Stop Comparing Yourself: Feeling Confident At Any Size

I remember going to Plato’s Closet with my sister, four years younger than me, after I’d put on about twenty pounds, and feeling so discouraged because I felt my body no longer looked good in the styles I used to love. I picked through the racks and grabbed off items I would have worn a year ago and handed them to my sister, telling her how beautiful she looked in them as she tried them on and questioned whether her hips looked too big or if this bunch of fat peaked out too much. I remember wishing I had the body back that I had so desperately tried to change.

A week later I was standing in front of a full length mirror at work in a baggy t-shirt and leggings, picking at my stomach and I said to my co-worker, “I have gotten so fat.” She looked at me with a look of complete surprise on her face and said “Where?” Like she couldn’t believe I think that of myself. Like those weren’t thoughts that cycled through my brain about every five minutes.

When I got home that night I took a long look in the mirror at my body and I wondered where I had gone wrong. I didn’t hate the way my body looked. Sure, there was a bit more to my stomach and my thighs pressed together a bit tighter, but I still thought I was beautiful. So why was I feeling so down about my own body?

Theodore Roosevelt once said “Comparison is the thief of Joy,” and while I doubt he was talking about our bodies, the same principal applies. Comparing your body to another body – whether that be a friends, an Instagram Models, a Celebrities, or even your own a year ago – will do nothing but make you feel bad about yourself.

I am the biggest now that I have ever been. I work out and I eat healthy. I am healthy. Yet, I am still the biggest I have ever been and that is okay. Could I be doing more to make my body smaller? Sure. But would that make me happier? Probably not.

According to a quick Google search, the average weight of a woman over 20 is 170 pounds. My heaviest weight puts me slightly above the average, yet woman who look just like me call themselves fat and ugly every single day.

Stop comparing yourself to anybody. Look in your mirror and love your body at whatever size and shape it is right now. If you know you are healthy, you know you are doing the best that you can in this body right now, than that is enough. You can still want smaller arms. You can still want to see a smaller number on the scale. You are still allowed to think the girl five sizes smaller or bigger than you is beautiful. But also know you are beautiful. Know your arms at this size are beautiful. Know your body at this weight is beautiful.

I’ll leave you with a selfie taken this morning at my heaviest weight. I am posing to make myself feel good. I am posing to extenuate the body parts I feel most confident in. I promise my stomach jiggles when I walk and my thighs rub together with each step. Notice that face? She’s happy in this body right now. Join her.

me

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Getting What you Want: A Leap of Faith

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I am a firm believer that hard work is the number one ingredient in getting what you want. Without hard work, dreams remain just that; dreams. Instilled in me since childhood has been this grit – a willingness to put forward every ounce of my energy into my desired outcome. However, I am also a firm believer that the second ingredient will always be faith. Let’s rewind.

I have had many people call me crazy when I tell them that I moved to Connecticut (four hours away from any family or friends) with only the money I had saved and no job lined up. I have had people look at me like I was stupid, questioning why anyone would do something so ridiculous. However, in the moment, the decision to move without any real plan was just a complete leap of faith. And I had no doubts that it would work out.

Similarly, a few years back my best friend and I made the drive from Vermont to Mississippi just the two of us, stopping at hotels along the way on a week long adventure. People asked why we didn’t fly. People asked why our parents would allow us to make this journey alone – we were almost twenty at the time, but looking back, it was risky. In the moment though, we set off with our suitcases in my friends Honda CRV, and took to the road with no doubts that we would do nothing but have the time of our lives.

I could explain to you several other instances in which I jumped without seeing the ground. With every single one, I would not be where I am today had I not taken that leap.

It is terrifying. Admittedly, it can be the scariest thing you will ever do. But it is also extremely important in getting what you want.

There is no secret recipe. No short cut to success. But if you work hard and believe in your actions, effort and faith will always pay off.

I am not here to say that you will not eventually leap and land on your behind. More than once I have tried and failed. But it’s in the getting back up where you win. It’s in the failing and always jumping again that you succeed.

Take the risk. Jump when you can’t see the ground, step when you don’t see the stairs, dive when you don’t know the depth – you will be rewarded. There is no success in safety. Always, it lives in the unknown.

