10/12/13

Weekly Reads 10.12.13

684749151

a post by a blogger new to me that I 
am particularly enjoying. 

(and I think you'll find it refreshing)

A beautifully vulnerable story by
Vivienne about passing through the fear.

eden on my legs

I will just always love Kate:


Some of the most beautiful writing
I have read in a long time. 


SO happy to have Rachele back on the
blogging scene! And this post was just
fantastic.


 surrender



10/9/13

a little secret about SELF-LOVE

Allow me to let you in on a little secret: SELF-LOVE IS ESSENTIAL FOR SURVIVAL.

4
from Hannah's 31 days of Goodnight Beautiful Day

Self-love isn’t just something you decide that you want, like a new dress. Self-love is something that you need, just like your fruits and veggies. You can decide not to eat them, but you won’t be feeling as hot as you would otherwise.
                                                                                                                             
You really want to love yourself? Then you need to change your thoughts, change your actions, and change your perceptions on yourself and life.

You need to bare loose the internalized thought patterns, beliefs, and standards that are so entwined within you.

You need to do read books, blogs, whatever you can get your hands on about:  what self-love means (for YOU + for EVERYTHING ELSE), what these “things” are that you’ve internalized; why you’ve internalized them; how you are NOT ALONE; things you have never ever fathomed that come in the package of self-love.

You need to act, because this is survival we are talking about, not just something to do when you “get the chance.”

And when you start this, you keep going.
When you doubt yourself, this journey, and the things you read: you be there for yourself, you remember why you are here, and you keep going.

Be easy on yourself, be strong for yourself, and just be there for you, because that’s what you need the most right away. You need YOU.

YOU are the weapon of mass destruction against all of those crappy lies you have been spoon-fed until this day of claiming your want to live.

Your soul is waiting for you to nurture it, your body is waiting for you to listen to it, and all of your hopes and dreams are dependent on this.

We need self-love like we need water.
We need it right away in the morning before we eat, before and after every meal.
We need it when we don’t feel thirsty for it (especially then).
We need it with things that are hard to digest.

We. Need. It.


Get it? 


10/4/13

Weekly Reads 10.4.13

shine

Mara is hosting a--pretty amazing--four week class,
Permission Granted, and it starts in just a few
short weeks, so I urge you to hurry and check it
out! 


It was the month of great class offers,
because Hannah's From Coping to Thriving
sounds amazing. Even if you don't want
to take the class, I encourage you to read 
the post. 

 photo Untitled-1_zps0d711e00.jpg

One of my favorite posts from Chrissy
to date. Her words are like talking to a friend -
so personal and honest. 

Lesson of the Week: 
5 Ways Using Correct Gender Pronouns will Make You a Better Trans* Ally

YES of the week: 
3 things to do when you feel not good enough

goodnight beautiful day 590

A month of emails I have not regretted signing up for. 
Close your night with this





9/29/13

shedding the SHOULD DO'S + doing what I WANT

Yesterday I stumbled upon a spectacular website, Hello Month.  It combines photography and loving notes to create a calendar-like set up with a beautiful reminder each day to care for yourself. (I seriously encourage you to follow the link and take a peek.)

Today’s message struck me on a personal level… Sarah writes:

