Tag: personal

Advice I’d Give to Little Me

Advice I’d Give to Little Me

Sorry I’m so late to post this week! I’ll write more about some of this later, but I had a gig out of town working as a backstage manager/FOH at a dance competition this weekend and then when I returned home I was struggling pretty bad mentally. I’m happy to be feeling a little better today and I have some fun posts planned for the next several days. Hope you guys are doing well and enjoy today’s post!

I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about the things I wish I could say to my younger self. There’s so many things that I got wrong, and now at 26 I’m still dealing with a lot of the same things. Or dealing with the consequences of what I messed up on. I’m 1000% sure that 10, 20, 30 years down the road I’ll come up with a lot more of these. I’m trying to remember that this is how we grow, and what is wisdom if not the collection of “yikes” we say when we think about our past mistakes? It doesn’t grow on trees-we have to live and learn. So, here are a few tips I wish someone had given me years ago (or that I wish I had actually listened to when they told me!) They are in no particular order.

Don’t believe everything your parents tell you. Later they may even admit that they were wrong.

Your parents view on the world is influenced by their experiences and upbringing. In some way they have a biased viewpoint or are just plain wrong. People tend to look for sources that tell them what they want to hear, and a lot of them are unreliable. I know it’s tempting to follow their faith, politics, and habits. They may even seem to have it right. Don’t trust that though, because you need to find out for yourself. I’m not saying they are wrong about everything, but if you read diverse books and pay attention to the world around you then you will find that they are missing some things. Try to see as much of the world as you can, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Don’t pluck, bleach.

PUT THOSE TWEEZERS DOWN. I’M SERIOUS. Unless you are cleaning up your eyebrows you need to put them away. You don’t know this yet, but you have PCOS, which means that you have hirsutism. This combined with naturally dark hair and light skin means that you are feeling self conscious about being hairer than a lot of your friends. Don’t worry-you’re actually not alone. You need to go to the store, buy Sally Hansen’s face and body bleach and just use that. PLEASE read the instructions on the box carefully. You will thank me later.

Move your body and eat healthy so you feel better, not to lose weight.

Before I expand on this let me add: fuck gym class. Those P.E. teachers are mean and are using ridiculous tests to judge whether you’re healthy or not. Ignore them. You developed faster than a lot of your peers, but you are NOT overweight! You do need to move and get some fresh air, but don’t do it because you feel like you need to exercise for the sake of losing weight. You don’t even need to run a mile as fast as your peers. The sports they do in class are not the only way to be healthy amd their way of measuring your health is limited and outdated. Listening to music while you walk around the neighborhood, dancing to your favorite songs, and practicing yoga are all great ways to gain strength and help you feel better.

One bad experience with a therapist doesn’t mean they’re all bad.

Your first experience with a therapist will be horrible. She will tell your Dad things you said in therapy that she absolutely did not need to tell him for any reason. Dump her, but don’t let that turn you off from counseling completely. It takes time to find the right person, but there is someone out there who is the right fit to help you. Keep trying and try to find one good outcome from each person you see. Even the therapists who aren’t the best have some wisdom to offer.

Moisturize, apply sunscreen, and use an eye cream.

You’re so focused on your cystic acne (it’s okay I know it sucks, just hang in there) that you are forgetting to tend to your skin. Stop using Clean and Clear and harsh alcohol on your face! Your entire body needs moisture every day. AND YOUR LILY WHITE ASS NEEDS SUNSCREEN. EVERY. DAY. (Well maybe not your ass… but definitely your face!!! The sunscreen in your moisturizer or foundation doesn’t count. Also, eye cream isn’t just for your Mom. You see those dark circles your Dad has? And the lines on your parent’s faces around their eyes? Yeah, those are coming for you too so you need to start fighting back now. *smacks you over the head with a rolled up newspaper* HYDRATE!

Focus more on your studies and less on trying to make people like you.

I cannot say this enough: doing well in school will do more for your life than trying to make people like you. First of all, you LIKE learning. And you’re smarter than you give yourself credit for. Get help in math (I’m so sorry sweetie, but numbers are never going to be your friend either) and focus on doing your best in every class. You so desperately want people to like you, but how much do you even like them??? They aren’t good friends to you, and they don’t share your interests. Focus on learning as much as you can and getting good grades and that will take you farther in life. The two or three real friends you have now aren’t going anywhere, and the true fun will begin in college. Your people will find you there. Just be patient, study hard, and enjoy your real interests.

