BYJ: Day 40 – Go to Bed Earlier

I haven’t read my Beautiful You Journal in quite some time (in fact, I haven’t been here in almost 2 weeks…wow!), but today I cracked it open and the reading for day 40 is about getting more sleep.  Specifically, the author strongly encourages us to find out what time we need to be awake in the morning to begin our day and then to go to bed exactly 8 hours earlier.

If I look at it and I’m honest about it, some of you might be extremely shocked (then again, maybe it won’t surprise you in the least), but I can’t remember the last time I slept for eight hours straight.  If I had to guess, it was probably over 20 years ago.  I tend to be so busy doing things, that I allow my sleep to suffer from it.  I’m no medical expert, but I’m sure this has had a tremendous impact on my health and mental well being.  I tend to be a very focused and committed person, when I have a goal, to the point that I remember my last semester of college, I was lucky to get a few hours of sleep at a time.  Back then, I had a full time job, attended classes full time and worked two part time jobs. This was in addition to being a husband and father at the time.  Unfortunately for me, I continued that kind of behavior into my professional career. And I can look back on it all now and feel like it was not worth the sacrifice.

I look at this behavior and can’t help but wonder how my lack of proper sleep had a major part to due with my depression and anxiety, as well. I know I have made some changes to improve this and I am now up to averaging 6 hours of sleep per night. I’ve even set my Fitbit to monitor this. I have one drawback, however, and it has to due with my anxiety. I can’t fall asleep unless I am utterly exhausted and my eyelids are ready to fall off my face from being so heavy.  I’m also trying to change my diet to make sure I’m eating foods that are more conducive to healthy living.

Either way, I am working towards the goal of sleeping for eight hours of sleep per night.

BYJ: Day 38 – Who’s your “Go-To” Girl?

I really liked the activity in this section of the Beautiful You book.  The author says that every woman needs her “go to” girl for things.  This is another woman that is your best confidante – someone you can go to with any issue; or as the author explains, she is the woman you can call up “just to bitch”.  She goes on to explain that this girl is the one that allows you to vent about anything and it helps relieve so much stress and anxiety. She would be the kind or woman that helps you boost your sense of self.  OF course, this person wouldn’t only hear the negative things you have to say, but she would be someone to help you identify “growth opportunities”. She would be the kind of friend that assists you in advising about significant decisions in life and allows you the chance to be that for her.

During the activity section – i.e. the BYJ – the author instructs you to identify your go-to girl.  And she expresses that it’s important to recognize who this might be.  I have to be honest at this point, because I have several “go-to” girls and I think a lot of them have been available to me, as I’ve needed. So, many of you wonderful women have always been so encouraging and supporting to me and all of you allow me to be the woman I feel like being. Some of you have even challenged me when I feel like giving up.  I have to also admit, I don’t know that I have been the best go-to girl, but I’d like to think that I’m the kind of girl with a big heart willing to help anyone.  But, I’m not sure if I have a BFF…there are a few of you that have been so much closer than others and it makes me realize something about myself – maybe I’m not paying attention to those girls willing to be a BFF to me.  So, I’m sorry if I have been so self-absorbed.

Anyways…I think I want a best girlfriend…bff…confidante…and girl time.

BYJ: Day 37 – Get Fitted

I’ve often heard that clothes that fit perfectly tend to make you feel so much better about yourself; this would explain the constant love-hate relationship we have with trying on different clothing items.  Today’s BYJ entry concerns getting fitted for a bra; the author makes the statement, “the wrong bra impacts you feel (underwires that dig into your sides are enough to make any woman crazy) and how your clothes look, which impacts your sense of confidence.” Then she explains the intended activity to get fitted for a bra, trying on different styles, ensuring a good match and then buying one.

Sometimes, I feel like I have to be honest with myself and admit that this probably wouldn’t have the effect on me that it might on other women. And it’s going to eat at me a little, and sometimes it just feels like a jagged little pill

BYJ: Day 34 – Use Twenty-Five Words

Today, in my BYJ, I’m asked to describe myself “in twenty-five words or less, without using any physical descriptors or naming any of my roles.”  This seems intriguing, and honestly, I find it almost as difficult as my last BYJ exercise.  The author gives a couple of examples and she begins each example with, “I am a woman who…”; so, I will do the same.

“I am a woman who…”

… has the power to change HER path, but living each day, one at a time, with passion.”

