Daily Prompt 10/25/16 | Transformation

I am starting to feel pretty, for the first time in a very, very long time. Transformed.

[In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt | Transformation]

Makeup was never something that I was particularly passionate about. Continue reading “Daily Prompt 10/25/16 | Transformation”

Daily Prompt 6/18/2016 | Perfection

Remember, perfection isn’t perfect, it is fake.

[In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 6/18/2016 | Perfection]

No one is perfect. No one. Of course, no matter how often we tell ourselves this, it can be difficult to convince our brains that it is true when we pass by magazines in the stores and see women with flawless skin, shiny hair, zero cellulite, tight stomachs, perky butts… you get the idea. I’m guilty of tearing myself down every time I go out in public, and see pictures and videos of these perfect, beautiful women, that I could never look like. Well, the truth is, no one can look like them, not even themselves.

Photoshop, endless filter options, and apps like Facetune make it all too easy to alter pictures, whether you are just trying to erase a few pimples, or giving yourself thousands of dollars worth of digital plastic surgery, and it is just not fair. It is not fair to the men and women whose appearances have to be altered so much, just to be considered beautiful, and worthy of publication, when they were already beautiful. It is also not fair to the men and women who see these ads, and get tricked into thinking that that type of beauty is attainable, and that they need to spend their money to try and reach it.

You don’t believe me? Here are just a few examples:


It is all a lie. Models, singers, actors and actresses, reality TV stars… no one is ever thin enough, but if you are thin, you’re not curvy enough. Your skin is never clear enough. Your hair is never blonde enough. Your eyes are not blue enough. It isn’t fair, and it isn’t right. Men and women, young and old, are being told that nothing about themselves is good enough, and that they need to buy all of this STUFF to look good, but it is an impossible feat. Even these people, who were deemed worthy enough to grace the covers of magazines, and star in commercials, were not perfect enough. No one is perfect enough. No one.

I know I might be beating a dead horse here, and being a total hypocrite, but really, we need to stop focusing so much on how we look. Your eyebrows do not need to be on fleek, your winged liner does not need to survive a nuclear holocaust, and if you don’t have a thigh gap, then embrace your glorious thighs. If you’re 14, you’re told that you need to look 21, and if you’re 30, you’re told you need to look 22. It isn’t fair, and it just isn’t possible. You don’t need big boobs, you don’t need a huge ass, and you don’t need washboard abs. That’s not to say that there is anything wrong with wanting to better yourself, or lift your self-esteem a bit, but do it for you, and not because you think it is how others want you too look. You are worth more than that. Love who you are, and others will love you as well.

Remember, perfection isn’t perfect, it is fake.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

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Daily Prompt 6/9/2016 | Then and Now

So… have I changed much? Not really, no.

In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 6/9/2016 | Transformation

Hello, friends! I was inspired by today’s daily prompt, as well as it being Throwback Thursday, to delve into the depths of my Facebook profile, all the way back to 2007, in search of my first ever profile picture. I thought it would be a good time to reflect on who I was when I joined the social networking site (not so much social networking as a whole, since I was a pretty hardcore MySpace user back in the day), and compare it with who I am today. I’ve compiled a list of questions to answer about who I was then, and who I am now.

Feel free to copy and paste these, or add your own, and post them on your blog! I had a lot of fun trying to remember things from my high school years!

THEN: 2007
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(Holy MySpace angles, Batman!)

1) How old are you?
17 years old.

2) Where was this picture taken?
On my front porch, minutes before I left for my senior photo shoot… not sure why I chose this extreme angle.

3) What is your hair color?
Brown and red.

4) Do you dye your hair?
Quite frequently actually.

5) Do you wear makeup?
Not really. I did the year before, and it looked awful all the time. I think I wore mascara and lip gloss sometimes, and that’s it.

6) What is your favorite color?
Green!

7) What is your favorite book?
Hm. Probably Crank  or Burned by Ellen Hopkins, though I was still pretty smitten with the Harry Potter series, which had just come to an end the summer before.

8) What is your favorite movie?
Pan’s Labyrinth.

9) What is your favorite band?
Breaking Benjamin and 30 Seconds to Mars!

10) What is your favorite song?
“Becoming the Bull” by Atreyu, or “Breaking the Habit” by Linkin Park.

11) Do you have any pets?
I had a cat named Napkin.

12) What is your best friend’s name?
My then-boyfriend, Matt.

13) What is your favorite food?
Chop Suey… or anything chocolate.

