Self

Selfies That Aren’t Really Selfies

As a woman in today’s society, I am all for female empowerment. I love that more and more women are holding high ranking positions in companies across the nation. I think it’s so great that ladies are making a name for themselves through social media with style and lifestyle blogs and fitness careers. I even think it’s great that a gal can snag a modeling career through Instagram. What I can’t get on board with, though, are the selfies that aren’t selfies.

What are selfies that aren’t selfies? They are photos that women take where it’s heavy on the cleavage and light to nonexistent on anything else [I know you know what photos I’m talking about]. It’s always the same women who post them – an abundance of fake [occasionally real] breasts which take up 3/4 of the photo, and a smidgen of face, clothes [if any] and other paraphernalia that are smashed into the remaining quarter.

And don’t say it’s a “fake boob thing” because it’s not. I know several women with implants who don’t flaunt them a single bit.

I truly don’t understand why certain women do this. Is it an insecurity thing? Do they need the validation that they look good because 85 men [horny, noncommittal men] commented on a photo of their breasts? Maybe it’s a cry for attention? Whatever it is, it’s not attracting anything positive.

When I was going through my rough patch in life when I wasn’t sure who I was or what I wanted to do with my life, I thought I could be friends with and become one of those women. But, every time I’d even try taking a booby selfie, I’d get extremely uncomfortable and just give up. Clearly a sign that it wasn’t the type of attention I wanted to draw to myself.

I actually used to be really good friends with a girl who was [and still is] just like this. She posts at least one cleavage selfie every day. Usually there’s a coffee mug or some sort of alcohol involved. And on top of the selfies, she posts dirty, inappropriate quotes, and occasionally intermixes a family photo in which she is wearing something extremely revealing and not at all family friendly. She gets hundreds of likes and comments on her photos, tons of private/direct messages – mostly friend men, but some from women who are like her, too. I used to get so jealous before I realized that not a single one of the people contacting her respected her nor wanted to commit to her. The men want one thing: sex. And the women validate her because they are exactly the same.

I understand that most humans go through a time in our lives where we fall off track a little. We lose our way. We waver from what we do know to what we don’t know. But most of the time we get back on the straight and narrow. We find ourselves again. We settle into a comfortable, healthy lifestyle and find happiness. My fiancé didn’t fall in love with me because of my looks. While I’m sure that was part of it, it wasn’t the entirety of the reason. He was attracted to me for my brain; for my ability to hold a lengthy and intelligent conversation. He loves that I’m not fake in anyway; that I dress my age and act and look classy. It makes me sad for these showy women to know that they are not happy. That even at 30+ years old, women can still have major insecurities and not enough self-love.

While this is obviously a female-specific habit, I think it’s a responsibility for women and men to start lifting females up in a different light. Idolizing inappropriate photos is not helping these ladies feel better about themselves. We need to show them that just because they have a body, doesn’t mean they are only physical. We all have brains, we each have personality traits, talents, likes and dislikes – let’s encourage one another to dig a little deeper and find out what’s beyond the outside. Everyone deserves to be happy and a fair chance to find it.

…And the bonus of it all will be the beautiful woman on the outside, too :)

Silence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

When I was younger, I would purposely get in my car and drive around aimlessly for an hour or two just to listen to my favorite songs loud and on full blast. For some reason it calmed me, soothed me, lifted my spirits.

In college, my study habits thrived on the white noise that came from people surrounding me – I constantly found myself at local coffee shops or the noisy, social floor in the campus library.

In those days, the silence was deafening.

But back then I was late teens/early twenties, and I had just discovered my outgoing side – at that point, all I was concerned about was socializing [this may have been around the time that the acronym “FOMO” was born].

These days, I relish the quiet moments. In fact, I thrive on them.

Oh, sure, I still love listening to music in my car. It honestly feels odd just to drive around without tunes on. [Is it just me, or is there something totally creepy about being able to hear all of the sounds your car makes while it’s running?] Listening to music while I drive is still soothing.

But my work life and my home life – those are two places that the quiet is euphoric. Although, if I’m being totally honest, the office isn’t quiet AT ALL. While we don’t often have visitors or clients dropping by, there is always the usual hum of phones ringing, people talking, fingers tapping on keyboards, printers madly spewing papers at hyperspeed. You get the idea.