Dear Me,
A day without shoulds...is it even possible?
Today, we’re going to try. Continue noticing your shoulds, and *then* practice replacing them with what you really want. Instead of “I should make dinner right now”, think about what you actually *want* to do. Maybe you want to make dinner, or maybe you just want to order pizza. Maybe you don’t want to make a boring dinner, but you *do* want to be creative in the kitchen.
Find a way to do what you want to do, rather than what you *should* be doing. Of course, if even *this* feels like a should, that’s a perfect place to start.
Love,
the You whose desires are good and noble
I primarily live my life by what I *should* be doing. Especially since I returned to college and have struggled to manage my time and efficiency with homework, work, and personal pleasures. My *wants* are only thought after (and if) I get all of that done.
I SHOULD be writing that paper.
I SHOULD layout what needs to get done for the week.
I SHOULD have read that chapter in a lot less time than I took to read it.
Even events I look forward to! Take last night. My college town celebrates Oktoberfest, so the campus puts on a weekend-long event where underage-safe activities such as craft nights, laser tag, Harry Potter-themed nights, etc. are put on.
Katelin and I thought we would brave the tie-dye event in our hall, but the day just didn’t call for it. You know, life happens: I was in a sour mood, the homework wasn’t done, and ya-ta-ya-ta. It all boiled down to: I just wasn’t feelin’ the tie-dye.
But I thought I SHOULD do it. Something fun became an obligation instead of an option.
These Should Do’s of our life come from the idea that we need to have “this, this, and this” crossed off our lists before we can be satisfied. It’s a process dependent on shame and guilt and totally sucks the enjoyment out of everything.
There’s this idea that, if I get all of this homework done in this amount of time… if I get outside and take a walk today…if I do yoga three times a week… I can feel good about myself. I can be content. I can breathe.
Today I shook that off, and let go of the Should Do’s, and focused on what I wanted to do. And no! This didn’t mean I skipped all of my homework, because that actually negates a deeper want (learning, growing, graduating).
But I did my homework – when I wanted to, not when I thought I should do it. I took my time with it and actually, GASP, enjoyed the process.
I stayed in bed, in my sweats, with fresh air blowing in the window, and just gave myself as long as I needed. I took breaks, got up and stretched, and even played some video games when I wanted.
I didn’t do yoga. I did get outside. I did have a donut.
But none of these did’s or didn’t(s) bared the burdens I so often feel. And I found I could breathe much easier.
Shedding the Should Dos gives us more freedom to do what we want, and that often correlates with the things we need to do.
Inspired by Hello Month, the changing of seasons, and the welcome of a new month, this is going to be my focus of October: to continue shedding these Should Dos and embracing the Wants.
Will you join me?

9/20/13

I AM AWESOME (AND PRESTIGIOUS) + so are YOU

At the beginning of this month I had a very relaxed interview with a professor I admire greatly. She was looking for 2-3 research assistants for her current project, and I was one of the ten students asked to apply. 

Let me just say: this is something I have dismissed ever happening since my first semester of college! I'd go on the school website and see various headlines about research assistant experiences, and before every semester there are emails sent out about how great research assistant positions look when you graduate and looking for a "real-life" job.  

This was something I daydreamed about but never wasted too much time on, because it definitely wasn't going to happen. 

So, when I got the email asking if I was interested (at 10:00 at night late August), I freaked out. Just a little... (I ran through the house telling everyone, ran back into my room, sat on the bed and basically cried, jumped back out of bed and ran around the house to talk about it again to everyone, and then laid awake for another two hours with adrenaline shooting through me.) 

Describing myself as "excited" does not hit anywhere near the level of emotion I was feeling.

What else did I do? 

Talked nonstop about, "What if I don't get it?" 
Plus had three dreams about being told I didn't get the job... 

I was so ready to just accept the mindset of, "Well, at least I got asked," and ready myself for disappointment. Why? Because I wasn't experienced enough, she didn't know me enough, these just aren't the things that happen to me, this reason, that reason-- 

Any reason I could come up with for me not being worthy enough to get this job was imagined and accepted. 

It was a two week battle of constantly replacing those thoughts with reasons why I WAS worth the position! I had to be at the ready with positive, confidence-building thoughts to dis-empower the self-hate talk that had been waiting to launch its assault.

And you know what? The self-hate was wrong (as usual), and I got the position. 

A goal I never let formulate because it seemed too out of reach--too good--for a student like me has been achieved. 

An opportunity I assumed only available to students that had reached a level of awesome and prestige was given to me, and now I own the "awesome and prestige" I thought I never encapsulated. 

But what if I hadn't gotten the job? What if I was turned down for good reasons and sent back to stay at the art gallery? Would I be not worthy of that job? Not good enough for it? Would I not be an awesome and "prestigious" student? 

No. 

And I wish I could have seen that before holding the title of "research assistant."

I wish the understanding for how wrong my self-destructing thoughts always (!!!) are was constantly at the forefront of my mind.

