Stop Shoulding All Over Yourself

I had an Arbonne business for a few years in my twenties. It was natural skin care and other health products and went into people’s homes and did skincare parties.

I learned a lot from that business. I learned a lot of skincare tips, which are fantastic. But more that anything else, I learned a lot about running a business and the importance of positive self talk.

Maybe it sounds crazy, but I have really active self-talk chatter. It is almost a constant in my brain. I have been consistently meditating for about three months now and the more I observe, the more I am in tune with the actual messages that I am saying to myself. And I need an overhaul of what I am constantly saying to myself.

I made a promise to myself if I catch myself saying “should” that whatever follows is just an obligation and I need to slow down and look at the situation. Ask myself what is compelling me to feel like I should be doing a certain thing. If I should be doing it, that means I’m not actually doing it, so why not? Why am I resisting? Why do I feel obligated?

Should is usually a spotlight on exactly what I should not be doing. Should is a silly word and usually brings guilt alongside it.

So when I was getting ready for bed last night after a date with Unexpected Date guy, I found myself will all kinds of self chatter.

“I should back off. I shouldn’t like him as much as I do.”

And immediately sirens went off. What was that all about?

And, dear reader, since I consider us to be fairly close now that you’ve seen my booty and read some of my innermost thoughts, I hope you are ok with me working through my thoughts.

Unexpected Date guy and I had just discussed that we are both ok with taking it slow, with hanging out and making out. And that’s it. He was up front about what was going on his life that made him feel like he wasn’t completely himself and he doesn’t have anything to give in a relationship. I told him where I was, and why I feel like I can’t completely bring myself to the table either.

We both felt relieved to be on the same page and to be open and honest with each other. He said he was worried about rushing into anything because he had done that before and would hate for me to “catch the Feels.” (ugh, I will be unpacking THAT phrase some other day, I really hate it)

But when I started “shoulding” at home, I realized how much I actually like this guy. Which was the opposite of “not catching the Feels.” (shudder… I need to stop writing that phrase, it really bugs me!)

Which leaves me where exactly?

One option I have would be to completely leave. To say “I like you a lot, I see where this is going. And neither of us can go down that road right now. So I’m hitting the breaks hard.”

The other option I have is to continue as we have been. I can say “I really like you. And I am willing to ride it out and be patient. Let’s be friends right now.”

But if I take a step back, that doesn’t feel true. Even just writing that I am willing to wait it out and be friends, I have a reaction in my body that tells me that I am forcing something. My body stiffens a little bit like it is bracing for an impact.

That’s not a good sign. I shouldn’t be making choices that my body is interpreting as an impact.

I suppose that leaves me with letting this fish go and throwing the bait back in the water for someone else. Which is a disappointment, yes. But I can’t blame the guy for wanting to straighten out his life. It is a bit complicated and messy and, in the end, I don’t really want to be a part of messy. So I appreciate that he is saving me from that.

And there will be someone else that is less messy and a better fit for me. I truly believe that.

“Sweetbitter”

I just finished reading the new novel “Sweetbitter.” I had seen a profile of the author in the New York Times and I was intrigued. She was my age, divorced, with a book that was coming out and everyone was buzzing.

She had worked a year in a swanky restaurant in Union Square, and the book was a fictionalized version of her experience. She was extremely knowledgeable about wine, and that is something I yearn for.

There is a part of her life I covet. Something about being that confident about picking a wine. Having a style the way that she does. She’s gorgeous, in my opinion. I was hooked.

So I got the audiobook from the library and I DEVOURED it. I couldn’t stop. The actress that read the book sounded naive and experienced at the same time. Her character work was excellent and I absorbed it all. The author was incredibly poetic. It was an experience of reading about someone that had a life that I craved but I could never see us actually being friends.

She was honest and it shone through. Whether the stories were true or not didn’t matter, it was a novel. The soul of the story was true, and that’s what I latched onto.

I couldn’t exactly relate to her experiences directly, but that wasn’t the point. It was the language. The living vicariously. The emotion of being young and naive again. The spirit of throwing yourself fully into a new experience and learning everything you can. The experience of making new friends as an adult and the dodgy terrain of dating.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I think it is definitely more for women than it is for men, but I do wonder how men would respond to it.

There was a moment that just lit me up, because finally it felt like passing wisdom from the author to me. It was a conversation between a lesbian and the narrator. The lesbian had at least a decade more experience than the narrator in work and in relationships. But she didn’t often share advice, she usually facilitated a good time. When the narrator was falling hard for the bartender (and lord knows, I could understand that) and he was obviously bad news (again, I could relate).

