5 Podcasts to Get You Thinking

I admit it, I’m a podcast junkie. I’m like a dirty dish sponge of useless facts, so podcasts appeal greatly to my inquisitorial nature. I listen to them at work, I listen to them in the car, and I sometimes over enthusiastically tell my friends and family about the things I learn in them. Podcasts are a great way to dip your toes in a variety of disciplines without actually committing to a formal education, and I’m always interested in learning something about our time on this planet as human beings that I previously didn’t know before. So before you show up to wherever you have to be Monday morning without anything to inspire you or get you thinking, without further ado, I present to you my comprehensive list of awesome podcasts for all you glorious information seekers:

 

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Dear Sugar Radio is by far my favorite of all the podcasts I listen to.  Letter writers send their most raw confessions to these two “Sugars” authors Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, and they flawlessly deliver the most holistically connected advice to their listeners that I’ve ever heard before. As a person enamored by our relationships with one another, I always come away from every episode with an “Aha!” moment as the subject matter often delves into our deepest intricacies as human beings. In addition to being incredibly empathic, these two are funny as hell. There’s something for everyone listening to Dear Sugar regardless of whether you relate to the letter writers or not, but chances are, in some way, you probably do.

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The WANTcast by Katie Horwitch is another podcast that’s changed the way I look at my experience as a woman in this world entirely. WANT, which stands for Women Against Negative Talk is a movement aimed at giving us ladies the resources to strive towards and maintain a more positive and higher version of ourselves. An incredibly enigmatic host, Horwitch brings on a variety of different guests from across the board of different life paths and disciplines that creates an extremely comprehensive way to “move forward fearlessly” with our best selves, as she eloquently puts it. A must listen for all women (and men, honestly) interested in delving more deeply into the intricacies of the modern woman.

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Interested in psychological processes or always wanted to know more about yourself but never had the resources to really get into the nitty-gritty of your personality? Then Personality Hacker is the podcast for you. Hosts Joel Mark Witt and Antonia Dodge don’t shy away from any topic that they feel will help you optimize your own mental processes to become a better and informed you. They also focus heavily on the Myers-Briggs system as a tool for personal development, but there is a ton of other information for anyone who wants to geek out over whatever disciplines you find fascinating in understanding yourself.

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Invisibilia, Latin for invisible things, is hands down one of the most thought-provoking podcasts I listen to (in my humble opinion, of course) because they focus primarily on the forces of human nature that we can’t always see with the naked eye. Hosted by Alix Spiegel, Lulu Miller and Hanna Rosin the topics they cover bring about realizations about the broad spectrum of ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions we all experience as humans. Their commentary is particularly fascinating and raw as well, taking real human experiences and shining them in a light where every listener can take away something (if not several) new things to think and consider about humankind.

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If you’ve ever dipped your toes into the wellness community, you might’ve come across as a technique called “tapping” or EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) which is a type of Meridian Tapping that combines ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology to “halt the fight-or-flight response” that causes unproductive stress in our lives. Nick and Jessica Ortner tackle emotional, physical and psychological traumas on The Tapping Solution Podcast by giving their listeners the skills to overcome stresses in life through tapping. This one is definitely a little more on the “woo” side of things for some people, and while I haven’t made tapping a big part of my wellness routine yet I’m becoming interested in doing so. If you are too, definitely check out their website and free videos on how to get started tapping.

Now I’m dying to know, what are YOUR favorite podcasts? Please holla at me in the comments below!

Cheers,
Jeanine

 

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Is Regret a Matter of Perspective?

Last night after completing my nightly routine of washing my face, staring at it in a magnifying mirror and groaning, brushing my teeth and flossing since I have “my mother’s gums,” as said by my dental hygienist this past Monday, and applying lavender essential oil behind my ears, because yes of course I use essential oils, the phone rang.

Self admittedly, I’m not a phone person. I’m not the friend that picks up the phone and calls everyone often. I’ve always been a better texter, seeing as it gives me the chance to edit and articulate my words and especially as a writer, that’s always been appealing. However, I appreciate that there’s something authentic, albeit vulnerable about hearing the sound of someone else’s voice. There’s no planning, copying and pasting or editing your words, they just come as they are.

