Learning to Love Myself


You know how they say, "You have to love yourself first before you love anyone else"? That's bullshit. Absolutely, in no way, is that true. I've spent my entire life loving & devoting myself to other people. Real love. Which is great for me. I fulfill my need to love others & others get to be loved by someone else. However, I've been lacking on myself my entire life. Growing up, I cannot remember someone in my family telling me that I'm beautiful. I wasn't the prettiest in the bunch people. I had (and still have) crooked teeth, hair in places they shouldn't be & I was incredibly scrawny. I wonder how different my self-esteem would be right now if I heard that I was beautiful rather than only hear that I was unique. I mean, I faced the facts. I was not conventionally appealing to look at. I looked like a boy up until I was 17 & the Army helped me gain weight and chisel out an appearance & it also gave me boobs. So really, I've been living with the new me for 10 years when I had the mind of an awkward child for 17. Within these new 10 years, 4 of them consisted of having a good body. The rest changed because I had a child and I had to battle with self-acceptance all over again. 

We all have inner demons we are constantly trying to fix. Every day, I force myself to look in the mirror and accept myself. Accept my age. Accept the changes to my body, to my face. I've always had a double chin & started noticing my face drooping & looking pretty harsh. I mentioned it to my boyfriend the other day which was a huge mistake. I live with a man who seems to snub his nose at the mention of plastic surgery or anything that can change my face for the better. I had been looking into Thermage in the Dallas area only to find that a.) It is expensive and b.) Once you start, you pretty much have to keep going. What does my boyfriend really expect? I AM A WOMAN. I should feel beautiful all the time. Men don't have to be beautiful. They don't wear makeup to cover their deformities. If they gain weight, women might still look at them as long as they have money. They have the power in the self acceptance department. Response from my boyfriend when I told him my face was droopy:

"What do you expect? We are getting older. You look beautiful to me."

Shut up. Do you not realize that as I age, my hooded eyelids will fall even more? I mean, they cover my eyeballs already! I'm only 27! By the time I'm 35, I'll have to lift my eye lid skin up every time I want to see something! Peek-a-boo! Next time, I'll talk to a women about the insecurities regarding outer appearance. On this topic, men just do not understand nor do I think they even want to. 

Let's continue on to my inner being. I have always been an oddball. I love that about me. It's one thing that people just don't get. "You're so confusing! You like everything, I never know what to get you!" Being an oddball in society is kind of a battle. I posted on my old blog how it just seemed so much easier to conform. Which made me feel like an absolute fraud. Now, I literally yell FRAUD! in my head when I'm doing something that just isn't me. Oooh cute hipster glasses. FRAUD! Let me check out this Lana Del Rey song. FRAUD! Maybe I should do a DIY post, FRAUD! I really like those brown, FRAUD! Maybe I should buy, FRAUD! But I kind of, FRAUD!

This FRAUD warning system in my head has been incredibly useful recently. Sometimes, you can get sucked into what other bloggers are doing. Example, nail polish. I do not like painting my nails. I have pretty, skinny piano fingers that I ONLY like wearing French tips on or nothing at all. The painted nails infatuation exploded on Instagram & I was encouraged by my boyfriend (who LOVES when I paint my nails) to try it. I started buying nail polish even though I knew it would chip off the next day. I mean, I have working hands. I have to wash them consistently during the day at work. Now I'm looking at these chipped nails, asking myself WHY. Once I'm done with this post, I'm marching into the bathroom to remove this fugly polish. 

I never use to FRAUD myself. I just accepted it. I've think I've had a rebirth. I think my real self is just ready to come out so it shouts out me when I'm doing something unlike myself. Which is really great to be honest. I want to like myself again. I want to like being who I am and not freak out when someone gives me a side eye or criticizes my choices. I was never like that. 

