#MeToo

2017 seemed to be the year of the woman, and 2018 is no different.

Women are the loudest they have ever been in history. Our voices have either been ignored or we’ve been silenced for centuries, but our silence has been broken. And it is deafening.

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about the #MeToo movement since it seems like a new sexual assault victim comes forward each and every single day.

And as a society, we have continuously shamed the men and women that come forward after being the victims of rape and sexual harassment. Which is horrendous.

But I feel that the #MeToo movement and others like it are finally allowing these victims to have a platform to not only share their experiences but also have millions of people believing them and supporting them through their battle.

And all I have to say is #MeToo.

ff92781c75521ba6344ac98ac8dea424Back in high school, I went to a house party with all my girlfriends. Once we arrived we each went on the hunt to grab a drink. I chose to drink a can of beer because it seemed like the best and easy option since I didn’t plan on getting drunk that night.

A guy that was crushing on me asked if I would like another and I of course accepted. He went to grab me another beer but when he returned I noticed that he had poured my beer into a red solo cup. But I thought nothing of it because we were friends and we had been for awhile so of course, I trusted him.

But about halfway through my beer, I started feeling really intoxicated and that wasn’t normal for me after only two Natty Ices. I’m a lightweight but shitty beer take a little longer to hit me, so feeling this way had me a little suspicious.

And by the time I finished my beer I was already in the process of blacking out.

To be completely honest I don’t remember much more than that. All I can recall is me wobbling my way over to a comfy chair outside and nodding in and out of consciousness.

My eyes continued to keep rolling into the back of my head and I could barely speak when someone tried to talk to me.

The only memory I really have of the actual party is just bits and pieces of me trying to talk to another one of my guy friends. I’m not sure if my memory is correct but I remember him joking with me and putting his sailor hat on me a few times. Like I said, I was so far gone at this point I could have potentially made up that memory.

I also remember another one of my guy friends and the owner of the house trying to force feed me crackers to help “sober me up”, but I couldn’t even swallow them.

Once my friends that have driven me to the party finally realized something was wrong with me they decided to take me home. We drove home with my entire head sticking out of the window while I proceeded to vomit every couple of minutes.

Want to know the worst part?

The guy who had a crush on me decided that it was his responsibility to sit next to me in the car and rub my back the whole way home.

Returning to school that Monday was hard for me because a lot of people saw how fucked up I was. But after a few days of me blowing everyone off saying that “yeah I guess I just drank too much”, I finally decided to tell my girlfriends what I really thought happened to me.

I told them I had only drunk two beers and there was no way in hell that I should have blacked out. And then I decided to let them know that I think the guy who had a crush on me drugged my beer.

They didn’t believe me.

I remember telling them that our schools “drug dealer” was also at the party and he probably sold him something to fuck me up and he must have placed it in my drink.

They still didn’t believe me.

Having every single one of your best friends not believe you is one of the most devastating feelings in the world.

But it gets worse.

They actually all sided with the guy who had drugged me and they are even friends with him to this day. And since then he has been accused on multiple occasions of drugging other girls and trying to take advantage of them.

Yet no one says shit because “that’s just _______”.

IMG_5143The fact that I was drugged wasn’t the worst part for me. It was my friends not believing in me. And that kept me quiet for a long time.

So every time something bad happened to me I didn’t tell anyone because I felt like no one would believe me.

And since that event, I have been sexually harassed on many occasions and even sexually assaulted. And for the most part, I didn’t tell anyone because I felt like no one would believe me.

I was sexually assaulted a few years ago.

I was going through a horrible break up and I wasn’t okay mentally or emotionally. I was looking for love and acceptance in other men by having sex with them.

There were many times that I didn’t want to have sex with someone but I did anyway due to multiple reasons. Either they kept pressuring me or I felt like it would make me feel better.

But it didn’t.

A lot of the time, the men would pressure me into either having sex with them or even performing oral sex on them. And I always felt weird afterward because I didn’t want to do it and I tried to get out of doing it but in the end, I also didn’t say “no”. So in my mind, I felt that if I didn’t say “no” directly to them, then I must have wanted it?

But I didn’t.

Even though I didn’t verbally say “no” or “stop” to these guys I still felt so violated after. And the reason I felt that way is because I was sexually assaulted by them.

But then things even got worse than that.

One night I was out with some friends in downtown Newport and I drank way too much. Knowing that I was fucked up, I decided to leave the bar early and go home.

So I texted a guy that I was “talking” to at the time to come pick me up and drive me to my car so that I could sleep for awhile and drive home when I was sober.

But instead, he drove me to his place.

By the time I got to his house, he had to physically carry me up the stairs and lay me down on his couch. And all I remember after that was him turning on Netflix and me completely blacking out.

Some small bits and pieces of the night came to me the following day, which were later confirmed by him.

