Forgive me for a moment, while I air out some of my current frustrations with the world. What happened to loving ourselves? When did it become so normal to not be ourselves? What if we stopped judging ourselves and putting the blame on others? Because that's what happens isn't it? We say that others will find us repulsive if we don't wear makeup, or others will look down on us if we're not dressed a certain way. But that's mostly just talk and the root of it is in our heads. 

What if we started to own our face; the one we were born with, the one that resembles our mother's and her mother's. What if we learned to love it, short eyelashes, dark circles, sparse eyebrows and all. What if we looked in the mirror and saw all that was right, instead of all that is wrong. What if we stepped out the door with courage and boldness, not worried of how we would be perceived, but insisting that the world begin to see us for who we truly are.

What if we decided we had had enough and this became our new way of life. Would there be fires and panic? Would the world soldier on? Yes, it would do just that. And women from all around the world would lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. Comparison would no longer be an issue, and insecurity would no longer be a way of life. 

I understand that this is no small feat, but it is a goal. One that I believe we should all seek to achieve. I believe in a day where women will love themselves and not be accused of being conceited. I believe there will be a day when beauty is not measured by numbers of height and weight, but by the smiles she gives and the kindness she shares. I believe in a world where women look different and it's not just accepted, but it's applauded. Where you can look at yourself with excitement in knowing that you are not like any other out there; that you are you and that is not simply enough, but it is everything. 

I'm no longer buying into the ideal. Because "ideally", I would not fit into a specific size, or have hair a certain length, or wear a certain brand, but "ideally" I would simply learn to love myself the way I am. Every day you have the choice to be swayed by the opinions of others, thus hiding yourself under excuses - "oh it's just a bad hair day", "I didn't have enough time to get ready", "I didn't get a lot of sleep last night" - or, you can own up to who you are. We are fatally flawed, but it's our flaws that make us so perfect - they set us apart and make us unique. Without the very things we seek to rid ourselves of, we become less and less. 

Stop shrinking ladies. Stop saying you're not enough. Stop forcing yourself to stay quiet. Stop hating yourself. Love yourself. Stand up straight. Wear the clothes you feel great in. Speak your mind. Have an opinion. Share your views. Seek opportunities. You are worthy and deserving of a beautiful life. Stop believing that you are small and insignificant. You are more. You are more than what you do on a daily basis. You have more voice than you let yourself use. You have more personality than you let yourself share. You are not defined by your looks, your wardrobe, your pay or the car you drive. You are more. You are already who you want to be, you simply have to give yourself the permission to be you. 

And that's all I have to say for now.

xo. melisa

On Insecurity...

We all have them and yet more often than not we find ourselves feeling completely alone in our insecurities. Truth is we all carry at least one insecurity; whether it's in our looks, our personality or talents... we all feel insecure at some point.

Most of my life I was awkward, you can read more on this here. I still to this day think that I'm terribly awkward, maybe not so much outwardly, but on the inside I feel very much like the girl with glasses who doesn't really fit in. Growing up I struggled with trying to find my place. I wasn't the outgoing pretty girl, I didn't play sports, I sang, but I wasn't in a cool band... I didn't really fit any of the typical high school stereotypes, so I just befriended everyone.

I really hate talking about this kind of stuff to be quite honest. I feel like most people would assume that I have no insecurities, like "woe is me I'm too skinny and tall", but truth is, I really do struggle with insecurities. I know some people would also look at me and think that I've never been picked on, but to that I would say, au contraire. Yes, I have been skinny my whole life. I have been blessed with a very fast metabolism, and have never struggled with trying to maintain my weight, but that didn't stop people from making up rumors that I had an eating disorder... it didn't stop people from grabbing my wrists and saying how skinny I was and that I needed to eat more, it didn't even stop people from making up wild outlandish stories about me simply because they thought I was stuck up, based solely on my weight. Yes, this really happened.

As girls we have to stop putting each other down. Don't gossip, don't make fun, don't poke at the things you know other girls are struggling with. Words hurt. I can still remember every put down anyone has ever said to me. I remember them when I look at myself in the mirror, I hear the words when I try something new and the sad thing is, some of those things may never leave me. We don't have to believe them, but what you say to your friends or even people you don't know, will stay with them. We're all insecure enough as it is, we don't need to add to it.

Being a girl is hard. The media as well as our peers paints this picture of the dream girl and we're told that this is beauty and anything less just isn't good enough. Feeling like you constantly have to live up to this certain expectation is quite exhausting and it wasn't until I decided that I would never be "that" girl and that the world would benefit more from having a me than another one of those girls, that I was finally happy with myself. Insecurity is a daily struggle. It's so much easier to point out the negative things than it is to focus on the positive things about ourselves, because we desire perfection. No one is perfect though. Yes, we should strive for excellence; we should try to be the best, healthiest versions of ourselves as we can be, but we should be proud to be different and unique.

I am awkward. I like animals way too much. I'm not the life of the party. I'm not the most talented. I'm very opinionated. I have long arms and have been asked to return big bird's legs. I've been made fun of for having a big mouth (literally). I'm not very good at small talk. I have a mole on my toe and I may never be the best at anything, but I'm me. I am exactly who God made me to be and I strive to grow and learn and change. With each day I love myself more and more, not because I'm self obsessed, but because I cannot expect anyone to love me, let alone like me, if I don't even like myself.

So what is the point of this? Well let me tell you... you're not the only one who feels this way. Whatever way it is you may be feeling; feeling alone, feeling useless, feeling overweight, feeling ugly, feeling like you're not good enough, feeling used, feeling unwanted, feeling depressed, feeling anxious, feeling cast-out... you're not alone. Yes, some people may have it all together, but let's be honest people, if I, the crazy crazy perfectionist, can admit to feeling insecure, I hope you can too. It might be small or it might be so huge you feel like it's taking over your life. I just wanted you to know I was right there with you and there is hope.

>> Embrace your imperfections. I used to be crazy self conscious about my shoulder bones. People would point them out and talk about how terribly skinny I was and it made me feel like I looked malnourished. They stick out and they're very prominent so I used to try and hide them. I finally realized that the only reason I hated them was because others had pointed them out. I actually grew to love them and decided that they were one of the things that set me apart.
>> Trust your own voice. It's easy to let others' opinions of you outweigh your opinion of yourself. You have to learn to be secure in who you are and not be easily swayed by what others have to say. Words hurt and they stick with you, but we don't have to believe them.
>> Love yourself. Don't become narcissistic, but learning to love yourself is key. You were created with a purpose, with a special light that was meant to shine and the ability to be someone that no one else can possibly be... you.

I am nowhere near as insecure today as I was ten years ago, or even five years ago, but like I said, words and past judgements are always looming. My appearance has changed, yes, but because I still feel so much like that 15 year old girl who was uncertain of who she was, I still struggle with seeing myself for who I am today. Insecurities make us unsure of who God has made us to be. They cause us to question not only His work, but others as well. We try and measure up to the qualifications of others and admit to not being enough. Insecurities do nothing but hold us back from realizing our potential and turning them into our greatest strengths. Insecurities say that we are less than and we will never be good enough. Basically, insecurities are lame. So don't give in girls. You are much too talented, beautiful, charming, intelligent, driven and lovely to give into such lies. You don't need to have insecurities, but if you do, know that we're all fighting them off too and you are not alone.

xo. melisa