The conversation went like this, the lesbian spoke first.

“‘Good sex isn’t a big deal.’

‘What is?’ I asked.

‘Trust. Intimacy.”

I was driving when I was listening and I nearly pulled over. Woah. Yes. I completely agree. That is putting words to something I have been dancing around.

One of my fears is that I will never find someone as great in bed as the last guy. If I actually looked at my history, I have never had a problem finding a great lover. But I was always afraid that this was the last great one.

But… It. Is. So. Not. True. The guy isn’t the last great one, there will always be another. And it’s not even the biggest thing in a relationship. The lesbian character hit it on the nose. It is so much bigger to have trust and intimacy with your partner. The sex is great, but I would be that it will never be a constant. But trust and intimacy are things that can be built and worked on as a couple.  Those are things that can be reliable and constant.

I wanted to put that out in the universe. I wanted to put that down in writing that good sex isn’t the most important thing. The foundation, which is also the scary part for me, is the crucial, important part. It’s the part where it requires me to be vulnerable over and over. I’m willing to do that.

Dating Story: The One Night Stand

I am not a stranger to the one night stand. I actually have no problem with it, if both people are on the same page and are looking for exactly that.

But I have one one night stand that I absolutely regret.

And even the word “regret” feels strong because I at least learned the lesson that I never want to do that again.

This is the one guy that the details are completely fuzzy because I was incredibly drunk. It’s probably as close to blacked out as I have ever been.

There was no particular reason, I went out with my roommate at the time and her friends. And we just kept drinking and drinking and drinking.

I met the One Night Stand at our local bar on a Saturday night. My roommate had friends in town, and I felt like the best way to impress them was to keep up with their drinking pace. I should mention it was two men that were 6 feet tall. I am 5’2 (and a half!)”. My roommate had an intense flirtation with the more attractive one and the other guy was happy to play my wingman.

We picked out a guy and he facilitated an introduction and kept conversation going. And we started playing the games in the bar, like darts. And we kept drinking. My wingman was proud of his match and peeled away.

At one point in the conversation we realized we live in the same apartment complex. And how convenient… So we got back to his place. And I can’t remember how. I don’t know if we walked or had a driver, but we got to his place where I watched him play video games with his roommate.

Apparently this is seduction.

I sipped my Bud Light because I was aware of how drunk I was. I mostly use let it get warm. I was trying to be the Cool Girl. The girl that could hang. I thought this is what I had to do to get a guy to like me.

So I waited and it kept getting later and later. And if I know anything about myself, I am useless late at night. The mix of all the alcohol and the late hour made me so extremely blurry eyed that I can remember making out in his bed. I can remember waking up (wearing some of my clothes) and walking to my apartment. I don’t remember what happened in between.

I’m really ashamed of it, and I actually hold a lot of shame around those nights when I drink more than 2 and get that buzzed feeling.

I feel like I let myself done when I get drunk. I hate that I let myself lose control. I hate feeling hungover, and it doesn’t take much for me to feel hungover anymore. It takes me a long time to recover, and being a morning person I hate losing that energy every morning to feeling hungover.

I feel ashamed that I don’t stop myself. 75% of the time I stop at my limit to feel buzzed but not drunk. I am ashamed when I get caught up in the “woe is me, I deserve another drink” story. Or sometimes it’s the “It’s girls night so I deserve another drink!” Or “I’m flirting and on a roll, I want to look cool and like I can keep up!” Or I just lose that common sense after two drinks and instead of ordering a soda and give into social pressure and I order a third…

I am sure that this shame I feel around drinking doesn’t help my hangover. It probably contributes to me feeling bad physically. And I wish I could say I’m hopeful and I could say I’ll get it right. But maybe I won’t. Maybe 25% of the time I drink too much, and maybe progress is simply not feeling so ashamed.

And I’ve only had the one semi-blacked out hookup, so it could be a lot worse. Thank god it’s not. At least I know absolutely for certain what I DO NOT WANT.

I was talking to my life coach last month and when she made an offhand remark about my attitude towards money, I realized that many things in my life are connected. My lack mentality around money is also very similar to the lack mentality I have about relationships.

I have a deep seated belief that money is scarce, that when I have it I squander it and there is always going to be a need that is greater right around the corner so I should feel guilty for spending it now.

