Self-confidence Sunday #17

Last month, I agreed to do a sample shoot for the catalog of a company in which my freelance employer invests. The product, a line of collegiate-branded women’s sleepwear, seemed right up my alley (seriously, who doesn’t love pajamas??), though it had been a while since I’d done a shoot. Although it was fun (my photographer, Tara Arseven, was just wonderful: personable, intelligent, and funny), the experience was a good reminder that I simply am not keen on attempting to use my appearance to make a living when I could (less stressfully, and with fewer creepers) use my talents to do the same. If nothing else, some of the attire was just skimpier than I am comfortable being photographed: about the least I’m okay with wearing tends to be a sports bra and spandex shorts for a sports-related shoot.

He (my freelance boss) wanted to do a re-shoot with another photographer as well, and had talked about me rebuilding my portfolio, but it felt good to be able to say with certainty that I would prefer to focus on my writing/editing/marketing and that I’m not interested in any sort of modeling right now.

There were some nice images, including the ones I’ve posted here…but what I really liked about the shoot was the glimmer of my genuine smile coming back (not counting the one with the straddle hold below: my face was showing the strain of holding the position, but cool athletic things >>> being attractive). For me, this was evidence of the fact that hard times don’t last forever: I was bound to be back to my old self again, just better, stronger, wiser, and hopefully kinder than ever before. Hurt doesn’t have to last forever. Photoshoot Tara Arseven Laughter Pillowfight Joy Auburn - Copy Photoshoot by Tara Arseven Straddle Hold Yoga GymnasticsSample Photoshoot Tara Arseven Auburn University

And just like that

You were gone,

Much like the wave of

Emotion your now-distant

Memory succinctly evokes.

Sometimes, it can be a blessing to have the “one that got away” only a text message away. He, who broke my heart several short years ago, was suddenly my lifeline when Seyi turned out to be a legitimately shitty person. Even now, we are in tune enough for that; still finishing each other’s sentences after all this time. I told him I’d never forgive him if he made me fall for him again…but perhaps I’ve finally (hopefully!!!) learned what Ms. Maya admonished long ago: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Self-confidence Sunday #14: You Will Never Steal My Joy Again

In the midst of this awful ordeal concerning my ex-boyfriend (which keeps getting worse the more I discover, but I digress), I had a very empowering moment.  I was driving to coach on Wednesday afternoon, simply letting my thoughts go where they would, when I quite suddenly and clearly thought at him, “You will never steal my joy again. You will never steal my joy, my laughter, or my love ever again.”

It isn’t easy yet…but I am free. Free of wondering when he’d call or make time for me. Free of trying so damn hard to accommodate his needs, which I could never do in the first place seeing as his overall purpose appears to be hurting as many women as possible. Free of all the things I did for him because I loved him, from the cooking to the surprises to the cleaning to the lingerie to whatever else in the world I thought could help make his life easier or more pleasant. Free from the anxiety about social media because of all the women…at least now I know that he really was sleeping with them all.

Most of all, I am free of the pain and the confusion, free of the dreams that will never come to pass, free of the lies. So many lies. I am free of the hope, and that was probably the most important part of letting go of this man who was bitter poison packaged as a sweet, soothing antidote.

You will never steal my joy again…and that is quite an empowering thought indeed.

Self-confidence Sunday #12

I’ve talked a lot about how the break-up affected me (although there’s still plenty left for me to say about that, don’t worry/sorry 🙂 ), but I think I hit a bit of a turning point very recently. Tomorrow will mark one month since he left me, and I’ve decided that tomorrow will also mark the day my life begins anew, the day I will let my tears begin to water seeds that, once nurtured, will blossom into grace, wisdom, empathy, resilience, and opportunity.

Losing him hurts, but not because we were perfect together and I was just blissfully happy 24/7 and thought we were going to be together forever, etc. For me, it was more the hope and the promises and the plans, the feeling of time and money “wasted,” the rejection and wondering why he didn’t want me anymore…and that Lord have mercy, I was going to have to continue missing the man.

Much of our relationship (the last few months especially, as his jobs and business hit their busy season) was marked by me missing him. It was a blessing in some ways, because when we broke up, the first week didn’t feel like that much of a difference. But what hurt when we were together still hurts now that we aren’t, and it’s a confusing experience.

I tend to cut people off after a relationship ends, in order to fully heal and move on. He didn’t want that, and his worry when we broke up was that I wouldn’t be in his life anymore. I’ll continue playing that by ear, depending on how things go for us both moving forward, but maybe that won’t be necessary this time.

As for me and the “new life,” I accidentally have a date set for Tuesday night. I thought I was just going to casually meet up with the guy after I finished coaching, but it was made clear later in the conversation that that isn’t what he has in mind. So what the heck, I’ll give it a go! I have decided that I don’t have to forego meeting new people and having new experiences simply because I am hurting. Quite the contrary: I think that is what I will commit to doing. I keep coming back to the fact that there are so, so many things in life that I have yet to experience, and I don’t want to miss my chance.

This week is big for me, filled with interviews, phone calls that will hopefully turn into interviews, coaching, that date (crazy to even think about that), events I’m working, and more. It may not be easy, but I am determined to get up, dust myself off, and begin working full-tilt at making my life the one of which I have always dreamed.

Referee Cat to the Rescue?

To be honest, for most of today I have wanted to crawl back under the covers, cry, wallow in my anger/sadness, and go back to sleep until everything feels better. Instead, I opened this lovely doodle book my (now former) significant other got me as part of my Christmas present, deciding instead to drown my crankiness in a sea of valiant attempts at artistic things until work. Doodling for Cat People

Now, I am NOT an artist (like, by any stretch of the imagination: one time in high school I tried to doodle a trumpet and ended up drawing a penis. in permanent marker. on my leg…but I digress), but I’ve been determined to spend time practicing things at which I am really, really bad.

For me, this book has been pretty outstanding (so thank you Ms. Gemma Correll, wherever you may happen to be). It breaks the activities up into bite-sized steps that I can understand and complete one at a time without requiring me to feel pressure to be super creative or brilliantly funny and crafty and superhuman. It may not have fixed my heartsickness, but this wasn’t a bad diversion as I move in that direction. =)

That being said, I give you…Referee Cat!

Doodle Your Cat's Profession Referee Cat

(I don’t know how to draw a whistle, so I haven’t added his whistle yet. But I will!)