Somebody better be dying over there. (Twitter: fijiwaterpapi)

A post shared by Elliot Tebele (@fuckjerry) on

 

So in the midst of my phone call last night, I was asked a personal question, you know, the meat and potatoes of all late night phone conversation. The vulnerable, raw, but good unmasking of the personality that Dashboard Confessional songs are bred from

“What is the one thing you regret in your life the most?”

I was silent.

Part of me was caught off guard, you know, since most people my age use the phone for everything but phone calls that contain deep and insightful subject matter. But I was silent, not because I have some life-changing opinion-altering deep, dark secret I was afraid to share. Not because I’m embarrassed of my past shortcomings. No, it wasn’t any of that. I thought for a moment, and then for a few more before replying back,

“I actually have no idea.”

What a killjoy I am, right? How the hell are you supposed to get to know somebody who can’t even give an open answer to a candid personal question?

Now I’ve been thinking about it since. Since 10:25 pm last night, I’ve been sincerely wondering what my deepest regret is. Spoiler alert: I’ve still come up with nothing.

Is is even remotely possible I’m living a life of no regrets?

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Part of me hopes this. The other part is hoping I haven’t gravely dissociated myself from all traumatic past events of my life and am currently living in a happy, impermeable bubble of rainbows and fluffy, long-haired unicorns. Based on the fact that I’ve managed to make peace with even my greatest and most impressive fuck ups, however, I’m thinking not.

Thinking back on all the things I’ve royally screwed up, I’ve always ended up okay. I’m sitting here right now, on a laptop I bought myself, bearing my soul to the internet, after all.

Is regret simply a matter of perspective?

This isn’t to say either that my life has been pretty drama free and I don’t have much to regret, because it hasn’t. The majority of my childhood was pretty traumatic, to be blunt, and some of the decisions I’ve made coming out of it have been pretty stupid on top of that. But even my greatest losses, my deepest wounds and heartbreaks… they’ve all given me a perspective I’m so infinitely grateful for. At the time, obviously, I wasn’t prancing about during my worst moments thinking, “This is going to give me a great handle on life someday!” Nah, at the time I can assure you I was a pretty miserable little fucker. But even with the poor decisions I’ve made (we all make mistakes, and are bound to make more) I’ve always attempted to take away something I learned from every instance on the list of Jeanine’s Personal Fuckery.

At this moment of 1:17 pm Eastern Standard Time, I don’t have any huge life regrets that I feel have so gravely impacted me that I can recall them in just a few seconds on a phone call. I don’t think even the mistakes I’ve made that have been purely of my own merit are worth beating myself over the head with in the present. Why? Probably because I haven’t accidentally killed someone yet. Or maybe because even in wake of all the truly heartbreaking, shocking, life changing mistakes we can make, there is hope, and lessons to be learned for the future, if you want to take them with you.

Needless to say, being 24 years 6 months and 16 days old, I’m still what most consider young and therefore, still have plenty of time to make some huge mistakes I might very well end up regretting. But I’m not sure I will. I’ve managed to make it this far without any, here’s to hoping I can continue to live my life that way for as long as I can.

#NoRagrets,
Jeanine

Not Accepting Compliments Doesn’t Make You Humble, It Makes You Self-Depreciating

Sometimes, especially as a woman, unsolicited comments about our person can be quite uncomfortable and leave us in a position where we don’t know how to respond. For many, this experience is somewhat distressing and leads us to deflect. As a self proclaimed introvert and INFP, I don’t spread my attention too broadly amongst the public. I usually set out to do the tasks at hand when I’m in large public spaces, and don’t go out of my way to commingle. Although, of course, if people talk to me I’m more often than not friendly and have no problem in engaging in conversation, but it’s never my intent. So when perfect strangers approach me with something about myself, it takes me off guard because doing something like that is out of character for me. In this fast paced society, regardless of what kind of personality you have, it can take you off guard when people go out of their way to show acts of kindness.

So why are so many of us so quick to deflect compliments and praises, especially from strangers who stand to gain nothing from going out of there way to do so?

What part of ourselves are so quick to divert the attention away from ourselves, deeming these unsought compliments fruitless, and even more so, incorrect?

Are our reactions to appreciation a reflection of how we feel about ourselves overall?

