Body Image and Loving Your Body

Oh boy I am so excited guys.  You may not know this but I love Sue sooooooo much!!! I am so happy she's decided to guest post for me.  I forget exactly how and when we started talking, but it turned into a slew of therapy emails (I was the one needing the therapy, then again, I always am.) and then I found out just what a wonderful soul she is!! We also share a mutual home of Utah so she totally gets it when I am homesick for the desert and rocky mountains.  I dream of one day meeting Sue IRL and completing our fantastic online friendship.  Also I plan on abducting her daughter because I fell in love with her about ten seconds after seeing pics.  Without further ado, Sue!! 

Hello friends of Alex! I'm Sue and I write and ramble over at As It Seems. I'm a reader, dancer, dreamer, nerd. I'm a wife and a (new) mom and I absolutely love life. I find every reason I can to be happy and celebrate the beauty in the everyday moments.

I've loved following Alex through her posts about self love this year because it's made me reflect on my own self love. My biggest challenge when it comes to "me" has always been loving my body. I grew up in a family where body image was not an issue. We played outside and were constantly active. I was always on the skinny side but never really thought of it.

When I was in 9th grade that changed. I was friends with some girls who were OBSESSED with their weight. Never mind that they were all a size 0 or 2 (as was I). They thought they were fat. They were constantly on a diet. They would eat candy and throw it up. They would eat burgers and throw them up. They would sit there at lunch watching everyone around them eat and refuse to take a bite. And slowly I started to wonder, if they were fat did that mean I was too? I still didn't dwell on it the way they did but that began my thoughts about body image and "fatness."

When I graduated high school I lost my crazy-active lifestyle and with that added a few pounds. No big deal. And over the years I would add a few more at a time. Never a ton all at once, just a few here and there. I hated my body but I didn't do anything about it. Story of the world, right?

A year ago in June I found out I was pregnant. I was also at the heaviest I've ever weighed. Now granted it wasn't *huge* but it was a lot to me and I was definitely not comfortable in my skin. This picture on the left was taken the day I found out I was pregnant (6 weeks along) and long before you could see a baby bump. I've always gained weight in my face first and you can definitely see some there. I honestly hate how I look in that picture but I'm slowly coming to terms with it. I knew that day my body was going to be changing in a big way over the next 9 months and I really needed to find a way to be okay with that.

As it turns out my pregnancy was very rough. I dealt with a condition called HG (hyperemesis gravidarum) and was sick until the day my Everly was born. I lost a lot of weight. Normally that would be something to get excited over but I worried constantly that my baby wasn't growing properly, that she wasn't getting all the nutrients she needed, and that my body was doing something horribly wrong. They were completely rational and natural fears, especially with HG, but we were lucky and she was healthy. Pregnancy was not fun for me but I can honestly say I loved my pregnant body. I loved watching my tummy grow and see my baby kicking around inside me. It was the miracle of life. The middle picture is me at 40 weeks & 3 days, my water had broke hours before, my contractions had started, and we were at the hospital ready to welcome our little lady to the world.

And this leads us to today. The picture on the right is me today (yay for procrastinating a picture!). I've lost 25ish pounds since the first picture and my body is slowly returning to where I want it to be. It's a process. It probably always will be. But I know I feel much better about myself (regardless of how I look) when I eat better and exercise more. Don't we all? I look at my stomach and yes, it's different now that I've had a baby. My whole body is. But if there's one thing this whole experience has taught me its to love my body no matter what form it takes. My body is mine. My body is strong and powerful (seriously, I felt like superwoman after giving birth!) and it's the only one I have. Instead of hating it I'm learning to love it. Hooray for self love! xo Sue

PS I love to make new blog friends. Come visit me over at As It Seems and say hello! Also, this is my sweet daughter, Everly Eden. Isn't she adorbs? She's almost 5 months old, and 15 pounds of the most amazing chubbiness ever. I love how well she's growing and I thank my body every day for feeding this little lady. Just another reason to love myself!


Zoloft Timeline-A Year on SSRI's

It's over, I think.  My usage of Zoloft.  It's been one hell of a ride despite being just over a year that I was prescribed the medicine.  I thought it might be helpful for people considering, or on this medicine, to see my experience with it.  So let's go back to January 2012, where it all started.

