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Keeping My Chin(s) Up

Go Jules Go Keepig My Chins Up Title Graphic 5JUN2019

“Is that what I look like?” I asked.

Babs tilted her phone towards me so I could take a closer look at the photo she’d just snapped.

“I look cute!” I marveled, grabbing the phone from her hands.

“You are cute,” she replied in typical mom fashion.

I stared at the picture for another moment. Huh. I hadn’t wanted her to take the photo. I was sitting on her back porch in hiking gear, eating snacks, feeling grimy and gross and shiny and pudgy.

Don’t get me wrong. There are times when I am Feeling. My. Self. This was not one of them.

The next day, I sat in a plastic chair, sweat starting to pool at the base of my spine. Three fiery orange lights pointed directly at my foil-covered head.

“Just a few more minutes,” a woman in a black smock said with a smile, disappearing to concoct more ammonia-scented tinctures behind closed doors.

What am I doing? Why am I spending 3+ precious hours -not to mention hundreds of dollars- stuck inside on this beautiful June day, covered in chemicals, flipping through a magazine in order to learn more about Mark Hamill’s ill-fated marriage?

Did I think perfect highlights would give me that I Feel Pretty moment?

Amy Schumer I Feel Pretty
Photo credit

What was I really after every time someone snapped a group selfie and I insisted they take it from atop Mount Everest, or I decided to drop half a month’s rent on a universally accepted, if questionable, beauty ritual?

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Does this color bring out the desperation in my eyes?

In two days, I drive 2,780 miles to a new city that I intend to call home – at least for the next year.

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This is exciting. This is terrifying. As someone who, in the span of five years, lost her job, got divorced, moved three times, got dumped twice, started a new job, had a life-changing epiphany and went vegan, enrolled in (and finished) grad school, gave up a kitchen in favor of tiny living, quit her aforementioned new job, and sold all of her stuff, I’m still every bit as scared as ever to try something new.

Much like bravery -that thing you only have because you’re willing to sh*t your pants on a regular basis (…hang on, is that not how the saying goes?)- confidence isn’t an unwavering friend, staring you back in the mirror murmuring, “You got this.”

Confidence skirts behind bullied childhoods and face palm-inducing moments. Confidence comes as quickly as she goes, and holding onto her sometimes feels like reaching for that perfect hair day. There is no perfect hair day.

“See this?” I held up my phone to Babs, having just finished the 3+ hour follicle-torture ritual. “This is all lies.”

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“No, it isn’t! You just took that photo. I was sitting right next you!” she said with a sideways glance.

I snapped another picture, holding it underneath my face, sunlight highlighting every chin and their respective hairs.

“I also just took this one.”

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I don’t have the original photo because I deleted it as quickly as they canceled My So-Called Life. I hope you’ll accept this as a passable reenactment given that it took me four hours to decide I was willing to post it.

Babs looked at my phone and laughed.

In two days, I’m going to remind myself that during every one of those 2,780 miles, I have a choice. I can decide to see myself as the girl with 8,000 chins unforgivable flaws, incapable of making new friends in a new town -or- as the unstoppable girl woman brimming with something even more intoxicating than confidence: self-love.

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~*~*~*~*~*~

How do you keep a brave face?

~*~*~*~*~*~

19 thoughts on “Keeping My Chin(s) Up”

  1. You, my dear… are beautiful. Chins and all. There is no perfect hair day, there is no perfect shape or figure. And if you’re like me, looking back at old pictures when you were 40 lbs thinner…. you remember thinking you were fat then too. It sounds like you’ve come a long way in self discovery in the past 5 years…and feeling comfortable in your own skin beats some unattainable idea of perfection any old day!

    1. I might have to frame this comment and hang it in my new apartment! Thank you so much, and YES. Why is it so hard to appreciate the beauty in wherever we are RIGHT NOW??

      1. I clearly remember not being happy with my (much thinner) self back in the day. I look back now and envy that skinny bitch. Guess we’re never satisfied with ourselves. Sad, that.

  2. Good LUCK making friends out west. I hear everyone is mean, hates vegans and doesn’t like community. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT. Keep those chins up and we’ll see you soon. We fly back tomorrow WOOT!

  3. Love this so much — the world needs every chin you are willing to offer. Happy trails, dear Jules, and I look forward to keeping up with you as you Go Jules Go. Onward!

    1. MP, I was thinking of you as I wrote this! You have been such a critical player on my journey towards becoming the Go-iest Jules. Annnnd that’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.

  4. First off, I so love this! Secondly, very safe travels to your new home. And to answer your question, fake it til you make it. But seriously, ever since I found a healing modality that really works for me, any time something scares me, I take it into a session and address it. Poof! Fear gone!

    1. Thank you!! Isn’t it funny how effective “fake it ’til you make it” ACTUALLY is? I’ve been using the strategy my entire life, but it took many years to realize it WAS a strategy. Now I just DARE someone to be unfriendly; two seconds with this (fake, but then not) ray of sunshine and you’ll never know what hit you.

    1. First off, condolences / congrats re: your new status?! Second, YES. I still haven’t decided if I’m willing to brave any dating apps in my new home town…

      1. No condolences necessary and, well, ummmm, the status is two years and running. I am finding peace and finding my sense of humor again, something my close friends have told me seems good but annoying at times. My humor comes out of left field on a curve, at times.

        Two years single has me thinking the online dating thing can be fun, but there is nothing like good old fashioned meeting someone without an electronic intro. As you indicate, it does takes some bravery to enter the online dating world.. or purgatory or whatever one wants to call it.

  5. Having the pleasure of knowing you in real life (not My So-Called Life), I can say that your inner beauty only highlights your outer beauty. And you are full-on capable of this move, and making your dreams come true, and making friends (you made friends with mine). And remember…you also successfully completed my boot camp and hiking Cape Split. 🙂

    1. Ahhhh you ARE THE BEST!!! This is just what I needed to hear as I’m about to hit the road in less than 12 hours. Thank you! You and your amazing crew DEFINITELY gave me the boost I needed to feel like I can DO THIS. So…when are you guys coming to Oregon?!

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