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There’s a certain hypocritical air that floats around being modest nowadays. We’re bombarded with messages about loving yourself. Hey, I’ve preached it before myself. It’s getting jammed down our throats everyday, love yourself, love yourself, love yourself. But just not too much, ya know? If you love yourself too loudly so everyone else can hear it, you’re a narcissist. If you post too many selfies or take the time to to make yourself up before leaving the house, you’re obsessed with yourself. Just wondering, does the general public actually know the definition of narcissism? Unless you’re getting sexual gratification from admiring yourself so damn much, I think it’s pretty safe to say that you’re not a narcissist or on an unhealthy spectrum of egocentrism. Why are acts of self-care and self-love so quickly dismissed as narcissism? Is actually giving a shit about yourself so outlandish it becomes comparable to having an inordinate fascination with yourself?

Self-love isn’t frivolous, its essential to having a healthy relationship with yourself. Deflecting and diminishing the good things that make you, you only serves to keep you small. I’m not saying run around the office with a huge poster that says “I’M FUCKING AWESOME,” shoving it in everyone’s faces while throwing confetti about because your mere existence is a God damn party. You might not only be a narcissist if you do that, but certifiably socially inept. What I am saying is, you’re not any less of a person if you accept a genuine compliment. You’re not doing yourself any favors in your relationship with yourself, or other people, by rejecting the things about you that make you great. Being humble isn’t deflecting a harmless, kind compliment. Rejecting your strong suits and the genuine aspects of yourself that make you a wholly unique addition to our world, is self-depreciating, and harmful. (NOTE: I’m not talking about the genuine, frightening street harassment that women face, that’s a whole other topic I get pretty heated about and would love to dedicate to an entire other post.)

Don’t let people who are insecure with themselves delude you into believing that accepting your strong suits is a form of self-obsession and narcissism. Don’t let society’s constant assertion that there’s something wrong with you or the opinions of crotchety baby boomers keep you from accepting kindness from other people. When you reject people’s genuine admiration, it sends the message that not only do you not like yourself very much, but that they wasted their time in even going out of their way to compliment you.

Nowadays, when people have something nice to say to me, I don’t feel bad accepting their kind words. Sometimes I compliment back, other times I just say “Thank you,” excitedly and go on my merry way. I move forward keeping in mind that someone did or said something nice to me out of the goodness of their heart, and that should be the most important takeaway. Not whether or not I felt I deserved it. (Which I do, duh.)

I’m not gonna end this post on some Gandhi level shit, so let me just say this: Lighten up, okay? Let the kindness of others in. It’ll only make things better for everyone.

Egotistically,
Jeanine

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Why You’re Afraid of Your Own Potential to Love

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
― Brené Brown

Why the hell is it so hard to be vulnerable? This absence of courage in allowing ourselves to be vulnerable is something I’ve noticed my generation is so deeply and profoundly lacking. How many times have you fallen for the dreaded fuck boy (or girl, we don’t discriminate here) who at the end of it all just “can’t commit right now,” or some other carefully worded variation of that bullshit excuse? The lack of empathy and deep, soulful connection is maddening at best, and crushing at worst.

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. I’m tired of putting on my detective hat every time a new person comes along, deciphering every mixed signal like I’ve just unearthed some newly discovered Egyptian hieroglyphics. I’m tired of wondering if texting back immediately is too forward, or if that Snapchat with the dog filter was too #basic for life. I’m tired. There’s a certain point where all these frivolous interactions start to decline in importance, because at the end of the day, aren’t we all looking for the same thing?

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To truly love is to be vulnerable. To put yourself out there, and give someone an opportunity to be in your life and not profoundly fuck up your heart exposes the deepest chasms of our souls. Yes, it requires a certain level of courage. To let someone close to you is daunting, but truly, what is life without risk? To never err or put yourself in a position to fail is the most unlived life there is, because nothing worth having comes without risk. Nothing worth doing isn’t met at times with failure. Is the fear of opening up worth missing out on what you stand to gain if you do?

At our cores, human beings were designed for connection. We are social animals, which is why any sort of prolonged isolation is considered so torturous. So what is it about deep connections that sometimes have us running for the hills? When you let someone so near your soul, you’re forced to bear parts of it you don’t normally have to. And the thought of having someone come close and then not accept all of you is petrifying. But the truth of the matter is, anyone who gets that close and doesn’t accept you, isn’t The One. True love goes beyond all the deep creases of complications into the folds of our hearts. We are all damaged, but finding someone who not only acknowledges, but embraces all of our shortcomings, is worth all the risk in the world.

