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Today is my 34th birthday.

33 is ending very differently than it began. I was a brunette working in finance with an almost-boyfriend. I’m now a blonde working in real estate and construction with no boyfriend in sight (which is more than okay). I don’t know that I’m happier than I would have been if everything worked out as I so fervently hoped, but I am content. No, not content. I’m still restless and impatient and dreaming of a future I can’t see yet. I’ve accepted that my plans didn’t work out. I’m okay. So many times I told myself, “You must make this job/relationship/thing work out, or you will not be okay.” And yet everything went to shit, and I am still here. I am okay.

I might actually be more than okay.

My 34th birthday is in a few weeks, and I really need to get my shit together, er, meet some goals before I hit my mid-thirties. Oh god. How am I almost 34 and not 14?!

 

Me on my 14th birthday with two-thirds of my younger siblings. Hashtag resting bitch face 4LYFE.

 

I think this list is actually supposed to 36 things I’m going to do before I hit 35, but let’s be real, y’all — if I get 10 of these done, I’m going to be super proud of myself.

  1. Visit a city I’ve never been to before.
  2. Paint my living room (bonus points for bedroom and kitchen).
  3. Buy a new car.
  4. Start journaling again.
  5. Write more. (I’d like to get some of my writing published, but that’s more of a wish than a goal.)
  6. Get a bed frame and a new sheet/comforter set.
  7. Don’t give up on this blog!
  8. Work on my hand-lettering and calligraphy.
  9. Go back to school or whatever I need to do to begin my career change.
  10. End 34 healthier than I will be starting it.
  11. Get my wisdom teeth removed. (I know, I know, I should have done it like 15 years ago.)
  12. Grow a plant and don’t let it die.
  13. Actually finish five books I haven’t read before.
  14. Organize my closets, including…
  15. Donating or selling stuff I’m not going to ever wear again.
  16. Repierce my nostril.
  17. Get a new tattoo/fix the one on my leg.
  18. Start hiking and riding my bike again.
  19. Get more involved in the charities and groups that are important to me. Make activism a bigger part of my life.
  20. Do one thing that scares me — go on a plane, go to the top of a tall building, touch a tarantula… Something that gives me goosebumps just thinking about.
  21. Wear something that scares me, and not just in the house, but in public. I’m talking bikini, crop top, romper. And then document it here and on Instagram.
  22. Perfect my liquid eyeliner. Or attempt to.
  23. Build my savings account up by $1000+.
  24. Raise my credit score another 10 points.
  25. Maybe potentially possibly do the St Jude 5k?
  26. Take a train down to New Orleans.
  27. Make more things to sell on my Etsy.
  28. Continue to work on my mental and emotional health by finding a new therapist (my old one retired, wahhhh!), making sure I refill my meds on time, finding coping skills for my anxiety, and continuing to practice self love and positive thinking. (Even when I don’t wanna.)
  29. Start drawing and painting again.
  30. Look up local auditions for plays and maybe go audition (if I find a play I’m interested in).
  31. Put up shelves in my kitchen.
  32. Add more artwork to the collage wall in my living room.
  33. Donate to charity at least once a month.
  34. Stay frosty.

 

Wish me luck!

I have struggled with very low self-esteem since I started puberty. As a young girl, I was always very slim and active, involved in gymnastics and other physical activities. At ten years old, as my body changed, so did my perceptions and feelings about it. Although I was not initially overweight, I convinced myself that I was, and began at age 11 or 12 to associate all my self-worth with the number on the scale. Later I would become overweight, in part due to medications and undiagnosed medical issues. I will save the details of my weight struggles for another day, suffice to say that I was unhappy with myself for a very long time. In my mid-twenties I gained self-confidence, but have had some major hiccups over the years.

This last bout of depression was very focused inward, as my depression typically is. I become emotionally self-destructive, and allowed myself to get so down that I could no longer see that I had any worth it all. I have since become very focused on actively working on my own positivity and confidence. It’s not a perfect system, and I certainly have my bad days, but they are fewer and less all-consuming.

I wanted to compose a list of the things that I have done that have helped me, not just to share, but you remember myself. Obviously, I’m not a mental health expert or professional, so please don’t expect these things to necessarily work for you like they have for me. They also don’t always work 100% of the time, but hopefully these can give you some ideas on how to start feeling good about yourself, or to help you in moments of pain.