You don’t have to be good at your hobbies.

Speaking of interests: You do not have to be good at your hobbies. I know. This is a wild idea. I didn’t even learn this until recently. Hobbies are just interests! You don’t have to be the best and not every after school activity needs to be a potential ticket to college (or to popularity). You also aren’t going to be talented at things right away. It takes practice to get better, and the point of being young is to grow and figure out the things that you enjoy. Don’t quit things that you find fun just because you aren’t the best at them. You love writing, so just write! Write badly. Write things that you won’t use for school or even show anyone. Write your feelings, incomplete stories, and bad poetry. Play basketball and lose and dance even though you look kind of like a baby deer trying to walk for the first time.

Stop brushing your hair!

YOUR HAIR IS CURLY! STOP. BRUSHING. IT. You need to read up on how to take care of curly hair and start moisturizing it better. Use a wide tooth comb to detangle and stop using heat on it! If you quench your curls thirst they will start looking nice, I promise. Try to find a hairstylist who knows how to give you a curl cut. Humidity may not be your friend, but neither is burning your fragile hair between two plates of hot iron.

I’m sure I will come up with more of these as I post more on here, but these are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far. I would love to know your thoughts. Are any of the above also on your list of things you wish you could say to your younger self? What are some things you would include? Are any of these lessons you only learned recently? I’d love to hear from you guys!

Oh no… Valentine’s Day

Oh no… Valentine’s Day

Do you remember that scene in the movie Valentine’s Day where Jennifer Garner beats the shit out of a heart piñata at Jessica Biel’s Anti-Valentine’s party? I loved that scene and it’s definitely the one that sticks out to me the most. In college one year my friend Liv and I decorated my dorm room for the holiday and invited two of our girlfriends to come over to watch a movie and eat junk food. We even got all dressed up just for the hell of it. That short scene was what inspired me to do it, but I didn’t have the hatred for the holiday that Jessica’s character does. I knew that the day made my friends feel down though, especially being on campus surrounded by a ton of couples. It did not help that we attended a Christian university that was a notorious mating ground for girls in purity rings and boys with old fashioned views on women to get married way before they are ready. It seemed like everywhere you turned someone was planning a wedding or going apple picking with their “person”. Even as someone who was planning on remaining single, I lost my patience with it all, so I knew my friends were even more frustrated. It was always my goal to cheer them up on the 14th, and maybe I did somewhat, but it didn’t change the fact that dating was a prime topic of conversation on the dorms. Everyone wanted a partner and knew that college was the most convenient place to meet someone. I’ve secretly always thought it was for the best though, because I was worried about who my friends would end up with on a conservative campus that churned out misogynistic, racist men like butter. However, I digress.

hell yeah, get his ass

What I didn’t realize when it came to all of this was that I was carrying more bitterness than any of my friends. I held an air of indifference toward dating because I felt it was easier to pretend I didn’t care instead of admitting the truth to myself. I carried a different sort of jealousy inside. What I truly envied wasn’t just the relationships that people had, but the hope that the single students around me held of one day finding love themselves. Years before I had survived a trauma that led me to shut the door to my life and my heart to almost everyone. That pain combined with a dysfunctional childhood and some friendships gone sour led me to call it quits on relationships by the time I started my freshman year of college. I had two friends from childhood that I still hold dear, but rarely saw back then, and I was happy to leave it at that. When I moved into my first dorm room in 2015 I was nice to my roommate, Paige, but avoided opening up to anyone if I could help it. The few exceptions were my RA’s, who helped me through a massive panic attack that had put me on the floor of the bathroom one night (throwing up and hyperventilating…fun). Even with them I was only willing to share so much, and I continued to shut people out for months. Even when I made a few friends on the hall, I never shared the whole truth of what I had been through, and wouldn’t for several years. You can imagine that since I wasn’t even open to making friends that I definitely was not about to consider dating. I had already decided that I was too broken to be loved. It was as simple as that. I had been through too much, messed up too many times, and I didn’t trust anyone, particularly not men. *shivers*

