50 Shades of Inadequacy

Today I am going to have a rant, while sitting here with my (carefully measured) glass of low alcohol wine. Do join me.

Yes drinking alone; I’m just 3 steps away from AA’s own 12 steps.

Steps by Jimmy Chang

Steps by Jimmy Chang

Today I’m not going to give myself a hard time about hitting wine o’clock at 5pm on a Tuesday … after all there are so many more shades of inadequacy that the information age is throwing at me and you …. It is these 50 shades of inadequacy I would like to rant about.

But first, let me ask you; did you floss today? Meditate? What is your fruit and veg intake like? How many steps have you done? Did you sit? What?? Are you telling me, you don’t have a standing desk? How about super-foods? Ancient grains? Why are you eating grains didn’t you know beef was the new Quinoa? Did you try my new apps on the last blog? Are you pacing your breathing? Parents, how are your school volunteering hours? Is your homework done? How much old resentment have you let go off today?  Gratitude, now you must have shown at least some gratitude today? Patience?  What about charity?

Is it just me feeling the pressure?  It used to just be beautiful woman on bus stops and TV adds making me feel not quite worthy.  Now every manner of pressure is beaming into every area of my life, via multiple channels and devices. 10 easy steps to this  …. 50 things to never say to your children  … 13 things to always say to your children  … 3 weeks to flat belly.

Isn’t motherhood a chance to hate yourself even more?

As I try and hide in my office enjoying my wee rant … miss 10 screams at me “Mum the internet is not working!!”. What is my response?  You guessed it, it must be my fault, my inability to set boundaries, my inability to consistently honour the 6 steps for awesome parenting, my strong desire for a quiet time and glass of wine ahead of a meltdown. When did I become responsible for so much, like my chances of early death by any cause (as well as my partners and children’s), the vibe in my office, the Syrian crisis?

Even my healthy magazines are at it.

It’s a fact that reading woman’s magazines makes us feel worse about ourselves. I had thought that not all woman magazines were created equal, that ‘my’ magazines were different, motivating … packed full with useful health information and tips and stories of real woman.

Sadly …. increasingly I notice the same celebrity focus as the ‘trashy’ mags.   The difference is the celebrities must be self-made, super healthy and perky and usually selling their own product, book or advice.  Yes they throw in a few uplifting articles about positive ageing, but don’t seem to notice the “10 steps to younger skin” on the facing page.  The last health magazine I read left me with the same slightly guilty, cheap and unworthy feelings I always associated with the trashy mags and nights out on the booze.

Steps by Lynne McMath

Steps by Lynne McMath

I am a woman, I am fast approaching middle age (well technically right in it, but lets us not split gray hairs), I am interested in my physical and mental health and I want to be motivated and supported in those goals.   The key subtlety that seems to be missing from any media just now is … I want to feel those goals are achievable, I want a gentle nudge forward, towards them. I don’t want to come away feeling they are further away, that somehow only the beautifully presented, perfectly coifed, naturally slim are allowed these joys.

And then there was Bridget Jones to make it all OK

In case you think my rant on pressure and judgement is unjustified, just consider for a moment what the media did to Renee Zellweger when she dared to get cosmetic surgery (maybe). This is tough for Renee because if she was not aging well and dared to step out – what would have happened to her then?

It is actually ironic (well in an Alanis Morrissette way at least) that she is most famous for a role that made us feel OK as we were. She was everyone’s girl, ‘our’ Bridget, all our weakness and more plastered on the big screen and still loveable, oh so loveable.

So it was with mixed emotions that I went to the cinema this weekend to watch Bridget Jones’ Baby. Bridget Jones age is tracking exactly with mine … so I felt all the nerves of seeing an old friend, would it be the same?  Would we ‘get’ each other?

Steps by Bryan Rodriguez

Steps by Bryan Rodriguez

I was thrilled to see Renee do it again, and remind us that we are human first and foremost, we sometimes get drunk and fall down, sometimes we care too much about the wrong things, and don’t follow the 12 steps to anything much…. and that we are perfect in our imperfectness.  Wouldn’t you sooner a day with ‘our’ imperfect Bridget than any number of perfectly coiffed and 12 step following gurus? I know I would.

Of course don’t get me wrong I, like Bridget, will continue the self-improvement journey… and like Bridget I will blunder my way through it … and like Renee I’ll get plastic surgery if the world starts watching me do it.




Go well (or should I say ‘blunder on’) in the direction of your dreams,

Yours as Ever,

The Wellbeingatwork(nearly)Dr.






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