Vincent Van Gogh is my very favorite artist of all time. I have traveled far and wide to see his works, and I never fail to be moved to tears by the beauty of his artistry. The Irving Stone bio of Vincent's life (Lust for Life) is one of my all-time favorite books, and I read it religiously at least once a year…and I cry every single time. I could talk about Vincent, his life and his work (the two being practically interchangeable anyway) for hours – so imagine my absolute delight when I heard about the upcoming movie 'Loving Vincent', told entirely through animated oil paintings…check out the trailer below, it's going to be incredible: https://youtu.be/k8xcLdOjX6w
I cannot wait! I bet I will cry again….oh well…. 😉
I’ve been thinking about Ernest Hemingway a lot lately, which is noteworthy in that he is someone that I think of on a pretty regular basis anyway, so why the uptick now??! I’ve read all of his books, most of them more than once; I have delighted in visiting his Paris, and spending time swilling booze in his old haunts, imagining that the floppy-haired man at the next table might be the next Hemingway. I haven’t yet gone to visit his home in the Florida Keys, but I have planned the trip so many times that I could pretty much leave on a moment’s notice and have a crackin’ time while there. I think it’s pretty safe to say that I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for Papa, as I can count on his words moving me every single time. I’m rereading “A Moveable Feast”, and came across this gem today:
A girl came in the cafe and sat by herself at a table near the window. She was very pretty with a face fresh as a newly minted coin if they minted coins in smooth flesh with rain-freshened skin, and her hair was black as a crow’s wing and cut sharply and diagonally across her cheek. I looked at her and she disturbed me and made me very excited. I wished I could put her in the story, or anywhere, but she had placed herself so she could watch the street and the entry and I knew she was waiting for someone. So I went on writing. The story was writing itself and I was having a hard time keeping up with it. I ordered another rum St James and I watched the girl whenever I looked up, or when I sharpened the pencil with a pencil sharpener with the shavings curling into the saucer under my drink. I’ve seen you, beauty, and you belong to me now, whoever you are waiting for and if I never see you again, I thought. You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.
Gorgeous, right? Those words – I’ve seen you, beauty…it just kills me. There’s something so precious about a man who can express himself like that, and something so beautiful for a woman to be made to feel that way. Le sigh. Love this. 🙂
One other quick reminder of the beautiful life courtesy of Papa:
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway:
AT NIGHT, THERE WAS THE FEELING THAT WE HAD COME HOME, FEELING NO LONGER ALONE, WAKING IN THE NIGHT TO FIND THE OTHER ONE THERE, AND NOT GONE AWAY; ALL OTHER THINGS WERE UNREAL. WE SLEPT WHEN WE WERE TIRED AND IF WE WOKE THE OTHER ONE WOKE TOO SO ONE WAS NOT ALONE. OFTEN A MAN WISHES TO BE ALONE AND A WOMAN WISHES TO BE ALONE TOO AND IF THEY LOVE EACH OTHER THEY ARE JEALOUS OF THAT IN EACH OTHER, BUT I CAN TRULY SAY WE NEVER FELT THAT. WE COULD FEEL ALONE WHEN WE WERE TOGETHER, ALONE AGAINST THE OTHERS. WE WERE NEVER LONELY AND NEVER AFRAID WHEN WE WERE TOGETHER.
I had one of my very favorite students come to visit me yesterday afternoon – she’s still a student at my school, so I see her pretty much every day in passing, but this time she stopped by for a visit. She wanted to talk about how things were going with her, her stresses, her boyfriend drama, her family relationship issues…all of the regular stuff that gets teenagers down. While we were talking, she made a couple of self-deprecating comments about herself and her appearance – and I was all over her ass. I am the queen of comments like these, but I have made such a concerted effort to stop it lately – and I think she should, too. It does nobody any good to put themselves down like that, even if it is meant in good fun. I wish someone had told me this when I was 17 years old; honestly, I wish someone had told me something – anything – like this when I was 17 years old. All it takes is one person to show an interest, to express concern, to care — and it can (and likely will) completely change the course of your life.