I'm sure that once I feel like my old self, I will still have inner battles. Even my old self had inner battles. We're always trying to self improve, whether it be in your inner or outer being. I just really need to find different ways to tell myself that it is okay. Genuine self-improving is not damaging. It doesn't mean, I don't love myself. Negative criticism on my body ("Your belly is disgusting") hurts the progress to love myself. I always forget that I blew up like a balloon & popped out a 9lb baby, that I absolutely love. 

I recently came across a self-love challenge while watching a documentary. 

"I accept myself, unconditionally, right now."

You're suppose to do this two times a day, for thirty days, while looking in the mirror. Towards the end of your thirty days, your mind will start to change its way of thinking. The negative thoughts will slowly back away and let positive thoughts about yourself step forward. I challenge you all to try it. We all need a little self love improvement. Hell, I know I do or I wouldn't have rambled on in this post about things I don't like about myself. Probably should have talked about the things I do like. Maybe I'll write back in thirty days & see if the next self-love/self-acceptance post is a bit more positive than this one. Yea, I think I'll do that.

Do you have any advice on self-love? Have you tried anything that has actually worked to love yourself more? I'd really love to hear about it if you have. 

Plus, I'm kind of sick of writing blog posts about "I wish" or "finding myself". Half the time I write, I just want to scream, "Girl, suck IT UP & get on with yourself." So please people, help a girl be less "poor me" and more "go me". It's time to actually live my life rather than keep reflecting on it.  I mean, I've done some shitty things in life but damn, can a girl get some courage to boast about herself? Let's do this. Let's progress. #teamgome

That one time I use to live in Alaska


This is how I know the Northwest and I were meant to be. I miss Alaska. While a lot of sadness belongs in my memories when I think of that place, a lot of beauty is there also. Stumbling along in my passport to get a few pictures of my son, I came across these photos that I took while there. I mean, sure I have a ton but I'm not about to fill up this entire page with such beauty (or am I?). A lot of you remember my blog days as My Dear Jenn/ A Cup of Jenn, so I'm sure you'll remember these pictures but let's reminisce on the prettiness, shall we? I mean, how many of us can say we've been to Alaska as well as lived there for well over a year? I can and I think it's a highlight in my life so far. One deserving of being re-lived. 

The above picture is what interior Alaska looks like in May. My sister and I took one last road trip before leaving there to come back to Texas. I loved taking dashboard pictures. These pictures will never be able to justify how big and grand those mountains were. Alaska's mountains were the first ones I've ever experienced seeing & they are absolutely the reason why I'm in love with mountains now. Forget the ocean, the mountains are where it's at. Do you get overwhelmed seeing majestic parts of nature? I do. I whimper like a little puppy. 

Speaking of majestic things that make me cry, look at this crappy picture of what made me scream at nature for the first time in my life:

No, really. I rolled down the window and screamed in excitement. OOOHHH MYYYY GODDD!!!! <--That's me, screaming out the window. The Northern Lights. If only I knew what the hell I was doing with my camera then. If you'd like to see better pictures of the magic the aurora borealis provides, click here. <--I highly suggest clicking there to experience the awe before continuing on. Susan actually lived in the same location as I did when I was in Alaska and I found her while browsing for local bloggers. Her images are breathtaking!

I remember taking a lot of my pictures on this trail in my backyard where I would walk down to my sisters house. Many memories reside here. It's the place where I discovered that low and high bush cranberries smelled like wet dog & where my sister had her first encounter with a moose. 

Let's throw in my sisters cute puppy for the heck of it:

Fourth of July at my neighbors house:

And a few more pictures I love to tie up this post:

And last but not least, my favorite picture from Alaska. It was the first time I had ever gone to Mt. McKinley and the first time I saw mountains up close and personal. While I'm sure it's not the best picture that I own, it will always be my favorite because it was the first. It was the first picture I used to identify myself with the blogging world as well. It will always have a special place in my heart. 