It's so easy, now that I have the job, to wave a hand and exclaim, "Well, of course I would still be amazing and intelligent and all of the things, because the job doesn't make me that! It's just a cool opportunity!" 

And it is a SUPER cool opportunity, but had I not gotten the job it would have taken me a little longer to claim myself as "awesome and prestigious." And I still wouldn't describe myself or my college career as "prestigious." (I really hate that word.)  

Because I have been taught to downgrade myself, and so have you. 

You and I haven't been shown how to look at ourselves as worthy of everything we want. 

And I might recognize these perverted facts, but it doesn't mean it makes it easier to feel the worth I own. 

I must be active in seeking out that knowledge.
The knowledge of my whole and absolute worth. 

I must be critical of what words I describe myself with. 
The words I speak to others. 

I must remember such words in the times that I am turned down; the times I don't get the position. 

And I must remember that I can totally achieve what I think I never will, because I just did it. 



I want you to remember this, too.
Because I wholeheartedly believe in you.

What dreams are you ignoring? What are the goals you secretly have?  

9/19/13

Weekly Reads 9.19.13

(Oh, yes. Here I am doing my weekly reads,
two weeks late and at the middle-end of a random
week. Because college has taken over me from
the inside out, and Thursday night felt like a good a night
as any to put up some fantastic reads for you. Enjoy~) 


This is a post overflowing with encouragement
 at going for your biggest goals! It's like a big 
hug and warm drink of coffee. 


A needed reminder to CELEBRATE. Even when
there's nothing to necessarily celebrate.


My Women's Diversity course is offering me the 
best readings, including this. As a white woman 
blogging most often on image this was particularly
relevant. 

Source: Getty Images

Mindful eating?! Yes, yes, YES. 
This post answers the question "If I stop dieting, 
will I gain weight?" Per.Fect.Ly.

Source: Getty Images

I am unabashedly obsessed with Everyday
Feminism right now. Including their 


Jen wrote on a self-reflection project she 
participated in, and I am so planning on doing
one for myself! 



9/9/13

Girl's Get Periods

I had an epiphany today. 

It happened as I scurried back into class thinking, "Another crisis averted," and sat down still slightly embarrassed. 

See, ten minutes into my Women's Diversity class this morning I was almost positive that I had gotten my period. A serious situation that needed to be handled ASAP lest I wanted to become Amelia from 10th grade who got her period in a white skirt and left a pool of blood at her desk. 

I mean, I wasn't that far off. It's flaming hot today, so I'm in light work-out shorts, and those suckers are not about to absorb the onslaught coming at them. I was about to be Amelia from 10th grade while my professor talked about patriarchy. Sick joke, right? 

So, there I sat, ten minutes into lecture in a classroom full of girls, and I couldn't bring myself to get my pad from my backpack and go to the bathroom for two minutes. 

In a room full of girls (maybe two guys), I was embarrassed to be seen walking out the door with a pad in my hand. 

Just chew on that. 

If you have the biological reproduction organs of a female, you (generally) get a period. You know what a pad and tampon is. You understand that blood gushes from your vagina, and it's disgusting, and painful, but it's totally normal. You understand that every other girl goes through it, too. 

But we don't talk about it. We are SHAMED by this NATURAL OCCURRENCE. 
We are embarrassed to be seen with a little bandage-thing that sticks to our underwear! 

I was about to let myself bleed through one of my favorite, coziest shorts just so a bunch of girls didn't see a pad...and know I was going to use it. 

I know I'm not the only one who tries to hide my pad in public places or who doesn't feel comfortable talking about periods in public. 

And this is not okay. 

Girls shouldn't feel like they have to hide their periods. The pain of cramps should not be devalued, because some days I cannot go to class or work my cramps are so freaking bad, but do professors and bosses understand? Eh, sometimes... if they're women. 

It was totally ironic that this happened during talk of patriarchy, because this habit of hiding something our women bodies do is a consequence of our male-valued society. 

I know there is more talk today than ever about periods, but there is such a lack in this department...

 Because I don't enjoy having my uterus shed itself in the middle of class and feeling like I can't or shouldn't do anything about it. 