So without going into too much detail, I was raped.

I was so far gone that I couldn’t say “no” and he took that as an opportunity to take advantage of me and do whatever he wanted with me.

Since then I have healed and moved on from what has happened to me through many, many emotional conversations with my mom. But that doesn’t change the fact that I was in fact raped.

No matter if you say “no” or “stop” and someone still continues to do what they want despite your word or if you don’t say anything at all because of fear or unconsciousness something tragic still happened and that can affect someone for the rest of their life.

Believe me, I have major trust issues. I don’t trust men at all. I honestly get nervous when I’m alone and I see a man walking towards me or even behind me. And that fear is for a good reason.

But the fact that millions of men and women have to live with that fear and baggage of someone else’s selfish and disgusting behavior and acts is inexcusable.f13c8e73e6f2fe1f68e30a57de8dba31

I never pressed charges on the man who raped me and the reason why is because I felt guilty.

I felt like I was the one who had called him asking for a ride so I must have subconsciously wanted what had happened to me, right?

No, I didn’t want it.

And guess what? A lot of other men and women feel the same fucking way.

They feel like maybe they did ask for it. Or maybe their outfit was a little too revealing. Or maybe they didn’t say “no”, so they must have actually wanted it.

But in the end, I was raped and I didn’t want it.

This is why the #MeToo movement is so powerful. Men and women can share their stories and let the world know that the victims are never at fault. I don’t care if you wanted to have sex and in the middle of it you decided you didn’t anymore and then you told them to “stop” and they didn’t. They raped you. I don’t care if you were so blackout drunk that you couldn’t even speak. They raped you. I don’t care if your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to have sex but you don’t and then they force you too. They raped you.

It is never the victim’s fault.

For more, read my article on Control Forever by clicking here!

Body Positive Social Media Accounts to Follow

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I spend a lot of my free time on social media, as do many other people my age. I love sharing what I’m doing or the places I’ve explored with my friends and family as well as seeing what everyone else is up to.

Social media is such a great way to stay connected to those you may not see as often as you’d like or family members that live out of state or even following your favorite celebrities lives.

But there is also a “dark” side to being so active on social media. Constantly being bombarded with photos of “Instagram models” (no shade, you do you!) provocatively posing with their rock hard abs and perfect hair and makeup can lead anyone to feel a drop in their self-confidence.

Our perceptions of ourselves can slowly change due to us constantly comparing ourselves to other people and celebrities.

I know I’ve definitely compared myself to multiple celebrities and influencers over the years and it honestly takes a toll on me. I wonder why I’m not traveling to Bora Bora every other week or have long luscious blonde hair down to my ass and why my skin isn’t 100% blemish free at all times.

As humans, we are constantly comparing our lives and the way we look to others. Whether it be all about our appearances or how much money someone else makes; we’re programmed to always compare ourselves to the next person. Remember the old phrase “keeping up with the Joneses”? Well, we still have the same mentality today about trying to be better than the person next to us.

Constantly comparing yourself to someone else can be tiring and more-so it’s just not healthy for us.

Although I still follow a handful of celebrities and influences on Instagram, I have made a conscious effort to follow more people that inspire and encourage me instead of making me question my self-worth.

The following women that I decided to include in this post mean so much to me. They have helped me realize my own self-worth, helped me learn to not be so hard on myself and they’ve helped create a community for women (and men) to come together and support and empower one another.

Because we are definitely stronger together!

 

@bodyposipanda
I stumbled across Megan’s page a while ago and I absolutely love it! She is like a walking, talking rainbow and I love that about her. Everything that comes out of her mouth is positive and uplifting. She’s constantly posting photos of people all shapes, sizes, races, gender, sex and so much more and helping their voices be heard. I have never seen a more diverse group of individuals anywhere than I have on her page. She always celebrates women and their beauty; inner and outer. My favorite thing about her page is that I always feel so accepted. Her infectious personality and honesty will have you coming back for more!

 

@breekish
This girl is a literal ray of freaking sunshine! I swear there is always a smile on her face and only kind words ever come out of her mouth! Bree is a plus-sized model that is obsessed with all things Disney, oh and did I mention she is a literally living, breathing angel? I love that she stands up for what she believes in, like how plus-sized women are not really represented in the media, movies, fashion and more. She also always reminders her followers that bodies come in all shapes and sizes and no matter what you look like, you are worthy and should be respected.  Her bubbly and vibrant personality paired with her body positivity will always draw me to her account when I’m feeling a little down.

