Friday, January 16, 2015

The Struggle with Loving Yourself

I want to touch on the subject of loving yourself.

Loving yourself can be such a hard thing to do. Especially when everyone seems to have a purpose, talent or something they are good at. When we value those who are symmetrical, beautiful, thin, etc.
The concept of loving yourself for 'who-you-are' is gaining acceptance, which is something we seem to find hard to grasp.
Even as a Christian, I've struggled with this immensely. Although I know God loves me for who I am, and there are numerous scriptures on how we were all designed uniquely, and have a purpose. That every purpose, talent, job, and flaw, is just as important as the rest. It can still be hard to accept yourself.

Oppression from Society
Loving yourself in this society can be difficult. People post things on Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites saying things like: "Screw what other people think", "Be your own person", "We all matter", "You are special" etc. Yet on the flip side, people tear each other down for how we dress, what we do, and what we think. How can we possibly accept ourselves, when society is constantly telling us from all different angles, on all different subjects, that we are wrong?

The Struggle with Self Expectations
Growing up, I've always been adept at psychoanalyzing myself, others, and situations. I would watch movies and even as a child, I could frequently predict what was going to happen. 
But in psychoanalyzing myself, I've been aware that I seek attention from others. That I have an extreme need to be liked and popular, to be passion-driven, and be talented. When I haven't achieved those goals, the self loathing runs very deep.  But I also have a very strong need to be myself. To be real and its something I remind myself, a lot. To become more accepting of my imperfections. To realize its okay to be flawed.

I grew up watching movies where the moral of the story always loops back around to tell you that trying to be someone else will ultimately make you unhappy, or a horrible person.
So I made it a priority unconsciously, to try and always be myself, to be unique, to have a voice, to figure out what I believe in and take a stand. But that can also manifest in a negative way when taken to extremes. I'm constantly, internally, flip-flopping throughout the week: hating myself to loving myself. Condemning myself for the lack of accomplishments to encouraging myself for how far I've come. Completely frustrated for not being good at the things I want to be good at, to realizing God has a plan for me, and through focusing on him and walking his path, I will feel full, happy and accomplished.

The Physical Self-Hatred
Growing up, I hated my body, and I still struggle with that. 
I have a bit of a tummy and I was always thicker then my friends. As I went through spiritual problems, that caused a lot of mental strain a couple years ago. The strain lead to a lot of weight gain out of which I hated myself even more, which pushed me deeper into a mental funk and depression. It was a very dark period, and even ever since then I've been struggling to get the weight off. I was soooo ashamed of my body, with so much hatred for myself, and my lack of direction, I was in tears at some point in most the days.
Along with always being (as my mom would say) shapely, once I was 17, I started gaining a lot of weight. Until I was suddenly in the plus section. Which tore my self esteem apart. 
At the time I was dealing with so much hatred and criticism from extended family, I was so stressed, and my energy levels just dropped. That all played a part of gaining weight, but I saw it all as my own failure. Starting to not be able to fit in anything at the stores I usually shopped was so hard, and what really killed was most the plus size stores I found, were for older women. And when I did find things more appropriate for my style, most the clothes didn't fit my body type. 
It felt like i was living in a personal hell of hating myself, the way I looked and who I was. Going shopping became this chore. A strain that once being in the fitting rooms for hours having found nothing, would send me into another tail spin of depression, tears and grief for having lost the body that I took for granted, but wanted back oh so badly.
And being shown all the plus size models, and thicker women that were okay with there bodies, or had overcome their negative view of themselves, didn't help in the least.
It just made me feel worse, for not being able to make myself love me.
Everyone acted as though it was as simple as making a choice to like what i see in the mirror, when all I saw disgusted me... and I couldn't change that.

Growing up I had health problems. A lot of them. Mainly Type-1 Diabetes, but add eight other conditions on top of that. My diet wasn't that great, I didn't have a whole lot of discipline either, so I never had a good schedule down. But I did take insulin when needed/remembered, I did try my best to take care of myself, but my blood sugars were never that stable. and from that comes a lot of shame, especially from extended family and doctors. People who didn't fully understand everything I was going through with my other problems.
With most my diseases being auto-immune, they all play off of each other. It was never like one was a major problem to control, but stack them all on top of each other, and it made everything hard to control. Each doctor would only look at the one thing they were specified to, instead of everything. 

As an adult, I'm really working on my diet. and I've already lost some weight. but there was a period of time, where I couldn't go to an endocrinologist (diabetes doctor) because I was terrified of them.
I had had so many bad experiences, from being yelled at in the doctors office, to being verbally shamed with every visit. and it gave me a lot of negative emotions to deal with for many years, not just about the doctors/medical field, but mostly about myself.