It sounds something like this. “Those groceries should’ve been cheaper. What could I have cut out? I better make this stretch for a long time.” “You don’t really need that thing that will bring joy to your life. You have things that bring joy. You don’t need it. It’s probably not worth it.” “If you’re going to buy it, you better do a bunch of research to make sure you are getting the best price. You want to spend as little as possible, and use the thing for as long as possible to get the most value from it.”

And when it comes to relationships, it’s very similar. I think this is why I recycle my exes and keep trying to resurrect those relationships without searching for someone new. I think that what I had is as good as it’s going to get and that I should hang on for dear life.

That voice in my head says, “Maybe I will never meet anyone that understands me this way every again.” “Maybe I will never meet someone that I have this kind of chemistry with ever again.” “The sex is good, I better get as much as I can because you might never meet anyone that makes you feel this way again.” “Love is rare.” “Connection is rare.” “Someone who understands me and sees me for who I am is rare.”

You know how I know all these voices are lying? Because I make money every week. I use my talents at a day job and I am paid for those talents. I have people seek me out for my talents and ask me to do things and they pay me for that.

And every time I have broken up with someone, I have met someone new. Good sex is around the corner if I want it. And usually the new person I meet is an upgrade from what I had. I have yet to move on to someone new and be really disappointed. Usually the disappointment comes when I break up with that person and I go back to an ex from a while ago as an ego patch.

There is a lot of money in the universe. There is a lot of love in the universe. Both are incredibly abundant things. It is not limited. I am about to get a little woo-woo on you. Both are an energy that flows to like energy. This is how the law of attraction works. If you are putting out a clean and clear energy of abundance, abundance comes back to you.

I am working on my thinking. I have known this fact about attracting for a long time, but the patterns of thought are embedded pretty deep. I am working on clearing that out, weeding my garden of thought and getting rid of the riff raf that are not serving my purposes of growing something beautiful.

I know it’s going to take some time and some awareness. I am purposefully not saying effort because I have a sneaking suspicion that I need to let go of effort and let things flow naturally. I need to stop trying to force things, and be more in flow. I think that abundance is the natural state, and I need to get out of my own way. I think that answer is probably much easier than I think it is.

I am worthy of abundance. You are, too.

 

The Pain of Self-Sacrifice

My last relationship ended for a whole list full of reasons, but it all boils down to the guy needed a lot of help that I was not qualified to give and he wanted to do it alone. There were patterns of addiction, and it manifested itself in various ways from the obvious to needed validation from everyone around him including another woman.

It is some deep, troubling baggage that he needs to unpack and work through. And I know what any logical person would say “Thank God that’s not your problem to deal with anymore, Single Gal.”

And I would agree. Thank God indeed. Thank God he did not want my support because then I was given permission to be selfish and to look after myself first. But that isn’t what I wanted to do at first.

When I put all the pieces of his bad behavior together and saw the really big problem, I offered to help. I offered to be there as a support if he was willing to do all the hard work to get better. I basically said “I see you stuck in the hole down there and you are stuck in a pile of shit. I will jump down there with you and hold your hand if you are willing to get yourself out. I will go be stuck in shit with you, for as long as you need me to.”

I didn’t do it to be valiant or a martyr. I did it because I really loved this person and I cared so much about him being healthy that I was willing to put myself through hell to help him get to the other side.

I am so grateful he turned my offer down (which is actually very much in line with my understanding of people that suffer from addiction. He pushed away the person that could see the truth so that he would be allowed to live his lie longer. He would rather not go through the pain of looking at and changing his behavior which is a shame). I am so grateful because in the months after the breakup I have made huge strides forward in my life because I had all this extra space and energy that I could create with. My mind was not distracted with his major problems and my energy was not drained by supporting him.

My situation is an extreme example of choosing someone else over myself. If I had gotten what I thought I wanted, who knows where I would be right now. In the last 6 months I created a play and raised funding to take it to Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. That took up so much of my time and energy, and I don’t know what would have happened if I had someone around that I felt responsible for.

I have recently met a man that I more than I knew I could ask for in a guy. And I don’t know where that path is going but I never would have met him if I was dating someone else.

I think about how easy it was for me to choose him over myself. And maybe that I partially why he turned down my offer, because he recognized that I shouldn’t have to go through that shit with him. That he was the only one that should deal with it and that I had more important dreams for my life. Maybe he knew he couldn’t let me make that sacrifice by choosing him over me.

Apparently it is something women do very naturally. We put the needs of others before our own. It’s is actually a really big problem because every time we do that we are programming our brain to work against ourself.

