Miss Musings

A modern miss provides commentary on sociological and psychological issues concerning politics, the media, literature, and everyday observances.

#TreatYourself, epiphanies, and the art of being Elsa

This piece started as a Facebook post, then it was fully drafted in an email with no subject line or recipient. I figured that no one in particular needed to read these thoughts of mine, so, naturally, I posted them on the internet.

Over the past summer I noticed that I was not a very happy camper; I was about to start college (whoo!), but I felt dependent and helpless. I couldn’t drive, I wasn’t taking care of myself, I lost my flexibility, my heart was empty and in need of a rebound, blah blah. I realized that I had completely lost touch with who I was and where I was going. Therefore I did what any lonely girl would do – read inspirational quotes and eat chocolate. I read one quote from a role model of mine, Gloria Steinem, which changed my perspective tremendously:

“We must become the men we want to marry.”

I am not a sentimental person all the time. When people would say “THIS BOOK/QUOTE CHANGED MY LIFE” I would roll my eyes. But this quote you just read gutted my mind. Wow. I was seeking to meet the people, particularly the guy, that I wanted to BE.

Pivotal. I stopped focusing on myself in search of self-actualization… yet I was only distracting myself from my own flawed perspective. Little did I know I had been doing this for at least a year, probably more. I dropped my laptop in surprise (kidding, I love this thing), and got to work on mission: be your own #flawless self, by doing the following things:

1. Yoga. I CAN BEND MY BODY IN COOL WAYS. I CAN FOCUS ON MY BREATHING, EVEN THOUGH I HAVE AWFUL ALLERGIES. EUREKA, THAT IS THE SPOT!!

2. Reading every day. I used to dislike reading because I am impatient, but now I see why I love books: you don’t have to look at beautiful actors and feel self-pity or turn the volume up-and-down. I read fiction, non-fiction, auto-biographies, and the news. I feel mentally fly.

3. Coding every day. I am going into computer science and was always a bit put off by the techy people who knew how to code everything ever. Instead of wallowing, I started using codecademy to learn new skills and brush up on old ones. Now I can make pretty glowing buttons using jQuery! Activate #STEMFemme super powers!!!

4. Learning a language. I signed up for Duolingo and do lessons in French and Spanish every day. Both of these are languages of the United Nations, which I fell in love on my trip to New York City, so I wanted to at least learn to say more than “Bonjour” and “Hola.”

5. Learning to drive. I was bad at driving for three years and just gave up on it, and in doing so, limited my freedom, adulthood, and individuality. So I began driving consistently and got way better at the mechanics of driving – I have even driven to downtown Orlando! Learning to drive has empowered me in unexpected ways, so I urge you to challenge yourself and do one thing every day that scares you (Eleanor Roosevelt quote).

As I heal myself from a life of self-limitation and underestimation, I gain pride in who I am and simultaneously stop caring so much about how I present who I am to others. But enough about me; this post was meant to help you. I am no Gloria Steinem and I am way too verbose, but I thought I’d lend you 26 quick, meme-worthy, sentence-long nuggets of wisdom I have gained during my coding/French/yoga sessions.

  • Instead of learning to shape society, we should learn to stop letting it control us.
  • If you do not try to own something, no one can steal it.
  • Your greatest insecurity will one day be the world’s greatest trend.
  • Just because you can operate properly does not mean you are over everything bad that has happened to you.
  • Venting is restricted flow.
  • Both love and pain are mental constructs, and you can control which one is greater than the other.
  • Just because you pick your battles does not mean you are a doormat.
  • You are not a paradox – you are balanced.
  • Love is flexible and undefinable and not designed for you to understand.
  • Jealousy indicates distrust and should not be felt in love. If it is felt, it is not love.
  • You are your worst enemy and your greatest ally.
  • You cannot change everything or waste energy being mad at social structure.
  • However, you can morph your own structure.
  • Trust that most people are dishonest sometimes.
  • Make yourself feel special.
  • Superheroes have unnatural superpowers… supermodels have?
  • You are not fat. You have fat. Everyone has fat. Everyone is “fat.”
  • Worry about your appearance. Motivate yourself. Then love what comes out of motivation.
  • Accept authority under most circumstances.
  • Stop complaining; it inhibits.
  • Do not settle. 7 billion people. You’ll find “the one” and your true friends.
  • Try not to change, because change is organic. If you try to control who you become, you will make the process of transitioning difficult.
  • Do not ask people not to pigeon-hole you. They will just pigeon-hole you as too sensitive and move on.
  • Pride is not shameful, it’s healthy.
  • I am not defined by how I was born but by what I do every day.
  • I love you. I love me too, though. Maybe me a little bit more. But it is okay because you should love you. Don’t make others do all the work. They won’t.
Finally, love is not about control, it is about relinquishing it. It is about trust. Loving yourself means taking care of yourself and letting yourself bloom out of your own two feet. Loving others is letting them do their thing and knowing inside that they won’t hurt you. I am a control-freak, admittedly, but I am learning to let the leaves change every year and the sun come up every day without my help or personal contribution. The world spins even when your world crashes down, and all you can do is enjoy the ride some higher power takes you on.
Namaste, go with Beyonce, and make like Elsa and –
let it go

Give up something you love right now

Most people don’t know I did ballet for eight years. The people who do often ask, “hey, do you still dance?” I am still working on my response, which is currently an empty “no.”