I Dropped Out of College: Why it is the best decision I ever made

This past weekend marked what should have been my college graduation. Class of 2019. I still get the Facebook group notifications even though I dropped out of college two years ago. My feed has been flooded the past few days with pictures of my friends in cap and gowns, and I can’t help but feel if just for a second, that I should be in those pictures with them. When I first felt that throb in my chest, that guilt and jealousy, I found myself quickly rewinding and checking myself because the simple truth is, dropping out of college when I did was the best thing for me.

Not for one second do I regret my decision to leave school. I was at the top of my classes, I was getting straight A’s on every project, on every assignment, I was the person to beat. But I was miserable. I was working a full time job, juggling a long distance relationship, trying to convince myself that I was happy studying a major I had no interest in. I was appeasing the system that had placed me in higher education, and I was miserable.

Do not get me wrong here. I think College is very important. I think any person who has dedicated their time and energy to getting a higher education is strong and beautiful and wonderful, and should be very proud of themselves. I am not here to bash anyone who has made that choice; they are very admirable and extremely necessary in society.

All of that though does not change that college was simply not for me. I am a happier, stronger, and still very well educated person today because I dropped out of college.

Let me explain.

I did not go to college because I had a passion for something. I went to college because that is what everyone was telling me to do. Teachers, advisers, family members, friends – almost every person in my life convinced me college was the best option. At times it seemed college was the only option. Coming from a small town, to some people, not going to college is much like a death sentence.

Still, college was not for me.

There are people who when I tell them my story, tell me I picked the wrong major. It would have been better for me if I’d picked a different major. I picked the wrong college. It would have been different for me had I picked a different college. I disagree with all of these statements. It wasn’t the majors fault. It wasn’t the college’s fault. It was all on me.

I studied hard. I got good grades. I had amazing professors. I learned plenty. I didn’t fail at college by any means. But I was a terrible human being during those two years. I was miserable. I got up every morning dreading life no matter what I had planned for the day. I knew I was going to have to sit in class and pretend to enjoy the lectures I was sitting through. I sat next to people with fire in their bellies, people so passionate about the subject that they would stand to answer questions and I remember thinking – “give me some of that fire”. I remember just wanting to feel something, but that’s not how it works.

The day I dropped out of college, the only thing I remember feeling was relief. I expected to feel anger at myself for quitting. I expected to feel ashamed of myself. I expected to feel regret or fear looking at the loans I was still going to have to pay off. But no. All I felt was relief. And to this day, all I have ever truly felt about my decision to drop out of college is relief.

I have no idea where I am going to end up. I may go back to college one day. I may decide never to go back. But at this point in my life, I have a job. I pay my own bills. I am doing something I love to do. I have plans for the next couple of years. I am happy. And above all, I am not ashamed of the choices I made to get here.

Going to college is a choice so many people make, and for so many people, it is absolutely the right decision. Also though, there are plenty of people who choose not to and still live abundant lives and are no less a member of society than those that have a degree.

I will end this post by saying simply this: be you. Choose what makes you happy. Do what makes you happy. As long as your bills are getting paid, you aren’t breaking any laws, you aren’t hurting anyone else, and you are happy, then who should be a judge of what is right in your life but yourself?

A Perfect Life is a Messy Life

I read an article today titled “How to Feign your Life is Together”. What was in the article isn’t necessarily important – only that what followed was a list of ways to fake looking perfect. Upon reading the title, I had prayed this was some sort of joke; the author must have been poking fun or creating satire. What I read was quite the opposite. The author of this article fully believed that faking a life that was perfect on the outside, would make you happy on the inside.

The little girl inside me began to cry.

It is important for people of all ages to see other people like them struggle. Struggling is human. Struggling is essential to succeeding. Looking perfect all of the time is not only impossible but also insane. But most importantly – looking put together on the outside will not make a happy inside.

Social media portrays this lie over and over again, shoving the idea down our throats until we choke on it’s absurdity. I was not surprised then to stumble across this article, but disappointed.

Having perfect hair and nails will not make you happy. Wearing perfume every day will not make you happy. Not allowing yourself to cry will definitely not make you happy. These lies work because they are beautiful, but that’s just it – they are beautiful because they are lies.