Okay.. So HOME. Home. Home SWEET home. That is my PLACE. That is where I am able to achieve complete and total silence. [At least for several hours before my boyfriend gets home from work.]

I love my boyfriend. SO much. I really do, but he does not know what quiet is. Sometimes I just sort of wonder if he is kind of afraid of silence.

I know we all like to listen to music while we get ready. I usually don’t when I’m getting ready for work in the morning [because, again, I love the quiet]. But at night when I’m getting glammed up to go out, I’ll throw on some tunes to get me hyped up. My boyfriend will listen to music on FULL BLAST. From the moment he wakes up to the moment he grabs his backpack and walks out the door. Luckily, it’s rare that he’s up when I am in the morning. But even so, I try to enjoy every moment of the solitude I have when I’m awake by myself every morning.

The evenings, when I get home from work, are my FAV. I LOVE evenings. I always have several hours to myself before he gets home. 4-5 hours to do whatever I want at the volume I want [which, obviously, is usually low to zero]. This is the time I like to clean the house, work on crafts, get organized – whatever! And I like to do it without any noise. Even tonight, for example. I’ve been sitting on the couch for FIVE HOURS just relaxing in complete silence. Bella is lying next to me, there’s a fire in the fireplace, and I’ve just been enjoying a glass of wine and surfing the internet [that’s, like, such an old school phrase.. “surfing the ‘net” LOL].

It’s funny how our tastes change throughout life. How in ten years I’ve done almost a complete 180 from the younger girl I used to be.

I guess the point of this post is to remind you to do things for YOU. Remember who you are and don’t lose sight of the simple things in your life that make you happy. I think most days we don’t even realize how much it can affect us if we aren’t able to do things that bring us peace. I know that for myself, having those few hours of quiet downtime at night are NECESSARY to my happiness and my well being. On the nights where my boyfriend isn’t working, I get stressed and snippy if I don’t carve out some alone time for myself.

Figure out what the little things are that bring you joy and make sure you do them!

Exposed

For most of my life I’ve been shy. It’s no secret – anybody who knew me growing up definitely knew this about me. Being the center of attention has never been at the top of my list of favorite things. Especially around people I don’t know or when it comes to public speaking.

The last year or two I’ve definitely grown as an individual. It’s pretty amazing how life experiences can make you a different person [if you let them – and you should].

Often times we make the same mistakes over and over again. We never learn from them or allow ourselves to learn from them. And we sit around and wonder why we do these things to ourselves. Why the self destruction?

Let’s be honest for a minute here. Isn’t it really because deep down some of us love the drama? Is it because we’re afraid that if we find a sense of normalcy that life will just be plain boring?

My adult life [let’s assume 18 is “adult” in this situation] has been a series of bad boyfriends intermixed with spells of singledom and wildness. And for what? What has it brought me? What has it helped me to accomplish?

A lot, actually. And maybe not right away – in fact, it’s taken me ten years to really realize my self-worth. But it’s the experiences I’ve had that have brought me to this point today.

Two weeks ago I went on a date with a new guy. A guy from the internet, yes. I’m not afraid or ashamed to admit it because this is the way we are now. First world dating, that is.

Anyway, we spent five hours in sweat pants eating sandwiches and talking. Hands down one of the best dates I’ve been on so far [not that I’ve been on too many, mind you, but regardless]. Over the course of the five hours, one of the things he asked me that really resonated in my mind was, “What are your biggest fears?” Having spent ten years with boyfriends who preferred partying, drinking and drugs to, you know, speaking, I wasn’t accustomed to having an actual real conversation with a guy. Or, really, having somebody take an interest in anything except for my physical appearance, like, oh – I don’t know – my BRAIN.

Let me tell you – it was seriously refreshing.

And attractive. Really attractive.

And at first I didn’t know how to answer the question.

What are my biggest fears? Immediately, I thought, “death.” But with my grandmother passing away earlier this year, I realized that it was no longer a fear of mine. Having a loved one pass on made me strangely at peace with the idea of someday inevitably losing my own life as well.

