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I refused to look at a mirror in public when I was a teenager.

I especially avoided a certain mirrored wall at my high school.

I passed it day after day, and day after day I averted my eyes.

I told myself it was because I didn’t want to seem narcissistic; I didn’t want people to think that I thought I looked good.

The truth was that any time spent in front of a mirror was an incredibly vulnerable time for me.  No one was allowed to look into that mirror with me.

I didn’t want to remind them of my flaws.  I didn’t want them to see what I saw: linebacker shoulders, big nose, too small eyes, big forehead, frizzy hair, bad skin, no boobs, and knobby knees.

If I didn’t look at myself, maybe they wouldn’t look either.

***

I want to take that silly girl by her perfectly nice shoulders and shake away all of her nonsensical insecurities.

Ten years ago I would have jumped at the chance for some plastic surgery.  Now it seems like more trouble than it’s worth.  Now I’m afraid of ending up with a stranger’s face and body.

My nose will always be big, my skin is scarred, and my teeth are still crooked.

The difference ten years later is that those things are not what I see when I look in a mirror.  Instead, I see:

1.  My curly hair.  My hair was nice once I grew out those silly bangs that my forehead didn’t need and quit trying to beat it into submission.

2.  My eyes.  They look brown or green depending on my mood, and they are just the right size.

3.  My lips.  They are full and give me a natural pout.

4.  My arms.  They are lean and strong and soft at the same time.

5.  My waist.  It (along with a few other favorite parts) gives me a nicely curved torso.

6.  My sides.  I love the curves at my side where my waist meets my hips.

7.  The small of my back.  I love this little curve and the dimples found there.

8.  My butt.  It is one of my most complimented features, second only to my hair.

9.  My legs.  They are long and athletic.  I even like my thighs most of the time.

10.  My height.  I’m 5’8″, and it’s perfect for me.  Not too tall, not too short.  I can reach most things and still fit into small places.

***

 

This year was the first year that I wore a bathing suit without (much) thought about how I looked at any given moment.  I know that it isn’t my body but my attitude that has changed.

I love that each coming year leaves me more and more comfortable in my own skin.

*Post inspired by Kate’s Irrelevant.

My sister and I are in a strange place in our relationship where we are having to create a new balance after past hurts.  Things may never be the same, but they are getting better as we pick up where we left off.

We are two very different personalities who don’t share many common interests except for really bad Lifetime movies – and not just any bad Lifetime movie. It has to be that deliciously cheesy “so bad it’s good” Lifetime movie.

I don’t typically watch anything off Lifetime or its movie channel other than Project Runway.  I do, however, scan the TV Guides synopses of its movies.  If I see something that looks promising, I’ll DVR it for us to watch together later.

Our last to watch was “The Craigslist Killer”, and it was a huge disappointment. Not funny bad.  Sad bad.  I have “Nightmare” waiting for the next night we have free together.  Here’s IMDB’s summary:

 

A mind-body disconnect – that’s what causes sleep paralysis, a terrifyingly real experience in which someone awakes momentarily made of stone. Molly Duggan is determined to discover a treatment, because in rare cases, it can kill: Her mother was one of its victims. But what science can’t explain is why Molly suddenly starts experiencing episodes herself and during them, feels a sinister presence surrounding her. So she turns to legends, and that’s when her real nightmare begins. Haylie Duff stars in this pulse-pounding chiller.

Key words: Haylie Duff.  I’m excited.

 

 

We were disappointed to miss out on the premiere showings of “The Perfect Teacher.”  It plays again February 9th… in case anyone is interested.

* Mary Parker Follett (1868-1933)

I’ve been coming across more and more posts through my reader about the highly sensitive person.  I did a little on-line research, and my jaw literally dropped as a read article after article describing myself better than I could have.

Highly Sensitive Person Traits

22 Signs That You’re a Highly Sensitive Person

Attributes and Characteristics of Being Highly Sensitive

…and more.

Not only did the descriptions fit, but the articles even listed the reactions that highly sensitive people receive from those around them.

