Threads + Thoughts | Comparison is the Thief of Joy

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Oh, hey there, Internet. Good to see you again. It has been a while, hasn’t it? Sorry I went all MIA on you. But look! I’m compensating with a photo of me attempting to look sexy and smirky in this rad little shift dress I scored on a Thrift. It’s the perfect weight, length and cut for summer, plus it’s super versatile and looks great paired with damn near anything.  I have a feeling I’m going to be rocking this well into the autumn months (though
 the entire concept of seasons in Southern California is sort of a joke). 

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To be perfectly honest, part of the reason I am so few and far between on the outfit photos is because they are really hard for me. I feel so silly, primping and preening for the camera, even now, after all this time. Even when I have someone else to take my photos, I feel so stilted and unsure of myself as soon as I sense the lens on me. I suppose there is an element of insecurity, the worry of how I look. There are still days where I struggle to like my appearance, still days where I worry that I’m an ugly girl and that self consciousness is particularly keen when I’m in front of the camera.

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A part of the reason I started my style blog was because I realized I avoided cameras. There are huge chunks of my youth in which not a single photo of me exists because I hated having my picture taken. For years I would either flee the room or pull a face whenever a camera pointed in my direction. I still have a hard time smiling for photos, because I think I look like a complete goober when I smile. Hence the eternal RBF (Resting Bitch Face) in all my photos. I know how silly that is, particularly since I spent 2.5 years in braces and get compliments on my smile all the time…but it’s just one of those things, ya know? There’s probably some carryover insecurity from the Before Braces era, when I was a snaggle-toothed little kid who covered her mouth when she smiled.

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I’m still coming to terms with the way that I look. Every day there is the comparison, the concern that I am not pretty enough or not as pretty as someone else. I rarely doubt my own intelligence or sense of humor, but my looks? That is something I am constantly questioning. As I was editing these photos, that nasty, inner critic we all have started doing it’s thing. Gosh, your face is boring. Shouldn’t I have a thigh-gap? Are my knee caps fat? Why in gods name am I concerned about the fatness of my knee caps?? It’s all so silly and trivial and superficial. Who am I comparing myself to? Whose standard of beauty am I not measuring up to? Why am I enforcing that standard on myself?

Recently, the ever lovely and encouraging Gala Darling posted this image on her Facebook page and the sentiment hit me like a fistful of glitter. Just stop. Stop comparing yourself to other people, stop evaluating yourself based on someone else. Here’s a little secret; you never measure up. So just stop doing it. It reminded me of another quote I love, and one I’ll leave you (and my inner critic) with.

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Dangerous Thoughts | Don’t Forget To Ask “Why The F*ck Not?”

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I’ve been having this thought a lot lately. Reconsidering these strange notions I have about what I can and cannot do. The limitations I put on myself, for no other reason than I am afraid or unsure. I’ve realized that most of my life I have allowed by doubts and insecurities to get the best of me. I’ve allowed a sense of crippling inferiority or inadequacy to dominate so much of my life that I find myself, at twenty six, utterly and completely adrift. My goals and ambitions put off and self-sabotaged by a serious lack of self esteem and commitment.

But lately. the narrative in my head has changed a bit. I am suddenly feeling compelled to ask this question; Why not me? Why can’t I have everything I want? Why can’t I achieve the goals I set for myself? Why haven’t I allowed myself to be the person I so desperately want to be. And, invariably, the answer is always just that. Because I haven’t allowed myself to. Because I’ve allowed my self-doubt and insecurity to trample my intentions and ideas. Because I’ve put aside my long term goals for short term pleasures. Because I haven’t really pushed myself past the procrastination and the uncertainty and allowed myself to see just what I am capable of.

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I’ve read a million and one self help articles, I’ve consumed every magazine I come across that promises to transform my life and make me into the person I ought to be, and while I’ve retained some valuable information that will surely help me along the way, I havn’t gotten a step further along that path. Why? Well, the answer is both incredibly simple and incredibly embarrassing. There is only one reason I’ve not achieved every thing I’ve ever imagined for myself and it’s Me.

There are aspects of my personality I am not proud of; a tendency towards laziness and procrastination. A stubborn streak that makes a mule look obliging. A short fuze and a fiery temper that burns straight through the filter on my brain, so that I say things in anger that I usually regret later. A generally poor sense of self confidence and a serious issue with perfectionism and fear of making mistakes, or worse yet, failing. This all ties together into a lovely little package of anxiety and self doubt that has made it nearly impossible for me to finish or achieve anything. I am constantly second guessing, putting off, or talking myself out of projects and ideas which might, if given the proper attention and effort, be wildly successful. I become so consumed with minutiae and getting every little thing perfect, that no real progress is ever made. I grow frustrated easily, my impatience for results or immediate gratification frequently results in a “well, fuck it” attitude that’s gotten a whole lot of nothing accomplished.

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So, this quote from my girl Mindy Kaling is my new mantra. Why the fuck not me? Why the fuck can’t I go after what I want? Why the fuck can’t I do and achieve and be any goddam thing I want? Give me one good reason….and then I suppose the key is to ignore my overly critical brain and just go and do the damn thing. So maybe I’ll mess up. So what? At least I will have tried. At least I will have given it my all. That’s worth a hell of a lot more than just holding all these ideas and ambitions in my head and not doing a thing with them. It’s certainly more satisfying.

PS; Pardon all the cursing, I’ve got a wicked potty mouth. 

Images via ShopAnnShen, Adam Trageser, LoveThisPic

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