A Woman Who Cuts Her Hair…

A couple days ago I posted some pictures on social media to show off my new haircut. The caption of one of the pictures had this quote by Coco Chanel: “A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” And from outward appearances the pictures showed me to be content and confident in my new look with short hair. But, today I’m here to tell you the truth. And the truth is I’ve actually been struggling to feel confident and beautiful ever since I got my hair cut.

So let’s start from the beginning. Why did I cut my hair? I cut my hair because I am making some big life changes right now and one of them involves moving overseas as a missionary for the next year. I cut my hair because I didn’t want the worry and stress of figuring out how to do it while also adjusting to a new place. I wanted something low maintenance. So I walked into the salon, sat down, and got my hair chopped off. IMG_4368.JPG

Now, I would love to say that I was immediately comfortable and confident in myself as soon as I walked out of the salon, but I was not. I figured I would struggle to get used to it, but I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of insecurity and self doubt that plagued me in the days after the haircut. I’ve always been insecure, but this haircut took that to a whole new level.

Society puts a lot of emphasis on women to look a certain way and having long hair is seen as desirable. So with that in mind I was worried about so many things: Do people think I look like a boy? Does this haircut look good on me? Will guys be into me now that I have short hair? Did I make a mistake? But the question that kept plaguing my mind was: Am I still beautiful without my hair? Because honestly, I felt ugly and masculine every time I would glance at myself in the mirror. I didn’t recognize the person staring back at me.

This self-doubt and anxiety about my hair lasted for a little over a week, until yesterday. Yesterday I had a complete meltdown and shed many tears on account of my worries about looking like a boy with short hair. But thank God for big sisters because she picked me back up and put all my doubts and fears to rest.

From that point on I knew I had a choice to make. I knew my hair wasn’t going to grow back overnight so I had to decide whether I would learn to love myself with short hair or continue to live with doubts and fears.

I chose to learn to love myself. And that’s what I’m working on right now. I’m slowly getting used to seeing the new me in the mirror and I am speaking to myself positively. All the compliments I’ve received from people are useless if I don’t see myself in a good light.

As time goes by I am realizing that I really do like my new look; the girl who cut my hair did an amazing job! It’s all so new and definitely takes some adjusting to, but the initial regrets from before have subsided. I’m proud of myself for taking more risks in life because that means I’m growing.

So to any other women struggling with their short hair, I will say this: It’s ok to not be ok for a while, but eventually we all have to make a choice and move forward. I hope you choose to work on seeing yourself in a positive light. I’m not completely there yet, but I’m working on it and every day it gets easier. Plus, the way you carry yourself really impacts how people perceive you (it’s not all about how you look). So I am choosing to walk with confidence; I may not have a lot right now, but I’ll fake it till I make it.

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Before Haircut

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After Haircut

And I will continue to remind myself that with short hair I am still femininedesirable, and beautiful.

What if I Choose to Love Myself?

For as long as I can remember, I have been in transition.

Working toward my goal weight. Working toward a certain clothing size. Working to break bad habits. Working to form better habits.

Working to be a better version of myself. Never satisfied with the current version.

Society often tells us that we shouldn’t be happy with ourselves unless we meet certain standards of perfection. So by default, anyone who doesn’t meet that standard should be profoundly unhappy and dissatisfied with life.

And that is why we are so shocked and taken aback when we see “imperfect” people speaking out about how they love themselves and are happy with who they are right now. We are so conditioned to work towards “perfection”,  so we can’t wrap our minds around the fact that someone can be truly happy in an “imperfect” state.

But, what if I choose to love myself? I mean, really just love myself for who I am at this moment, in my imperfect state.

What if I choose to love myself at this size? What if I choose to love myself enough to be content with the number on the scale? What if I choose to love every single curve on my body? Because yes, I am still not at my target weight, but I am proud of how far I’ve come.

What if I choose to love my hair every day, even when it doesn’t cooperate? What if I choose to love it right after I’ve washed it and it’s in short, tight ringlets around my head? What if I choose to love it when it’s not straight like everyone else’s?