 

@noelledowning
I’ve only been following Noelle for a few months now but she is just simply amazing. This girl is constantly building up the other women around her. A lot of people in the “influencer” industry seems to tear each other down to get ahead and Noelle is the complete opposite! It seems like she has made so many genuine friendships with women from all walks of life. But my favorite thing about her is how honest she is with all is her follows. She occasionally posts a few BTS photos of her showing her followers what really happened when taking pictures, instead of just posting the perfectly posted photo. She is extremely body postive and is always willing to show the fact that her tummy also has rolls! She inspires me to focus on my well-being by cooking more meals at home and getting my ass to the gym with her cute recipes and daily “heading to the gym” outfit inspos!

 

 

@ddlovato
I have been in love with Demi Lovato since she stared in the Disney Channel short “As the Bell Rings” and then of course “Camp Rock”. So I’ve followed her through all of her ups and downs. She’s struggled with so much in her life and watching her overcome so many of her own personal demons like eating disorders and drug abuse inspires me to keep fighting my demons. She is so raw and honest and she empowers so many people on a daily basis. Not only is she extremely beautiful physically but you can just tell that she also has a beautiful soul and really wants to inspire others to become better versions of themselves for themselves.

 

@theashleygraham
I have been obsessed with Ashley Graham since her legendary Sports Illustrated cover. This woman is a badass. She is unapologetic and just simply an inspiration. She celebrates her curves, rolls, stretch marks and other “imperfections” and wants everyone else to do the same! She believes that more women of all shapes and sizes need to be represented in magazines, movies, fashion shows and so on and I couldn’t agree more!

 

@loeybug
I fell into a true crime worm hole on Youtube one day and found the lovely Loey! So not only do her and I have a fascination with all things horror and scary but we also feel very strongly about spreading body positivity. She has a playlist on Youtube titled “The Curvy Diaries”, all about her plus-size hauls and lookbooks. I love that she is providing plus-size women with a way to style their clothes in a cute and fashionable way since to be honest, most companies don’t do that. They want “bigger” women to hide their bodies away, while Loey wants women to celebrate their bodies and not shy away from crop tops even if you’re not a size 2!

 

@spiiltmilk
I love following along Kai’s life. To put it simply, she is a badass bitch! My favorite thing about following her is that she is brutally honest and she’s unapologetic about it. She will straight up say that her kids are driving her nuts at the moment or that she is struggling with how she feels about herself and the way she looks. And although she lets her followers know shes also struggling, like everyone else, she always ends things on a positive note. Her honesty is what drew me to her page and it’s what keeps me around!

 

 

@ellosummer

I’ve known Summer for years! Not only is she absolutely gorgeous but also has an amazingly huge heart. There is no way to be sad when you’re around her. This girl forces everyone around her to see the beauty in themselves. Whenever I’m feeling down about myself, I can always count on Summer to hype me up! She is such a free spirting with a love for adventure and life. She inspires me every single day to enjoy the little things and not take life so seriously. I know people tend to say, “you can’t be self-conscious you have the perfect body”, but that is definitely not true. No matter what you look like, sometimes we all struggle a little. And Summer is no different. Although Summer is absolutely stunning, she still suffers from self-esteem issues just like everyone else and the fact that she is honest about that just proves that we are all in this together. (Ignore my High School Musical reference.) We both are so like-minded in the way that we believe that all women should love themselves no matter what and express themselves the way they chose too without the fear of being judged. I have mad love for this girl!

 

The Five Love Languages

The five love languages are the five ways people interpret, give and receive love. And we’re all completely different.

The book the Five Love Languages was written by Gary Chapman, a longtime relationship counselor.

“My conclusion after thirty years of marriage counseling is that there are basically five emotional love languages—five ways that people speak and understand emotional love. In the field of linguistics, a language may have numerous dialects or variations. Similarly, within the five basic emotional love languages, there are many dialects…The important thing is to speak the love language of your spouse.”

Each person holds all five of these love languages to some degree in their life, but a person will usually give and receive one primary love language. Meaning, although most people require all five love languages at different points in their life, they usually have one primary language that is always applicable to their life.

The love languages are:
Words of affirmation:
This language uses words to affirm other people.

Acts of Service—For these people, actions speak louder than words.

Receiving Gifts—For some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift.

Quality time—This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention.

Physical Touch—To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch.

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My personal love language is Receiving Gifts, which mean I interpret love by receiving gifts. I also tend to show my love by giving others gifts.

So the act of me receiving a gift, no matter if it’s a handwritten note or something extravagant, is how I know I am loved by that person. I also give love this was as well. Each time I make a Target run or go out of town I pick something up for someone in my life. This is how I show them I am thinking of them and that I do truly love them.

I have been this way since I was little.

So the fact that I know my own personal love language is good, but not all of those around me have the same love language. So although I feel good about giving gifts to my boyfriend, family and friends, they might not have Receiving Gifts as their love language. So, in the end, they technically aren’t receiving the love they want from me.

My boyfriends love language is 100%, without a doubt Physical Touch. He constantly wants to be touching, whether it’s something as simple as holding hands and cuddling or us being intimate. He needs constant touch.