We don’t start out our days being so insecure and sensitive (thank the Lord) – somewhere along the way, though, life gets in the way and changes the essential make up of our brains. Read this passage from a great book that I read last year:
“When we’re born, we have an instinctual understanding of some of the most important basics of life that includes, and goes way beyond, bending at our knees instead of our lower backs, to pick a beer can up off the floor. We’re born knowing how to trust our instincts, how to breathe deeply, how to eat only when we’re hungry, how to not care about what anyone thinks of our singing voices, dance moves, or hairdos, we know how to play, create, and love without holding back. Then, as we grow and learn from the people around us, we replace many of these primal understandings with negative false beliefs, fear, shame, and self-doubt. Then we wind up in emotional and physical pain. Then we either numb our pain with drugs, sex, booze, TV, Cheetos, etc. Or we settle for mediocrity. OR we rise to the occasion, remember how truly mighty we are, and set out to relearn everything we knew at the beginning all over again.” (From Jen Sincero’s “You Are a Badass”)
So true, eh? I remember being a kid that sang all the damn time, whether anyone wanted to hear it or not. Then, when I was about 13 or so, I completely quit singing out loud – unless there was A LOT of booze involved and a group karaoke situation, I NEVER sang. Never. However, as I have aged, my give-a-shit has loosened (I think it’s broken, actually), and I have begun singing again. A lot of the time. I even rapped an Eminem song last year. Imagine. I remember singing a song with my Wee One at my mom’s house one day, and my mother being absolutely amazed at the sound of my voice – not that it was particularly good or anything, but just at the actual sound of it…she had forgotten what I sounded like. Funny, eh? Now, why did I care so much what other people thought of my voice? I kind of think my pathetic dance moves fall into the same category – I don’t dance EVER anymore. I know that my rhythm is sketchy at best, and I am not the most coordinated girl in town, but…why should I care? I remember the last man who asked me to dance actually prayed to God to give me rhythm while we were still on the dance floor – which made me not want to dance anymore…but that is completely stupid. Who cares if I have rhythm???? Who gives a shit????! I guess I have in the past, but I need to stop. Life is too damn short. Grr. I think I will just dance…it’ll be okay. 😉 (I hope you caught that Gaga reference)
I began building a database recently, using data collected from some questionnaires that our seniors filled out a couple of weeks ago. As I was doing this, I so admired the ambition of some of our students – ER/Trauma Medicine, Social Justice Attorney, Petroleum Engineering (I don’t even know what this is, but I can imagine…however, when I was 17 years old, I wouldn’t have had a hot clue), Creative Writing degrees (AKA The Barista Program)…there were some really beautiful, lofty ideas there – and reading all of them made me so envious of the opportunities a lot of these kids have. When I was in school, I couldn’t have imagined having the belief in myself to decide to pursue a degree in Creative Writing, Fashion or something else that may not be the most ‘practical’ choice (but man alive were those the things that I most wanted out of life) – I was full of hopes, and things that I wanted to study and learn…but, they seemed to be flights of fancy, and I knew that I didn’t have the time and/or money to pursue anything that wasn’t going to get my through my education in the quickest way possible – so I chose to study in the Faculty of Education, with a concentration on Secondary Education, Double Major in English and French. I decided to become a teacher because it was something I knew, something I knew that I would be good at, and I would enjoy the variety of working with kids – because they’re funny and learning is just plain awesome. I have never regretted my decision to study Education, but I have always been full of the feeling that I am meant to do other things as well. I would never turn my back on my career in Education – one way or another, I will always have a toe in this pond, because I believe in Public Education very passionately, and we desperately need people around who do still believe (there aren’t enough of us, let me tell you). However, I somehow find it difficult to believe that this is all that I’m meant for – I don’t mean that in a snobby way at all, I just feel that there is SO much more out there for me to sink my teeth in to. This is probably why I do a lot of the things I do – I’m always studying something (whether it’s for my job or my own amusement), I live to try new things, I read constantly…there are so damn many beautiful, glorious things out there and not enough time to get to them all, so I think we owe it to ourselves to stick our straw in as many experiences as we can and slurp them up, don’t you? 🙂
