Stop Telling Me How To Feel Good About Myself

Stop Telling Me How To Feel Good About Myself

The other day, as I was doing serious corporate work in a pantsuit/reblogging dank memes on Tumblr, a post came on my dash that had almost half a million notes. It was about how the things on your nose aren’t blackheads and how everybody has a stomach and that we should all get over it. Most of the people who reblogged were all “wow so inspirational” and, I get it, I do. It’s good to say things that will make someone feel better about themselves. To convince someone that they don’t need to worry about their acne or excess fat. In an ideal world, none of us would worry about any of that. The problem is, we obviously live in no such world – if we did, I’d have free wifi and be the Queen of the Internet.

More than just finding the post a little silly, it actively irritated me, though. There seems to be a plethora of “motivational” content similar to that one all over the internet and when I read it, I never feel good about myself, I mainly roll my eyes and scroll past, or feel worse that I’m unable to just stop caring and flaunt my imperfections. I’m not inspired by posts encouraging me to wear my cellulite proudly at all. Quite frankly, I’m sick of being told how to feel good about myself by well-meaning strangers. Because if these people want me to change the way I feel about my blackheads and cellulite, perhaps changing the societal oppressions placed on women everywhere would be a better place to start, so that I don’t have to feel pressured to constantly “fight the media” to feel worthy. I am worthy. Whether I stress over night cream for my eye bags or not.

I, and every other person who ever watched an episode of Oprah, understand that the problem is with society. We shouldn’t feel shitty about the way we look, if we don’t happen to look like supermodels. We should try our hardest to change society as a whole, starting with ourselves. The problem is, society is the way it is and, as a result, so am I. When I look at my blackheads, I don’t feel good about it, and I can’t force myself to feel good, either. I can’t go from hiding my imperfections under a face of makeup to flaunting them in order to change not only the way I view myself, but the world at large.

Every step towards change has to start somewhere, I know, but a good jumping off point probably isn’t someone telling me to accept the things I hate about myself. That’s pressure and sounds like it would take a lot of therapy time, which I unfortunately don’t have, due to all the time I spend on memes.

Society aside, maybe obsessively trying to get rid of my blackheads is something I enjoy doing. Maybe the ritual of dry brushing in the impossible hope that it will make my cellulite disappear is genuinely not a big deal to me. Beauty shouldn’t just be seen as something we do to hide things we shouldn’t be hiding, or an inconvenience that’s being forced upon women as a whole. For example, contouring can be seen in two ways: trying to hide the natural shape of your face to gain a more societally applauded shape orrr just having fun changing the way you look, putting on a costume so to speak. If the latter is me kidding myself, then so be it. I clearly already have ingrained pressure to look perfect; I don’t need pressure added on that to fight the pressure.

And believe me, this isn’t me trying to come at anyone who makes these “encouraging” posts. Maybe they genuinely help people. Maybe that exact post inspired someone to never wear Spanx again, to accept their stomach the way it is. Possibly it’s infectious, and it will spread and women everywhere will be like, “remember that post saying I shouldn’t care about my stomach? I’m going to actively endorse that by wearing a crop top even when I don’t feel confident in doing so and maybe the confidence will follow!” I mean, that sounds like a great outcome. As for me? I’ll be here, trying on Spanx of all sizes, waiting for the day that the media itself changes, Oprah is the president of the world and nobody has to feel bad about feeling bad about themselves.


Who Am I? How Do I Decide?

Who Am I? How Do I Decide?

I admire people who can make quick, hard-hitting decisions. They’re probably pretty successful and don’t spend six to ten hours agonising over which nail polish colour to pick, because which colour represents them in their very soul and also, which colour will go with what they plan to wear over the next few days and match the weather, mood and general atmosphere?

There are many things to consider with any given decision, and, surprisingly, watching numerous TEDTalks on the issue does not miraculously make one a master decider. I’ve always been terrible at making decisions. I think it’s an anxiety thing, because it is worse in times of extreme anxiety, but I think it might also just be a personality thing. It’s not that I don’t know what I want, because I definitely do, I just don’t know what I want, you know?

Lately, I’ve decided that I need to brand myself a little better if I’m going to finally get that book deal to fall into my lap (that’s how that works, right?), but I just don’t know what I want to say about myself or this blog in general. I have a few ideas, sure, but who am I? *gazes wistfully out into the abyss* *abyss gazes back* *curses Nietzsche*

I like to think he was gazing into the abyss at this exact moment.
I like to think he was gazing into the abyss at this exact moment.

It’s the question you dread when meeting new people or going to a job interview: “Who are you?” or “Tell me about yourself?” When I was 17 and 18 and 19 and 20 and, well, pretty much always since then and also before then, if I’m being honest, I struggled a lot with that question and with my identity as a whole. I was obsessed with finding my place in the world – was I indie or scene or geeky or a jock (this was before hipsters even existed, else I would have pondered on that, too, and perhaps even grown a conservative beard to go with my Ray Bans). Convinced that everybody needed to fall under a labelled umbrella, I was desperate to find mine and it was so deeply unsatisfying when I failed to do so. Where was my neat tag? Following from this, I took about 70 online quizzes to diagnose myself with a variety of mental disorders, favouring Borderline Personality Disorder after reading far too much literature about it and confusing being a teenager with issues with having a psychiatric illness.