Interesting…I did this without thinking and something positive came out of me.  Is THAT beautiful or what?! ❤

 

 

 

(Note: I will be sporadic in my blogging over the next few days as I head home for my grandmother’s funeral.  I’m sure you’ll all understand my absence. I may or may not post again today, but we’ll see…kinda busy)

BYJ: Day 32 – Celebrate Your Birth Day

Today, I woke up and did some things for my job (I’m feeling frustrated with that at the moment…sigh), then I sat down and read the next section in the book I’ve been reading on how to make changes to be a more Beautiful You.  The author discusses how, on one birthday. she sat down and made a list of things she wants to do in the coming year.  She happened to make a list of one item per year of life. She went on to explain that she listed anything she could think of – little things, major things, things for herself, things she wanted to learn, or whatever.  She looks at this list as her reason to live for herself (Although, I think that might be my interpretation…I don’t have the book right in front of me to reference it accurately) and began doing things she never did before.

She also explains that she has never completed the list she makes each year, but she does grow from the experiences she has from these items. The author explains that her confidence grew and that she felt life was more fulfilled.  She goes on to explain that the end of the year, she reviews what she has done and relives the memories and experiences and reflects on their significance to her.

Then she instructs the readers to make their own list…

I shut the book, but it away, folded my arms across my chest and practically pouted. “I can’t do anything…” came the negative thought, almost instantly. “When am I ever going to be able to do anything I want…” was the next thought. “But I want to do something…” a slight feeling of hope had entered; only to be followed by, “Everything I want to do costs too much”. And the worst one, I think, “I’ll feel like an idiot trying anything..,”.

Then I jumped out of my seat, jumped up and down and said to myself, “Why do you do this?!?!  Why do you refuse to do anything…? What is so wrong with your desires for life?”  And then I remembered, “Because you’re afraid to be happy…”

I am… I’m afraid to be happy and I don’t know why.

The author suggests making a list for each year you have been alive – for example, if your nest birthday, you turn 103, then you should have 103 items in your list.  She says, cut the list in half, if your birthday is at least 6 months away.  If it’s less than six months away, she said to make a quarter list or a third of the list.

So, here I am, making my list…and it may seem silly, but this took some real effort. I gritted my teeth, my hands were tight, my head began to hurt, as I thought about what I might like. But I’m going to make the list for my entire next birthday (ugh…and it makes me feel kinda old).

  1. Take a yoga class
  2. Learn to dance
  3. Learn rock climbing
  4. Continue hiking 14ers in Colorado
  5. wax the hair off my body
  6. Get a tattoo (I have 4, currently)
  7. Learn to play an instrument.
  8. Start running
  9. Visit a couple of national parks
  10. Take a trip back to Europe
  11. Begin seeing a therapist again
  12. I really do want to stop drinking (I’m not getting drunk, but I’m not completely sober either.)
  13. Volunteer my time someplace…just not sure where
  14. Buy a dress
  15. Learn to paint
  16. Reconcile myself to divorce
  17. Find a better job
  18. Learn to fish
  19. I get manicures and pedicures, but I’d like to have my nails painted
  20. Confide in someone in my real life, my sexuality
  21. Take a class on nutrition
  22. Read some piece of classic literature
  23. Attend a fashion show
  24. Visit Las Vegas
  25. See the Canadian Rockies
  26. Go out on a Friday night and meet people (aaaaggghhhhh…the thought causes me anxiety)
  27. Find spirituality
  28. Make a clay sculpture
  29. Learn to draw
  30. Drink more water (I feel dehydrated today…blech)
  31. Get a massage
  32. Give a massage
  33. Make a new friend
  34. Attend a concert
  35. Climb the Manitou Incline
  36. Try writing a short story (Meg suggested I try it, but I’m self-conscious of my writing ability)
  37. Get my palm read
  38. Learn to cook something new
  39. Consider making a love-connection (In all seriousness, until I’m divorced, this won’t happen)
  40. Ask my mom to teach me to crochet (I’ve always liked the blankets she makes)
  41. Try and reconcile with my sister
  42. Learn Spanish or some other language
  43. De-clutter (Seriously, I got things I no longer need)
  44. Try on a wig
  45. Not give up on life!

Okay, there you have it, there’s my list of things I’d like to do before I turn 46…

BYJ: Day 31 – Know Your Rights

Continuing in my BJY, the author gives the link to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I have to admit, I found this section to be almost boring. In fact, there are a lot of paralells to the U.S. Constitution – not surprising since the U.S. had major influence in creating and forming the U.N. But I noticed one particular thing that stood out – rather, didn’t stand out.  I read every single article and there is nothing addressing human sexuality. Granted, each article addresses “all people”, “all humans”, “everyone”, etc.; but there is nothing about alternative sexualities.