I also didn’t know that there were so many options available when I was in school – probably because I grew up in the Middle of Nowhere, Canada, so I wasn’t exactly exposed to much. (True Story: One of my earliest ambitions was to be a writer on Degrassi – it still is, come to think of it…I figure I would be perfect for the job: I’ve watched every series of Degrassi since Kids of Degrassi Street began around 1980 or so, I know all of the characters and storylines, I’m Canadian (so I’m down with the vernacular, eh), and I’ve spent the last 20 years working with teenagers (so I know the scary things that go through their minds)…I think I’d be awesome! If anybody knows anyone on Degrassi, PLEASE SEND THEM MY WAY AND HELP A GIRL’S DREAMS COME TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) 🙂 One of the kids I work with this year is interested in getting in to Public Relations – I had NO idea that such a field existed when I was in school, did you? I suppose that so much of what we know depends on where we are from, what we’ve been exposed to, etc.. although the Internet revolution has certainly changed that up considerably. I love that our students today have the world before them, and so many opportunities that we didn’t have even 20 years ago – but, at the same time, there are so many more hoops for them to jump through these days…if you get yourself into a good college, you deserve a big ol’ pat on the back, because getting there is NOT easy. Between the FAFSA and the rest of the Financial Aid finanglings, the application process and the SATs/ACTs…it’s like a full-time job just working your way through all of this. We hosted a Financial Aid information session for our parents recently, and I was overwhelmed with feelings of wanting to hug each set of parents that attended. They were all there because they desperately want to help their children get a good education, but watching their faces drop and become considerably paler as they learned all about the complicated processes involved in Financial Aid made me feel physically ill – it shouldn’t be this difficult. Getting an education should not be as hard and soul-destroying as it is…it just shouldn’t. 😦
As I’ve been working on this database project and learning more about the hopes and dreams of those around me (it is seriously fascinating stuff), I’ve been listening to some music….and the song “Try” from P!nk came on:
Where there is desire There is gonna be a flame Where there is a flame Someone’s bound to get burned But just because it burns Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die You’ve gotta get up and try try try Gotta get up and try try try You gotta get up and try try try
That’s kind of the message that I want to send out to my students as they are preparing to leave the safety net of high school and stare down the real world and make it their bitch – things are going to happen, you’re going to get kicked around a lot, and everything is going to seem impossible at least once an hour, but…whatever you do, DON’T GIVE UP. Just get up and try try try. I need to hear those words myself from time to time….don’t we all? 🙂
I have written before about my struggles with managing my expectations, and I thought for the longest time that I was one of the only people who had a hard time with this. As I looked around, it seemed to me that everybody else was really great at this, going through life with what they wanted being in perfect alignment with what they got, and everything just hunky dory. It pissed me off, wondering why everybody else seemed so good at this, and I completely sucked. I spend most days thinking that I want certain things, that I deserve some stuff, and yet – nothing. It’s so frustrating.
Thankfully, I’ve had a few situations come my way recently that have shed some light on this one for me. This weekend, a girlfriend of mine called, all upset about a situation she was going through. She had met a really nice guy recently and was totally into him, and was feeling pretty positive about the two of them and the possibility of things blossoming into a relationship. However, there was one thing missing: sex. They had only tried to get it on twice during their dating time, and it didn’t ‘work’ either time. The wind wasn’t in the sails, if you get my drift. She tried talking to him about it, and his response was that he was really nervous, which was affecting his performance. She had a most unusual reaction to this – whereas most of us may take this as a sign that he likes us a lot and embark on a quest to put him at ease and help him relax, she responded with, “If he’s nervous about being with me, then he thinks he’s dating up and that I’m too good for him, and if he thinks that then he’s probably right and I am too good, so …maybe I should end it and find someone much better looking who is more of my equal”.(she clearly has a rather inflated sense of self, but…that’s a story for a different day) Her expectations were that he should be boning her 24-7 and thanking his lucky stars that her lady business welcomed him in – and the fact that there’s a tiny bump in the road wasn’t part of her plan at all. I’m not sure how this scenario will play out, whether she will dump the guy and move on to someone more Zoolander-ish, or whether she will stick it out and try to work through this rather awkward situation. What would you do? 🙂
Every day I work at managing my expectations – I regularly think that things ought to go a certain way for me at work, and when they don’t and there are roadblocks, I get frustrated and wonder why I expected so much in the first place. When I want to spend time with people and they aren’t as gung ho about it as I am, I get annoyed and can’t understand their indifference…why do I think they are every shade of awesome, and they are kind of ‘eh’ about me…that bugs the shit out of me! 😦 The worst part is that as much as I expect of those around me (which is too much, I know), I expect WAYYYYYY more from myself – and do I ever get pissed off when I fail to live up to my own hype. It sadly happens far too often. 😦 The experts have a ton of opinions on how to make expectations more realistic, how to manage your ideals of your self, and how to give yourself a break – here’s a few of their tips:
Discover that everything we need to be happy, we already have inside ourselves
Realize that our happiness does not have to be contingent on people, places, or things
Learn to differentiate between reality and unrealistic expectations
Engage in relentless communication with ourselves and those around us. Surely we are intelligent enough to realize that all we really have control over is what’s happening right now in this moment.
