Last Ten Days of My Twenteens

29 has been a strange age but good age. I made a promise to myself that I was going to take control of my life and self and own it however which way would come. And, for the most part, I did. I did more this age for myself than I think I have in a long time. At least consistently and not just in chunks. Not since 23, when I took a year to learn what being self-sufficient meant. I failed myself after that and then spent a few years struggling with who I was and what I was even doing. I abandoned myself as others abandoned me and was really fucked up for those few years. I became independent but still with unresolved issues and attachment problems.

I spent my 20’s with so much inconsistency. With my looks, my weight, and who I was. That’s what they’re for, right? I didn’t see that at the time. That I wasn’t making mistakes, I was just experiencing life itself even though it was through a sometimes painful route. But when you think you are a mistake and dumb, you don’t feel the worth of thriving. So you’re just confused. I never fully felt like a real person because I thought I wasn’t important enough compared to everyone else. I felt like a kid on a soap box every time I wanted to have a voice. I took whatever I could in terms of a connection because I just wanted to be valued, yet it was something I was scared of because I failed at giving to myself. I felt like a potato/turd who just really, really, reaaaaally wanted to be cool.

I’ve always been judgmental but never quite leaned into it. I didn’t use it for better judgment for myself. I didn’t think I could own my shit if I got called out. I’m learning this isn’t true. Embracing my judgmental nature has helped in a sense that I waste less time. I don’t politely tolerate things I know I shouldn’t. I’m less giving to people who aren’t worth it and have more to give to those who are. I have less trouble expressing thoughts and stand by them knowing they are valid. I can deal better with conflict without worrying about being abandoned for it. I judge from my head and less from a defensive position, if that makes sense. As I own my self-care and feel boss from it, I stand where I do and stay there. I like who I’m beginning to build myself to be because it’s the me that I’d like to be and I’m allowed to have a choice in who sits with me or not. It’s only going to get honed and better. I know this. I’ve got an attitude that I’ve wasted trying to bury its worth. Now is the time to let it out.

I felt sad that I couldn’t hold down a proper relationship and felt like who I was wasn’t girlfriend material for what was needed for a working relationship. I have a couple of friends whose significant other just adore them and I still wonder how I get that to happen for me. My inadequacy with dating and being so available to guys who could barely make an effort for me made up most of my 20s while I was navigating alone. Sure, I had boyfriends but nothing was lasting like I once was capable of. I went from only understanding long term relationships to wondering if it was even a possibility anymore. Even now, I can’t imagine being in a relationship lasting at least a year. I gave my heart away recklessly, that’s for sure, and cried a bunch of unnecessary tears for the guys I cried over. I now roll my eyes about when I recall them.

I learned to be less apologetic for my dealing with guys because I stopped making reasons and excuses for the behaviour and efforts I’ve encountered. It’s something I no longer take responsibility for. I don’t have to colour up a romance that is simply not there even if my yearning heart wanted it. I’m allowed to respond instead of just react. I’m allowed to be grossed out or not interested. I have watched grown men cry not because they had feelings, but because they were getting their shit called out and emotional from it. It was always for themselves and never for me but I’d try to cooperate thinking it was. I emotionally babysat their feelings for them while they held no accountability for their bullshit. I didn’t think of myself enough in these situation. I was too busy proving myself over so little that it didn’t occur to me to assess them for myself. Not until it was too late and I was looking back on reflecting and mending rather than from a position of choice.

I’m getting better at engaging with people, as a whole, not in fragments. Almost all of my 20s were just pieces of me left with people because I never knew how to engage fully. I’m still not sure how to get explain this aspect. I felt like I couldn’t be accepted entirely so I’d show what could be accepted, by bits. I lived like an omission rather than a lie. Though it’s definitely a work in progress, I’m trying to navigate how to share my stories with people worth telling them to rather than as a way to try and connect. I’d like it to be a conversation rather than confessions. I used to be bad at participating in conversation unless someone engaged me because I didn’t really know how to connect with people. I didn’t know how to ask questions or what really to say. It’s honestly fucking weird when I think how I lived this way for so long now that I can properly do it. It’s crazy even.

