Insecurity Manifesto

On February 9th I remember feeling particularly horrible. It was one of those days where I didn’t necessarily know why I was so upset, but everything seemed to set me off. The biggest emotion I experienced was intense insecurity, just being incredibly unsatisfied with myself. I felt alone, afraid, and beaten down.

In the New Year I’ve tried to make it a priority to escape from these lows by finding strength within myself. I haven’t been great about that, I rely a lot on other people to help me out. It’s ok to depend on other people, but it’s essential to have a sense of stable security from within. On February 9th, I wrote up a “manifesto” of sorts to remind me of the things I wanted to change that were causing me to feel insecure.

I never planned on sharing this, but I’m feeling confident today. Very confident. I have worked on maybe 4 or 5 of the bullets on this list and I already notice progression in myself. While maybe this is a cheesy Seventeen-esque list, I figure if I can get some value out of it maybe someone else can too.

I have made progress with some of this, but there are several things on the list that I blatantly disregard on a daily basis. Change comes slowly but surely, and I’m optimistic. Oh did I really just say that? I feel optimistic? What a breath of fresh air!

Take a look at my list, and decide for yourself. You can follow mine, or you can make one for yourself. You don’t need to tell anyone, you don’t need to make any promises, just refer back to it once in a while to remind yourself what matters. Remind yourself what gets you to that negative place, put those reasons on your list and attack them.

Let’s fuck shit up, I say!

My Personal Insecurity Manifesto

  • I vow to communicate clearly and express my needs without fear
  • I vow to not invest time worrying about what people mean, but rather will listen to what they say
  • I vow to demand respect from a partner, sexual and romantic alike
  • I vow not to let the way a man treats me define how I go about my day and feel about myself
  • I vow to value myself and celebrate my strengths
  • I vow to stop calling myself an idiot when I make a mistake
  • I vow to stop apologizing when I’ve done nothing wrong
  • I vow to start taking the advice I would give to a best friend in my same situation
  • I vow to stop making exceptions for behavior that bothers me
  • I vow to stop placing my personal worth in the way others view me
  • I vow to stick to my priorities and quit shifting them to accommodate other people
  • I vow to recognize when I’m spreading myself too thin and make an effort to lighten the load in any way possible.
  • I vow to stop projecting my insecurities into my interactions with other people
  • I vow to acknowledge when I’m feeling lonely and learn to be okay with feeling that way
  • I vow to enjoy myself and be fully present when I’m with friends, not letting my mind drift to negative places
  • I vow to stop being so hard on myself when things don’t go the way I want them to
  • I vow to use my mistakes as learning experiences, rather than replaying them in my head over and over.
  • I vow to actually take action on my insecurity rather than pushing it aside
  • I vow to stop giving in to my vices to numb the pain I’m feeling
  • I vow to be patient when I slip up
  • I vow to make my self confidence a priority in my life

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A Comforting Exchange (I’m Listening to Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield rn I can’t lie.)

It’s nice to start off my day in a not shitty way, even if my definition of “not shitty” still includes me waking up in a cold sweat after having an unsatisfying sexual dream about former Bachelor lead Chris Soules. A dream that came at the end of a series of highly disturbing dreams, I might add. One of them my brother Kyle had an evil twin who was trying to slit his throat while Kyle played video games. The hard part was that I couldn’t tell which Kyle was Evil Kyle so I just watched. For more information on my fucked up dreams- shoot me a text. I’ll happily make you uncomfortable.

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(Definitely never going to be able to think of him the same way)

Full disclosure, I’m trying to teach myself how to properly wear makeup on a daily basis. When I say that, I specifically mean I’m trying to learn how to contour. Before you laugh, please realize that shit is highly complicated and the reason a lot of people look ridiculous when they attempt it is because it’s an artform. I honestly don’t think I’m doing it right yet, but I’ve covered up most of the failed effort using “bronzer powder” which just makes my skin smooth and sparkly like a Twilight-era vampire.

I had an extra half hour to do my facial reconstruction today, and since I don’t have a functional hairdryer I’m working with the “wet rat” base look. I went ham at TJ Maxx last week and bought a few contouring kits as well as bronzing powder, a blending sponge, and lipstick. Yes, lipstick. I have a lot to say about lipstick, we can talk about it later. Maybe on another post.

One of my contouring kits specifically outlines on the box exactly where to put each color and even includes a diagram. I have been strictly following this as if it were a bible, and to be honest I question its credibility as a few times I’ve just looked like a tribal warrior at the end of it. No doubt, I’m still missing a few steps (primer, tinted moisturizer, setting spray… etc) but I am in the process of learning and that’s what counts, right? I’m trying and eager as ever. About as eager as I am to finish off the remnants of whatever appetizer is on the dinner table in a large group, because I guarantee I didn’t get nearly enough of it.

