Work in progress.

I feel tired of seeing clothes I like and almost immediately thinking, “I can’t wear that.”  I don’t seem to ever really have a solid, logical reason.

I can’t wear that because my skin is pale.

I can’t wear that because my arms are too skinny.

I can’t wear that because my stomach isn’t flat.

I can’t wear that because of my age.

Etc.

When I first learned about the magic that is positive self-talk, I also learned to ask myself if I would treat my best friend the same way I am treating myself in a given situation.  Would I tell my best friend that she can’t wear something she likes because she thinks her arms are too skinny?  No.  I would tell her that she should wear whatever she likes.  To Hell with what someone else might think.  Apparently, I have created imaginary rules in my head that only apply to me, and they make me look at myself through a filter that only I am using based on these imaginary rules I created (where I got the fodder for these rules is a whole other entry).  I’m not *less than* or *less worthy* because my skin is pale, my arms are skinny, my stomach isn’t flat.  There’s no reason for me not to wear what I like.

I know that I may find clothes I like, try them on and decide I don’t like them.  That’s not really where I am with this entry.  I’m talking about that initial admiration of an outfit or piece of clothing being immediately followed by my brain making up reasons why I just cannot even try to go anywhere near it because of….see above.

I’m not sure what kind of growth this may lead to, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

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I’m researching blog topics and themes almost every day.  I love seeing the body positivity movement and reading others’ inspirational stories.  Last night, I read about how the body positivity movement doesn’t make space for thin women because thin women already have a space.  I know that’s true.

I reached out to a blogger/researcher, via Twitter, to ask her about body dysmorphia & body positivity.  That’s not to say that I suffer from or am a survivor of body dysmorphia, but I’m curious about that dynamic if we are talking about people who perceive their body a certain way that isn’t accurate, which could be a thin person perceiving his/her body as overweight; how does body positivity work in that situation?  Maybe it doesn’t?  Clearly, I need to do more leg work here.  I plan to reach out to others with my questions as I move through articles and blogs and Instagram posts.

I plan to continue to support the #bopo movement and see if I can claim a tiny place for myself there, not as a thin woman, but as a woman who struggles with body image.  That’s my personal work – being more positive about my body as the vessel that carries me and what I have to offer as a whole person, and not as what defines me as good/bad, worthy/not worthy.

I absolutely support others feeling more positive and open about their own bodies.  This life is short, and the filter through which you view yourself may be based on imaginary rules that nobody else is following because those rules are only in your head.  Wear the dress, wear the shorts, wear the low-cut shirt; dye your hair that beautiful shade of purple you have been admiring, pierce your nose, don’t shave your legs everyday, quit tweezing your eyebrows, commit to growing your hair long even when you hit that awkward phase in the growth process.  Ignore whatever aesthetic-related chore you saddle yourself with every day because you think you have to do it to please every person around you.

I know it’s easier said than done.  I KNOW that.  Try to grasp what it will feel like to go through that first full day after you – for example – pierce your nose and nothing bad happens.  Nobody makes fun, nobody laughs, you don’t burst into flames, the ground doesn’t open up to the let the Earth swallow you whole.  It’s more likely that someone will compliment it, comment on your courage or want to hear the whole story.  Another example: not tweezing your eyebrows will be different.  Nobody will comment on your courage or even want to hear the story.  The likely scenario here is that nobody says anything.  That first day turns into the first week turns into the first month and, pretty soon, you don’t know how long you’ve had your nose pierced; you don’t know how long you’ve been letting your eyebrows grow [mostly] wild.  Nothing bad happens.  You just keep being you, keep doing what you are meant to do with an extra hole in your nostril or with fuller eyebrows.  And it all goes back to that first day – the courage you mustered to get you through that first full day feels normal.  It might even feel comfortable.  Courage is courage, friends.  The more you exercise it, the more you have stockpiled.

 

34.

“All there is in the end is death, so who cares.  Just be happy!”

Today is my 34th birthday.  I have loved my 30s so much.  My cousin turned 30 earlier this year and I was glad to find that she was looking forward to her 30s.  I have accomplished so many things during my 30s.  The most important thing, I think, is truly accepting and loving myself.  Do you realize how many doors open up with this revelation?  It’s not an arrogant, “I can do anything.”  It’s a humble, solid, “I can do anything.”  And maybe I can’t, but I can damn sure try anything that strikes me as enjoyable or beneficial.  I can finish a half-marathon.  I can go into a new place by myself.  I can ask questions.  I can speak to a large crowd.  I can be assertive.  I can openly communicate with my partner.  I can start a blog and share it with anyone who wants to read it.  I can go out in public with unwashed hair.  I can testify in a court room.  I can make small talk, even if I don’t like it.  I can switch jobs.  I can drive wherever I want to go.  I can get out my little journal and jot down whatever whenever I am called to do so.

To be fair, “truly accepting and loving myself” is absolutely a work in progress.  There are good days, there are great days and there are days when I have to consciously focus on positive self-talk and on reversing all of the negative thoughts that are attempting to overwhelm me.  On those bad days, I can be found writing out a list of positive self-talk statements, like a “newbie.”  There’s no shame in my game, folks.  I will feel proud and tell whoever will listen about whatever it is I do to live my happiest, best possible life – sometimes that’s re-reading an old list, sometimes it’s writing a new list, sometimes it’s just remembering.

Today is my 34th birthday.  I told Tristi this is the first birthday in my 30s that I have felt “weird” about.  I don’t feel old.  I don’t necessarily feel bad, but I feel like maybe I should be doing something bigger.  I can count on Tristi for a lot of things – all good things.  As usual, she came through with a great perspective.  She said, “Be happy.  That’s all that matters!….All there is in the end is death, so who cares.  Just be happy! And just like that, I was back on track with enjoying my 30s.  I am happy.  I have a genuinely great life.  The more I think about it, I’m not even sure what I should be doing is real.  I do love my job.  I do believe I am where I am for a reason.   Where in the hell did the thought come from that I should be doing something bigger?

This is me today in my 34-year-old glory; sitting on the sidewalk in front of The Latest Scoop in downtown San Angelo.  Something I hope to achieve in this blog is to be authentic.  I could have asked Todd to take the photograph from a different angle to prevent the sun being in my eyes.  I could have found a more flattering pose.  I could have chosen not to ask Todd to take my picture because I wasn’t wearing make-up, my hair wasn’t fixed, I don’t have a tan, I’m wearing an outfit that could easily pass for pajamas, blah blah blah.  This is the photograph I wanted.

 

BD Flowers

These are the super sweet surprise birthday flowers that Todd sent to me at work yesterday.  I like a good surprise.  I like Todd.  And I like my birthday.