What if I choose to love my bare face every single day? What if I choose to love my face even when I break out or get a huge pimple? What if I looked at my face every day and said “wow, I’m beautiful”?

What if I choose to love myself as a messy person? Because try as I might, I cannot keep my living space spotless 24-7. And even though I try my best to be neat and proper while I eat, I will inevitably spill or drop something on myself.

What if I choose to love myself with my less than perfect dancing skills? What if I stopped hiding on the sidelines and actually just let myself cut loose on the dance floor without caring about anyone watching me? Because as long as you’re confident people don’t really care what you do on the dance floor.

What if I choose to love myself as an emotionally empathetic person who feels everything deeply? What if I let more people see that side of me instead of continuing to keep people at arms length and acting like nothing can hurt me? Because there is strength in being a highly sensitive person and it’s ok to show others how much you care.

What if I choose to love myself as someone who sometimes gets attached to people too quickly? What if I saw that as a good thing instead of a weakness? Because, in a world that says it’s cool to be the one who cares less, it’s nice to stand out as someone who shows people that you value their place in your life.

What if I choose to love myself as someone who has various bad habits? What if I wasn’t so hard on myself all the time? Because I am human and I will mess up sometimes, but it’s not the end of the world when I do and it’s ok to cut myself some slack.

What if I realize that I am enough, I am whole, and I am worthy of love just the way I am right now, without any more improvements?

And, what if YOU choose to love yourself just the way you are? What if you look at yourself and choose to love the person you see? What if you take a break from your constant self improvement and decide to appreciate who you are at this moment?

How would that kind of love and acceptance of ourselves change the way we live our lives? How would such a blatant disregard for societal norms change the way we interact with ourselves as well as others?

To love oneself completely, at every point of life, is such a profoundly brave thing to do. It takes a lot of courage and determination to fight against the status quo of the world, but it’s so worth it.

So, while it’s ok to want to be better, I hope you will at least learn to love yourself now. Because you are already amazing.

 

She is, She isn’t

She isn’t the kind of girl who waits around for the guy.

She isn’t the kind of girl who changes her plans so she can be in the same place at the same time as her crush.

She isn’t the kind of girl who lets her feelings for a guy get in the way of her goals.

She isn’t the kind of girl who dumbs herself down so people don’t think she’s “too smart for her own good”.

She isn’t the kind of girl who pretends she can’t do anything for herself.

She isn’t the kind of girl who knows how to be cute and flirty.

She isn’t the kind of girl who has effortless poise and beauty.

She isn’t the kind of girl who turns heads on the sidewalk.

She just isn’t.

She’s the kind of girl who isn’t ashamed about her love for food. The girl who so enjoys the experience of eating and doesn’t mind that she often spills on herself.

She’s the kind of girl whose nails are never perfectly manicured because she is accustomed to doing hard work with her hands.

She’s the kind of girl who prefers tennis shoes over heels. The girl who surprises people when she puts on a dress or skirt on a regular day.

She’s the kind of girl with a loud voice and a boisterous laugh. Yes, sometimes she gets carried away, but that just means she enjoys life in the deepest way.

But,

She’s also the kind of girl who has big dreams and goals and she is running head first into her bright future.

She’s the kind of girl who embraces her intelligence but never uses it to make anyone else feel “less than”.

She’s the kind of girl who is fiercely independent but has also learned that sometimes it’s nice to be able to depend on a few good people in life.

She’s the kind of girl with a beautiful soul and a bright smile that draws people to her.

She’s the kind of girl who does everything she can to bring joy and laughter to people’s lives.

She’s the kind of girl who has worked hard to get where she is and knows she can do so much more.

She’s the kind of girl who has fought with self esteem and insecurity issues her whole life, but as she gets older she realizes more and more how amazing she is.

She’s the kind of girl who accepts all that she is and all that she isn’t and loves herself for it all.

She just is.

How Do You See Yourself?

This evening I attended a program here in my dorm and the topic was about beauty and how we perceive ourselves compared to how others actually see us. At the start of the program we did an activity that really impacted me.