Anyway. I showed up to work today with my experimental makeup look on, and immediately felt insecure. Not only because I don’t typically wear a lot of makeup, but also because I have no idea if I look ridiculous in this lighting as compared to the dim sea cave I call home. I realize that half the battle with feeling confident is appearing confident, but it’s hard to do that when there’s a serious possibility you look like you have dirt/soil/excrement smeared on your face.

I went up to order eggs and bacon in the staff cafeteria and immediately when I approached the chef, I got insecure. I was certain he was giving me a weird look, as he probably knows me as the weird girl who always asks for an extra egg and seems ashamed about it. (It’s true, I do emotionally need that extra egg and it pains me to make it known.) In my mind, he noticed in a bad way, and I was about ready to sprint off to the bathroom and wipe off my fake face.

Quick aside here- I’ll give you a flashback to the first time I ever attempted to wear makeup in sixth grade. All of the other girls were doing it, and I was sick of being called a tomboy (note: I exclusively wore XXL mismatching sweatpants and sweatshirts for the entirety of my sixth grade year, this is fact.) So one day, after my mom left for work I raided her makeup stash (which is very minimalistic I might add- props to you mom… you’re fackin gorgeous!)

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(Above is a good example of what I was working with at this time in my life, please appreciate those jeans for the love of god where did we find those?)

At this stage I really did not know how to wear makeup, I wasn’t even sure what most of it was for. I put mascara on, shockingly correctly. But then I found some dark blue eyeliner that my mom probably bought by accident and discarded. I put that at the back of my eyelids, not the line of them. I outlined the base of my eyeball. And then I probably did another line on the inside of my bottom eyelid. While this terminology may not make sense- trust me, it did not look good. The mascara was passable, but the rest… ooooof.

Immediately when I got into school, Kaitlin Barry, one of the popular girls, asked me what the makeup was for. In a condescending tone. My stomach fell into my colon and I nearly shat out my internal organs. I was insecure and she knew it. When I didn’t answer?

“Katrina… What’s the makeup for?”

Mind you, this girl had makeup caked on in the punk rock Good Charlotte era style that was quickly becoming the new norm. I still couldn’t say anything, because I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself for even trying to be like the rest of the girls. When clearly I’d made myself an “other.”

“Katrina… Are you trying to impress someone?”

I shot up from my desk and ran to the bathroom and started wiping off my face with wet paper towels. I wasn’t crying or anything, I was just humiliated. And honestly I don’t even know if anyone else ever noticed I had it on in the first place. But it felt like the whole class saw and was laughing at me. (Just like the time I accidentally farted audibly during silent reading time.)

I spent the rest of the day asking one of my closest guy friends in paranoia if it was smeared or visible in any way shape or form. We’d pass each other in the hallways and he’d give me a thumbs up to assure me he couldn’t tell. Thank god for dude friends before hormones were a real thing. I somehow survived the day, but definitely had panic diarrhea.

Anyway- with that aside in mind, I was having panic flashbacks this morning. Sure it was 14 years ago and I’ve come a long way in my makeup skills… But I’m still the oversized sweatshirt wearing woman at the end of the day. I’m comfiest when I’m dressed like Stan Kovack, the middle aged real estate worker who cheers on the Phillies and listens to Toto. I like wearing makeup and feeling pretty, but I’m terrified of doing it wrong and looking like a fool.

Moments after I got my bacon and eggs and went to pay for it, I was met by one of the friendly cafe staff members. We frequently banter over my daily kombucha keg cup that legitimately looks like a cup full of beer… She playfully calls me “drunk girl” and has no idea how accurate of an assessment that really is.

“Your makeup looks really good today, did you do something different?” She said casually

I felt a full body sigh of relief and thanked her. “I was just thinking about how I’m afraid I look ridiculous.”

“I know what you mean,” She said “Sometimes when I wear makeup differently I feel like I look like a drag queen.”

It’s funny, because I’ve said that so many times about myself and no one else has ever humored me. We had a quick chat about the downfalls of wearing heels, purses, etc and I walked away feeling 100% better about life.

Not even because I am sure I actually look good, but more because I realize everyone has their insecurities about their femininity. Especially women like me who tend to err on the side of masculine or “tomboy.” It’s not that we don’t have the desire to look pretty, but it definitely doesn’t come naturally to us. For that reason, showing up to work in “experimental” makeup feels about as awkward as wearing a fedora, although far less shameful.

Having another woman’s support, even just something as small as commiserating, meant a lot to me and reminded me we’re all in this together. And we run the world. So for anyone out there who feels weird in their own body today, just know that we’re all feeling a little weird in our own way. If you see someone taking a step outside of the norm, give them a compliment. I like you already for making it this far down in the post, and please know that it means a lot to me.

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