2016 is here! My goal this year is to avoid Facebook as much as possible.. Instead of wasting time there, I’m going to be trying to blog as much as I possibly can.
To help ease ya’ll into the new year, here’s some pictures of my adorable kitty boy…
Have you seen the thing floating around Facebook lately? The thing where you’re supposed to post five pictures of yourself that you think make you feel beautiful, and then you’re supposed to tag your friends? Yeah, that thing. So far, I’ve been tagged twice.
That was sarcastic, in case you couldn’t tell. The boy is right, there totally needs to be a sarcasm font.
Anyway…I find this concept difficult because for as long as I can remember, I’ve honestly never felt beautiful. Photographs just make me feel even worse about myself. This isn’t me fishing for people to say things to make me feel better about myself, I’m just stating a fact. From what I can tell, I’m not terribly different from other human females when it comes to how I see myself.
Last night, though, I had a bit of a paradigm shift. A few friends on Facebook has posted a link to an article, and the title got me curious enough to read it: Exposed by My Children for What I Really Look Like. Even though I don’t have kids, the self-loathing the author describes is something I can definitely relate to. What I couldn’t relate to was how the author was able to see the good things along with the negative things. The more I thought about it, though, the more I came to realize that I’m cheating myself out of a lot in life by only seeing the negative. The flaws are going to be there. They just are. That doesn’t mean that I should run away from doing the things I love. Things like swimming.
I want to go swimming. I adore swimming. I spent my whole childhood wishing and wishing I had a pool, and now that I live in a complex with one available 24 hours, I avoid it all costs because I hate myself in a swimsuit. I hate how I look in one. I hate other people seeing me in one. I think child me is probably pretty disappointed in grown-up me. And I don’t blame her.
So, I’m going to learn to love myself and accept how I look. I’m going to look in the mirror every morning when I’m bleary-eyed and my hair is a bed-head disaster and say, “I am beautiful, I am lovely, I am precious, and I have value and worth.”
Oh yeah, here’s the 5 photos. I’m forcing myself to use photos from the last 5 years, which considering how much I hate photos was a bit of a challenge coming up with 5 of them. (Also, I’m relatively certain that as much as I love the people in the photos with me, they may not be thrilled that I’m highlighting them like this. But them being in the photo with me is part of what makes me feel beautiful)…
1. This is not a great quality photo, but I really love it. I love these beautiful ladies.
2. This picture was taken a few years ago when all of us ladies were heading different directions in our lives, and we weren’t 100% sure when we’d all see each other again.
3. Okay, I really do love this picture. This was when we were praying over my “sister” right before she walked down the aisle. That was a good day 🙂
4. I think mom kinda hates this photo, but I love it. This was taken about 3 months after we almost lost her. She was still recovering, and looks much healthier now. But when this picture was taken, I was so glad I still had her, that was what was most important.
5. Of course, it’s a picture with the boy. It’s true, he exists! He’s not just a figment of my imagination. This is from Free Comic Book Day, last May. He’s the Dread Pirate Roberts, and I’m a brunette Buttercup. Also, fun fact, this is (as far as I know) the only photo of us that exists. Hardly surprising considering how camera shy we both seem to be.
Last week I was driving to work, and suddenly an aria burst from my lips. (O Mio Babbino Caro in case you’re wondering which one.) Which was…weird. I realized a few days later that I wasn’t just having arias popping out of my mouth, I was singing along to anything that was on. Radio at work? Yup. Puppet music for new show we’re putting together? Yup. Random Youtube videos? Yup. Broadway tune that randomly popped into my head? Yup.
What was even weirder? I was and am enjoying singing. Now, I’m sure that what everyone else is finding weird is the fact that I find all of this weird. The truth is, I haven’t enjoyed singing or playing any kind of instrument since March of 2004.
See, back in March of 2004, I was a freshman in college. A music education major. I got off the bus from choir tour, and received some life changing news. News that had several nasty effects on my life, but one in particular was that I began to hate music. Me, who had spent all of her life adoring music. I had loved music so much that when I was sixteen, I chose voice and trumpet lessons over getting a car. That’s some real love of music.
As the weeks passed from that day in March ’04, I came to realize that my voice wasn’t really as great as I thought. People put up with it because they were kind. I wasn’t that great of an instrumentalist either. Sure, I thought I was, but all the evidence pointed to the fact that my ego was just a little bit blown out of proportion.
I slowly pulled away from the world of music, and stopped singing. Stopped listening to music. Only pulled my trumpet out when forced to.
Fast-forward 10 years, and for some reason, along with the dormant emotions that have suddenly woken up, I’m suddenly singing and playing again. Not because I’m being forced to, but because I genuinely want to. My voice has changed. Looking back, I realize that my voice wasn’t the greatest in the world, but I really did have a beautiful soprano voice. It’s now more mezzo-soprano, but I’m okay with that. I don’t even care if people hear me sing, I’m singing for my own pleasure. There’s a joy in it that I’m rediscovering.
Two days ago, I mentioned to mom how surprised I was by the fact I was singing. I told her that for the first time in forever I actually wanted to sing, and I’d been catching myself singing all the time. Mom just looked at me and said, “You’re happy.” Which, oddly enough, is what a friend on Facebook said, yesterday, when I mentioned that out of the blue I’d lost 10 pounds.
I guess I am happy. It’s weird. I’ve not felt truly happy and at peace in a long time (and by long time I mean 10 years). I’ve got a job I love, other aspects of my life are starting to make some sense, and I can honestly say that life is generally good. So, I’m going to be silly, and probably talk to much, and possibly be a general annoyance, but it’s been so long since I’ve even wanted to be any of those things, I’m okay with it.
Well, for better or worse, 2014 is upon us. 2013 has come and gone and will never come this way again. Now is about when some people are starting to regret the kisses at midnight and the hastily made resolutions. Of course, I too am swept up in the enthusiasm of facing a new year. Maybe it was the whole waking up to the first snow of the new year. Everything looked clean and white and new and fresh and possible. So, here’s a few goals I’ve got for myself as I start down the road of 2014…
-Lose the weight. This one is starting to make me sound like a broken record. I know it needs to be lost, and I need to keep going and being serious about it for more than a month.
-Eat less fast food. Fast food has definitely become an escape method for me. Let’s see, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right? Okay, well I’ve admitted it, now to put into practice avoiding it.
-Read more and revamp book blog. The discovery of Skyrim and the availability of Facebook have definitely interfered with my reading habit. I’m a free-ish, single woman. I should be reading.
-Speaking of Facebook…Neil Gaiman beat me to the punch last night when he posted that he’s going to be on Facebook less, and going to be blogging more. I’ve been wasting far too much time on Facebook, and it’s really been bothering me over the last year. Up until this last month it hasn’t really bothered me enough to do something about it, but I’m now to the point that I’m not giving it up, but I’m going to try to be on it quite a bit less.
-Spend more time writing. First off, I want to update this blog on a more regular basis (and the book blog), but I also want to get more serious about writing in general. I’ve got several very good ideas, but I’ve been too scared to write them down, too scared of what others might think of me if they knew what I had written.
-Dealing with fear. I tend to let fear control my life, which is apparently a bad thing. Mostly, I fear what other people think of me and my decisions. Then when I know someone’s disappointed I spend way too much time beating myself up over it. I’m going to try very hard to stop living in fear and especially try to stop beating myself up constantly for every time I think I’ve screwed up somehow.
Happy 2014! Make it a good one!