A letter to my insecure self

I have spent most of my life feeling insecure. This is evident throughout my writing but I finally wanted to address this insecurity with a letter.

To my insecure self,

Over the years I have beat myself up with feelings of little self worth. Continuously I have badgered myself over things I have said, how I look, and how others perceive me. Most of this thinking can be debunked when I look at the myths I tell myself & the actual facts or truths.

Myth: The color of my skin and shape of my eyes makes me different & incapable of finding love.

Fact: While the color of my skin & eye shape may be different than some, it does not make me incapable of finding love. I remember in middle school watching a Janet Jackson video with a classmate. I thought she was captivating and was truly amazed by her voice & beauty. My classmate then chirped in, “You know I don’t think the boys in our school would like her because she isn’t white.” This statement had such a profound negative impact on my way of thinking. Over the years I’ve had to realize that this racist, intolerant remark was just a reflection of one person. Just because I heard it from ONE person as a middle school preteen, does not make it an absolute truth.

Myth: My weight goes hand in hand with my self worth.

Fact: I have struggled over the years with body dysmorphic disorder. I was driving home a few months before I started writing this blog & I remember squeezing the fat on my stomach and hating myself. I was actually saying out loud, “My body is so gross it’s disgusting.” Then I had a moment of clarity a little bit after. This body isn’t gross. It’s strong and has kept me alive for more than 30 years. I have never had any serious problems with my health, thankfully. I needed to appreciate my body and yes, even the fat on my stomach. The fact is I have gained weight since having my two boys. But the fact also remains that it doesn’t make me gross or disgusting. It’s natural and every curve or tiny stretch mark shouldn’t negate that I am still healthy and strong.

Myth: I’m stupid.

Fact: I have said this to myself countless times. It’s usually my first reaction after I do something wrong. The simple fact is that I am going to make mistakes. I’m human. Mistakes are what I needed to find growth and learn from.

Myth: I’m not a good mom.

Fact: My favorite mothering quote is by the author Jodi Picoult. “The very fact that you worry about being a good mom means that already are one.” My mom guilt is off the charts sometimes. I always second guess if I’m making the right decisions with them, if they’re not socializing enough, & the anguish I feel when I take time apart from them kills me. But I need to remember the real truth. Self care makes me a better mom. If that means I have brunch with friends on the weekend or occasionally go shopping by myself- that’s ok. I’m still a good mom.

Myth: I’m crazy because I have bipolar disorder.

Fact: Yes, I do have bipolar disorder. I have manic highs & super depressive lows. Am I crazy? No. Do I feel crazy when I’m manic? Yes. But feelings aren’t always truths. I was so nervous to write this blog & put my bipolar diagnosis out there to my professional teaching world. However, I have felt nothing but love and support from my fellow colleagues.

The real fact is that insecurity is a myth we tell ourselves. I needed to grow in my own skin to be comfortable & really love myself. I hope whoever reading this can differentiate between the lies we tell ourselves & the actual truths. I recently saw on Pinterest a quote. “Confidence is silent. Insecurities are loud.” Let’s change the script. Scream your confidence to the world because I’ve learned to quiet down the insecure voices in my head. Life’s too short to be spent hating yourself.

An unfiltered, makeup free selfie. Because this is me. Imperfections & all.

Addict

I’m a recovering addict. I had done drugs casually in college but really came to using them regularly afterwards. Percocets. Opiates. Oh my.

I remember taking my first one. I chewed it and chased it with vodka because I was told it would “hit harder.”

I loved how they made me feel. Such a numbing high. It felt like I was floating to space- a ride I never wanted to get off.

But the withdrawal. Oh the withdrawal. The next few days without them were torture. Like I had the flu. The night sweats were awful. I’d wake up drenched in sweat, feening for more.

I’ve been clean off opiates since 2014. I moved to Seattle and never looked back. I’d be lying if I said I gave up all my addictions all together.

One addiction I continue to feed is my insecurity. I did an Instagram “Live” yesterday. If you’re unfamiliar it’s where you can record yourself in real time for viewers to watch.

I had caught a friend, Mary Beth Fox, from notgoodenoughstuff.com. She is a licensed mental health counselor & was speaking about social media and attention seeking in adults.

I felt called out when I was watching her video. How often do we seek attention on social media? More often than I’d personally like to admit.