2011: Horrible year, just horrible.  Spent on the east coast in an arguing volatile relationship, a dying aunt who passed away just after a short three weeks' visit, ended up in a brawl with one sister and an almost-brawl with another sister, then had to endure more time with arguing volatile relationship and finally came back home and sank into a deep, dark depression for the rest of the year.

January 2012: I was prescribed Levothyroxine for thyroid disease.  I never knew I had this disease or that being tired, exhausted, cranky, slow, lethargic, etc was not the norm.  I felt sad at the prospect that this would be a life medication I could never take away, but in just two weeks' time I already felt more energetic and normal.

June 2012: I went in to see my doctor and get my thyroid levels checked as normal but I was prescribed 50mg of Zoloft per day.  Here is an excerpt from my blog entry at the time:

Thyroid levels? AWESOME.  Problem? My doctor and I are very close.  She's a really great woman who has taken the time to get to know me since I started visiting her.  She probably knows me better than most other people, which is weird maybe.  Regardless, she saw how tired and worn down I looked and started asking me about stuff.  I told her I'd gone probably 30 hours with no sleep, and I told her about how down I've been feeling.
And this is the part that's hard to write....after discussing it she suggested putting me on a really low-dose antidepressant.  She was really worried about me--early this year I was having panic attacks and anxiety problems, rather manic, and now I seem to be slipping too far in the other direction.  Depression.  And let me tell you, I know the difference between depression and regular old sad.  I've been chronically depressed before.  Suicidal.  I hate talking about it because anyone can throw out 'I feel depressed'.

 July 2012: Holy shit!!! What a month.  Is this how normal people feel??? I was dizzy for a good week after starting the medicine.  It wasn't unpleasant, but it did impede my driving ability.  And I started feeling    H A P P Y.   I cannot properly stress how insane it is to feel happy after being so sad, tired, burnt out, depressed, for so long.  It was amazing.  I truly felt like a different person.

August 2012:  First warning sign that something wasn't right.  I actually don't know if I can blame the Zoloft for this, but I started getting anxious (anxiety is one of the side effects but who knows.)  My doctor had prescribed me preventative xanex and unknowingly...literally you guys I had NO idea....but I took several over the course of a weekend, and I became EXTREMELY suicidal.  It was the first time I ever called a suicide hotline, and as of yet, the only time.  It was a horrible, scary moment.  I realized the xanex were fucking with my mind and I stopped them immediately.  Things calmed down.

It's a very lonely world, and I am lonelier than I have ever been.  Even those nights I spent sleeping outside as a kid, thinking that there was no way out of it. Even in the first physical confrontation between my husband and I, when I lay there realizing that this marriage was going to end up like my parents'...violent and dangerous.  Even when I spent years conditioning myself to be okay and accepting of the fact that life is ours alone, and everyone has to be alone for so many things to have any decent quality of life......I've gone through all that and never been as scared, or as close to death, as I was today.

You can read that full story here.

September-October 2012:   I vacationed in Tennessee and though some really challenging things happened like seeing my dad, I had a good time.  I was constantly with people so it was nice to be out of my own head so to speak.  My dose hadn't changed and I was still faithfully taking the Zoloft.  I was happy.

November 2012:  I was still feeling pretty good about this time.  I had finished up my EMT Certification and felt very, very proud.  I learned that I would be spending Christmas in Sweden and was ecstatic.  I even landed a cute job working for Santa during December at the mall.  I was doing well despite the cold weather approaching and my normal wintertime sadness.  Things seemed to be going fine mental health wise, anyway.  I do recall some mood swings and anger, and usual emo whinyness about love but those are pretty normal with me.

December 2012: Things took a downhill turn even before I left for Sweden.  I don't know again how much of this was brought on by Zoloft and how much of it was winter and holiday depression, which has always affected me.  Around Christmas, I thought of suicide daily.  I can't believe, in retrospect, that I was in my beloved Sweden with so much to look forward to and I just wanted to end it.

