Being insecure is completely normal. We all have those days where we tend to like ourselves a little less than the day before. For me, liking myself is rare. I feel like I am forever swimming in a black hole of insecurity.
I’ve come to the realization that my negativity and my insecurities are holding me back not only in my personal life but my professional life as well. It’s hard to say yes to new opportunities or be open to new ideas when you always feel less than.
I’ve spent too many years giving the naysayers, the judgmental assholes, and bullies all of my power. This year I’m finally taking it back by eliminating five negative phrases that frequently come out of my mouth:
1. “I AM SO FAT!”
Notice the exclamation point because it is extremely important. I say this with a lot of animation as if I was a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader. I say it so frequently my friends don’t even respond anymore with,”No, you’re not.” They tell me I look fine or to shut-up. I am finally taking their advice and shutting up.
I’ve been calling myself fat for years because guys called me fat for years. I was the designated ugly fat friend in high school. My best friend was beautiful, skinny and popular. I was always in her shadow. I vividly remember walking out of school with her one day and this obnoxious guy asking her out and then going, “Well, what about your fat friend then!” She laughed it off but it stuck with me.
She laughed it off when her friends saw photos of us when we were in the fourth grade and they called me an Oompa Loompa next to her. I was all smiles and chubby cheeks in the photo. I felt like crying when I saw it.
Once I started dating my insecurities over my body multiplied. My first boyfriend, his father called me fat, he said should put me to work outside mowing the lawn to lose some weight. I cried hysterically, alone in my car, when I found that out. It doesn’t help that every guy I’ve ever dated has called me fat, whether they were serious or not it doesn’t matter, what matters is that it hurt every single time.
The funny thing is when I look back at pictures I can’t believe I ever thought of myself as fat. I graduated high school at a whopping 100 lbs. thanks to overexercising and overanalyzing every single bite of food that went into my mouth.
I grew lax over the years with my workouts and my eating habits (because pizza is so good) but as the pounds crept on the words, “I’m fat,” took a hold on my life and has really put a damper on my attitude.
I met my friends boyfriend for the first time last month and right off the bat the words came out as I was eating a cheeseburger. He said he could tell I was “so insecure” and didn’t understand why when I was “good looking” but I had a serious “negative attitude” and that wasn’t going to get me anywhere.
Believe me when I say I was pissed off because this person I didn’t know was analyzing me and what made it worse was he was 100% right.
So no more, that’s it, throw a piece of bread at my head if I ever utter the words again.
2. “YOU THINK MY HAIR LOOKS RIDICULOUS NOW? YOU’LL NEVER SEE IT NATURAL.”
God does not make mistakes. He created the rivers, the mountains, and every natural wonder we Instagram when we go away on vacation. He also created you and me.
Thanks to my insecurities I have questioned time and time again, “Why God, why?” when it comes to my hair. The phrase above might seem long winded but I have several variations, which include:
“My hair looks like shit.”
“UH. MY HAIR LOOKS RIDICULOUS.”
“It’s raining? My hair! I’m like the Wicked Witch, except I frizz in the rain.”
After years of bleaching, aggressively brushing, and straightening it on the highest degree possible my hair isn’t what it used to be. I was born with curly dark brown hair. It was never an issue when I was younger. I loved wearing it down with butterfly clips or little twists. I thought I was the coolest with the twists.
But then I moved away and I was the only Puerto Rican girl lost in a sea of porcelain skin and pin-straight hair. When you are the new girl, the shy girl, the quiet girl, there is nothing worse than sticking out like a sore thumb, which I did.
My insecurities over my body and my features started in the fourth grade when I moved from Queens to Staten Island. When no one else looks like you, you start to question if you are an alien (or at least I did).
When hair straighteners became a thing during middle school I gravitated towards that hair tool. I could have shiny and straight hair just like everyone else? Sign me up! I straightened out my curls every single day. Not one strand on my hair was safe from my beloved hot tool.
I’m 25 years old and I still can’t wear my hair naturally and until recently I didn’t realize how sad that sounds. Am I so insecure that I can’t take one day to be natural?
The answer is a resounding yes.
It’s 2018, and I’ve gone two weeks without straightening my hair. The longest I’ve ever gone since…well…ever. What inspires me more than anything to embrace my natural curls is my five-year-old niece who has beautiful curly hair and wants to wear it straight. I can tell her ‘no’ but not without being a hypocrite when she says she just wants to have straight hair like me.
I don’t want her to grow up thinking her curly hair is bad like I did. God didn’t make a mistake when he made me, which means he definitely didn’t make a mistake when he made her. So the negativity and the insecurity about my hair has to come to an end.
3. “I’M DYING ALONE.”
#dyingalone #singlefailingtomingle #foreveralone
Full disclosure: I haven’t gone on a date in over two years. Mainly due to a bad break-up but also due to the fact I am afraid of trying to meet someone new. Dating in the age of social media is scary and I seriously thought I would never have to do it. I was convinced the last person I dated was the love of my life, the one. Now, I’m making dating profiles and swiping left and right and it is exhausting. It’s also super intimidating for someone who is insecure about their looks when that’s what the basis of dating apps is all about.
Instead of putting in the effort to actually meet someone I complain about not meeting anyone, which therefore means I will die alone. It is a vicious cycle. One my co-workers, friends and boss are all tired hearing me complain about. “I’m dying alone” is the equivalent to “I’m fat.” It’s just negative word vomit that doesn’t need to be repeated. If I keep putting it out there in the universe I will end up alone.
Are you listening, Universe? It’s me, Alyssa. I’m trying to be more positive. Please reward my attempts.
4. “THANKS FOR NOT FIRING ME.”
Or the variation: “I’m probably going to be fired.”
I probably am going to be fired if I keep annoying my boss with, “Thanks for not firing me.” Although it has become somewhat of a running joke after the seven months I’ve been at my job.
This has more to do with my lack of self confidence than my job performance. My boss is a wonderful woman who praises me all the time. She lets me know regularly when I am doing a good job (which I can assure you makes me uncomfortable) and when I am doing a poor job (which I can assure you makes me uncomfortable).
I have to work on saying, “Thank you.” Instead of a self-deprecating response. The cheapest jokes are the ones you make about yourself. I’ve made a mockery of myself for too long.
5. “I CAN’T DO THAT!”
My go-to with anything in life. I can’t do that job. I can’t go on that vacation. I can’t…blah-blah-blah. I sound like a broken record. What I really mean by ‘can’t’ is ‘won’t.’ I won’t do that because I am too afraid. I have let fear run my life for too long.
For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a writer. I’m not looking to write the next great novel. I just always wanted to get my voice out there, which is the main reason I started blogging. I would like to write for a website, doesn’t have to be a big well-known one either, but every single time I start to write an e-mail pitching an idea to a website the black hole of insecurity gets bigger.
I have to tell myself what is the worst that can happen? They reject my idea? Okay, on to the next one. Work harder, come up with something better. They love the idea? Great, you got yourself your very first byline.
I listen to the negative voice in my head too much, which I find astounding because I was able to push that voice away when I went to Greece. I ignored that voice when I decided to go to London and I shut that voice up when I decided I wanted to work in TV. So the word “can’t” is being eliminated from my vocabulary and replaced with the word “can” or something less loaded like “try.” It doesn’t hurt to try, right?