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.

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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.

If I had to Pick a Favorite, It would be Me

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the people in my life. Some people I put there myself. Some people just found their way into my life and never left. Others are just passing through. But each and every one is important to me. Whether they taught me a lesson or were just there for me when I needed someone, each and every one of them played a part in who I am today, and I won’t ever take that for granted.

I tried recently to pick which person was the most important. Your parent’s always tell you not to pick favorites, but I thought it might be a fun experiment for me, and I might learn something along the way. First that came to mind was my mom and then my dad. Pretty equal and both very important to me, I couldn’t choose between the two of them, so it couldn’t be them. And then my sisters, but I ran into the same problem. And then of course was my best friend and boyfriend, but again, I couldn’t choose between the two. And just when I was beginning to think the whole thing was foolish, I realized I had been forgetting the one person who had never left my side, the one person that had stuck with me through it all, who had seen every tear, every smile, had felt every shake and every shudder, and had never left me – myself.

You have to be the most important person in your own life. You have to come first. Some people call this self love. I just call it living.

If you’re like me, you probably spend a lot of time trying to make other people happy. You probably thank other people for giving you hugs and holding the door open, for going out of their way to put a smile on your face, and while that’s perfectly fine, when was the last time you thanked yourself for waking up in the morning? When was the last time you told yourself how great you are doing? Can you even remember the last time you looked in a mirror and said ‘I love you’?

Recently I put myself at the top of my list. I stopped thinking about what would make the random stranger on the street happy every second of every day, and I started thinking about what would make me happy. There was a time that I wouldn’t stop for a coffee if it meant I would be three minutes late meeting my friend for shopping – now I stop for the coffee.

Life is too short to put every one else above you on the list. Slow down. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Put you first. Be your own favorite person – but don’t tell your mom that you picked a favorite. Laugh more. Stop doubting yourself. You’ve been here through it all – every bump and bruise, and you’ll get through the rest too. You’re stronger than you give yourself credit for. And you deserve to be your own number one.

Get Through It

I read an article one time about Ashley Graham, and her use of self affirmations. I loved the idea of it, of waking up and telling yourself the same thing every day until you believe it, and even on the days you don’t want to believe it, but no self affirmation I tried ever felt right. They always felt forced, like I was trying to give myself problems I didn’t really have.

However, over the past couple of weeks, my life has been going through quite a few changes. Work and personal life and all, my life has been up in the air and I have had no idea day to day what was in store for me. I am a planner, so this has been driving me crazy. One day at work, I was walking the halls after a long shift and one sentence kept running through my mind, and ever since, every morning I wake up to these words, and crazily enough, the day gets just a tiny bit easier.

Anything you go through, you can get through.

I encourage you to find a self affirmation that works for you. Something to tell yourself that will help you get through things you don’t feel you can get through. For me, I found my self affirmation after realizing that no matter how scared I have always been for certain situations, I have gotten through 100 percent of every single thing I have tried to this point in my life. And so have you. You are going to be okay. You are going to make it. But you don’t need me to tell you that. Find a way to tell yourself.