I was very lucky to meet three of my best friends in college, and several other close buddies I still keep in contact with. My first roommate Paige and I became really close despite being complete opposites and she is one of my dearest friends to this day. I also hit the jackpot with great RA’s and spiritual leaders on my hall, which I thank God every day for, because I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories about shitty leaders on campus. (If you’re a Christian and bothered by my cussing, I understand. I do. I’m not going to stop though, so please understand this is my blog where I post my thoughts and feelings, and it’s my right to do so. Please spare me the lecture, because from the bottom of my heart: I do not care). The mentors and friends I found and the distance I got from my hometown helped me grow in ways I never imagined, but I still had a long way to go. It wasn’t even until last year that I considered any sort of future for myself that included a romantic relationship. I was so terrified by the prospect of being vulnerable and getting my heart broken-or hurting someone else-that I wouldn’t even consider it. At 25, I was still telling myself I was perfectly content to be single for the rest of my life and focus my attention on making the world a better place, nurturing my friendships, traveling the world, and being the coolest aunt in existence. (I don’t have any nieces or nephews yet, but when I do I am going to love babysitting them and come up with the coolest bedtime stories to tell them). However, why was I so set on that? Was I really being truthful with myself about what I wanted? Being single, living child free, traveling-all these things are amazing and perfectly valid life goals! I love hearing that women are choosing what’s best for them and it bothers me that people have a hard time accepting that that may not include marriage or kids (the church *cough cough*). However, I wasn’t one of those people who actually wanted those things. Deep down I knew I had romantic and maternal love in me that I wanted to give to a partner and children. Due to my childhood and traumatic experience I had convinced myself that I could not be a good partner or mother.

So, this is why every year on Valentine’s day I focused on buying candy and distracting my single friends from feeling lonely. I knew that if I spent the night alone that I would start to admit to myself that I was selling myself short and denying myself the love I deserved. Because I do deserve love. Could I live a happy, fulfilling life single? Absolutely. I just don’t have to because of something that happened to me years ago. The great irony of all of this is that one of those best friends I mentioned who I met in college? He is also the man who fucked up all of my plans by making me fall in love with him. I was in denial for literally years about my feelings for him, and when we found out we had feelings for each other in 2021 I ended up living a whole ass romcom. This week we’ll have been together for 5 months, and this Spring will mark 4 years of being best friends. My, how the turn tables. Sadly due to some visa stuff he had to move back home to The Bahamas in 2019, so we’re doing long distance at the moment. He has come to visit me twice since we got together and I was able to travel to him in December, which was my first time leaving the country! As soon as he can be sure he has access to the covid tests he needs for both coming and going from the states he will come visit me again. I suppose it’s a good thing I’m already used to celebrating Valentine’s day alone 😂 Looks like I’ll be spending the night doing Korean face masks, eating pizza, and watching anime!

There’s so much more I could say about all of this, but for now I’ll leave it at this. If you’ve been abused, live with mental illness, or have poor self-image like me (or just don’t like Valentine’s day) I hope that you can take this holiday and turn it into an opportunity to treat yourself to a nice night. Your feelings are 100% valid, and you deserve to be loved and treated like the King, Queen, or Monarch that you are, even if that means spoiling yourself. Because honestly, who knows you and your desires better? Celebrate the fact that you have survived so much, and give yourself some grace. And if you need to beat up a heart shaped piñata because you know it’ll make you feel better-then go for it! Just don’t forget to send me a picture.

Do you relate to my experience at all? How do you feel about Valentine’s day? What’s your favorite way to practice self-care? Let me know in the comments or reach out to me on Twitter or Tumblr! You can also find me on Goodreads.

“You Look So Good Now”

On spring break my senior year of college after losing 40 pounds

The summer before my senior year of college I found myself in my hometown living with my mom and stepdad and focusing solely on one goal: to lose weight. For as long as I can remember I had understood that the world loves pretty. Not only that, it serves pretty. And at no point in my 26 years has the world ever lost its obsession with weight and weight loss. Sure, in recent years the fashion and entertainment industry has allowed sizes 6-12 to enter the show-but they are still relegated to the back. And although the body positivity movement and fluctuating trends helped create some progress, we still have a long way to go. “Curvy” and “plus-size” are only acceptable categories if the bodies representing them are curvy in all the right places. Big butts and boobs are in! Except not if they have cellulite or sag and not if your boobs are bigger than a size triple D. Even the more inclusive brands like Savage x Fenty or Arie still only carry “standard” bra sizes, and stores catering to plus size women take advantage of our limited options by hiking up prices and claiming it’s necessary for “extra fabric” or better quality. Body positive or plus-size influencers, as well-meaning as they may be, tend to only rack up viewership if they are actually “mid-size”-literally the average size American woman. And even then, those influencers and models often show off small waists and almost entirely flat stomachs. Those are non-negotiable it seems. And it’s discouraging.