Napping when you are tired will make you happy. Crying when you are sad may not make you happy, but it will make you feel better. Wearing the same outfit you did yesterday because your body is too tired to pick a new one and you have no where to be today besides the couch with your cat will make you happy. None of these things are pretty. None of these things are “put together”. But they will make you happy. Over and over again, tried and true, they will make you happy.

Forget looking put together. If you’re not put together on the inside, there is no need to look so on the outside.

Starting Over

No beating around the bush, no long intro explaining myself, no poetic words of enlightenment; I am going to cut right to the point.

Over the past few months, I have been reinventing myself. One morning while driving into work, I realized that I was unhappy with my own mindset and view of the world. As I drove over a bridge overlooking the ocean, driving my new car, listening to my favorite song on the radio, I still wasn’t happy, and I wasn’t okay with that. So on that Thursday morning while everyone else was looking forward to Friday, I decided I was going to change.

So that is where I have been, and what I have been up to, and it has been beautiful.

I decided not to tell anyone about this breakthrough. Not my boyfriend, not my parents or my sisters, my friends or my coworkers. I decided this was going to be for me, until I felt as if I had made some progress. So here we are. I feel like now I’m ready to share where my mind has been and who I have become.

I am taking more time for me. I find time every day to exercise, whether that means going for a walk for twenty minutes or going to the gym for an hour. Sometimes it just means squatting and doing planks in my living room. Whatever fits and whatever feels right.

I have been more aware of the foods I am putting into my body, and this has made me feel amazing. I love greasy foods and fast foods as much as anyone, and some days when I’m running low on time before work, I still swing through the drive through and stuff my face with chicken nuggets and french fries. And I love those days. But most days I am eating more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water and enjoying flavors instead of just choking them down.

I have been more aware as well of my impact on the environment. I no longer use plastic bags or plastic straws, as much as I possibly can. I was always that person who asked, ‘how is one person going to make any impact?’ because my actions seemed so small compared to the actions of the whole world. But that’s just it. They are my actions, and at the end of the day, the only actions I can control. So I might as well start there.

I look in the mirror differently now. I don’t always love who I see there, but I now try to find at least one thing I do love about her. Whether that be her eyes or her nose, some days it’s just the way her finger nails are the perfect length. Some days the only thing I can find is the birth mark on her stomach to fall in love with, and that’s okay. At least it is something.

I am learning to accept the things I have done wrong, and forgive other people for the apologies I never got. I am moving forward and trying to be done with the past. This one is the hardest, but I am making progress. I am trying to reach out to people I feel like I have harmed in some way, and make amends to the best of my ability. Once the words are out, all I can do is move forward, because there is no going back and changing what has already been done. I am finding this one of the most important and helpful things I have ever done for my body and mind.

Overall, I have just been growing. I have been living in my own being instead of in the being I thought I was supposed to be. I am continuing to find new things every day to try and to experience, and I am loving every minute of this journey.

I will leave you with that. I hope you find time today to adopt one of these ideas into your own life. I hope you find a way to enjoy this moment.

Not the Toughest but the most Persistent

As a young girl I was told if ever I was scared

Find the toughest looking man in the room – he’ll have muscles and probably facial hair and you’ll know he’s the one because you will quake in fear at the thought of approaching him –

Walk up to this man and ask for his help.

They told the girl afraid to talk to strangers that the only way to be safe is to find a man big enough to save her

Instead of telling her to work out.

Take a defense class.

Learn how to say no.

Learn how to scream.

Learn how to throw a punch with your fist and kill them with your words.

When I was a young girl I learned that not every man was as kind as my dad. I learned that sometimes the man they tell you will save you

Is the man you should be running from.

So now they ask me why I go to the gym if I don’t have interest in losing weight.

They ask me why I frequently brush up on self defense videos and constantly have my dad remind me just where to bring my knee.

When I was a young girl I was told I couldn’t possibly save myself, so find someone bigger than me who can.

I’m going to tell every young girl I can, if ever we’re in the same room and you are scared, come to me. Maybe I can’t take on the man with the muscles and the beard, but I am always going to be the one who tries.

Bad Days: Normal?