    1. Shutting up my inner critic.
      For me, this can be as easy as telling myself to stop when a negative thought popped into my head. I will literally repeat “stop” until the negative thought goes away. I then try to busy myself so that the thought doesn’t reappear.
    2. Utilizing positive coping statements.
      This was a trick I learned in therapy many years ago. I use the same technique for anxiety and panic attacks. When in the midst of feeling shitty about myself, I tell myself things like:
      – “You are a good person who deserves good things.”
      – “Your feelings are just feelings, not facts.”
      – “You are only thinking this because you have been telling yourself this bullshit for years.”
      – “This is your only life and your only body, and you deserve to be happy.”
      – “You’ve been beating yourself up and getting nowhere, so it’s time to treat yourself better.”
    3. Finding people online who inspire me.
      One thing that has really helped me to love and appreciate my body is to fill my Instagram feed with people who have a variety of bodies. I follow people who are curvy, body positive, in recovery, LGBTQ+, chronically ill, differently abled, etc. I fill my feed with positivity and love, and I try to interact with people and send them messages of support, and it has really been a game changer for me. Truly believing that all these bodies are beautiful, that all these people are beautiful, has made me realize how beautiful my own body is.
    4. Stopping trying to receive validation from others.
      This is been a major one. I won’t go into details, but I ended up feeling neglected emotionally in my last relationship, which not only added to my depression, but majorly impacted my self-esteem. (This is not a dig against him in any way, but rather an acknowledgement that we were not right for each other. I do not do well in long-distance relationships, and that is on me.) I have realized that I have only myself to rely on for my self-confidence and that, when it comes down to it, I am the only person who can make or break me.
    5. Building a solid support system.
      This isn’t to say that I go looking for my self-esteem from others, but I do have several very good friends who I can go to when I’m feeling down about myself. These are people that are very dear to me, who I trust completely, who know about my struggles with mental illness and self-confidence. They don’t necessarily fill my head with compliments, but they can help remind me of my own strength.
    6. Keeping my surroundings happy.
      No more sad music, dark rooms, and melancholy Facebook statuses. I try to fill my life with light in every possible way — bright colors, songs that make me want to dance, happy quotes, open windows. I have rid myself of objects and clothing that made me feel anything but cheerful. I’ve boxed up old mementos that reminded me of times that I felt sad or uncomfortable with myself. I’m still in the process of purging, but the little I’ve done has helped tremendously.
    7. Change what I can and works towards changing what I want.
      The first thing I did after coming out of my depression? Bleached my hair. I’d wanted to for years, but was scared to because I hate change and blah blah blah. Well, change is what I desperately needed. I also bought myself new clothes that made me feel confident and excited to get dressed in the morning. I watched makeup tutorials online and started playing with my makeup again (something I consistently give up when I’m depressed). I’ve been cooking healthy meals, taking walks and exercising (endorphins, y’all!), and working towards being healthier. I’m also making steps towards other goals — both short- and long-term.
    8. Reminding myself that it’s a process.
      Self-confidence isn’t something that I have naturally, and gaining it is not going to take just a few weeks or months — maybe not even years. I have to have patience and be kind to myself on days when my negativity is high and my depression feels unmanageable. I just have to keep reminding myself that, even on bad days, I’ve got this.

    If you have any comments or questions, or if there’s anything you’ve found helpful, let me know! I’m also always looking for new blogs and instagrams to follow, so please share yours or some you like in the comments!