It took me to focus on getting healthy, instead of losing weight to finally gain a respect at for myself. I still don't necessarily LOVE my body, but I'm choosing to care for it in the right way. and in doing so I've lost weight, I've gained perspective on my beauty, and I'm not lost in my flaws anymore.

Spiritual Persecution
Non-Christians feel judged by Christians, people they view as hysterics who don't abide by logic. While Christians feel persecuted and judged for following a savior and a set of guidelines that define their lives. Mostly because, as Christians, we are told to share God's love and his message, and a lot of people don't agree on how to go about that and do it in a very negative and sometimes even hateful way. But we do still have guidelines that we have to live by. although sometimes christians twist those guiltiness to fit what they think is write, and a lot of times on either end, the world doesn't like that.
From my perspective, as a Christian, I don't sit on some mighty horse, judging and looking down on people, feeling all empowered. I feel hated and wrong by society for my beliefs, for other Christians beliefs, for others Christian's actions against people. I'm scared to open my mouth on most of my beliefs because of what comes after:
Nobody has discussions anymore, nobody agrees to disagree and move on.
It's all a big argument on who is right in every situation.
which can end up feeling a little like oppression. 
(Feeling, not saying I am oppressed)

Emotionally over-extended
Since I was little, I've always had my heart on my sleeve, emotionally bleeding for everyone in every situation. I get so overwhelmed, and I meltdown at points, when I see people arguing, and the hatred that gets spewed. Especially over the internet, since I'm on it a lot.
I have opinions, and a lot of them I stand by, especially a lot of my Christian ones. But the way people treat people, whether is religion against religion, or lack thereof, race against race, meat-eaters vs. vegans. We treat people like crap, and forget that everyone has emotions. We get so walled up and defensive, we can't see where the other person is coming from. So things just blow up.

I've gotten so hurt from arguments I wasn't even in, and the ones I have been in, have felt like I was going to die from a heart attack. I've cried over so many things, world problems, country problems, friend problems, that either didn't effect directly, or didn't effect me at all.
even just watching movies/shows with disasters, disease, broken hearts, death, etc. I will get emotional for how I would feel in those situations.
Seeing the negativity in movies, shows, on the internet, in family situations. It can be hard to want to be a person in the world, or when something hits especially close to home, feeling hated, oppressed, or shamed can come into play.

Educational Stigma
For kicks and giggles, lets add in there that I was also Homeschooled. Which of course has its own stigma about it. Nowadays I hear very positive things about it from outsiders and a lot more open minds. but growing up, that wasn't so much that case. I am 100% behind homeschooling, don't get me wrong, I am so glad I was, especially with my learning disabilities, I was able to get a lot of the help I needed in the areas I needed, and I would love to go on and on about the benefits. but thats not why I brought it up. I brought it up because when I was growing up, you definitely met people who didn't think so highly of homeschoolers or their parents, and it got/gets a lot of flack.
A Work in Progress
This last year, I got a lot of deliverance from the cloud that burdened me. I still have emotions surrounding certain area's of my life, and I still go through days of self-hatred, not knowing why my skin is so bad, why I can't get my eating habits and blood sugars under control, hating my body type, my lack of energy, lack of direction or feeling of purpose, feeling hatred from the world on my views or beliefs.

But thats why I wanted to talk about this.
As a Christian, I know what He says about these problems, I go to church, read the Bible, and pray. I mostly know what psychologists and therapists would say, I've seen enough movies with these problems, enough talk shows, and done research in the past. But It can still be soooo hard to follow the right path. While in discouragement is can be hard to even see the right path, because you're so focused on all the other paths that you aren't taking, or the paths other people are taking.

But being a Christian means I'm supposed to be this happy-go-lucky woman, who has it all going for me right?


I’m a person, I’m a sinner, I have flaws, and it takes work constantly bringing those problems, those burdens, and fears, and hatred, to God. Giving them up to him, asking him to take them. Those are things I keep grabbing back from him, or Satan keeps poking a stick at. and I let him for awhile because they are my weak points. giving them completely up, can be hard. we as humans don't like letting go of control. we feel like if we aren't worrying, if we are focused on our flaws, then we aren't caring, or we are prepared. 
but God tells us to give all our burdens up to him, and let him take them off our shoulders. that he will light our path, take care of us and bring us what we need.

I have seen with my own eyes, all the things God will do with your life, when you give those things up, and focus on him and the path he wants for you. When you stop being stubborn and actually follow the path he has for you. This year, I had a breakthrough.
I do still struggle, Life didn't turn into a cake walk or anything, but once I stepped forward, and actually did the things he was asking me to do, even though I was scared, He blessed me in so many ways.