His secondary love language is Words of Affirmation. He is always looking for my approval and wanting me to affirm that what he is doing is good and that I am proud of him.

He feels as though he is loved by me when I’m giving him the physical touch or words of encouragement that he craves.

So the fact that we each know each other love language helps our relationship so much because we not only realize what the other person interprets as love but we also are aware of what they do to show their love to the other.

 

As you can see, we have totally different love languages. This doesn’t mean we’re not compatible. What it means is that we give and receive love differently and we both have to actively work on showing the other person the kind of love that they need.

So for me, I typically show my love to my boyfriend by picking him up his favorite snack when I go to the grocery store. Although I feel like I’m showing him that I was thinking about him and love him, he doesn’t necessarily interpret it that way.

He would much rather me cuddle with him or tell him I am proud of him.

And the same goes for him. He is constantly wanting to snuggle up or have sex when all I want is to receive a thoughtful gift or token of his appreciation from him every now and then to know I’m loved.

So with that being said, we are constantly trying to learn the others love language. Meaning, when he is trying to snuggle up next to me I know he is trying to show me he loves me. And when I bring him a little gift after a shopping trip he knows I’m trying to show him I was thinking about it.

But don’t get me wrong, it can be difficult.

At times we both feel a little neglected since we aren’t always receiving the love that we require. And to be honest, that’s totally normal.

But we both are very vocal about what we need and want from one another that those feeling are quickly squashed.

The most important part of knowing your partners love language is actively trying to use their love language. This way you are showing your partner love in the way they need to receive it.

Showing your partner or even your friends and family the love they need is so beneficial to the relationship you hold with that person.

So learn your love language to help better all the relationships you hold in your life!

Go to 5lovelanguages.com to discover your love language!

 

Self-Love by Someone Who Hates Themself

All relationships are important. Whether they are platonic or romantic; we hold so much value in the relationships we form with others.

But the most important relationship that we all hold, is also the one that we tend to neglect the most. This is the relationship we have with ourselves.

I’ve struggled with self-love and self-esteem issues for almost my entire life. So I know that the relationship we have with ourselves typically affects every single aspect of our lives. It can affect our mood, our actions, our words and even how we live our day to day lives.IMG_4170

I can tell you firsthand that when you view yourself as ugly, not worthy or even disgusting you tend to become more depressed and can even isolate yourself from others.

But at the same time, when you make small steps to change your mentality about yourself the changes in the way you view yourself can be monumental.

I have tried almost everything to learn how to love and accept myself for who I am. I’ve gone as drastic as starving myself for weeks on end and working out until I couldn’t breathe. To as simple as throwing myself at men in hopes that their attention would make me feel better. But each time I failed.

And the reason I failed was that at the end of the day I really didn’t believe that I was beautiful or strong or enough for anyone. I still was doubtful even though I was trying to take steps at loving myself.

I didn’t believe in myself at all. The thought of me failing was always in the back of my mind and it always slowly crept up on me.

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Photo by: @conspirateurs

With all that being said, I’ve tried it all. But even though I have failed 10,000 times I still keep on trying. I now feel like I have the confidence in myself to finally learn to accept me for me.

I know that self-love and self-acceptance are a lifelong practice, and though I am only 25 I have learned so much so far in my journey.

Below are some self-love practices that have made me feel empowered, evincible and truly forced me see the beauty in myself; whether it be my outer or inner.

Yoga

For the past few months, I have been practicing yoga about two times per week. Yoga has allowed me to discover the beauty of my body by showing me how strong I actually am. At the beginning of my journey I could barely hold a balancing pose and now I have seen so much progress in not only my balance but also my flexibility and strength. But the practice of yoga is not the only thing that has helped me discover this, it’s also my instructor Shauna (@Kalanyoga). She has honestly taught me so much about not only the practice but also about my own self. She constantly incorporates empowering and inspirational messages into her practice. At the start of each class she invites us to set an intention, so each time I tell myself, “learn to love yourself”. And at the end of class she closes it with, “may we look within for validation and self-awareness. May we speak words of truth, kindness and encouragement. May we be the change we wish to see in the world.” These three simple phrases seal our practice on such a positive note that constantly leaves me feeling empowered and proud of myself.

Therapy

Back in high school, I started seeing a therapist because my depression and self-esteem issues were getting worse and I didn’t know how to handle them on my own. My therapist recommended that I start a daily journal and a self-help book called “Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance” by Rosie Molinary. Each day I would read the corresponding except. The author advises you to either write from the question she presented or try something new. This forced me to think about my self-worth on a daily basis, which allowed me to find the tools to finally learn to accept and love myself. I currently do not go to a therapist for my issues but I am rereading “Beautiful You”. Sometimes you just need someone who is unbiased to listen to you or provide you with the tools change your thought process about yourself. Although I know I am strong-willed and more than capable to learn to love myself, it can be tough. Some days are so much easier than others. But I know for me, talking to someone who believes me and makes sure to validate my feelings about myself helps wonders.

