How Do I Make Myself Feel Beautiful?

You ever have one of those days where you just stare at yourself in the mirror first thing in the morning and feel disgusted with your appearance? The bags under your eyes. The medium-large sized pimple that has appeared right in the center of your forehead. Your hair, untamed like a lion’s mane. The way your body is shaped. So then you go and weigh yourself only to realize you’ve gained four pounds which makes you feel guilty about going back for seconds during dinnertime and eating not one, but two pieces of chocolate cake the night before. You’ve read that five pounds gained or lost is visible to the human eye and so to battle against gaining that last pound, you starve yourself for most of the day. You then decide to measure your bust, waist and, hips to see what body shape resonates with yours and the quiz you take online tells you you’re a spoon. Don’t even ask me what that means because I’m still trying to figure it out for myself.

It’s upsetting that we live in a world where multi-billion dollar industries are built around making women feel more insecure with themselves so that products can be created to help us feel beautiful again. Sometimes I try to imagine a world in which makeup and hair products didn’t exist. What would the definition of beauty be then? If Photoshop had not been invented, what would the covers of magazines look like? Perhaps more real, raw, and natural. At least that’s what I imagine.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love playing with makeup and doing my hair. I love getting all dolled up before a night out of town. I love dressing up and feeling good about myself. But there are days when I take all the makeup off and brush out the curls in my hair before going under the covers where I stop and glance at the mirror long enough to pick out all the flaws that were covered up just moments ago. If only you could place a filter on your face in everyday life like you can easily do on Instagram.

So how do we go about fixing this? Whatever the ‘solution’ may be, it’s not an easy one and I think we can all vouch for that. For me, I guess I’ve decided that when I feel at my worst, when I feel that I am not beautiful, I try my best to make my life more beautiful. I write more often to release all my thoughts and let go of some of the negativity that floods my brain. I surround myself with people that choose to be in my life, not because of my appearance, but because they genuinely like my company. I find comfort laying in bed hungover after a night of too many cocktails with my best friend beside me, glancing at each other and giggling at the mascara that has left marks beneath our eyes, eyeliner that has faded from both sides of our eyelids, and fake eyelashes that are drooping over our eyeballs only to tell each other that we have never looked better.

I think part of the reason we doubt ourselves so much and why we are so critical towards our appearances is because some part of us subconsciously believes that if we are not always at our best, perhaps people won’t want to be around us and maybe then we will become more lonely than we already are. I think the only real ‘fix’ for that is to surround yourselves with people who love you despite your flaws. Maybe we should turn the question of whether people wouldn’t want to be around us if we weren’t beautiful to the question of whether you would remain friends with someone if they gained a little more weight. Or whether you would go to the mall with your friend who chose not to wear makeup that day. The question seems pretty rhetorical if you ask me. So why do question it when it comes to ourselves?

I think we are all beautiful. I think the word ‘flaw’ is a negative way of defining differences. I think if we stop looking at these differences in a negative light by replacing ‘flaws’ with ‘uniqueness’, we could maybe someday come to love those parts of ourselves. Maybe a lot of you guys have already come this far. I think we have a long way to go in terms of the media’s portrayal of women but I also think we can start changing it ourselves by altering our perception of our own beauty. Maybe a world in which real, raw beauty is praised can take full formation rather than the whole ‘apply-10-layers-of-makeup-but-make-it-look-natural-crap’ (I say knowing I’ve posted one of those tutorials on this blog in the past — haha hypocrisy at it’s finest), and maybe, just maybe, we can be a part of what makes that happen.

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How Altering your Definitions can Alter the Course of your Life

If you follow me on twitter, you know that I’ve been sick for the past few days. Don’t worry, it’s nothing serious. Probably just a cold or the flu or a bug or a virus or according to WebMD, cancer. It’s totally fine you guys! I swear. I think. I don’t really know. *Putting a halt to the drama queen act now*

I think it’s pretty common with injuries or sickness to have this feeling of wanting to be normal again and for wishing that you appreciated it more when all was good in the health department. But once we feel fine again, all is forgotten. For some reason, it is difficult to remember the exact feeling of defeat once you have overcome it. So I began to wonder why that is so. As humans, do we try and block out all of the negative obstacles we have conquered with our rose coloured glasses to make life appear much simpler than it is? Is that what makes us perceive success as something so unattainable

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Maybe it’s not that we have completely forgotten the feeling but rather that we have mastered the art of not remembering. Blocking out the past doesn’t make it disappear. It doesn’t mean it never happened. But it does make life appear more sunny, even if we are just fooling ourselves. It’s amazing how good we have gotten at tricking our own minds. Kudos to the human brain!

But are there consequences that come along with this fake perception of the world we have created for ourselves? Is this constant suppression of all the negative slowly building up inside of us, only to explode later on? Is this how we unconsciously bottle up our feelings? Has this habit become so common that we are no longer capable of coming up with any other options for dealing with it?