Luckily this can be rewired. Part of the rewiring process is doing exactly this. Bring attention to when you chose someone else instead of yourself. Look for triggers and patterns. Where can we make a different choice next time?

I know that something like regularly choosing myself is going to feel unnatural at first. I will have to make a conscious effort to do it, and I am probably going to mess up. Big change can be hard, but not impossible. But I am confident that choosing myself has the biggest payoff in the end and I am not willing to sacrifice myself any more.

Dating Story: The Train Driver

I can’t remember if I knew I was being set up when I went to the play reading. But it was incredibly clear when we were introduced that our mutual friend orchestrated the evening so that we would both be there so we could meet.

He was tall and boyishly handsome. And he was funny and sweet. I was completely smitten.

We had a really easy time together. We laughed all the time and flirted constantly. Conversations just flowed. Hours flew by. I knew he had a tricky schedule but in that first 6 weeks he always seemed to make time for me on his day off.

He drove trains for a freight train company. His route took him up the eastern coast and back. All he had to do was make sure nothing went wrong and to solve problems if it went wrong. It was a mostly mindless job, so he spend most of his time reading, texting, Facebooking, playing games on his phone.

What I thought I found was a guy that was really into me because he was texting all the time and really getting to know me by asking lots of questions. What was really happening was that he was bored and I was responding.

But it took me a long time to figure that out.

The Train Driver is still to this day one of the best kissers I have ever known. The makeup sessions were incredibly hot and we would lose hours. Just making out. It was the most fun I had ever had.

For a long time we didn’t jump in bed even though the kissing was fantastic. Later that summer we made a plan for his next day off and talked about both being ready for the relationship to become sexual. And then he got called in to work. This last minute call and change of plans had already happened a few times before.

Maybe I got scared that I would lose the opportunity to sleep with this guy that I had such great chemistry with (trust me, I know how ridiculous this sounds, I suffer from some serious lack mentality instead of realizing that there is an abundant amount of chemistry out there in the universe!). Or maybe I was just being completely impatient, which I am often guilty of.

Fueled by an impatience to get laid, I asked if I could come to him at his hotel in Philly. Insert eye rolling and groans here. “No, Single Gal! That’s a HORRIBLE idea!”

Yes, in hindsight I know this. At the time, I didn’t see the huge red flag waving back and forth just behind my eyes. (Have you noticed this pattern in my dating stories??)

So I went. I thought it was exciting. A night in a hotel that his job was paying for. It would be fun! Instead, it was awkward. He was worried about his coworker seeing me go into the room and ratting him out. He has different sleeping habits than I do and I don’t recommend finding this out in a hotel. And first time sex is always a little tricky, and it would have been a little more comfortable at home.

And the hotel was not in downtown Philly, it was in a weird outskirt of Philly. So when we wanted to get breakfast in the morning we couldn’t find anything that was open. So we had that awkward time in the car looking for a coffee shop but not finding anything, and both of us were getting hungrier and hungrier. This was not sexy, at all.

And I think that was the turning point. I saw him a few times after that, but he started working 6 days a week instead of 5. His day off was spent sleeping and rarely scheduled time to see me. He still texted constantly but I was growing tired of having a pen pal. Eventually I picked a fight because I was never seeing him and I drove a wedge between us and I decided to move on.

He and I kept in touch a few times a year. Every once in awhile it was a nice distraction for me. Sometimes it slipped into sexting. But I always knew it was just text messaging and I wanted a relationship with someone I actually saw. I finally ended it once and for all when he he sexting me but had announced his engagement on Facebook. It seemed like a fishy situation. He told me it was “fake” to “make her ex jealous.” I told him I wanted nothing to do with that situation.

I’m realizing I don’t stand up for myself often. I try way harder than I need to when it comes to saving a failing relationship. I very rarely am the one to end things. But it feels really good when I set a standard, and if that standard isn’t being met I ask the person to leave. I really should do that more often.

Sometimes Love is Just a Short Story

A good friend of mine supported me through my breakup this winter and then two months later she had her own. We both found ourselves in very similar situations. We compared situations about our breakups and couldn’t believe how similar they were. And how similar our reactions were. We both knew the breakup was ultimately for the best, but we were still mourning it deeply and we were frustrated we weren’t moving on faster.

I would say I am 90% healed. She is probably 70%. I saw her for 4th of July weekend and we had a number of heart to heart talks. She kept referring to the relationship as a failure and as something bad. It wasn’t sitting right with me.

