#22 and #28: Reprogramming The Voice, Self-Love, and Harry Potter.

I’ve decided to start the self-love portion of my project in July. I think I need it now more than ever.

I found myself getting lower and lower in a deep well of self-loathing. I didn’t want to look in the mirror, didn’t want to meet people’s eye contact, didn’t want to leave the house for anything unnecessary, and hated the idea of meeting new people. I didn’t feel physically *worthy* of the attention of a new person, and I felt that I’d be an embarrassment to my husband and my sweet daughter.

What on EARTH makes someone feel this way?!

While I may be a few pounds heavier than I was before Joely was born, I’m certainly still a human being. Last time I checked, my husband still checks me out when I’m reaching for a glass in the cupboard. My daughter still reaches to me when she’s hurt. My sisters still call me to chat, my mother still hugs me tight when she sees me, and my brother deems me worthy of his confidence. While I’ve obviously changed emotionally since becoming a mother in a profound way, I’m still Aubrey. What is it about the extra weight that makes me feel so worthless?

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Ah, there you are. The Voice. You’ve been programmed into the deep, deep recesses of my brain since I was a little girl. You’ve been there, lying to me, since I knew what lying was. Your disgust was something that I feared most. The dripping sarcasm, the loathsome eye-roll, the cheap shot, and finally, the scream. They were all methods you used to taunt and tease, to belittle, berate, and betray. When I look in the mirror now, it’s still impossible to shut out The Voice, even though I’m almost 30 years old.

Here are some lies I was told by The Voice over the years….

-“Everyone thinks you should go to fat camp.”
-“Everyone can run circles around you.”
-“Anyone who says they’re attracted to you must have some sort of fetish.”
-“If you don’t lose weight, your boyfriend will start looking at other women.”
-“You’re never going to have the same privileges as everyone else because you’re fat.”
-“It’s obvious you don’t have any self-discipline because of your weight.”

That Voice needs to be silenced. It has been allowed to run rampant in my mind for far too long, despite my best efforts to the contrary. The Voice is what makes me feel worthless, even when I have so much to give to the world. I have tried to make firm decisions with the direction of my life many times, and The Voice keeps telling me that I can’t/won’t succeed, or that I’ve made the wrong decision, even with PROOF that these things aren’t so. Literal words I’ve heard time and time again have warped themselves into powerful suggestions:

“If you can’t get hired as easily as a skinny girl, why even bother trying?”
“Your husband is trapped with you looking like this. Why wouldn’t he be looking elsewhere?”

Granted, I can be lazy. I am imperfect. I get tired after a long day taking care of a teething toddler, and don’t want to walk/do yoga/count calories. And then the next morning, after my teething toddler has been keeping me awake half of the night, I don’t want to give up that very precious hour or two of sleep before she wakes up to go expend the energy that I so desperately need for the rest of the day. But that doesn’t mean I *can’t* do it. It just makes it a bit more difficult.

That being said, if I never lose weight, I will still be worth something. Intrinsically, I have value. I love my child, my husband, my family and friends with everything in me. Even if that were the only thing that makes me valuable, it would be enough.

I am enough.

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The Voice is sickening. It’s some putrid mixture of bullies, media, daddy issues, and self. As I’m imagining it right now, it’s like… My Mind Dementor, for those Harry Potter fans out there.

I need a Mind Patronus to come and vanquish this mofo. So in July, I’m going to work on summoning my Mind Patronus to defeat that nasty Dementor. So naturally, there will be lots of tears, fainting, screaming in the distance, and chocolate. (My true love of Harry Potter cannot be quantified.)

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So there are two goals on my 30 Before 30 that I think will help to build up this defense. The two I want to accomplish are:

#22: Take one photo of yourself for 30 days
#28: Take a walk every morning.

(I’ve actually edited #28 from its original form to ditch the yoga poses. I’m going to attack those as a a solo project. I’m trying to be as practical as possible, here.)

I’m hoping that the stillness of the morning, the movement of my body, and the solitude of walking alone, and getting out of the house will help me to familiarize myself once more with my own positive thoughts, and recognize The Voice/Dementor when it starts to take over. And I’m also hoping that the photos daily will help me appreciate what I have, tummy, zits, pores, under-eye baggage and all.  Hopefully, there’ll be at least one photo of me reading Harry Potter and eating chocolate. ❤

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Lastly, I found myself really attracted to this quote by E.E Cummings today. Hopefully, it will inspire you to be bold, to love yourself, and to take risks to reveal your own spirit!

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#1 and #2: Pixies, Piercings, and Murphy’s Law.

The kick-off to my goal completion has begun!

