Love the Skin You’re In


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http://www.zimbio.com

Physical body image is an issue I believe all women struggle with in one form or another. We all have at least one part of us that we would like to change. We may want our thighs to be thinner, our butt to be smaller, or our breasts to be bigger, or our tummy to be trimmer. Often woman think that if something were different about their body and if they received their ideally thinner thighs for instance, they would be happier and live a better life. In some cases, I think this is true. If you are overweight and make the healthy lifestyle changes such as exercising and eating better to get those thinner thighs I think you will be happier because you will be living a healthier lifestyle and this will affect you positively all around.

However, physical changes that are actually problems with our self-esteem, will only make us happier for a little while. Then, other problems will arise that can make us disgusted with our body image. Suddenly, you may have trimmer thighs but now you really want to weigh as much as you weighed in high school so you become unhappy about your weight, instead of focusing on the goal you did achieve and that you do have trimmer thighs. It can be a sad cycle, improving one part of yourself, only to be disappointed by one of your perceived other flaws later on.

For me, body image has often been a struggle starting from about the time I was in Grade 1. My mother never overfed me, I had little to no junk food, and I had plenty of exercise but I was still a pudgy girl. Boys were especially mean to me at this age calling me fat and bullying me even though I was just a little pudgier than the other kids. By the time grade 6 came around I had lost all my baby fat and now many of the boys liked me. I maintained a weight I was happy with until I finished my Bachelor’s degree.

When I was 23 years old I got my first job as a receptionist and suddenly I was putting on weight due to copious amounts of food around the office. I threw myself into exercising 40 minutes for 3 times a week on the elliptical at very hard pace, and weight lifting an hour along with each of my elliptical sessions, until I suddenly fell ill with depression and lost 25 pounds in a month.

The problem with losing so much weight at one time is you gain it all back and then some. I sky rocketed from 161 lbs. to 191 lbs. over the next 3 years due to medication, inability to exercise, and perhaps, the fact that I was so no longer 23 years old anymore and was naturally putting on weight. I managed last year to lose 10 lbs. on Herbal Magic and even though I have quit the program I have kept the weight off. I never reached my goal weight of 165 lbs. although, it seems that no matter what I do my body sits comfortably around 180 lbs.

For me height 5’6,” my weight is a little heavy even though I have always been about 10 lbs. heavier than what is recommended by doctors for my height. I would dearly love to be thinner so I could buy smaller clothing and have my body look the way my body looked in university. But if I think about it, I have always been unhappy about my weight, it is just one of my hang ups. Even when I had no reason to think I was fat, I was unhappy about my weight and when my weight didn’t bother me something such as the condition of my skin would.

This is my point that we will always find something in or on our bodies to be upset about, to fantasize how happy we would be if we didn’t have that flaw. But the thing is our flaws make us who we are. I may have a bigger tummy now and have gone up to a size 12 from a size 10 in jeans but I know have bigger breasts – this is a plus. Not to mention, I am never stuck in-between sizes as I was often before. I fit a size 12 or a size large and in most stores those are the sizes I am, I never have to guess.

In addition, I have a boyfriend who loves my curves. He liked them when I met him and I was 191 lbs. and he likes them now that I am 181 lbs. He would like them if I got bigger again or if lost weight and got smaller. He is one reason I really have learned to love my body. People have tastes for partners in all shapes and sizes and just like our partners love our bodies we need to learn to love them too, to be self-confident, and self-confidence is sexy. Curvy is in even if most of the woman we see in the media have thinner body types.

There are celebrities that I admire that are in the entertainment business that are bigger than the average Hollywood sized 0, 2, or 4 woman. Sara Ramirez for example, who plays Callie on Grey’s Anatomy, is said to be 160 lbs. She was a size 12 when she began acting on Grey’s Anatomy and I feel very proud when I see her act as she is both talented and weighs a weight the average woman can relate to.

Someone else I really admire is Lizzie Miller, a model who for Glamour magazine posed “jiggly bits and all.” In her picture, you can clearly see a tummy on Lizzie miller who is 5’11” and considered too big to model even for plus size. Yet in 2009, there she was bearing it all, flaws and everything. Lizzie really inspired me and made me think that it was okay that I have a have a tummy too, I always have. Some of us are never going to be model thin and Lizzie personifies beauty in any body weight. Woman are beautiful and worthy to be loved with tummies, thighs, and butts that are considered too big, so are woman who are incredibly thin and wish they had curves, and so are those woman who are somewhere in-between in their body weights. We are all monumentally blessed to be who we are and have the bodies we do have, of this I am certain.  To read a fascinating article on Lizzie Miller you can go to: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1210814/Lizzie-Millers-Glamour-magazine-shoot-How-models-picture-shook-world-flabby-tummy-all.html and read all about Lizzie’s brave model shoot in 2009.

