#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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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.