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I Feel Guilty: Katie Northwood

Samantha Wills


Ripping a hole in the crotch of her leggings - haha


Sassy interaction with cute bearded stranger at the dry cleaners - hahaha


Super self-depreciating exchange with someone so hot you can probably see the earth’s scorch marks from space – HA…wait.


Why did I laugh at that?


Why did we all laugh at that?


If you haven’t yet seen Amy Schumer’s newest creation – I Feel Pretty – I cannot recommend it highly enough. At first glimpse; another piece of Schumer hilarity with quips, the right amount of crudity and her trademark socially awkward interactions thrown in for good measure (she speaks to me on an unbelievably relatable level)

**I don’t want to spoil the film, so maybe give this a miss until you’ve seen it.

I laughed. We all did. We echoed her pain at such public humiliation. We related when she picked her jaw up off the flaw upon seeing Emily Ratajkowski, in bike shorts no less. We felt her elation when her wish to be beautiful came true, and her subsequent heartbreak when the spell was broken. It was a feel-good film that was tied up nicely with a big pretty bow; you have everything you need, you’ve had it from the beginning - you just need to see it.

But one niggling thought stuck with me after the credits rolled and kept me company on the 40 minute drive home. How f**ked up is our collective sense of value? For that storyline to work, for the humour and the twist and the miraculous realisation to occur in a way that we would buy, it had to have an element of truth to it. It’s no secret that we (a joint effort between women, men and society as a whole) put so much emphasis on physical appearance, but it goes a step further than that – we assume a position in the physical pecking order and adjust our sense of worth accordingly. That moment in the film was so funny because we related, because deep down we all compare ourselves, feeding internal dialogue to reinforcce it. 

This was the level on which I related most deeply (and regrettably) with her character. Subconsciously, consciously. Time and time again I find myself comparing and making a snap judgement – oh sh*t, she’s way more attractive, look at her legs! (Here comes the spiral into non-sensical assumptions) - she’s obviously better than I am, in every conceivable way.

I'm so jealous of her life, she's perfect. 

Does it make sense? No. Is it informed, or logical? God no. But does it happen? Every bloody time.

Having said that, it’s not all doom and gloom. I have it on good authority that bad habits – and that’s exactly what this is – can be broken down, reprogrammed. In the movie, the magical transformation happens for our heroine in a spin class. But, signing up for the spin class isn’t enough. Intentionality is a great start, but the grunt work that delivers results is in the every day. It’s in the shittiest of times that you need to keep working at thinking of and speaking to yourself a little better. When you’re so caught up in your head and your thoughts that they settle in, seemingly for the long-haul (and worse, when they appear to be right) – this is when its needed the most - “see, I knew I wasn’t worthy – that’s why I missed out on that job…” “F**k. I knew I’d make that mistake and I was right.” 

Isn’t it funny how powerful these words feel? How we are stung by them and influenced by them, and yet they come from within. Perhaps that’s why they seem so powerful – if we know ourselves, and we think them, they must be true.

Keep in mind this series of thought is coming from the same brain that gave life and power to a monster apparently residing under your bed/in your closet. Remember those days? You convinced yourself at some point of its presence (similar to those ‘flaws’ you find in yourself and the subsequent comparison to others), and from there your brain ran wild with the details, gathering evidence to prove the ridiculous theory. Do you remember when you found out that it wasn’t real – your parents climbed under the bed with you, torch in hand, to free you of its grip – and that feeling of power that followed? Your brain misled you – it produced an entire narrative of things that simply weren’t true. What isn’t real can’t hurt you. The same goes for these abusive thoughts about ourselves. They seem real, harmful, but only as long as you give them the power to do so.

“There is nothing more important to true growth than realising that you are not the voice of the mind - you are the one who hears it.”

Michael Singer hits the nail (quite literally) on the head with this statement in The Untethered Soul. It’s a daunting thought; our inner voice is not always accurate, nor is it us. What is within us is the ability to disconnect from this bitch

So, get that sweatband on, squeeze yourself into the spin bike straps, and commit to the hard work – when that inner voice takes over and starts tearing you down, put her in her place, pedal through it.

"You're worthless" - keep pedaling

"She's so much better than you" - keep pedaling

"Why bother, you'll never get that job" - KEEP PEDALING.

Recognise the voice for what it is – a manifestation of a scared, ill-informed mind that has run wild with the details – and reign it in. Don’t expect to take one ride and suddenly be Lance Armstrong though; these things take time, failure, starting over and small, slow successes. But how sweet will that payoff be when you can hear that voice and shrug it off.

Or tune her out to nothing.