I can clearly remember when Rich and I bought our first brand new fridge together. It was a big event and we were both filled with a sense of excitement and anticipation when the delivery lorry pulled up on our street. What added to our excitement was the knowledge that all of our curtain-twitchers.. sorry, neighbours.. would be looking out of their windows to see our new, shiny, silver fridge-freezer being delivered. We beamed with pride as it stood so proudly in our kitchen. I took precious care and attention of the beautiful silver doors, ensuring that not one smudgy finger mark was visible. This meant spending an unhealthy amount of time polishing it, but the new fridge, in all its glory, was definitely worth it.
That was 12 years ago. ......
I stood in front of my fridge today and felt more than a little sorry for it. The combination of 5 house moves and 4 children have taken their toll on our old silver friend. Every dent tells a story. And where the doors once shone in all their glory, they are now hidden under layers of party invitations, supermarket flyers, school newsletters and the odd bill (okay, there are quite a few bills). I suddenly realise that I can't even remember the make or model of the fridge as the logo is hidden under my collection of insulting magnets. You know the ones I mean. People buy them as 'gifts' thinking that they are being hilariously quirky, when in actual fact all they do is remind me that, like my fridge, I am no longer new and shiny. I'll give you some examples of said magnets:
1. 'My house was clean last week, sorry you missed it' (admittedly, this isn't too bad although as someone who once took such pride in her minimalistic style of housekeeping, this was a tough one to display!)
2. 'Fridge pickers wear big knickers' (Nuff' said)
3. 'I no longer skinny dip, I chunky dunk' (Okay, so I did giggle at this one but I think I was just using my humour as a defence mechanism)
I found myself miserably pondering.... where along the line had I managed to gain an extra 4 stone? When did I stop bothering to straighten my hair or paint my nails? How and when did I lose the ability to realise how shiny and beautiful I am? Like the fridge, I realise I feel hidden under all of the stressful demands of my life. 4 children, 2 cats, a dog and an incredibly gorgeous-yet-high-maintenance hubby-to-be have meant that I come last. My idea of a successful day is being able to have a bath without my son coming in for a poop. I'm tired and I feel deflated. I find myself glancing at old photographs of me as a young, vibrant (not to mention much slimmer) woman in my early 20's and I wonder what happened. Where did I go? When did I lose my sense of identity and my self-esteem? When I look in the mirror I feel disappointed with the reflection staring back at me. Surrounded by constant images of 'perfection; in the media, I am often left feeling more than a little disheartened by the way I look.
Sometimes I want to throw my fridge away and forget it ever existed. To replace it by a brand new, bigger, shinier fridge. But I have come to realise that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the fridge that I have. It still works perfectly well. It has been incredibly loyal to me and my ever increasing family over the years. All it needs is a bit of TLC. I simply need to remove the layers of unnecessary scraps of paper, bin those derogatory magnets and give it a good polish. Okay, so its not quite as shiny and new as the day we bought it 12 years ago, but its still just as glorious. (And it still keeps the milk cold).
And when I think back to that younger, slimmer 20-something year old girl from the photos I realise that my memory of her has been very selective. I may have taken more pride in my appearance back then and may even have been able to squeeze into a pair of tight jeans, but was I really, truly happy? And the answer is a very clear, very resounding no. Back then I did not have the love of a gorgeous, 6 foot 4 ginger giant who adores me for the person I am and not what I look like. I did not know the sheer joy and unconditional love I would feel being a mother to my 4 amazing children. I did not know the satisfaction, appreciation and happiness I would feel at the simple things in life. A clean toilet. An empty washing basket. The loo seat being put down after use. A scribble on a piece of paper drawn by my 2 year old that is quite clearly a picture of a snowman playing tennis (obviously).
So I've decided that I am going to sift through the layers of stress, worry and self-loathing that I have built up over the years and discover that underneath it all, I am still a beautiful, shiny fridge. I am going to remember what it feels like to be pampered. To have my make-up done by a professional who can capture the beauty of a face that has been defined for so long by how pale, tired and pimply it looks. I deserve this. I deserve to be treated like a princess. And if any of what I have written here today resonates with any of you beautiful woman out there, you deserve it too. You deserve to discover your shiny fridge within!
With love, Lisa @ Lighthouse
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