I always use to think that I would move back to Alaska. I changed my mind after visiting Washington state. It was like a mini Alaska with an upgrade! Not as cold the entire time, more sunlight in the winter and natural beauty much similar to this, if not better. So now, Washington will eventually be my home. I love you Texas and you will always be my first love but the North West Coast in where I'll end up. How can you say no to trees and mountains? No really, how? Oh, I completely forgot one last thing.

No Alaska post would be complete without one of these guys. Okay, I better stop moosing around before I overload this post with ALL of the awesome pictures I have on my passport. I'm forcing myself to leave you guys. Pulling myself...away....from...the computer.........as.......I.....type

Damn, I should print these out.

Okay, no really, BYE!

**Steal these pictures, I will chop off your fingers. Ask before using, please.

I'll tell you what I'm not


I'm not a damn craft blogger. Why did I even try? If you don't know what I am referring to, check my previous post. I wanted so badly to show off that I did something interesting. Because, I'll be honest, painting got me excited about life. Maybe it's the weather, maybe its finally me blooming where I'm planted. Realistically though, I'm not a craft blogger. I have no desire to be a craft blogger. I'm not even that crafty. I suck at how'to's; I just read about them & follow them. It's not my niche & I know that now. I felt like a complete fraud trying to explain to you guys something you already know about. Just trying to fill up blog space. Sucky how-to's are just as bad as "meet my sponsors" posts. Because let's just be honest, we don't really read them. We scan over to see if there are pretty pictures that catch our eye & if there are, we stop for a second glance. 

I apologize for the half assed writing & unoriginal content in my previous post. I genuinely did want to share my neat chalkboard but I never should've made it into a how to or diy. It's just not me. So let's just cross the "craft blogger" off my list. Unless I've made a new discovery or something worthy of a DIY post, I shall never do it again. 

Although, the best part of the entire post is catching a picture of a 5 year old playing Halo. I mean, how many preschoolers do you know that play Halo? I can barely use that controller to be honest. By time I get to the bad guy, I'm still looking for him & bam, I'm dead. I suck at video games man.

My super simple DIY chalkboard

So, I made a chalkboard for my son. You see, my son loves the chalkboard wall at my Aunt's house. I had been seeing a ton of DIY chalkboards on Pinterest but never realized how easy it was. Until today...

While walking back from getting some lunch with my little one, I became creatively spontaneous. Sherwin-Williams was on our way home & I pulled my son inside. "Do you have chalkboard paint or magnetic paint?" , I asked the guy at the counter. He gave me a deer in the headlights look. How are you going to work at Scherwin-Williams and give me that blank stare? After a few slow gazes around the room, he finally spotted chalkboard paint. Only 6.99?! I'll take it! I also asked what kind of brush to use and he, with another employee, gave me this one. I took the smallest one because I hadn't even bought my frame yet. Please do not be like me and pay 9 bucks for a brush for this simple project. I went to Big Lots minutes later to find the same brush for $1.50. So this $20 dollar project turned into a $30 project because of my expensive brush. 

We made one last stop at the thrift store and I chose the largest glass picture frame in the store. Was around 8 bucks, which really isn't that bad. I saw a few wooden frames and mirrors that I want to try out the next time. But for this craft, its directly for my son so he doesn't care what kind of trim his frame has :) He just wants drawing room. 

Once I got home, I took the frame apart and cleaned the glass really well with Windex. Oh, I must mention that the Krylon Chalkboard paint I got did specify that it was usable on glass. If you're planning on using the glass in the picture frames, get a chalkboard spray or paint that specifies it can be used on that item. 

When it dried, I laid down a bunch of newspaper pages because, lord forbid, I get this paint on the carpet. I also opened up the doors and windows and turned on a small fan. While the paint did say low odor, I wanted to take precautions. Then I got to work. 

I just made strokes all across the glass. This process took me about 20-30 minutes. The longest part was waiting for it to dry.