I’m not anywhere close to the person I would like to be, doing what I would like to do, or in a place in life to be in. BUT I have to acknowledge, that from where I was, the deep dark pit I was in, I have climbed out, gained perspective, and am slowly moving forward.

Maybe you don't struggle with these problems, maybe you can't relate, maybe you aren't a christian, and don't want to be. and thats fine, I wasn't trying to convert anyone,
I just wanted to share this. for the people who struggle with self image and loving yourself, whether you have reasons behind it or not, whether you are Christian, or not, whether you have a been told you are fat/ugly or not... we all have problems, insecurities, fears.
Not everyone loves themselves, and not everyone is going to feel any different just because someone shared a photo that says "Be who you are".
YOU are not alone in that.

My answer, is a life alongside Jesus and God.
But for those who can't/ don't want to relate.

My advice, my thing to live by, no matter what race, religion, or what you wear:
treat People how you would like to be treated!
If it doesn't come easy to you, then work on it. Understand not everyone has it as easy or as hard as you do, but try and see things from their perspective.
If you want to be heard, then hear others. If you want to be loved, love others. If you want to be treated kindly, then be kind.
And remember, loving people, and respecting them, doesn't mean you have to agree with what they stand for, or the decision they make.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

FOOD PORN: Doughnuts Edition

So I wanted to share this little bit of food porn with you all
From upper left to right; Holiday Malasadas, Double Chocolate, Apple Fritter, Egg Nog, Gingerbread, and Pear Charlotte.
About 4 miles from us is a little shop called Sidecar (I'm sure I've mentioned it before) and they have the best doughnuts!
they have their signature doughnuts, which include my favorite, 'the maple bacon', and have 4-5 doughnuts that change monthly.
Last month (during my break from healthy eating) we got all 5 of December's Holiday doughnuts (listed under the picture)
I must say, I was very much looking forward to the Egg Nog, and was sadly disappointed. It was a bit boring and bland. Nothing special. What did surprise me was the Pear Charlotte. Pear compote with pear cream and pomegranates, topped with cinnamon sugar, on top of a raised doughnut.

Its honestly something i wouldn't have gone for, since I don't particularly like fruit chucks with baked goods. But it was fabulous. Light, sweet, with a lovely pear taste surrounded by cinnamon. The cream is very light, not too thick or gelatinous. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Years Resolutions?

Out of the 79% of people who make new years resolutions, apparently only 8% of them achieve their goals that year. Yet here I am still making resolutions, and ya know, they aren't so much unrealistic hopes that I made up on the first of this month that I try and appease for the first couple weeks, then give up because I can't stay consistent. They are more life goals that I focus on in yearly segments :p

Last year my resolutions consisted of changing our life. getting out more, trying new places, get healthier, making friends out here and getting a job. i think there was more on the list, but i can't for the life of me remember because i so surpassed that i actually achieved all those goals.
Maybe I'm making excuses or rules as to why that happened this year verses the last few when resolutions were something you wrote down for kicks and giggles on the first of the new year, but then did nothing about.
but i honestly think things changed, because not only did i make them happen, but they were also things god wanted for me. They were things I should be focusing on all the time. They were realistic.

So this year i am making some more new years resolutions while tweaking last years.

This year, we are keeping gluten completely out of our house/kitchen.
I'm going to be taking better care of my diabetes, my cholesterol, getting glasses and finding out whats wrong with my heart (if anything is).
Im going to be maintaining and caring for my friends.
Im going to stove to loose weight along with caring for my health. my weight goal is 150. (I'm 175 right now)
Michael and I will continue to strive to be better spouses through god for each other.
and we will continue to try and get out on a weekly basis, get to church every weekend, and try new things as often as we can.
I also want to finally make it to Disneyland this year (since i live 20 minutes away and have still never been)
Michael and I are hoping that by the end of the year we will have gotten out of debt, and have some money in savings.
Getting a job is also on my list.
along with working on photography.
Helping Michael out in the kitchen more, 
and Getting Ruby out of the house more.

I'm sure I'll add to the list, and I know it seems long, but see, these are things i would be working on, whether it was the new year or not.
This is just the growth I want to see in my life.
and whether its in God's plan for me to achieve these things this year or the next, i do believe that almost all of these things are things he wants for me as well (maybe not disneyland, but you get it) and as long as I'm constantly striving to walk on his path, 
that's all that matters.