So if you happen to be one of these people who runs at the first sign of intimacy, I urge you to ask what aspect of yourself you might be running from. I hope you dig deep and find what part of you thinks you don’t deserve love, even with all of your flaws. And if you happen to find yourself involved with one of these people, as much as it hurts, know that in rejecting your love, they’re rejecting a part of themselves.

At the end of the day, we are all flawed. However, those flaws don’t overcast our light. They’re only mere flickers in our candles that illuminate the world around us.

Love,
Jeanine

 

Perception Is Reality: Well, Yours That Is

I have something a little controversial to suggest, hear me out on this one. I know at first it might seem a bit outlandish and you might not agree, but I’m just gonna go here.

Maybe everything isn’t all about you all the time.

Shocking, I know. Indignant for me to suggest such a preposterous thing. Downright outrageous. How dare I imply such a thing? (Especially as a millennial, the truly narcissistic, selfie loving, self-absorbed group of misguided human beings that we are.)

I kid. If you’re anything like me, and if you’re reading this there’s a good chance you might be, you’re the kind of person who’s always looking out for other people and deeply concerned with maintaining the few good intimate connections you have in life. When people you love are upset, you’re upset. Someone, even someone who wronged you, being distraught brings out the empath in you and you manage to set aside your feelings and needs in order to be there for them. Even if you don’t necessarily agree with or understand their perspective, you still offer your kindest words in advice. You routinely check up on people, are loyal to a fault, and genuinely feel equally as wronged as the person in your life that’s been hurt. Generally, you’d like to think you’re a good person and you’re doing the right thing, because love is selfless and so are you. That’s why when people close to you behave towards you in ways that you feel might line up with how you yourself might act, you’re left scratching your head. But what if it isn’t always what you think?

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What if you’re not the only one who feels this way, in fact, some of the people you’re wondering this about are thinking the same thing about you?

Perception is everything. In fact, it’s our reality. We can come up with a million justifications as to why someone might have acted in a certain way that fits our personal narrative, but the truth is usually so much farther from it.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let my overactive imagination sway me into believing certain scenarios that had nothing to do with what was actually happening. Maybe it’s part of being a highly sensitive person, or maybe it’s part of having genuine concern for others. Regardless, I think it’s safe to say: check yo’self before you wreck yo’self. I promise, it’s not always about you. If your friend is busy tonight because they want to go to the gym, they don’t hate you and not want to see you, they just really want to go to the fucking gym. I know that part of being an introspective person is analyzing situations beyond their face value, but sometimes, it’s just exactly what it seems. It’s in my nature to take everything personally, so sometimes I’m reminded to step back and take a breather. The way I see a situation isn’t always the same as someone else, so what I deem appropriate, or offensive, can be something completely different between friends.

The way you precieve the world around you is just that: a preception. And while that may be your personal reality, don’t always be so quick to push that agenda on to others. Think about it from the other persons perspective before to jumping to conclusions. Most people in your life aren’t trying to hurt you (and if they are I suggest your seriously reevaluate the company you keep) so keep that in mind before assuming otherwise.

A word of advice? If you do feel in a position where your feelings have been hurt, be forcoming about it in a respectable manner. I bet you’ll find it wasn’t the other persons intention more often that not.

Isn’t one of the greatest curses and blessings as human beings how much we live inside our own heads? So sometimes, life hands us a friendly reminder to pull them out of our own asses and come up for air.

TOODLES,
Jeanine

 

 

The Art of Knowing When to Let Go: Recognizing Failures as Redirections

Rejection, it never fails to cut deep, does it? We are told time and time again how rejection is a part of life and that ultimately, we are meant to  grow and learn from it. Sure, deep down I know this is true, but it doesn’t make it suck any less when it happens. Can’t an introspective, sushi loving gal catch a break every now and then? Maybe like me, you now you find yourself wondering why after all this effort you put into something, it just didn’t add up. Or at least that’s how it feels.

Something I’m a firm believer in is having a strong relationship with your intuition, and to listen to it when you hear its little voice start to invade your head. We’re all more inclined to deem that voice fruitless and to push it aside, but the reason I believe in this so adamantly is the only times I’ve ever truly gotten myself into trouble was when I ignored it. Thinking back to some of the situations that have occurred in my personal life lately, I know this was true. Deep down, the actions of others deeply hurt me and my voice started to whisper at me that something might not be right, and maybe they don’t have your best interests at heart. Wondering if perhaps I was being too harsh a judge, I let that thought go at the time. Then the voice started getting louder. Then it was yelling. Why didn’t I just trust it the first time? And finally, I realized the importance in the art of knowing when to let go.