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Going Backwards


wwspot.com.neurocritic.blog
wwspot.com.neurocritic.blog

Permanent illness is not an easy sickness to live with. With my depression, I have always expected myself to reach a certain point in my healing and then to remain there, being able to know what I can expect my body to handle each day. I gave myself a 5 year plan from the time I first got sick, that in 5 years I would be at level of healthiness where I could be independent enough on my own and at least have my Interior Decorator’s Certificate completed. I wanted a lot more than that but some things I have come to realize are not realistic goals. But my problem lately has been that even my 5 year goals that I did consider realistic are not realistic; I have instead regressed.

Regression is not something that was part of my ‘Get Better’ plan. I know in November I get a little bit worse due to SAD and basically the low amount of light in the winter sky but I was still well enough that I could attend class and go places without becoming too tired. But already this summer and perhaps even since I’ve been taking classes in Spring, I’ve been regressing.

It started with me missing about 7 of my 13 CAD classes due to the fact that I was too tired or too sick to go. It continued with a summer where I spent a great deal of time sleeping and on the couch. I spent less time having the energy to do all the activities I wanted to do with my friends, my articles were often not as grammatically correct or spelled correctly due to the fact that I was too tired to care, my emotions often felt all over the place, and I became tired of becoming this unhappy miserable person who didn’t have the energy for 20 minutes of Yoga never mind all the other events or activities I couldn’t attend or do.

I still was able to do some things I wanted to do but not as much as I used to be able to do. It took my Mom having a frank discussion with me about my declining health, to put the pieces together. These last 2 months I have spent much time at different Doctor’s offices trying to find a healthier way to fall asleep besides 20, 5 gram melatonin pills which no I cannot cut back on, I need them all to sleep. I have received sleeping medications from my sleep Doctor that have only made me sick or tired all day as well as all night and a ticture from my Naturopath that did nothing for me at double the dose she recommended. Finally, I visited my psychiatrist to address the actual regressions I have been feeling with my depression and have been trying to function unsuccessfully with a new dose of certain medications without feeling tired in the day and serious withdrawal when 1 of the medications wears off which unfortunately has been around 2:30 pm in the afternoon, a change of about 2 and 1/2 hours from the lower dose of the drug. 2 hours of activity wears me out in the day, my motivation, and my concentration has not been any better yet.

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/god
http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/god

I’m so frustrated. I am tired of suffering through medication changes just to have somewhat of a normal life; I am tired of being fatigued and sleepy in the day; and I’m heartbroken after all that time I spent trying to move ahead despite my disease, working towards greater independence and trying to become someone who can contribute to society, that my health has regressed and is not improving.

I am trying to be positive though, really. I try to remember that so many people are suffering so much more. I try to remember that I have a family who can help me take care of myself when I cannot do much; that I have a boyfriend who loves me and is extremely understanding of my illness; and that I have friends and relatives who have not stopped supporting me at whatever stage of recovery or regression I have been in since getting depression 5 years ago.

It is essential to look at the bigger picture in life and it is essential that I don’t think no one understands what it’s like to be me because suffering is universal. When I consider the different painful situations I have been in in life I think of the Bible verse ” My Grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses . . . ” ( 2 Corinthians 12:9) This Bible verse said to Paul by God when he prays, suggests that Paul too suffered from some illness, that he prayed 3 times for God to take this ” thorn” away from him but God told him to depend on God because through Paul’s suffering the power of God was apparent. I hope that people see God’s strength when they see me suffer because He is greater than that suffering and He has greater things in mind for me than I will ever know or understand, just as he did for Paul in the Bible.

Poem: Life Shapes You


Life shapes you.
It molds, it beholds a person still forming.
In a variety of ways it kills you inside, be still as it fills you, you do not die…
Life shapes you, and you haven’t a choice how malleable you are.
You can live with the changes, the bitter exchanges; life is a stranger
It makes a white web of dew drops flow through you like tear drops
Life is web of disasters, reactive or be proactive, you must live
To forge through the jungles, the brick walls, the barriers ahead
Injury is injust, but nothing is just, it’s the laws of nature you know
Survive, revive the fire that fuels the ether of your soul
Be a stranger in the land, be a friend, be a teller of stories
Through stories we live, write the tale, write the book
Carry the history of the world on your shoulders as life shapes you.