That’s some good advice, don’t you think? Some researchers at The University of Texas Austin had the following suggestions on managing your expectations when it comes to relationships:
Communicate what your needs and expectations are; expectations should be kept within reason.
Be willing to negotiate and compromise on the things you want from one another.
Do not demand that your partner change to meet all your expectations. Work to accept the differences between your ideal mate and the real person you are dating or married to.
Try to see things from the other person’s point of view. This doesn’t mean that you must agree with one another all the time, but rather understand and respect each other’s differences, points of view and separate needs.
Where critical differences do exist in your expectations, needs or opinions, try to work honestly and sincerely to negotiate. Seek professional help early rather than waiting until the situation becomes critical.
Do your best to treat your partner in a way that says, “I love you and trust you, and I want to work this out.”
I think there are some really good ones in there, don’t you? I personally find it really hard to handle when I am disappointed by someone, when I expect them to be one way and do things a certain way…and when that doesn’t happen, well, I find it sometimes crushing. A lot of it comes down to effort – I try my best with most things that I do, I mean well, and I expect that from others…which can be, at times, unfair. People are who they are, and they do what they do, and the sooner I – and all of us – realize that, the better off we will be. Do you agree? 🙂
I have been doing a lot of reading recently on the idea of ‘Manifesting’, and using the power of your positive thoughts to bring things to life. This idea, also known as the law of attraction (as well as about a hundred different titles), is nothing new, and there are many, MANY great believers in the magic and the power of this concept. I love the idea of it – if you think good things, they will happen…it’s kind of like ‘Field of Dreams’ – “if you build it, they will come”. However, the ‘do-er’ in me finds this to be a tough one – for me, it’s not always enough to just think something and believe it with every ounce of my being…I want to, no make that HAVE to, be doing something to make my dreams come true. I often wonder if I gave myself a break, focused more on the positive thoughts and their power in the universe, if I may not find the success and good things that I so crave??! 🙂 One idea of manifestation that I can really get on board with is the idea of not speaking badly about yourself…I have LONG suffered from this one – I’m the first person to insult myself, my sharp and cutting remarks launch out of my mouth as a preemptive strike of sorts, in the hopes that whatever unkind words somebody else may make towards me will pale in comparison to the self-depracating chatter that I already said. Isn’t that ridiculous? I know. I used to think that these sort of self-mocking comments were charming, but they aren’t – not in the least. They are hurtful, stupid, and unnecessary. I don’t need to do anything but sing my own praises – and I sure don’t need to make fun of myself. I may not be perfect, I’m not gorgeous, or brilliant, or talented, or successful…but I am me. And that’s all that I can expect from myself….and it is MORE than enough. 🙂
My friend Soupsie and I were talking this week about the funk we both seem to have fallen in to – here is a recent text conversation:
Me: Do you ever have days when you feel like you’re failing at everything? I hate that.
Soupsie: Yes. I call it October.
Me: I get that. I really feel like I suck at life these days.
Soupsie: Maybe it’s our age? Or we have unrealistic expectations of our own abilities?
Me: Can’t be us, we are friggin’ awesome.
Soupsie: Ya…but think of the others….
Soupsie: Lol…I just mean that the others know we are friggin’ awesome…it must be tough for them.
Me: Ah. So true.
As scintillating as this is, the conversation had actually started earlier in the week:
Soupsie: When I think of all the things I am upset about right now…it is bc ppl don’t treat me how I would treat them. My problem…not theirs.
Me: I struggle with that, too. I try to treat people the way I want to be treated, but, with the exception of you, that NEVER happens.
Soupsie: Lol. Yup.
Me: Why are people shitty?