Daily Affirmations

One of the hardest things for me to do is tell myself I’m beautiful or that I am worthy. The reason why it’s so hard is because when I say it, I don’t believe myself. If you’re like me, then this one is going to be tough. Affirmations are a great way to change the way you think. When you put something out into the universe it usually comes back to you. This is called the law of attraction. So when you put negative thoughts out into the universe you typically receive negativity back. And when you put positivity into the universe you typically receive positivity back. It’s as simple as that. So for me, when I tell myself I am beautiful or strong or have a great ass, I don’t necessarily believe it (except for the ass part, I definitely believe that!). But the fact that I am speaking positive and empowering things about myself into the universe helps me because it eventually comes back to me later in the form of something else. And when this happens I feel one step closer to finally believing the words I am saying to myself. But if you don’t feel comfortable saying these words out loud to yourself each morning you can always write yourself a sticky note and leave it on your mirror so then you are forced to see it each day. In the beginning, I couldn’t force myself to say anything positive so I would write myself a message on my mirror in dry erase marker each morning. And seeing a message saying “I am beautiful” while looking into the mirror, even though you might not feel that way at the time, will eventually force you to see that you are truly beautiful.

Read

Kind of going back to the therapy bullet point. When your world seems so bleak and dysfunctional sometimes the only thing that can help you is to escape it for a little. The easiest way for me to escape my reality is by reading. When I find a book that captivates me it’s like a movie is going on in my head. All my worries, frustrations, anxieties and thoughts of self-doubt all see to melt away while I’m reading. Bonus tip: grab a glass of ginger ale (or wine), light a few candles and read while in a bubble bath!

Give yourself time

Know that self-love and self-acceptance are a journey, and boy can it be a bumpy one. Changing the way you see or feel about yourself takes time, practice and patience (which I have none of). It’s easy to be hard on yourself when going through this journey but realizing you’re not perfect and mistakes will happen will only help you. Allow yourself to make mistakes or have a few hiccups without being so hard on yourself. I know, I know, easier said than done. But this journey won’t happen overnight, so you have to allow yourself the time to heal from the negative image you currently see yourself as.

Orgasm

When all else fails, don’t give up. Give yourself an orgasm. Discovering your body is one of the quickest ways to self-love and self-acceptance. When I was in college I had a human sexuality teacher that had all the women go home and grab a hand-held mirror to look at their vaginas. Like actually LOOK at their vaginas. Most women tend to hate the way their vaginas look so she wanted us to explore the beauty of our own vaginas. To be honest, this was the first time I had ever actually seen my vagina. I mean, yes, I had seen my it before, but not like this. So I encourage every woman to do the same. And when you are done discovering yourself discover yourself again with an orgasm! When you orgasm your brain is flooded with oxytocin, which is also referred to as the “love hormone”. It plays a huge role in how we bond with others as well. So when you give yourself an orgasm it can help you bond with yourself, which will then lead you to love yourself more.

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These are only a few ways that have helped me along my journey with self-love and self-acceptance. I also really enjoy having some alone time browsing through Target or TJ Maxx or hanging out with my girlfriends or taking my parents out to dinner.

There is no right way to learn to love and accept yourself. Each person’s journey is their own and is completely unique to themselves.

So I encourage everyone to find out what works best for them and practice it daily.

I would love to hear how you all practice self-love and self-acceptance!

Boudoir Photo Shoot

 

 

I have struggled with self-love and self-esteem issues ever since a boy I had a crush on asked me, “why aren’t you pretty like all your friends?”. I was seven years old.

Ever since that day, I have tried to discover ways to make myself feel beautiful. Whether it was as extreme as starving myself or something as simple as buying myself a new outfit. I’ve tried it all.

My journey of self-love has been a long and rough one but I still seem to trek on.

So me being the super self-conscious and critical woman I am, I decided the best thing for me to do was partake in a boudoir photo shoot for my two year anniversary present to my boyfriend. Makes perfect sense, right?

A photographer I had been following for a while on Instagram posted that she was doing a boudoir photo shoot package including hair and makeup as a Valentine’s Day gift idea and I signed up right away.

I was obviously very hesitant to partake in the photo shoot due to my body image issues, but little did I know that this photo shoot would be one of the most empowering and impactful things I have ever done for myself. I honestly thought that me posing provocatively in sexy lingerie was just a great gift for my boyfriend, which it was, but it was also a gift in disguise to myself.