So what else, then? I hate the actual feeling of fear. I don’t like to be scared. Scary movies, haunted houses, creepy situations – those are things that are “fears.” But they aren’t life altering. They aren’t things that linger in the back of my mind every day and keep me from living my life.

It took me two weeks, and today it finally dawned on me.

I fear feelings. I fear letting my guard down. I fear letting my walls down. I fear letting somebody into my heart because he might have the potential to really hurt me. I fear emotional pain.

I’m generally a pretty hard-hearted individual. I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve. I hate crying. When it comes to dating, if I’m not into you, you’ll know it. I’m not going to waste my time. I’m not going to reveal too much of myself because I don’t see the point and I don’t like you enough to give you more than my surface. Some people may see that as a game. But it’s not a game – I’m not playing hard to get – I just don’t like you.

But, in the extremely rare circumstance that I actually do like somebody, I’m all in. I love hard. Because if you’re going to expose somebody to all of your inner workings and the things that make you tick, you might as well give them your all, right? What’s the point of holding back? What do you have to lose? This could be why I’ve only had a few boyfriends in my day. I don’t ever trust my heart enough to let a man in.

YES – sometimes we get hurt by the people we care about. I’ve been hurt by many guys I’ve dated as well as girl friends, and vice-versa of course. But I can’t let the fear of feeling that pain again keep me from potentially wonderful experiences. Because it won’t kill me. Yes, it’s cliche – but it won’t kill me, it will make me stronger.

I constantly have to remind myself not to let past relationships set the precedent for future ones. The beauty of this planet is that no two people are the same. And while I often times forget this, it is ever evident as I am exposed to more and more new people every single day.

I will leave you with this – don’t let your fears stand in your way. Because at the end of the day that’s all they are: fears. A single word. An idea. A mental block. They aren’t tangible. You can’t hold them. They aren’t a physical wall stopping you from living your life [although sometimes that would be easier because we could just take a mallet to it and knock it down]. Only you are keeping yourself from living your life to the fullest. It’s taken me a long time to realize this and to even begin to start to understand this about myself, but I’m learning. Every single day.

[Almost] Thirty, Flirty & Thriving

Social media is so love/hate for me.

For instance, I hate that people cause and feed into drama and put it “on blast,” if you will. Listen, I understand you need to vent, but seriously, get a fucking diary or unload to your friends [if you have any]. Nobody else needs to get involved in something that is none of their business.

However, on the flip side, one of the things I love about social media is that there are always links to news articles or surveys or things of that nature that I love to read and review.

Last night a friend on Facebook posted a link to an article from the Business Insider about improving and focusing on thyself [to read the article, click here]. And of course I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. If you follow my blog you know that I am extremely passionate about the topic [and implementation] of bettering yourself. And I really feel like this has been one of the best articles I’ve come across, to date, as far as what you need to focus on at a certain age.

When you’re in your early twenties, life is really all about self discovery. So few of us really know who we are before we’re of a legal age [and I would say this mostly applies to Americans, which is ironic, since our country is so fond of it’s “land of the free” ways, and yet we have so few freedoms until 18, 21 and 25]. When we’re young, we all want to be popular and well-liked [well, most of us]. We do things like sneak out of our houses and tee-pee people’s homes and soap the local fountains because we think people will like us more. Because society tells us that it’s “the cool thing to do.” And then after high school we realize that all of that crap was so dumb and juvenile and then panic sets in because, holy shit, who the hell are we now? What do we do to meet people and get with the “in” crowd? And, holy shit, there is no “in” crowd because we are in college or we have a job and now it’s every man for himself. So we drink and do drugs because it puts down our walls and we think that this will help us to meet people – and we make bonds with people we have nothing in common with because, frankly, the only thing we actually have in common is that we’ve downed several cocktails.

Alas, the path to self discovery. And so many of us lose sight of who we are in the mix of all of this. We get used to defining ourselves based off of who we are with other people, or what society tells us we should be doing, and we know deep down in our hearts that it’s not right.

I have never been somebody who needs somebody else. Truly, if anybody designed the “third wheel,” it was me. I literally third wheeled it all through my youth. And I never actually minded. It taught me a great deal about reading other people and, most importantly, it taught me so much about myself.

