Can I be your GRRRL?

Its been an interesting week, my dear readers.

Nothing bad  happened, but my mood has been very low, and I’d been struggling with a lot of self doubt, and self loathing.  All I could think of are the many times I wasn’t “enough,”  and the instances right now where I feel removed from my own life.

But then, I attended a conference that was all about confidence, self love, and changing the world.  You know.  General Bad-Assery.   This conference has already changed my life, and it just ended on Sunday.

Indulge me, if you will, in looking at the thoughts that were coming up the few days before the GRRRL Live Conference.  This is going to be a long post.  Please hang with me.  It will be worth it.  I promise.

Looking back over my life, as far back as I can remember…I’ve never really been the pursued in relationships.  I’ve always been the girl with the crush on the guy that doesn’t know she exists, or only likes her as a friend.  Yes, there have been one or two exceptions, of course, but the vast majority of my memories of being a teenager into my late 20s involve me doing the chasing, me keeping up most of the communications, and me falling in love with guys who just wanted to “have fun” with me, or wanted nothing to do with me.

All of these instances, I recall wondering what was wrong with me?  Why didn’t they want me? Or, why didn’t they want more?  And the reasons…Oh the reasons I came up with:
1.  I’m not pretty enough
2. I’m not thin enough
3.  Not smart enough
4. Not nerdy enough (yes, that one actually went through my mind)
5. Not Christian enough
6. Not “freaky” enough
7.  Not close enough

You get the idea.

If I ever asked anyone, the only answer I ever got was “You’re great, I just don’t feel that way about you.”  No why.  No reason.  Nothing for me to fix or work on.

I had a chat with Morgan about this the other day, as we were heading to have dinner with family, expressing my feelings on this.  I told him that I felt silly for feeling this way…I’m married, I’m happy.  But he pointed out to me that even with him, for the longest time, I was the pursuer.  I wasn’t the first choice.  He said that it had to sting, and still hurt, even though things worked out for us.  He has a point.

I try not to dwell in the past.  In the end, he fell in love with me.  Enough to want to marry me, which he said he’d never do again.
But before all that…it was just another scenario where for years I wasn’t enough.  Strong enough, and other shortcomings.  (Morgan has told me on several occasions that it wasn’t that I wasn’t enough, he just had a different set of priorities then.  I understand that and accept it…but it doesn’t change how I felt back then.)

I can’t help but feel a bit sad about this.
I’ve spent most of my life feeling like I’m not good enough.  So even when I am happy, and I’m married, and am told that I’m enough…I still have days where I don’t feel like I am.  The past comes back to haunt me.

Of course, it bleeds over into other areas of my life too…not just the romantic side of things.  For the last 13 or 14 years, I’ve felt like I’m lacking in the dance department.  Not thin enough.  Not pretty enough.  Not talented enough.  Not connected enough.  Not good enough.  Not good enough to join troupes, not good enough to get paid gigs, not thin or pretty enough to get a restaurant gig…it gets debilitating at times.

There was a trigger to these feelings coming up now, although I’d rather not get into it.
As I said, I’m married and happy.  But it just sucks when you believe something in your gut, and you’re right about it, and then your brain says “See?  You weren’t good enough for that either.”

This concept of self love…of confidence…of being enough…where does it stem from?  Should we base our worth on the opinions of others?  Of being enough for another person or group of people?

I don’t think so, no.  Look at me.  My self worth has been based on if so and so likes me/is interested in me, etc…and its gotten me a whole lot of nothing but depression and doubt.

How then, do we change how we discover our value?  How do we look inside for our worth?  How do we, to borrow from a popular phrase these days, “Stop giving a fuck” about the opinions of others?

In short, how do I become enough for me?

Its a difficult balance, because I don’t want to downplay the opinions of the people I love.  People’s opinions DO matter (to me, anyway), but I get hung up in placing too much emphasis on their opinions instead of my own.

It doesn’t help that I generally have a pretty low opinion of myself a lot these days anyway.  I can’t lose weight.  I’m uncomfortable in my skin, and my clothes.  My clothes don’t fit, and I’ve busted the thighs of 2 pair of pants in the last week.

