I Had To Stop Shaming My Body ….

unnamed-2Summer is in full immense and the weather feels hotter than ever! You know what that means right? Time to put away the long sleeves and bring out the tanks and shorts. This is all fine and dandy for some, but for the rest of us who may have body insecurities, its not so wonderful. I know the select few people who know me will be thinking, “What body insecurities could you possibly have?” Well, I’m going to tell you, BUT before I do, you must promise me that you won’t be judgmental.

You promise??

 

pinky swear…

 

Okay then. I’m insecure about my muscular arms…
I know. Some of you reading this probably want to hit me in the face, but please, try to at least understand my point of view. I’m a tall woman (6’2 to be exact) who has always had a hard time feeling womanly. Ever since I was young, I was extremely girly and adored indulging in activities that society deemed as “feminine” (i.e. barbie dolls, makeup, that stupid easy baked oven that NEVER baked the cookies all the way, etc.) . As I continued to grow taller, I became more insecure with who I was and the way I looked because we are programed at a young age to perceive that a tall stature is more of a masculine feature. And all I ever wanted was to feel “dainty” and “cute”, which are typical attributes of femininity.
It didn’t help either that, as I progressed in my basketball career in high school and college, my body had the ability to develop muscle mass rather QUICKLY. My arms looked so built that even an ex- marine officer was astonished when he saw them. It may have been fascinating for some, but not to me. I felt even more masculine than I did before.

Now,

I look back and see how foolish I was to think like that. In fact, a lot of people never saw my arms as gross, but they truly admired them. Additionally, I began to feel a lot better about it when I saw beautiful women like Michelle Obama, Angela Bassett, Misty Copeland and Simone Biles, gracefully and confidently, show off their muscular physiques. The lesson I want you to get from this story is: STOP ALLOWING YOURSELF TO SHAME YOUR BODY! Forget what society tells you on how your body should be and find contentment in your physical feautures. No matter if you are a size 2 or 2x, you are beautiful and deserve to see all the glory and power there is in being you! So, let us not forget that body shaming comes in all different sizes and we (yes I’m talking to you) need to rally together, support one another and change the common perception of what an “acceptable”  female body looks like. As a woman, you have all the credentials to establish your own definition of femininity. Don’t let this chauvinistic world tell you otherwise…

 

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FOUR WAYS TO RELIEVE SELF DOUBT

Insecurities and feelings of inferiority are the monsters that rove in the minds of just about any human being. Due to the competitive nature of our culture, we are constantly comparing our mental and physical growth to others. And if you are like me, you feel like you NEVER live up to everyone’s expectations and standards. It’s as if the whole world are dominant, ferocious lions and you are just a mere abandoned kitten. For the majority of my childhood, my social anxiety was so bad that I wouldn’t look nor speak to people I truly didn’t know because I never felt worthy enough to be in anyone’s presence. My shyness and insecurities only intensified throughout middle and high school, in which I had a multitude of panic attacks because I felt like a complete failure and that I was not competent enough to do any task that was given to me.
Now, let’s fast forward to the present….
I’m a senior in college and ,yes, self doubt is still a problem that I must face everyday. Yet, I have taken enormous steps to eradicating my self doubt, which has aided me to live a more enjoyable and fulfilling life. I can honestly say that I am not the same self-deprecating person I use to be. When I make mistakes, I can get past them without putting myself down. And, everyday, I’m learning to love myself and the intricate qualities that make up my being. But what aided me to get to this better place, you might ask?
Here are four lessons I learned to get rid of self doubt:
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1) IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE IN THE MOMENT, STAY IN THE MOMENT
I know, it makes no cotton-picking sense (I’m sounding like my grandma now >.< ) to allow yourself to stay at your lowest emotional and mental state. Yet, this technique is quite similar to the old phrase, “When you’re down, you have no where else to go but up.” Allow yourself to feel all the pain and hurt that your anxiety and self-doubt may lead you to feel. Then, after you have had your “moment”, move on from it as quickly as you can and try to find an alternative activity to focus your attention and emotions on. It’s as if you are, in a way, emotional exhausting yourself from thinking negatively. It may still sound a little crazy, but trust me, it helps!! Recently, I had intense feelings of being a disappointment, which is a huge component that triggers my anxiety. That entire night, I couldn’t help but cry and reiterate to myself that I wasn’t good enough. Yet, the next day, something strange happened. I thought I would be in the same melancholic mood I was in the previous night. But yet, I was too emotionally and mentally tired to dwell on the negative thoughts. In fact, I really desired to uplift my physical and emotional state.
* Disclaimer*
This advice is NOT endorsing the notion that it is healthy to feed your negative voices. Instead, I am saying that it is best to face your emotions to the best of your abilities. Masking emotions will NEVER help. Additionally, talking to a respected colleague or loved one is another way get through these “moments” when your self doubt is at its worst.
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2) STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
Just stop doing it!
I know its hard since we are social creatures that all desire to be admired and well- liked, but its imperative that you see the beauty and power in being YOU. So do not try to measure up to anyone’s standards, expect for Jehovah’s and your own. You are phenomenal and do not need anyone to tell you how to exude your greatness.
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3) PRACTICE SELF COMPASSION
 Self compassion is having the ability to forgive yourself when you err and make mistakes. I never really paid attention to my lack of self compassion until I had to take a clinical psychology course, in which the professor said, “When other people (especially on minor circumstances ) mess up, we tend to forgive them and act like it wasn’t that big of a deal . Yet, when we make the same error, its as if the sky is falling and we turn it into a huge dilemma”. It’s so true. We are more harsh on ourselves for the same miniscule mistakes that almost everyone, and their mama, makes. Learn to lessen the perception of severity in regards to your mishaps and truly comprehend that EVERYBODY makes errors from time to time.
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4) PRAY FOR HELP
The biggest helper you have on your side in the battle against self doubt is Jehovah God. He has the ability to provide comfort when anxieties overtake us (Ps. 94:19). Earnestly go to him in prayer. No matter the issue, he desires to hear your concerns because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Just like a mother who is close to their child’s bed in times of sickness, he is close to you when you are mentally and physically ill. Talk to him as much as you can and, undoubtedly, he will provide the best way to alleviate your negative feelings.
Dealing with self doubt and anxiety is a continual course that is embedded with an abundance of peaks and valleys. Some days, you will be elated with your progression and feel on top of the world. Yet, on others, you will feel that your efforts to obtain a healthier mental lifestyle are futile. At either time, DON’T NOT GIVE UP! In the future, you will thank yourself for taking the time to improve your self perception. Great experiences and opportunities instantly open up when you finally become unleashed from the chains of self doubt. So, go ahead and break free!

