Soul Searching Series– Look Inward.

The past six months have been the best gift I’ve ever received in my life. It all started with saying, ” I’ve had ENOUGH! ENOUGH already. Cut this shit out!”. I was burnt out, lower than low, taking crap from people I didn’t even respect let alone care about, on the brink of taking a break from my marriage, and ready to book a plane ticket to nowhere. I didn’t care where I went, I just knew I didn’t want to be here and I didn’t want to be around anyone that knew me. 

Fast Forward six months and after much soul searching with the help of a very insightful therapist, and I realize that all my answers all lie right here- in me! Imagine that. I don’t have to travel anywhere to find peace, because I can make peace. It sounds like such a novel idea and sounds trite even. Make no mistake- making peace within yourself is an excruciating process. It has took me full days ( of which still continue) of just crying and letting out all the past transgressions, the self sabotaging ways that lead me to self destruct, and turning back to my addictions to truly see what I was doing to myself. I had been ingrained to be taught I was less than, to smile when someone hurt me and just let it go, to be ashamed of my weight, to strive to be perfect, to people please and be agreeable, to stuff down my feelings. Because I had been taught this, I believed it to be how I was to be. It was so deep inside of me that I even told myself this. 

Instead of allowing people to shoulder their own burdens, I took them on as my own. My mother who still needs people to take care of her ( I’ve been her emotional caretaker for years), my father who has remarried multiple times and has always taken the stance that as long as his needs are being met, then whatever the spouse did to his kids was fine, the brother who is so detached and distant that I couldn’t even tell you more than surface level things about him. All of which I considered I could fix or assist and that the defect was somehow my responsibility. 

So when I was trying to figure out why I was so unhappy, BINGO. What about you, Chanel? Are your needs being met? Are you taking care of yourself? Are you establishing sustaining relationships instead of continuing to be drained by the ones that have sucked the life from you your whole life? Are you continuing to be a doormat because you think people will like you more if you’re just little miss agreeable? Where the hell is your voice? SPEAK UP. SCREAM. SHOUT. Just fucking tell people the truth. 

It’s been a very confusing 6 months. I have had to look at things and realize how I contribute to them. I’ve had to become more aware. I’ve had to try to find my voice ( which by the way still seems to be caught in my throat). I’ve had to start taking care of myself. I’ve had to put myself in positions that were uncomfortable. I will continue to do these things because I know they are working. 

Don’t walk through life like a zombie wondering why you’re unhappy, morose, depressed. Yes, outside appearances are entirely deceiving. Look inward. Get to know people more than the superficial perceptions. Develop a self. The self you think you are is probably not who you are. Keep asking yourself– Am I being authentic? How does this feel? 

 

Lipsticks!

I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and… I believe in miracles.
Audrey Hepburn
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As a woman, I value the importance of how looking good makes you feel good. Part of our primping process is by putting on some lipstick. There are days like today where I like to let my skin breathe and I don’t wear ANY makeup, but most of the time I’m spending quite a bit of time applying my face. I used to think men are lucky because they aren’t judged as harshly and can spend 5 minutes in the morning getting ready. However, I’d much rather be a woman and have the ability to truly transform myself and try out new looks.

These are my favorites currently:

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Left to Right: Revlon Red Velvet Lip Butter, Covergirl Spellbound, Rimmel Kate Moss Edition #14, Maybelline Blissful Berry ( have worn this a lot, LOVE IT!), and Covergirl Feline.

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Revlon Balm Stains, Left to Right: Sweetheart, Romantic, Darling, Precious, Cherish

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Left to Right: Revlon Icy Nude, Nyx Iris, Revlon Primrose, Rimmel Kate Moss #9, nyx narcissus

What to be…

We’re all told what to be, what not to be
be a delicate flower at the same time an iron fist
be a loving soul but also be a force to be reckoned with
be flexible but unwavering
be more than you are. 

I sometimes get the message that whatever you are is just not good enough. I guess it’s been ingrained in me from a young age. I’ve been exploring it over the course of the last six months. If you haven’t spent time looking inward, I highly suggest it. A lot of disconcerting emotions and depression come from unexplored behaviors and thoughts. Children are pure until they have the outside world tell them what to think, how to act, and who to be. We can all think we act on free will all we want, but who we are was developed by so many others. 

My childhood was very contradictory. I had a mother who was very liberal and a father who was very conservative. My parents were divorced by the time I was three. I spent the first twelve years of my life living with my mother and the last 6 years of adolescence with my father and stepmother. My mom told me that women could be anything they wanted and SHOULD be anything they wanted. My father was very specific about gender roles. He was a “guy’s guy.”  Education and religion were pushed in my mother’s home, but not so much in my father’s. Food was a way of connecting in my mother’s extended family while long conversations were a way of connecting in my father’s. 

My mother was emotional, often impulsive and living on her feelings. Whichever way the wind blew, we would follow. My father was very stoic, you never knew exactly what he was thinking and you had better tow the line. My mother was involved almost too much while my father was just a parental figure that was almost untouchable. My mother had the doctor on speed-dial while my father believed you didn’t go to the doctor unless the grim reaper was knocking on your door. As you can see, I had two extremes and I never quite knew which way was right. 