More and more, I look in the mirror and see someone who takes care of herself but she’s no longer trying to chase an ideal. For like, four years now, I’ve been chasing this ideal weight and I got to it. I haven’t maintained it. I’m on average about two pounds over but I’m okay with that. I’m not disappointed because where I am right now, I like. I know it can be better but I don’t shit on myself for not making it better. I like how I put myself together. I don’t see someone who protects herself through binge eating or does it as a punishment for her emotions anymore. I don’t intentionally set out to stay comfortably but miserably chubby anymore. I don’t want to anymore and am confident about my self-control about it. Don’t get me wrong, I still indulge but I don’t feel the shame or guilt about it I once did and certainly not to the extent I felt it. I don’t hate myself when I’m not “on track”. I’m accepting of my body more without adding “even though”. I dress with a bit more self-steeze and honestly, its pretty fucking dope. I can finally feel it, ya know?

That’s the biggest thing I’ve shed in my remaining 20s. My self-loathing and this feeling like I’m living falsely as a person. I’m not trying to love myself anymore. I do. I’ve allowed myself to look after me and protect the inner child I neglected for so long. I no longer feel shame that I’m not a perfect person and not friendly all the time. I don’t apologize for it profusely as I once have. I can wake up the next morning with carb face from eating and drinking too much and not feel genuinely disgusted with myself as a human being. I don’t think I’m completely dumb and useless on a super earnest level anymore. That thought no longer feels like a truth about myself I have to hide. I know now it’s not true and I am okay with telling myself that as often as need be until I really understand it because there are days I still don’t.

I don’t feel insecure anymore. At least not with the same sense of tragedy and doubts. There were moments where I wanted to own the confidence but felt like I should be insecure instead and that doesn’t even make sense. I wait less on the approval of others because I prefer my own of myself. I don’t dim myself down to cater to other’s insecurities as much. I can do this without questioning if I’m arrogant or not because I don’t need to move aside where I’m not overstepping or crowding, ya know? Don’t call me over if you’re just going to ask me to step aside.

I’m living a life that is my own and in my control. In comparison, it’s alright but for me, it’s becoming pretty chill. Sometimes I feel incredibly lonely with how I live it but it doesn’t feel so isolating anymore. I know I have people in my life, it just takes adjusting to not feeling like I can only fill that spot romantically. I no longer fantasize as an escape or a longing, I now dream with ambition and think of how I can get there even though I’m still in learning. I still hope for a love where I’m represented as a partner and it’s expressed and not something that’s questioned or passive. I’m not desperate to try and find it with every person that flirts with me anymore though. I present myself as a person better because I can feel like I am one now. I haven’t quite grasp how to smile and wink at the world because I’m a flirt but I’ll figure it out.

All the things I struggle with, I no longer feel hopeless about. Being unattached gets me into trouble with myself when I drink too much because I haven’t learned to properly navigate that shit. I’m accepting my level of capabilities and challenging my feelings of uselessness. I know where I stand without assuming the lower end of life. I know how stubborn I am and how hard I can work. I’m not smart or intelligent but I can be clever. I have valid things to say. I’m allowed to be funny or think I am. I’m allowed to just try and go after my visions and my goals and whatever else I want to strive for. I can be unapologetic for standing my ground against people who are trying to undermine me or belittle me. I don’t have to be polite about it. It doesn’t make me difficult to stand up for myself.

I’m reflecting on all this stuff in the last days of being 29. My 30s will be something I hoped for in my 20s and if I do it right, each decade after will be better. It will be great not because I say so, it’ll be because I’ll be living in the best way I can, in whatever direction it goes. I will be authentic about my life and hope it’ll attract the same. I still feel silly embracing this mindset but I also feel more joy for it. Like, it’s not quite there yet but I’m at each step of getting there. I get to practice saying no to the wrong people and yes to the right ones and opportunities. I get to see what’s fitting for and with me and have that instead of struggling mismatch. I get to do so much more for myself now that I’ve shed a lot of the darkness I carried with me for most of my life. I’ll be standing as a happier 30 yro rather than a tragic 20.

Short of possibly failing my driving test tomorrow and crying myself to sleep about it…. I’m ready for the next decade and chill about the remainder of my 20s.

Growing Up Emotionally Fast

I remember when I was young, I was never rebellious, just dumb. My friends did mature things that I was pretty naive to even though I was lowkey the equivalent of a horny teenage boy with no dick to stick in things. I learned about things through hours of sleepless nights on the internet. I didn’t learn much in real life.

While some of my friends were having sex at an early age, hanging out with older guys and smoking weed on the regular; I was just around. I didn’t get caught up in any of that. There were times I made embarrassingly terrible efforts to be sexy and failed miserably. Example: I wore a thong to class in ninth grade and almost gave myself a wedgie trying to show it off out of my jeans. Still, guys wouldn’t look at me. I was never the slutty one at parties. I only made out with everyone and then probably threw up somewhere later on in the night because I wasn’t very good at drinking either. I didn’t have sex until I was sixteen and I waited on purpose because that’s what teenage rom coms taught me was an appropriate age. I remember even calling a friend about it right after the guy left and being like yeaaaah, I did it. Because sex, amirite?

