Tag Archives: Confidence

My Gut Tells Me To Apologize For Writing This (But I’m Not Going To)

Apparently, I apologize a lot.

I’m not just talking about when I actually need to; when I’ve messed up and I need to own up to my own mistakes. I’m talking about all the time. The phrase “I’m sorry” is apparently one of the main elements in my lexicon, to the point that I hardly even notice how often I use it; how that phrase encompasses and follows every aspect of my life. I’ll apologize for what I just said. How I act. What I think. Things out of my control. I never realized how often I apologized, until a friend of mine snapped, “Damn, quit saying “you’re sorry” all the time.” His snap caught me off guard and I’m sure, the intuitive human that you are, you guessed how I responded. Instinctively, without a blink.

“Sorry,” I muttered.

And he just stared at me, his expression the very definition of incredulous as he responded, “Seriously?”

But it’s not just the phrase “I’m sorry” that reflects how often I apologize. I’ll say things like, “Sorry to bother you, but…” or “I don’t mean to distract you,” or “I know I’m burdening you, however…”. The most ironic thing? I usually say these things when I’m texting someone. When we’re simply talking. I never realized how often I did this, because it was so instinctual; a reflex, more than anything else.

Now that I notice, I see how harmful it is.

I’ve always struggled with my own opinion of myself, but I’ve grown and made a lot of strides in loving myself. Yet this is a very clear sign that there are still some negative thoughts and opinions rooted deep, expressed by my apparent need to apologize for my own existence (because now that I’ve noticed it, I apologize for everything). I know I’ve never had a lot of confidence, but it really shows here.

Which is sad, because I should have a little confidence. I should believe in myself more than always feeling the need to apologize for things that, half the time, I’m not even actually sorry for or ashamed about. Instead, subconsciously, I feel like I should be, hence the apology, e.g., That text was more than two lines, so obviously you’re being too much of a burden. Apologize. You’re wanting to talk about something that’s been on your mind and it’s taking up a lot of their time, so obviously you’re bothering them. Apologize. You’re eating pop-tarts they specifically bought for you because you’re hungry and they offered. Apologize. You sneezed. Apologize. 

I hope you’re catching my drift, here.

It’s a bit ridiculous, to be honest.

I’m not saying I need to become this cocky arsehole that is full of herself, but I do owe myself a bit more confidence that this meek, apologetic projection that I put off. I actually really like who I am. I like my quirks and my naivety (lack of street smarts) and my nerdiness and my traditionalist mindset and my positivity and everything else in-between. So why am I constantly apologizing for it, especially subconsciously? Not only am I doing a disservice to myself, projecting a person that I don’t want to be, but it’s also exhausting and at times, infuriating, to those who have to listen to the apologies the most. They shouldn’t have to constantly reaffirm their good opinions of me or remind me that it’s okay, I actually didn’t do anything wrong and the apology is unnecessary. Instead, that affirmation should come from within me. I should know that I’m not burdening my friends when I want to talk. I should know that when I’m texting someone and having a conversation, I don’t have to apologize for blocks of text. Hell, we’re actually just doing what friends do: communicating. So what if my humor is a little weird and my interests are a lotta nerdy? I should take pride in those things. Always.

So I’m glad I realized that this is an area of improvement that I can focus on; a lingering effect from all those years of me hating myself and thinking–and believing–too many toxic lies about myself. I know I’ll still apologize for a lot of unnecessary things, but now I can at least actively work on it as I continue to strive to love myself in every aspect and capacity. Thanks for listening, friends. (<–Last line written after backspacing a sentence apologizing for the need to write this post in the first place.)

Cheers.


The World Ahead…

Friends! Today* is my birthday!

Birthdays are crazy things, especially as you get older. I turned 24. My age is only reflected in the amount of bills I owe and the amount of “real world job experience” I have on my resume, as physically, some people still mistake me for a high school student (why? just why?), emotionally, I have the spirit of a Grandma while most of my interest and hobbies will always remain in the realm of a teenage gamer. But, the reality of it is it, I was born in 1992, 24 years ago. And it has me all contemplating.

Naturally, another year older, I looked back at the year I lived as a 23 year old. It was definitely a crazy, emotional and eventful year for me: graduated from college; went to grad school; move out of state; dropped out of grad school; moved back home; wrote four books; read hundreds more; became a more dedicated gamer; got my first post-college job; got my first apartment and the bills that follow it; became a bit more introverted and a little bit more of a loner as an adult. So many life changes, so many adventures, so many challenges, so many regrets, so many memories, so much happiness and heartbreak and stress and relief.

