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.

Advertisements

Self Love Is Messy

People love to romanticize self love. Everyone does it – and recognizing the importance of self love is a huge step, but romanticizing it can be destructive, and here’s why.

In the romantic version of self love, we see bubble baths and wine glasses. We see facial masks, nail polish, silky robes and a romantic comedy on Netflix. While at first glance, this self pampering seems like the ideal pinnacle of self love, it isn’t the reality for most people. Here is my example.

When I think about self love, my go to is a night alone, me in my apartment in fuzzy pajamas, sitting on the floor in front of my TV watching the same movie I watched last week, eating a jar of pickles and drinking a can of diet coke. My nails aren’t painted, my hair is piled in a bun resembling that of a pineapple on top of my head, my boyfriend’s sweatshirt adds five pounds, and my face hasn’t been washed since early this morning. It isn’t pretty. If someone was to look in my window, they wouldn’t think this was self love. They would probably think I was self destructing. But here is where I am my happiest. I might pass out on the carpet, wake up with a half eaten pickle in one hand and my cat curled up on my chest, but I will wake up happy.

It is important to recognize this as self love too, because for many girls, self love isn’t bubble baths and facial cleansers. I love a bubble bath as much as the next girl, but if I need a night to really relax and find myself again, I will be on the carpet with my pickles and coke, not in a bath tub smelling pretty and looking nice.

Self love isn’t always pretty. Most of the time, it’s sloppy. It’s messy, greasy, fuzzy, and dirty. Self love is the feeling you get when you are complete. Self love is treating yourself like a priority, instead of an after thought. On a normal day, I go to the gym and I eat a good breakfast, I wash my face and I listen to good music. I do consider this self love. Loving the only body I get was the best decision I ever made. This is my every day.

And then I have nights of pickles and coke, nights when bubble baths and silky robes aren’t doing the trick. These nights, I need something else. I need to remember what makes me feel whole, what makes my heart sore and my skin tingle. It’s a rare feeling, a feeling people usually dedicate to finding your true love – my first true love was in myself, as it should be.

Take bubble baths. Do face masks. Let social media advertise to you it’s ideal of treating yourself. But also have your pickle and coke days. Let yourself fall in love with just being sloppy, being alive, being messy. Let yourself feel – that is in fact, the whole purpose of self love. Remembering to breath, remembering to live, remembering what a blessing being alive truly is, and then allowing yourself to feel it. All of it.

 

What is that bump on my stomach?

As many young woman, I have always been focused on perfecting my body in one way or another. Whether it be finding the perfect face wash to rid my complexion of every blemish, or working out morning and night to smooth out those rolls and lumps and bumps. From my hair to my toes, I have in one moment or other, nitpicked the f*** out of every little part of my body. These past few months, I am not shy to admit, it was the added rolls on my stomach from extra donuts and chips that I had begun to focus on.

Until I started seeing the red, brown, and white marks all over my body. Not a normal rash, not my normal skin, I had no idea what I was seeing. So of course, like most people would, I took to the Web. Where I found I must have skin cancer. Without a primary doctor in this new city, and feeling silly bringing such a ‘small’ problem to the ER, I spent the next three months watching as this mysterious new passenger on my body grew and spread to other parts of my body. The rolls on my stomach quickly took a back seat as I convinced myself I must have a terminal illness with mere weeks to live. Dramatic I know – but I am dead serious. My anxiety was through the roof. I was losing weight but not in a good way. I was cutting people off and letting areas of my life slack. I was falling apart over the unknown.

Finally, I decided it had gotten out of hand. Looking back, and as advice to anyone reading this, please, please use me as a cautionary tale. Thank the Heavens, my trip to Urgent Care revealed to me I had developed a none life threatening, relatively normal skin condition brought on by (surprise, surprise) stress and hormonal changes. But it could have been so much worse.

Please, if you see something of worry on your body, go to the Doctors. Do not worry about looking silly. Do not worry about feeling silly. Take your health into your own hands – this body is the only one you get. We are so quick to stress over the tiny imperfections on our bodies, so quick to go to fixing them, trying everything we can to erase these things we find wrong with ourselves – I wish we could have the same concentration when it comes to just keeping ourselves healthy.