The Ultimate Outsider…

IMG_1032We live in a world where social interaction is a vital process in survival. So, it is extremely crucial for us to receive an adequate amount of attention from other human beings. It is also very important to fill the void of loneliness in our life by developing a small to large group of associates that share the same interests or ideas as us. Now, socialization is all fine and dandy when you find the right group of friends, but what if you NEVER feel like you belong anywhere?!?

This is how I am feeling at the moment.. No matter what I do or who I meet, I feel like I do not belong. I also feel that I really cannot put myself in a correct subculture to describe my interests and things that I like. People can immediately distinct themselves as a nerd, fangirl or even a skater. Yet, my interests are ALL OVER THE PLACE that I really cannot put a label on myself.  I know that it is weird and probably really  stupid to stress over, but it can be rather sad when you believe that you will never find people you can identify with! My first encounter with this realization was when my roommate stated that she was a geek and she loved being that way! I started to think that I do like similar entertainment choices as her, but I don’t think that people who identify as “geeks” would accept me into their subculture because of other interests that I like. I started to think about where I may belong and, NOPE, NADA, NOTHING came to mind!! Then, I started to feel very subconscious and fearful that I may not fit in anywhere or with anybody!

Does anyone else feel like this? It is a peculiar type of loneliness that I have struggled with all of my life! The feeling that no matter how many people you meet or friends you make, you will ALWAYS feel like you don’t belong. Like the ultimate outsider.

I have come to terms that I am a bit different from people I regularly meet and that’s okay! I am learning everyday that feeling this way actually helps me to meet people with different interests and learn new, exciting things. If you suffer from this strange cognition as I do, don’t fret! We will get through this together!

P.S.: Please comment or email your stories if you ever felt this way! I would love to hear them and know that I am not alone in the world 🙂

My New Perspective on Beauty

Although it took decades, I have finally realized that not everyone, including myself, can be drop dead gorgeous. I’m not the girl with the beautiful hazel eyes, perfect round jawline and exquisite narrow nose. For years, I have been struggling with the realization that there is a large majority of people that may not find me attractive. At first, this realization did upset me because I wanted to be that girl who had 4 or 5 gorgeous guys follow her around like puppy dogs! (Yeah, I watched WAY too many RomComs when I was younger). As a nine year old, I had envisioned my high school life to be full of receiving sweet and flattering attention from the opposite sex, but only if I was “that” girl. Needless to say, I will NEVER be “that” girl! As I get older, I am realizing that not being seen this way is quite okay. There are so many women who strive, even going as far as changing their physical appearance, to look like models, actresses or even music artists who are perceived in “that” way. But why should we try to look like someone with no rare essence or features? Also, who gave media and entertainment the privilege to choose what is considered beautiful and what is not? We should not have to feel that the only way to feel good about ourselves is to try to mirror the looks of a self absorbed pop star or model that probably went under the knife and lied that they were “born with their face”. Let’s stop this repetitive cycle of craving to look like these people on television and despising our own physical flaws! Our physical flaws make us powerful and unique when we cherish them. It can be easy to get down on yourself and negatively talk about something you may not like about your body. Instead, try to accept that you were born with it and make it something positive. There is nothing wrong with being unconventional and not looking like an airbrush model out of a magazine.