So I'm extremely excited to see what this year brings our way. I'm excited for change. I'm excited for growth, and I'm really excited for the next guardians of the galaxy and the new star wars movies, so a year closer to those, I'm excited for :) lol

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

12 is the Lucky Number: A New Years Post

What a great year its been:

1. We explored our area and tried new things
2. Made New friends
3. We found and adopted Ruby Etta and although potty training was a pill, its been great.
4. Our trip to Montana for Michael's cousin's wedding. The whole family on Michael's mothers side was there for the first time since we got together.
5. Michael's sister leah came back after Montana with us for a visit.
6. Turning 21!!!
7. Finding a Church and a home there
8. Celebrating 3 years together.
9. Getting my first real job.
10. Finding a good doctor.
11. Joining a community group, and with it, a fabulous group of friends, and events that include girls nights, game nights, Halloween, thanksgiving and christmas parties
12. Lastly, we threw the Christmas party!!!!

12 major changes. Apparently one for each month.
It's been a wild year. Of course I wish I was a little more productive, but that's because you tend to look at all the stuff you don't end up getting done. When you look at all the stuff we did end up doing. This year was full of change, growth and a lot of moving forward.

And I fully hope this next year is just as great!
I hope for all of you as well, that 2015 is a year full of growth, hope, love, failure (because that means you are trying) and success. That you try new things, even if they're scary. That you make the jumps, instead of playing it safe, and that you all are truly blessed in this next season of your life.

Happy New year everyone! See you next year ;)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Years Eve Nails!!!

New Years Eve is that one time where you get full permission and understanding to wear as much glitter as you want/can. Ha! I decided to go full out and be prepared for the night... with my nails that is :)
The picture above shows off the layers I used, and like any good blogger, I'm going to explain myself.
I wanted something glittery with different colors and sizes, without overdoing it, and that called for a few different polishes.

First you go with a solid, or a couple layers of an iridescent polish. I wanted a light undertone, so I went with the green iridescent polish, which gave it that extra sheen.
I added small pink sparkles, because I didn't want the pink to be overbearing, just a nice accent color.
The picture looks like the third bottle is a white sparkle polish, but its actually very fine multi color/iridescent sparkles. It added the perfect sparkle sheen, a great filler, and a good sparkle polish, even on its own.
Last but not least, the chunky blue confetti polish, it added the perfect final touch to the whole thing. 

There you go, the perfect multi-color glitter party nails for your New Years Eve bash! 
(unless you don't like them, then just do something else, lol)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Holiday Expectation: A Christmas Story.

So I would love to come up with something really insightful and profoundly deep for my Christmas post. But sadly that's not what this is going to be.

Christmas is a time where expectations are too high and people who apparently can control their expectations tell you that you should focus on the true meaning of Christmas and that will be enough.

Though you have heard it every year, and you understand the true meaning of Christmas, and you know what you should be focused on. Doesn't prevent you from feeling horrible for expecting too much, and not being able to switch the lever that controls expectations off. 
It doesn't make the sting go away when things don't live up to your expectations. Because I CAN'T control my expectations, I'm always day dreaming on how to make things perfect for others, and for me, and then sadly, nothing lives up to it. 

Now that doesn't mean I can't be blessed.
Like a friend of mine got me an expensive facial wash I was planning on getting someday. My mother crocheted me some beautiful infinity scarves, and my father helped us out financially when we had a gap in jobs.

All of that was a huge blessing this year, and I am able to realize that, and be thankful.

For me, my love language to give, is gifts. Finding the perfect gift for someone. Something that they wouldn't normally get themselves, something that would bless them, or be useful.
I just love it. When I don't have the funds to spread that, or when the closest person in the world to me, has meltdowns trying to buy a gift and ends up getting me nothing and being a downer the whole  Christmas season with their attitude, Christmas can sting a little.
Even if you find a way to make up for it after Christmas, its not the same. Christmas is over, so is the excitement, and the magic of it all is mostly gone. 
Then real life kicks in, so you feel bad spending money.

Oh the wonderful world of consumerism. What a blast :p

Over the years things have gotten better with my special someone. But this year he had a relapse, and I had to carry him through the holidays.
Sure I understand the pressure. I am aware of how he feels and I try my best to work with him on things. But it doesn't hurt any less when your husband has to lie to you about buying presents, or goes out shopping christmas eve and still comes back with nothing. All out of the crippling fear of disappointment.

Wow, do I feel like a horrible person, and telling people this stuff makes me feel even more like a horrible person, because all they think is..."wow what does she do to make her husband so miserable" 

I'm ashamed as I'm writing this now. 

Sorry to break your bubble everyone, but I'm human, and I have flaws:
high expectations, and dreams of perfection are one of them.

