Selfshaming

Jessica M
anigif_enhanced-buzz-30035-1365348274-30

image via ABC/buzzfeed.com

I was brought up in a very supportive, loving household.  I’m really lucky in this fact.  My parents never pressed any ideas or ideologies on me.  My mom (who for the most part has always been a role model for me – despite our radically different political stances)  was never open or obvious about dieting, weight loss, or her appearance.  I never questioned why she was only eating cabbage soup for a week while we ate pizza or hot dogs.  I didn’t start wearing makeup until I was a sophomore in high school, and I never really even learned how to wear makeup until late college (I’m still figuring that crap out for the most part).  I never felt less than perfect, just the way I was.

That is, until I hit (about) 12 years old and started the same body hating phase we all seem go through.  Puberty was hands down one of the worst times for me.  My body was awkward, didn’t look like the other girls’, and I was miserable.  I come from an Italian family, curves were practically in my genes (and past was almost always “what;s for

image via Fox/Buzzfeed.com

image via Fox/buzzfeed.com

dinner”).  Why is this?  Why is it that even though I was in a supportive household where my weight was never questioned did I still manage to grow to hate the way I looked?  (I like to blame the media, but that’s neither here nor there)

Even at my smallest (size 4) I was still unhappy with how I looked.  As I’m moving into my late twenties (27 in May), I can see and feel my body changing again.  Things are becoming even more curvy, and old favorite pieces of clothing aren’t fitting in the same way.

Being in my late twenties has also brought a different outlook on life, and in it a much more appreciation for my body.  These curves helped carry me through my college campus where no bat an eye at a 10-14 inches of snow in a day and we still walked .5 mile to class.  These thighs get me up and down the steps at work and in the parking garage when a lot of the other employees are practically marooned by an elevator being out of service.  This body has helped carry me through the 26 (not 27 yet) years practically no

image via HBO/buzzfeed.com

image via HBO/buzzfeed.com

injuries (besides one crap ankle from a drinking accident – seriously, who puts an 8 inch drop off right below the door to a bar).  Even when it didn’t want to, it’s been carrying me through the subzero temperatures and the polar vortex that’s been going around.  I have no reason to hate it.  Even when I was that coveted size four, people didn’t treat me differently.  Life went on exactly the same as when I’m carrying a few extra pounds.  It’s me looking in the mirror and critiquing myself.  It’s me picking apart my body, instead of looking at it as a whole.

It turns out, I’m just as capable at looking in a mirror without the critique.  Jennifer Lawrence has a semi-recent quote I like to reference, “What are you going to do? Be hungry every single day to make other people happy? That’s just dumb.”  And to whoever said nothing tastes as good as skinny feels – you clearly aren’t using Pinterest to its full potential.

The proximety of long distance

Jessica M

There once was a time, not so long ago, when we were forced to go out and meet new people and make new friends.  A time when being in a big enough city (or, if not, making a minor relocation) was enough to get away from a bad breakup.  I can barely remember this time, but I know it used to exist.

Social networking makes it so easy to stay in touch with those far away, which is a good thing.  I have friends all over the US, from Buffalo New York, to Honolulu Hawaii (I know, lucky jerk).  I’m thankful that thanks to technology I can keep in touch with them all.  When I was a kid, I don’t remember my mom every talking about her friends from out of town, or taking weekend trips to “meet up with the girls.”  But she wasn’t a homebody.  To this day, she still meets weekly with her girlfriends for drinks, or cards, or movies, etc.  How does she do it?  Without my ever doting boyfriend, my nights would be lonelier than I like to think.  Thanks to Facebook, text messaging, Instagram, email, Gchat, and Facetime I’m able to keep in touch with all my college friends, like we’re still sharing a six bedroom house in our tiny college town. I don’t feel the need to go out and meet new people.  The women I work with are all nice enough, but I have no desire to go out to happy hour or to the Christmas party.  I have a solid group of friends, why would I need more?  Juggling relationships can be hard.  It all sounds so cynical, is this the way we live now?

Just a few days ago, I recieved a text message from a former fling.  We haven’t spoken in over a year, and we didn’t exactly end on good terms (what can I say, I get bored easily – it’s not a bad thing, it’s a sign of intelligence).  Regardless, he asked me to meet up for drinks sometime thinking I lived in his town.  I actually live two hours away, so it was easy to avoid the “well I’m in a serious relationship now, idiot” speech, but I couldn’t help but be flabbergasted.  Are we getting just as lazy with forming romantic relationships asnwe are with friendships?  It’s easier to scroll through a cell phone list of contacts and reach out to an ex (despite how it ended) than it is to get out there and meet someone new.  Facebook makes it even easier now that we can check and see if someone is in a relationship or not before sending that text (my gentleman caller conveniently doesn’t have a Facebook account).  Even Instagram has recently introduced an option for direct messaging.