I got lucky. But I should have went to a Doctor months ago. Not only would it have saved me so much time and stress, energy and worry – it could have been so much worse because I let it go on for so long. It could have been something completely different. If you catch a problem early, you have a much better chance of solving it. And that stands for anything in life from your health to that small pile of clothing in the chair in the corner that next week is going to be a mountain. Address it now. Fix it now.

I know this is a much different post than my usual. But it is a topic so important, so necessary, and not talked about nearly enough. I am not a doctor. I do not offer medical advice. I am just a normal girl talking to more normal people urging you to please, please take your health seriously. Take it into your own hands. Don’t be like me. Don’t be like the whole list of people I have talked to that tell me they have done a version of the same thing.

You are important. Your life is important. You need this body to live this life – this body with every roll and lump and bump and imperfection that is perfect the way it is, carrying you from day to day, happy and ALIVE.

I know there will be those of you that will read this and think, wow, she’s dramatic. And yeah, I am. I am not going to argue that. But it’s better than not caring at all. It’s better than ignoring things that matter.

Take care of yourself. Your body. Your mind. Your physical health and your mental health. You are worth it.

Be That Girl

Image may contain: Chantelle Mathewson, eyeglasses and closeup

Be that girl. You know the one I’m talking about. The girl you always stare a little longer at. The one you always listen to a little harder, because every word sounds like poetry. The girl who walks with a confidence so loud, the rest of the world goes quiet to breath her in. You know her – we all do. The girl who holds her head high and smiles at strangers. The one who stops to ask you what’s wrong when she sees you crying on the park bench and everyone else just passed by.

Be her. Be the girl who stops for squirrels crossing the road and swerves slightly when her head lights catch a toad in their gleam. Be the girl who stands up when she sees injustice and sits down when someone already has it handled. The girl who walks into the room and wonders not who noticed her, but who she can make feel noticed.

You think it’s hard, I know. You see her walk in and you ask yourself ‘how does one person manage to be so put together all of the time?’ And your answer is, she isn’t. She’s broken a little on the inside too, I promise. We all are. The best of us have cracks and dents we aren’t sure how to fix. The girl you so desperately want to be still sits behind closed doors and sometimes even open ones, and wonders why she isn’t enough. She still has days on which nothing seems to be going right, but she still gets up. She still smiles and walks out the door with her best foot forward, and when she sees you on that park bench, she still asks you if you’re okay.

Be that girl. The world needs more of that girl. The world needs more kindness, more compassion, more desire to lend a helping hand. So be her. Set aside your doubts and your questions and just be her.

So often we spend so much of our lives watching other people and wondering how they managed to be so amazing, but we do nothing to achieve the same level of ‘amazingness’ – I know I am guilty of doing just that. And the beauty is that we often fail to realize – we don’t have to change ourselves completely to be that girl. If you want to, by all means, reinvent yourself every day until the girl you see in the mirror is the girl you love, and then change her again just because this is your life and you can. But if you’re not feeling quite that ambitious today, start by smiling at the first stranger you meet. I promise you’ll see that girl smiling back at you.

Loving The Girl in The Mirror

 

45721121_356084871864999_7970281464768812282_n

Three years ago, looking in the mirror was the hardest part of my day. I would brush my teeth and get dressed with the lights off, only flicking them on to check that I didn’t get any tooth paste on my face, before flicking them off with a churning in my stomach. The mirror showed me a person I didn’t like to see. She wasn’t unattractive really, she just wasn’t the person I wanted to be. Feeling this way continued for over a year, and I’m honestly not sure why I let it go on for this long, but I know I’m not alone.

The girls you see on social media or in the hallways at school or walking down the street after work are not nearly as confident as they seem. The skinny girl who seems to have it all together goes home and cries, wishing stores actually sold her size, just as the girl with the curves you envy does the same. The girl with the bright blue hair that shines a smile so bright you think you’ll go blind is hiding a depression darker than even the blackest night, just as the girl wearing all black wishes she wasn’t breathing as she takes another swig from the bottle.