Soupsie: I think we need to work on our own perception. We can only control ourselves (and that’s a challenge sometimes!). Like Maya Angelou says…when someone shows you who they are…believe them.
Me: True dat. I need to quit expecting people to be good to me. I was watching This Is Us, and marveling at Toby – I want someone to be that kind to me. I can’t imagine!
Soupsie: See…those shows set up unrealistic expectations. I always say I live a soap opera life…my constant yearning. Lol.
Me: You are absolutely correct. My lack of a grip on reality is because of too much tv. I need to quit it all!
Soupsie: Lol…what would we do with ourselves?
This idea of managing expectations is one that keeps coming up for me lately – I feel like the fates are really trying to hammer this idea in to my head. I think I am getting better at expecting very little, and being pleasantly surprised with any good things that come my way. And then I see something like this surprise Disney proposal:
I have no interest in having something like this happening to me…and I’m not even that coocoo for Cocoa Puffs over Disney — but I want someone to care about me enough to go to the trouble. I want someone to give such a shit that they come up with a plan like this. I think it’s beautiful. 🙂
Soupsie would totally do something like this for me, I just know it. You read her stuff up there – she’s the real deal. 🙂
I came across this 2014 interview with Sarah Jessica Parker recently, and I was reminded of just how much I adore her. There are very few people that I dig enough to wish that I had some of their qualities and characteristics, but…she’s one. I think she’s delightful – and I think I could really love a life like hers. 😊
Here’s the questions from the interview – let’s play along and answer them, shall we?
1. How long have you been in the area? I’ve lived where I am now in Texas since 2007.
2. What’s your favorite season in New York City? Fall – I love Fall anywhere and everywhere!
3. What’s your favorite activity in New York City? Walking, walking, walking…that’s what I hate the most about San Antonio — it’s the worst city ever for walking.
4. Would you ever leave New York City? I wish I lived in NYC!! I would absolutely leave San Antonio, provided I was moving on to something bigger and better, and taking the Muppet with me.
5. What are three words to describe living in New York City? Magic, electric, fast.
6. What’s your favorite movie? Pulp Fiction/The English Patient/Shakespeare in Love
7. Favorite movie in past five years? Argo
8. Favorite Hitchcock film? I don’t think I have seen enough of them to choose a favorite
9. Favorite TV show that’s currently on? This Is Us, Girls, Divorce, Homeland
10. What’s a book you plan on reading? This list is loooooonnnnggggg…I’ve recently started re-reading Shakespeare’s Complete Works, so how about we go with that? 🙂
11. A book you read in school that positively shaped you? The Stone Angel, by Margaret Laurence — still such a fave 🙂
12. A book you read in school that you never think of? Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness….that sucker went right over my head. Yuck.
13. On a scale of one to ten how excited are you about life right now? I would say a solid 7.75.
14. iPhone or Android? iPhone
15. Twitter or Instagram? Instagram
16. Vine or Snapchat? Neither – I get so annoyed at peeps who are obsessed with Snapchat and think I ought to be, too. Yawn.
17. Who should EVERYONE be following right now? Hillary Clinton/POTUS/FLOTUS/CNN
18. What’s the coolest thing in this room? My ‘Lucky Me’ sign 🙂
19. What’s your favorite downtown restaurant? Max’s Wine Dive
20. What’s your favorite food? Sushi
21. Least favorite food? Brussels sprouts
22. What do you love on your pizza? Either ham and pineapple, or fresh mozzarella with Roma tomatoes and fresh basil.
23. Favorite drink? Molson Canadian beer
24. Favorite dessert? Cherry cheesecake
25. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Dark chocolate
26. Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Sheep brain – I didn’t know what I was eating…I’m still traumatized.
27. What’s the hardest part about being a mom? Everything – specifically feeling like nothing I do will ever be enough.
28. What’s your favorite band? Oasis or The Mavericks
29. Favorite solo artist? Alanis Morissette
30. Favorite lyrics? That I would be good, Even if I did nothing.
31. If your life were a song, what would the title be? The Long and Winding Road
32. If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be? Michael Buble, Lady Gaga, or Harry Connick Jr
33. If you could master one instrument, what would it be? Violin
34. If you had a tattoo, where would it be? I have 7 already, but I will get a few more: one on the inside of my wrist, one on the bottom of my foot, and one on my upper back.