Don’t get me wrong I am in no way trying to shame any influencers who match the body types I’ve mentioned above. I’m only pointing out that it’s an issue that societal standards continually ignore or belittle those who don’t match what’s trending. The hope that many of us were holding out after we started to move on from the early 2000s obsession with double zero sizing hasn’t been crushed. It’s just still a ways off. True body positivity can’t be reached until ALL sizes are not only represented but also uplifted. This goes hand in hand with ensuring that it is not a novelty to find all clothes available in plus sizes. Plus size women are sick of being relegated to their own sections where they can only find maternity style or business casual clothes in their size. They should be able to buy trendy items too! This also goes for luxury brands. If a designer or major retailer can’t make clothes that fit normal bodies then how talented are they really?

You can probably hear the frustration in my writing. Recently I’ve felt so defeated. Since we’re still in the midst of a pandemic a lot of people are still using social media to connect to the world and their loved ones, including myself. This is such a double-edged sword for me personally. I find a lot of comfort on sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Tik Tok. However, as someone who struggles with poor body image, I can sometimes have a hard time indulging in content. No matter how hard I try to curate my feeds in a way that is healthier for me, there are always reminders of how intensely our society values beauty. Since this is a personal struggle of mine, (and I can’t just blame social media for my problems) I have been spending less time on it. While that helps, I cannot escape my own brain, and unfortunately, it continues to parrot out shitty takes at me regarding beauty standards.

One of the voices I hear in my head is that of a girl I barely knew in college. She lived on the same hall as me my junior year, so we saw each other in passing a lot. However, I only ever had maybe two conversations with her that entire time. When I went home for the summer before my senior year I decided that I was sick of being fat and I was going to lose a bunch of weight before school started up again. In a few months I lost 30 pounds by going to the gym for 2-3 hours a day 5-6 days a week. Then I had to have double jaw surgery and lost another 10 pounds from being on a liquid diet for weeks. The irony of it is, I had lost 40 pounds by the time I moved back into the dorms, and I still thought I was fat. I looked in the mirror and hardly saw a difference. It wasn’t until I ran into this girl in the student center on north campus one day that I knew I looked different. I’ll never forget how surprised she looked, and her voice as she said, “Oh my gosh Emilie! Did you lose weight? You look so good now!”


A lot of people may think, “Okay? Big deal. It’s a compliment!” Those people don’t understand at all. Her words cut me like a knife. I thought to myself “This is what you wanted isn’t it? To lose weight and come back to school looking beautiful?” I just didn’t realize how painful it would be to have so many people comment about how much better I looked. And she certainly wasn’t the last one to weigh in on my new size. Even five years later I remember what she said because all I heard was “You didn’t look good before”. In fact, recently it hurts even more than it did then because I’ve gained almost all of that weight back. It doesn’t matter that my skin is clearer than it used to be, that I got my braces removed, or that I have a wonderful boyfriend who loves me just the way I am. When I look at pictures of myself from my trip to visit him in December, I will sometimes cry, even though we had an amazing time, because all I see is my body fat. I will get dressed in the morning, see myself in the mirror when I get out of the shower, or go on a jog and I will cry. I will get stuck in an endless loop on social media of looking at weight loss tips and progress videos that people post and I’ll cry again.

I realize that the tone of this post isn’t great. When I started writing I was on a soapbox about how all bodies should be loved and represented and then dissolved into a puddle of emotions writing about how I hate the fat on my body. It’s a ridiculous rollercoaster, and a weird post to write. I can’t bring myself to be bothered right now though. This is the direction my thoughts go. They take a wild path from positive to negative and back again, bouncing all over the place from morning until night. I’ve been trying so hard lately to focus on self-care and trying to be healthy without letting diet culture ruin it. It’s hard though, especially because I am currently unemployed with nothing better to do and I am trying to treat symptoms of my PCOS (more on that later). I suppose I’m hoping that by being honest and vulnerable that perhaps I can help others by giving them something to relate to. I think I’m also desperate to get my thoughts out somehow.

I’ll definitely write more on this later, hopefully with some positive updates, but I’m wondering if anyone out there is feeling the same way. Do you struggle with body image issues? How do you fight off intrusive thoughts? Are you trying to be healthy and having a hard time avoiding the influence of toxic diet culture too? Let me know if you’ve found things that have helped you, and hopefully, I’ll have some healthy suggestions to give you soon.