Of course, now that my birthday’s over, I’m thinking about what the future year might bring and I am utterly clueless. How many jobs will I end up working? Will I advance in my career or stay stagnant? How many books will I write? Will I query at all? Will I become represented? Will I renew my lease or have a change of scenery? Will I fall in love? Will my dreams come true? Will I cry myself to sleep? Will I…?

The list is endless.

I do know this, though: I want to be better to myself. I want to be more genuine in reflecting who I really am. I want to be fearless.

My life, like anyone’s, has been built upon ups and downs and has been shaped by so many aspects. Along the way, it has taken a really, really long time to discover myself and who I truly believe I am. The past few years, especially, I have discovered leaps and bounds about myself; about what I want in life; about who I want to be. And it’s taken me a long time to realize that I shouldn’t hide that woman from the world, nor should I apologize to the world about who exactly that woman is.

Because, truthfully, I love her.
Yet, just as truthfully, I have spent so much of my life hating her.
Hating myself.

A year from now, if I live to be 100, I’ll have lived a quarter of my life. A quarter of my life, gone and lived and in the past, like a blink. I refuse to spent the rest of it degrading and damaging myself simply because I refuse to fit into a mold society wants to me to fit, thus supposedly deeming myself lesser, unworthy, not good enough, because of that deviation.

No bloody longer.

My name is Nicole. I’m 24 years old. I’m a writer by birth, a storyteller by trade. I am weird, odd, quirky. I claim the title nerd with honor and pride. I am a walking juxtaposition in so many regards. And as early as middle school, I have hated myself, mostly influenced by my physical appearance, but also because I didn’t think the person I was, the person I have grown into and become, was worthy of anything; even though deep down, I knew that I loved myself. I wanted to love myself. But how could I, when society constantly spoke otherwise; when I allowed myself to be ruled by numbers on a scale or on clothes; when depression reared and loneliness overruled?

This is my life and I am so tired of being ruled by fear, being boxed in by societal expectations and categories that I don’t fit, of hating myself when all I want to do is love. My body is curvy and my face is plain. My opinions are stubborn and my views spoken. My hobbies are passions that are expressed with enthusiasm. My soul is old and my beliefs traditional. I love fully and intensely. My skin is inked. My conversations are in-depth. My standards and expectations are high.

All of these aspects of myself, I have hated, feared or questioned because of how the world responds: with distaste, with dissatisfaction, with disapproval. There are plenty more that didn’t make it into that list. Yet they are also all aspects that, if I am so totally and utterly honest, I actually love about myself. Deep, deep down, I knew this. Yet I never gave myself permission to fully accept and embrace this self-love; to express myself without apology or explanation for who I am to my core and ooze confidence powered by love.

Dammit, I am 24 years old. I think it is high time I allowed myself to love myself.

I have no idea what my 24th year will bring; what my future holds, how my life will change or twist or contort or challenge me or reward me or break me or mold me. But I do know this: I am sick and tired of hating myself when I am worthy of love. Not only love from my friends–which is felt–or my family–which is cherished–or from a soulmate–which is craved–but from myself.

Which is deserved and desperately overdue.

Cheers.

* So I posted this technically on the 4th, even though my birthday was on the 3rd. And regardless of when I posted it, you could be reading this at any point, so the statement is pretty much null and void no matter which way you look at it. So sue me.


Restoring Faith in Yourself

As many know, I’m trying to make working out a part of my lifestyle. I started mid-January and did pretty well. Then, Spring Break hit. I used that week and literally took the week off. I didn’t work out (except for one day), I didn’t do homework, nothing (besides March Madness and my bracket busting in the first round, my productivity level was zero). And that was okay with me. But then I came back to school and found that I was unmotivated to continue to work out. My work outs, meant for the mornings, got later in the day, until eventually, they stopped happening at all.

For roughly these past two weeks, they stopped happening.

I was down on myself. I looked in the mirror and tried desperately to avoid it. I got on the scale back home and to my great disappointment, those six pounds I lost crept back. I was right back where I started, yet I had worked out for nine weeks straight. Discouraging is an understatement. Every day, I would tell myself I should work out. I should log my food. I should eat better.

But the results weren’t there. I couldn’t see them. I could only see the things that I really needed to work on. And the whispers returned. The You can’t do this; the you’re not good enough; the this is impossible. And I kept getting reminded that I’m going to be at the beach soon and I can already feel the shame and guilt surrounding my body surfacing. Two-piece or one-piece? Will I have made enough progress by then? Plus, a lot of people around me are trying to lose weight, too. And they constantly bring it up, talking about how they are eating bad, they need to eat better. They need to lose weight. They are too fat. They should be at the gym.