You see, this isn't all either of our faults. Satan knows just how easy we are to attack at this time.
His whispers' in my husbands' ear and says "nothing you get her will please her, you're just one big disappointment"
and he whispers in my head and says "Wow he can't even get you something off of a list you made, see how little he cares and loves you".

All season long we sit around with these lies floating around our head.
Its not 'til after Christmas that we realize that the enemy has a foothold on us, and we have to do our part to go to God and shake him loose.

But I wanted to share this, for those going through our problem.
Seeing movies and shows ruined me growing up. even commercials. They said good husbands who love you are supposed to dote on their wives on Valentines day, Christmas, your birthday and your anniversary. and those who don't, just don't care about you. and its even harder, because I think about gift-giving for people year round. I'm constantly seeing things that people would love and appreciate. So it extremely hard to understand why just going out and buying whatever, to even just make Christmas happen, is so hard.

Consumerism and advertising is a plague, and I hate it. They give unrealistic expectations, and make everything in life look amazing. Proms always look way cooler then they are in the movies, Weddings look like a high class events. that are "the place to be" or "the event of the season" (which sure, some are), Birthday Parties are always the coolest, and perfection comes easy to a lot of the population in cinematic.
When its just not real life.
But its hard when you are a visualizer like me, who always visualizes the best possible outcomes for events and situations, knowing they won't turn out that good. Trying to tell myself to not get excited. It just doesn't work.

 This is one of my problem area's. maybe some of you think less of me, and maybe someone out there can relate.

Thankfully the Lord is still working on me. I'm still a lump a clay constantly being molded, and so is Michael. We both have to take out crap, out baggage, our flaws, and sins to the Lord and hand them over on a constant basis.
Because he is the only one that can change our ways. He is the only one who can change our views, and expectations, and even what we view as blessings.

This isn't some inspirational story on how I overcame something, or how Our relationship is the bomb because everything is peachy keen all the time.
I wanted to write this to share with you all a struggle we have. Flaws and situations we deal with. a problem area that we have to work on all the time.
Because taking things to the Lord isn't just this realization, giving it up, and poof things are fixed. 
as human beings, we are constantly grabbing our problems back from him after we lift them up. sometimes unable to fully give them over. It's because we are weak, that it is a constant thing to focus on. A challenge to keep on working through and giving up to him until we can fully let him take it all and not grab it back again.
To trust that he will take care of it. That its not our Job.
But that continues on, in a conversation for another day.

So let me tell you about our Christmas and why it wasn't a total disappointment like I make it sound.

This was our first Christmas celebrating with Ruby Etta (our puppy) and we got to spoil her pretty good. She's grown up a lot in the fact that she started going potty completely outside, no more pee pads, and ruined carpet. She has been sleeping with us up on the bed every night. We haven't caged her in 2 weeks.

We have friends and a community to celebrate with. I got to help with some photos for the church and we have had many fond gatherings with friends over the season. 

Michael got a good job, and we desperately needed it, He has had off work and its left us a lot of time to spend quality time together.

One of my friends out here who hasn't gone to church in a long time came with us to Christmas Eve service, and it was so nice having her there.

and we got a super cheap, big, beautiful Christmas tree :)

Christmas eve with my mother.

I do also want to give a shout out and say thank you to everyone who sent us a card or a gift. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Parties Parties and Parties!!!

The last christmas party I was at, was probably a family function or in high school.
Well I am officially back on planet earth!

My first ugly sweater party.
Our Churches' creative arts volunteer party.
AND I finally got to host my first community group gathering/christmas party.

All of this has been a huge blessing! and tons of fun :)

The ugly sweater party felt a little like a college party since it was mostly a bunch of college kids and a few friends from group. But it was a fun experience. Michael even participated in beer pong, haha.
Our Friend Liz from group hosted with her roommate. Nice apartment complex with a fairly large 2 bedroom apartment.
One that I visited again a week later for girls night with Liz, Arielle, Megan and I.
A nice intimate affair, featuring wine, Manicures and the movie 'Just Married' :)

The volunteer party the next day, was filled with a ton of people I didn't know. But it was nice getting to know some more people from the church and join a giant White Elephant exchange.

Last, but not least, the Christmas party I hosted for our Community group.
I literally spent two days baking and still ran around with a chicken with my head cut off getting things together. I so should have pre-prepared better. Without blaming, a few friends were supposed to help out and bailed, so things took a bit longer.

Thankfully the party went fantastic! almost everyone from our group came at one point, and we all had a wonderful time! it was such a blessing having everyone here at our home, enjoying the food we made and having a blast with one another.
So far its been an amazing holiday season.