I previously wrote a piece, A Letter to my Insecure Self (https://farmerish.org/?s=insecure&submit=). In it I addressed the facts & myths I have created in my head about myself. Insecurities really are just myths we tell ourselves.

I wish I could say that I gathered all those “truths” and debunked my myths or personal beliefs & became a secure, confident person.

But alas I’m still a work in progress. How can we change what is already so engrained in us? I have a picture with affirmations that was given to me by a dear friend:

-You don’t have to be perfect.

-Having a bad day is okay

-Small steps are also progress

-Asking for help is strength

-People love & appreciate you

Perfection is exhausting & unattainable. It is literally so draining trying to be everything to everyone.

“I’m the great pretender.” I had whispered that in Mike’s ear the other day when he remarked how happy he was to see me in a good mood.

I am the great pretender. Pretender of someone that’s not me. Just fake it til you make it.

But in doing so maybe I can fake confidence? They say confidence is going into a room & not thinking you’re the BEST person in the room, but totally comfortable in who you are.

So fake it til I make it I guess. But til then I wont fuel the addictions. Whether it be insecurity or drugs. Because life really is too short to be spent hating yourself.

Don’t do it for the likes

If you ever read the book The Five Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman, he lists how we give & receive love:

-Acts of service (doing something for someone, example: doing the dishes even though you might hate it)

-Physical touch (hugging, kissing, etc.)

-Receiving gifts (getting a tangible object from someone else with the intent of kindness & love)

-Quality time (going out of your way to spend time with someone)

-Words of affirmation (giving kindness or support with your words, example: “You are amazing at doing the dishes & you look good while doing them!”)

The last one is mine. I love words of affirmation. It motivates me to want to express the other love languages & as an insecure person it also makes me feel validated.

But why do I need validation from other people? Growing up as an extremely insecure person, compliments and praise fuel my confidence.

However, my confidence should come from within. It’s not easy for me to see the good in myself. It’s not easy for me to see how I help people. I’ve always needed the words from others to feel competent & succeed.

We live in the age of social media and getting instant validation through “likes” & comments. It makes me feel supported & honestly loved at times.

But what if someone doesn’t “like” my post? Why should that make me feel unworthy or not good enough? It shouldn’t.

When I first started writing this blog, I thought of it as more of a hobby. I’ll just get my thoughts out there & see how people react. The outpouring support I felt from my network & even strangers was amazing. I was getting “likes” & comments and it made me feel great.

This is only a temporary feeling though. Thoughts of insecurity begin to return when I post something that I think is great & I feel like no one has seen it when I receive little praise or any affirming words.

I asked my brother the other day, who posts motivational well thought out fitness videos nearly daily, “how do you feel when you put all that effort into something & you feel like it’s being ignored?” He answered, “I don’t do it for the likes. If one person sees my message & gains something from it- that’s all I need.”

This really changed my perspective. I’m writing this blog for me & to hopefully spread the message that it’s ok to not be ok sometimes. We all struggle through real life problems & I hope my stories help atleast ONE person out there, regardless if I’m getting “likes” on social media or not.

I learned that the most important person that should be liking my stuff- is me. So don’t do it for the likes. Do it for yourself.

From barn to boudoir

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Theodore Roosevelt

I’m an extremely insecure person. I’m sure it stems from being teased and feeling like an outcast at times. It’s hard for me to believe or accept compliments. Drives my husband nutty.

But what is the point in this insecurity? I used to strive for perfection. The perfect body, the perfect house, the perfect wedding. And for what? My “perfect wedding” ultimately ended in divorce.

I think another reason for my insecurity is when I would compare myself with others. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” That quote rings so true. I would spend countless time on social media feeling envious of everyone else but myself.

My life is amazing. It’s not perfect by any means, but I am blessed and so very fortunate. I think the moment I realized that I started really working on my insecurities.

Some people think it’s annoying when a girl posts too many selfies. I used to be one of those judgy people. Now I think we should encourage it.

How can women feel secure in themselves if we don’t build each other up? Instead of feeling envious on social media, now I feel grateful. I’m genuinely happy for someone when they “flex” on their page- whether it be a new car they bought or even a selfie.

One of my good friends took very makeshift, unedited boudoir shots for me. I have struggled with bad self image problems since I was young. I used to not eat and carefully count my calories so I could have that perfect body. This body now has carried two beautiful baby boys. I should be proud of every curve because it’s a body I am healthy and happy in.

So next time you pause before posting that selfie- do it. I’ll probably ♥️ it.

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