9/8/13

Dear Self

Dear Self,

You screw up a lot. You yell a lot. You have a bad temper. 

You bear a lot of hurt and deal a lot of hurt in return. 

You are often anxious about the current situation and need a hug, but instead of asking for one, you find yourself snapping at loved ones and getting anger back. They are human, too, and have a hard time reading your fluxing emotions.  

Because of all of these things, you don't feel worth being told nice things; you don't feel worth great opportunities; you don't feel a whole lot like loving yourself. 

No, you feel like curling into yourself, wrapped in everything you fail at day-after-day and letting them define you. You want to tell everyone you meet everything you've done, so they know you're not worth their time. 

But, self... 

You are worth being told you are amazing, because you are amazing. 

You are worth being told you're beautiful and sexy, because you are beautiful and sexy. 

You are worth all the good things you want and dream of. You really are.

Even now as I type this to you, you doubt such words. 

That feeling is a lie. 

That feeling will only hinder you in the places you deserve to go farthest. 

That feeling is horrid to carry around: it's heavy, sticky, and has no love in it. 

There is so much love for you out there, ready to replace the doubt and unworthiness you currently encapsulate. It is within you already; and all you have to do is see it, and feel it, and believe in it. 

Is it so hard to believe in it? Is it that much harder than believing how much of a mess you are? 

I don't think so. 

So, take it, self. I'm showing it to you, I'm giving it to you, and I'm feeling it for you. 

This love I hold for you is part of you and much bigger than any hate that you hold for yourself. 

I love you so, so much, self. You deserve it all.  





8/31/13

Weekly Reads 8.31.13

mara glatzel

Sign up for this "bonanza of love notes" from beautiful 
Mara Glatzel! I know I did, and the first e-mail was just 
as wonderful and uplifting as I could have hoped.


Ever-encouraging Jes wrote one of the most raw
and INSPIRING pieces I've read to date. It was beyond 

 photo _MG_9064_zps09e59178.jpg

Seriously, just read this; it will make you happy.
 Chrissy is amazing. 

Ooo, yes. This hit me a bit painfully in the gut of
realization. But sometimes learning and 
growing can pinch us in the soft spots:

What are some of the stories we tell ourselves about our bodies and which ones might we be ready to change?  I'm telling a story on the blog today about how I found my way to a one changed story about my body. #beyourownbeloved

Reflection time with Vivienne! Made me think about
the wrong stereotypes I've attributed to my body
over the years...What about you? 


Jes (if you haven't noticed, I love her) introduces
Louise Green who completely rocked my
world with this post

We are worthy of seeing ourselves with kindness. Right here, right now.  From: 10 Reasons to Begin Your Self-Portrait Journey » Be Your Own Beloved

And for the last knock-out of the week, lovely
Vivienne gives us 10 Reasons to Begin Your




8/26/13

Fight the War

Loving my body is an every day war. 

Not just with myself but with the people on the street that I compare myself to, the celebrity bodies everywhere, and the society that is enabling all of the negative imagery, advertising, and thinking to happen in and around my life. 

This amazing thing we call a body, that carries me through my daily activities, that enables me to do everything I want and hope to do, and that continues to give to me even when I beat it down... When was it decided that I should look at it with disgust? Feel uncomfortable in it? Feel like it's not good enough - that it could be better? 

And who was the idiot who decided this? 



I didn't like this picture when I first took it last night. I thought my hips were too wide and my stomach stuck out a little too much in that shirt. 

Like, really. 

This insecurity came from the girl who reads fat positive and body positive blogs every freaking day of her life. The girl who enforces body love during every freaking day of her life. 

Yes, I am still insecure even with all the work I've done! 

And THANK GOD for all the work I've done, because this time last year I would have never seen the beauty beneath the learned embarrassment and, instead, would have deleted the picture out of shame. 

We are trained so well to hate our bodies. Just like dogs learning to sit. Whether we are little or large, we are trained with specifics! 

Are you going to the gym enough? Good girl! 
Oh, still in bed? You're awfully lazy lately. What happened to your running kick? 