On my way to the photo shoot, I was stressing out about the outfits I had picked out for myself. My two main insecurities had always been both my stomach and my arms. So naturally, I got two outfits that covered both with just enough skin showing that I felt comfortable but also sexy.

As soon as I arrived, I was greeted by the photographer, Jessica (@lagophoto), the makeup artists and hairstylists, Jess, Hailey and Loe, as well as the other women that were there for their own shoot.

These women were immediately so friendly and made me instantly feel comfortable. I was surrounded by women who were constantly speaking words of encouragement and love to each other from the second I stepped out of my car.

Once my makeup and hair were complete I went into the house to watch the ending of one of the other woman’s shoot. And let me tell you, this woman was PERFECT. She was nailing each pose and didn’t have to be directed as to what to do once. This scared me a little since I knew I was going to need A LOT of coaching on my poses and facial expressions since I knew I’d be somewhat stiff once the camera was on me. Oh, and I felt that my physical appearance was nowhere near as flawless as she was.

When it was my turn to shoot, I went and changed into my first outfit and I’m not going to lie, I gave myself a little pep talk in the mirror before stepping out.

But the second that I walked out of the bathroom all of the women began to boost my confidence with their “damn”, “oohs” and “ahhs”. And honestly their words of encouragement and constantly assisting me with my poses.

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This boudoir photo shoot was honestly such an amazingly positive experience for me. I was surrounded by women who genuinely support other women and aren’t threatened by another woman’s beauty or confidence.

For the first time in a long time, I felt so beautiful and sexy in my own skin and it was all thanks to these women.

While I was shooting, I wasn’t once worried about how the poses made my stomach look or whether my arms were pushed against my sides making them look fat. I was able to feel free and confident. I was living in the moment, which hasn’t happened to me in years!

There was even a time during the shoot that the photographer asked me to take off my lace kimono, which I was wearing to cover up my arms. It had been my security blanket throughout the whole shoot and I told her that I hated my arms and she told me to stop being silly and to take it off.

Taking off that security blanket, while it may seem so simple and easy, was a big deal for me. I haven’t worn anything that shows off my arms in about two or three years. So at first, I was nervous but honestly removing it felt so freeing!

Doing something so out of my comfort zone like 1. wearing lingerie and 2. wearing it in front of strangers and 3. having photo evidence of both of those things was honestly one of the best ideas I have ever had. It forced me to face my fears and confidence issues and left me feeling empowered, loved and self-assured.

DSC_3074When I received my photos I cried. I had never once in my life seen myself in that light before. I was so beautiful. The photos were breathtaking. I looked and felt so confident in my own skin.

But at the same time, I was overcome with sadness. Why had I not seen this side of myself before? Why was I now, at 25 years old, seeing the natural and raw beauty in myself?

That thought was extremely saddening. But it made me realize that I need to step out of my comfort zone more often and put myself in situations that will not only help me learn to love myself but also situations that allow me to build other women up. Women encouraging other women is so important and impactful.

The women that were on “set” that day with me probably don’t even realize how much of an impact they made on me and my confidence that day. They made me feel invincible and forced me to see my own beauty. It has always been extremely easy for me to see and express the beauty in others, but I have never been able to do that for myself. So these women really made a lasting effect on me with their kind and honest words.

Since gifting the photos to my boyfriend, I have been trying to better myself for myself. I have been working on my self-confidence and self-love. My goal is to see myself the way my boyfriend sees me; effortlessly beautiful.

I know that the journey of self-love is going to be a lifelong journey but it’s something that needs to happen in order for me to feel fulfilled and truly happy.

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I never thought that something as simple as partaking in a boudoir photo shoot would have such an impact on me. But it did. And I cannot express how much this experience meant to me and how I feel like every single woman should do one for herself.

I thought this photo shoot was for my boyfriend as an anniversary gift, but it truly was for me and my own personal empowerment. It made me understand that us women need to stick together and support each other no matter what.

The years of women being pitted against each other to make themselves feel better is behind us. We need to stand together, support and empower each other. We are stronger together!

 

 

Happily Healthy

IMG_0079Tomorrow, February 1st, my boyfriend Vincent and I will celebrate our two year anniversary. I’m definitely not going to say that our relationship is perfect, it never will be, and we’re okay with that. But it is such a mutually beneficial and healthy relationship, filled with so much respect and love. Which is honestly all we both have ever wanted.

We fight. We disagree. We bicker like an old married couple. We get annoyed with each other. We need our alone time away from each other. But we also love each other endlessly and continually grow together and as our own person.

If you’ve read any of my previous blogs about my past relationship then you will know that I know exactly what an unhealthy relationship is like due to my ex. But thankfully that relationship taught me a lot and really shaped me into a better me, which allowed me to love and respect what I have with Vincent so much more.

