Sunday, February 23, 2014

Great Expectations

I started this blog on New Years Eve of last year. I had wanted to start a blog about positive self image because it was a subject I had found myself ranting about more than usual, and I thought maybe blogging about would help get my thoughts organized, and maybe help other people at the same time. And all in all, I've written a grand total of two blog posts. That's right, two.

I'll admit, part of it is just complacency. It's a trap we all fall into, getting excited about something, only to be bored with it later on. But I remember at least a few instances where I was thinking about something and then told myself "hey, this would be a good subject for my blog!"

So why only two posts? Well, because life got in the way. Work got really busy, and wintertime lends itself to illness (and when you're an asthmatic like I am, that just leads to a cycle of illness that's not easy to break free from) and then there are things like doctor's appointments and dentist appointments and I'll admit it, sometimes you just get tired and want to watch a movie.

But I remember one day, about 2 weeks ago, I was thinking about my blog, and how I hadn't written in a long time. And I actually found myself kicking myself for not writing for a long time. And I realized that in and of itself was something worth writing about.

Why is it that we as human beings tend to be hard on ourselves? We set lofty expectations for ourselves, then we kick ourselves when we fall short. Yes, it's important to set goals, because goals give us motivation to succeed, but we have to understand that sometimes, life does get in the way. If you're feeling sick, it's OK to not write in your blog until you start feeling better. If you're trying to write 50,000 words in a month (as many of us try to do during the month of November for NaNoWriMo) and you only get 30,000 words in, hey that's nothing to scoff at! And if you wanted to lose 20 pounds before the summer and you only lost 15, well, that's still 15 pounds more than you would've lost if you didn't try at all.

It is natural to feel disappointed in ourselves. And it is important to do our best at whatever we do. But I do think we should stop being hard on ourselves whenever we fall short. Instead, maybe we can take a moment to assess the situation, and see how we can learn from the experience. If you studied hard for an exam, don't hate yourself for getting a bad grade. Just take the time to figure out what you got wrong. Then maybe next time, it'll be a little easier.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

"Sheep," Claudia informed me witheringly. "Are in."

I was a teenager in the mid-to-late 90s. Back then, baggy was the trend. Everything had to be loose fitting and oversized, especially your jeans.

This could pretty much be my high school

I was never into the baggy jeans fad. No particular reason, other than the fact that it just didn't appeal to me. So I never wore them. I always just felt the most comfortable in my regular-fitted jeans (Well, when it comes to denim. I'm really most comfortable in pajama pants, but who isn't?) Sure, I wasn't hip, but it's not like a pair of jeans could've made or broken (it doesn't really roll off your tongue quite the same in past tense, does it?) anyone's opinion of me, so at the very least I was comfortable.

Now it's almost 20 years later, and the trends have made a complete 180. Baggy is out, skinny is in.

This was not my high school

And still, I always felt the most comfortable in my regular-fitted jeans. I've never owned a pair of skinny jeans and I don't think I ever plan to.

To some it might seem like I'm purposely bucking the trend. But honestly, non-conformity isn't really my thing. In fact, the whole notion of going against the grain just for the sake of it is something that kind of makes me internally roll my eyes. If you like skinny jeans wear them! And if baggy is your style then more power to you! But the most important thing is that when you wear something, it's because you like it.

A coworker was once telling me about a pair of purple jeans that he wore when he was in high school. Now, anyone who knows me knows I love, LOVE, LOVE purple. According to my mom, when I was a toddler I would just grab random purple items off the rack whenever we went shopping. But I didn't think I could ever pull off purple jeans, and I said as much to my coworker. And he responded with this:

You can pull off purple jeans if you think you can pull off purple jeans

So when planning your outfits, try not to think about what's on the cover of the latest magazines. Wear what makes you comfortable. And confident. Something that makes you happy.

There was a time I could pull off purple pants

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Build Me Up

Credit for the title of my blog goes to my friend Audrey.

I've been thinking about starting this blog for a while now. And since we're at the cusp of a new year, it feels like the perfect time to do it. After all, New Year's is an introspective time for many of us. We reflect on the year gone by, remember the good times and the bad, the things we loved and the things we hated. And most importantly, we think about the things we learned.

I've been doing a lot of introspecting lately. And not just because it's New Year's. I've just had a lot of thoughts jumbled up inside my brain. And while trying to make sense of them, I realized something.

I'm a lot more awesome than I give myself credit for.

Does that make me sound conceited? It probably does. But it shouldn't. We're only conceited when we put ourselves on a pedestal, when we think that we're better than everyone else around us. And just because you have a positive view of yourself doesn't mean you're putting yourself on a pedestal. And having a positive view of yourself doesn't mean that you don't recognize your flaws (trust me, I know my flaws). No, having a positive view of yourself only means that you don't let your flaws define who you are as a person.

I think a lot of us tend to beat ourselves up when it comes to our self image. I think part of the reason is, like I mentioned above, we tend to believe that if we think too highly of ourselves, that others will see us as stuck up.

The other reason, and I think more of the fault lies here, is because society is harsh. Both in terms of the media and the people around us. And we can build walls around our self esteem all we want, but when people keep beating at them, those walls will come tumbling down.

So I hope that with this blog, I can try and build those walls back up again. And I hope that anyone reading this will be able to build theirs up, too.