Fun fact: I had sex with the guy I lost my virginity like, eight or so years later. Nothing was like I remembered. It was pretty bad. I judged pretty hard. We never did it again. As a person, he was alright to me until he got weird/gross this year. I’ll respect on not getting into because he’s a newly father now………

I didn’t have a consistent adult figure to help me through life. Not even secondary like, a relative, teacher, mentor, etc etc. I had someone I viewed as an older sister when I was a kid but she passed away when I was thirteen. I lowkey had no one. It’s been weird trying to navigate life and raising myself mentally and emotionally. Especially since I’ve always been a bit of an idiot.

While I struggled with the confusions of growing up, I grew up emotionally faster than I was prepared for. I didn’t even know this was happening because I was just a kid. Reflecting as an adult, it explains why I was such an internalized mess for so long.

I have faint memories of being in a women’s shelter and the green pajamas with strawberry shortcake. This was one of my first real memories. I experienced death of others at a young age but dysfunctionally because most of the people I knew who died were young. It happened frequently enough while growing up that I had to accept it as something that was a part of life. I was too young to grasp the emotions of it properly. I took that into adolescence as well. I mean, I got sad but I never learned any grieving skills.

No one really took me seriously because of my parents and when I was young, I didn’t understand that either. I didn’t understand why the other kids in the Vietnamese community were so tight knit and I was such an outsider. I always felt like I never fit in. My dad used to try to beat the Vietnamese into me and my mum was the reason why we were so isolated so you can imagine how confusing that was for me. Nothing in my life made sense but because I was too young to understand, I didn’t really think much about it.

But I did know I felt bad things inside me that I couldn’t understand. I felt different but I didn’t know why. I had no one to talk to so I just kept it all inside. Getting yelled at or dismissed definitely helped with the internalizing. I wrote my thoughts out only to have my mum find them and when she could understand them, I’d get yelled at. Shame game was very real in how my life played out.

Though I didn’t understand, I had to cope. I had to cope with figuring out who I was while feeling like it was wrong to be me. I’d see happiness and connection around me but I couldn’t genuinely feel it myself. I was never jealous or bitter about it; there was just always this sad feeling that I couldn’t understand. I thought it was normal to feel the alienation, I think. At the time, I couldn’t tell what was from the trauma and what was part of growing up. They just seemed to blend together.

I didn’t tell many people about what was going on with me. I just acted like everything was okay. Partly to fit in, partly because I really, really wanted to be okay. I convinced myself enough that I was okay knowing I wasn’t. And just cool. I just wanted to be cool. Still waiting on that. But it gave me an understanding that I didn’t understand myself. I experienced things that people around me didn’t. I knew my upbringing wasn’t normal. Some people kind of knew but I spoke about it like a conversation not with any feelings. It was easier to pretend that I was normal too. I could always study how to be normal online while just pretending I was in my real life. I read obsessively about those who I looked up to and pretended this one message board was full of older siblings guiding me.

My lowkey coping and forced emotional growth kept me going through some of the darkest moments of my life. It caused an earnest in me that makes me more aware of the tough parts of life. I’m resilient for it but paired with my inability to think any better of myself, it caused for many, many messed up years. It kept my dumbass from feeling sheltered or entitled though because I didn’t ever feel important enough for that “privilege”. Because I never really acted out, I’d suffer quietly with occasional outbursts. I was innately attuned to my feelings but lacked the self-awareness to control them properly.

Growing up emotionally was my unintentional survival mode. Now as an understanding adult, it takes away the intensity of the shame I felt and the defectiveness I thought I was. Being able to share everything I thought I had to hide has helped me accept who I am more as a person now that I have less that I’m supposed to hide behind. I get to connect and feel the emotions I once wondered about. Maybe not to the level that I imagined but you know, I appreciate what I can feel. It’s allowing me to know what my actual emotions are and how to control them because I’m shedding the misunderstood ones away. I can understand what are sincere ones.

At almost thirty, my emotions are beginning to grow properly. They’re growing with me and with an awareness. Talking about it brings out the uncool feeling out of me because that’s how I feel with vulnerable shit but we’ll shed that.