You shouldn’t wait until your head is screaming at you to leave a situation before you actually do something about it. Nor should you allow your relationship with someone to become completely demeaning and unhealthy for you to leave it. When the voice starts talking to you: LISTEN! It really has your best intentions at heart, even when we allow ourselves to be clouded in reality by the opinions of others. At the end of the day, listen to you. Your intuition is on your side even when you ignore it. And if you do, you’ll keep learning the same lessons over and over again until you finally start to trust in it. That’s something I needed to find out for myself lately.

Which brings me back to the first point I brought up: rejection. Doesn’t it hurt like hell when all this effort you put into a relationship with someone feels like it was for naught? It hurts when you feel like a part of you wasn’t suitable for someone, especially someone you loved. But what if it really wasn’t all for nothing?  Any relationship that doesn’t work out, no matter platonic or romantic, isn’t a failure on your part. And believe it or not, it’s not a failure on the other person’s part, either. What it actually is though, is a redirection. Relationships can’t be replaced or replicated, but what lessons you learned from the ones that end can be brought with you into new ones. That is, if you’re open to a little learning and self-reflection.

It takes two to tango, so I needed to recognize my faults and accept responsibility for where I went wrong in this past one. My biggest disservice to myself? Not listening to my intuition. If something seems off, or something makes you uncomfortable and you can’t quite put your finger on why.. your feelings are valid. Don’t let anyone gaslight you into believing otherwise, either.

And so, I move forward with more knowledge and faith in myself that if my little voice is speaking to me that something may not be right for me: listen. At the end of the day, I have only myself to blame for that. But the bright side is (and there always is one) is I know now when I have to let go. I can walk away from this situation and be a better and more true me the next time around.

That certainly doesn’t seem like any sort of failure to me.

~JLH

 

 

Swimming in the Stream Of Consciousness

Today I felt very unsettled. Like I was crawling out of my skin. I decided to do a mass exodus of all the bullshit in my room and actually do some laundry, and I came across this.

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At some point, I had shoved it in one of my purses after scribbling it. I don’t really remember writing it or why, but I figured I’d share it. It reads:

“Wish people the best. Know that they are not your competition, only you are your competition. Life is fluid, learn to roll with the punches. Don’t get too settled into routine and embrace the unexpected. Say ‘hello’ first. You’ll be surprised at how many people are waiting to do the same. Give kindness freely and willingly, but only surrender your heart to those who are worthy. Trust your gut on that, and learn to fully listen to your intuition in general. You’ll be surprised how much you really know about people when you do. Change your hair. People will tell you otherwise, but don’t listen. If it looks bad, it’s a lesson you had to learn yourself. Don’t let people take lessons away from you, they are your opportunity to grow. Piercings close, but tattoos are forever, choose wisely and soberly. Drunken hearts speak truths about you and others that you may not be ready for. Listen to what they say. We all hide ourselves very well, treat drunken intuition as truth. If you are dating a violent drunk, run. If you are a violent drunk, stop running from yourself. You are angry because of open wounds you haven’t healed. Treat your inner heart like a child. Don’t scold your feelings away, they are real and valid. Speak to loved ones you have lost even if you feel they can’t hear you. I can assure you they’re listening and will do their best to answer. Speak to people who are alive too, even if they’re not there. Your words will be absorbed into the universe and your energy will reach them regardless. You are they love you illuminate. If you want love, be love. Smile at people, smile at yourself in the mirror. Do it a few times a day. Do it all the time, you’ll learn to love to see your face happy; yourself happy. Don’t fuck with people who treat you poorly, but leave them behind in a karmically correct manner. Do not take their anger with you, and don’t stick around longer than you need to, either. People will take advantage of you, but only if you allow it. Own your percentage of responsibility in the situation and move on. Have best friends, true loyal friends, but remember to be your own best friend at times, too. Your approval is the most important, after all. Be kind to children and animals. They are innocents in the world and don’t deserve anything else. If you were hurt as a child, you were an innocent. Nothing was your fault. If you take away nothing else from this, please take that. Violence and sexual abuse is never about you, I promise. It wasn’t about what you wore or what you said, it’s about control. You have to learn to forgive yourself if at any point you want a healthy relationship with yourself. We all fuck up, bad, so learn to give yourself a damn break. Look at the moon, and I mean really look at the moon. You’re made of the same materials. Everything that is in the moon is in you, and you’re just as bright, too. Someone will look at you like you are the night sky someday, but learn to see yourself that way as well. You carried your weight on your toughest days. That’s another thing too, fuck your weight. Do things that keep you happy and healthy. Drinking lots of water gives you healthy hair, but ice cream gives you a healthy soul. Technology makes it easy to sell us a world that isn’t real. Burn beauty magazines and make s’mores over them. With people you love. By moonlight. Read this over again. Write your own mantra. Write your story. Repeat the things you need to hear over and over again until you believe them. You will eventually, have faith.

