Tag Archives: confidence

shapeshifting

I know a woman

who is existing in parallels,

yawning away the days

in a bone yard.

 

she shapeshifts

in the rain, she

swallows compliments

to thicken her lackluster skin.

 

I keep her under my tongue,

I keep her beneath the nails

on each broken index finger

and she is a trigger

I threaten to pull

with every aching silent wonder

that dresses me in starlight.

 

she comes up for air as often as a fish;

I am putting her to bed with dreams.

 

in secret I am heeding

her advice, because

our hands are the hands

that shift the universe.

 

and I’ve learned how

to sew to hide the damage,

maybe even to pretend

I don’t need any of this.

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i see me best

take a look at my body,

can you see it?

 

I am a slow-dying series of rainstorms

drowning in the possibilities of me

 

I hide in washes of spiked holy water

and the hazy feel of

hands on these hips,

suddenly they are the gentlest waves

 

look at me in moonlight

it’s forgiving, that cosmic candlelight

my breasts

they’re almost worldly then

 

in the dark

I see me best

in the dark

I make shapes

like a goddess

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she is confidence in shadows

night is me, she says.

she is confidence in shadows, navel full of moonlight,

lips parted and dreaming at the windowsill.

in darkness she is an outline to be envied, a handful of diamonds

shaking off the dust,

a glimmer with no sun.

where there is nothing to be seen

she sees a vision of herself

braided into strands of silk like

a delicate world wonder, a towering element

of temporary strength.

night is a pastime she keeps

in the linen closet.

confidence is a distant friend

that glows when no one is watching.

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Of Me – A Chowderhead Production

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My good friend Chowderhead, AKA Adam, recently asked if I’d like to be a guest blogger over at his place. Did I say yes? Of COURSE I did. The man is hilarious, and an amazing writer.

Adam’s only request was that I write about something very important to me. And that I did.

So please, if you have a moment, click on this link and read about something very near and dear to my heart. And stay for some other amazing guest posts, Chowderhead’s own hilarious posts, and some beers, duh.

xoxo,

Nicole Marie

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“Are you anorexic?” Taming Body Image

self-dissectionWhat does it all mean, the dips and grooves in our bodies? How do they define us? Some see stretch marks as beautiful scars of battle; others view them as embarrassing reminders of weight struggle, laziness, unattractiveness. Who is really to say what is most beautiful? Our personal definitions of beauty reach both ends of the spectrum, and some never can get a grasp on what they think they should be, and instead spend every morning in the mirror, bouncing helplessly between confidence and self-loathing.

I never recognized my weight until we were forced into the nurse’s office in the eighth grade. I was “chunky”, sure – so were several other classmates, thirteen and awkward in size, overindulging in candy and ice cream and still watching cartoons. We were a year away from high school and still ignorant to a world of tight skirts, sex and pure vanity.

I don’t remember the number, but I do remember the look of concern on the nurse’s face, and the warm tears that rolled down my face that afternoon as I drank Mountain Dew and buried my face in my mother’s shoulder. I had just been introduced to body image, and from the start I knew it’d be a disastrous relationship.

The summer between eighth grade and freshman year I ate cupcakes and pizza at sleepovers, drank my favorite soda and spent afternoons in the pool or on the trampoline. With no apparent reason other than some sort of growth spurt, I dropped about twenty pounds and was suddenly sharing jeans with my – previously – much thinner best friend. The weight had melted off of me so fast I looked tired and pale, but either way I was happy to be approaching fourteen a size three. Then my grandmother cornered me at a family BBQ in late August.

“Are you anorexic?” She was lucky I knew what the word meant.

I can’t remember my answer, although I can only guess it was “no” between bites of a hotdog.

As freshman year began I made plenty of new friends, who later confessed between giggles that they thought I was bulimic. The thought still twists my insides into a constrictor knot. Large or small, I found it impossible to escape from the judgment, both internal and external. From there the bedroom mirror became my best friend and my worst enemy, and with each morning came the unpredictability of how I’d view myself for the day. While I struggled, I remained somewhat of a social butterfly (even involved in chorus and theater), and had two boyfriends while in high school. My first told me my bra made my breasts look saggy. The second never judged my appearance. We lasted a bit beyond senior year.

In those four years I went from super thin back to plump, and in the beginnings of college I remained that way, camouflaging the insecurities with lots of black clothing and lots of piercings. (I still love black clothing and piercings, but my reasons for that love have somewhat evolved.) I weaved my way through a string of insignificant relationships that temporarily made me feel better about myself. Typical, is all I could, and do, think.