35. To be or not to be? Always to be.
36. What’s Oprah like in person? I’m sure she’s pretty much like anyone else – she puts her pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of the world.
37. What number of question was this? Haha
38. Dogs or cats? Dogs
39. Kittens or puppies? Kitties!!
40. Dolphins or koalas? Dolphins
41. Bird-watching or whale-watching? Whale-watching
42. What’s your spirit animal? Unicorn all the way!
43. Best gift you’ve ever received? My Muppet 🙂
44. Last gift you gave a friend? A sketchbook doodle pad
45. A person you want to have coffee with? My friend Soupsie- I miss her and wish we lived closer.
46. A historical figure you’d love to have coffee with? Marilyn Monroe
47. How do you like your coffee? Cream and Sweet-n-Low
48. Can I play a note on this piano? N/A
49. What’s your favorite curse word? Crikey…where to start? I love ’em all, but I’m partial to cock-sucker.
50. What’s your favorite board game? Clue
51. What’s your favorite country to visit? France or Greece
52. What’s the last country you visited? France
53. What country do you wish to visit? Bali
54. What do you see in this image right here? N/A
55. Can you write down your favorite word that starts and ends with the same vowel? Elegance
56. What’s your favorite color? Black
57. Least favorite color? Brown
58. What color dress did you wear to your prom? We didn’t have prom, but my grad dress was teal
59. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds
60. Cheap shampoo or expensive? Cheap
61. Blow-dry or air-dry? Air-dry, if at all possible
62. Heels or flats? Heels
63. Can you give an impersonation of someone? N/A
64. Can you do the same impersonation with a British accent? N/A
65. My friend outside this window would love to ask you a question? N/A
66. [Holding two different colored dresses] Which should I give my girlfriend? N/A
67. Pilates or yoga? Yoga
68. Jogging or swimming? Swimming
69. Best way to decompress? Reading or watching TV
70. If you had one superpower, what would it be? Time travel
71. Can you describe an experience you felt most nervous? The day that I gave birth….I was nervous, anxious, and looking for a way out of the whole thing. I’m glad I pushed through (pun intended) – the kid is pretty awesome. 🙂
72. What’s the weirdest word in the English language? Moist
73. Last question: Is this the strangest interview you’ve ever had? N/A
I’ve just finished reading Mindy Kaling’s second book “Why Not Me?”, and I couldn’t have loved it more – she continues to be my spirit animal, and has a way of getting me that not many others do. She wrote a section about her former boyfriend/BFF for life B.J. Novak (I am confident that I am not the only one who stays up late at night wishing that these two crazy kids would just get back together and ride off into the sunset together, amIright?) – this is what she said:
The occasional way we’ve described our relationship is “soup snakes.” This term comes from a season 7 episode of The Office where Michael Scott is reunited with his ex-girlfriend Holly and is pretending he doesn’t have feelings for her anymore. Later, he privately confesses to camera:
MICHAEL “I wrote down a list of bullet points why Holly and I should be together, and I’m going to find the perfect moment today and I am going to tell her. (Michael pulls out a ratty little piece of paper with writing scribbled all over it. He reads from it.) Number one: Holly, you and I are … soup snakes. The … and the reason is … because … in terms of the soup, we like to … that doesn’t make any sense. ( realizing he is misreading his own handwriting ) We’re soul mates. Holly and I are soul mates.”
I think I love the scene because it reflects how love works. “Soul mates” is what you aim for, but soup snakes is what you get sometimes.
Isn’t that just awesome? Soup snakes – as code for soul mates. I love it! I want to be someone’s soup snake. 🙂
PS: Mindy writes in this book about confidence, about accepting yourself as you are, and positive body image – it’s friggin’ brilliant, and ought to be required reading for all young and not-so-young girls. Love. 🙂
“I’m not easy, and maybe this is the best I can hope for.” – Jessica Knoll, Luckiest Girl Alive
I just finished reading this book, and I LOVED it. It’s so well-written, the story is an absolute page-turner, and I couldn’t put it down. Loved it. Some of the descriptions in the book are shockingly vivid, but the details bring so much truth to the tale of sexual assault, rape, and violence. This is a book that will stay with me a long time – clearly it was written from a place of experience and truth, as writer Jessica Knoll has recently revealed. However, the character that she created, whether semi-autobiographical or not, will remind you of someone that you know, regardless of who you are. She has a bit of all of us in her, which is part of why this book is such a compelling read.