But…I’m healthy.  I haven’t had kidney problems since the stone was blasted in January.  I don’t have anything wrong with me medically.  My blood pressure, cholesterol, sugars, and thyroid numbers are all spectacular.  If that’s not something to be proud of, I don’t know what is.

Finding a way to love myself is hard.  Its hard for a lot of us.

The best news is…at the conference this weekend, I was given tools to use.  I heard stories from women who have been in the same position that I am.  People who struggled with loving themselves.  Women who hated who they were, hated their bodies.  These women rose above adversity and grew.  They learned to love themselves.  They learned to treat their bodies well.  And now?  They are MMA and UFC fighters.  They are endurance athletes.  They are power lifters who can dead lift over 600 pounds.  They are MFCEOs of amazing companies that are going to CHANGE THE WORLD!

DO IT LIKE A GRRRL
So, this conference was presented by GRRRL Clothing.
If you aren’t aware, get ready, because this is so much more than a clothing line!  I was introduced to GRRRL Clothing by a dear friend online.  I was just starting to get into fitness again, and she knew the struggles I dealt with emotionally, so she messaged me one day and said “I’m adding you to this group.  I think you will benefit from it.  Feel free to leave its not a good fit, but I think you’ll like it.”

Well.  needless to say, I stayed an d loved it.

What I found in the Facebook Group was a ton of women who are committed to building each other up.   To being supportive.
In so many instances, society and other influences pit women against each other.  We’re told that we’re each other’s competition.

And that’s the beautiful thing about GRRRL.  #notyourcompetition is a mantra.  A code of ethics.  A lifestyle.

Think about it.  As women, how many times do we look at each other and think something negative?  “Could those shorts be any shorter?”  “She’s probably had work done.”  “Cocky Bitch, who does she think she is?”

Why do we say those things?  Why can’t we say something positive?  “Look at that girl, owning her amazing legs, and being comfortable in her own body!”   “Damn girl, you look amazing!”  “Look at all that confidence.  That is badass.”

The other AMAZING thing about GRRRL Clothing is, they don’t use traditional sizing for their clothing.
As a line of workout clothes: leggings, sports bras, shorts and tops, all of their sizes are named after badass female athletes, and are based on measurements.
For example:  I am a size Amenah in pants.  Amenah is a power lifter and competes in strongman competitions.  She’s stunningly beautiful, strong, and just generally a badass.  There’s also size Kortney, after the MFCEO of the company.  You have have seen videos of Kortney floating around the internet…she’s pretty well known for CRUSHING WATERMELONS WITH HER THIGHS. She’s a badass.  And…she’s cool as hell.

So, rather than sticking to the stigma of S, M. L, XL, XXL, etc…now women can take their measurements and say “I’m a size Kortney.  Fuck yes!”  Or, with the addition of their newest size:  “I’m a size Sam!  Yes! Samantha Coleman is an incredibly strong woman! That’s amazing!”

Do I sound like I drank the Kool-aid?  I know I do.  But I seriously love and believe in what this company is trying to do for women.  Imagine how incredible the world will be when we can stop tearing other women down, and start building other women up!  Women are FIERCE.  We just need to harness that fierceness and work together.

GRRRL Live 2017: Break Free in LAS VEGAS!
So, now that you have a little background about the company…Kortney and the crew had this incredible idea to hold a conference for the GRRRL Army.  As women, we all struggle with things.  Addiction, eating disorders, depression, self harm…there’s always something going on with us.  Even those of us who have it all together a lot of the times.  No one can be perfect every day.

I’m not going to go into explicit detail about all of the speakers, or the things that were covered for a couple of reasons.
1.  There’s a lot.  Like, I seriously took 4 pages of notes on just ONE of the many speakers that were there over the weekend.
2.  This was a conference that had sold tickets, and I don’t feel right just GIVING away all of the information.   Plus…you know.  There’s always next year if you want in on the awesome scoop.