I've grown up with the knowledge that unless you're stomach is flat and your arms are chiseled, you can't be happy. 

I remember walking the hallways of high school and staring wistfully at the skinny, athletic girls and thinking how much happier than me they must be. 

I remember tracking my weight with weight watchers, standing on the scale every week, and believing that if I just got to 145 I'd be totally confident in myself. Then if I could just get to 140...  

Anything close to fat was not an option if I wanted to feel good about myself. 

Now, seriously. Who the heck came up with this? 

How am I trained so well that - still - I find myself retreating to the "anything close to fat is shameful" mindset? That I don't like a picture when I first see it because, yes, my shirt hugs my stomach that is not ab-flat? 

I must always stay vigilant to not get sucked down to society ideals. I must always remember to look to my role models - some fat, some skinny, and some in-between - when I need a reminder. I must always love my body no matter it's shape, and I must treat it as well as it treats me. 

I must remember that I have been trained to think that a belly that sticks slightly or largely out from the rest of me is not worthy, that everyone can reach the "ideal" body, and that I cannot be happy until I have abs without flab but remain curvy. 

I must remember that that all bodies are different, and they are ALWAYS beautiful, and that the ones who say otherwise are either liars or brainwashed. 

I must always fight the war. 




8/24/13

Goals

It's freshman weekend in my hometown, and in exactly one week Katelin and I move back into dorms and begin classes. Oh, Summer, care to explain yourself?

I love to make personal goals for new years, so I've made up a list of some for this school year below. Feel free to join me and leave some of your own in the comments! 



  • Start journaling every night (or most nights) again.
  • Make time to efficiently relax every day.
  • Read at least one book not for school each semester. 
  • Stay on the Dean's List. 
  • Be kind to yourself. Don't beat yourself up over work, homework, grades, etc. 
  • Treat your body well: maintain a weekly yoga schedule, get enough fruits and veggies every day, and get enough sleep. 
  • Treat yourself every week. 
  • Don't spend too much every month, but make sure to get Starbucks with Katelin. 
  • Clean the dorm well every two weeks. 
  • Wash the bed sheets every month. 
  • Don't bite your nails when you're nervous (but if you do, they grow back).  
  • Blog once a week. 
  • Most of all, love yourself every day.
Also, dear college freshman sitting on a bench crying today... You'll be fine, I promise. The first weekend is the worst, the first two weeks are the hardest, but you will be absolutely and totally fine. 

I promise. 



8/21/13

8/19/13

Coming Back to the Self

Loving myself and loving my body are two very different (yet connected) things. Why didn't I ever realize this? 

Without the first, I cannot be fully enriched with the latter. This seems obvious, but I don't think I've ever totally absorbed this fact. I've always focused on tackling love for my body while love for myself was something to do when that was finished. Something I too often figure I have enough of.  

I say to myself, "Oh, I really like myself." But do I really? 

The answer? SURE! When I'm doing nice things for my girlfriend, doing well in school, writing blogposts I'm really proud of, saving more money than usual, helping my mom out... So, basically when I'm doing things I deem "worth" love. 

When I'm screaming at my girlfriend while we drive home? When I've been laying in bed for three days straight playing video games? When I didn't study too well for that exam and then don't make the grade I wanted? Depends on the day. 

Self-love is something that seems so easy over blog posts. We're given check-lists of techniques to try to boost love for the self, courses to take to find love for ourselves, and little phrases to write down for later. And I'm the biggest sucker for step-by-step guides, especially guides on conquering world changing actions! 

Difficult thoughts, life experiences, and fights with the self are simple to transfer into eloquent words then molded into a pretty font. 

I read through my posts sometimes, and it really seems like I'm this lucky 19-year-old who's getting her crap together early and getting life in order to be happy and living my dreams forever, completely enveloped in my own love.  

Some days I really feel like that lucky 19-year-old is really typing to you. 
But some days really suck, and I feel like a total hypocrite for writing any of the things I've posted. 

Some days I don't know why I ever thought I was  a sensitive person, a loving girlfriend, or deserving of all the love that surrounds me. 