I had a mental shift and it really made a lot of sense to both of us, and it helped us embrace the sadness that we felt when the relationship ended instead of resenting that we felt sad over something that we should be glad about.

I realized that the relationship is not a failure because it ended. Let me say that again because I need to take it in, and I bet you probably do too. The relationship is not a failure because it ended.

A relationship can still be a success even though it is over. Successful relationships do not have to be defined by whether or not it ended in marriage. There is still a lot that can be learned from relationships that don’t last forever. And often there is still a lot of love in those relationships.

The way I said it to my friend was “Some relationships are just short stories.” And that shifted both of our thinking. Not every story has to be an epic “War and Peace”-like tome. We can still love and appreciate the short novellas or the essays just as much. They are still valid contributions and can move us deep in our souls. So can poems. It doesn’t make them lesser than only because their length is shorter and there are fewer words on the page.

I think we need to redefine failure in relationships. Failure in relationships is staying in something long after it is over rather than leaving when you stopped growing. It is not serving either of you to stay if you have grown all you can from the relationship and there is nothing else to gain. I’ve been there many times. Thinking that if you try hard you can force it to be what it’s not. Accept it, let it go. That’s life.

A failed relationship is one where you deceive yourself or the other person intentionally. That’s not a relationship. That’s just not being honest and that feels gross all around. You can’t even have a relationship if you’re not being honest.

A relationship is a failure if you manipulate or make the other person (or yourself feel small). We have relationships so that we can grown and expand as human beings. So we can become better versions of ourselves. We are able to grow in a different way with another person by our side, it’s why we are wired for all kinds of relationships. But if you are in a romantic relationship with someone and you are intentionally causing pain, if you are trying to manipulate the other person, or if you are putting yourself or the other person in a box then it is failing to allow you to grow.

I’m writing a little off the cuff on this topic to really fully explore this idea of changing the idea of a failed relationship. Removing that label feels so good, it feels like I can expand a little. It removes the self-pity of having another failed relationship. I don’t have a failed relationship. I have a relationship that came to its completion. It ran its course.

 

Numbing the Soul’s Pain

The advice to keep busy after a breakup or during a hard time has never really felt right to me. Something about it didn’t sit right with me, but everyone says it works so I did it. Every time.

 

I find it so easy to distract myself and numb the pain with distractions. It is so incredibly easy. I am a driven person so it is easy to be really busy with work and projects and hobbies. I am so good at it that I don’t even realize I am doing it.

I think I am just doing the things you’re supposed to do after a breakup. When your heart hurts aren’t you supposed to go out and drink too much? Aren’t you supposed to find some random dude to make out with? And then you call a fall back dude from years ago and hook up a few times to feel the rush again?

Aren;t you supposed to watch your favorite sappy movies and the silly TV shows and cry?

Isn’t this all what “fake it till you make it is all about?”

I thought so. I thought those were all the things that were normal that led to healing. It made sense to me: if you do the things you normally do, maybe at a heighten level or a slightly more frantic pace, then you will get over the hurt faster and you will be healed before you know it.

I think I started practicing these habits when my dad died when I was 14. I decided the best thing I could do would be to keep pushing forward and doing my best, because that would have made him proud. I went to school after my dad’s funeral because I didn’t want to ruin my perfect attendance streak. I played three sports that year, I got straight As. I got my first boyfriend. Nothing was knocking me off my track.

I remember a guy I dated in my early twenties that didn’t treat me well. He left me guessing all the time. He cheated on me with his ex girlfriend. And I think that is when I started numbing with alcohol, constant TV and keeping my friends around me all the time.

And I thought that it actually worked. Because I would eventually stop crying and I would eventually stop thinking about the pain and the memories. Eventually it all fell away.

But those things don’t heal anything, they numb. And just like anesthesia, the numbness wears off and you have a choice. You can re-numb or you feel the pain.

For as long as I can remember, I have chosen to continue to re-numb. I found it was always easy to find some kind of escape. It was immediately available at my finger tips.

The other night I had a moment of clarity. Where I suddenly saw all my habits for what they really are. They weren’t hobbies, they weren’t a good time, they weren’t bonding opportunities. I was running from my pain, pushing it away, burying it, trying to numb all the deep pain and fear I feel.

So that night I decided to face it. And the amazing thing was that I identified the pain, I sat with it and it passed so quickly. Granted, I have been working through and feeling this pain for a while. But there was something incredibly healing about seeing the pain clearly for what it was that allowed me to move past it. It was as if I could actually feel the scab form over the wound.

