Growing up, I was the true ugly duckling. If you have seen the selfies I have posted on social media, that seems a little dramatic and far fetched. But, I'm like Abraham Lincoln and I never tell a lie.
I was awkward, over weight, had crooked teeth, wore hand me down clothes, had thick glasses and all that jazz. I was an outcast that befriended other outcasts like myself. However, because of how I looked, dressed, my mannerisms, and who I hung out with, I was made fun of a LOT when I was a child. Bullied but without anything physical. I was called "Fattany", "Big Bird" and "Know-it-all". Often taunted with the song, “fatty, fatty, 2 x4 couldn't fit through the bathroom door”. I would walk by a group of my peers, hear them whisper and then act as if the ground shook when I walked by. Honestly, I was a chunky child but I was not THAT big to deserve that kind of scrutiny.
I had a group of friends tell me once they didn’t want to be friends with me anymore to my face. It came out of no where and when I asked "why?" they could not provide an explanation. I cried and couldn’t understand what I did. I was in 2nd grade, and along with the abuse I faced at home, this is what triggered my thoughts of no one wanting me around.
Glasses were not a cool thing back when I was younger, although I thought they were pretty cool. I still remember there was a day I was walking home from school, some kid on a bike road next to me and called me four eyes the rest of the way home. Then… the epic braces. The braces that I needed to fix my messed up teeth. Brace face was fun to hear. But by the time I got braces I was in high school. So I was old enough not to entertain the name calling and would often have a witty come back if they tried.
All of it was a series of unfortunate events that was Me. Even though some of what was said hurt, I never let it define me. I had a heart of gold as a child and til this day is something I am so proud of. I would see the brighter side of things, even when no one else could. I remember there were a few friendships I developed because I walked up to the kid that stood alone and said "Hi, Im Brittany!". Out going and out spoken is the kind of person I have always been. There was a lot that little girl went through but never dulled her sparkle.
Due to abuse and general isolation, because I thought no one wanted me around, I spent a lot of time alone. During this time I would read, play on the computer, and practice putting on makeup. I would read Cosmopolitan and Seventeen, see "how to" get a certain makeup look article and practice it. Practice taking my plain ol' face and turning it into a master piece. This practice and this time I had on my hands is the reason I am as good as I am at makeup today. Just like all skills, talent can only take you so far... perseverance and practice is what makes you the best.
It was my senior year of high school when I first starting to come out of my awkward stage. I turned my glasses in for contacts and my hand me down clothes for a better fashion sense. I was finally starting to be recognized by boys and getting some positive attention for the first time in my life. I had my first kiss at 17 years old and I was on cloud 9 because a boy was paying attention to me.
Now here I am, 30 years old, and finally became the woman I wanted to be and wanted to look like. Just like everything, I could use improvements. However, I am comfortable who I am and what I look like. This is me, and no one or nothing can change that. So many people tried to bring me down, and dull my sparkle. No matter how hard they tired, the light within me was shining brighter.
Its part of my life's mission to teach other women to do the same. Other little girls that you are much more than an opinion of a peer. I want to tell them they are beautiful the way they are. I want to show them everything they have to offer in this world. I want to build other woman and girls up.
The Ugly Duckling
The Transformed Swan
Five of My Healthy Coping Mechanisms for Anxiety
It's no secret that I have pretty bad anxiety at times. I am very vocal about the struggles I face. Here are a few tips and tricks I have developed to cope with my anxiety.
HEALTHY COPING MECHANISMS:
1.) Breathing. One of the hardest things to learn how to do with as much anxiety I have is to meditate. I can't focus or stay still for that long because it feels like bugs are trying to escape out of the tips of my toes and fingers. However, breathing was something I was able to take away from learning to meditate. Fuck counting down or counting at all. That's too many things to think about HAVING to do at once, while already having an overwhelming amount on my mind. I have a very simple technique... both feet on the ground and I take slow deep breaths in through my nose and out through my mouth. I continue this until I feel my body unclench.
2.) There are often times that I have a series of jumbled up thoughts floating around my head. I can't make sense of them when I am just thinking. So there are often times I will tell my emotional support human, "alright I am going to tell you about a thing that I am thinking about. I don't expect you to have an answer. I just need to share these thoughts with someone before I explode!". When I share them, and I say all the things out loud, everything starts to make sense. I can make rational decisions. Not only that, but because I am sharing with someone, they can also provide input that helps. Either they can help reassure my feelings or tell me what I need to hear in order to get through my emotional struggle. A lot of time my consuming thoughts are about a decision I have to make, or a negative feeling I have about myself. Its a relief to be able to talk them out with someone I can trust. Get yourself an emotional support human.
3.) Hear me out... Bubble bath. This has to be one of the best forms of therapy for me. I have no choice but to relax and unwind, even if its for 10 minutes. Everyone does their version of a bath differently. Me... I make it a production. I have candles, bubbles, bath bombs, a bath pillow, and often times wine. I invest in my bath time and the products that I use as well. I think it's really important to take that extra time, at least once a month, and just completely relax. My adulting goal in life is to own a claw foot tub so I can REALLY enjoy the bath.
4.) Music can work wonders for any mood I am in. If I am angry I will blast rock music. If I am sad I will sing to sad songs. If I am happy I will dance to 2000s hip hop in my car. Well, if I have a lot of anxiety I will listen to Cello music. Not sure what it nor do I want to think about it. It immediately relaxes every tense nerve in my body.
5.) When I have no one to talk to, or a way to get out what is on my mind I will write. Hence my blog. But I also write on paper. Or in a post on instagram and/or facebook. I also make lists. Making a list is one of my favorite ways to organize my thoughts. Shopping lists, to-do lists, etc. Writing is definitely a passion I have that helps with my anxiety.
On top of these coping mechanisms I have developed unhealthy ones that I am working through. I am only human after all and definitely less than perfect. Every day is a different struggle for me. However, no matter with what I am faced, I know I am strong enough to face the day.
Shout out to all of us fighting a battle that most people don't understand. Keep hanging in there!