These are the days that I seek out blog posts that, in these specific instances, paralyze me with the notion that I'll never be as wonderful and inspiring as the women I'm reading. I'll never put sentences together like her; I'll never be as happy or powerful as her; I may as well just give up and find the next best thing. Or maybe I'm not worth that either...

I feel my heart opening...Loving my body has been the main struggle since I started this journey, and I kind of almost thought that once I fully accepted and loved my body, I'd fully accept and love myself as a person.  

Loving one's body is just as necessary but very different from loving one's self. 

We need to start with the self and always come back to the self, especially one the days we lose hope of everything inside of us.

It sucks that I forget this constantly, that I am so harsh with myself, and that I get down on myself for failing at what everyone struggles with daily. 

But, just like you, I do. 

And it's all about coming back to the self and recognizing that, and all the good, along with the bad. 

*photo source

8/17/13

Weekly Reads 8.17.13


Rachele talks feminism and shows off one of
her best outfits yet with OOTD: Fat Cat Lady Feminist.

 photo _MG_7306_zpse9e801e2.jpg

A beautiful post on teaching kids going
 them by a mom and superhero changing 
the world for her two boys with autism. 



Because I'm obsessed with crystals
and love learning about them! 



You never get less than awesome with
Jes at The Militant Baker, especially
with this post on short hair:
 I WEAR WHAT I WANT: FAT CHICK + SHORT HAIR

8/16/13

8/15/13

Crabby-Rude-Snappy-Pants

A few days ago I tweeted, "Some days you're not a spitfire, you're a crabby-rude-snappy-pants, and you should stay away from other humans. " Because some days and weeks are just rough.

Especially the weeks where I get my period in the 30-minute car ride to work (also the day I remind myself to bring a pad and still forget), bleed through my shorts, and find out the pad/tampon dispenser in the bathroom has long seen its time of use. 

The weeks I'm looking for a second job for school, not entirely sure that I want a second job, with nothing happening under the contours of my plan - which is a really good plan!  

You could seriously find me sitting at work the last three days looking the mirror image of Grumpy Cat.

 I was not amused.

 I was irritable.

I snapped at everyone within reach.

All I've wanted to do is be in bed all day, everyday curled up around my laptop without a bra. 

If you're in this hole with me, you're totally fine. I'm totally fine, too. We just need a little extra love and understanding from ourselves. 

So, I'll do you a favor, if you do me one: love yourself especially hard today. 

P.S. Aren't sunny days on grouchy days just the worst? Can't a girl get some rain showers? 

8/11/13

Self Love and My One Year Anniversary


Friday, Katelin and I celebrated one year of being together. This was obviously a special day that we had been waiting on for at least the past two months, even caving and exchanging presents weeks before the big day. It pretty much felt like a summer long celebration, and I loved it! 

This is my first ever relationship, and Katelin's first serious relationship. And, um, relationships are freaking difficult. 

The two of us have been best friends since junior high, so we already knew a lot about one another upon entering this stage, but little did I know how much things shift when one goes from "BFF" to "girlfriend." 


It's incredible and terrifying.

Listen up: I would not have survived the past six months had I not been a host to so much love for myself. Nope, it just wouldn't have happened. How incredible and terrifying is that? That I need to have just as much love for ME as I do for HER? 

Love for myself has been life changing. It completely turned this world upside down to uncover a new and mind-shattering view. There's never a time to be ready for it, to prepare yourself for this, you just do it. It's seriously just a decision that you jump into without looking back. 

That's how this relationship has been for me, too. Absolutely world-changing and confusing but wonderful. Something I never want to go back from. 

Self-love carries me through everything: my daily activities, my awesome days and my disgusting ones, times of depression and times of excitement. Name it and self-love is there for me. 

Even when I'm refusing to use it. 

Without this past year of practicing in it, I wouldn't be living such an amazingly joyous, simple life, and I wouldn't have made it to this year mark with Katelin. 

Without self-love I cannot do an inkling as much as I can when I'm basking in it. 

Absolutely a terrifying and incredible realization. 

