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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!

    • 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
    • Yeah, it happened. 🤷🏻‍♀️ My apartment is festive AF.
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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
    • These past two, three months have been a journey for me. I try to be honest about my struggles with mental illness, but I have gone through some things lately that I felt were going to break me. I feel like I have finally come out of the other side, and I feel stronger than I have in many years. Guys, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are struggling. There is no reason to waste your time on Earth hurting. You deserve to be happy.
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#curvygirl #curvy #curvywoman #curvystyle #plussize #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #blogger #plussizeblogger #girlswithcurves #selfie #positivevibes #purplehair #pinkhair #colorfulhair #mentalhealth #depression #recovery #endthestigma #ptsdrecovery #bpd
    • I promise I’ll post some actual content soon. Life has been insane the past couple months. In the mean time, here is a picture of @buzzcocked and I from the Memphis Flyer. I promise we were not drunk (yet).
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    • Waiting to put up most of my Christmas decorations, but started on this little village.
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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
    • Making meatloaf, drinking pumpkin beer, and getting ready to watch a spooky movie. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! 🎃👻💀🍁🍂
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#home #homedecor #living #livingroom #livingroomdecor #vintage #vintagehome #midcenturymodern #homesweethome #southerncharm #southernliving #memphis #midtownmemphis #catcourt #apartmenttherapy #apartmentliving #smallspaceliving #apartment #apartmentdecor #autumn #halloween #halloweendecor #vintagedecor #targethome #targetstyle
    • Put a combination of @joico ruby red and amethyst over my faded amethyst, and I kind of love the results! It’s red-violet, burgundy, bright conglomeration of color. (Also, I bought these glasses thinking they were very Jackie O, but I feel more Willy Wonka in them. 🤷🏻‍♀️)
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#ootd #psootd #whatiwore #wiw #curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #plussize #plussizefashion #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #plussizeblogger #girlswithcurves #purplehair #redhair #alternativecurves #colorfulhair
    • Okay, so clearly I need to clean my mirror/room/life, and I’m hiding my face because makeup didn’t happen today, but I ended up accidentally wearing the cutest outfit today because I ran out of black clothes except this dress, and I ran into Target and bought sparkly leggings and booties and, whoops, cute outfit. I’ll get a better pic of the leggings and booties tomorrow.
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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
    • I’m tired of the purple, but I’m not really sure what color to do next. Part of me wants to go back to brunette, but I know I’ll get bored. 😂
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#ootd #psootd #whatiwore #wiw #curvygirl #curvy #curves #curvesahead #curvywoman #plussize #plussizefashion #plussizestyle #bodypositive #bodypositivity #bopo #psblogger #plussizeblogger #girlswithcurves #purplehair #alternativecurves #colorfulhair