I already had a head start when I cut off about eight inches off my hair and dyed it. It was a bit of a disappointment at first, as it was a yellow/grey color, and was a little bit choppy. But I knew it would take some fiddling to decide how I ultimately wanted it to be.

Hair1

Notice that crap on my shoulder? It’s spit up. My life is glamorous.

After getting this cut, I’d discussed with the original stylist that I’d like to go a very light, almost platinum blonde. She said that it would need to happen in multiple processes, and having experience going white blonde from my high school years, I knew this to be true.

A couple weeks later, I go in for my second process. During the few weeks between, I notice that the hair is unevenly cut, and am very nervous about the color. So back at the salon, I ask the hairdresser to even out the length and go platinum.

During the visit, she asks me about five times if I want to go purple, purple-y, purple-ish… And each time I reply that it’s not at all what I want at the moment. No. No thanks. I appreciate the offer… How many times can I say this?

I end up with a hack job of a haircut and purple-blue-yellow-white hair.

I’m not joking.

After fiddling around with it, I asked a friend who happened to also work at the salon and had seen my hair get done if she could try to help me to fix it. I scheduled an appointment with her just to fix the cut, as the color had been washing out a little. She agreed.

Went to the salon, and my friend did a great job. She tightened it up, and refused to let me pay for it. She also offered to fix the color, but I wanted to see if it would wash out even further, since I was terrified of trying to bleach my hair again!

It didn’t wash out.

So finally today, I went back and let my friend fix the color. It went from that wild white-blue-purple-piss in the snow yellow-blonde to a lovely rose-gold blonde. (I reserve the right to change the cut and color… Once you snip to a pixie, you can see it a myriad of different ways!)

pixieupdate
One down, twenty nine to go!

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That fun hairstylist friend? I told her about my 30 before 30, and that I wanted to get a nose piercing. She wanted to get one, too, so we figured we’d go and do it together. I was going to tackle number two!

Despite her suggestion to go to a local and reputable piercing parlor, I suggested going to a local tattoo parlor instead, as my hubs was going to be in class earlier, and she was going to be working until the piercing place was closed. *Red Flag*. So we met up at the tattoo parlor, and both of us were nervous nellies.

We go into the parlor, and I’m fairly certain we both felt a swell of nerves. There was a drunk dude getting a huge pocket watch tattooed on his side, a gaggle of girls sitting on a couch, looking at a cell phone together, and death metal playing.

While we are both cool girls, we are NOT death metal girls.

A young, bearded fella comes up front to ask what we need. We both answer that we want our noses pierced. He ushers us back to a piercing table, where he pats the seat, and my hairstylist friend hops up. I know she’s nervous, as I’m pretty sure she was shaking a bit before heading back in the first place, and the piercer draws a spot on her nose where he’s going to pierce, and gets her okay to pierce there. He then starts chatting with her about where she works, what she does, how business is going… And I watch him take a ginormous needle out and grease it up with A&D. She can’t watch. He sticks a little metal tube up her nose, and shoves the needle through. She blinks a couple of involuntary tears away, takes a deep breath, and is a general badass. He hooks a screw-shaped stud in her nose, and gives her a post-piercing care paper detailing how to clean it out.

After peering over at her copy, I see special suggestions for a Prince Albert piercing. No idea what that is. After a quick Google search, I now know what a Prince Albert piercing is. OUCH.

It’s my turn. My heart is racing. I hop my short tush up on the table, and he picks a spot to pierce. I agree. Since I’d seen it all go down with my friend, I know what’s about to happen. No numbing. Just a huge needle. I breathe in and out a few big breaths, and try to get the feeling back into my numb fingers and toes. He sticks the metal tube up my nose, and I know the needle is coming. Then there is localized fire. But I notice his face is getting serious. He’s lost hold of the needle on the other side of the piercing, effectively closing the hole.

He tries to force the screw-shaped piercing into the hole he’s lost, since the needle went all the way through. No dice. My eyes are watering, I can’t breathe, and it’s constant fiery pain. “Sorry, hun. I lost the hole, and the piercing won’t go through. I’ll have to pierce again in the same hole. It should only be a pinch this time. This happens like, once every five piercings or so.”

This is NOT what happened to my cute hairdresser friend. My nose is on fire, I can’t see from involuntary tears, and he wants to do both the piercing and the screw stud again?!

I agree. He pierces. It hurts worse this time. The digging of the screw-shaped stud into my thrice-penetrated piercing feels like the needle is going under my fingernail. But finally, it’s done. He shows me the stud in the mirror, and I agree that, yes, it is a nose piercing. I get my own post-piercing care paper, pay the man generously, despite his folly, (or maybe my own?), and hightail it out of there.