When I met my husband I was still thick, and while I worked my confidence in my own sexual prowess I was still scared and insecure. I knew he found me attractive, but as always I was terrified that with the first argument or the first pass from another woman, he’d be gone. The worst part of my own self-judgment is the thought that my own physical imperfections somehow make me intellectually inferior to others. I have managed to convince myself that my opinion is never quite the best, that my voice could never be heard over the voices of everyone else when I’m the girl in the corner with the chocolate in her hand; that without the perfect hourglass, there will always be someone better, no matter what someone sees in me. Ridiculous? Maybe. But never for a second will I think I’m the only one.

I’ve gotten better since, despite events in my life that completely tore down remnants of confidence I had to force myself to regain. A few years ago I joined a gym and unearthed a love of running, and while every day is a struggle, I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I eat pretty well with the occasional indulgence. I drink too much. I scold myself for both. The mornings are still unpredictable, and sometimes I still want to smash that mirror to bits. But in the twelve years since thirteen year old me came face to face with a lifelong enemy, I’ve discovered ways to keep the beast at bay. But don’t ask me for pictures; I’d like to keep the past in the past.

Who has the right to judge us, but us? Let’s spend every day trying to feel good about who we are.

 

If you or someone you know is struggling with Anorexia or Bulimia, there is help.

xo

 

 

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House of Revolving Style

Today’s Prompt:

How important are clothes to you? Describe your style, if you have one, and tell us how appearance impacts how you feel about yourself.

pinkpinkpink

pinkpinkpink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a person with self-esteem issues, clothes are very important to me. The right outfit (and some makeup) can make me stand a bit taller, walk a bit faster, and smile a little more.

I change my style, a lot. My hair goes from brunette to red, from medium to pixie short, and one day extensions are thrown in. Depending on my mood, I’m either channeling Molly with a wool fedora and hot pink lipstick or spending the day in a bookstore in a turtleneck and floral skirt. A cute jean jacket and collared shirt make me feel fun and flirty; the skirt and modest long-sleeved shirt make me feel serious and intelligent. It’s amazing, what clothes can do.

Unsure how I’d describe my own style, I turned to the husband.

Me: “Charlie, if I had to describe my style, how would I?”

Charlie: “I don’t know. No idea.”

Me: “Come on, think of something.”

Charlie: “I’m gonna change the channel, OK?” ::goes back to watching television::

Me: “Thanks for the material. I’ll take back that porkroll sandwich I made you!”

Charlie: “It’s not porkroll anyway!” (So it’s turk-roll. Excuse me.)

Love him. ❤

All I'm missin' is Ducky!

All I’m missin’ is Ducky!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still unsure how I’d describe my own style, I guess I’d settle on eighties eclectic. Although I consider my style diverse, it seems every outfit I put on somehow reminds Joe of his teen years, and that’s okay with me. I do love the eighties.

Sometimes, though, I like to attempt more of a classic look, with a glam yet gothic edge. This is what I was going for on our wedding day, and I was so happy with the results. I felt beautiful and glamorous.

One of my favorites.

One of my favorites.

The best friend and I.

The best friend and I.

Clothing gives me the ability to be a chameleon. I can drape myself in colors and textures that reflect my mood and make me feel powerful.

Constantly revolving my style keeps me excited about me – looking in the mirror each day and seeing the same thing doesn’t gain me any confidence; being whoever I want to at any given moment does.

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Daily Prompt: Back to School

Today’s Prompt:

If you could take a break from your life and go back to school to master a subject, what would it be?

If I go back, I'm hanging out in the library all the time dressed like Molly Ringwald.

If I go back, I’m hanging out in the library all the time dressed like Molly Ringwald.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been considering a Masters Degree since I graduated with a Bachelors a short time ago. School has always been an awesome motivator for me – I work well with deadlines and being surrounded by a dozen other people who are in it for the same reasons I am. My writing courses not only taught me how to confidently receive criticism, but they were extremely valuable in the editing process of my own work. I had the best professors who never made me feel talent-less or less than another student, but instead showed me ways I could best showcase my writing. Waking up each morning knowing in just a few hours I’d have a room full of people concentrating on my work was enough to keep me up an extra hour each night, tapping away furiously at the keyboard.

When I finished college, I felt a little helpless. I did the whole “now what?” thing and curled up in a tiny ball and stayed in bed for a few days. That’s about the time I started this blog – I needed something new to boost my confidence, to make me feel like I was doing something worthwhile. I didn’t launch into a 9-to-5 career like a lot of others (I’m still bartending!), but I knew I had to find something to keep my creativity chuggin’ along. Since then I’ve wavered back and forth between feeling awesome and feeling like there’s no point.