We were all given a piece of paper and told to write down all the things about ourselves that we thought stood out, whether they be positive or negative. Those things that you search for in a picture of yourself before deciding to post it. The things that you assume people first notice about you when they look at you or see a picture of you.

So my list was pretty short. I wrote down that what stands out to me is my smile, my smooth skin, and my lumps/bulges (stomach, love-handles, etc.).

Next, we were told to partner up with someone in the room that we didn’t know and then spend some time talking to them and getting to know them. After getting acquainted with the person, we were told to share with each other just a few things that were on our list from before.

After that we were all asked to turn our papers over and hand them to the person we were talking to. We then had to write on the back of the other person’s paper the first things that we noticed about them.

When I got my paper back from the girl I was sitting with, I was surprised to see what she had written down about me.

This is what she wrote about me: very beautiful girl. simple. bright, white smile. good hair. really great skin.

I was so amazed to see that she observed those things about me because I realized she saw me in a far better light than I saw myself. My list was short because I don’t think there is a lot that stands out about me, but her list about me was almost twice as long as mine!

And it got me thinking, I’m way too hard on myself.

There are days I wake up and genuinely do not feel pretty, today was one of those days, but on her list she described me as beautiful. Why can’t I see that about myself?

Just yesterday I was worried about how my hair looks, but on her list she said I have good hair. Why can’t I look at my hair in the mirror and feel content?

The lists can go on and on. But the point is, people usually don’t focus on all the things we worry are wrong about us. We need to start being nicer to ourselves because how we view ourselves is reflected in the way we carry ourselves and how we interact with the world around us.

So, I’m going to carry myself with confidence and I will remind myself that I am a very beautiful girl with a bright, white smile, who has good hair and really great skin.

Let’s Be Real: Self Esteem

Ok, honesty time. I’m going to be 100% real with you.

I have finally come to a realization that I’ve tried to deny for far too long. I have low self esteem. I am just going to say it as plain and simple as that because it’s the truth. And the thing is, I’m sure many people have low self esteem as well but are too scared to say it out loud. So I’m going to be a voice for all those who are too afraid to admit this fact to themselves and others.

See, when I started this blogging journey I decided that I would be completely honest with people because someone out there needs to know that they are not alone. So if you have low self esteem, this post is for you. And if you don’t have low self esteem then that’s awesome, but maybe this post will help you better understand those who do.

I know many people won’t believe me when I say that I have low self esteem because everyone sees me laughing and smiling all the time. But don’t you know that sometimes the happiest people are the best fakers?

See, I can be with people all day long, but at the end of the day I feel lonely. Oftentimes I feel like my mannerisms and behaviors just bother people. And for the most part people have never given me a reason to feel this way, but for some reason I’ve come to view myself in this negative way.

I put myself down and I have a hard time accepting compliments. I care too much about what others think or say about me. I worry that what I do or say will come off wrong to other people and they’ll end up pulling away from me. I compare myself endlessly to other people and that causes me to put myself down. I focus too much on my negatives and never enough on my positives. I just don’t regard myself as highly as I should.

I am fully aware of my flaws.

Here’s the thing, I look at myself and I see all my rough edges. Yes, I also see the good in myself, but the things that stand out so clearly to me are my rough edges. So then I start to wonder what I need to change about myself to be a better person.

Honestly it’s hard to tell people this because everyone expects me to be happy-go-lucky all the time. Nobody wants to deal with someone else’s rough spots, we just expect everyone to be fine all the time. And when people open up about how they truly feel we brush it off and give some generic advice so that we can move past the deep moment.

But I’m not fine all the time. I doubt myself, I put myself down, and I worry that others will see me the way I see myself.

Here’s the good thing though, now that I’ve finally come to terms with that aspect of who I am, I can take steps to overcome it. And the process will be different for everyone.

Personally, I’ve realized that my self esteem issues have occurred because I lack a solid foundation in Christ. My whole life I’ve relied too much on other people to fulfill me, but I never fully relied on the One who created me. So that’s what I’m working on now, I’m working on building back a relationship with the One who knows everything about me and yet still loves me. Because once I have established myself firmly in Christ, the attacks on my self esteem from the devil won’t matter anymore. Yes, I’ll still struggle with negative thoughts every now and then, but they won’t overpower me anymore.