Do you know who you are as a solo, individual human? Or is your being defined by your significant other?

I know too many people [mostly women but a few men as well] that are so lost in life because the minute they find themselves alone [which is often, because nobody wants to date somebody who has no clue who they are] they go completely insane and jump into the arms of the next person who crosses their path. And the vicious cycle continues..

The article I read explains that this sort of behavior is completely acceptable in our teens and twenties, but, by the time we reach our thirties, we should know who we are and we shouldn’t have this wild mustang mentality any longer. It’s time to lock down a real life and focus on being the best person you can be.

I am two years shy of thirty [thank god – I cannot wait to get out of this dreadful decade], and already I am starting to implement some of the things outlined in the article. And I love that each of the ten bullet points is all about improving yourself and yourself alone. BUT, the article doesn’t assume that you’re alone; in fact, everything the writer talks about can be improved upon while simultaneously being in a relationship. They are things that, if you are in a relationship, you can both work on and encourage each other on.

But the bottom line is, at some point you have to grow up. The article basically gives you a soft timeline. It gives you thirty years to fuck off. That seems like plenty of time to get it out of your system, don’t you think? And in thirty years, don’t you want to know who you are and be comfortable with that? In sense, it actually changes the rules that society has practically embedded in stone – that we must own a home, be married and have our act together the minute we graduate college. The article is giving us an additional eight years to continue our youth and sow our wild oats, if you will.

Obviously this is not something that everybody will be able [or want] to abide by. Some people will never know who they are. Life will be a constant cycle of jumping from one “Mr. Right” to the next, and from one group of friends to another. Others will have their act together right out of school, with a great job and a college sweetheart and a white picket fence.

And while we are all so drastically different from one another, we do all have one thing in common: the power to change. The power to change our lives; the power to see the world differently; the power to make decisions because they’re the right decisions, not necessarily the ones we want; and, most importantly, the power of our minds – the will to actually change and improve. Because, as I’ve stated in many of my posts, the only person standing in your way is yourself.

When Life Throws You Curves…

…You learn to swerve.

That’s how the saying goes.. Right?

Maybe, but I think a more appropriate ending would be: …You hit the ball right out of the damn park!

I mentioned in previous posts that 2013 was a tough year for me. And, unfortunately, the first half of 2014 has presented a few challenges as well. I think that as we grow up and really become adults, life truly throws us a lot more curve balls. It’s how we handle these situations that grows and shapes who we are.

And so, I come around to avoiding the “swerve.” Recently, I had to deal with a whole issue of my dog biting someone and having to pay steep hospital bills because a certain individual thought that a midnight trip to the ER was necessary. I will admit, being bitten by a dog, any dog, is a scary situation. HOWEVER, unless you are mauled to the point where you need plastic surgery or TRULY believe that the dog may have diseases or rabies or something of the sort, I hardly think that a hospital trip is necessary.

But, alas, that was not my decision to make, and so, for legal reasons, I am being forced to pay for a mistake made by my pet. And, let me tell you, I avoided this situation like the plague until I absolutely had to deal with it. I hate confrontation, and the most run-ins I’ve ever had with the “law” have been minor speeding and parking violations. The last thing I ever expected to deal with in my life was having to go to small claims court to deal with a literally minor dog bite. But, as an adult, I must take responsibility for the actions of my pets; they have no way to speak for themselves, and are, essentially, a direct extension of my parenting (although, I will point out, that my boyfriend had a significant role in the origination of this so-called bite).

But that is neither here nor there. The point is, I dealt with it, as unwilling as I was, as an adult would. I went to court, and now I’m paying my “dues to society,” if you will.

Someone once said to me that our society is set up so that you can’t get ahead – that you are always one or two steps behind. More times than not, it feels this way. Sometimes, it seems like I am constantly fighting an uphill battle. Will I ever NOT be living paycheck-to-paycheck? Will I ever NOT be breaking even? It seems like I’ll forever be consumed with debt and expenses, but the truth of the matter is, if we fight hard for what we want, and we battle every little thing that comes our way head on, then we WILL succeed.

