Tag Archives: Short stories

The Myth of Self-Love

 

Once upon a time there was a globalized world that sexualized and fetishitized certain body types. See, in this world, no matter what you did as a woman was ever good enough. If you’re too skinny, you’d better bulk up, because nobody likes bony girls. If you’re chubby, you’d better slim down, because nobody likes fat chicks. Too many muscles? Girl, you better realize that masculinity is fragile and tone it down.

 

Once upon a time I might have loved my body. I might have appreciated the vessel that carries my brain (and consequently my thoughts, my memories, my personality — basically everything that gives life meaning) and other life-sustaining organs. I might have even cared enough to take care of it like it should be taken care of.

 

But somewhere in this once upon a time that weird globalized world came into play. Somewhere in this once upon a time a thing called beauty standards ruined my perception of myself and what I should be as a girl — and someday, a woman.

 

In this once upon a time, this world started to change. People became more “body positive,” and started the movement of self-love. Accepting yourself for who you are. I was a woman by then. Already tainted by the old once upon a time and my own mental blockade. The self-love movement came too late for this princess — and she remains locked in her tower.

 

To me self-love is a myth — even people who claim to love themselves still complain about what they want to change — they call it a “journey,” which sure, I understand. But is there really a destination? A final point? A moment when “self-love” is truly achieved?

 

I don’t mean this to put down anyone working on their own path to better themselves, in whatever way that might be. But as a honest question.

 

In this once upon a time, is self-love really attainable?

 

I see friends and loved ones share their adventures in health and wellness. In life and career events. I see them try so hard to love themselves in a world that deems us all unlovable.

I swing both ways on the spectrum of self-love. As a now woman who is overweight and has no self-control, I go from loving everything about myself to loathing it.

 

Right now I’m in a state of loathe.

Depressive loathe.

That “I’m fat and I’ll always be fat because I have no self-control and can’t stick with anything,” kind of depressive loathe.

 

This is a woe-is-me post.

This is not a pity post.

 

This is a “I’m about to move to one of the statistically skinniest and most thin-obsessed nations in the world,” anxiety post (“hello darkness, my old friend”). Coupled with a some deep-seeded self-hate (not a myth) and societal beauty standards.

 

And while I know I am worth more than my weight, my large hips, my big butt, and thunderous thighs, right now, I’m stuck on the myth of self-love.

 

The journey is long, and I’m ready for the destination.

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Change & Challenges

I process heavy emotions through writing. When my brain can’t make sense of it in itself, it sends my hands to work to spell it out on paper.

 

Something about the process is therapeutic — it helps me get things straight.

There is something truly poetic about  forcing yourself to spell out your emotions on paper.

 

I teach my students that as they grow life is, and will be, full of change. Change is scary, but change is also good.

 

Today was my last day at my current teaching job. Resignation. Took a job teaching in Japan. A job which I am very excited for and very apprehensive. An incredible move. Perhaps a foolish and naive one, too.

 

Teaching fifth graders is interesting, and for the most part, I love it. I loved my building. I loved my colleagues. Yet, I was ready to move on to something else.

 

I’m not content to stay put but find myself nostalgic when it’s time to leave.

 

Funny thing, my personality.

 

I walked out of my classroom for the last time today. MY classroom. My first and so far, my only. I spent so many hours within it’s walls making it perfect, inviting, a home-away-from-home. I built relationships, shared stories, celebrated victories, wiped tears, and gave so many hugs. I laughed. I cried. 

Two years of my life I spent in those 4 walls.

It didn’t hit me until the last afternoon of my last day just how hard it would be to walk out of that room for the last time.

I ugly cried the whole way home.

 

Luckily I don’t live far.

 

As I wiped my tears of relief, sadness, hope, regret, and pure exhaustion, I reminded myself of what I told my students only hours before.

 

Change is hard,

Change is scary,

But change is good.

 

It forces us to learn and become better people than we were before.

It challenges us.

 

And everyone needs a good challenge.

 

While I remain apprehensive of the immediate future, I know my time spent the last two years will serve me well wherever my adventures take me. It was an equally rewarding and frustrating experience, but one that has taught me a lot about myself and how to deal with situations I’m involuntarily stuck in.

 

While I don’t regret my time spent in that classroom,

I would regret the chance I didn’t take to try something new.

 

I mean,

Who needs a comfort zone?

Otherworldly

Do you ever have those days when you feel like you were born in the wrong century?

 

Among my many ongoing existential crises is the feeling that I was simply born in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

See,

I’m bored.

 

Chronically.

My favorite pastime is trying to escape this place — mentally, because I really can’t escape physically.

 

I know, I know, “but you’re going to Japan!” you’ll say.

“What a grand adventure!” you’ll say.