Life shapes you.
The rejected, protected, protesting people of the world.
They live through imagination, fantasy erases reality, in our bubbles we float.
The lost and the lonely, the ghostly faces, cold …
We do not greet each other warmly, we conform, push our faces until they are still.
Impressions, of ghastly masks, the future in fluorescence bright
Perhaps, there is a dawning, through let downs, and push downs, no gifts in this life
Selfish and forlorn, we do not remember He gave, so we give nothing.
The smoke of a burning, my stomach is churning, these candles aren’t holy
There the incense of blasphemy, a man smoking hasheesh to dull the pain that blinds.
Remind us we see nothing, we are into ourselves, and no one else, we see our own souls.
We lack sight into the souls of the broken and burnt, those crushed by life – we only see a mirrored reflection and miss the men behind the mirror that life shaped too.

Life shapes you.
You have little choice in the matter, you move to control to fight the shaping
You grow, hear the wails and the lo’s, down low you fall in throws
Fits of passion, purging the truth from the eyes of the polite and apathetic
Progress, ingest the flavor of this life, providing a taste, wonderfully complex
Move to improve, do not choke on incense, it’s needed by some
Who fight pain and the blame of some mother and her children, she teaches selfishness
She grows sadness and injustice because she doesn’t realize the knifing pain that wrings you
Dry, inspire tears in dry eyes, don’t undo, the glue that keeps us healthy
Request that life keep you in it’s hands, until He comes to get you that glorious day
Removing, relaxing the dull blindness of the world
A world that doesn’t give, a world that suppresses, all that we are suppose to be
And see the light in the darkness
The glow in the worm
A beacon, a breathe, flooding agony in the sunlight, highlight the shadows that surround us
Confound us, rebreak and reform us, here we see the dense thickness of hate
Become shiver upon tiny sliver that glimmers.
Life shapes you.

Coming Full Circle


As many of you have known I have been writing for a young women’s magazine almost a year now. This seemed great at first, but gradually has become somewhere I cannot volunteer for anymore. I hope you enjoyed the articles, I did enjoy writing them. But after certain events I get the feeling I am no longer wanted there and truthfully, my heart is just not in it at the moment.

To be fair my grammar and style has not been the best lately for the editors and I am working on that for future writing projects. As well, I found it hard to take criticism as it was most often felt negative. More so, I think you just have to move on from certain situations after awhile because they can bother you a lot if you let them. I go back to my second sentence, I was a volunteer, this was not my job, and I know God intended for me to write for the women’s magazine as long as I did, and for no longer than I was supposed to write for them. I encourage you to keep reading the magazine as it raises some very good points about women in today’s world and the people and issues that effect them.

I endeavour to keep improving my writing skills through courses at the U of A: Creative Writing last winter and Editing this Fall. I am also working my way through my old Writing 300 grammar guide and work book to reaffirm some grammar rules and help prepare me for an entrance exam to Grant Mac in PR sometime in 2014. Also, as of recently, my health has again become a focus as I am having difficulties falling asleep and having difficulties with energy and moods in my daily life. I will continue with my blogs and hopefully find some interesting writing projects in the future.
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Poem: Sugar Scrub


With a sugar scrub I exfoliate with homemade cosmetics.
Sugar, olive oil, and lemon juice – scrub your legs twice.
In-between shave – these are the doldrums of the summer life.
Think twice, there is no glory in the little ways I get through the day.
And trampled down with elephant feet I slide through the year in mud.

Drudge, sludge – I am overwhelmed by typing and paper, the slice of cutting knife,
Make the cut, so the board is straight, a sharp edge and endless matte finish.
Paper cuts, the cutting wheel, slipping through the papers middle.
Make it true and make it right so that I might have peace this night.

“This,” that word, never start a sentence with it, this and that, not this is happening, just say what’s happening be clear and concise; the writer’s knife from the designer’s grip.
Demonstrate which words are sacred, those words which fit the pages just right.
Make a rhyme, or make a rhythm, form the sentence that all will understand and see the point, the big idea, the grande scheme of idealization.

These are the doldrums of my day, stretching forth into cat pose, back to happy cow
Yoga will slimline the time it takes, to cut the day with words and blades, with design and words.
Add in the time it takes to visit a friend and keep up on life.
Pay attention, look forward, listen – ignore the fog on little rabbit paws as it passes close and flows away back into sunlight, the break of day.
You are still in the conversation and bad at listening after a time has passed…
Then achingly awake and bursting forth into life for just a moments bliss.
Wipe away the blurry picture and make it shining clear.
These are crisp, crystal moments in your life – snatch them before they disappear

Sugar scrubs lead to legs so smooth a model would desire them.
Perhaps, these insignificant things in my day have cause to bigger things.
The idealization – the presentation – the humanization – of important ideas.
They represent who we are as people and form the cradle of civilization.
That a thousand years from now they all will say, ” I cannot believe they lived this way!”
Our lives the theatre in the museum, what was once the leading edge – a half hidden mystery that no man alive that day will understand but for the little things, we do day by day that his wife does too.