What I will say is this.
I learned several new tools for helping myself, including one that I started last night:  Putting the fork down in between bites while eating.  Checking in with my body.  Meditations to forgive myself.  Ideas on how to really get in touch with myself on a deep level.
I heard stories from incredible women who have been where I’ve been.  Different circumstances, different problems, but at the root of it:  women who were at rock bottom, and overcame the problems.  Women who are super successful, and happy now.  They found something they were passionate about: whether it was MMA, Running, Power lifting, or Laughing.  They found what they were passionate about and they pursued it, full force.

It was inspiring.

Seeing so many women, feeling the same things.  Processing the same information a bunch of different ways…women breaking down and crying with people they’d never met before.  Being supportive of the brave women who shared their stories…learning that we are enough.  We are not things.  We are not objects.  We are women.

It kept coming back to me that I’m really not alone in my life.  No matter how isolated I might feel sometimes.  I’m not alone.  I have a motherfucking GRRRL ARMY behind me, helping me, supporting me.

And with their support…nothing can stop me.  Nothing.

 

 

Journey into Bullet Journaling…

Yes, its true.

I’ve hopped on “the bandwagon” and started a Bullet Journal.
Someone I know mentioned this lovely little system on a Facebook group I’m a part of, and I was intrigued.  I love journals!  I love planners!  I love keeping track of my time using fun, tried and true methods!  SIGN ME UP!

I have a mild obsession with planners, notebooks, school supplies…I thrill over new pens and markers, I swoon at the scent of new colored pencils, and notebooks?  Give me ALL of them!

I made the mistake of doing a quick google/Pinterest search about bullet journals, (or #bujo for Instagrammers)and was immediately overwhelmed.  So many beautiful pictures of art, doodles, trackers, spreads, layouts!  It was inspiring, but a little frightening at the same time.  I’m not artistic.  Do I need to be artistic to do this?

The good news?  Nope!  You don’t need to have an artistic bone in your body to be a successful bullet journaler!

I watched this handy dandy video, which set my mind at ease.  The actual process for bullet journaling is SO easy, simple,and minimal!  I hope you’ll watch the video, but you basically have monthly, weekly, and daily “logs” where you record tasks, events, and notes.

Bullet Journaling, like so many things, has taken off all over the world.  The awesome thing about it is, its completely open to interpretation and expression.

I’ve modified the set up several times now.  I’ve been using this system for 3 months, and its very helpful in making sure that I take care of things that I tend to forget about.  I’m still working out which layout is best for me.  I felt that daily logs weren’t beneficial, because I’m honestly  not all that busy, but at the moment, weeklies are feeling very small, and like I don’t have enough space for everything that I want to log.  I may have to find a happy medium.  And a bigger notebook!

That’s the other amazing thing about this system.  Unlike other planners you have to order and wait for, you can use literally ANY notebook for this!  Of course, the Bullet Journal website sells notebooks specially designed for this system.  The many Facebook groups I’m a part of (seriously, I’m in 3 or 4 groups JUST for people who Bullet Journal!) tend to recommend Leuchtturm, or Moleskine notebooks.  Some people recommend just a standard Composition Notebook.   Me?  Right now, I’m using this beautiful journal that was gifted to me last Christmas.  This particular journal feels too small for me, but its definitely getting the job done.

A lot of people have asked me “Don’t you have an app for all that?”  “Why not just keep your calendar on your phone?”  “Don’t you hate having to lug a notebook and pen with you all the time?”

The answers, for me, were simple.
1. I don’t have access to my phone all the time.  In fact, the majority of my day, I cannot take my phone out.  At work, I only get to have my phone out during breaks and lunch.  Plus, I really want to start unplugging more.  I feel like I’m attached to my phone when I’m out, and I don’t like that.  I don’t want to add one more thing to the list of reasons why I NEED my phone.
2. I’ve never had much luck getting my calendars to work on my phones anyway: reminders don’t occur, or the events just don’t save.
3.  I always have pens with me anyway, and have you SEEN my purse?  That thing is a bottomless pit of doom.  Carrying one notebook is definitely not going to make a difference in how heavy it is!  Plus, this way, I don’t have random post-it notes floating around my purse anymore.