Change your hair.”

I think sometimes, I need to take my own damn advice.

Peace and wellness,
Jeanine

 

What to Do When Your Body Is Rebelling Against You

For most women, from around the time they begin puberty their body begins to become a foreign land they no longer fully recognize. Within the natural changes that occur during our earliest transitions to “womanhood” a myriad of emotions regarding our changing bodies make the experience all that more uncomfortable, and for many, traumatic.

My relationship with my body has always been vastly complicated and at times extremely detrimental to both my mental and physical health. People who know me personally who might be reading this will probably already know that when I was 16, my dad passed away from terminal lung cancer that metastasized to a brain tumor. Shortly before finding out his diagnosis, I was deeply entrenched in restrictive eating, the dreaded “yo-yo” dieting most of us have dabbled in at some point or another. At that point I had decided I had enough with being the “chubby” friend and started slowly cutting out food groups and eventually restricting myself of certain foods entirely. After finding out about my dad’s cancer, things only got worse. When everything else in my life was falling apart, I was able to control this one aspect of my life, my eating, so I gripped on to that with white knuckles. At one point, a good family friend offered me what at the time was probably a well intended comment to continue on with being “healthy,” but it was one that shaped my relationship with food for years to come.

“You know that with everything going on you can’t let this all get in the way of your diet, right?”

At the time, I acknowledged it and agreed, but later the depth of those words continued to haunt me in a way I never imagined. What I later came to believe was, no matter what I was going through, no matter how traumatic or emotional, what mattered most was that I kept trying to be thin. The death of my father is easily one of the most traumatic events of my young life, but what I was eating at the time was just as important, right? My world could be crumbling around me, but how I looked was what I should focus on? The most heartbreaking part was, at the time, I truly believed that and carried that virtue with me into adulthood. My feelings didn’t matter if I wasn’t thin. My opinion didn’t matter because it wasn’t coming from someone who was perfectly stick skinny. I couldn’t feel valid because of my body. And I’m here to tell you that line of thinking is complete and utter bullshit.

Within the last two years I’ve began shifting the way I see myself and other people by addressing the things that lead me to negative self talk and body shame in the first place, that comment being one of them. By giving these issues their proper voice and allowing myself to sit with the feelings these events instilled in me, I no longer associated them with the deep shame and sadness they once originally held over me. Those words are just words now, and they have no power over how I see my body today.

I’m happy to say that nowadays, I’ve become much more relaxed and accepting of my appearance. I eat healthy and exercise now because I respect myself. I also eat chocolate and lay on the couch sometimes binge watching Law & Order SVU because I respect myself. (#OliviaBensonIsGoals) Self doubt doesn’t stop me from feeling like a real person like it used to, and while the work is never done, I find myself trusting in the process. My biggest fear wasn’t an uncommon one, the fear that based on my appearance I wasn’t good enough. I’ve managed to leave that fear behind me now and move forward with faith in myself. Both you, my lovely reader, and myself are much, much more than our physical appearances allow us to be perceived. At the end of the day, our bodies are our homes. They’ve carried us to safety in our most darkest hours and most miserable days. They’ve woken us up mornings we didn’t want to see the light of day ever again. They’ve tirelessly fought of infections, viruses, cuts, scrapes, bruises, and our worst physical injuries. They’ve healed harm inflicted on us by others and harm we’ve inflicted on ourselves, every time. Even when your own head has caused you to hurt your body, it fights back at you. When you restrict your food, your body will slow down to keep you alive. If you’ve ever self harmed, your body will put scar tissue over your wounds so they can’t occur there as easily anymore. Your body has pushed you through the mile run in gym class, the day you learned to swim, your first bike ride, and all of the physical activity thereafter. Why? Regardless of what society tells us it should look like, your body really fucking loves you. Your body is in turmoil when your decide your head doesn’t agree with that. The way this manifests itself may be different for everyone, but once you decide that your body isn’t the loving home it so desperately is trying to be for you, you’re already losing.