So – if I were to return to school to master a subject, I’d receive my Masters in Creative Writing. I’m confident enough to think I have something here, but it needs to be polished. I long for those classroom discussions, passing other writers hidden in pockets of the library with coffee and reading glasses. The smell of books, the whirring sounds of a roomful of computers, the tapping at the keyboards. Sometimes seeing others is what we need; it’s like attending an exercise class instead of lazily doing sit-ups in your living room while the television buzzes in the background.

Maybe I should look into taking another writing course, too. 

What would you go back to school for?

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Facing Your Inner Demon

This is terrifyingly awesome.

This is terrifyingly awesome.

 

We all have them, don’t we? Mine is a real bitch sometimes. I imagine she wears fuzzy house slippers, filthy from never taking them off. Maybe an old bath robe too. Curlers in her hair, smeared red lipstick, smoker’s cough, talks like she’s been chewing on rocks…OK so my inner demon is my old next-door-neighbor’s grandmother? Ugh.

I am an extremely sensitive person. I mean just the thought of something emotional is enough to send a tsunami of tears from my eyeballs. When Joe and I were still planning the wedding, the time I spent driving to and from places was used to go over my vows in my noggin and I can’t count how many times I almost broke down behind the wheel. Sometimes I cry watching lame TLC shows. Sometimes I stare at myself in the mirror and cry because I’m just so damn beautiful.

Okay, not really.

ANYWAY – my inner demon enjoys latching on to any new information that enters my ears and twisting it up like silly putty before flinging it into my brain, where whatever was said is now convincing me I’m a horrible person. Without getting into specifics, I’ve managed to convince myself of being quite a few things I’ve been told I’m not. Some really ugly, horrible things. The funny thing? A new tube of lipstick or a new outfit temporarily fixes this – I’ll find myself looking at my reflection, head cocked to one side, a smile on my lips. In those moments I feel powerful and attractive, intelligent, ready to recite poetry or attend a book reading. Put me in sweat pants and smeared eyeliner and suddenly I’m a different person. Let someone question the way my hair lays that day? Forget it. I try to melt into the nearest wall and disappear for good.

Does anyone ever feel like this? That inner voice, like a parasite feeding off any bit of darkness it can find. It tries to keep the light out. It tries as hard as it can. “Happiness doesn’t live here,” it says.

I try every day to battle it, to bring it down once and for all, but the damn thing never dies. It’s invincible, I think. But the best we can do is hold them at bay – do something meaningful every single day, spend time with those who want to spend their time lifting you up. Being born with a demon in your head doesn’t make you hopeless. Perhaps it’s even a blessing in disguise, focusing every day on being the best version of yourself possible.

So I guess I’ll consider myself unique. Beautifully unique. And every day I’ll get to mentally punch my neighbor’s grandmother in the face. She was a real bitch anyway.

xoxo

 

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Beautiful Imperfections

Blah. That’s all I got.

Okay – that’s not all I got, but my body feels like it’s going to crumble into a million tiny pieces. We are still short-staffed at work ::cue the violins:: and every one of us is working 5-6 days a week. It wouldn’t be so bad if the majority of customers weren’t jackasses. Thanks for tipping me 60 cent on $50. Choke on your cheesesteak. Have a nice day.

I’m still wiping away the snot and tears – so attractive – from this video I just watched over at my pretend mama’s blog. It’s truly a shame, the way some of us see ourselves. But I have to say I fall deep into this category. Like GingerSnaap said, had I been the one on the other side of that curtain I would have done the same. thing.

“I have a weak chin,” I’d blurt out. “My nose is sorta pointy. Oh, and I definitely have the forehead of a Neanderthal. My eyebrows are waaaaaaay too low. It’s especially noticeable when I smile.

“That ‘beauty’ mark on the right side of my jawline is annoying too.”

I went to the gym before work this morning. (Marathon day is next Sunday and I’m trying to get in those few last runs AND a bit of weight training; whatever it takes to make me feel a bit stronger.) As I approached the “12 minute Abs” section, I walked by a few men weight training nearby. As I passed, for whatever reason I sucked in my gut. I was embarrassed. I felt fat. I felt like I didn’t belong. Unfortunately, this has become sort of a subconscious thing for me – before today – and I’m just now realizing how sad it is. These people probably didn’t even notice me, let alone look at me like “what’s with the fat girl in the ‘ab’ area? She doesn’t have any abs to work on”. After years and years of being embarrassed of/worrying about my appearance, this has become my norm.