Write the letter, seal it blood red wax, slice the blade and see the history, the archeology in these dry bones like poison seeping into times ahead.
The ethereal future of the man and his lady, the possibility my everyday has a unique sort of meaning.
The blades of grass crisp and green swaying in the present time, the breeze floats airy whispers and I wonder if they will have grass, sugar scrubs, and the colour of clean air – words and the familiar slice of knife through paper.

The assimilation of tomorrow and today.

Budgeting The Grown Up Way


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http://www.statesofmind.ca

I am not sure what your parents taught you about how to manage your money when you were growing up but mine taught me to lay everything out on spread sheet and give yourself an amount of money for each area of spending you require ie.) food, clothing, rent, personal needs etc. I always hated this method of budgeting when I was a little girl because it was so restrictive. So when you actually wanted that $80.00 pair of jeans and only had $50.00 in your clothing budget you were not supposed to take another $30.00 from another category to use, even though you had the money. But generally, that’s what I did.

I would save away for things I needed to save for and than whatever cash was left over in my bank account was ‘mad money.’ It was mine to spend on whatever I chose. This method worked for me for quite along time and still does to some degree. For instance, I will overlap between medication and healthcare ( such as money for the dentist or if I need extra-medication one month). I also overlap between clothing and entertainment. This means that some months I spend a lot of  money on clothing or household goods and other months I spend more on going out with friends and drinking and having dinner.

My point is, this method can and does work to a degree. But only certain categories in my budget are flexible, not all. What probably is a better method to work with is is to have a certain amount you have set aside for clothing each month and a certain amount set aside for entertainment. That way you always have a little bit available for each category in your budget and any extra money can carry over to the next month. Essentially, this is what I do now. Being more restrictive with your budget has it’s benefits though.

It really does seem as if you have more money when you set aside some money for each of your budget areas and all of your bills get paid. This also means that if you use a credit card you can pay off whatever you spent right away or as soon as possible because you take the money out of the category you spent it in right away. So if I use my credit card for a cab to Whyte Avenue to meet some friends, immediately, $26.00 or so is taken out of my transportation budget and I payoff my credit card when I get home with $26.00 or however much I put on my credit card that evening. This method works really well for me because if you do not let your credit card build up, it’s not such a hassle to pay it off. Meaning, a little bit to pay off all the time is easier to pay off than $600.00 at once.

These are just my personal  thoughts and experiences with budgeting. Some of the other things I can tell you about budgeting this way is you cannot buy everything you would like or sometimes need at once. You need to spread out items you need progressively throughout the month and throughout each month. I was used to getting all that I needed done at once, now if I can’t afford a professional bikini wax this month but have wax strips at home I have to do it myself. Or if I don’t have the money left to cab somewhere and that is the only way I can get to a place and my friends are going to some event I sometimes have to opt out of the event because I can’t afford the taxi ride, booze money, and the event ticket. What I might do is catch a ride from a friend and take the bus home and not drink. Sometimes when you budget you have to make choices such as that and those choices are not always fun. But budgeting your money does help with your waistline because you watch where you eat out and drink a lot more and that is a good idea for many people.

I also have to watch what I buy in clothing now. I am a lot more conscious of how much something costs. I don’t just look at how nice the fabric is and how good the item of clothing looks. I look at that first then I decide whether it is worth the price and whether I can afford the item that month. $200 boots for me might be worth it because we have winter 8 months of the year and the boots are a leather classic style a can wear for 2-3 years. But some things like fad items, may not be as worth it to me especially if they are made cheaply. If I really want that cheaply made $80 sparkly tank top I can wait until it goes on sale in a month or find a cheaper version of it because odds are I won’t be wearing it more than a season or 2.

But budgeting has been going really well for me and I’m actually glad I got into trouble with my money so I learned again, how to budget properly. The only thing I regret, is the debt payment I make every month 😦

What are some budgeting strategies that work for you? Do you manage your money well or are there times that you do and don’t?

Criticism, Can You Take It?