I guess at age twenty-seven I’ve learned that I’ve always been given conflicting messages. Messages that didn’t feel quite right. Messages that always seemed to slip through my fingers. I’ve believed so many things that are other people’s ways and beliefs that I’ve become quite confused. So now after many years, I’m trying to forge my own path and right now it’s the fuzzy picture as you try to move the antennae around to gain a clearer view. 

 

If You’re Not Whitening, You’re Yellowing.

Influenster was kind enough to send me Crest 3D White Professional Whitening Strips to test. If you aren’t familiar with Influenster, it’s an interactive site where you can review products and share experiences. I have invites available, so if you are truly interested and will do the work for the site, let me know. 

I have tried many teeth whitening products in the past from whitening pens, whitening toothpastes, and mouthwashes. I’ve even tried bleaching creams with a mouth guard. All of which either didn’t work or were too messy. Not to mention how sensitive some of that can make your teeth. However, I have to say that this product WORKS! Within the first week, I’m noticing a difference. 

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This is me with the product. As you can see, my teeth have some staining. Most of this is from coffee. I’m a little insane about how much I love coffee. I also brush my teeth twice a day and floss once a day. (For those of you that don’t floss, shame on you!) 

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Before Teeth. 

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After Teeth. 

As you can see, they are looking a little whiter. This is only after a week. You get 20 strips in a box! ( both an upper and lower strip) I did notice a little sensitivity at first, but none at all now. The strips do grip the teeth rather tightly which is a good thing because it allows you to do other tasks while you are waiting the thirty minutes for them to do their magic. They are easy to use, not messy at all, and the strips just get thrown away after one use. No muss, no fuss. 

I’m impressed! Can’t wait to see the results after the full 20 days! 

Don’t Be Left With Crumbs

We all have those people in our lives that command all the energy that you can muster. They steal your time, your self worth, your creativity, your everything. They get what they want because they take it. They never have an apology for anything and if they do it’s a half ass one like, ” I’m sorry that you’re busy, but…” and then they just continue to push on in. They are the ones that will make you later when you’re already running late. They are the people who always seem to matter most. They prey on your weaknesses and know exactly what buttons to push. Just when you think you have set boundaries, here they come encroaching on them AGAIN. 

They are also the people who will give you crumbs. What I mean by crumbs are those small, intimate moments where they show themselves and their struggles and you almost feel like their behaviors are okay. They are sycophants. They will dull your shine to make themselves look better. They will take credit for your ideas. They will prey on your insecurities to make sure that you never get enough confidence to tell them off. They silence you until you are so unhappy and lonely that you just deal with their nonsense. 

No person should be left with crumbs. No person should have everything while another has nothing. No person should compromise fully while another doesn’t budge an inch. No person should damage someone’s self esteem so deeply that they not only deal with abuse, but take it on as what they deserve. No person should feel like they have to beg to have their preferences met, their opinions heard, to be doted on by someone they love. 

Crumbs are not sustaining. You need a whole loaf to thrive, to survive. Don’t be left with crumbs. 

Just Photos- November Edition

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Gatsby Relaxin’ 

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My Hubby at the Clippers vs. Hawks Game. ❤ 

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My favorite picture of myself this month! I think it’s the blue shirt. Blue and Green are going to be my signature colors moving forward. 

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Something I do for myself- my nails. 

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Skinny Vanilla Latte with my name inevitably spelled incorrectly. Doesn’t matter though because I’ll always love Starbucks. RED CUPS! ( love the holiday cups!) 

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My mom sent me a package with these two items. I love both! I love Butterflies and the necklace is beyond gorgeous. Sentimental too since I could use a guardian angel looking out for me. ( we all probably could) Thanks, MOM! 

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Down 13.5 lbs since September. Lately it’s been hard to keep up with my walking regime because it’s been cold. But I don’t care how slow the weight comes off if at last it comes off. 

 

HAPPY NOVEMBER to my readers! 

 

What I’ll be like in the future….

Do you ever sit and daydream about what the future holds for you? Do you ever dream about making yourself look how you want to look, working the job you always knew you should be working, having the body you know you could have, and having the relationship you always knew you were worth? I do. I do it because it gives me something to strive for. It gives me a reason to put one foot in front of the other, a reason to work my ass off in any job I’ve ever had, a reason to wake up in the morning and tell myself that I have the strength and ability to say how my story is written. 

I had the pleasure of seeing myself through someone else’s eyes and I loved what they saw. A future with beautiful clothes, down to the size I want to be, working a job I love, writing as a hobby, and being successful. Sometimes when I would envision myself, I wouldn’t see that, I’d see a much more dismal future. But I like their version of me better. Their version is the healthy part of me that knows that whatever you think, you can do. ( with a lot of confidence and hard work) The other version is that nagging, doubting me that tells me it isn’t possible. 

I recently made a dream board and cut out things I want, words that inspire me, and phrases that can be turned into mantras. It was a great exercise. It doesn’t feel as distant as it used to. Just because I’m 27 now doesn’t mean that I just have to give up on my dreams and aspirations. Dreams aren’t just for children or those about to graduate. They should be part of everyone’s everyday conversations. We all deserve to look into our futures and see what we hope for, what we desire, and what we’re passionate about. 

Who will you be? What do you want? Start working toward it.