I love the freedom I feel with this system.  I can keep track of my work schedule, what days I’m working overtime, when my husband has gigs and court dates, etc.  Plus, like many bujo users, I also use mine to keep track of other things like water intake, workouts, knitting projects, and my weight loss!  I’ve also done two monthly challenges that I track as well.

I’ve added a few pictures below, so that you can see the progress I’ve made in my bullet journal.  You can see that I’ve gone from daily logs to a more weekly approach, at least for now, and how things are working for me.  I’ve also included pictures of my tracker pages and challenge pages:  my “No Candy October Challenge” spread, and “No Coffee November” spread.  I had a Countdown to California page where I was able to count down the days before our trip to see our favorite band and go to Universal Studios.  And finally, the spread keeping track of my knitting progress on 6 projects I’m working on.

If you are artistic, you can decorate, draw,  washi tape, etc to your heart’s content. That’s the beauty of this system.   It can be tailored to your liking!

I’ll leave you with the photos.  If you have questions,  let me know!  Check out Instagram and Pinterest for some awesome ideas! please excuse my sloppy handwriting.

This is the “yearly” spread at the beginning of the journal, or the “future log.”

This is what my first two monthly spreads looked like. Simple.

This is the new monthly layout I’m trying.

This was the first daily layout i used.

Slightly different daily. Had some fun trying out a “hand”: the American Horror Story font/hand!

Daily spreads were a little too much, so i moved to a weekly.

My current weekly

Countdown tracker

October’s Challenge: a sticker for every day I didn’t have a candy bar.

“No Coffee November”

My weight tracker!

Fail forward

Fail: 1. To fall short of success or achievement in something expected, attempted, desired or approved. 2. To be or become deficient or lacking; be insufficient or absent; fall short. 3. To dwindle, pass, or die away. 4. To lose strength or vigor; become weak.

 Such a negative word to be on my mind after such a phenomenal weekend. “Fail.” “Failure.”

 Is failure really such a negative thing though? If you stop and think about it, what options do you have when you fail? You can give up, or you can try again.

 Up until recently, the option that I would have picked was give up. I would utter those two words I was so fond of “I’m done” and just give up. What’s the point in trying again? Seriously, especially if its something that you’ve failed at over and over again…if you’re just going to fail again, why bother?

 The problem with that thought pattern, however, is that it very quickly becomes a downward spiral. Soon, you are failing at seemingly everything you try, and then, what becomes the point of even living? So you give up. You give up trying, you give up hoping…and when that happens, most people end up trying something really foolish and stupid.

 Not this girl.

 This girl saw the pattern beginning. I saw myself “failing at everything I tried.” But the problem wasn’t that I was really failing. I wasn’t really trying. Even more to the point, I wasn’t “doing.” Yoda’s famous words are so very true: “Do or do not. There is no try.”

You either make things better, or you don’t. You either communicate, or you don’t. You either change or you don’t.

 Does this mean that when you realize that you’re not “doing,” that you suddenly succeed at everyting you attempt? Of course not. Sometimes you continue to fail. It doesn’t mean that you need to stop “doing” or “trying.” You just have to do something different. If you want different results, you can’t continue to do the same thing over and over again…that would be the definition of insanity, folks.

 And so, on this lovely Monday morning…I have failed. I have failed in an effort to communicate, and in an effort to control my emotional side.

But I’m not giving up.

What I realized is that the assumptions that I made were incorrect. Therefore, I will not be making them again. Not in the way that I did anyway. I will make more informed decisions, but not assumptions.

If I give up, then what is the point?

Its in the trying again, the doing something different to get the desired result…THAT is where life happens!

And so, I have accepted my failure today. I have allowed myself a few moments to wallow in the defeat. And I am moving on.

Back when I was a church-goer, my old youth pastor used to say “If you’re going to fail, fail forward.” Sound advice. Go ahead and fail. But learn from it. Learn from it, and don’t go back.

And whatever you do, don’t give up.