This all leads me to another question, is it appropriate to keep these failed relationships (both romantic and friendships) available through technology?  Thinking about it, a text message is quite personal.  It’s a private conversation between two people.  It’s sent directly, and it gives senders time to formulate thoughts before sending.  It eliminates the risk of immediate embarassment and opens up an opportunity for more bold conversation.  Should we be blocking exfriends and exlovers from contacting us this way?  Like I mentioned earler, things like this never used to be an issue.  Without these new forms of instant and direct conversation, a two hour gap in between people would be enough to keep an ex at bay.

It’s hard to say if these forms of e-communication are a blessing or a curse.  I’ll take the ability to keep in touch with my lady soulmates (it feels like just yesterday we were still living under the same roof) if it means having to endure awkward conversation with old flames at the same time.  As I type this, I’m sitting in an airport terminal surrounded by people ending their holiday travel.  It looks like even with all these new ways of getting together without actually getting together aren’t a total deterrant for loved ones getting together in person and it’s heartwarming – even for my cold, electronic chatting, heart.

Come on, get happy!

kari

There are so many things that people are worried about. Money, cars, their looks, their job..ya know, the list goes on. But when do you decide that you want to be happy? To some this may sound like a foreign concept. But it something that all of us need to remember and basically prioritize.

I have been seeing this 100 Day to Happy (find it here) floating around the internet. So, I decided to be nosey and take a peek. Oh my, am I glad I did!

There are so many negative things that we worry about (like I mentioned before) that we don’t take the time to really appreciate the good that is going on in life. Now, I am not saying drop everything, join the Peace Corps and travel the world (heck, unless you really want to) but what I am saying is that we, yes including you and I, need to start focusing on the good instead of the bad.

There are always going to be bad days, not enough coffee, not enough time, or not enough energy. But if everyone gave up when the going got hard, would there be cars, cell phones, electricity or heck, even Disney World?!

There are beautiful and I mean gorgeous things that are constantly happening around us. The birth of babies from friends and family, the unconditional love from parents, friends, and a significant other, the fact that regardless of your job, you are at least making some sort of income.

People will always have it better than what you do, that’s life. We just don’t think of the reverse, that millions, yes millions of people have worse than you and I do.

So, instead of sitting here feeling sorry for ourselves because we can’t figure out life, or we don’t have a job making six figures (yet), why don’t we take five, ten, heck even a half hour to stop and smell the roses (or whatever your favorite scent is) and really appreciate what we do have, focus on goals (not wants), get our butts in gear and reach our goals.

My 100 days to happy? Well, it’s getting back to the gym for 100 days in a row. Sounds nuts, I know. But, when I felt good, I was good.

So, the question now is, what is your 100 days to happy?

New Years Revolution

Jessica M

This is not a post about how I’m going to lose that extra 15 pounds I’ve put on.  Or pick up a new hobby.  Or find a volunteer opportunity I can really dedicate my time to.  Or quit smoking.  Or actually follow through with a tooth whiting regimen.  Or finally finish reading War and Peace (okay, maybe I still have to start it).  New Years resolutions just aren’t my thing.  It took about one broken resolution for me to realize I just don’t have that kind of dedication.  I know most of these things will improve my quality of living, but I just don’t have the dedication.

But will they really improve anything?  A year is a long time to commit to something.  And really, how many people fully commit to their resolutions?  I have a hard time thinking that something that’s important to me now, would still be important to me in 12 months.  Things, people, and situations are constantly changing.
This year, instead of a New Year’s resolution, I’m making a New Years revolution.  For my New Year’s revolution I will -
1. Not weigh myself. I think we’ve all heard the phrases, “Some people eat to live and other people live to eat.”  I live to eat.  Experiencing new foods is one of my most enjoyable past times.  I will judge my body based on how my clothes fit and how I feel when I look in the mirror.  Weight is just a number.  I’m not going to go to bed hungry to fit someone else’s definition of beauty.
2. I will embrace the hobbies I do have.  I can play the crap out of a Playstation game but I can’t sew to save my life.  Big deal,  no one needs to (or has the time to) do everything.
3.  There’s only so much time in a day.  If I’d rather spend my weekend lounging in my sweats rather than feeding people at a soup kitchen, I’m not going to feel guilty about it. It will make me appreciate those people that do carve out time to help the needy that much more.  For now, I’ll stick to my ASPCA donations and feel good about that.
4.  Okay, so maybe quitting smoking wouldn’t be such a bad thing.  But within this last year I have unintentionally gone from a pack a day habit, down to a pack a week (or less) habit.  I’ll do it on my own time, forcing something never works out well for me.
5.  Whitening my teeth might not be that big of a hassle either.  But throwing strips on my teeth for two weeks doesn’t seem worthy of a “New Year” commitment.
6.  Reading is one of my favorite past times.  I’m not going to read something just to seem more “well-read.”  I’ll read whatever is holding my interest at the moment (last month it was historical fiction, this month it’s fantasy), and if War and Peace falls into that category, I’ll give it a shot.
I’m going to keep on doing me, and that’s all I have to say about that, 2014.
(photo from tumblr)

(photo from tumblr)