There is nothing I worked harder at in my life than my dance technique. I remember acting as a robot each day – stretching, doing yoga, practicing routines, even running home after a rehearsal to videotape the choreography I learned so I wouldn’t forget in the middle of a routine. While I enjoyed dancing, I began to realize that, as with any relationship, it is very easy to fall in love, and much trickier to notice when you fall out.

I began dance because I wanted to be like Barbie in The Nutcracker: beautiful, blonde, skinny, stretchy… but the journey to Barbiedom was a painful and difficult one. Discipline was something I possessed, but breaking down my entire body in order to perform certain moves, lifting people off the ground, and hearing constant critique over the fact that I couldn’t point my feet enough or “stick my tail under” became inordinately hard to accept. The embarrassment of forgetting combinations or being unable to stay on my box in my pointe shoes was something everyone had to fight through, in a way, and it was not an enjoyable battle. At the time I felt like I was achieving little successes and winning the fight against the physically improbable – the shoes, the body, the perfect bun. However, near the end of my journey, I began to doubt if the struggle to be perfect was really something worth engaging in.

When someone you love makes you stare in the mirror each day, wishing for constant improvement, or tells you that you are going to have to work for their attention, you would probably recognize that the person you fell for is not your perfect match. Sometimes, the pointe shoe does not always fit.

So, I stopped doing ballet. Perfectionism was something I worried about for years. Impressing people and performing with grace and power can make you stronger, think faster, and be better… but after a while, you have to realize the journey has a destination, and at that destination, you must realize you have come as far as you wanted to.

Giving up on something you love, or even just taking a break, can be healthy; it can even help you better understand what your goals are with what you love, and if they are worth continuing to reach toward. In the words of our hypeorlando prompt this week, giving up and moving forward can be the “road not taken.” The gravel path to personal achievement and pride, one that hosts only kind words and empowering memories, is the road less traveled by, but should always be taken with a satisfied strut.

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Learning to love being ‘quirk-tastic’

If you commented on my thick eyebrows a few years ago, I would probably have clammed up right in front of you. I would react the same way if you mentioned my size 10 feet, my super-pale-vampire skin, and that one zit on my nose that won’t go away. Truthfully, the list of “flaws” goes on a lot longer… but I only remember this list because I absolutely love most of these qualities now.

 

Just do it - you're going to have to eventually!

Just do it – you’re going to have to eventually! Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wwwchorboogiecom/13973577183/

 

Accepting quirks I once had problems with did not happen overnight. I plucked my eyebrows, stared at the omnipresent zit, and even bought self-tanner (which only made me look like my mom’s carrot juice bottle). In fact, I did not really have any breakthroughs until my mom put a quilt over my mirror, banning me from looking at it except to make sure my hair was brushed in the morning. I was thirteen at the time.

Surprisingly, this act was all my transformation needed to get rolling. I didn’t have to belt out one more lyric of “Let It Go” or “Skyscraper,” nor did I have to read a self-help book for teenagers. Instead, I started seeing myself through my own eyes, not through a mirror.

Later I learned that my feet resembled not only my father’s, but my grandfather’s, a WWII veteran. Now I take a lot of pride in their shape, and yes, even their size. My pale skin is near iridescent at the beach, but after I heard about the skin cancer outbreaks among my family and teachers, I felt great about using sunscreen obsessively. And my eyebrows? I don’t even notice their bushiness anymore. Frankly, I don’t even care.

The most notable landmark on my journey to self acceptance is realizing how many people have issues with themselves. The very people I might have envied a few years ago for their slim figures or non-frizzy hair are the ones who wish they were curvier or had curly hair. We all want what we can’t have, which is why desiring a quality that makes someone else who they are is pretty illogical.

My advice would be to hold onto your flaws. Cherish them. Love them up. Don’t even call them flaws – call them differentiation devices or special quirks. You can even cover up your mirror and start seeing yourself for who you are, not what you look like. Finally, if you do change yourself by plucking your eyebrows or trying to tan, realize that you are not at your final destination on the road to loving yourself. Eventually you will return to your roots, just as I did, and you might even grow fond of the traits you currently detest.