Mandibelle16

I’m not sure I handle criticism  well especially through a computer screen. I guess I would appreciate a phone call or something more personal. Part of  not handling criticism well is that I am not as talented at some things as I used to be. It’s difficult expecting your hands to do certain things, write a certain way for instance,  and coming up with an inferior product that you don’t really have the patience to correct as you did back before you were ill.

Lately, my reaction to criticism has been to fight back, to take it personally. I just don’t see how in life right now I cannot take it personally. When life consists of one class, a few magazine articles, your friends, your boyfriend, critiques to the small arena of your life can seem threatening.

I find especially with things that I write, that I am very sensitive…

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Criticism, Can You Take It?


www.mibba.com
http://www.mibba.com

I’m not sure I handle criticism  well especially through a computer screen. I guess I would appreciate a phone call or something more personal. Part of  not handling criticism well is that I am not as talented at some things as I used to be. It’s difficult expecting your hands to do certain things, write a certain way for instance,  and coming up with an inferior product that you don’t really have the patience to correct as you did back before you were ill.

Lately, my reaction to criticism has been to fight back, to take it personally. I just don’t see how in life right now I cannot take it personally. When life consists of one class, a few magazine articles, your friends, your boyfriend, critiques to the small arena of your life can seem threatening.

I find especially with things that I write, that I am very sensitive about  which does not make sense at all after all the papers and articles I have had graded and have been told I needed improvement on by professors and teachers. But maybe it’s easier to take criticism from certain people and not from others. I find I have all this frustration  but no where to get  it off my chest because I cannot physically work it off at the gym or party it off in a big way. So  just about the frustrations of life just about burst from me whenever there is a cause to be upset.

It is easy to get caught in a trap of feeling sorry for myself. I often find that I think nobody understands me and cannot put their selves in my shoes. To some degree this is true. Few people except those maybe with a similar kind of depression or chronic fatigue syndrome know what it is like to be worn out all the time in the way I am. This is a feeling you have to experience to understand, to not have energy.

I tend to think anything I can accomplish is good enough because things are hard for me but I forget that my not so detailed standards do not always meet the standards of the world on the outside, that it has been 8 years since university, and that other people are dealing with situations so much more difficult that I am. I have the chance to improve my writing skills and to maybe make something of myself with this talent if I can only take the time to look at the details. Many other people do not have these options. Their minds have been too damaged or they were not born with that kind of skill or intelligence. Maybe they never cared to write in the first place so skills that existed went undeveloped.

www.bobchoat.com
http://www.bobchoat.com

Because of my health issues I am not as reasonable as I used to be in emotional situations and just in general, criticism is difficult for me to handle, When you’ve never had any trouble writing, and little trouble with grammar and style until you turned 23 and had a psychotic episode, when you excelled so much at something, it’s hard to find yourself back at the bottom of the barrel struggling to make yourself seem as talented as all the other people who want to be writers too.  And there are so many of them. I guess it’s all about finding your own path. And it’s difficult not to define yourself by your disabilities. But for anyone, not taking criticism personally is not an easy thing to do, To move outside yourself and see you from someone else’s perspective can be alarming.

I suppose another thing about criticism I feel is that  I really appreciate it when I can hear someone’s voice or see their face and it is not done through email, I don’t take it so personally because the criticizer doesn’t seem so cold and machine like. I can hear how they feel in their voice and see their facial expressions (on skype for instance). I can tell that they are trying to be constructive and not vindictive .

Of course, there is always the little voice inside me that tells me I will not measure up, that I can’t  meet my criticizers standards. That my life experiences have ruined me to the professional world of writing, this is always in the back of my mind. It is there when I write and it is there when I pick up the charcoal to draw or the paint brush to paint. Old talents – spoiled!

But I am really trying to look at things positively. The fact that you receive criticism has to be a good thing because if you just blended into the crowd you wouldn’t receive any feedback and that wouldn’t be very good either. And being too good at something you would become bored if you could not improve and do better; you would have no challenge. I just want consistency I guess. And I don’t feel I am getting an objective opinion when the standards always seem to be changing to which I am measured by. But than I also need to stay objective to take criticism for my work from another’s perspective and see how my work affects other people.

Lastly, it’s important to understand that writing is such a cathartic thing for me that it feels very personal when I am criticized. When your whole heart and soul goes into something it  feels like you are getting ripped apart when someone does not like the results of your work. But I also know even though it maybe harder for me to deal with criticism more now than before I was ill, that I need to be criticized. That critical thinking is a part of existing in the workplace and evaluating each others talents and efforts. It is a part of growing as a person. Let’s face it, we all have our own critiques of other people too, things we think about, opinions we have, it’s just a part of being human – understanding what to say when, and when to listen – swallowing your medicine.