do anything.
I used to tell myself I wanted to climb the career ladder and own a big house and be married one day (why, Bre, why?) but realistically I’ve never really committed to working towards any of that, so maybe I didn’t want it so much at all. I used to want to travel here there and everywhere and envisioned myself on some kind of Eat, Pray, Love journey, but I’ve also learned I don’t travel particularly well and I am very much a nesting bird. I’m okay with the fact that short term goals are kind of my thing: currenlty #1 on the list is to finish decorating the living room that I spend so much time nesting in. A close second is to start tackling the two page list of blogging ideas by actually writing them instead of coming up with a title and leaving it at that. Third is to buy a fucking chair. And then take Marie Kondo’s advice and get an actuial sock drawer to organise.
Being Negative Is Not Actually The Worst
Especially in Blogging Land, there’s this idea that you need to be a positive person. Scroll Twitter at any given time and you’ll see multiple tweets about good vibes and how being negative gets you nowhere, but I disagree (and so does Sarah Knight).
Animals didn’t evolve to do cool shit by seeing only the positive in the fact that they couldn’t feed themselves or fuck each other effectively. No positive force drove animals to land or caused cuckoo’s to smack other birds eggs from the nest. This might not necessarily be your goal, but it’s also okay to admit that you want to change because of a negative driver. You don’t have to look for the good in every situation. Lord knows I’ve tried it, and it ended with a huge panic attack on a flat bed trolley outside work (way to look professional and put together). It’s okay to admit that you’re not happy with your circumstances and use that to drive yourself to change or find something better.
Don’t put up with shit because you’re worried about coming off as negative about it.
If you have read them, what did you learn?