Accepting My Needs

I used to get anxious about my needs. If the anxiety got bad enough, I’d start acting up and being way more emotionally overbearing than either me or the receiving end of it would like. I’d start either blaming them or myself for my behavior trying to figure out who was wrong.

Turns out, as I’ve learned, it’s neither right or wrong. It’s just not seeing eye-to-eye and being okay with it. I was trying to get my needs from people who couldn’t meet them and causing myself emotional turmoil trying to make it happen. I’m finding out it’s easier to just accept that this person isn’t right for me and keep on until I meet someone who is. It’s hard to see when that person isn’t being mean or a dickhead; they just aren’t fitting for me and that’s okay. I don’t have to make reasons to dislike them when I can just leave it at neutral. Even if they still wanted me around, if my need fuel is on empty, then it’s my choices to say next and that’s okay too.

I’m a wordy person. I like hearing words, reading words and finding brevity in them. I get joy out of hearing positive reinforcement and giving them in support or encouragement. It makes my heart warm and I used to have trouble accepting that. Maybe it’s because I thought cool people would think it was lame so I’d have to tone that part of me down to be accepted by them. I don’t know why my brain has trouble accepting that there are people out there who are just as into expressing feelings and be comfortable with that. It’s learning but it still stumbles. Maybe it’s because of a life of having to earn people’s love or at least feeling like that’s what I needed to do.

But I have needs too and I’m allowed to have them.

I’m beginning to learn this as I pay more attention to the people in my life who give me what I need and I do the same for them. We don’t internalize our care or love for one and other. We’re okay with expressing it and it’s not lame. I still have a hard time with it because I’ve spent a lot of my life feeling disgruntled about my needs because I felt having them made me difficult. It’s getting easier to accept the positive side of me more when I’m surrounding myself more with people don’t make me feel difficult and care for me without me having to frustrate it out of them. I breathe a lot easier. I get to learn that I don’t always have to be on edge wondering how they feel or where I stand with them. They let me know and they’re okay with doing that. It took me quite some time to trust this sort of thing. I’m getting there. It’s getting easier to be less controlling and feeling more in control of myself.

What’s more is these days, I’m able to meet my own needs. I’m able to provide myself the needs that I tried to earn from people. The more kind I’m becoming to myself, the more I’m able to stop trying to attach myself to the wrong people. I can say to myself that I’m enough instead of trying to be more for someone else to get them to meet my needs. I have more energy because I’m less emotionally exhausted and confused. I’m giving myself value instead of trying to prove that I’m valuable to someone else.

It’s allowing me to recognize quicker when I’m feeling empty with someone, especially when it comes to romance. This used to be my downfall and it still is, but it’s not as bad as it once was. I’m no longer reacting in ways that are sad or angry. Mind you, it’s still something I’m navigating but I’m getting better at it. I am finding myself wasting less time than I used to. When I catch myself, I am now able to walk away with most of myself intact. I know this because the choice I make don’t give me anxiety or haunt me because I know it’s the right one for me. I think it’s because I’m learning to let go with acceptance and not with buried expectations if that makes sense?

As I accept my needs, I accept the personal growth and self-improvement that comes with it. I don’t argue internally about whether or not I should have this anymore. It feels good. Real good.



We All Start Somewhere

I’m getting my first real paycheck for a post/article that I recently made payable. I’m getting a whole eight cents for it! And while I’m laughing at it, I’m also genuinely excited. I didn’t think I’d get anything for it. So to get plus six for my two cents, it feels pretty good. Preeeetty good.

We all start somewhere. Hopefully I can look back at this like a Drake song. This little bit of validation is motivation.

It makes me think of when I first started working out. Active was never a thing you’d use to describe me. I was usually in a state of adorably chubby or soft. I was weak. I had no upper body strength. In fact, I was so weak that one time when I was drunk, I tried to do a handstand against a wall and ended up pinching my sciatica nerve and couldn’t walk for a week or so. I had no endurance. My friend took me for a run around my short block and he ended up overlapping me a few times and I ended up giving up. I wasn’t very flexible. Physically useless was not a criticism of me; it was unfortunately accurate.

I couldn’t even begin to consider that I’d be able to lift the weights I do now. Or to be able to maintain the splits and flexibility that I have. It seemed like only something cool people could do and I was not cool. I couldn’t envision myself in that kind of capacity. I was just this blob. I told myself I didn’t mind where my place was but deep down, I was hurting real hard about it. I just wanted to be perceived as cool. So, so, so badly.