    • Today was pretty awesome. ❤️ @buzzcocked •••
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#ootd #psootd #whatiwore #whatimwearing #wiw #whatiworetoday #curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #curvyfashion #curvystyle #plussize #plussizefashion #plusisamust #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #psbloggers #blogger #plussizeblogger #plussizebeauty #girlswithcurves #tealhair #greenhair #bluehair #alternativecurves
    • I don’t have super any recent pics, so here’s a drunken selfie of me from a few weeks ago to go along with this absolutely irrelevant chain of text. I’ve also turned off comments because I don’t want pity or sympathy or advice. I just want to purge my feelings. I haven’t posted much in awhile because I’m not happy. I haven’t liked myself in awhile, and January and February have never been good months for me. I’ve been really self-critical and sad and isolating myself from the world when I’m not working. I know logically that this depressive period will end, but that doesn’t mean it hurts less or doesn’t feel unending. I’ll probably feel ashamed by tomorrow and delete this post, but don’t forget your “gone” friends. They may be hiding from the gray skies right now, but they will bloom again when the sun returns.
    • Work party last night! And snow! ❤️❄️ I hate that I didn’t pics of everyone.
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#ootd #psootd #whatiwore #whatimwearing #wiw #whatiworetoday #curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #curvyfashion #curvystyle #plussize #plussizefashion #plusisamust #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #psbloggers #blogger #plussizeblogger #plussizebeauty #girlswithcurves #tealhair #greenhair #bluehair #alternativecurves
    • Channeling Wednesday Addams and, yes, I cleaned my mirror after taking these.
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#ootd #psootd #whatiwore #whatimwearing #wiw #whatiworetoday #curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #curvyfashion #curvystyle #plussize #plussizefashion #plusisamust #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #psbloggers #blogger #plussizeblogger #plussizebeauty #girlswithcurves #pinkhair #alternativecurves
    • 2009 vs now. Me then: “I won’t be happy until I’m skinny!” Naw, girl, you won’t be happy until you quit accepting shitty behavior in relationships, get your meds straight, go to therapy, and focus on yourself. I may have gained weight and gone through some real shit, but things are so much better now.
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#curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #curvyfashion #curvystyle #plussize #plussizefashion #plusisamust #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #psbloggers #blogger #plussizeblogger #plussizebeauty #girlswithcurves #purplehair #pinkhair #alternativecurves
    • 2018 was my “get shit done” year. I’ve focused on my career, my home, and doing things I’ve needed to do for years. I’ve gone back to therapy, took a year off from dating, and have tried to stay on top of my health, both mentally and physically. I hope that 2019 will continue in this vein, and be the year I worked towards finding my own happiness. I finally feel like I deserve that.
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#curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #curvyfashion #curvystyle #plussize #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #plussizebeauty #girlswithcurves #pinkhair #alternativecurves #mentalhealth #mentalillness
    • Meowy Christmas!! 🎄🐱
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#ootd #psootd #whatiwore #whatimwearing #wiw #whatiworetoday #curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #curvyfashion #curvystyle #plussize #plussizefashion #plusisamust #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #psbloggers #blogger #plussizeblogger #plussizebeauty #girlswithcurves #purplehair #pinkhair #alternativecurves #christmas
    • Top 9. Thanks for all the likes, comments, and generally putting up with my nonsense.
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#ootd #psootd #whatiwore #whatimwearing #wiw #whatiworetoday #curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #curvyfashion #curvystyle #plussize #plussizefashion #plusisamust #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #psbloggers #blogger #plussizeblogger #plussizebeauty #girlswithcurves #purplehair #pinkhair #alternativecurves
    • Festive af last night. Second picture was, uh, several drinks in at a Christmas party.
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#ootd #psootd #whatiwore #whatimwearing #wiw #whatiworetoday #curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #curvyfashion #curvystyle #plussize #plussizefashion #plusisamust #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #psbloggers #blogger #plussizeblogger #plussizebeauty #girlswithcurves #purplehair #pinkhair #alternativecurves
    • My coworker said I looked like a rich bitch after I put on my coat, but my outfit is totally Target except for my boots. But if you pronounce it “Tar-jay,” we can pretend I paid hundreds of dollars for this look.
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#ootd #psootd #whatiwore #whatimwearing #wiw #whatiworetoday #curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #curvyfashion #curvystyle #plussize #plussizefashion #plusisamust #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #psbloggers #blogger #plussizeblogger #plussizebeauty #girlswithcurves #purplehair #pinkhair #alternativecurves #targetstyle
    • My first Christmas in my apartment (2016) vs this year. Still don’t think I have enough decorations though.
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#home #homedecor #living #livingroom #livingroomdecor #vintage #vintagehome #homesweethome #southerncharm #southernliving #memphis #midtownmemphis #catcourt #apartmenttherapy #apartmentliving #smallspaceliving #apartment #apartmentdecor #target #targethome #christmas #christmasdecor #christmasdecorations #pinktree #pinkchristmas #pinkchristmastree
    • Possibly professional.
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#ootd #psootd #whatiwore #whatimwearing #wiw #whatiworetoday #curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #curvyfashion #curvystyle #plussize #plussizefashion #plusisamust #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #psbloggers #blogger #plussizeblogger #plussizebeauty #girlswithcurves #purplehair #pinkhair #alternativecurves