There are a lot of things in this book that got me thinking, but the line that I quoted up top is the real kicker – this is how I feel most of the time. I know that I’m not an easy person to be with or to love – if I was, I wouldn’t be alone. As well, I have often figured that shit things happen to me because that is what I deserve…which sounds stupid to me as I type it, but it is how I feel. I am a terrible advocate for myself for the very same reason that’s quoted in the image above – I don’t want to be a burden, so I never ask for what I want…and, as we all know, if you don’t ask for what you want, you won’t get it, so it’s just a vicious cycle of stupidity and misery. It’s dumb, I know. Why I care about burdening people is beyond me, but I do. I care a lot. I wish that I knew why.
Here’s an article that was just delivered to my Inbox right now, which is eerily appropriate – behold 11 Signs That Insecurity Is Ruining Your Life + How To Change The Pattern : Do you sometimes just hate yourself? Are you uncomfortable in your own body and unhappy with how you interact with the world around you? A lack of self-love is often a result of growing up in a family where love was served with hurtfulness and dysfunction. It could also be the cost of spending time in a relationship where you didn’t feel valued.
When you don’t show yourself love, you will continuously (usually subconsciously) take self-sabotaging actions that keep you from the love and happiness you deserve. You won’t just hurt yourself. You’ll hurt those around you as well.
Self-hatred has a way of spilling out into every area of your life—your career, your relationships, and your health.
Here are 11 signs you might not love yourself—and how to turn the self-hatred into acceptance:
1. You love to please others.
When you’re not rooted in your own worth, you go out of the way to make others happy. A lack of inner love translates into a need for constant approval and appreciation by others. You couldn’t imagine someone disapproving of you or being unhappy with you in any way.
Take note of the times you go against your own will and do something you don’t want to do. Start to become aware of this behavior. The first step to ending the people-pleasing game is to acknowledge that you’re playing it. Once you acknowledge it, you can stand up and speak for yourself.
2. You have a difficult time saying no.
Not only do you want others to be happy, but you also want to be agreeable. You show up to help, go out of your way to be there for someone, and are enthusiastically present for the people you care about. Unfortunately, your life is governed by other people’s priorities and needs.
Practice saying “no” to small, inconsequential things. Practice saying no to requests from acquaintances and work colleagues. Work your way up to saying “no” to people you love and care about.
3. You don’t believe you’re enough.
You feel a void inside. You feel unworthy. You spend your days trying to get attention, stand out, and be noticed. You spend your days trying to please and be liked by others. Your feelings are quickly hurt by the slightest offense. Every perceived and real slight against you is overblown. You are lacking in all aspects of your life. You don’t believe you deserve a good career, to be paid what you’re worth, or to be loved by others.
As cliché as it may sound, the only way to change your beliefs about yourself is to change the thoughts you allow yourself to have. Capturing your thoughts via a journal, sharing your thoughts with a professional, and being more mindful of your thinking are ways to change the pattern. Once you recognize these thoughts, you can substitute negative messages to yourself with more-positive ones.
Work on healing your heart and building up your self-worth. Find activities that help you feel good about yourself. Take part in sports or other activities that build up your self-image. Practice opening your heart to accepting gifts, compliments, love, and compassion.
4. You compare yourself to others every chance you get.
Even if the conversation isn’t about you, your thoughts will immediately compare someone else with yourself. You’ll go out of your way to look for people who are smarter, kinder, better-looking, healthier, nicer, friendlier, etc.
Remove yourself from situations where you feel like you’re comparing yourself. Spend less time on social media and unfollow people who make you feel worse about yourself. Spend less time with people who intentionally or subconsciously make you feel less than.
5. You think your life is a mistake.
You ask yourself why you were even born and what good you are for the world.
Stop asking. If these questions persist, talk to a counselor. Remind yourself regularly of the value and love you bring to the world. Reaffirm to yourself all the positive ways you’ve contributed.
6. You don’t believe you can do anything right.
You focus on your mistakes, faults, and inadequacies. You imagine the worst-case scenario in every situation and expect that you’ll screw it up.