What changed everything for me was reading about the hell Roald Dahl put his ex-wife, Patricia Neal, through after she suffered an aneurysm. The stubbornness of her and what she endured to not only recover, but go on to win an Oscars has always stayed with me. I didn’t go through any extremes like that but I kept that mentality even though I’m not high key about it most of the time.

Another was a subconscious trust I had in myself and the process when it came to powerlifting. I remember barely even being able to deadlift 50lbs. I used the assist for pull ups for what can only be describe as a “painfully” long time. I had no experience win strength but when I somehow knew I could be good at this even though I had nothing to base it on. I decided to believe in that. I would learn to believe in it.

I went through nights of waking up in soreness that I would learn was DOMS. My body was tired and so was I. I wanted to do the minimal, but my piece of shit minimal. But I started thinking about doing the minimal of what to reach my goals. I struggled even as I got better at it. I still didn’t have the confidence. I couldn’t take it as seriously as I felt inside because I didn’t feel it with myself. I couldn’t be like fuck yeah about what I could accomplish because there were other people better than me and the cool kids would see me as the try hard to be in the club that I kind of was. I was doing shit for myself but I also longingly wanted to fit in.

Except that I was also a scared to. I was scared of being called out. I was scared to finally hang with the guy I had a crush on because he was so jacked and I still saw myself as a potato that he met me as. This new me couldn’t shake the old me. I was so scared, I spent three years lost, confused and I went back to injuries because I couldn’t bring myself to saying it was okay to embrace the confident I sometimes felt.

In fact, it’s taken five years to believe in myself when it came to my physical capabilities and it’s only pretty recently that I can genuinely say I believe it. I didn’t even really believe it even after I did my first powerlifting meet this past February. Confidence in myself has never come easy. But it’s beginning to welcome itself in the past few months. Especially when it comes to powerlifting. Though it can’t be a priority right now, it’s a love of mine that I will always commit to and get back to. I’m good at it.

I started from a bottom and then I got to a great spot.

I felt the same kind of feels when I saw the check. Things take time to grow but I can do this even if I can’t explain to you how or the steps I’m going to take. I think a big part of it is trusting the process and having faith in myself and my abilities, capabilities.

I did more for my writing this year than my entire life and they were small victories but still victories. One article and an eight cent paycheck speaks more than the nothing I did to put myself out there before then. Both these things give me that tiny more confidence to continuing writing, understanding the different branches of it and make something of it one day.

Sept 17th, two years ago, last year & this year

On this day two years ago, I was in Winnipeg on a whirlwind trip that was less than 48 hours. I didn’t want to go. I ended up going because my ex at the time didn’t want to be away from me too long and was willing to fly me out. I voiced my hesitation but in the end, I went with his wishes because I wanted us to work and it would make him happy.

I had a miserable time there. I found out the life he told me and that I saw in Vancouver, was a different tale he told back at his home. His family life wasn’t as close as he made it out to be and he ignored me most of the time instead of introducing me to his friends as I thought he would. They asked me questions I didn’t know how to answer because it was different from what I was living with him back home. They didn’t even know of the person we were fighting about back home. I hated it there yet I tried so hard to convince myself that I could make this work. That I could make Winnipeg work. We had plans to get married. I was really stupid.

When that relationship ended, it was the crisis I needed to realize that shit needed to change, I needed to change. I made a promise to myself that I would work on myself. I didn’t keep that promise very well in the beginning. It was really tough but I kept trying.

This time last year, I started a new job that I couldn’t believe I even got. I had plans to quit my previous job just five days before but instead of two weeks notice, I was so fucking fed up, I made it effective immediately. I remember waking up the next day after I pulled that shit and going, what the fuck do I do now? I had nothing lined up and the reality of that hit me hard. But it was the beginning of me understanding faith. I told myself that if this was meant to be the right choice than something better was going to come along if I put in the work. So I hustled the fuck out of job hunting and then I got a better job.

This led me to take another step into the unknown a month later by saying fuck this to living any longer with my roommate at the time. It was something I should’ve done months ago but she convinced me rent was too high in Vancouver to live on my own and I didn’t believe myself an adult enough so I believed her instead. I snapped on that misery too and gave notice without even finding a place first. I put it in faith’s hands that there was better and I would find it. I found the place I’m currently at and at the time, even now, it’s right for me (even though the laundry is garbage). I got pretty lucky with the rent as well, to be honest, so there you have that.