What followed was the strangest and most pathetic (debatable) ten minutes of my entire adulthood.  The balcony was surrounded by thick glass doors with no way through except to open them, and I couldn't figure out how to open the damn things.  I was standing out there pulling and pushing, looking at the snowy trees and looooong fall below me and crying so hard I gave myself a nosebleed while I tried to move the doors.  Even in my traumatic state I didn't want to damage the glass.....logic.  But it was a new apartment, after all, and I already felt so worthless I wanted to risk death or at least, a very broken body, so breaking the glass would've made me feel even worse in my last few alive minutes.  I still don't know how to open those doors (and I never asked, actually....I feel better not knowing.)  It was a pathetic and lonely display which ended with me collapsing against the glass and crying and bleeding, then defeatedly going back to the couch and crying until I fell asleep. 
But, this was a turning point, because I was doing research on SSRI's at this point and remembered:

"When I was in the doctor's office being prescribed Zoloft, she told me this as well: Zoloft has the potential to increase suicidal thoughts with depressed patients.  Jesus fucking Christ!!!! No WONDER I wanted to cast myself into oblivion every ten minutes.  Once I read that statement on the website I sat there and facepalmed for the rest of the day.  It makes sense now....while I still stand by the fact that Zoloft did give me a new life and the ability to wake up and feel halfway normal, it also really ended up negatively impacting my depression in the end.  It's easy for a doctor or a website to say "oh and if you feel suicidal remember it's just the medicine! And call me!"  Very easy to say.  Not easy for someone who is convinced they need to end their life, to ....well...NOT do that.  You could say depressed people get a little bit of tunnel vision."

January-May 2013:  This is when things got weird and stupid.  I was terrified of Zoloft, terrified of not taking Zoloft, had to be shipped back to America at one point...I mean, I was chemically a mess. I would take the pills intermittently and sometimes I felt great, other days I felt stressed and sad.  I had no idea what was even happening so I just rode the tide.  Except the tide got really depressing the farther along the year went.  I went off the pills entirely, felt horrible, then went back on them, and felt anxious.  I quit again when Madi visited in June, and that's when the anger happened.

June-July 2013:  I had stopped the Zoloft in June out of frustration.  I refused to go back on it.  I went through some symptoms of withdrawl: dizziness, tiredness, whatever else have you, but those went away after a week and I wrongly thought that the drug was out of the system and whatever else left was "just me."  Then I started having anger issues.  And when I say anger I mean like, Hulk, raging, unnecessary anger rages.  Constantly.  I have no idea how anyone put up with me during that time.  But, I did my research:

I did some good old internet research for people who were on Zoloft and their experiences with anger.
I saw a pattern, after reading intensively for hours.  These weren't so much medical science articles as much as people pouring their hearts and stories out on forum posts.  I won't post any here, but I read a lot and it seems like mine is not the only case of people turning into the Hulk.  Especially stopping the medicine...this made other people fly into blinding rages  as well.  I realized then I probably should have weaned myself down.  My dose was 50mg, which is still a pretty low dose, but even that needs cutting into 25 for a few weeks, then down to 12.5.   It made sense to me and some of the stories I read were heartbreaking and served to warn me that medicine for the brain can be pretty disastrous.  The pharma industry is by no means a perfect system...or even one I particularly like.  (Of course I believe in modern medicine and consider healthcare workers the equivalent of miracle workers, but I'm saying the DRUG companies pushing these drugs are total douchebag assholes.) 

Current: July-August 2013:  So here we are, a year later and god knows what kind of emotional reactions were just me, and which ones were caused by this brain-changing drug.  It was so hard for me to mentally block these emotions and think to myself that maybe they were caused by the SSRI and maybe they weren't real as they seemed.  It's comforting to know that a lot of my mood swings and dark spots were caused from an outside source and not my own mind, but then again, a lot of the positive thoughts, the courage I've had...what if that wasn't me either? What if that was the Zoloft?

I told Henri that he was, for the first time, going to get to know the me without medicine.  Ever since we have been friends I've been on Zoloft.  I don't know what's going to happen without it.  Maybe I'm afraid, but I'm also kind of excited.  And if you're wondering, no I do not blame Zoloft for the bad parts.  Not solely, anyway.  I do caution anyone using an SSRI to have a good support group and to research more thoroughly than I did.  I have no problem with anyone taking medications, but the problem is when you are the person feeling these feelings, you have no way of discerning when you are being totally irrational about the situation.  And even if you can discern, most of the time you can't force yourself to feel something different, hence being on the medicine in the first place.

So, I'm about to turn 26 in a few weeks...let's see who I am reeeeeeeeally.


Kapakahi Tote Bag: Tutorial + Pics!

