Thursday, April 19, 2012

Learning to Love Myself

Seventeen year old me
In my adult life I've always struggled in some way or form with my self esteem.  Unfortunately, it seems the older I get the more insecure I become.  I feel more pressure from society and acquaintances to be "put together" and not to be the stereotypical mom who's let herself go after getting married and having kids.

In middle school and high school I never really felt this kind of pressure.  I was a self proclaimed nerd and 4-H kid.  Yes, I may have never been even remotely close to being popular, but I was happy.  I admit I had my weak moments where I wished I could be a cheerleader and date football players, but I usually dismissed those fantasies pretty quickly.  First of all, I could barely do a cartwheel, let alone a flip, and I hated wearing skirts, so cheer leading was out of the question.  Secondly, most of the football players at my school were complete dunderheads and partied all the time.  They copied other kids' homework and me being the moral little nerd that I was, was not okay with that, especially since a lot of the time they wanted to copy my work.

No, I was happy with my horses and sheep and other animals.  I practically lived at my horse trainer's house where I boarded my horse.  I went there everyday after school and often stayed into the evening for 4-H meetings.  I worked hard and long and was proud when people noticed that.  i could unload big bales of hay or bags of feed just as well as the trainer's son and I took pride in that.  I won the state championship horse show in my division the summer before my senior year of high school and I remember thinking that was the best anything could get.  I remember being on my horse, about to head into the ring, and just completely turning into myself, steady and centered.  I let a sense of calmness just wash over me, and I knew I was going to kick some serious butt that day.  I visualized everything I was going to do, and then I went into the ring and did it.  I won three classes and placed second in another.  I walked away with a huge belt buckle and a ginormous sense of accomplishment.

Now I wonder where that seventeen year old girl went.  The one who was so happy and sure of herself.  Who was fine with who she was and didn't want to be someone completely different.  I want to find her again.

I've been struggling a lot lately, not only with my self esteem, but with all aspects of my life.  Rex and I have been drifting farther and farther apart lately, being that we are on completely opposite work schedules and weren't seeing each other at all.  I was becoming more and more down on myself and on everything else that was going on in my life.

The past week or so I've really taken a step back and reevaluated me as a person and I really didn't like what I saw.  So I've been making a concentrated effort to be a person that I can be proud of.  More like that seventeen year old girl.  Rex and I have been working on staying closer as a couple.  It's been as simple as sending each other texts saying "I love you" or me going home everyday to eat lunch with him on my break.  Or letting him wake me up to have sex at three o'clock in the morning when he gets home from work instead of just rolling away and grumbling at him to let me sleep. 

With the weather being so warm and pleasant, I've been going outside a lot more.  Just walking out the door helps me calm myself and relax.  To just take a deep breath and smell the grass and flowers and the dew and the clay.  Kylie and I have taken to walking a three mile loop around our neighborhood on the evenings when I'm not at work, and both of us are so re energized afterwards. 
I've also been trying to keep our little trailer cleaner.  The last couple of months I have been horrible about just letting the mess build and build until it got to be overwhelming, but just by cleaning it a little each day, to maintain it, makes me feel so much better.  I get to come home to a clean home, and that's always a good thing, and makes everything seem so much more manageable.

Lastly, and perhaps the hardest for me, is trying not to worry about my appearance so much.  I've always have had horrible, no good skin.  I am super self conscious about it as well, but I hate shelling out the money on expensive products.  I end up buying cheapo drugstore stuff that is good for my budget, but not so good for my skin.  With Rex's encouragement, I'm looking for a good dermatologist to visit to see if they can help my poor skin and to hopefully help clear it up for good or at least make it a lot more manageable.  As Rex says, we do have health insurance for a reason.  I also need to just bite the bullet and go to Sephora or MAC and have a make up artist match me up with a good foundation, one that will be gentle on my skin, match my skin tone, and provide me with the coverage I want.  So that I can go out of the house each day and be confident in how I look. 

I feel that I'm coming closer to accepting that I'm never going to be that perfect, always put together mom.  I can be fine if I don't have my hair straightened each day or if I didn't have time to put eyeliner on.  Even if I time for one little thing, like a cute headband or a nice pair of earrings, that will be enough for me to not feel like a total slob.  I know this is a long and winding road to self discovery and acceptance, but at this point in my life I think I'm okay with it.  As long as I continue to move in the right direction to better myself AND to feel better about myself, I can be content and even happy.

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