And you’re right, it will be grand.

For a bit.

 

And then I’ll find myself bored

Again.

 

I was not meant for this time we live in.

This time when everything to be discovered has been discovered.

I should’ve been born in the 16th century when European settlers took grand adventures to new places all over the globe.

Or

I should’ve been born a few centuries in the future….

Where the universe is an open playground.

 

I was born to explore.

To seek new experiences and new places.

To find new flora and fauna.

To learn from places and things yet unknown.

 

But alas,

I live in a time when the world has been discovered more than once over,

And we are not yet at the grand age of exploring our galaxy and beyond.

 

Born in the wrong century.

On the wrong planet, perhaps.

 

Each night I look at the stars and think about what I would give to go there

(yes, I would literally walk away from my entire life for the chance to be a space pioneer).

And it always comes around to the same thought

Sadly what I want I can never achieve in this lifetime.

 

But perhaps I could in the next.

And for that recurring thought (among many others)

I can only attribute

That I am really alien….

 

Not in the sense that I am not human.

But in the sense that I don’t think like most humans.

Or behave like most humans.

I’m just too odd to have landed here on purpose.

 

I just know I belong somewhere else,

In a home I can’t name.

In a home I will never see.

 

Somewhere among the gas giants and colorful nebulas,

It’s out there.

But it will be centuries before I make it.

 

Note: Of all the complexity of my feelings this is one of the hardest for me to vocalize. The human experience is deeply unique to the individual and this one of those things that’s hard for anyone to understand. And yes, I know I’m crazy, but I do hope you continue to read my strange ramblings — at the very least you can relish in the fact that you’re not  as insane as I am. 🙂

Resolutions

Resolved: 2017: Write daily. Even on days when I don’t want to, I’m trying to protect some small amount of time for myself to write, reflect, and make words appear on paper. Some days it is difficult because I don’t have the energy to write or simply lack ideas. Some days it is easy because I have something to say. Today, I promised myself I would write something so here I am — rambling about how I don’t have anything to write today.

Today, it did one of my favorite things; it snowed. I tried to write a poem about snow and came up with only a few words. It just didn’t feel right. So now I’m writing about snow in a post about having nothing to write about.

I know what you’re thinking, you live in the midwest. Don’t most people hate snow there? Isn’t a big mess there? Well, yes and yes. Most people do hate snow here. And it’s been a big mess which is why I’m extra glad I didn’t have to go anywhere today.

There is something quite calming and peaceful about watching the snow fall. Watching as leisurely flakes dance their way to their brethren gathering on the ground. Listening to the crisp snap of the wind as it rustles through icy tree limbs. Smelling the cold cleanness of the December air that comes with fresh snow.

There is nothing in the world more refreshing for me than a snow day. A reason to stay cooped up in my house under warm blankets with no one to interrupt my introverted flow. A reason to cancel plans and just relax. A reason to nap as much as I want and read as much as I want guilt-free.

Snow days do wonders for my tired psyche. There is a certain kind of tired that sleep simply doesn’t fix. There is a certain kind of tired that only unadulterated down time can fix. That’s why I love snow.

Being a woman that finds symbolism in everything, there is a symbolic renewal that comes with that perfect, white sheet of snow. A chance to reflect and slow down. A chance to let time slip by slowly while appreciating the smallest pleasures of life.

Snow is incredible. I long to live somewhere that sees more of it.

 

It looks like I did have something to write about today.

Imagine that.

The Chance of a Lifetime

The timing of this is more than coincidence, and I am aware of that. My last couple of posts dealt with my realization of the quarter life crisis and the fact that I was smack in the middle of one. Feeling stuck, and lost, I took a chance on something a year ago I would’ve laughed at. It amazing how much things — rather, selves — change in just a year.

If you asked me what one of my biggest childhood dreams was, I would tell you I wanted to see as much of the world as I could manage. Even when I was young I craved new experiences. New places, new faces, new ideas, new languages — I just wanted to soak up as much as possible. Well, fast forward twenty years and not much has changed in that aspect. I have always wanted to travel more, do more, see more.

Alas, I have not yet left the United States, even though the drive and desire is ever more deeply seeded. I need to travel more, do more, and see more.

“Get to the point,” I’m sure you’re thinking at this point in the post.

Well, I took a chance. I took a chance and applied for a job teaching English in Japan. I didn’t think I was even remotely qualified. I didn’t think I would get a call.

But, reader, I did get a call.

I got a call and an interview, then another interview; and if all went well; another interview.

And then maybe,

Just maybe,

A perfect chance to do something I’ve always wanted to do.

A chance to travel more, do more, and see more.

A chance to combine my love of teaching with my love of travel and new experiences.