Here’s one: acceptance. Perhaps this is the only solution that lies midway between the two extremes of dwelling over our past and completely blocking it out. If we are capable of tricking our own minds to such a great extent, why don’t we choose a healthier option? Our brains have great abilities – abilities that are far beyond our current knowledge. Then why don’t we use it to accept what has happened to us? Wouldn’t that be better in the long run so that we can truly move on?

I guess the notion of moving on is very subjective. Many people tend to believe it means cutting things out of your life. I agree to that, but to an extent. Think of how you feel after a terrible break up. There are stages you go through before you can completely move on from the situation. However, cutting ties with an individual is much different from cutting a memory out of your brain (or at least attempting to do so). Deleting them off of all your social media, burning your pictures, and returning a box filled with their things is a way cutting ties, but I think we see it in a different light. We think the moment we get rid of any sentimental items that could remind us of that individual, we can forget the relationship existed altogether. But moving on is more about accepting the fact that the relationship existed. Accepting the good and the bad parts of it. Accepting that it no longer exists. And accepting that that is okay.

We put so much weight on physical objects and try very hard to give them meaning. So I guess it makes sense that we assume once that object is removed, the meaning and the memory attached to it will disappear along with it. Of course that isn’t true but how far have we come in convincing ourselves that it is? If we are capable of tricking out minds, aren’t we also capable of training ourselves to do the opposite?

I think we are proficient enough to do much more than we give ourselves credit for. Training your mind to accept rather than forget is a difficult task but that doesn’t mean it cannot be done. We can change the definitions we place on moving on and letting go. We can really do it all. The only thing stopping us is really just ourselves.

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How to Know You’re on the Right Path to Finding Yourself

It’s been a while since my last post. If you follow me on twitter, you would know that I haven’t disappeared off the face of the planet. I’ve actually had some writing published on Thought Catalog that I am beyond proud of. I’ve never really had anything published before and for me, this was a really big step. (If you want to read the published pieces, here they are: 1, 2)

I guess the reason I’ve never been published before is because I never really put myself out there as much as I should or even want to. A part of me fears that I won’t be good enough. That I won’t hear back. That my writing actually sucks. I guess this break from blogging helped me venture out and explore other possibilities. It helped me reach out and take big risks – risks that I would have never taken a year ago. By that I mean I took pages straight out of my journal and put them out for the world to see. Talk about vulnerability!

I think I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I want to be a writer. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, but throughout my life I’ve been told how impractical it is and how difficult my life would be. I’ve been told that it would cause great stress and struggle. That I wouldn’t make it. I say screw those people who don’t think I have a shot. I honestly believe that if you love something – anything – enough, you should pursue it. I would rather be a struggling writer than a struggling business woman. I was never the “settle down with a family and get a 9-5 job” kind of girl. I’ve always had big dreams of moving to New York City and making a life out of what I am passionate about.

I think the hardest thing for me was to escape everyone else’s expectations of me. I’m a people pleaser. I always have been. I love making other people happy but not to the extent where it affects my own happiness and I hate that I let it get to that point. In my family, my sister has always been known as the rebellious one and me, the easygoing one. I don’t mind being easygoing. I enjoy it actually. I taught myself to not stress and react to everything in a negative way (sometimes that meant bottling up emotions but that’s a different story). I learned to help calm people down. I learned how to speak to people so that they can trust me with their thoughts. But I also learned to stop letting others walk all over me. To stop letting my kindness be taken advantage of.

Last year, I was beyond lost. I had no idea what I was doing, what I was pursuing, and what my life could be. I suppressed my big dreams, labeling them as unrealistic and that contributed to a large portion of my unhappiness. Lately though, I’ve been writing more than ever, whether it’s personal or for the public’s view. I never really like to say that I’m happy because a part of me always feels like I will jinx it and the universe will find out so that it can turn my life back around, but I have been more than okay. That doesn’t mean I don’t have days where I feel terrible again, but it means that days where I don’t feel so awful do in fact exist. It means it’s possible to one day feel more than more than okay. One day, I might even get comfortable with saying I feel happy.

Things are looking up for me and I just wanted to thank you guys for your support throughout my blogging years. I want to thank you for sticking with me when I was going through hard times and for welcoming me back every time I came back to blogging from a small break. Thank you for your emails and thank you for your comments. Thank you for your twitter replies. Writing is my way of venting and releasing my thoughts. It’s my way of clearing out all the noise in my brain. So thank you guys for being patient and always listening.

I wanted to make my ‘I’m back from my blogging break’ post extravagant. I wanted it to be so good that it would be worth the wait for all my readers and blogging friends. But I realized if I were going to wait to publish that ideal post, I may not ever come back to blogging, and that would just be tragic. So this is it. This is me, and I hope this is enough for you guys because I’ve finally realized that this is more than enough for me.

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