So, happy anniversary to my sweetie, who only ever encourages me to continue in my practice.

8/7/13

8/5/13

Creating Confidence Series: Look in the Mirror


Everyone goes through the struggle to find and love ourselves and to find and create confidence. 

Sometimes we fake it, sometimes we give up on having any confidence altogether. It may take years and years to discover and build it or not as much time as we expect. 

Through it, each individual finds techniques of loving his/herself. We fail at some, succeed at others, and learn from other individuals who are going (and have gone) through the same fight. Because it is a fight, a fight with oneself, with one's culture, and with one's society. 

My Creating Confidence series looks to introduce ways that have worked for me in building self-esteem and self-love. My path to confidence (that I still traverse every day) started with finding a blog and then another and another that showed ways in which each woman struggled, succeeded, and failed in loving themselves. I'm here to, hopefully, do the same for you. 

There's many, many facets of loving yourself inside and out, but today I'm going to focus on the love for your body, because this was the hardest fight for me to conquer, and I still go to war with myself on a daily basis for it. 

This trick is simple and, yet, may be a grand downfall for some. Tread carefully and softly, because this can bring you down as easily as it can bring you up. 

Look in the mirror. 

Ever since I was old enough to realize being naked was something dirty I hated seeing myself naked. Since I wear glasses, I'd take them off before showering and quickly turn away from the mirror as if my body was diseased and malformed. I would keep my head turned down, away from the reflection, as I dressed myself, and then I'd replace my glasses onto my face. 

It may seem like a harmless, awkward, phase -- a tween girl hitting puberty and feeling uncomfortable about bodily changes. The thing is it created a negative mindset over not just my own body but bodies in general.

It built a habitual thought process that it's shameful to see a body in it's natural form. It created a negative foundation of looking at my body and feeling positive towards it. 

Embedded image permalinkNothing made me more uncomfortable than seeing myself naked in a mirror. If I happened to catch a glimpse, I'd find myself unbearably embarrassed and put-off before moving out of view. The eugh-y feelings that festered in my stomach fostered for later (and bigger) body-image issues. 

My body wasn't worth seeing that way. 
My body wasn't good enough to see that way. 
Maybe if I was thinner or more in shape, I wouldn't mind looking at myself in the mirror. 
Maybe if I suck in my stomach, it won't be so horrifying.
Maybe... 

A load of BS. 

BS that we learn from a very young age and carry with us through years and years of struggle. 
Unfortunately, it's rare that we're taught it's BS. Most of the time we have to learn it ourselves, if we actually learn it. 

Know this: if you feel that way, it's all crap. 

So, I dare you to really look in the mirror. 

When I learned all the crap that had been taught to me is just that, crap, I decided it was time to face my reflection. 

Yes, this does sound much more epic and influential than it really was. I was mortified and awkward for the first, like, twenty times. I felt perverted for looking at myself. I saw everything that needed fixing.

Before showers I'd leave my glasses on as I stripped off my clothes and casually look at myself for a few seconds, then jump behind the curtain to get away. I felt like I was facing off with myself. 

The key part of doing this is being aware of your thoughts. Each and every thought that passes through as you stand in front of yourself. You are not allowed to say bad things about yourself, even if the words aren't said aloud. If negative thoughts appear, CHANGE THEM. 

This process works to form new, better, and healthy habits. No more habitual tearing yourself down; no more feeling ugly, gross, unworthy when you see your body. We only gain this from changing how we feel internally, and thoughts are so influential. 

Pick out the beautiful parts to you and admire them. 

Over time I became used to the contours of my body: where I stuck out, where I smoothed out, what I was self-conscious of, and what I absolutely loved. I focused hard on altering my thought patterns, and with that, the negative emotions inside of me were slowly cleansed. They became few and far between, but if I'm not careful, they try to find there way back inside. 

It's a daily fight, and most of the media, government, and your well-trained thoughts are not on your side.  

I would say that this is the most fundamental technique I use(d) to embrace and love my body as it was and as it is. What's fantastic, is that I think I look better naked than clothed now! And let me tell you, that feeling is wondrous and freeing.