It was as though I were reading about my life.  These are characteristics I don’t usually speak about to other people because they’ve never understood and have even mocked.

Interesting.

1.  Lots of pillows, or just one?  Describe your pre-sleeping rituals.

One pillow.

The last three things I do before turning off the light  is let the dogs out, set my alarm, and read.

2. What kind of books do you read?

Here’s a list of the books I read last year.  My favorite authors were McCarthy, Kingsolver, and Roach.

3.  What are your neighbors like?

I have one half-deaf, half-blind neighbor that hates my dogs.  He thinks my male dog bit his wife who is also half-deaf and half-blind.  This is impossible since they were both inside all that afternoon.  And sometimes he says it was my female dog.  She looks nothing like my male dog.   My dogs have never warmed to him since moving in.  I once caught him spraying his hose at them.  My privacy fence went up on his side first.

I have one lovely neighbor behind me.  He is a warm, generous man who my dogs love.

I have some new neighbors to the other side of me.  I don’t know much about them except that they look an awful lot like the couple who lived there before them.  My dogs are indifferent to them.

My neighbors across the street are an elderly woman and some relatives that live in her converted garage.  They frequently sit in lawn chairs outside and smoke.  My dogs bark at them.

My dogs appear to be good judges of character.

4.  What’s really creepy to you?

I really don’t like it when some strange man tells me to smile.   It’s always a man, and he says it like it’s my duty.  This happens often enough to be annoying.

5.  What’s your current fandom/obsession/addiction?

Paramore.  And Supernatural.  Though the last is waning due to a disappointing sixth season.

6.  Do you prefer your junk food sweet, salty, or savory?

Sweet.

7.  What was the last expensive thing you bought?

Round-trip tickets to Vietnam

8.  What is your greatest fear?

Loneliness.  And drowning.

9.  Do you get cravings?  If so, what do you crave?

I sometimes crave some dark chocolate.

10.  What do you do to change your mood?

I don’t consciously do anything that I’m aware of.  Maybe some comfort food after a long work day.  Except for this one time that I was feeling especially down.  I felt as though if I just sat there I’d start to cry, so instead I put on my shoes and ran a couple miles around my neighborhood.

11.  What was the last meal you ate that you loved?

Shrimp brochette

12.  Do you want to learn another language?  If so, why?

I’d love to improve my Spanish.  If I were to add another language, it would probably be Vietnamese.  Those are the two most common foreign languages in my area.

13.  What’s something that you’d like to say to someone right now?

I like who I am.  I like what I like.  I don’t like the things you like.  I don’t like the person you often are.  Quit trying to change me.

14.  What are you looking forward to?

Having my brother, sister-in-law, and niece stay with me at Christmas.

*** Sunday Stealing***

What makes you happy at work? No manager, appreciative patients and family, stocked supply room

What makes you happy at home? Clean floors, people I love lounging on my sofa, good food in the kitchen

What makes you happy with your friends and family? Feeling comfortable and being able to let my guard down

What makes you happy when you’re by yourself? My quiet time

What do you love to do? Create

What would you do with your life today if you weren’t afraid of failure? Quit my job.

What’s not working in your life? My work environment

Who’s not working in your life? My new “friend,” Becky

Who from your life is subtracting from and adding misery to it? I have to work too hard to stay cool around Becky and not say something I’ll regret.  I resent her whenever I’m with her.

Can you fix any of these relationships, or should you let them go from your life? I need to distance myself from her.  I see her at work occasionally, so I can’t just cut her out completely.

What relationships are working in your life? My new friends Maria and Carlos.

If we were to get together one year from now, what would have to happen for there to be more joy in your life?

Less stress, more love

What’s the single most important thing you learned about yourself in answering these questions? I need big change in my work life.

Questions from Apartment #412

1.  What do you do?

I’m a nurse at a small-ish hospital.  I coordinate patient care between the various departments: physical therapy, respiratory, pharmacy, imaging,etc.  The rest of my time is divided between paperwork and actual bedside care.  I’ve been there two years, and the paperwork only continues to grow exponentially.

