The TikTok girlies got me.
I won’t lie. It doesn’t take much for me to be influenced. Mostly where food is concerned. All of a sudden I seem to develop these “out of the blue cravings” for food I just happen to have scrolled past half an hour ago. I am, very often, a marketer’s dream.
I’m in a fully remote role now and the trickle of steps I’ve been amassing each day is embarrassing and just doesn’t feel good in my body. My commitment to myself this year has been simply to move my body, most days, and in the ways that I want. That’s it.
And I wanted to walk.
I queued up podcasts to listen to, to urge me out the door. I downloaded the Couch to 5k app (which I’ve completed before). Nope. Let me tell you: no alarm, cajoling or compromise, not even an accountability partner, was making it happen.
So when I came across a few of the work-from-home contingent on TikTok with their walking treadmills and sit-stand desks, I found myself intrigued. Research ensued, the algorithm sent me more videos, some money became available and a few review videos and a discount code later, a 25kg box turned up at my front door.
At first, I thought, “what nonsense have I convinced myself to buy from the internet now?” But friends, after a false start and a change of location, I am doing the thing. Most days. My steps are back in the thousands instead of the hundreds. I walk along with a coffee in a flask in the morning, or with the company of video podcasts or vlogs at lunchtime. I’m not looking for a massive workout, just some movement to keep my muscles limber and break up too much sitting. And it fits the bill.
So here I am, doing the thing… but feeling hella embarrassed.
“I’ve already gone for a 40-minute walk this morning” I messaged my friend, deliberately leaving out “in the same spot, on a potentially faddy treadmill I was influenced into buying.” The first bit sounds so worthy. “Look at me and my morning routine,” it says.
I have friends who hike through forests and regularly climb rocky mounts, and there I was walking in front of YouTube. In my mind, I felt quite proud that I was regularly doing the thing I had wanted to do, but when I transposed that to the lens of me imagining what someone else might think of my effort, that pride was swallowed by self-consciousness.
Eventually, I had to remind myself that my desire had been to walk, and that’s what I was (and still am) doing. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to focus on the goal instead of policing the how. Because if it has to look a certain way for you to get there or give yourself kudos, it might not ever happen.
When I quietly mumbled over voice note that I had a walking treadmill I introduced it like this: “the thing I’ve been avoiding telling you, I think because I judge myself…” And there it was. It wasn’t my friend’s opinion I was really worried about. It was that I thought that they might perpetuate the judgement and shame I had already decided I should feel.
And I should know better. Miss ‘no rules in journalling, it’s how it feels not how it looks.’ But I know that it has come up before. When I wanted to read more, about what self-employment looks like, or when I decided what a writer looked like, and my effort didn’t match up. We get these weird things in our minds about what quantifies something as proper or right, but there are many ways to get to the same goal.
I am a morning person, but I am not an outside morning person. And that’s okay.
I read more now, but my way has been through reading ebooks rather than physical books. It suits the way I do life and gamifies the process for me so I read more (I play little games with my mind to see if I can get to x% in x time). I also meet a friend online once a week for a reading hour. And there I am once again, doing the thing.
I am learning not to berate the how. My how. And to definitely not let that diminish the celebration or enjoyment of you doing the thing.
I love words, but if there is one word that I want to die with all my might, it’s “aesthetic,” or at least how it’s been co-opted for the TikTok generation.
Aesthetic culture is gonna kill us. Kill our ambition, dash our efforts and dampen the arrival if we do get to the end goal. It is nothing but a distraction to think that not only do I have to do the thing, but I also have to look or do it a certain way for it to “count.”
If I’m audio-dictating into my recorder app, I am a writer.
Whether walking while watching vlogs or with scenic views, I am walking.
Don’t belittle yourself when you are doing the thing. You are doing the thing!
And right now, my trainers, Sunday YouTube uploads and my first cup of coffee are awaiting me. I’m off to do the thing.
Cannot tell you how much of this piece I screen shot and added to my (inspired by you) RemindHer folder .
Taking these lines to my journal to explore further
+ “Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to focus on the goal instead of policing the how.”
+ “Aesthetic culture is gonna kill us. Kill our ambition, dash our efforts and dampen the arrival if we do get to the end goal.”
+ “Don't belittle yourself when you are doing the thing. You are doing the thing!”
Thank you for always being so generous with sharing your thoughts and feelings with us.
Hope you’re celebrating you and doing the ting xxx
How do you find it for working? I use one at my co-writing space (which I just learnt is going to shut soon, so I'll lose access to standing desks and treadmill desks unfortunately). I find it sometimes makes me quite dizzy, writing or looking at my screen while walking. I've nearly tripped off it more than once!
Either way, lovely piece! I wrote a post a while ago about how I berate myself for showing up to the airport an overall sweating, overdressed, too-much-stuff and disorganised mess. In my head I should always arrive looking chic and know how to pack light by now. But as I wrote in this piece, enough already. That person that I'm judging as 'not good enough' shows up and gets the job done! (If anyone is interested, you can find that piece here: https://tamzin.substack.com/p/i-am-two-people)