With Vincent and mine two-year relationship just around the corner (literally less than 24 hours away). I wanted to discuss some things that make a relationship a “healthy” one according to my experience being in an extremely unhealthy relationship vs. my current healthy relationship.

Let’s get into it!

  1. You not only grow together as a couple, but you also grow as your own person
    You both push each other to be better. No one is perfect, but you can always be better than you are right now. You’re also not afraid to let your significant other know where and when they can be better and also open to constructive criticism; it’s coming from the heart!
  2. Neither of you compromise your values or “non-negotiable” 
    If you and your partner really love each other than neither of you will ask the other to compromise their values just because you don’t believe in them or like them.
  3. You are not afraid to speak up
    Your partner’s wishes and feelings have value, and so do yours. You both always let each other know that the others feelings, ideas, etc. are constantly on your mind and have a place in your personal decision making. You both also let the other know when their words or actions are out of line as well. Mutual respect is essential to maintaining healthy relationships.
  4. You have boundaries
    Just because you are in a relationship doesn’t mean you isolate yourself from your loved ones and friends. Healthy relationships require space and alone time. You both make it a priority to spend time without each other with either friends or family or if you’re like me a solo trip to Target.
  5. You support each other
    -Reassurance and encouragement are both amazing benefits of having a significant other. Knowing that the person you love supports you in all that you do is a wonderful feeling and when you’re in a healthy relationship these feeling/actions are like second nature.
  6. You fight
    Okay, listen to me for a second. Disagreements are a natural and healthy part of a relationship, whether it be romantic or platonic. It is okay to have disagreements and learn to compromise on certain things. What’s not okay is having screaming matching at each other. So when I say “fight” I mean healthy disagreements that have a positive outcome such as a comprise or better understanding of the issue as a result.

So please remember that relationships require a lot of work from both parties. Both Vincent and I feel that a relationship is not 50/50. It’s 100/100. Each person needs to put in 100%. This doesn’t mean that each person is putting in 100% at all times. Sometimes you’re having a hard day so your partner puts in more work to make you feel better and comfort you. And that’s awesome. That’s what love is all about.

Also, no relationship is perfect. Just because your relationship isn’t perfect in your or others eyes doesn’t mean it’s not a healthy relationship. (If you want to read about an unhealthy, destructive relationship scroll down and read my past blog posts about my ex.)

All relationships are unique and lovely in their own way. But the most beautiful and raw relationships are those with two people, despite their hardships, who together give each other endless happiness. Those people are happily healthy in their relationship.

P.S. Happy two year anniversary Vincent. I love you bubs.

How Social Media Distorts our Perception of Real Relationships

It’s been a few weeks since I released my “Addicted to you” blog post. And in those weeks I have been going back and forth on what my next post should entail.

Should it be about a specific event that happened? Or about the tactics my ex used to manipulate me? Or even another overall view of my toxic relationship? Or should it be more about me or about him?

These are the questions that have been floating around in my head constantly and I’ve honestly written pages and pages on each topic. But I was still torn on what I should post.

I’ve been constantly writing and then immediately deleting everything because what I’m trying to express is extremely hard to articulate in a coherent manner, since well, my relationship wasn’t really easy to understand.

But since I’ve been thinking about this a lot I realized that more negative memories from my past are starting to resurface. It’s honestly insane how our true memories can be so distorted by either the sheer power of us wanting to believe something different happened or by the manipulation of another changing our memories.

After the realization that most of my memories of my first love are not as they seem, the more I realized how much power he had over me.

The one thing that you think that someone can’t take away from you are your memories. But that is in fact a lie. They can be taken away and they can be manipulated.

I’m not just a victim of  my memories being manipulated but I also actively participated in deceiving all of my friends and family as to what was actually occurring in my relationship.

For the most part, I did this somewhat unconsciously since most people don’t like to actively air out their dirty laundry and I was no different. I chose to only show the world the “good” that was happening in my relationship, even if most of it was fabricated.

Social media is such a huge part of peoples lives in this day and age. People use social media for all sorts of things. Like staying connected with friends and family, sharing their experiences and even promoting themselves.

I’m not going to lie, I was once obsessed with how I looked on social media. And to be completely honest I still somewhat am.

That being said, I only let the world see what I wanted them to see.

Most of my posts on social media were all about the fun things I was doing or how amazing my ex-boyfriend was. But honestly most of them were fabricated.

Social media distorts the way we see real relationships because of people like me who claim to have the perfect relationship even though it’s the furthest thing from the truth.

Due to “social media relationships” young adults are expecting to be whisked off their feet at every turn in a relationship and that’s not the way it is in reality.

People fight. They have disagreements. They go through some tough shit together. But do you ever see that displayed on social media? No.

My past relationship was a whirlwind. That’s the best word to describe it because there were some really good times but there was also some deep, dark times that no one should ever go through.