A chance to break the meaningless grind.

A chance to destroy my “comfort zone.”

A chance to actually live the life I envisioned for myself when I was young.

 

So, I took a chance.

I took the chance of a lifetime.

 

I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

Working through my Quarter-Life Crisis: Step One: Admitting who I am, what I like, and what I hate about myself.

Who Am I?

Chelsea Rose

Corn-fed American Midwestern Girl minus the Jesusing

Liberal as hell

Weird/Different

Leader

Opinionated

Intense

Gives all

Independent

Witty

Humorous

Quick thinking

Cynical

Sarcastic

Realist

Wife

Animal Lover

Dreamer

Writer

Reader

Eccentric

Obsessive

Overthinker

Anxious

Escapist/Seeks ways out of reality 

 

Things I like about myself:

Sense of humor

Weird

Resilience

Determination

Independence

Straight forward

No bullshit

Loves hard

Ambivert

Reader

Analyzer

Objective thinker

Good Communicator

Writer

 

Things I dislike about myself:

ANXIOUS

Overthinker

Overly critical

Loudmouthed

Too free with opinions

Too much of a people-pleaser

Can sometimes be a doormat

Lies to save face (why)

Bad with money

Bad with communicating emotions

Passive aggressive

Unprofessional

Poor time management

Ghoster friend

Cynical/ Finds the worst in almost everything

Glass half-empty thinking

Jealous/Compares too much to others

Attention Seeking

Selfish

What I notice: 

Reflecting on this list immediately after writing it I realize that — as is typical for me — it’s way easier for me to vocalize everything I hate about myself than it is for me to pin down even ten things I honestly like about who I am. There is so much I would change about my personality if I could, yet I know there are people who genuinely enjoy my brand of crazy.

As they say, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. So there it is. There I am. Summed up by 26 letters in random order.

If you’re like me, on the verge of another birthday and feeling completely lost, just know:

You

Are

Not

Alone.

Almost 28

Crisis mode.

I recently learned there’s a term for this:

Aptly called,

The Quarter Life Crisis.

Perpetually somewhere between a kid & a “real” adult

 

And

Intense depression

Despair

Feeling stuck

Being disrespected

Unsure of what is next

Scared to move, yet panicked to stay

 

What if I regret change later?

What if it doesn’t make me happier?

What if?

What if?

What if?

 

What if…..

I sit here forever in a state of indecision?

What if…..

I waste my life waiting for the opportune time?

What if…..

I just don’t know how to get what I really want?

What if…..

I’m just petrified by the idea of taking a chance?

 

Already depressed.

Already unhappy.

Already stuck.

Already disrespected.

 

What could be worse?

 

I don’t know.

And that’s why I’m here,

In crisis mode.

At almost 28.  

October’s Lack of Inspiration

October.

The month of fall.

The month of cool, crisp air.

The month of sweaters, tall boots, pumpkins, candy, costumes, and spooky things.

 

I used to love October.

Now, October is so busy I have no time to think.

No time for creativity.

October has lost it’s inspiration.

 

I want to write,

But my brain is tired,

And the words don’t come.

 

I want to read,

But my eyes are tired,

And can’t focus on the words. 

 

October used to be my favorite month.

Now, I can’t wait for October to be over.  

Sunwashed

Today, I am the sunrise.

The reliable, slow brightening of the morning sky.

The break in the darkest of night.

 

Today, I am the constant motion of the heavens around Earth.

The quiet, accountable rotation that perpetuates exhausting darkness to renewing light.

I am the changing landscape of color that denotes a new day.

 

Today, I am the sunrise.

Steady.

Expected.

The signal of something new.

 

Today, I emerge from the fading light of the moon to become a child of the sun.

Today, I turn a new leaf.

I celebrate the sunshine.

The warmth and motion of the day.

 

Today, I am the sunrise.

Only temporary;

Before the darkness returns again.

The stains that won’t wash away

 

Today I’m left feeling like that ink pen that explodes in your apron.

Anyone who’s ever served tables knows what I’m talking about.

That rouge pen that migrated to the bottom of your apron pocket, only to explode;

And cover everything in your apron with thick, black ink.

Including your hands.

Your order pad.

Your money.

And everything else you need to do your job.

It doesn’t destroy, just complicates.

It doesn’t stop you from doing your job, just makes it harder.

 

Today, I am that pen that didn’t destroy; I just complicated things.

I am that pen that didn’t stop you from doing your job, I just made it harder.

I am those smeared, sticky black ink marks that won’t quite wash off your hands.

I am those ink marks that permeate through everything you need.

I am that ink that stains your work shirt permanently.

I cling to you.

The filthy, sloppy, sad reminder of the pen that betrayed you.

Today, I am that pen.