“That Girl” Is You (In a Good Way)

28 Mar

I have to go on a bit of a rant and tell you what’s inspired me to talk about today’s post. So, without further ado: Bridal competition shows and how much I loathe their very essence.

I’m not talking about Say Yes to the Dress or even My Fair Wedding (as ridiculous as that one is). I’m talking about shows that invite brides to judge each other on their wedding days, or, worse yet, pursue plastic surgery for the occasion. I think they’re despicable and heartbreaking because they take something that all girls have known since their teen years– that feeling of looking in a magazine and wishing you looked like that model or maybe watching someone you knew and wanting to be like her– and twists it into an insecurity to plague you on what should be a day of unconditional love and acceptance. What’s even more sad to me is that the brides on these TV shows care more for what other women are saying and how they’re judging their day than how their grooms feel about them. I mean, what drives a woman to look past someone who loves her and supports her with all his heart? How can it ever be more important to please women who don’t even know them or to fulfill some screwed up body image issues? What is it that’s brainwashed us into thinking we are never, ever good enough?

I’d like to say that I’m completely immune to that thought process but I don’t think anyone can ever be that thick-skinned. My insecurities are placed more in my intellectual weaknesses than my appearance, though. Just pick on my extremely poor math skills and see how quickly I descend into a deep, dark depression and fits of high-pitched weeping. I’ve never been particularly fond of my legs or my teeth but actually, it doesn’t really stop me from dressing whatever way I want or smiling with all my teeth bared because, truthfully, having a good time is more important to me than having someone think I’m beautiful. So…I’d like to think that I’ve done a pretty good job of overcoming those middle school body image issues.

I’m actually a little proud of the way I handled my wedding day. I picked a dress on my first visit, after trying on only five. I didn’t work out or tan…at all. In fact, I took a job to help pay for the wedding that had me working inside, behind a desk for eight or nine hours a day, so I was a little softer and paler than usual. I didn’t even have time to shave or put on deodorant before the wedding. Really, I think it would have been pretty easy for me to feel ugly. Instead, I took in all the love around me and meditated on the joy I felt in the meaning of the day.  All day long, I really think it was the surprising thickness of God’s presence that made me glow and gave me energy to get through everything.

But this post isn’t just about how to handle your image on your wedding day because, really, it’s an every day struggle, isn’t it? When you go to get dressed, do you have a brief moment when you say, “I’d like to put together an outfit like the one in the magazine,” but then immediately think, “No, I could never pull that off?” When you see someone wearing a jacket or some shoes you wanted to buy, do you ever think, “it looks good on her but it would never work on me because I’m not that cool?” I do it occasionally.

And because this entire blog is about being the best person you can be under any circumstances and doing things that make you happy, I feel like it’s time to share some vulnerable things that really help me overcome self-doubt.

1. Train your thoughts on the people who love you. Just forget everyone else– the strangers on the street, the people in your past, your jerk of an ex-boyfriend– and think about how little they care about what you wear or how much money you spent on something. Think about how they care more for your personality and your heart than those material, silly things. Do this every single day. Ritualize it if it helps. Wake up in the morning, go to your closet or your bathroom, and just focus on how good it feels to be loved and supported by your friends and family as you get dressed and ready for the day.

2. Think about the things you want to change and why. Because sometimes when you really understand why you want something to change, it becomes less important–less monumental. Maybe someone in high school made some stupid remark about your arm hair that scarred you for life. Maybe confronting that in your mind and mentally telling off that bee-yotch will make it feel less hurtful. (Wait, what was that? You don’t think you can do that? Don’t let some punk make you feel bad about who you are. Don’t give his/her comments merit by letting it eat at you forever. What did he know anyway? I saw him picking his nose in the school parking lot one day. And she had elbows like ostrich legs, I remember.) If it’s something that’s really bothered you for as long as you can remember…well, maybe it’s time to have a stern talking-to with yourself and really come to terms with that thing. Remember that the less you care about something, the less other people are likely to notice it.

3. If there’s something that bothers you and you can do something about it, do it. Just don’t let it control you. Make a reasonable plan with yourself. If you want to lose weight or tone up or maybe just get a little sun, there’s nothing wrong with that. It shouldn’t take up a significant amount of your time, though. You shouldn’t be thinking about it EVERY time you sit down for a meal or get dressed or go out with friends. Let nothing take away from how much you enjoy your life.

4. Every time you think you’re not good enough in some way, immediately remind yourself of the things you are good at. So what if you have ugly toes? You have great abs and that’s all anyone focuses on when you’re at the beach. Just be careful not to turn this into bashing someone else to make yourself feel better. Remember that everyone struggles with things and part of breaking the cycle is being honestly supportive of other people, especially among women. Too often we rely on mentally or vocally bringing down another girl because we’re having a tough time dealing with something. I’m telling you, you feel so much better about yourself after lifting someone up than tearing her down. I got to show a Lowe’s attendant how I did my hair a couple days ago and it made my week. Anyway, keep your virtues rather than your vices in the forefront of your mind.

5. Take an evening out of every week to just take care of yourself. Paint your nails, take a bath, exfoliate those toes. You will be surprised how much you feel better about yourself after giving your body some attention. It’s probably my favorite part of my week and I usually follow it with time for prayer and meditation. There’s something about taking those tiny steps toward self-improvement that makes every part of you feel more beautiful.

And above all, remind yourself every day that you are the only you in the world and you can be anything you want. You absolutely are “that girl.” So wear the outfit you’ve always wanted, ask out that boy you like, or just leave behind some insecurities. Live as well and happily as you dare.

What are some things you do to feel better about yourself?


2 Responses to ““That Girl” Is You (In a Good Way)”

  1. Traycee Williams March 29, 2011 at 1:01 am #

    You are so wise Brytani! I only recently can say I understand what you are speaking about. I have always tried to please everybody and I just started living the way I wanted and I enjoy all of my moments now!
    You are so ahead of your time Girl!

    • Intrepid Girl March 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

      I know. 😀

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