Self-love

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

I tend to cringe whenever I see the absurdity that is the "selfie" crowding the timeline of my Instagram feed, but I've been guilty of this act of vanity on several occasions (just look at any profile picture I've ever had on any social media site ever).

It's hard not to entertain this self-taking picture behavior because hey, if you don't have a friend of partner willing to indulge your narcissism, what are your other options? To not take your picture of yourself when you're having a cute hair day?

That would just be ridiculous.

Last Friday afternoon, I was feeling particularly sassy because my navy striped shirt and black scarf combination was a real winner in my book and my hair was looking less flat than usual. So I took a selfie and layered on a billion different Instagram filters in an effort to give my skin a golden glow and look completely void of pores.


Minor editing aside, this is a fairly accurate portrayal of what I look like during the winter of my 27th year.

And I have to say, I can't believe how grown up I am. I know, I know. That sounds totally ludicrous to say about yourself and it's usually a statement reserved for cheek-pinching aunts that you only see on Thanksgiving, but it has recently caught me off guard how different my face and body look than when I was a teenager. It shouldn't surprise me because hey, we all change over time—our faces finally catches up to our noses; our laugh lines become more defined; fat leaves, multiplies, regroups, ect.—but it happened so gradually, I didn't really notice until now.

I don't think I look old by any means because come on, 27 is still a drop in the bucket, but I look more mature and far more in my own than I did when I was stumbling through my college years.

Despite what my self-esteem and insecurities try to tell me to this day, I look slightly more assured than I give myself credit for. Maybe that just comes with time and as a result of spending so many years reminding myself that an attractive exterior matters little if the inside is yucky.

And I finally grew into my nose (or as much as I'm going to). I no longer hate it. It suits me. With this prominent chin and overtly oval-shaped face, a petite schnoz would get lost or look grossly out of place. I have a big head. Whatever. At least you can always spot me in a crowded room.

My sophomore of high school. (Please note my sexy pit stains.)
My junior year of college. I thought that face and that hand gesture were really cool.
I was wrong.
The weekend I finished my last college class with my two best friends.

I've read countless magazine articles and interviews with celebrities who claim that your 30s is when you finally become 100% comfortable in your skin and fully embrace everything you have to work with (physically, emotionally, intellectually, ect.). While I hope there's some truth to these statements (which we mustn't forget are coming from women who are going to have a team of stylists, plastic surgeons and dermatologists on-call until they're well into their 80s), I believe it's very possible to achieve that level of self-acceptance far earlier in life (or much later if you live off of a steady diet of Haterade).

There is no magical decade delegated to achieving genuine self-love. Some people don't even have to achieve it at all—they're just born with an innate sense of self and a unconditional respect for who they are.

Not all of us are that lucky (or smart).

I envy the women in their 20s who can already hold their heads high and proclaim, "This is me. I love me. Deal with it." With each passing day I'm hoping to become closer and closer to making that announcement myself, using the Serenity Prayer as a mantra that plays on repeat in my mind throughout my entire day.

But you know what? I already really like the person I am (and am becoming) and if you follow this blog in any capacity, you know that is a pretty bold statement that I don't think I could have made a few years ago.

What about you? How have you changed in the past few years?

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5 comments

  1. I can honestly say, as a non-celebrity spokesperson, that your 30's are a-may-zing. It is absolutely true that you really become more comfortable about who you are and what you want out of life once you overcome that "holy sh--balls, I can't believe I'm 30..." freak out session. For me, that lasted all of about 20 seconds. I couldn't WAIT to turn 30. My 20's were pretty awful, college years aside.

    I'll be 33 in July, and already this year, I've become bolder and even more true to who I am. I'm getting closer to taking that leap of faith and opening a little needlework/fabric shop in a cute little town somewhere down south. I don't know where, yet, or when, but my dream keeps getting bigger.

    Last year? I would have pushed that dream aside. It's so wonderful to hear you're really comfortable with where you are at 27!

    Live big. Dream big. I hope your dream of being a writer only becomes bigger and bolder with each passing year!! :-)

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    1. Whenever I think of turning 30, I recall that famous line from Dylan Thomas' poetry, "Do not go gently into that good night". Don't worry, sir, I will not go gently into my 30s. I will go kicking and screaming and ... crying.

      My reaction will be exactly like Rachel Green's in Friends.

      But hopefully that will only last for a few moments and then I can move on with my life and embrace what's coming next.

      Kudos to your Ms. LadyPants for being bold and getting closer to your dreams! YOU CAN DO EEEEEET! Though I've never seen you face-to-face, I can so picture you with your fabric shop! Can't wait to hear how that progresses. :)

      And thank you for the kind words. I WILL be a writer. I WILL.

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    2. Of course! I am a HUGE supporter of the arts & anything creative (I have volunteered with my high school music program for 13 years now), so I absolutely throw well wishes and huge support your way to be a writer. My best friend has been pursing her dream of being a writer for the past 8 months or so, and writes for an online magazine, as well as her own blog.

      YOU CAN DO IT!!!

      And one day, when you come to visit Philly, we'll have to meet up in person to say, "What's up, blogging buddy!" and so I can show you where to get a REAL cheese steak before you hit all the tourist spots downtown ;-) I know you're a Braves fan (cough cough), so you should see if you can come out one summer when the Phils have a weekend series with the Braves - Citizens Bank Park is SO nice. So nice. I think you guys would have a blasty blast!

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  2. What a great post! And I think that selfie picture looks great :)

    In the past few years, I've learned how to relax, which ultimately has made me happier. And I think when we are happier, we are more confident with ourselves. I remember questioning EVERYTHING I did in high school and college. Does this make me cool? What would so-and-so do? Which choice is gonna get me closer to marrying Justin Timberlake? Okay, I may still be asking that one.

    After a few years of living life for me instead of others and concentrating on my relationship with God, I found myself comfortable with making decisions and confident with where I was.

    When I look in the mirror now, I see someone I'm proud of and I hope that never changes.

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    Replies
    1. Aw, shucks. Thanks. *blushes*

      Ah, needing to relax! That's huge on my "to do" list because being able to just breathe and take everything in is DEFINITELY something we can change. I am so high-strung most of the time, it's ridiculous. But now, instead of letting it crush me and think that there's something wrong with me, I'm taking deep breaths, analyzing my thought patterns, and trying to chill out. A little neurosis is good, but not a whole ocean's worth!

      I'm so happy to read about how you've seen yourself positively changing. Isn't that exciting? It's amazing how quickly and how fully your life can change just by reflecting a little bit more on God and making that a priority.

      And Ha! to the Justin Timberlake comment. :)

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