Flash forward to today. My lease is up next month but I’m going to continue living here because, on my own, it’s good enough for me. It took a few months to build a home out of it but it’s been the first home I’ve ever felt since being on my own. It’s been a place I can have people over and feel comfortable about it. It’s got a welcoming and cozy vibe to it that I dig, that I set up. I actually don’t tend to have people over but the option is there when my place isn’t a complete mess.

I started a job a month ago that is what I’ve been looking for with a company that wanted me a year ago but I declined because they couldn’t offer what I wanted. It’ll be a job that I will either be valued at or will give me experience for a much better one a year from now. I finally feel a sense of responsibility and autonomy in a position for the first time in my life. It’s been a rocky road with jobs this year and employment but it’s recently beginning to find a steadier footing.

Two years ago, I was an emotional mess in a relationship with a guy I didn’t even really like. I started therapy because of him and I’m so grateful I did because my therapist opened my eyes to who he was and that I wasn’t crazy for my thoughts of him. It was hard coming to terms with how stupid I was and it wasn’t easy to genuinely forgive myself and believe that I wasn’t going to be the same stupid person. It didn’t help that for that year after I was still distracting myself with dating because I didn’t know how to use my time properly but it was the first time that I was attempting to try for myself.

A year ago, I was still a mess but this time a mess in my own space, on my own. I shed my miseries and only had myself and my own doubts to face. I had lived on my own before but I wasn’t ready at the time but this time I knew I was. I was more determined than ever to be my own person and attempted to bust my ass and was getting there, even though it was pretty poorly. I stopped distracting myself so much by filling my time with guys even though there was a couple I got attached to. Thankfully, I got over them and haven’t looked back since. I made the decision to put myself on anti-depressants to help keep the big emotions at bay while I tried to learn proper ones.

Today, I stand on my own two feet. Not alone, because I am blessed enough to have people who let me know I’m not alone, even when I feel the loneliest. I was in a relationship that I believed in too much but I’ve grown enough to not invest in it and move on for now, maybe forever. I’ve busted my ass off this year to get to where I am now. I worked through a death, a roofie incident and a somewhat emotionally abusive relationship. I made it through them and as I went through these things, I was still learning ways to take care of myself. I’m not as self-destructive as I used to be and I don’t think I ever will be that way to the level that I was again because I’ve learned to love myself.

Today, I see myself and have allowed others to see me. I don’t have that sense of isolation, hiding or invisibility anymore. I’m no longer on the anti-depressants because I’ve learned emotional regulation that I can handle on my own now. I still stumble but I don’t hide it anymore because I’ve learned to open up about it with people who remind me to be gentle instead of dismissive of me. I’m not as self-absorbed in my own issues now that I’ve learned to connect more with the world. I’ve come to accept the flaws of me and the parts of me that I thought would get rejected. I don’t distract myself with dating anymore because now that I’ve learned to make it something that I have a choice in, instead of something to fill my time and void, I’ve lost interest in trying. I’m happy doing my own thing and once I realized that loneliness was the driving force of it, and really recognize it without defensiveness, I was able to overcome it with the help of my friends.

Two years ago, I was in love with the wrong person and in the wrong place. Last year, I didn’t know what love was. This year, I found love in the right place and with the right people. It’s been a journey and I’m not there yet. I still fumble but I’m not as lost. I don’t downplay how far I’ve come because I acknowledge the amount of work I’ve put into where I am right now. I shed a lot of who I thought I was, who I used to be and old thought patterns and mindsets that were holding me back. I believe in the depths of me rather than thinking I’m deep down shallow because I’m not sophisticated.

Today, I look in the mirror and see who I am instead of confused at who’s looking back at me.




The Learning of Being Kind To Myself


For three years, it has always been a personal goal of mine to squat 200lbs in this pink Betsey Johnson dress someone gave me years ago. I decided what better time to hit this vision than for my 30th birthday next month? I’d done the program before, it’ll be great! I can do it!

Confession: I did day one of it and decided to stop the program.

I had to be honest with myself and say I didn’t want to commit to it. I wanted flexibility in my life. I knew deep down that I’d be giving myself low-key anxiety with the rigidness of the program because I’d be putting expectations on myself. I would’ve drowned in the guilt if I didn’t keep to the program because I’d rather be doing something else. I settled on telling myself that, after my birthday, I’ll be 30 for 365 days and that’s 365 days to still pull this shit off. I’d honestly rather be putting my time into practicing driving and getting my licence by my 30th because if this happens, I can do anything and I’ll be crying. I’d rather be crying over that.