Take it from me, you will never cure hate with more hate. When you start punishing your body with extra workouts, or restricting food, or making the meanest comments you would never utter out loud to another person other than yourself, what are you really saying to your body? The connection between our mental and physical health is astounding, and if you don’t believe the power of positivity has the ability to change everything about your world, I urge you to reconsider. I smile at myself all the time now in the mirror. It sounds creepy and hokey, I know, but it actually makes me laugh. When someone else smiles at you, I bet it makes you a bit happier. So now I smile at myself, and I look damn good doing it. You can’t hate yourself into a better relationship with your body, so I’ve tried loving myself instead. As you can see, it’s been astoundingly more effective.

So, what can you do if you feel like your body is rebelling against you? Reframing the way you see yourself is an imperative start. Once you address what it is actually that’s holding you back from loving yourself, whether it be a hurtful comment, an experience where the world judged your body unfairly, or even just your own doubts, give yourself the opportunity to give voice to those experiences, don’t bury them. Share them with someone you love, or write them down and rip up the piece of paper into oblivion. And if you’re really struggling, please seek professional help. Whatever method you decide to do to release these feelings, know that by taking away the power of other people’s opinions of you will start a shift in your relationship with yourself. Because at the end of the day, that’s the person whose opinion of you matters most: your own.

And as always, respect that any relationship including the one with yourself will not always be stagnant. You won’t be over the moon with joy and love for your body every single day, and you won’t be upset with it every single day, either. The ebbs and flows that come with body image are quite normal, but the constant even on your best days is that you’ve began respecting yourself.

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Here I am a week ago, shamelessly selfie-ing it out with one of my favorite toys, my Fujifilm camera that reminds me of the old Polaroid camera my grandpa used to take pictures with growing up. Taking pictures of myself (and other things of course, I’m not a TOTALLY self-absorbed millennial asshat) is something that makes me feel creative and appreciate myself. Whatever that outlet may be to you, I hope you find it. And use it revel in the truly magical, beautiful, and bad ass Mama Jama that you really are.

As the wise prophet Justin Bieber once said, love yourself.
~Jeanine

Even the Good Go Ghost

You’ve heard me say before that modern dating is a landmine of unexpected emotions and more patience zapping than Trader Joe’s on Saturday afternoon. Recently, I’ve had one of these landmines explode on me that surprisingly, I’ve never experienced before. Although the more I’ve recounted this experience with other people lately I’ve come to find it’s indeed very common and it certainly wasn’t unique to me, I couldn’t help but feel so indignant and like the complete embodiment of that Nick Young meme. Sitting with my proverbial question marks floating around my head, eventually I came to the conclusion that I had, in fact, been ghosted.

What exactly is ghosting? In a nutshell, if you were talking to someone as a potential love interest and all of sudden they completely stop answering any and all of your messages across the social media platforms, you’ve been ghosted. Phone calls go unanswered and unreturned. Texts (even ones that proposed a question) go completely mute. Your Snapchats are opened but never reciprocated, maybe you even got deleted. All without an explanation or natural ending. A myriad of emotions begin to plague the ghostee once it fully sinks in that despite your attempts, this person simply doesn’t deem you worthy of an answer as to why you’re no longer worth their time, attention, or consideration. In short, it fucking stings.

It would be misleading to say that everyone who has ghosted someone before is a terrible person with no regards for other people’s feelings. I’ll admit, it’s hard being the person who wants to end the relationship and actually communicating such in a respectful manner. I’ve been there before. But as uncomfortable as it was, I tried to do the right thing every time. Because I’m not a piece of shit afraid of confrontation. We’re still being objective here, right? Social media makes it even worse, enabling people who already might not be the best communicator to further hide in the depths of their phones and computers.