I get home, dry my eyes, and take a photo…

nosepiercing

My nose was red. My eyes were red. I was sore.

But, could this be the end of the nose piercing saga? Oh no. Because Murphy’s Law.

Because there was such a big hole from the needle going in twice, the stud moved around a LOT. When washing it with soap in the shower this week, it popped right out.

I had no idea that nose piercings close within minutes if they’re not yet healed.

I tried to put it back in to no avail. It was NOT going through.

I went to the local piercing establishment that my hairdresser friend suggested in the first place and asked if they could help. She shuddered when I told her that he’d stuck the needle through the same site twice, and said that the hole was already mostly closed, and that by policy, she never pierces through the same site twice. It’ll be completely healed in two weeks, she said, and to come back and have it done again.

So, ladies and gentlemen, when I go back in another couple of weeks, I will have had my nose pierced three times in a couple months.

Can I at least cross it off my list? I hope it counts. I’m counting it for now, because otherwise… Ouch. OUch. OUCh. OUCH.

That’s it for now! Not sure what will come next, but if it is anything like the above misadventures, it’s at least going to be worth telling about!

Two down, twenty eight to go!

30 Before 30: One year, 30 goals, and hopefully, a new woman.

Do you ever feel that “less than fresh” feeling?

I’m not talking about your downstairs, ladies and gents. My soul feels all crusty. I feel like I need an existential exfoliation.

Tomorrow, I’ll be turning twenty nine. While quite a few of my friends have already hit the dirty thirty milestone, mine is just on the horizon.

From what I can see, it looks good. Really good. It seems like once you hit that age, a calm washes over you. You know who you are, more than you ever did in your twenties. You have more self-love instead of self-loathing. And while you might not have everything you thought you would by that age, you’re surprisingly okay with that, and at least you’re working towards something.

I’m really excited to get to that point, but I feel like there are a few things I need to get out of the way beforehand. Hence the existential exfoliation. The soul crusties. I feel like if I were a ghost, I’d have unresolved issues. Me and my twenties have unfinished business.

There are things that I really wanted to have done by this age. They feel like they have a timeline. Things that might not be acceptable in your 30’s, things that I want to say I did before I turned 30, or just things that I’ve wanted to do that I’m afraid I’ll never do if I don’t give myself some kind of due date.

So I made a list. Over some time, I’ve been adding different things I really wanted to do to it, combing over it a few times, and editing here and there. Some items are serious, some are goofy, and completing the list will probably take some serious effort on my part. But I have no doubt that I’ll have a blast! I have one year to complete this list, and document along the way. I am seriously stoked.

Without further ado… My 30 Before 30 List.

  1. Cut my hair into a blonde pixie.
  2. Get my nose pierced.
  3. Get a tattoo.
  4. Run a 5k.
  5. Record a song.
  6. Buy a car.
  7. Lose 30 pounds.
  8. Buy 5 pairs of pants and have them tailored.
  9. Attend a Zumba class for a month.
  10. Unplug for one week (including smartphone, television, and computer).
  11. Attend one Unitarian Universalist service.
  12. Attend a rock concert with my husband.
  13. Sing Karaoke with my sisters in a bar.
  14. Complete the 7 day Marriage Challenge.
  15. Learn to play 5 songs on the guitar.
  16. Figure out my sewing machine, and sew a quilt.
  17. Have a proper bra fitting.
  18. Learn how to can fruits and veggies.
  19. Grow an herb garden.
  20. Pay off my credit cards.
  21. Ditch people and things (emotional and physical clutter) that don’t contribute to my happiness.
  22. Take one photo of myself each day for 30 days. (Self love project.)
  23. Give up dining out for 30 days.
  24. Visit a psychic.
  25. Master Julia Child’s croissant recipe from scratch.
  26. Get family photos taken.
  27. Learn 10 yoga poses by heart.
  28. For 30 days, take a walk every morning that ends in the 10 yoga poses.
  29. Take a vacation with my husband.
  30. Finish the Top 60 books on “The 100 Favorite Novels of Librarians” list.

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There ‘ya have it. I’ll be popping in with progress on certain ones that will take time, like the books, the herb garden, the weight loss, and paying off my debt. I’ve started an Instagram account just for this countdown, which should be fun. And goofy. And non-crusty.

I don’t want this year to transform me; I want it to bring the me that has always been there out into the open, and for me to embrace her with open arms instead of hide her inside. Instead of my thirties being something I dread, it will be like a new journey with an old friend. And *that’s* something I can look forward to.