Everything in my life right now is in transition; I feel like I’m finally becoming the person I’m meant to be. So, I know that I can and will overcome these struggles in life because God is not finished with me yet.

My advice to anyone struggling with low self esteem is, if you are religious, then spend time cultivating a closer relationship with God, because he is the only one who can help you realize how valuable you are. In addition to that, you should cultivate friendships with people who actually care and are concerned about your wellbeing. I’ve come to realize that I would rather have a few good friends than many superficial friendships. Find people who have gone through or are going through what you are going through, because there is strength in numbers.

So yes, I’m still a happy person and I still love life, but I also struggle. However, one day I’ll be able to stop saying “I have low self esteem” and I’ll start saying “I had low self esteem, but here’s how I overcame that”

You Are Enough

I must admit that I have had a difficult time starting this particular post because in it I will be forced to be vulnerable, and that scares me. Because being vulnerable means tearing down a wall and opening myself up to a world of hurt. But this is important, and I cannot speak to your heart if I don’t open up mine. So here I am, for a moment I will overcome my fear, I will be vulnerable.

20 years old and I’m still struggling to believe that I am enough. Everyone says not to compare yourself to others, but in actuality that’s easier said than done. It’s not like I want to be someone else, I love myself, but I’ve always just wanted to be prettier, smarter, skinnier…and the list goes on.

As a teen I started wearing makeup because I just wanted to be beautiful. I couldn’t leave the house without a face full of makeup, because without it I felt ugly. I thought the makeup would make me beautiful.

And then I would look around and all the other girls had boyfriends, but I never did. I told myself that my time would come, but dates never turned into long-term relationships; and so I continued to wait. I thought that having a boyfriend would confirm that I am indeed desirable and worthy of love.

So I decided to just focus on school, because that has always been my strong point and I knew that knowledge would never fail me. I started the honors program at my college, thinking it would be easy since I’m smart. I found out soon enough that I’m not as smart as I think I am, I was challenged beyond my breaking point and I began to doubt myself. Because I thought that doing well in school would prove my intelligence and show that I am worthy of respect.

So I did all I could to prove my value, but despite my best efforts, I always felt like I was not enough. I felt that way because according to what I was basing my value off of, I indeed would never be enough. According to society there would always be a prettier girl, a skinnier girl, or a smarter girl. As much as I like to think that I am not influenced by society’s ideas of beauty and intelligence, I found myself stuck in its trap.

And there are many people who feel the same way that I did. You feel that you have to wear the makeup everyday so you can hide your imperfections from the world. You feel that you have to dress a certain way to attract attention because if you dress any other way you will be overlooked. You feel like you have to act a certain way around the opposite gender so that you can draw the attention that you crave.

I too craved attention, affection, and affirmation more than anything. But that pursuit drained me because I craved it from the wrong places.

If you base your value off of what the world says you should be, you will always come up short.

So I want to say to you what I wish someone had said to me when I was younger, because it shouldn’t take someone 20 years to finally realize their worth.

Don’t rely on makeup for your beauty; cultivate a beautiful character.

Don’t rely on a boyfriend or girlfriend to decide if you are worthy of love and affection. Use your time of singleness to grow and become a complete person on your own and when the time is right you will attract the attention of the right person. Don’t rush into a relationship just because you don’t want to be alone, because being alone is better than being in the wrong relationship. Don’t change who you are just to attract a certain person, because there is someone out there who will love the hell out of everything about you if you just wait.

Don’t rely on your grades to make you feel like you are intelligent, if you are alive and have a story then you have intelligence and someone in the world can learn something from your experiences.

Stop looking outside for affirmation. Nothing from outside can give your life value and worth, that can only come from within. So remind yourself everyday that you are enough. And let go of anything or anyone that ever makes you doubt that.

Because even though you will doubt this fact almost every day of your life, you must understand that you have always been and will always be ENOUGH.