I am so excited to have a real, legit tutorial with pics on this blog.  It is about time!!! I derp around with DIY stuff all the time but due to my sloppiness and lack of camera toting, the tutorials never seem to make it to the blog. But when Carrie offered this tutorial I squealed at my email inbox because I love her blog and her fashion posts (yes, I actually do read fashion posts despite my inability to ever post any!!) and Carrie always has positive advice for a negative nancy like me.  So that's why I love her.  Go check her out at her blog and you will start to love her too.  Also, I am thinking of making this bag but instead of buying decorated fabric, painting my own design with fabric paint!! Thoughts? 

Kapakahi Tote Bag Tutorial


"Kapakahi" is a Hawaiian word that can mean askew, crooked, or lopsided. I've affectionately named my tote this because while cutting out the lining, I realized I didn't have enough fabric to make both linings the same! This is a lightweight, surprisingly sturdy bag that can be a fun way to repurpose a pretty pillowcase.

I used this tutorial as a springboard for my ideas. My changes/additions:

• I added a lining in two different fabrics • I added an iPhone pocket and key loop • I didn't sew the handles together, but finished each one so they could be knotted together. This tutorial is written for someone with basic sewing knowledge.

You will need: • one pillowcase • two fabrics for the lining (make sure each piece is at least 35 inches by 25 inches) • thread to match • sewing machine • washable marker/pencil • tape measure • seam ripper • ruler • dinner plate, pot lid, or large circular object to make curve

1. Wash and iron your pillowcase and two lining fabrics.

2. Fold your pillowcase in half the long way, putting the fold to the right and the opening at the top.

3. Along the long open side (left side in the photo), measure 16 inches from the bottom and make a mark.

4. Along the folded side, measure 15 inches from the bottom and make a mark.

5.Along the top edge (opening), measure 3 and seven-eighth inches in from each side and make a mark. You should now have 4 marks on your pillowcase.

6. Use a ruler to draw straight lines down from your marks along the top edges. Keep the distance between the straight lines even (the distance between mine measured 2.5 inches, but yours might vary). Stop when you get to the point where you need to draw a curved line to connect the handles to your sides.

7. Grab a dinner plate or something large and circular, like a pot lid or container. Use that to make a nice curve between your straight line and side mark. Repeat on the other side.

8. Before we cut out your tote bag, we need to use a seam ripper to take out the opening's hem to get more fabric for the straps.

9. Iron the top of the pillowcase to get rid of the crease. Then use your ruler to extend the strap lines onto the fabric.

10. It's time to cut out your bag! Because you'll be cutting through layers of fabric, it's a good idea to pin your fabric near your cut lines so it doesn't shift too much.

11. Cut carefully along your lines. If you open up your pillowcase, it should look like a tank top. Put leftover pieces aside for later use.

12. Get one of your lining fabrics and fold it in half the long way, with the fold to the right. Fold your pillowcase neatly and lay it along the fold.

13. Use your tape measure and pencil to add a seam allowance of 0.5 inch to the left side of the bag. (The photo shows that I added five-eighths of an inch, but half an inch should be more than enough.) Trace around the rest of the bag without adding a seam allowance.

14. Pin your lining material to prevent slippage, then cut.

Fold your second fabric the long way, with the fold to your right. Match up your first lining's fold with the fold on the fabric, pin, and cut.

15. You now should have 3 pieces: your pillowcase, lining #1, and lining #2.

16. To add an optional pocket: Take one of your pillowcase scraps (you can pick out the hem if you want to get the most out of your fabric, or leave it as is). Measure out a rectangle of about 5.5 inches by 6 inches. (I made my pocket to fit my iPhone - change the dimensions to suit you). Fold the long way and press.

17. With the material right side down, fold the raw edges in 0.5 inch and press.

18. Open up a side and fold the raw edge in to meet the press line, then fold it over and pin. Do this on all sides.

19. With the pocket right side down, stitch close to the folded edge of your pocket.

20. Lay one of your linings right side up. Measure about 3 inches down from the exact center (follow the fold line). Match up the pocket's center fold line and pin the pocket for stitching, right side up. 21. Stitch the pocket in place. I just followed the stitching on the pocket, but next time I will probably just sew as close to the edge as possible. *Because pockets get so much use, reinforce your stitching by going over it again, and don't forget to backstitch at the beginning and end.

22. To add an optional key loop: Take the pillowcase scrap you cut your pocket from and cut out a 2 inch by 3 inch rectangle. Fold in half the long way, right sides together, and stitch. Turn it right side out. 21. Fold the strip so the seam is in the center and press. Fold the strip so the raw edges match.