Also, the open mic thing will be on a Monday and I had to tell myself, I’d rather watch my friend do something he’d always wanted to do and join him on it. On the program, I’d have to choose between the two so I chose while I’m ahead. I want the flexibility to work on material and maybe meet up with him before the day so we can politely smile at each other’s attempts at jokes.

I mean, I’m still going to go to the gym. I’m just not going to just go when a program tells me to. As long as I go and keep at it, it’s what’s going to matter. Powerlifting is always going to be there for me as long as I put in the effort. It’s like the supportive boyfriend that believes in me and just wants me to do my best, whatever way that works for me. I’m the overthinking girlfriend who doesn’t want to disappoint him by not being as great as him because he’s sculpted like a God and makes me feel weird things when I see him deadlifting all those 45lbs plates. I just want to be good enough while he’s reassuring me, “Babe, you are good enough, do it how it works best for you. I’m not telling you what to do. Don’t put that on you or us.” And I’m crying because he’s being so understanding and perfect.

I feel guilty when I make decisions for myself that isn’t about “being healthy”. I made the decision to catch up with a couple of my closest friends this week and eat and drink an amount that I’m paying for in carb face and belly. I can’t look in the mirror right now because it’s pretty bad and I don’t want to see the evidence on my face. I went to the gym twice this week because I currently have a tweaked neck from work and acupuncture did not help it as I thought it would. I’ve been getting migraines. This wasn’t a good physical week for me.

Come Sunday, I’m telling myself it’s okay. To not take all this anxiety and guilt seriously. To be honest with myself with the fact that I am not a rigid person. I like structure but I need flexibility within that structure. Also, I am not very disciplined and trying to really force that shit on myself will make me go into a self-sabotaging mode and if I go deep enough, it can get ugly. Also things like, I was mindful of my neck and didn’t want to make it worse because of my guilty ego. I’ve been kind to myself about it. I’ve been talking myself through the anxiety and guilt. Mind you, I still feel them but I don’t feel them seriously.

That’s the reminder I have to tell myself. To not take my overthinking anxiety seriously. To remind myself who I am now and that person won’t just say fuck it, and bask in the piece of shit mode. To remind myself that I’m totally a responsible adult and believe it. Tomorrow is the start of a new week and there are no expectations that I’ve put on myself for it. My neck will get back to normal eventually.

Being kind to myself is tough but it’s something I have to learn without spoiling myself when I try. I didn’t understand this difference for a long time.

The Body That Confidence Built

All of my life I’ve been pretty self-conscious with my body. I’ve always found it kind of strange because privately, I can’t keep clothes on except for my underwear. In public though, I’d usually pretty covered up. If I showed skin, there was always a part of me that felt like I was trying hard and had this back of the mind anxiety that someone was going to call me out on it and I’d have to sit down. How I wanted to feel couldn’t match how I did feel and it was a mess trying to make it work on the outside.

When I felt good about myself, I hid it. When I had the best body I’ll ever have, I took it for granted by being so insecure about it. There are many photos to remind me of how it looked but at the time, I couldn’t own it. There was always shame when I felt proud. I thought I would come off as shallow for it. It didn’t matter to me all the work I put in. I always told myself I could do more, do better and someone would see that and call me out on it. I was scared to be the phony I worked up in my head that I was.

I felt comfort but pretty shitty when my body was on the chubbier side. It was my coping mechanism. I’ve learned now it was a form of self-protection from really connecting with people or at least what I saw as “proper people” romantically. It was a form of self-sabotage to keep me feeling the way I felt inside about myself. To prove that self-loathing because I didn’t think I was deserving of my body otherwise. I’d use any stressful excuse to eat myself into a miserable hole. Sometimes it was so bad that I’d eat until I’d almost throw up and then continue eating because I felt I deserved the gluttony that I was feeling. I never even threw any of that miserable eating up. I kept it all in because I was so shit with myself, I felt like I had to sit with my disgustingness and not cop out by throwing it up and away. When I could, I’d excuse it as me just trying to have a fat day and enjoy myself.

You’d never know that by looking at me or talking to me though. No one did. It was a secret about myself I hid it very, very well. You also couldn’t tell because no one was really paying that close attention to me and it was all in my head. I was my own worst critic and so incredibly hard on myself. I constantly got myself into situations with people that would leave me rejected. I was in arrested development with style for so long because I didn’t know how to dress because of my poor body image. I always dressed down or looked cheap when I tried to show skin and “look sexy”. Or when I wanted to dress pretty, it felt like I was overdressed and I would feel anxious. I was too scared to own who I wanted to be because I spent most of my life thinking I could never do enough for it. So I’d eat myself back into a comfortable misery.