And I lied a lot on social media. I claimed that our relationship was all sunshine and roses all the time! And it wasn’t.

We fought probably 90% of the time an the other 10% was us trying to make up for our dysfunctional relationship by ignoring our arguments without working them out or finding a resolution and playing “house”.

So everything all my friends and family saw on social media was pretty much a lie.

I loved my ex. More than he probably ever loved me. But the wonderful things I constantly said about him all over social media also came with him throwing tantrums, talking to other girls constantly, belittling me and countless other unthinkable things. But I never told anyone those things. Not only was I embarrassed but I also felt like I somewhat deserved the torture because I had such low self-esteem and he used that against me.

I went through all of my social media accounts and pulled some photos that I posted about my ex. And for the first time I’m going to be brutally honest about what was actually going on during the time I posted each of these photos.

(But like I said above, my memory regarding most of these events is a little distorted so I might not recall everything that was going on.)


1

My ex and I had been officially dating for about a month and we were already falling in love. I decided to take him to my cousins wedding as my date so he could meet my family. Everything was going good until it wasn’t.

He was obviously nervous to meet most of my family so both of us had one or two drinks during the reception. (We both were only 18 at the time but since we were at a family members house my mom allowed us to have a drink.)

But I quickly noticed that he soon was very intoxicated. He was slurring his words and was visibly drunk.

I had only seen him drink one or two drinks. But then I found out that he had been sneaking drinks when my family wasn’t looking. This should have been the first warning sign, but what can I say. I was infatuated with him so I left it slide with little to no resistance.

 

This was our one year anniversary. We both had Disney passes and went about two times per week.

He took me to Ariels Grotto in California Adventure because he knew Ariel was my favorite Disney princess. He bought me a really heartfelt gift that anniversary—it was a 20th century antique typewriter key encased in a silver pendant.

This was probably one of the only truly happy memories I have of us.

3

This text was sent to me about a year and a half into our relationship. To be honest I’m not exactly sure what occurred before this message was sent.

But I was used to receiving messages like this typically about a day after we would have a huge blow out. He’d also try to save his ass and get back on my good side again by making me feel like the only girl in the world and like he truly did love me. This was his m.o.

The saddest part of it all? I fell for it every time.

4

This photo was taken at his dads house. The only time we ever went over there was to get shit faced. And this time was no different.

We were sober when the photo was taken but that evening we were both pretty intoxicated.

My favorite thing about this photo is that I refer to him as my best friend. He was my best friend because I had abandoned all of my other friends just to be with him. I was addicted to being around him and with him at all times and most of my friends had had enough of it. And I don’t blame them one bit for that.

Thankfully, I have repaired my relationship with them all now.

5

We were visiting my grandma who lives up north. To be completely honest this was a nice trip for both of us. I remember us getting along really well the whole time and it actually felt like a real and true relationship for once.

6

This photo honestly terrifies me now. The reason being, he would make similar faces when he was having delusions. (He used to hear and see things that weren’t there a lot of the time.)

He acted as if he was possessed and would growl and say vial things. So this photo just brings up some of the most emotionally draining and terrifying events that had ever happened to me.

7

I attended my colleges play because I was writing a piece on it for the newspaper. I bought two tickets, one for me and one for my ex. He decided last minute that he wasn’t going to go with me, so I ended up attending it alone.

The reason this photo makes me so sad now is because when he told me he wasn’t going to go with me it crushed me. I had always shown interest in his passions like music so when he told me he wasn’t going that meant that he wasn’t interested in my passion for writing. And this picture was me trying to show the public that I was happy, when I really wasn’t.

9

We were at Disneyland again in this photo. He was pretty deeply into his alcoholism and drug abuse at this point but I was obviously naive and ignorant about it.

And as you can see by the comments, people believed our false happiness.

12

This photo was taken right before we broke up for good.

I had driven down to San Clemente where he was in rehab. We had the whole day planned full of exploring, shopping, eating and catching up.

I’m not sure if it was this day or another day I went down there to visit with him but I found out he was talking to other girls.

We were laying down next to each other after just making what I assumed to be love, when he went to the bathroom and his phone buzzed. I looked over at it and noticed he had a text from one of our old coworkers. I opened it and discovered that he was asking her for photos and telling her how beautiful she was. He was sending these text pretty much at the same time he was telling me how after rehab he was going to get a job, save his money and propose to me. He was even telling my mother this as he was flirting with this girl.

I was so extremely devastated because I was still sticking by his side even though he had put me through hell and back and was attending rehab. Most girlfriends would have dropped their boyfriends way before it ever came to this, but not me.

Another thing, the caption on the photo pictured above has since been edited but before it had something to do with how much I loved him and how wonderful that day had been for me to finally see him clean and sober for the first time in what felt like forever.

Needless to say, not everything you see on social media is real.