No Good Excuse
Are you hearing the stories you’re telling yourself? Buying into the bulls**t that’s holding you back? It’s time to recognise all of this for what it is – a lie to keep you safe, to keep you in your comfort zone. It’s time to understand the concept of No Good Excuse.
I’m Roxy. I’m 37 as I write this, and I’m a mental health therapist, business coach and speaker from Sheffield. I’m also a burns survivor – a mega one.
When I was 2 years old, I was scalded.. Not a little bit scalded – I was 70% burned and spent 6 months solidly in intensive care and in the burns unit at Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. It was 1987 – and at that time if an adult was 50% burned they were most likely to die. I was 2…. My family were told that I’d certainly die. My sister was a baby (6 months old), mum was a 22 year old girl trying to be an adult and my dad worked down the pit. I cannot even IMAGINE the impact on them at that time. I was too little and too busy fighting to pull my body out of shock. All my organs closed down, my skin was literally hanging off.
When it became clear I was miraculously (there’s absolutely no other word for it!) fighting and my organs started to slowly work again, my family were told if I survived that I’d have to have my feet and hands amputated, that I’d never walk, never go in the sun, never have a “normal life, they were worried for my social life, bullying, relationships, they had no idea whether I’d be able to have children….
I spent my childhood growing up in and out of hospitals. The Children’s Hospital at Sheffield where I was transferred to was amazing and I had my last skin graft-related surgery when I was 22.
If Carlsberg made excuses…
I’ve got the perfect one right? Pretty enough girl, shame about her scars. The thing is, it’s not a shame. It’s not a teeny, tiny bit of a shame. I used to wonder who I’d be without them. Whether I’d worry about cellulite or little ripples of thigh fat? Whether the concerns that affect others that make me smile inside when I hear them would be a big deal to me too? The conclusion of all this thinking – I don’t know. I just know I wouldn’t be me. And I bloody love me!!
I give my darling body so much credit. It’s a tough little thing is my body. I can’t even begin to list what it’s survived – never mind the actual scalding. The tens of skin grafts, the experimental procedures to improve how burns are treated now (I’m a pioneer), the being squashed into pressure garments (if you’ve ever worn the DVT stockings in hospital, imagine that, but on your WHOLE body – for years!), never mind the adult stuff. I’ve carried and delivered 2 babies, broke 5 ribs… I’m so, so grateful to my fingers typing these words, to my mouth necking my second jug of tea at 5:58am… It’s not a “shame” about my scars. I am my scars, and they are me.
But they’re a ready-made excuse, though I never really thought about until I was in a therapy session with a client one day. She was going on holiday and entirely coincidentally had a scar on her thigh. She was talking about the worry of wearing a bikini. It took me on a little flashback of being on holiday as a teen with my family and people basically stopping in their tracks to stare at me. My step-sister was about 6 and she confronted one of them in her cheeky little kid way. They were absolutely mortified and scuttled off, leaving their Greek apologies peppered in the air. I realised there and then that this would always be the case. I don’t think there will be a time when we’re not curious about people who are different to us. It doesn’t always mean it’s malicious or that there is anything more than fascination. It’s as old as time. People paid to see circus “freaks”. I spent 10 minutes staring at an amputee in Tesco a few weeks ago packing his shopping, absolutely astounded at the way he’s adapted. I literally couldn’t drag my eyes away. He was incredible.
A Natural Repellent
Yet, we can all too easily take it personally, assuming they’re thinking negative things when it’s rarely true. Sure there are plenty of uneducated, narrow-minded jerks out there, but on the whole, people are just interested. Plus – Polly Brooks MBE told me she was once told that it gives her a ready-made filter. It naturally repels the people that you don’t want around you in the first place! What a genius point of view.
Back to my point – No Good Excuse. Every single day I see, speak to, work with people who are using their “stuff” as an excuse. Their weight, appearance, fears, patterns of behaviour, previous experiences – a million things to hold themselves back. The kicker is these are all perfectly valid. The reasons you are telling yourself that you can’t do something is entirely a good reason that you can absolutely justify. Just like my scars.
But what the hell is the point? What on EARTH is more important than you going after the things that you want? Than you doing the stuff, wearing the bikini, smiling though you hate your teeth, saying no to things you don’t want to do? How is someone else’s opinion, or bigger than that – your story about what you think someone else’s opinion might be, worth sacrificing your actual life? The day to day activities that make up your life. I see so many people waiting. Waiting until they lose weight, waiting to be more confident, waiting, waiting, waiting for something to change, rather than recognising – it’s just a mindset shift and a big gulp of bravery. Because it might take guts at first. You’ll likely be uncomfortable and nervous. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You’ve done brave things before. I know it, and you know it.
Recognise that there’s No Good Excuse. It might be valid – but it’s not worth the sacrifice of your actual life, which is passing you by every single minute.
PS – I’m looking for people to come and share their excuses with me, so if you’d like to chat, tell me your story and figure out how to help you get over the mental hurdle then send me your story here.