I’m not saying I am completely healed, but it feels very different. It feels like forward movement. It feels like I don’t need the girlfriend dates to distract me from the lonely weekend nights, I don’t need the exes to sleep with me to make me feel something again, and I don’t need to drink too much to feel a high.

Cupid’s arrow has been sticking out of my side for a long time. I’ve been walking around with that thing, and because it’s still there I keep re-injuring myself and it never heals. I finally pushed it through. Let the healing begin.

 

A New Series

Hello readers!

Yesterday I shared a story about a guy that I dated and what I learned about myself by choosing the wrong guy. The story simply fell off my fingertips as I typed. It was so easy.

I really like sharing my dating stories. I always have. I always told my friends that there is no such thing as a bad date, just a hilarious story to tell over cocktails. I’ve always entertained my friends with my disasters and dramas.

I’ve decided to ditch the drama in my dating life but there is no reason why I can’t share all the mistakes I’ve made in the past, the fun times, the dramas I created for no reason.

I hope you will enjoy reading them. And maybe you will laugh and maybe you will learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to make them. I think I will publish these stories on Mondays and Fridays because I can think of no better way to start and end a week than with dating stories.

If you have a story you would like to share please feel free to let me know! I would love to hear your disasters. Dating is always better when you’re sharing your lessons with friends.

Baring It All

After my breakup in the winter, I knew I had to act fast to keep myself out of depression. As a little context, winter months are always particularly tough and I have a tendency to get some seasonal disorder. I had even had the conversation with this guy as we went into January. I told him I will probably be feeling particularly blue and to not let me make any major life changes until April.

They say when we make plans, God laughs. I see the joke, and it is a seriously twisted sense of humor.

I decided I was going to give myself something to look forward to. I wanted to feel feminine and pretty. I wanted to celebrate my body, which is curvier than it has been in a long time. I decided to invest in a boudoir photo shoot for myself. There is no better time.

I found a deal on Groupon and I am so glad I did. The company is called Three Boudoir, and right now they do photos in very select cities. I remember going through the galleries and thinking how happy these women look. How comfortable. How SEXY. And not in a cheesy posed kind of way that seems forced. They seemed like they were owning the sexy from within.

Dare I say it… it was like all these women were channeling their inner Beyonce.

So I booked a session for two months later and added on the makeup application because I am pretty clueless when it comes to that kind of thing.And strangely I didn’t feel all that nervous.

The day arrived. I took the day off from work. I’m fairly certain I blushed when I lied and told my boss I was going to DC to visit a friend that was here from out of town. I took a long, leisurely morning to get ready by painting my nails and moisturizing and loving every inch of my body. I took extra time to do my hair, despite the downpour that was happening outside. We can only control so much…

When I arrived, I was brought into makeup and that’s when I really began to feel pampered.I’m not used to fake lashes and liquid liner and shimmer. But it sure was fun.

And then they began to prep me for the shoot. I met my team. There was a photographer and what I will call a Stylist or a I’m-Gonna-Make-You-Look-Awesome Expert. But honestly, they both fed off of my energy and each other’s and it really felt like we were all in it together.

They made me feel like one of their best friend instantly. Despite the fact that I can’t remember the last time I was in panties and a bra in front of my friends. Or just a thong.

I will be honest, I went through phases of being comfortable. I spent a majority of the time in just a black thong because I really wanted to highlight my legs and back, features that I love. But every once in awhile you realize “my boobs are just… there.”

And it reminds me how much we women are uncomfortable in our own bodies. I wanted to confront that and embrace it and be all hanging out. Some poses were more awkward than others and sometimes it was a challenge to hold my tummy tight while popping my booty. But that made us all laugh which leads to more great pictures.

I laughed a lot and I left feeling like a rockstar. I left my makeup on even though it was way heavier than I was used to wearing. That glow of confidence is still with me, especially when I look at the pictures.

It was easily the best money I had spent in a long time. I would do it again in a heart beat. It has confronted some of my body hangups and now when I find myself self-hating I turn it to a laugh and remember how awesome my body is.

And I realized that one of the things we get hung up on is how we think other people think of us. And being mostly naked in front of two hot women (in my opinion!) and they embraced it and even celebrated it with me was incredibly empowering. It let me know that as long as I feel good everyone else feels good around me. My energy will feed theirs.

We should worry less, and celebrate more. That’s a New Year’s resolution I plan to keep.

And now, the photo I am most proud of. I was inspired by a photo on a woman’s blog, and maybe it will help you as well.

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