Life isn’t easy. If it was, we’d all be billionaires; we’d each own an island which we would only be accessible by private jet (which, of course, everyone would have). But, this is just not reality. Every challenge that presents itself to us, whether we choose to face it or not, makes us who we are – these bumps in the road are the building blocks of personalities, lifestyle choices, bad habits, the list goes on. Some of us may avoid problems by over-imbibing and escaping reality. Others of us may just ignore the problem until the absolute last second, and then tread as delicately as possibly until the issue is resolved. The choices we make reflect who we are.

So what are your choices going to be? I know I’m nowhere near perfect. There have been way too many instances in my life where I’ve turned to “friends” and alcohol because I didn’t like something that came across my life path. I don’t know if I’d go as far to say that I regret that decision, but I’ve learned that getting drunk only temporarily numbs your mind, and only puts the problem off until sobriety returns. In short, it is never the answer.

But we all must learn how to deal with things in our own ways; that is part of the beauty of life – having the freedom to choose. At the end of the day, just be sure that you are happy with the path of life that you are on. We will always have regrets, but be conscious of why you have them and how you can change so that you don’t feel that way about certain situations again.

There is an old saying, which you have probably heard – “Take the bull by the horns.” DO IT. There is nothing stopping you from being in charge of your own life and the choices you make to shape your future.

Miss Independent

I’m going to pre-apologize right now because this is going to be a MAJOR venting post.

Image

I found this quote a couple of months ago while I was browsing around on Pinterest. I immediately pinned it to my own board, saved it to my phone, and proceeded to post it on Instagram. I wish I could just post this quote in every women’s locker room, dance studio, grocery store – I know it’s cliche, but places that women frequent the most. Because women are the ones who do this most often. I felt like sharing this quote because I think it’s something that we, as women, really need to pay attention to. It wasn’t that long ago that our female ancestors fought so hard for women’s rights and women’s liberation. And here we are, in modern-day society, revolving around men like planets revolve around the sun.

Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Bailing out on your friends, blowing up a guy’s phone around the clock, obsessively checking his Facebook to see if he’s been posting anything, because you haven’t heard from him yet today and you’re wondering what the f**k you did – I mean, usually he sends you a cute wake up text with a little wink face on it.

C’mon. We are all guilty of this. Thank you, technology.

And what’s the deal with breaking up with someone one day, and then having a new guy literally the next day? Quite frankly, I am completely mind-blown at how this is accomplished. Do you constantly have men on the back-burner, just in case things don’t work out with number one? Are you really so afraid to be alone with yourself? No offense, ladies, but this is borderline drug addiction. People drink and do drugs to escape reality. Isn’t that what being alone is? Reality? And isn’t that the same thing as jumping around from man to man, never able to settle because you’re so lost and so unaware of who you are that you just keep trying different men (aka different drugs), getting more and more addicted to the cycle of trying to find “love”?

I can’t tell you how many women I’ve known in my life that fit this profile to a “T”. Raise your hand if you’ve had three or more relationships this year. I’ve had three relationships in 26 years. Three relationships in my whole entire life. That’s not to say that I didn’t want more, but I was so shy in my youth that boys were as foreign to me as being dropped out of a helicopter in a third world country where they speak a language you’ve never even heard of.

BUT, the complete and total upside to my lack of boyfriends in my younger years was my ability to get to know ME. I’ve spent more time with myself in this life than any man, and I’m better off for it. I don’t come out of a relationship and immediately look for the next one. I take that time to get to know myself again (every relationship changes us, whether we like it or not, and we must learn to redefine ourselves as the person we are NOW).

And, yes, I AM in a relationship now, and I love him and I love spending time with him. But I also love the little moments I get to myself. The two hours I spend every day exercising my dogs and being alone with them. Reading a book, enjoying a glass of wine. Painting my nails, watching a movie. The simplest pleasures in life that pass us by when we get too preoccupied with other things.

Don’t get me wrong, relationships are wonderful – whether good or bad they teach us something about ourselves and what we want (or don’t want) out of life. But the relationship you have with yourself is the most important one. After all, if YOU don’t want to be alone with you, then why the hell would anyone else want to?