14) What is your ringtone?
I had just gotten my first cell phone, and all I had to choose from were the crappy pre-set ringtones. Ew.

15) What does a typical weekend look like for you?
Oh, you know, hardcore partying… with my online friends… in World of Warcraft…

16) What is your most visited website?
Probably MySpace, but I was starting to get into Facebook. I also went on eBaum’s World a lot.

17) Do you have any nicknames?
Jan Jan, and Jan. I also went by my WoW name… Zul.

18) What is your biggest fear?
Graduating and having no idea what to do with my life.

19) What is your biggest insecurity?
I was actually pretty confident at this point in my life. I had lost a lot of weight, stopped wearing makeup, and was preparing to graduate. I was insecure about my intelligence more than anything.

20) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a degree in Psychology, living with my boyfriend, Matt, in a nice house, with a picket fence, and a dog. You get the idea.

NOW: 2016
13239920_10206476000078274_8685172509188265663_n (1)
(Yeah, that’s definitely a better angle, Jan. Good job.)

1) How old are you?
26 years old.

2) Where was this picture taken?
In the passenger seat of our car, where I take most of my selfies these days. Best lighting!

3) What is your hair color?
Brown and blonde.

4) Do you dye your hair?
This was the first time I had dyed my hair in over two years, and I went to a salon, instead of doing it myself, and it came out so terrible.

5) Do you wear makeup?
Sometimes. I’m wearing more makeup in this picture than I normally would, as we were going somewhere. I am content with leaving the house with no makeup on, but I do like wearing foundation, since, you know, I still have the same acne I did 7 years ago. And 10 years ago.

6) What is your favorite color?
Still green! Although I am fond of teal as well.

7) What is your favorite book?
I haven’t read a book in far too long. My life consists of baby and toddler books these days. Still Harry Potter, probably.

8) What is your favorite movie?
Mirrormask, Guardians of the Galaxy, and… well, any of the Harry Potter Movies. Duh.

9) What is your favorite band?
I actually don’t have one! I don’t listen to music anymore. I haven’t heard a recent song in… years?

10) What is your favorite song?
… I don’t have one. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

11) Do you have any pets?
I have a fiance, and a toddler, do they count?

12) What is your best friend’s name?
I don’t have one really… I suppose my closest friend is Lindsey. I love her. She is a pretty mermaid.

13) What is your favorite food?
Homemade brown rice bowl with black and red beans, tomatoes, jalapenos, avocado, and sour cream. Mmm. I also really love chocolate.

14) What is your ringtone?
I haven’t taken my phone off of silent since I bought it 2 years ago. Literally.

15) What does a typical weekend look like for you?
The same as a typical week really. Wake up with my son, and spend my day reading books, building block towers, digging toys out of the trash, having company while I pee, and maybe going for a walk to the park. I’m living on the edge, baby!

16) What is your most visited website?
Definitely Twitter.

17) Do you have any nicknames?
My mom calls me J, though I’m not sure why. Most people call me Jan.

18) What is your biggest fear?
Being unhappy. Losing my son.

19) What is your biggest insecurity?
My body. Everything about my physical appearance.

20) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully living in a house, with two little ones, married to my fiance, with a dog. Oh, and if I could have won the lottery by that point, that would be great.

So… have I changed much? Not really, no. I have all of the same values, morals, and beliefs as I did, and I’ve managed to stay pretty true to who I am as a person, though I am much more boring these days. My plans for myself, however, have gone to shit, and I feel like my 17-year-old self would be quite surprised to see where I am in life. The only thing that managed to stay on track was my reproductive plans. Seriously. I planned to have my first child at 24, and that is exactly what I did.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Daily Prompt 3/14/2016 | A Fleeting Moment of Confidence

There were rapid-fire holiday and birthday get-togethers, and I found it harder and harder to control myself around all of the sweets and savory foods. So I didn’t. The weather had gotten gloomy, and sucked all the energy from my body, and I slowed down on my exercise, until I stopped completely.

In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 3/14/2016 | Fleeting

I have a very love/hate relationship with diet and exercise. As some of you may already know, from the middle of October to the end of December, I decided to make some changes, and started eating a mostly vegan diet (I still ate eggs). I didn’t do it for any moral reason, and I don’t care if you eat meat, or don’t eat meat, I did it for me, to be a healthier individual. I struggled a bit at first with giving up dairy, as a large part of my diet tended to include cheese, or milk products, but I found that giving up meat was pretty simple, as I never really ate much of it, and didn’t really crave it in any way.