Reflect on all of your wins, both big and small. Think about all the times you got it right, solved the problem, and met the challenge at hand. Acknowledge that you’ve succeeded far more often than you’ve failed.
7. You hate your body.
You don’t want to be seen by people and are afraid of what they’ll think about your body. You can’t look at yourself in the mirror.
Ask yourself if this is really about what you think of your body or if it’s more about what you’re afraid others will think of your body. If it’s about you, ask yourself what is causing the self-hatred. Past thoughts, experiences, or negativity? Do you hate your body or do you hate it compared to others?
Take the focus off of what others think and focus on yourself. If you’re not happy with your body and feel like you need to work on it, focus on the work. Get into the shape that makes you feel good about yourself. Do it for you, not for anyone else.
8. You feel ashamed of yourself.
You are embarrassed and don’t think much of yourself. You have regular feelings of hiding yourself or disappearing from the scene.
Create an image in your mind of your most empowered, positive self. Ask yourself what it’s going to take to get to that place. Take action to embrace your vulnerabilities, let go of your negative feelings, and affirm your worth. Employ all the tools available to you—from mindfulness and journaling to exercise and therapy—to help you embrace your self-worth.
9. You don’t believe people like you.
Your default thought is that others don’t care for you.
Don’t make these assumptions based on your skewed view of the world. If your default assumption is that people don’t like you, explore it. Pursue those relationships. Look at the actions of others objectively and try to understand their intentions without bias. Spend more time with people who care for you and cut ties with people who don’t.
Not everyone in the world is going to like us; pick your friends and keep the haters far away.
10. You’re drawn to others who don’t love themselves.
You choose relationships where your partner is also self-sabotaging and takes their pain out on you.
If you’re in a relationship like this, look for an exit door. If you’re drawn to relationships like this, become aware of the pattern of attraction to partners who are self-sabotaging. Look for clues of self-hating behaviors and be on the lookout for people who don’t love themselves. If someone can’t love themselves, they’re not going to be able to love you.
11. You treat others poorly.
Your negativity spills out to others and you treat them poorly, even though you feel bad about it later.
Treat yourself gently. Repeat positive affirmations to yourself. Read uplifting books and surround yourself with encouraging people. Treat yourself the way you would treat someone you care about. Exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep. Once you treat yourself with love, respect, and kindness, you’ll start treating others the same.
Not all of these fit me, but man alive some sure do! I never treat those around me poorly (even when they bloody well deserve it!), but I’m the ultimate people pleaser who is loathe to ever say no. I feel that I’m never good enough (to the point where I want to get the Latin phrase “Satis sum” tattooed on my body somewhere – it means ‘I am enough’, and I think I need the reminder), and I spend entirely too much time comparing myself to others and falling short. That is the one thing that I would REALLY like to quit doing, actually…I drive myself nuts. 😦 Someone wise once said that comparison is the thief of joy – they sure weren’t kidding.
Thankfully, I don’t think that my life is a mistake – on the contrary, I think that my life is pretty great, even if I have made MANY mistakes. I don’t hate my body, although I’m fairly certain that I probably should. There are days when I catch sight of myself in my birthday suit (imagine) and think that I am a real smoke-show…and then there are other days that I think I need a kick in the arse and a pass to a gym stat. All depends on the day. I feel that if I think smoke-show more than I think gym then I am winning. Yaa me! :-). I don’t feel ashamed of myself – that’s one of my more interesting character traits – I don’t have a lot of shame about any of the things that I’ve done. I know that my friends talk about me and my string of failed relationships and life mistakes all the time (some are even brave enough to make fun of me about it to my face!), and that’s fine…at least I’ve lived. I’m cool with that. As well, I think – hope – that people generally like me. I guess if they don’t there’s not a lot I can do about it – remember: what others think of me is none of my business. Finally, the last one says that I am drawn to people who don’t love themselves – I have a hard time determining where I stand on this one. I certainly seem to find more than my share of strays and lost souls who treat me shabbily, but I don’t think I know too many people who hate themselves – at least I hope not. I know some really great people – and I hope that they all love themselves a whole big bunch. 🙂
If you have some time, give “Luckiest Girl Alive” a read – I would love to know what you think! 🙂 Happy Tuesday, friends! 🙂