2.  Do you enjoy it?

To be completely honest, not so much.  There are those moments when I feel as though I made a difference in someone’s life, but they are so few and far between as to not be worth the extra stress the job has brought into my life.  I keep Exedrin Migraine in my locker.  My feet ache so that I can’t even wear my pretty shoes.  The idiocy of upper management is mind boggling; patient safety seems to fall lower and lower on their list of priorities while the key word “patient satisfaction” grows in power.  And I’m not a people person.  I knew that going in.  I’m good at it (I rock in receiving positive comments in patient surveys), but it’s exhausting to be forced to interact positively with so many people all the time.  Especially when much of the time the patient is a whiny, needy little punk who can do more for himself than he pretends.  (And yes, it usually is a male.)  What the hell was I thinking?

3.  If you could switch paths or fields – what would you choose instead?

My answer is probably the same as many: something creative. I like to knit.  Maybe if I spent more time improving my skills, I could eventually write patterns. (I’ve sold one before.)  I like to write.  Maybe if I improved my skills, I could eventually write professionally.  Ultimately, my ideal job would be to follow through on a brilliant idea that would eventually do most of the work for me.  I like to sit with my brother and come up with random get-rich-quick ideas. Most are idiotic or are complicated to start-up, but you never know when you’ll stumble on a simple yet financially viable idea. Why, oh why didn’t I think up the Snuggie?

Yeah, I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately.  Why do you ask?

1.  When is your birthday?  April

2.  Where were you born?  Maryland

3.  Where do you live now?  Texas

4.  What is your heritage?  Father – Colombian  Mother – Caucasian mutt

5.  Tell us about a weakness.  Procrastination.

6.  What’s a goal that you’d like to achieve?  Write a book.

7.  What is the most over-used internet phrase?  For me, it’s a toss-up between OMG and LOL.  I hate LOL.  Oh, and Rpatz.

8.  What was your first thought this morning?  Ugh.

9.  When do you usually go to bed?  Anytime between 10:00 and 11:30pm.

10.  Do you smoke? If not, did you ever?  No and never.  Gross.

11.  Do you like your current relationship status?  I do until I get the urge to cuddle.

12.  Do you (or did you) get along with your parents?  Now I do.  There was a long bumpy road with my father.

13.  How often do you drink alcohol?  Maybe a few times a year.

14.  Have you ever tried drugs (that weren’t prescribed)?  No

15.  Have you ever gone skinny-dipping?  Is yes, do tell.  No.

16.  If given the choice, how would you like to die?  I want to die very happy, very old, very alert, and very able in my sleep having just spent a great time with all my family.

17.  What did you want to be when you grew up?  I always said I wanted to be a doctor until I was 14-years-old and realized that meant more school. I was ready to quit at that point.

18.  Have you ever been dumped?  Yes?  The feeling was mutual, but he got to the point first during that conversation.

19.  What’s on your pizza? Pepperoni and extra cheese  or the meat lovers

20.  Have you ever shoplifted?  Yes.  My mother wouldn’t buy me pretty panties so I improvised.

 

*From Sunday Stealing

I need this.

In the first grade I went through all the books my teacher had, so she had to borrow from others.  That summer my mother started taking us to the public library every week.  I got hooked on the Bobbsey Twins.  My mom saw this new love forming, and she did what she could to encourage it.  When second grade began, my mother went to the school librarian to see if the school had the series.  They did not, but the librarian introduced me to Nancy Drew.  Rows and rows of Nancy Drew.  It was on.

My grandfather gifted me the Chronicles of Narnia when I was eight.  My mother put them up on top of the fridge, and I wasn’t allowed one until my chores were done. Reading had completely taken over. I was in the library every morning before school to get a new book, two or three if it was the weekend.

Family life was rough, and I truly believe those books saved me.  They took me far, far away from all the screaming and fighting.  They kept me quiet and still so that I didn’t trip my father’s temper.  They gave me a glimpse into families who didn’t act like mine, so that I knew this wasn’t the way it had to be.