22. Sewing the lining: Lay one lining right side up. Take your second lining and lay it right side down on top of the first. Pin the sides and bottom, matching the center fold and edges. Sandwich your folded key loop between the linings, about 3 to 5 inches down from one of the sides, and pin. It should be facing in, not out. See this tutorial for a visual. Sew using a 0.5-inch seam allowance. DO NOT sew the handles or curves that connect the handles to the sides. To strengthen your bottom seam, you might want to stitch along the bottom again.

23. To box the seams (optional), see this tutorial. I measured 1.5 inches down from the point, resulting in a 3-inch wide boxed seam. This size actually works out well if you want to use your bag to carry your laptop. Box both bottom corners of your lining. Do the same on your pillowcase, working with the pillowcase turned inside out.

24. Turn your pillowcase right side out. Take your pillowcase and tuck it into your lining, which is wrong side out (the same way it looked when you stitched the sides). It's as if you are placing one bag in another. The right sides of the fabrics should be facing each other. Match up center folds, handles, and all edges as carefully as possible. On one side, between the handles, leave a gap of at least 5 or 6 inches that you will not be sewing up. This gives you an opening so you can turn your bag right side out!

25. Sew your bag closed with a 0.5-inch seam allowance. Clip your curves.

26. Turn your bag inside out, using the gap you left.

27. Whoo! We're almost done! Use a chopstick or something similar to make sure the handle ends are turned out completely. Pin all along the top edges of the bag and handles. For the gap, turn in the edges and pin so no raw edges are exposed.

28. Top stitch along the entire upper edge and all the handles.

29. Tie your bag handles together and enjoy your beautiful new bag!

I'm new at writing tutorials, so please let me know whether you have questions or I have managed to utterly confuse you. Please shoot me a message at petalbypetal11 (at) gmail (dot) com and I will be happy to help! :)


I Wrote An Ebook!

I wish I could be composed about this you guys but fnalsdjffhdsfjjsla I PUBLISHED SOMETHING!!!

Amazon //  Lulu

I have had this goal for...well, forever, but more specifically, when ebooks became a thing my thought was "I should write an ebook about foster care! Like a manual!"  That was years ago and I held onto the thought, fleeting as it seemed at the time.  Then I came to be a fancy pantsy blogger, still secretly sweating over my novel in the background, and the time came where I felt like I needed to write that e-book for real.

And guys, I totally did it.

It's no masterpiece, it's just over 50 pages and meant to be a guide for people interested in fostering or adopting, but I poured my heart into this little manual and I truly hope it can give some good advice for somebody somewhere.  As I was submitting everything to Amazon and Lulu I got really adrenaline-rushed and the feeling still hasn't worn off.  There's other stuff I need to do, like publish in the iBookstore, and make a legit Facebook page for the book, (which I have started making, go like it!!!) 
but right now I just want to stop, tell everyone I know, and then go celebrate....I PUBLISHED A BOOK!

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

And not just any book...this is not filler material for me.  Everyone who reads this blog knows how I feel about foster care and how it has drastically changed my life and molded me into whatever it is that I am.  If there is one thing I am confident talking about, it is the foster care system and informing people involved of how foster kids feel and what you can do to help them.

What's even better is that I already made a sale! It was a little note I got in my Reddit inbox this morning, from a prospective foster parent who had always wanted to hear a story of a child in foster care.  I cried and thanked the person and then had some eggs.  Now today I am going out to celebrate (not sure what yet, but something awesome) and I would love it if you all checked out my book, or if you know someone who would be interested in reading it please pass it on!!


PTSD: Sharing Something Personal

Hello readers!!! Today I would like to introduce Janae, who I sometimes think of as my "online boss" due to the fact that she is the head of the Better Blogger Network, where I am a contributing blogger.  Just in the short time I've been there and known Janae I've found her to be wonderfully professional, a great mind and a sweet heart, and the best part is that she is genuinely caring.  Enough so that it seeps through the interwebs (where compassion and concern can get lost rather fast) and I feel that I have a real friend in her.  I know, I'm being a creeper again.  Anyway, if you want to see more of Janae, head on over to the BBN, or her blog or Facebook page


 My name is Janae, and I'd like to share something sort of personal with you today. Why? Because I've learned that when people are quiet and hide things, it's usually because they're ashamed. I used to be that way, but I've become a loud and proud woman with strength and understanding beyond my age. I also have been able to help many others who struggle with similar issues as I do. To see someone begin thriving and finding happiness because I supported them and helped them gives me and my past so much purpose. And it brings me some of the sweetest joy I've ever felt.