One person that I truly respect for sticking to her own rules and not breaking down to society’s standards of beauty is Barbara Streisand. Many in Hollywood advised her that getting a nose job would substantially aid her career. Although this “advice” may have been tempting for Barbara, she continued to stay true to herself and kept her unique nose. Not only was her powerful resolve a needed wake up call for those in the movie industry, it also inspired another talented woman, Lea Michele, to show the same respect for her genetic nose. Another influential woman who had the strength to accept her unconventionality was Audrey Hepburn. Living in an era that honored a full- figured physique, Audrey had the confidence to say, “There is more to sex appeal than just measurements…. I can convey just as much sex appeal, picking apples off a tree or standing in the rain.”

In conclusion, I always thought that there was only one type of beauty and that only others could judge if someone is beautiful. Now, I understand that everyone is beautiful in their own way and that I do not need compliments from others to feel beautiful. Personally, the true meaning of beauty is to able to look in the mirror and be content with what you look like and who you are. Contrary to what Beyonce says, it is okay not to feel flawless as long as you see the greatness in your flaws!

How To Chase A Dream?

Everyone has ambitions, goals and aspiration for their lives. These goals aid people to strive to become the best version of themselves! Each and every day, many people assuredly believe that they have the personal ability to exert themselves to obtain their dreams. As an 18 year old girl, I often ponder over questions such as, In a world full of winners and losers, didn’t the losers have the same intention and drive as the winners? If you don’t reach your dream, does that make you a failure? Is there even a point to believing in dreams when so many never reach them?

Ever since I was young, I was told by peers and teachers that “if you believe it, you can achieve it!” and to “never doubt yourself”. Well, honestly, I believe a little doubt may be humbling. It can allow you the opportunity to reevaluate how attainable your goal is and to experiment with other ways to reach it. As far as the “believe it, achieve it” campaign, I think it goes further than what our parents and school systems taught us. Belief isn’t just having reoccurring thoughts and notions that something may happen. It also relies heavily on our actions and what we are physical doing to make that dream a reality. One thing I always tell day-dreamers is that there is difference between goals and dreams. This is how I look at it: Dreams are like a movie production. After all the stress and countless hours of hard work, you can finally relax and view what all your hard work aided you to produce. Goals are the small, intricate steps and stressful work that the director, producers, and actors had to put in to make the movie. Many people who believe that having a dream and thinking about it all the time is just enough. It’s Not!! In order to have success, we have to be active! At James 2:17, it states “faith by itself, without works, is dead”. Although that scripture spoke more about being active in doing God’s will, I think it is still a good principle to remember. Having faith in something is pretty useless if we do not physically try to show our faith.

What about those who tried to achieve their dream, yet never attained it. Are they losers? In my opinion, No! Although you may not have received your initial dream, your dedication and effort may have still opened the door to an even better outcome than you could have imagined. Sometimes I believe that we are too focused on the destination that we do not consider or even appreciate all the adventures and experience that the voyage allowed us to add to our inventory of skills. We should never give up just because a circumstance may not have gone our way. Life is all about developing tough skin, so its best that we learn from our experiences, then positively move on. Also, dreams change all the time! We may believe that we know exactly what we want, yet situations and acquiring more knowledge may make us change our mind.

So, is there even a point to dreaming when many will not have the opportunity to even try to make their dream real? Yes, there is! Although there is a strong possibility that many of us may never even see a glimpse of our dream in real life, it is still really important to have dreams. They make us want better for ourselves and help us to never become complacent with a dull lifestyle. Without dreams and aspiration what would be the purpose of getting up every morning and going to school or work! Dreams help us to keep living, especially when tragic situations arrive. Take my father for example. Ever since his college years, he has held on to this dream of becoming a successful music producer. Did he achieve it? no. Yet, that dream is probably one of the few reasons that he is able to wake up every day and keep on striving to do whatever it takes to create the life he has always wanted. Now, am I saying it is sane to hold on to unrealistic dreams? No. But, I am saying that dreams allow for hopeful wishing, which gives a desire to keep on living.

Honestly, its scary to think that all the dreams I have may never come true, but that does not mean I can give up on trying to shape my own life! Yes, this world is cruel and unfair, but as long as I have the Almighty God and I keep trying to please Him, I know that He will lead me in the right direction. After all, one of my dreams came true. A couple of months ago, I was able to go to the city I never thought I would have the chance to visit, NEW YORK! My next goal is hopefully saving up money to buy a place in the city. So tell me, what are your dreams and what are your plans on getting there?

– Take Care, Properly Posh