All this did is make me think that my teetering yesterday, is not without cause. Maybe, some more soul searching is required…

BYJ: Day 30 – Name the Beautiful

Beauty?  What does it actually mean? How can someone tell what is and what is not beautiful?  Society? Individual tastes? Is it really that subjective?

I have to admit, after writing about Speaking Positively, I’m a little frustrated by this part of the BYJ – Name The Beautiful.  The author suggests writing in the Beautiful You Journal the people I find beautiful and what about them I find beautiful. This is a challenge for me for two reasons and I have already decided how to handle one of the reasons.  Honestly, I have quite a few followers on here that I find amazingly beautiful for several reasons, but I’m not going to list them.  I’m not going to list them, because I don’t want to put any of them on the spot and I don’t want to inadvertently create any Rivalry between anyone.  The other challenge is that defining what I see as Beauty creates an automatic negative feeling within myself, because some of what I find beautiful is truly shallow and I recognize that I can never meet those standards of beauty that I have. But before I talk about the second challenge, let me list the qualities of some of these women that I think are beautiful and why I find them beautiful.

I tend to look at beauty in a couple different ways – physical (or surface), attitudinal (behavior towards others) and spiritual (inner).  It seems readily obvious that there is physical beauty, so let me list some of the things I’ve seen here on WordPress that I find beautiful:

  • There is a woman I follow that I absolutely love her hair. It’s long and beautiful. I simply love it and it appears as if she maintains its health.  She also does her make-up softly, truly in a way that enhances her features. And she has an absolute amazing smile. Granted, it’s always hard to tell online, but her skin also looks exquisite. There is another woman that I’m friends with that has an amazing body and curves that any guy would probably die to get his hands on. And yet, another lady that has such a beautiful smile and wonderful teeth that it makes me wish I could show that kind of joy and brightness. I know for a fact I can never meet these levels of beauty.
  • I follow another woman that has amazing fashion sense and I love the outfits she wears and shows off.  Actually, I follow several blogs with women that show various outfits and the dresses I see are absolutely amazing.  Granted, I have worn a dress and skirt from time to time, but I am totally and utterly self-conscious about how I look in beautiful clothes and dresses and shoes.  Sometimes it makes me feel like I just don’t make sense. OMG!  And there is a woman on my local news station that I totally LOVE and totally wish I could dress like her!  I know it’s all for the camera, but she is so beautiful…I’ve literally had dreams where I felt like I WAS her – silly, I know.

There are many others that exemplify some of the qualities I mentioned above – in fact, some are way too numerous to mention….ugh…I could probably spend all day writing about it and it just made me realize how shallow I might be.

Then, I mentioned something I call “attitudinal beauty” and these are the women that treat other people so wonderfully. There are sooo, sooo, sooo many of these wonderful ladies on here that it’s hard to indicate each and every one of them, but some of the qualities that I have noticed are the fact that they are encouraging, accepting, challenging, loving and caring. I have one friend that no matter how negative I feel about myself, she is always willing to help me see something more positive. I have a friend that has offered to have a girls’ night out, if we ever get the chance to meet. And there are a couple of Christian women that don’t judge me, they don’t make me feel bad and are truly loving – although, I’m not what they might expect in another woman, they still treat me like I’m a human being, I love the encouragement I receive from others and I find it wonderful when people offer compliments.  Basically, those girls that focus on treating other people as important, like they matter and do everything they can to make someone feel good is a great example of attitudinal beauty that I believe I already exemplify! ❤

Spiritual Beauty almost seems like an obvious thing, but I think it’s difficult in practice.  I have a follower on here that I absolutely love her spiritual beauty (she demonstrates the other qualities, as well) – she is at peace with herself. To me that is the essence of spiritual beauty and I can’t really put it into words. I’ve also a couple of followers that have expressed desires of prayer for me and demonstrate, through their words and posts an awareness of a Higher Power (or God) and do not express that belief in any negative way. In fact, one is so conscious of how that makes others feel, she doesn’t shove that belief onto anyone else, but she is comfortable in her own beliefs – I love that quality of spirituality. I am comforted to see a lot of women that have found a way to be comfortable with themselves and love themselves. I hope that I can have this level of beauty someday, as well.

I have to be honest with myself, however, the concepts of beauty that I listed present an difficult challenge for me – especially the first one. I find myself, often times, getting frustrated when I think about being pretty or beautiful. I think about the ideal I have on what beauty is and what it would take to achieve that and it would be a massive undertaking and probably change life for, not only myself, but those around me. I’m not sure that sacrifice would help me achieve the other two standards of beauty I have.  Although I appreciate my feminine interior, the reality is that my exterior is a hard shell and way too difficult to change.

But I know, what the author really wants us to achieve – she wants us to achieve Inner Beauty. ❤