I have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). While that is definitely its own condition, mine is accompanied by bouts of depression and anxiety. From what I've learned, that's pretty common, but it doesn't make anything easier. I lived for over 15 years not realizing that I had any of it, and then I finally sought out help after my now-husband witnessed an awful breakdown I experienced one night. After seeing my therapist for a little while, she told me that she'd never seen anyone with my condition make so much progress so quickly. I was simply ready to stop letting my past and my fears control my life. Considering that, I'm not surprised by my rapid progress at all.

Day-to-day life is mostly uneventful--in a good way. Occasionally I'll have really difficult weeks, sometimes a few tough ones in a row. I usually know my limits and boundaries, and I can often take care of myself during those rough times. Rarely, I just need to not even get out of bed in the morning. Sometimes, I need to focus on my immediate surroundings and listen to my husband's soothing voice to keep myself from spiraling into a flashback. Other times, I have to let myself feel whatever raw emotions my head and heart are experiencing, even if that means that I crumble into a mass of tears, snot, and sobs. While those probably sound unpleasant to you, they sound downright great to me because I used to not even recognize what I needed in order to take care of myself, among other problems (like being emotionally dead, having lapses in my memory from blocking out trauma or flashbacks, no self-esteem, etc.).

I suppose I wanted to write this guest post on here today because I want to continue raising awareness about mental disorders, especially PTSD. I also want to keep spreading hope that even if you have an emotionally or mentally crippling disorder, you can still find happiness and success in life. Your condition doesn't have to rule you. And you can live a relatively "normal" life, even if you have to do things differently than others who don't share your condition.

I'm proof of that: I'm married with a 1-year-old son. I'm successfully self-employed. I enjoy hobbies like surfing, snowboarding, cycling, and rock climbing. I can smile at myself in the mirror and feel confident in my own skin. I'm no longer a victim. I'm more than just a survivor. I'm a strong and loving woman with a past that doesn't define her. I am who I want to be.


Alex the Lion.

I've been angry lately.  Not like 'you bastard you ordered the last bagel' angry but like, hulk-smash rage of a thousand angry suns anger.  I'm not sure why other than a mixture of needing a break from work, but there is one thing I may or may not have neglected to put on the blog: I stopped taking my Zoloft in June (apparently, June 13th was the exact date.)  My moods were off the radar, my anxiety was back, and I was sick of asking myself daily, "Is this me? Is this who I am, or is this the medicine?"

Zoloft contributed to suicidal feelings in the past, and I wasn't sure but I felt like it may have been at least partly to blame for the bad anxiety I had in May/June, not to mention a second round of depression that decided to shit on my life just when Madi turned up in Sweden.  So out of my lionly pride, I stopped the pills.  That just left me on my thyroid medicine, which has been the same dose and same brand since I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism over a year ago.

And things have been...well....I've been angry.  Short-tempered, and full of rage, and almost like my blood is boiling underneath my skin.  On the one hand, it's nice to be something other than depressed, but on the other hand, who wants to be annoyed and irritated all the time? Certainly not me, because dangerous anger runs in my family and nothing reminds me of my dad more than wanting to go on a murdering spree with an axe and a dose of peyote.  (I can't confirm he's ever done this, but I'm suspecting it anyway.)

To me, I'm so used to feeling like a fuck-up and an indecent human, anger is just another thing to tick off on the list of "emotions alex cannot handle like a regular fucking person with common sense."  The part that bothers me with anger is that it's so, so hurtful to loved ones.  Every time I snap or lose my temper or do something bitchy with Henri or the kids or my friends, I feel like the worst human being who has ever walked the earth. 

So I found this quote today; "It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles."

And it made me feel really weird.  I felt a lot of things at once.  I felt more in control than I had in awhile, because to want to better and conquer oneself is surely an achievable goal, not to mention way more noble than trying to conquer others and mold and shape them to suit you.  I also felt happy at the word 'conquer' because it isn't the same word as 'beat yourself to fucking death' or 'jump off a bridge because you suck.'   It doesn't sound like something a depressed loser would do.  It sounds like something a winner would do.