It took a really long time, but I’m starting to become semi comfortable in the questions that would keep me up late at night. I mean, not to the point where I’d be amped to answer it in an interview, but I’ve gathered some intel about myself that is quite useful and, when combined, gives a clear picture of who I am. Unfortunately, I’m not sure how to really combine it to come up with the blog title that will perfectly embody everything about me and my writing.

Any suggestions?

Some Of The Best Quotes About Writing

Some Of The Best Quotes About Writing

I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.
– Shannon Hale, on Twitter

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.
– Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (1994)

For me a poem often begins as a constellation of words coursing through my head like little electric shocks.
– Maggie Nelson, in this interview

It’s hell writing and it’s hell not writing. The only tolerable state is having just written.
– Robert Hass

Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.
– Franz Kafka

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
– Elmore Leonard

1. Find a subject you care about.
2. Do not ramble, though.
3. Keep it simple.
4. Have the guts to cut.
5. Sound like yourself.
6. Say what you mean to say.
7. Pity the readers.
– Kurt Vonnegut, quoted in Science Fictionisms (1995), compiled by William Rotsler

Even if you don’t believe in god or fate, at least you can believe in narrative.
– Richard Siken, Spork Press

Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
Never use a long word where a short one will do.
If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
Never use the passive where you can use the active.
Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
– George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language” (1946)

Self-Motivating For Self-Doubters

Self-Motivating For Self-Doubters

Confession time: I have a really difficult time self-motivating. I mostly blame it on my age. Other times, I fear that I’m becoming a lazy monster with no future. Whatever the cause, it is difficult for me to really get going almost every single day. I wake up, eat, drink tea, faff, go online, faff some more, drink coffee, think about the fact that I should be working, feel guilty, faff more… you have the gist of it. A day in the life. It’s what The Beatles were trying to chronicle, I’m sure.

Since I work from home, it is pertinent that I find ways to motivate myself into actually earning a living every month. It isn’t easy, and it hasn’t been easy, but I’ve found a few things that have the ability to make me move when I need to move:

  • The Greatest Salesman in the World – Og Mandino
    This book came to me at an important time, when I was spending most of my days withering away on Tumblr, not achieving any of my goals, and feeding into a depressing circle of self-doubt and guilt. With solid advice from “ancient scrolls”, such as “Today I will be master of my emotions” and “I will act now”, I was inspired to do something about my goals, instead of just hanging around and waiting for them to land in my lap like reality TV taught me they would.
  • Yeezy Taught Me
    Kanye West is one of the most inspirational people to me. Not only does his music make me want to conquer the entire universe – as he even says, “If you’re a Kanye West fan, you’re not a fan of me. You’re a fan of yourself. You will believe in yourself. I’m just the espresso.” – his quotes and ramblings, which many perceive as narcissistic, fuel my fire. Watching Kanye West’s New Testament before I write diminishes all my crippling insecurities and imposter syndrome-related garbage. USA Today’s Kanye West Self-Confidence Generator also helps.
  • The Right Music At The Exact Right Time
    When you need to wallow in an infinite abyss of self-pity, you listen to Cat Power or Bon Iver, right? Well, when you need to power-box your way to success and you’d rather stay in bed and binge-watch Community, the right music helps, too. I don’t only use the power of Yeezy here – I also find inspiration in upbeat radio tracks, Paramore, Best Coast, Lauryn Hill and many, many others. Whatever songs inspire you to have the most productive day on earth should be the thing you’re playing in the morning.
  • Extra Extra Large Skinny Cappuccino, Please
    We all have our vices, right? While I have cut down quite a lot, coffee is and forever will be a huge motivator for me. Not only does the caffeiney goodness boost my brainwaves into super-go, drinking a cup of coffee feels like a big hug to me, due to a not exactly healthy Pavlovian-type situation I have going on with warm beverages. A lot of days, I can do everything to make words vomit out of me, but, without a cappuccino, it’s a useless endeavour. We all have little rituals and habits that get us going and, as long as it isn’t cocaine or something equally as destructive, why fight it? Why not just embrace it and use it to your advantage?
  • Inspiration (But Not Plagiarism)
    Sometimes, you’ll find that you’re at your computer/desk/microphone/dinosaur fossil (IDK what job you have), and you can’t make the next move. Inspiration is vital, and people claim it’s everywhere, but that’s just the kind of BS they spew to sound like they have what they would undoubtedly call an “old soul”, so here we are: inspiration is not everywhere. But it’s still possible to find. If you’re a writer, I’m sure you’ve realised that it can be valuable to read the kind of writing that you enjoy or would like to achieve. Which is why I regularly read The Great Gatsby, in anticipation for the sequel I plan on writing. On a serious note, participate in activities that inspire you, or that you may wish to emulate in some way. But don’t plagiarise. Please.

Do you have any secrets to self-motivating? Inspirational practises? Favourite Kanye song?