Walking With Sunshine
Written by Alanna Russell
There are days when I feel like I am not worth anything. I feel that my clothes don’t fit right, my makeup is inappropriate, my voice too soft and my laugh too high. There are days when I am sad and I can’t seem to find my place, my shine is just dull around the edges. I feel like an outsider when I am standing next to someone. My smile isn’t real, it is pasted on my face so that someone, anyone, will think that I belong.
This woman is insecure, fragile and she lives in me, she’s a part of me. She is the woman who allows my eyes to cast downward when I don’t feel pretty or feel frightened. She is the woman who curls into a ball at night when I am lonely. She is the woman who doesn’t want to get up in the morning because she is afraid to face the challenges of the day. This woman is a part of me and I have gotten to know her quite well over the years.
She is given strength when I listen to gossip, when I put too much thought and effort into what other people are saying and doing. She is given strength when I get rejected, experience failure, or when someone is mean to me. I had a friend who was a popular woman in my community. She knew everyone and was always surrounded by a group of friends. She had parties and her social media account was always active with tons of likes and comments. She had pictures of herself with all her friends pasted everywhere. I wanted to be like her, to be accepted and liked by everyone. She said mean things about people and acted badly towards people behind their backs. Sometimes she was cruel to people directly to their faces. I sat on the sidelines and listened to her words and watched her behavior. She is a bully. That is what people call this type of person. Sometimes, she was mean to me too but she always said she was joking. I often smiled back at her.
I was dating a man and he told me that he didn’t like big women. He told me that his ex-wife gained so much weight after having children and she never worked out. He made me feel very insecure about my size and my body. I was a big woman – I didn’t work out. I was ashamed about my body because of something he said about other women. I started to exercise and diet. I covered my body when I was around him. I haven’t seen this man in several years: I sometimes look at my body and imagine what he would say if he saw me.
This woman lives in you too and you will find that she comes and tries to take over at the most inopportune times. She tugs at your attention when you are giving a presentation, having coffee with a friend, getting dressed for a social event. She is not you – she is a part of you and she will be there with you through all of your life, but she is not you. Let me tell you how to turn her down. Let me tell you the ways I have learned to silence her, to keep her quiet and in the shadows where she belongs.
I work out. I belong to the YMCA and I go a few times a week. I take classes like Bodypump and cycle and I look forward to spending time there. I do this because I want to be fit. I don’t want to be too heavy and I don’t want to be skinny. I want to be strong and I want to feel accomplished. I feel good after I work out and I want to feel good all the time. After I work out, I look at my body and say I am in control, that man and his opinion doesn’t matter anymore. I am in control of my body and only I can judge it. Only I can say that I didn’t give it my all today, that I cheated myself by selling myself short. After I put time in at the gym, I can’t tell myself that anymore. I hold my head high because I am fit and strong. I can keep my head and my eyes upward: I look people directly in the eye.
I make my own money. My parents help me out when they can but I work to become financially independent. I have two degrees and I am an educated woman. I am very fortunate to have help from my parents because student loans are steep. I am starting my own business as an insurance broker. I hold my head up high because I worked hard to earn those degrees. I work hard in my job and I am confident in my ability. I sell insurance and I help run a family business. I am an amazing consultant, advertiser, social media marketer, and a sales woman.
I surround myself with people who hold similar values to me. I like people who care about their community and about other people, who are respectful and respected. That girl who was really popular but was mean, she isn’t allowed in my world. There isn’t a place for her behavior in my world and I don’t ever want to compromise myself to make her fit in somewhere. I don’t ever want to question whether I did the right thing because other people are doing something I’m not comfortable with. Those people are not friends.
That insecure girl lives inside me and sometimes I let her come out. Sometimes, when I didn’t get the house I wanted or wasn’t prepared for a presentation – I let her come out and I cry. I sit and think “It isn’t fair!” Sometimes, when someone on the street whistles at me or makes a lewd comment, I let myself become afraid and I walk faster, clutching my purse with my eyes turned down. But I know it is harder for her to come out when I hold my head high, when my behavior and actions are respectable and my intentions good, when I am fit and strong, and when I never have to question the actions of those whom I surround myself with.
There will be days when you might lose to this girl. She will be strong because the situation you are in is tough. Someone will be diagnosed with cancer, your best friend will sleep with your significant other, your parents will fight, you will have to move, your dog will run away. It will be awful and she will try to take over. She is a bully and only you can decide how much time and room she is going to get in your world. You can make her your best friend or you can make her a stranger on the street, barely worth a glance. My advice to you is to tell her there is no room in your world for her. Do not compromise your strength to make her fit in somewhere. There is too much other good stuff to fill your world with. Don’t let her dampen your shine. #bosslady #believeinourqueens