But this has to stop.

I’ve received compliments on the weight I’ve lost. I’ve been called “tiny” – “skinny” even. Today, a male customer wrote this on their check:

“You’re great, and you’re REALLY pretty!”

So for a few hours, my ego went way, way up. Then it went down again. The norm.

No one is perfect, are they? But we all matter. We are loved. There is someone who thinks we are beautiful from head to toe to snorting laugh to ugly cry. Joe still kisses me good morning when there’s eyeliner streaked across my face and bags the size of Texas beneath my eyes. He laughs and calls me Pig Pen when I haven’t washed my hair for 3 days, but then he pulls me close to him. So why not crumble up those insecurities and toss them in the recycling bin?

We say we’ll try, we say we’ll stop, but it really is a struggle. All I can say is good luck. Let’s try our best; we are beautiful, no matter what they say…words won’t bring us down….

Oh wait, sorry. Had a bit of a Christina moment there.

I love you all. And you are all beautiful, beautiful people.

xoxo,

Nicole

P.S.

Thank you for the inspiration for this post, mama.

Visit GingerSnaap and her beautiful words (and self) here: http://ohmygawdjustdowhatisay.wordpress.com/

 

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Romantic Monday (Week 4) – Forcing Off the Layers

Fresh faced and trying to feel good about ME.

India Arie is on repeat on our computer right now. The image of myself, something I have always, always struggled with; what do others think of me? What do they see when they look at me? What do I think of myself? How do I look in those skinny jeans? Some days I’m thin. Most days I’m fat. Every day it’s on my mind. Am I beautiful? Inside? Outside? What are my goals? I accomplished this, I didn’t accomplish that. I lost a pound. I gained a pound. I ran. I didn’t run. I wrote. I watched television instead. I ate that piece of cake.

This Romantic Monday (please click here for an absolutely beautiful post made by Mrs. Hotspur) for me, is all about self love. I may be stretching things here, since it is called romantic Monday, but with all of the different takes on the subject floating about, I figured I could make it work.

So here’s a stream of consciousness post, very true to what races through my mind each and every day, a sort of pep talk mixed with a few I-can’t-help-it downers. My thought process in all its vulnerable glory.

I hate how I look in the morning I love how I look in the morning, fresh faced with blemishes and eyeliner streaking down one cheek am I gaining weight? My face looks puffy but that’s just the sleepiness doing its thing, you won’t think the same way later, stop poking at yourself in the mirror. I’m in the shower do I look thinner today? You haven’t eaten breakfast yet it’s all empty I almost don’t want to but the hunger, the hunger is stronger than the thought of giving in to some disorder, he tells you you’re crazy every time you say it but does he really feel that way? You’ve come such a long way, a long, long way don’t do this now, she tells you, he tells you, what is there to be but happy. Either way I cannot win, too thin you’re disease, too fat he doesn’t want you, you can’t fit in, to clothes or crowds or friendships and you’re pregnant, they’ve whispered it so often you may as well be, I’m afraid they’re all thinking it. It’s the one way to stab at me to pull the tears out to force it all to the surface. Forcing off the layers I can’t even look I turn the mirror as I move and bend I closed the door I lock it so he doesn’t see but he has seen, he’s touched, he’s kissed, but mostly with the lights low a bulge here or there it lessens my value, my arguments can’t hold up my opinions do not matter I fade into the majority next to others, firm and uninhibited and strong and standing straight I am pathetic, I am lessened, I don’t know my way around it all, what good am I? You’re well-spoken, you are a graduate, you are valued, you are loved, you are looked at, really, really looked at when you catch him staring at you even in your pajamas, no bra on, no lipstick, stubs of eyelashes poking out from above those green eyes, sorry nothing on for show today, am I still me? Something else? But you like how those collarbones show themselves, I’m afraid they’ll disappear tomorrow, but do your pants still fit? They aren’t snug yet, stop paying attention to the number, how do you feel? I am broken, I am fixed, my mind is in shambles, my mind is piecing back together, you are not the only one. Never, ever alone. Don’t believe everything you think, repeat it back, go through the motions, feel everything around you, don’t waste a single second. Swallow the air and dance in the kitchen and kiss him on the mouth and force his hand around your waist at night and don’t worry about those layers of blankets in between it doesn’t matter, you are here, he is here, they are here, you’ve come such a long way, keep going, push, keep fighting, you are your own guide, you are your own destiny, you have the will, you look so good in that red lipstick.

Happy Monday.

– Nicole Marie

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