Despite the complete disrespect and personal hit to our egos that comes with getting ghosted, the one bit of advice I can give is this: If someone is really interested in you, you’ll know it. If someone is truly down for you, you’ll know. Of course, there’s a level of anxiousness when you meet someone new and are excited to see where things go, but trust your gut. If something seems off, it’s off. At the end of the day, even if you were really into the person who ghosted you before, they showed their true colors. And someone who can up and delete you out of their life like a spam email from Bath & Bodyworks has already proved to you that they simply don’t have the emotional maturity to be with you anyway. Someone who’s meant to be in your life will bring a sense of calm, not an anxiety ridden panic attacks where you come up with scenarios in which he lost his phone or was thrown into the prison from The Dark Knight Rises.

Inconsistency or lack of interest may seem like there’s room for interpretation, but to me, it’s actually black and white. To steal a line from one of my favorite movies, if there’s no consistent effort to be in your life, he’s just not that into you.

It might take a bit to bounce back from the emotional whiplash of being so inconsiderately discarded by Danny Phantom, but the bright side is that more and more studies are claiming that wine can help you lose weight! So pour a glass, cut your losses, and know that if this person were really meant to be in your life, they would be. And as much as it hurts to be ghosted, know that this person took the cowards way out and that has everything to say about them, not you.

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Boooooo,
Jeanine

 

The “C” Word We Need To Bring Attention To

It is Monday morning. The office is quiet, like usual, just the normal click-clacking of keys and general weariness of a weekend lost yet again hangs in the air. I check email, reheat my coffee, and browse drearily on social media the current events of this exceedingly warm Monday. Everything is the same, but I am numb. Deeply unsettled, I’ve just finished reading the full statement from the victim raped by Brock Allen Turner, former student of Stanford University last January of 2015. My arms erupt in chicken skin and I feel my coffee roll over in my stomach, staring at my computer screen.

Consent. What is the meaning of consent? Simply, it is defined according to Merriam Webster as “to agree to do or allow something : to give permission for something to happen or be done.” What does it mean to consent in most scenarios? Well, it usually involves a verbal agreement between two parties, which at least in my experience as a human being functioning at a normal mental capacity, is pretty hard to do when one of the parties is unconscious.

I’ve always been vocal about issues concerning women on social media. I don’t care if it’s annoying. I don’t care if it’s in your face and you don’t want to face the cold, hard truth that emotional, physical, and sexual violence is perpetrated on women at an alarming rate every single day. I don’t care that rapists have to sit in jail and get their cushy swimming scholarship taken away from them because of “20 minutes of action.” I simply can not stand by and watch victims of sexual assault be made a mockery of in the American justice system time and time again. It’s completely reprehensible, and downright revolting. Not only has Turner never admitted to his repugnant and unconscionable behavior, his family can’t even refer to what he did as what is actually is, rape. But I forgot, lack of consent is only sexy if you don’t get caught.

Victims deserve the right to be heard. Their traumas deserve to be validated in a society that allows victim blaming and has said victims relive the worst experiences of their lives over, and over again. Meanwhile the world sits back and scrutinizes their every action, drink consumed, boyfriends had, because God forbid you’ve had a casual sexual encounter. Then you were just asking for it, I mean, what else is the world supposed to reasonably think? That women are people and not a commodity who’s bodies are up for male consumption on a daily basis? As if.

If you haven’t already, I urge you to read the full victim statement that this absolutely courageous girl read directly to her attacker in court. It is long, and my stomach was wrenched in knots, but she deserves to be heard. His “20 minutes of action” has impacted this girls life unalterably. He has left her with permanent baggage she can never check. Do not let her pain ring in silence.

To Judge Aaron Persky, who decided this horrible, vicious attack was only worth 6 months in county jail as opposed to years in state prison, from the bottom of my heart: I hope this all serves as a very important message to you that women’s bodies are not a commodity to be had by the rich, white and powerful. Our anger as women for our sister is not misdirected about this injustice.

This decision is an egregious miscarriage of justice, and unfortunately, this has happened many times and will happen time and time again. Someday, I hope, how much we drank, what we were wearing, how many boyfriends we’ve had, and how we just shouldn’t have gone to the party that night will no longer be a justification to being violated beyond repair. So what can we do in the meantime? Start making noise, speaking out on behalf of victims, sign your name on shit that matters, and be relentless against slut shaming and victim blaming. Social change requires action, no matter how small.

My dear nameless victim, I am with you. We’re all with you.

Be well,
Jeanine