Not only did I make this change to my diet, but I also decided to actually DIET during this time. I downloaded a free app called Lose It!, which I had used previously to lose weight, and began tracking my daily calorie intake, as well as my weight loss. If you are counting calories, and want a free, simple app to help you out, I highly recommend it. Between this complete overhaul in my diet, and counting calories, I found myself struggling to stay on track early on, as well as struggling with cravings. I had many, many slip-ups and cheat days for the first month, and kicked myself over it, feeling guilty and disgusted with myself. I tried to keep junk food and dairy out of my fridge, but that becomes incredibly difficult when you live with a dairy crazed carnivore who wouldn’t touch a vegetable if would save his life. Every other day he was bringing home cookies, or ordering pizza, or bags of chips, and it was unbearable. I even asked him to stop, but he never did.

I was losing weight, slowly, but not at the rate that I wanted, so I started exercising. I was already going on somewhat regular walks with my son, around 2.5 miles each time we went out, but with the weather getting colder, I knew it was only a matter of time before we would be forced to stay indoor. At the recommendation of a few friends, as well as my mom, I started looking up beginner Zumba videos on YouTube, and was instantly hooked. I was able to burn several hundred calories in 1/4 the time as walking, and it was fun. The weight started to melt off after that.

I lost 10 pounds. Then 15 pounds. Then 25 pounds. I had already reached my pre-baby weight, as well as my lowest weight since college, and I felt great. My skin had cleared up from the lack of daily in my diet, and I was able to buy clothes, several sizes smaller, for the first time since getting pregnant. I even began considering buying a bathing suit, and shorts, for the first time since college. I am not joking, I haven’t owned a bathing suit in 7 years, or work shorts in probably 5 or 6. I felt good, and I looked good.

For a fleeting moment, I was the happiest I had been in years.

Then, the holidays came. I tried to have some self-control, but no one in Kyle’s family seemed to understand my struggle with my body, or my diet. Despite being very open about my dietary restrictions, and politely turning down their cooking (they are the type of folks who cook everything with ten pounds of butter), they would just repeatedly tell me to “Just have a cheat day!”, or “You look fine, just eat!”, and it drove me nuts. Even when I did eat, his grandmother would keep pestering me to eat MORE, or actually BRING ME PLATES OF FOOD when I politely declined. She would get offended when I said no. I hated being forced to eat, but I allowed it to happen, just to please her.

That was the start of the end.

There were rapid-fire holiday and birthday get-togethers, and I found it harder and harder to control myself around all of the sweets and savory foods. So I didn’t. The weather had gotten gloomy, and sucked all the energy from my body, and I slowed down on my exercise, until I stopped completely. Over the course of barely two months, I gained back 9 pounds of the 27 total pounds that I had lost. I noticed the definition in my legs and waist going back to being flabby, and the new, smaller clothing that I had bought stop fitting me in a flattering way. And once again, I hated myself.

I tried to get back into my diet several times, but no longer had room on my phone for my calorie tracker app, and used that as an excuse to ballpark it, which ended in failure. I would get stuck eating my son’s leftovers from his meals, and using that as an excuse to eat other meat or dairy items, as I had already lost it for the day. I made a lot of excuses, and it showed. It showed all over my body.

The weather has started to warm up, and I have been able to get outside to walk more with my son, and he is finally old enough to play with me at the park. This has given me hope, and determination, to try to get back on track. My birthday is in a month and a half, and I have decided that I want to lose 10 pounds by then. I ate a vegan diet today, and managed to get a good walk in with my kiddo, as well as a brief Zumba workout (I am astonishingly out of shape from my time away from it). I felt great… until Kyle got home, made two amazing smelling pork burritos, and only ate one of them. He was going to throw away the other… and I ate it. Granted, I didn’t go bonkers on the calories today, but I ate a burrito that was basically nothing but meat and cheese, and I hate myself for it.

As I’ve written about in the past, self-control is my biggest downfall when it comes to anything. It has ruined everything in my life at some point. I love eating healthy, and I love exercising. I love fruits and vegetables and salad and cooking… but between the weather, my empty bank account, my un-supportive, carnivorous husband, and my horrible lack of self-control, maintaining any sort of healthy lifestyle is a massive struggle.

I’m hoping my self-hatred can outweigh my lack of self-control… otherwise, I fear I will never be happy with my appearance. And I can’t live like that anymore. I miss my fleeting moment of confidence.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan