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 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?

 

 

 

 

Check Yourself Then Be Gentle With It

 

white heart shape on human skin

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Confession: A few days ago I had this overwhelming feeling of loneliness. I felt sad and rejected. Next thing I knew I was downloading Tinder to try and solve my feelings. I wasn’t very enthusiastic about it and by the end of the night, I deleted it and felt defeated. Was I just looking for a hookup? Or validation for my insecurity? I didn’t know.

Real talk, this is the longest I’ve gone without sex since I started having it and most of the time I’ve been pretty okay with it but I have moments of intense frustration. My hymen is growing back and the most action I’ve gotten is getting face punched by a dog trying to give me kisses. In my moment of weakness, I tried to compromise and it didn’t work. Truth is, I don’t want to settle on intimacy. It sucks and it’s boring but something something, it’ll be worth it. At least that’s the conclusion I always come to when the feeling rides itself out.

In the past, when I’ve felt intense loneliness, I did try and solve it with a guy. I got the fleeting moment of affection and thought it’d solve my problem but the truth was, I always felt a bit emptier once that encounter passed. Then a few days later, my period would show up and I’d slap myself in the head and go, “Duh, makes sense” and feel like an idiot.

I’m starting to become aware I get irrationally lonely just before my period. I forgot this happened because mine has been so random since my IUD insertion in March. Once I put the sense together, the intensity of my feelings went away because I got control of it again. I got back to terms with being solo again.

I was coming off a seven-day work streak where I was wearing the wrong shoes for the job for six of them. I was exhausted, my feet hurt and my brain wasn’t functioning. So when I worked out my feelings, I spent yesterday doing some cleaning and getting drunk by myself off sake and beer. I needed a day to recharge and now I’m back on track and better than ever.

Be gentle with yourself even though you can feel dumb or sad sometimes.

It’s A Choice To Be Broken

Me too, Star, me too.

I didn’t realize this was the sentence I’d been looking for until I heard it. It made me think of my journey with brokenness. My past friendships with people who were broken as well. How it bonded us. How we tried to be there for each other but struggling for ourselves because when it came to look in the mirror, we chose to stay broken. It was a recipe for disasters. None of those friendships lasted because we’d always find a way to protect ourselves instead of letting go to actually connect with each other. We lied to each other because we were denying to ourselves.

Into my adult years, I put a lot on it myself for the trauma I endured while I was growing up and it’s only recently, though not fully, I’m understanding that I was young, the choice wasn’t there like it is now. I need to break the way it molded me, acknowledge these pieces are me as I gather them back up and move past it by putting them back together into something beautiful I’ll make. It sounds cheesy, I know, but it resonates a truth for me. I can’t pretend the memories I do have away without them coming back to haunt me. I can talk about them when the flashbacks happen and I don’t feel strong enough to handle them instead of trying to tough them out alone. I can make a choice to do that.

I think about the choices I made most of my 20s vs the choices I’ve been making this past year. I’m choosing to protect myself wisely with self-care instead of compromising foolishly with self-doubt. I’m choosing to talk instead of yelling because I feel owed to be heard or whispering because I’m afraid I’m not smart enough to speak. I’m choosing to go down the path of uncertain because I trust the process rather than choosing to stay miserable because I don’t believe faith. I’m choosing the encouragement from my support system instead of sadness over rejection from guys. I’m choosing to stay authentic if it’s not injuring someone rather than feeling uncomfortable because conflict means I might not be accepted. I also choose to be hyped about childish things that get me teenage girl excited because it has nothing to do with arrested development; it brings a shit ton of joy to me. The only thing I choose to pretend is that I’m dope shit knowing full well I look like an anime sometimes and I’m the size of a child.

I’ve had some bad shit happen to me that were out of my control but I choose not to let them break me. I’ve made some bad choices in the past out of fear but I’m choosing to make better ones that is void of the validation from others. I can’t predict or control everything but I can choose to be stronger at times that make me weak. I can choose to not allow people to save me because they think I’m fragile and can’t handle myself. I can also choose to not let people take care of me when it’s in their interest. I can’t choose to not have people feel pity for my past but I choose to not be defensive about it. I have choices. I can make them.

I choose not to be broken.