Anyway, I'm worried about my thyroid medicine because I feel tired and cranky all the time and basically feel a lot of the things I felt before my medicine was prescribed.  And I wonder if the dose isn't high enough (while in Sweden, I have no healthcare to change anything so I'm screwed if this is the problem.)   And I wonder now....was I really the happy in-charge person of spring/summer 2012? Or even spring/summer 2013? Or is the real me the cranky, cold, angry person that's coming out now? Which is me, and was it all an illusion thanks to some SSRI medication?  I feel like I'm rotten at the core, which is of course a usual feeling for me......but I also feel like there are good parts of me and I like them and others like them and no single other person on this planet can say better of themselves, because we are all the same shit. 

brb gonna go conquer myself.  (Actually, I'm going to go on vacation this weekend! I've got some guest posts to schedule and might be popping in to say hi, so stay tuned!! Also if you'd like to guest post and haven't contacted me, shoot me an email and let's do it!)


A Disgustingly Cute Photo Dump. (Henri + Me)

I will rant another day about how much I love this guy and how much I need him in my life.  He's the best.  You guys just don't even know.  I don't see how people ever take love for granted.  I also don't see how our friends hang out with us without vomiting constantly.  Or maybe they do it behind our backs.


Self Love: On Self Love Being A Responsibility.

However long ago I caught wind of a post mentioning this short article on self love and how society has twisted us into first thinking there's nothing to love, but now thanks to the 'revolution' loving yourself is something you're supposed to be doing.  I had never thought of it that way, but there's a huge point in there that I completely agree with and am relieved to hear someone else say.

I can't pinpoint how much of my self-hate has been because of myself versus other people or society and culture.  I know both are involved and I can't pin all the blame on one thing or the other, even if I'd want to, to start understanding WHY I feel so worthless and stupid/ugly/etc etc.  But truth to tell I hardly set foot on Tumblr because other than freezing my browser with its 230841208 gifs and burning my eyes with its horrible layout, you kind of get taken aside by a group of fat sassy tattooed girls and they open your mouth and shove in LOVE THE FUCK OUT OF YOURSELF SISTER.  YOUR BODY IS A PERFECT BEAUTIFUL TEMPLE AND IF ANYONE LOOKS AT YOU THE WRONG WAY PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SET THEM ON FIRE.  ALSO EAT WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT AND ALSO YOU'RE A SPECIAL UNIQUE SNOWFLAKE AND YOU MUST LOVE YOURSELF IF YOU EVER WANT ANYTHING OF QUALITY TO APPEAR IN YOUR LIFE.

I don't blame them, at all.  We all approach finding ourselves different ways.  Mine is done while crying and looking out a rainy window while Hans Zimmer soundtracks play and I'm basically a few steps away from being in some emo B-movie about awkward female leads and the indescribable love they have for cats.  But the point I'm making is that when you go to research self-love, the majority of resources are very in-your-face and kind of Richard Simmonsy about what you need to do.  

But I mean, think about people with confidence, whether it's you or someone you know.  Even if they do have confidence, they're "conditioned" to have not too much, or they're "cocky" and full of themselves.  It's not a virtue by today's standards to be rolling around in ecstasy with how wonderful you are.  Why do we hate it when people adore themselves? Is it because they're faking it? Or because they're stupid and aren't special? or are we jealous? I don't even know anymore.  What I do know is that nobody who is confident is like that all the time.  It's not a steady thing.  I don't think self-love is a daily reality for anyone, because we all have shit days where we want to stick our heads in the oven and smash the door a few times.  Also, anyone who knows anything about confidence will tell you a big thing is "fake it until you make it" and goddammit that shit is HARD TO DO.  I don't care.  It's hard.  It's hard to feel pretty when you are really feeling ugly, hard to laugh when you really want to cry, very hard to talk yourself into liking yourself when your insides are ready to put a gun to your head.  It's hard.

Just hearing (or reading) those words--it's not a responsibility--makes me feel better.  This is something I decided to do for myself.  I want to do it to be a happier version of me, and potentially a better version of me.  It's self-conditioning but sometimes even if you want something, the way other people TELL YOU THAT YOU NEED TO DO IT FOR FUCK'S SAKE WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FORRRRRRR can really just be a huge rain cloud.  When I saw "it's not a responsibility" I breathed a big sigh of relief and reminded myself why I even wanted this in the first place.  It truly helped.