Which took hours. On the can it said it would dry much quicker but mine did not. I think it was fully dry in 4 hours, however, I applied another coat of paint on it after that. The next morning, it was dry and ready to be used. Before you use your chalkboard, you need to prime it with chalk. I took a piece of white chalk and made lines straight across to get a nice white background. Then I erased it. Now, it looked like a chalkboard! On the internet, people like to use chalkboard spray because they are worried about seeing the brush strokes. I'll be honest, you could see them slightly when it was dried BUT after you prime the chalkboard with chalk, you absolutely cannot see them at all. 

And there you have it! A chalkboard from a cheap picture frame! Yes, we still have our Christmas tree up. We're lazy crazy. I plan to hang the picture frame on his wall somewhere but for now, he can just draw on the floor. He likes doing that anyway ;) When he gets tired of drawing, he just plays Halo or Minecraft on the Xbox. Then he comes back to the chalkboard to draw zombies. Boys will be boys!

Goodbye Instagram, Hello Again Camera


I don't miss Instagram. Like I said in my last post, I gave it up a few weeks ago. While I loved sharing my photos with you all, Instagram ruined memories for me. When you take pictures with a camera, they are usually much less frequent than when you take them with your phone every day. I don't have to hope for likes when I print out a picture or take one. I noticed that the more I used Instagram, the more I stopped using my camera. I hadn't used it in months when I decided to quit. In recent days, I really missed taking pictures with my camera. I even thought about how I wanted to take photography seriously. Not family or portrait. I'm not really into that. Something more me: fashion, food, journalistic. I asked a friend of mine through work, who is an aspiring model, if I could take pictures of him. He humbly obliged. I have a few more people (boyfriend included) who are also more than willing to get free pictures in exchange for adding them to my portfolio. It's really exciting. According to my horoscope, this year is about my career and social aspects of my life because my love life is finally in order. How true is that? So here I am, focusing. Driven. It's pretty damn cool. 

Because it was raining yesterday, my BFF and I decided to spend our day off together. One thing led to another and we were snapping photos. It really made me miss my tripod & convinced me to buy a remote for my camera as well. Now, my friend is no professional photographer & I'm really surprised the lighting looks so well in these pictures compared to how dim it was in real life. Don't let the pictures fool you. It was not that bright and I was not wearing shiny eye makeup ;) But I'm excited to print out these pictures of my son and I. I actually had better pictures, however, my son absolutely did not want to cooperate one bit for these photos. No matter how many times I told him to make a sweet face, he wanted to be a crazy. Oh well. This is my son we are talking about here. He's a character. When I'm old and saggy, I can't wait to look at these photos. I think I'm grody now, I'll be looking back and appreciating my good looks. My eye lids weren't that saggy and my body wasn't that flabby as I think it is now. Women! Psshht. Am I right? I'm kind of bummy that Mike was at work. We barely take pictures together! I should start a new project with him and I called "Picture a Week" where we take photos together & as a family at least once a week. No matter how silly or inappropriately timed, it needs to be done. We can't let these memories pass us by! Memories are well worth documenting.  

Oh, I also added a new task on my 30 for 30 list in the right sidebar since I accomplished one already. Every time I accomplish one, I get to add one more. The new item is to "get a tattoo". That should be fine, right? Except that I decided my tattoo would be under my boob. It already sounds painful. I even scratched my forearm with my catlike claws to see how much pain I could tolerate in a sensitive spot. Lemme just say how annoying it was to endure the scratch. Im sure that it will be annoying but I really want it. I mean, I pushed a 9lb baby, without meds, out of my body. That means I can surely get this tattoo without being a wimp? We shall see. 

Until next time my friends, be safe and enjoy your upcoming weekend!

PS (off subject but related to the first picture), random thought: Can you believe that there are people out there in the world that find it creepy or weird to kiss their child on the lips? What gives?! 

