My daughter took a photo of me.
There has been a long fought battle between myself and my confidence. I have been a woman every day of my life, and I am aware of the way I look, the way I present myself, and the way I feel about it. The moment I became a mother the desire to set a positive example of esteem, confidence, and self-care skyrocketed. I have not, though, done as well as I imagined. If I was challenged to identify a list of failures, this one takes the cake.
I am soft, I am nurturing, and I am built to do so. There are parts of me that are in direct competition with my perceived intelligence. There are plenty of things I would change. I have practiced positive self talk and I truly believe a lot of the things I tell myself. I tell my children that they are beautiful. I want them to believe every day that their bodies are amazing and capable of incredible things. As they are navigating life, this is their vessel and they should be proud. I do not want them to compare themselves to popular images of the ideal form, and it breaks my heart to think that they could ever question their value based on their appearance. They are beautiful.
I hate my nose. Contouring is an evil blessing. Please do not make me look at a still shot of my profile. Then, my daughter took a photo of me.
I am in love. Not because it is my face, but because I get to see what she sees. This was taken in a silly moment in a store floral section. My face is an intricate collection of all of the faces before me. My children are influenced by mine. I have absolutely no business modeling a facade of confidence when I still talk openly about my distaste for the shape and structure of my nose. It seems silly.
My challenge, if I dare to create one, is to let someone whose opinion is valuable to you take your picture. See what they see. Look at where the focus lies. Choose not to believe all of the negative things you tell yourself and change the direction of some of that thinking. It is a wonderful surprise.
XO – J. Eve
Confessions of a 12-year Undergrad
5) You are going to fail at something…
It was 2005. I just started my junior year at SIUC after transferring from a local community college. That is as romantic and dramatic as it gets. I failed, and failed hard. I tried to hang on and could not do it. There are a million things that I am not skilled in, but I failed something I loved, and it deflated my self-esteem.
Maybe I am not “smart enough” to be a psychiatrist. We simply are not born with a finite degree of intelligence. We are malleable and moldable creatures with potential. Through changes of major and a complete career change, I never became “smarter”, but I have become a more competent student.
4) Everyone questions their life choices around midterm…
I remember when I shower cried over math. Every term led to some deep introspection about my life choices. I considered dropping out more than once. I stopped out more-than-once. Do I need to keep trying? Why am I trying? What else can I be good at? Are there enough points left to save my grade? All of it.
Students face this crunch in cycle. I have seen it happen. When you feel all alone and on the edge of failure, reach out. You are not in it all by yourself and no one wants to see you throw it away.
Side note: Study! With an open book now an then. It helps!
3) What you learn outside of the classroom is just as important as what you learn inside of it…
I spent several years as loosely engaged as I could manage with my campus and the strangers on it. I spent just as much time keeping my academic life separate from everything else.
It’s Thanksgiving and you have a plate full of food, but you are the type that does not want anything to touch. You have to spend more time consuming the structure and dynamics of your plate that you can’t enjoying what is offered. Hopefully, you figure out that the turkey tastes good with the gravy on your potatoes, that cranberry sauce is amazing with the turkey, and the gravy can go just about anywhere with no complaints. (I am still clean eating! This illustration is fantasy as much as anything right now!!)
I was in graduate school before I figured out that engaging with my campus was beneficial and that there were a plethora of opportunities for growth supported by a world of people that literally only want to see students succeed. I spent a lot of time figuring out that my life inside and outside of academia was symbiotic. One feeds the other and vice versa. What you learn inside the classroom is just as important as what you learn outside of it.
2) Success takes time…
A lot of it. There is no race against anyone else. What you offer cannot be duplicated. Chill. End of story.
1) Do not mistake confidence for competence…
January 1, 2018 I made the decision to actively practice self-care in its many forms particularly encompassing mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. Ideally, in the space I am now, the optimal intersection of the three would be within finger’s reach. Realistically, it doesn’t work that way, and if it were to be obtained with so little effort, the duration is surely fleeting.
Insert: *Something Inspirational, yet simply profound*
There has been no such moment, but a ton of baby steps and results. I began with diet; reduced refined sugar intake. Nothing crazy, just maybe don’t hydrate solely with Coca Cola. Easy enough. I joined the next challenge when presented by a friend: be active one hour a day for the first 60 days of the year. Motivational mini-goal: Complete a 5k in 30 minutes. For consistency in measurement, I used 3.2 miles.
Day 1: #5kin30
Concurrent Challenge: #100m30d
100 miles in 30 days. To make this a little clearer, here is a photo of the distance from Murray, Ky. to Nashville, Tn. (117miles)
One step, two step, 100.39 miles…….
In the first 60 days of 2018 a lot of things happened. The time on the treadmill, with the weights, doing cardio workouts, and dancing gave me time to reflect. I had time to check out and analyze what I had done, how anything and everything affected me, and how I could most appropriately move forward. My “next step” became the focus of the challenges and improved me -physically, mentally, and spiritually.
*I lost 23 pounds!*
Why yes, 23 pounds is a healthy pug and three hamsters. 🙂 Measuring that in sticks of butter? 4 sticks= 1 lb. 23lb=92 sticks of butter. 92 less things I have to carry around with me every day.
Today, March 6, I am on day 4 of clean eating for 21 days. Through challenges and taking risks, I have met amazing people, formed new bonds, and have the opportunity to achieve goals with family I do not see often solely because of geography.
Day 4:21 update
This is where I am today. Take what you need. Leave what you can.