I also didn’t know at the time that I was scared of ever genuinely feeling the word “sexy”. I wasn’t whole on the inside so I was scared of attracting the wrong people who just liked me for my body instead of me as a whole. I fulfilled that by attracting those people anyways. I never did attract the ones who would throw me away like trash but I sure as shit attracted the ones who were flimsy with their interest and too passive to let me know the truth about that. I would get crushed by it and put it on myself. I went through a lot of headaches subjecting myself to a lot of gross behavior from guys. I definitely tolerated more than I should have. But I couldn’t feel attractive to myself so I tried to find the approval on the outside and I was self-conscious for even that.

I know this is going to sound weird but I also had this weird anxiety about being rude if I owned my confidence. I think it was a girl issue thing. I’m not exactly sure how to explain or pinpoint it but I didn’t want girls comparing themselves to me and I would feel shitty about that too. This anxiety made me feel arrogant and I didn’t want to blow smoke up my own ass. There were times I’d slow down my hustle because of this and I always knew it was weird but I didn’t stop myself from this either.

I’ve been working on owning who I am and who I’d like to be this year more than ever and I’ve allowed myself to feel proud of the work I put in. It’s the first time that I’ve felt this way and it stuck. It’s a confidence that I know isn’t going to go away because I know how hard I continue to keep working. My body isn’t the best out there but at this maintenance, it’s enough for me. It can get better and it probably will. But whatever confidence and work I put into it will always be what’s enough for me now. I can now feel this way because I know my efforts aren’t shallow. There’s hustle. There’s grind. It might not be the hardest work out there compared to others but that doesn’t dismiss how hard I work. Just because I’m fundamentally lazy doesn’t mean that I won’t put that aside to get the work that needs to get done. I take care of my body now rather than fight with it.

I’m also learning my own terms of sexy. How I dress reflects how I feel on the inside and how I think I am. It’s kind of trashy at times but it’s within my style. I feel more at ease embracing this rather than the discomfort of hiding all the time. I repeat to myself that I’m allowed to feel good about myself and it’s the air I’ll exude rather than shoving it in people’s face. Everything is coming from the inside out and manifesting. I look in the mirror these days and see who I am and don’t hide from her anymore because she’s a fucking boss to me.

It’s been a while since I’ve binge ate the way I did before. I still have fat days but they don’t happen so frequently anymore. I’m no longer afraid of attracting the wrong guys by dressing the way I feel like because I don’t have a fear of myself anymore. Come owning myself came owning my choice to how I choose to respond to grossness and it’s no longer with a patience of politeness. I don’t have intense sweet or carb cravings anymore because I don’t feel the guilt I did about eating as before. I like the skin I show and even though my stomach isn’t perfect all the time, the shape of me is what I like and I have worked my ass lately for it. I know how to dress up and have a bit of style now. It’s still not great but it’s improving. I’ve been debating on buying a sewing machine just so I can tailor my clothes a bit more to me because I know how much of a difference that would make.

Even when it came to other females, I’ve stopped feeling that anxiety and insecurity. Like many people of any gender, the right people will lift you as you lift them. You encourage and support each other and not lowkey want to tear the other person down. If you feel any comparison that makes you feel like you have to dim yourself a little to make them feel better, maybe it’s not the right friendship or relationship for you. If it’s people who aren’t willing to help themselves or they’re just lying and want you to lower down so they can keep their lie, leave them. I’ve learned it’s not your responsibility to make people feel better because they’re not willing to do it themselves. You honestly can’t feel bad for surpassing people when they weren’t moving that much along.

It took me a long time to let go of external environments, thoughts, and anxiety to get to where I am. It took looking at myself and past it.  My body was never the problem; it was my mental and emotional state. It took a lot of work to believe I deserved the self-care I was teaching myself to give myself. It took even more to own it and allow myself to keep it. It took me a long time to understand how I wanted to feel about myself to myself and that it doesn’t have to be cool. I’m not cool. I don’t think I’ll ever be cool but you know, I can be other things that can equate to that or better.

To my body, I’m sorry for everything I put you through but I’m glad we’re getting along now. I promise to take the best care of you and to push you to limits you didn’t think was possible. To help you keep stay strong while you get even stronger. To keep you good until the day I completely destroy you by getting knocked up and eventually pushing a baby out of our vagina. Maybe you’ll get lucky and that will never happen. Who knows?