All these people, talking about all the things they need to change about their bodies, when in fact, they are all healthier and skinnier than I am.

How am I supposed to read that?

I began to feel suffocated under this constant strain of getting healthy. Everywhere I turned, eating better and working out was either being talked about or thought about. And everywhere I turned, I continued to see my own failure. In a discussion with a great friend, I was told in a honest moment that yeah, losing 20 pounds would be good for you; 40 would be ideal, given your height and age, but 20 is a good start; a needed start.

20 pounds? 20? How could I manage 20 when I can’t even manage 6?

Things were growing darker. I began to panic, feeling overwhelmed. I always viewed losing weight as a way to become beautiful, instead of focusing on getting healthier. But my health, if I continue the way I am now, is actually at risk. My eyes were opened to that and it freaked me out. It meant my failure was even worse than it was before.

Graduation and the summer — the season of bikinis and way too much exposed flesh — continue to creep closer and closer with every day. And I’ll want to take pictures, then. I’ll want to look nice at my grad party, take pictures with friends before I lose them. I’ll want to take pictures on our last guaranteed family vacation. And I didn’t want to hate the way I look in those pictures. I had to lose the weight. I had to. But I couldn’t find the motivation, not after seeing that scale, not after facing my failure and accepting it.

Then, today, I got back from a meeting around 8:30 or so. Before I could think, I quickly changed my clothes into workout attire, grabbed the “Core Speed” video from T-25, and threw it on my laptop. I’m stubborn. I knew once I started the video, I was going to finish it. So I made sure I didn’t have any other option, I made sure I didn’t have any time to talk myself out of it. And I worked out. You would think two weeks of not working out wouldn’t make that much of a difference, but I couldn’t complete half the workout, I was breathing so hard. I went through two bottles of water. By the end, I sweat so much my hair was literally matted against my head, drenched as if I had just showered.

But I had finished it.

And I felt strong. I felt my muscles working. I felt good. 

You see, I got so fixated on the number on the scale, so fixated on the number that I want to reach, and the great distance between them, that I didn’t stop to think about where I was at now, what I have already accomplished. Could those six pounds have been six pounds of muscle added? Maybe. Were those six pounds a sign that while you can work out with the best of them, if you don’t fuel your body right, you aren’t going to reach your goals? Definitely. But, I was working towards it. I had worked out for over 60 days in a row. I went from never working out to keeping up with Shawn T (as much as anyone can actually “keep up” with that mad man). I was completing what I set out to do. But instead of the next step (working on my food intake as well as working out), I was only focusing on a goal, and how it wasn’t happening quick enough.

Sure, do I wish I could wear a dress at graduation and not feel self-conscious about it? Yep. Do I wish I could wear a two-piece bathing suit and not feel like a beached whale? You betcha. I focused on those events alone and raced against an impossible clock. I’m not going to transform myself the way I want to by the time I graduate; by the time I go on vacation; hell, even by the time Christmas comes around. I won’t have reached my goal.

But I will have made progress. But only if I keep working.

So lost was I in the desire for results to be immediate that I lost sight of my real goal: I want to be beautiful. I want to be lean. I want to be healthy. I want to be strong. Like I tell myself all the time, I’ve created this body for 22 years. It is going to take a couple years — and plenty of failures and missteps along the way — to reach my vision that I have for myself. And I do have a vision, a great one; an obtainable one. But not a immediate one.

For the past two weeks, I forgot that.

Tonight, after I worked out and showered, I wrote something on my wrist: Vision over Mind. I want it to serve as a reminder; a reminder that I’m not racing against any sort of clock, but instead working to make a lifestyle change. A reminder that I’m doing this to be healthy and happy. A reminder I am doing this to prove to myself that I can. A reminder that there are going to be days where I don’t work out and days that I eat way too many calories, and I enjoy every bite (and rightfully so). A reminder that while the scale is one sign of health, it isn’t the only sign, and at the end of the day, my weight is just a number. A reminder that I have a vision for myself, a vision of myself, and who I can rise up to be; and I have the strength, the endurance, the perseverance, the stubbornness, the will, to make that vision come to life.

All I have to do is shut off my mind, shut off my self-doubt, my despairs, my disbelief, my impatience, my fear. And once I do that, anything is possible.

So, I say onward! And congrats on reaching my first failure. Here’s to many more, alongside all of the exciting successes, awaiting me on this journey.

Cheers,

Nicole