Yesterday I woke up with some different kind of pep in my step. I looked in the mirror, bed head and bags under my eyes, and I felt like a Queen. I picked out the only push up bra I own, my tightest pair of jeans, and I completely made up my face with gold eye shadow and red lipstick, all while jamming out to Cardi B. Mind you, I work at a group home, so this level of getting ready was completely unnecessary. But I also knew I needed to take advantage of this feeling. I texted a good friend of mine and said ‘ever just wake up really feeling yourself, cus same’, and she replied, ‘feel it, feel all of it’. I was reminded in that moment that we are allowed to have good days and we are allowed to have bad days, and we should completely revel in and feel both.

Reminded again when I woke up this morning bloated, feeling sluggish and greasy. I looked in the mirror and although it was the same girl looking back at me from only twenty four hours before, I didn’t feel the same. Cardi B wasn’t getting me hyped. My hair wouldn’t stay styled the way I wanted it to, and I had no energy to apply more than just mascara, and even that was a struggle. I didn’t want to wear jeans – so instead I pulled on leggings and a baggy shirt because that’s what I felt comfortable in today. Old me would have slumped her way to work, dreading it every step of the way and feeling like a hideous monster who shouldn’t have been let out of the house.

Instead, I thought about yesterday. I thought about how I felt when I looked at myself, how it was me looking back, and how good that had felt. And I did the same thing I had done then. I allowed myself to feel ugly. I allowed myself to feel broken and gross. And then I moved on.

You are not going to feel your best every day. No matter how many times you go to the gym, no matter how healthy you eat, how many self help books you read, how many times you meditate, you are never going to feel today the same way you feel tomorrow. That’s beautiful, and something we should take more time to fall in love with, instead of being angry about. It’s easy to wake up today and feel terrible about yourself and try to change it. That’s what I used to do, and would spend my entire day miserable because even though I was looking at the same girl who felt great about herself the day before, I couldn’t bring myself to feel that same way today.

Don’t try to change how you feel, thinking that might make you happier. You are feeling how you are feeling for a reason. Feel it. Live with it. And then let it go. Acknowledging that you are feeling this way about yourself gives the power back to you – a strategy that can be used on so much more than just how you feel about your looks.

If you feel good about yourself today, own in. If you feel bad about yourself today, own it. Just know either way, tomorrow you are going to feel completely different than you do right now.

Hello Friends!

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Our tiny family here is growing! Hopping on here this morning and realizing we had hit 120 followers, I decided it was time to make a post about what I am doing here. I know 120 isn’t much in social media terms, but for me, a small town blogger who never thought she would get over 5 followers, that number makes my heart happy.

My blog has been a bit all over the place as of late. And this is because I started this blog purely because I love to write. I love to write but sometimes I don’t feel like adding to my novel or scribbling down a short story. Sometimes I have a thought my brain needs to get on paper – this blog was my solution for that. A place to write down my little ideas in hopes that maybe a couple of people might read them and agree, or perhaps feel a little less alone in this vast world, as I myself have when reading blogs written by others.

Over the past few months of adding posts here however, I have found a common theme in my ideas, and thus, in my writing. I am very passionate about self love, mental health, and supporting other woman. I always have been. Since my own very first struggle with depression as a Freshman in High School, to my now 22 year old self, I have thought mental health was a topic not many people feel comfortable enough to contribute to. Most of us struggle with loving ourselves, with depression, or some other form of mental illness, but many of us don’t think it is our place to share our opinions.

That is what I am here to do. Since before High School, since a little girl in middle school bullied by the more popular girls, the girls I always dreamed of being but who seemed to hate me, I have known I was put on this earth for something larger. I knew that all of this pain and suffering had to add up to something.

I don’t care how many people this blog reaches. I don’t care if I get zero reads a day, two reads a day, or ten. I really do not care. Because I am writing this for myself, and the one lonely girl behind her screen who feels no one gets her. I get you.

I am not promising that from here on out each post will make perfect sense and will fill you with some sort of purpose for your day. I am promising that I am here as your big sister, as your friend, as your cheerleader. And I plan on continuing to shower each and every one of you with the love that you deserve.

Thank you for reading my little update and I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Perspective Makes Me A Stranger

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Two questions for you today – have you ever looked at someone and wished you could be like them? And – who do you see when you look in the mirror?

Stay with me here.

We have all been the person a stranger wanted to be.