The pace slowed by the time I reached high school.  College nearly put an end to it.  I was still reading a lot, but it was all for class.  The joy was gone.  And now?  There’s always something in the way.  The same book has been sitting on my nightstand for five months.

Enough already.

I received the following text yesterday:

FWD: VALENTINE’S DAY IS CANCELED! Apparently u told Cupid you were sexy so he died laughing… GOOD JOB LIAR. pass on to make people smile.!

I so don’t do cutesy forwards. If you send me one, we are not friends*. Irreconcilable differences.

*Or you might be my grandmother, which gives you a lifetime free pass. But don’t push it, Grandma. You’re on thin ice.

I dreamt that Debbie (Former Preceptor) tried to surprise me with a sudden meet and “hey, why don’t you guys go get some coffee – or something” with her son.    My immediate reaction was to try to hide so that they couldn’t find me.  I felt awful, thought I looked awful, and was not in the mood to be pushed/forced into anything.

When it comes to a situation like this, that’s typically my first real reaction as well.  I definitely have paralyzing fears to any situation that requires me to be even the slightest bit vulnerable (no matter how much I want someone to be vulnerable with)  – and I’m trying to get over that by being that pushy force in my own life.  Still, as with everything else in my life, it always seems to involve two takes before I’m able to do what I need/want to do.

I’m just glad I got to experience that specific situation’s  panic/dread/avoidance in a dream.   Next time I’ll be cool.

My Happiness Project

1. Set a bedtime.
2. Make my bed every morning.
3. Always be reading something.
4. Move more.
5. Toss and organize.
6. Give proofs of love.
7. Leave the past.
8. Fight right.
9. Don't expect praise or appreciation.
10. Kiss more, hug more, touch more.
11. Aim higher.
12. Find some fun.
13. Ask for help.
14. Smile.
15. Realize it's possible.
16. Don't compare;be inspired.
17. Focus on what I have.
18. Beware of drift.
19. Take a chance.
20. Listen.
21. Be mindful.
22. Cultivate gratitude.
23. Spend out.
24. Do good, feel good.
25. Show up.
26. Have the courage to be imperfect.
27. Find joy in the ordinary.
28. Work smart.
29. Enjoy now.
30. Talk to strangers.
31. Go outside.
32. Start where I am.
33. Show up on time.
34. See art everyday.
35. Love with abandon.
36. Be colorful.
37. Dress the part.
38. Revel in accomplishments.
39. Learn something new.
40. Fear less.
41. Take pictures.
42. Speak with integrity.
43. Don't be critical about small things.
44. Manage my pain.
45. Surround myself with creative people.
46. Practice, practice, practice.
47. Don't force it.
48. Deal with something once.
49. Trust my instincts.
50. Avoid gossip.
51. Choose to see the best in people.
52. Take time to be silly.
53. Throw my own party.
54. Be a mentor.
55. Lean into my fears.
56. Find the others.
57. Do the unexpected.
58. Don't break the chain.
59. Do things others aren't.
60. Slow down.
61. Be cool with not being cool.
62. Be kinder than necessary and more generous than reasonable.
63. Pretend I'm good at it.
64. Keep in touch.
65. Row my own canoe.
66. Do what only you can do.
67. If it doesn't work out, find something that does.
68. Dream bigger.
69. Notice what's right.
70. Stop talking. Start doing.
71. When in doubt, choose laughter.
72. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
73. Respect everyone.
74. Be early.
75. Delete the unnecessary.

Three Simple Rules

1. If you do not GO after what you want, you will never have it.
2. If you do not ASK, the answer will always be no.
3. If you do not MOVE forward, you will always be in the same place.

All I Need

1. Someone to love.
2. Something to do.
3. Something to hope for.

What I’m Reading

Blood Meridian
by Cormac McCarthy
Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston

U.S. States I’ve Visited

Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
Colorado
Georgia
Florida
Louisiana
Maryland
New Mexico
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Texas
Utah
Virgina

Countries I’ve Visited

Mexico
Colombia
Thailand
Vietnam
Bermuda (British territory)

I write about…