Because I’m happy…

Hello, my name is Annette and I’m happy.

I’m usually a pretty happy soul, but something about today has me feeling extra happy.

I did wake up with utterly awesome bed hair this morning. That started my day off with a chuckle. So much so that I did an impromptu photo shoot of my rockabilly quiff and recorded a silly little video which I posted on social media.

Rockin’ the Rockabilly


Can I tell you something?

I like myself. I truly enjoy the person I see in the mirror each morning.

More days than not, I’ll give myself a wink and a smile as I’m brushing my teeth.

I like my emotional smarts, my intelligence, my ability to make other people smile by engaging in a bit of silliness. I like my face. I like my choices. Most of all, I like liking myself, just as I am.

It’s so good to like yourself, and it seems that a lot of people struggle with this.

Perhaps, and I’m just reflecting on what I see, hear and think here, somewhere along the line, messages about liking ourselves have gotten entangled with liking our physical attributes.

So, to the physical – I have great boobs (particularly when they’re well supported!). I have shazamy blue eyes. I have a great laugh. I like my height, my hands and my short haircut. And I am overweight. Being overweight doesn’t make me like my eyes less or worse yet, hate myself. My knees would probably like me more if I weighed less, it’s true, but when I was a ‘normal’ sized teenager and young woman, I didn’t think more of my slimmer body. In fact, I didn’t really think of it at all. I never have.

I haven’t worked out if that’s a 1 in 100,000 anomaly or a deeper disconnected from the body thing – which is quite common in adoptees – but either way, this skin I’m in has never determined my happiness, or lack thereof.

I am not my body.

You are not your body either.

I’m willing to bet, sadly, that some of you reading this can pretty easily rattle off a litany of supposed faults you see in the mirror – you may not like your thighs, or your nose, or some aspect of your face… and I have to tell you, that breaks my heart.

Where did we, particularly as women, decide to measure ourselves in this way? Who tricked us into buying into the absolute power of this external measuring stick?

Why are we sometimes so viciously hard on ourselves?

And what is this teaching the girls in our lives?

I was out shopping with my sister and my niece, maybe a year or so ago, and Little Miss Five wanted to hang in the change rooms with me. I was fine with that, and as I took my tee off to try on some tops, she made a comment about my size – her mother and I have vastly different physiques – and I knew it was an opportunity to show her that I accepted myself and was not embarrassed for her to see me in my bra and jeans. I can’t remember what I said, something to the effect that we all come in different shapes, but I do remember thinking of that moment as a small victory. I didn’t push her out of the room or hide my ‘fat’ body from her. I didn’t feel ashamed of myself. I was hanging out with a little girl I adore. A girl I desperately hope will not fall victim to the incredibly narrow, judgemental messages young girls are bombarded with about beauty and self-worth.

Don’t worry though – I won’t be lighting up Instagram with any half dressed images of myself! I like myself, but I’m still vain. I’ll still crop a photo if I catch myself at an angle that highlights my chins, but I don’t hate myself because of them.

This may seem a strange path for a post that started out about happiness, but for me, the way that I like myself, and CELEBRATE myself, is a fundamental aspect of my happiness.

I have climbed out of some deep, deep places of feeling worthless and broken, of being convinced I was unloved and unloveable, but those places of pain were never about my weight or skin or freckles or thighs. I spent so many years in a head space that was anything but loving and accepting of the girl in the mirror. Years and years. I’m sad it took so long, but it did.

I have some long time friends who could tell you about the tears and anguish along the way. So many tears. So much doubt and anger and fear and rejection.

I had to go through the fire. It was an excruciatingly slow burn at times, but I made it.

What the long road away from those destructive places has taught me is that I’m the only me I’ve got. I’m responsible for my happiness, for the tone of my inner dialogue. I do have power over the inner critic, and I can, and have, learned how to shut that voice down. Does it still pipe up every now and then? Yep. Particularly when I’m learning new things or am out of my comfort zone, BUT I can talk myself off the ledge pretty quickly. I often speak to myself, kindly and logically, and recalibrate my expectations to a more reasonable scale.

Wherever you are at with what I’ve described as the furnace of coming into genuine self-acceptance, I want to tell you two things from the depth of my soul:

you can look at yourself in the mirror with love, and

coming to that place is an inside job.


The only detox we really need is from is the poison we allow ourselves to believe about the things that stand between us and “I like myself”.

There’s no magical quick fix formula, but I reckon a really good place to start is tonight when you’re brushing your teeth.

Hold your own gaze.

Hold it with compassion, and kindness. Hold it without critiquing what you see.

Do that again in the morning, and tomorrow night, and the next morning. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat.

My deepest wish for you is that one day, you’ll give that girl in the mirror a wink and a smile.

I do, and when she smiles back… there’s nothing better.

With love,

Annette xx

78 thoughts on “Because I’m happy…

  1. I love that! … good for you Annette!
    I’m good with that too!
    all good in acceptance of what is and who we are
    I’m ok and so are you!
    love m:)X


  2. This is my favourite EVER post of yours. EVER ever. I love it so much! It says something deeply, crucially important to all girls, women, adoptees, ashamees, and apologies. It spoke to me. I am not my body. I am much much more.
    Love this Nettie, a very important post.
    You are amazeballs. 🙂


      • This is such an affirming read. I have shared this on Facebook and others have shared it too. Thank you for saying what we all need to hear! Bless you beautiful soul. 🙂


      • We all need affirmation don’t we? One of the most important things in life is to learn how to DIY that act! Thank you for your kind words, and for sharing this post. Don’t forget to wink when you brush.


  3. Annette, it’s absolutely about what’s on the inside. The eyes are the window to the soul. Despite the rubbish I go on with about everything. the long and short of it is… what sort of person are you? I think your niece is lucky to have you as an aunt 🙂 You have to love yourself and be confident in yourself. We are born into this word alone and die alone. We should all treat ourselves with the tenderest of love.


  4. Thank you, Annette. We all need to hear this from time to time. And it’s all the more important to make sure the little girls in our lives hear it from us at every opportunity.


  5. Go you good rockabilly rebel. I love ya guts, yep that deep inner gutsy place that is truly you, my gorgeous Nettie. As one who has journeyed with you, I want to say how truly proud of you I am. I say it of myself too. I’m proud of me. Proud of the work I’ve done, and that I’m still doing, to get to a much healthier place within myself.
    And in that process, I’m at the heaviest weight I’ve ever been. I’m not loving that but, as the alternative was pretty flippin’ destructive, I’m pretty darned happy with that chick I see in the mirror too. I will do my best to give her a wink and a smile more often.
    Thank you for your words especially the looooong words, for your hair, for your eyes and for being awesome!!!!


    • Wairseeee!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
      I love the girl you see in the mirror Sair. Always will.
      The effing scales reflect nothing of the person you are – a woman who is fiercely determined, loving, HERE, and with compassion for others forged by your own time in the furnace.
      It is kind of amazing how far you and I have come isn’t it? Actually, truly amazing. GO US!
      I was thinking of you when I wrote about my long time friends. You knew it didn’t you??
      Thank you so much for knowing and believing xxxxxxxxx


  6. I’ve only started reading your blog recently and what an awesome space you have created. I love this post. I love your interaction with your niece and how beautifully you write about yourself. It is definitely something we all need to learn – to hold our gaze with compassion, kindness and without critique.


    • Hello Hilary! I’m so happy you came across across my blog.

      Thank you so much for reading, and taking the time to comment with such kindness.

      Please chime in any time, I’m all about conversation!


  7. Woohoo!!! What an awesome post 🙂
    I’ve been thinking about this very topic a lot recently. I was trying on a bra last week and the woman helping me complemented my tummy. Without missing a beat I pointed out my back fat and then thought ‘why would I do that to myself?’ The woman in question went on to tell me she would prefer my tummy over hers any day and it really got me thinking – ‘would I prefer someone else’s body?’ and my answer is NO.
    I really like myself these days and although I’m not quite at the love stage yet I’m getting there. I can’t ‘un-say’ the negative things I’ve said about my body my whole life but I sure can change the way I speak about it from now on, hear me roar!!!


  8. You should go into every primary and high school and teach young girls and boys exactly what you just wrote… so very infectious and so very powerful. Beautifully written 🙂


    • That would be awsesome! My sister – my gorgeous niece’s mum – does that kind of thing around bullying and I am so proud of her! Thank you so much for commenting and sharing this post. It’s so important isn’t it?


  9. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! I LOVE all of what you had to say.. I will aim to wink at the girl in the mirror. I will also get my kids involved.Thanks again for sharing your infectious smile.Cheers


  10. this is the first time I’ve come across your blog. I am greatly critical of my physical self, but over the last couple of years have been trying to like what I see. I’m getting there… This post was a great boost! I’m off to brush my teeth. Thank you. x


    • I’m so glad you are here Heidi. You’re not alone in being hard on yourself – my encouragement for all of us is to look for the non-physical us when we are brushing our teeth. I really believe we can only love and like ourselves from the inside out. Give yourself a break. Show yourself the kindness you usually lavish on those around you.


  11. Inspiring truths! Imagine how different the world would be if all women /girls/people endorsed each other in this way.
    I don’t know how we got to be so hard on ourselves or on each other, but I LOVE the way you think.


    • Thank you Kerry – I think if we work on ourselves, the tearing down of others becomes unnecessary.
      We are not in competition with each other, no matter what some would have us believe.


  12. Well that was and is a most uber brilliant post. Love it so much. You know what? I’m very much like you and I’m so,so, so happy to be self-accepting life really is just so much easier when you reach that point. You’re a rock star Hun with a wonderful journey and story to share, keep being real. X


    • Hi Trudie. I agree with you, it is an easier and richer life if you’re self accepting. But what a bugger that furnace was. I can’t stop people having to go through it, but I want to set up a grandstand and cheer them on. All of them!!


  13. I officially started with my Grumpy pants on today and after reading your post i am now smiling from ear to ear! Annette you area bright light in this dark world, thank you for sharing and thank you for being you…


  14. I love this so much!!! A beautiful and elegant post from a beautiful and thoughtful woman. Thank you Annette!!! Xxx


    • Chuffed! I’m so happy that people are catching what I’m throwing. And I’m so happy you loved it Sarah! Thank you for taking the time to leave me some encouragement.


  15. Awesome Annette, esp ‘you are not your body’. And respect for the changing room situ. I think we need more people like you championing the cause for everyone to love themselves, no matter what they may look like. Imagine a world without mirrors – perhaps people would forget about vanity entirely and just get on with the business of enjoying life and being happy? (And now I have the song ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams in my head!)


  16. Nettie!!! Best post ever. I think I’ve FINALLY reached that stage too. I have a feeling it may come with age. Now I’m just hoping to pass this same attitude on to my girls. I hope it doesn’t take them as long as me to arrive at this point of self approval. Love your rockabilly hair too. You rock! x


    • That’s got to be the ultimate trait to model and pass on I reckon. Love yourselves sick ladies!! I’m so glad you feel it too Deb ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️


  17. Fantastic post, Annette! The first time I read it I got goose bumps and had a real light bulb moment. It may seem simple to others, but I’ve spent most of my life hating my body. The thought that it is OK to like myself even though I’m not perfect is something I’m still getting my head around, but fills me with hope and a sense of freedom. Keep it up girl – you’re an inspiration!


    • I wrote it for you Julie xxx
      You are not your body – not even if it was “perfect” in your estimation – whatever the hell that horrible word of doom conjures up.
      Embrace the person you are in your heart of hearts. Let HER shine xxxx
      Brush. Wink. Smile. Repeat.


  18. Wonderful words, I want some of my friends to read this exactly as you said it. I get so sad when they link their self-worth to their thighs/stomach/arms. Thanks for such a great post 🙂


  19. Such a wise and important post, Annette. I’m working towards raising my girls to see themselves exactly as you see yourself. I’m doing that by starting with myself. x


  20. #brushwinksmile
    LOVE this, Annette – thank you for sharing your truth in such an authentic way. I will be ruminating on this – while brushing 😉 – for the next few days!


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