Read that again. And again. Now let it sink in. Believe me.

I am willing to bet you have looked in the mirror and saw a person you never thought you’d see staring back at you. Maybe you thought you’d be stronger, skinnier, healthier, smarter – maybe all of these things. I am willing to bet you have looked at that reflection and hated every single thing you saw. To say this is normal is sad, but it’s a reality. We can never be perfect. You will always see more flaws in yourself than anyone else will ever see in you.

Now, the tougher one. We all know the girl in the coffee shop who’s wearing the black pants void of cat hairs and perfectly pressed. Her top is tucked into her pants, it isn’t causing any lumps or bumps on her hips. Her bottoms aren’t rising up causing the dreaded camel toe. Her top is showing just the right amount of cleavage. She’s staring at the menu above the barista’s head, probably reading, considering what she’ll order today, and in the moment, you would give anything to be her. You glance down at yourself and see your jeans that should have been washed two wears ago and you’re shirt wrinkled from being in the hamper half an hour before – the sniff test deemed it okay to wear one more time. You look at yourself and you are disgusted. Why can’t you be more like the girl in the black pants with the perfectly clean hair, gorgeous face contemplating the menu like it’s a work of art?

What you didn’t see though, as you looked down at the body you have labeled as ‘gross’ and ‘unworthy’, was the Goddess before you running her eyes over your body, wishing with every ounce of her soul that she could be more like you. She woke up two hours early to wash her favorite pair of pants. She tried on five different shirts before deciding on this one, all of the others showing too many rolls. She stood in front of the mirror for an hour applying and reapplying her makeup until it was perfect. She cried for ten minutes over her eyeliner wing not being just right. And now she’s standing here staring at the menu with an anxiety bubble forming in her chest, hoping she doesn’t start crying while telling the barista she would like a small latte. She looks over at you as you glance down at your own body, and she wishes she didn’t care what people thought. She wishes she could look as effortless as you, as beautiful as you do.

But you both look up and go on with your day without ever knowing that you were that stranger. Without knowing that you are perfect just the way you are.

Let’s revisit my second question, but let’s revise it a bit this time. Who are you going to see tomorrow when you look in the mirror? You see, who we are is all about perspective. You can choose to see the bags under your eyes and see the hours of sleep you didn’t get showing on your face, or you can see the nights you stayed up laying with your boyfriend or cuddling your baby. You can see the way your clothes fit too tight and beat yourself up about the weight you’ve gained, or you can think about how much better your a** looks, about how full your tummy feels, about how good the food tasted.

It’s not easy. Change never is. But next time you look in the mirror, try seeing yourself as a stranger. If you saw you on the streets, what would you think. Because I promise, some girl has wished she was you while you would have given anything to be her.

 

 

This post was inspired by a real interaction I had with a former co-worker. The story was too long to share in this post, and storytelling isn’t my normal content, so I decided not to include it. But if you’d like to hear the story, please let me know in the comments! 

You are perfect just the way you are

You are perfect just the way you are. I don’t know who needs to hear this today, but if you do, please keep reading. Wipe your face. I see those tears, tears for a person you think you’ll never be, tears for a person you once were – I want you to look in a mirror. Wipe your face and take a good long look – who do you see? On a good day, you might say you see a girl with brown hair and green eyes, a girl with a smile and too many freckles. Today though, you tell me you see defeat. You see a girl who has tried so hard and just doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere. I will tell you now to look again. 

What I see is a girl who has never given up. I see a radiance that is only born through being knocked down over and over and standing up every single time slightly taller. I see a smile that has seen shadows, yet still steps into the light and allows the sun to shine on it. I see a spirit that has been nearly broken, yet is still chugging along each day. I see a girl who is enough.

If you look in the mirror today and this is not what you see, please just take a seat and listen to me. You don’t have to feel perfect every single day. You don’t even have to feel okay every single day. All that I ask is that you remember you are enough. Remember that when people look at you, they see a completely different person than you are currently seeing in the mirror. Remember that I believe in you. You can do the hard thing. You can take this life by the horns and you can live it in a unique way that only you can. And if you don’t see that today, that’s okay.

Look in the mirror again tomorrow, and maybe then you’ll see it. If not, read this again. You are perfect just the way you are.