The mirror isn’t nice to any of us. There is no secret, no switch that will allow you to love yourself. There isn’t a single person who looks into the mirror and loves every single thing they see. I promise you that. If I can promise you anything, it is that you are not alone. It took me over a year to realize that I didn’t have to force myself to love the girl I saw every morning. I didn’t have to love her – but she had never stopped loving me. No matter how many times I turned the lights off on her, pinched her rolls between my fingers, pulled at her frizzy hair, bit her nails – she still loved me despite it all.

Today, looking in the mirror still isn’t fun some days. I dread turning on the light and seeing that one tooth that sits back too far. I know I am going to grimace at the little hairs that grow above my lips where they shouldn’t. My stomach turns at how my hair never lays flat, always sticks off in random directions. But I still do it. I still turn the lights on. I still give her a long look and a smile, and I tell her I love her.

Brave

You wake up to the sun high in the sky and you only wish to crawl back under the blankets because at least there it is dark

When you finally drag yourself out of bed and close the blinds to shut out the light you sit in the black morning and hang your head

Your mind has been screaming at you for months and you have finally given in to the echo telling you

that you are worthless, that this body is not enough for such a beautiful world, that everything you give will always be too little

but I think you are brave for waking up.

I think you are brave for closing the blinds. For huddling in the corner.

I think you are brave for living this day even when you don’t remember how.

I think you are brave because you could easily give up – but you haven’t – there is a strength in that.

I think you are brave for letting the voice in. You haven’t let it over power you as it so easily could.

I think you are brave for breathing. I think you are brave for choosing to wake up each day even if you never leave the house.

I think you are brave for trying – and that has to be enough.

 

-CM

Hold On

When the boy in gym shorts and basketball jersey tells you he just isn’t ready

don’t ask him why you are a test that has to be studied for.

Let him know that it’s okay not to know the answers and then walk away

because the right one won’t need to be ready.

When the boy at prom in his rented suit and tie tells you he doesn’t want a relationship

don’t tell him your body is not just another prize to be won.

Let him know that he doesn’t need to apologize but know it’s okay to move on

because the right one will want a relationship the moment he sees you

even if he has never wanted a relationship in his life.

When the man with the nice watch and tattoos looks at you like you are his world but

you are just not ready for the commitment let him go.

If he was the right one, you wouldn’t have a question in your mind and when you

look at him, you wouldn’t doubt this love for a second.

When the man in the blue jeans and white t-shirt tells you that he loves you

and every fiber of your body pulsates with that same love

don’t run away.

Know that it is okay to be scared of this and tell him you are scared

but you are ready.

The right one will not leave – not when things are hard – not when things are easy

The right one will stay

The right one will love every broken piece of you the others didn’t.

The right one will fight for you.

The right one will never make you second guess his loyalty.

Fairy tale endings and happily ever afters may not be real.

But when you find the one that makes your world make sense

hold on and tell him

you aren’t going anywhere.

 

-CM

Seizing the Morning

This morning while drinking a cup of coffee I realized

I had slept nine hours yet my limbs were still tired and my brain foggy.

I drank the rest of my coffee and dressed for the gym anyway.

While at the gym my legs screamed in protest and my arms cried out loud.

I finished my squats and did my cool down anyway.

My morning passed by with the speed of a snail while I

picked out my favorite shirt and did my makeup

anyway.

See

I learned a while back that if I wanted happiness I would have to

stop waiting for it and instead

go out and grab it.

That meant no longer wallowing in self pity when life

doesn’t seem to be going my way.

That meant waking up and expecting a good day not because the world owed me

a thing but because I would

make it for myself.

 

-CM

Love Yourself

It’s easy to love yourself on your good days.

When your hair is falling just right, your bones are strong –

you feel on top of the world, these days are easy.

It’s easy to love yourself when others love you, when you are doing everything right,

when your heart is full and every word you speak rolls of your tongue with ease.

You have to love yourself on the bad days.

You have to love yourself on the days when you feel like a fuck up.

On the days your soul aches and every choice you make is the wrong one,

you must still look in the mirror and say – I love you –

you must hold your limbs and promise them safety. You must tell your aching bones you are sorry. Tell your mind it can rest.

Love yourself when you don’t feel like it.

Love yourself when no on else does.

Love yourself when loving yourself is the very last thing you want to do.

Love yourself. Love yourself. Love yourself.

 

-CM