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A brand new beginning


There is something about that strike of midnight that makes you feel like a brand new person. That you now have some super hero strength and any past sin you committed is now cleansed. You are now reborn. It's a new birth, a new beginning. That's what makes January 1st so special. 

2012 was a rough year for me, emotionally. It started out with us moving into our own apartment. We had just started the new level of our relationship last fall. We still had a lot to learn about what it was like to be a couple rather than just friends. Immediately after we moved, my son was sent off to spend a few months with his Dad. Looking back at my Instagram pictures that I exported to my computer (I deleted my account two weeks ago), I could see such sadness and pain in my eyes. It hurts to even look at those pictures sometimes.  It was my first time being away from my child for such a long period of time. 

Anyway, my son being away was tough on me. Not only that, it was that time of the relationship where you learned to live together. Let's just say the first two months were hard. Sometimes the days were great but we annoyed each other to no end. There was a lot of crying and yelling and scratching the shit out of my skin because being around him made me irritable. It wasn't that I didn't love him. It was that trying to compromise with this man seemed like such an exhausting battle. I felt like I was climbing stairs and there was no end in sight, even though I was drowning in sweat, breathing hard & so damn thirsty. Now don't get me wrong, not all days were like this. Lots of days were spent cuddling and kissing. But to be honest, lots were spent trying to get through & over walls that we had both set in place. Many days I thought about giving up but I never actually did that. I wanted this relationship with him. I wasn't scared of being alone if he decided to sail off on his own. I just didn't want to be without him. He brings out the absolute best in me. He was my equal. We might be a bit opposite but when it comes down to it, we bring out the best in each other. We know that now. 

Somehow, we got over those few rough months. The remainder of the months alone together consisted of working hard and enjoying each others company. Our relationship grew & before you knew it, it was finally time for my son to come home. That's when I felt whole. The first time seeing my child at work was surreal. I snatched him up and held on to him for what seemed like hours. The look he gave me, I'll never forget. He gazed at me with confusion & then it was like he melted. He realized that I was real and I heard, "Mommy!" while he hugged me. He pulled back again and gave me that look that you only get when your heart melts & you're so happy that you can't say anything else. I will never forget it.

Around that time it was fall/winter & things started looking up. We broke down walls, as a family, and I've never been so happy to be loved by my boys. Around Christmas, Mike and I began the next phase of our relationship. Nothing extravagant but we did spend a good amount on Christmas Eve discussing the past year and it was then we transitioned as a couple. I don't know how many times we transitioned during the year but it feels really good to grow together. It solidifies the bond between a couple. It's necessary and so powerful to the relationship. *sigh* I just love being in love with Mike.

Now here we are, in a brand new year. According to my yearly horoscope, this year will be more about money & my "career". I'm expected to have "gains & losses" financially. Eeek. Acknowledging that last years horoscope was pretty much correct, I can only assume this one will be as well. It also appears to be "nothing short of a rebirth." I should be breaking out of my co-dependent rut & take value in my independence and authenticity as a person. While it all sounds teeth clinching at the moment, it's a bit exciting! I'm taking a front seat to my life this year and it feels wonderful! I can just feel the roller coaster I'm about to jump on and I'll tell ya, it's exhilarating! Are you guys excited for 2013? I hope my horoscope is right. I'm ready for career growth & new direction. To do things I'm passionate about. 2012 was a frumpy, boring year when you look at it from a life stand point. All that was gained was my relationships with my boys. This year, especially since I've gotten my license, I just feel it's going to explode. I can hardly contain myself. 

Cheers to 2013! Bring on the madness!

PS. to Michael : Thank you for being right there beside be through all of these hurdles & during my personal growth. I know it had to be rough on you to see me so scattered as it was rough for me to see the same in you. You changed my life & continue to make me want to strive for more. I have never been so deeply in love with a person & mentally connected than I am with you. You are my equal. I'm so happy to be spending what little life I have remaining, with you.  I love you now & I'll love you forever

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