Tuesday, May 14, 2013

On Self-Acceptance

"No amount of self-improvement can make up for any lack of self-acceptance." - Robert Holden

     Some of you will look at this quote and nod approvingly, some of you will scoff or roll your eyes. Some of you might even argue with me on it about how getting comfortable with ourselves means we stop growing. That's fine and dandy. However, there's a huge problem here. In our modern-day society there's this growing mindset that we should always want more, that more is better. More will equal improvement. More stuff, more people, more achievements, more experiences. We fall into this belief that we're not good enough and must constantly do more or get more to improve ourselves, never once considering what we have and what we need most. We get this huge void within ourselves that we continue to try to fill with material possessions, unsuitable relationships, more hours at work, extra time at the gym, even self-help books and we wonder why we keep failing at happiness.
     If you asked me a year ago what I thought of myself, I would have given you a long list of shortcomings and flaws and things in general that need to be fixed physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and the list goes on. At the start of the new year I unexpectedly ended up in the midst of a huge shift emotionally and mentally, leaving me in a panic and finally alone with my biggest fears and insecurities, these demons that have roamed around my mind since my overachieving high school years and possibly even before then. My first reaction was to fill the emptiness with more activities. I was going to volunteer a ton of hours and spend my time helping and serving others, because who was I to be upset when other people have nothing? I was going to work out more and get myself into even better shape because I wanted to be more muscular and less soft. I was going to stop getting B's and C's and start getting straight A's. I was going to find a job or internship so I could get a job after I graduate and not let myself become another statistic. I filled my time with more things with self-improvement in mind. Since then my life has improved. I now have a good internship and a job, learned to belly dance, I will have my first IMDB credit for a feature film and another short film coming up, and I logged in 37 hours of community service and made some good friends in the process. Unfortunately, I still don't have six-pack abs or rippling biceps, my grades are still B's and C's (I took five 3000- and 4000-level courses, two of which were math-based, give me a break!) and I don't think I'll ever stop having a desire to keep improving.
     I know you were reading this and expecting some sort of miraculous epiphany that ended with me throwing my hands up and shouting "I don't need this! I'm great just as I am!" but all you got was this somewhat anticlimactic overview of my semester. Hear me out. The real point I'm making here is that I know much more about myself and what I need to do to get where I want. I learned more about who I am, what I like, and what I want to do through being alone with myself and trying to fulfill this infinite desire to improve. I've discovered so many positive things about myself I never knew existed, and it allowed me to have a different view of Lexi. I am happy to report that I am much more awesome than I've ever given myself credit for and I quite like me. No, I'm not perfect and will never be, nor do I have the desire to be. But I guess I've grown more comfortable with this imperfect self by seeing it from a different angle.
     I now understand that trying to improve all the time and unsuccessfully filling such a void is the very action we need to find self-acceptance. We find the solution when we become aware of our lack of acceptance and stop for a moment and see that what we thought was defective in us was working all along. Sometimes it takes a broken heart and too much alone time to rewrite our relationships with ourselves. All we needed was to take a step back and see on our own what we already have to understand that we didn't need to change or improve much more than our perspectives.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Uprooted plant life and sugar-saturated caffeinated fat blocks. You shouldn't have.

   With January making its exit stage right and February entering left, we are all anticipating a certain day taking center: Valentine's Day. The one day a year that, next to Christmas and all other major holidays, has been so crassly commercialized that everyone in the mainstream world has grown to loathe for different reasons.

     I remember the days in elementary school when everyone in my class would decorate Valentine's Day shoeboxes with little slits cut in the top so people could put in valentines and an assortment of candy. It was fun and cute and we had to make a valentine for everyone in the class so nobody was left out. Those were the days. Since then I've become one of those people in the mainstream world who has grown to loathe Valentine's Day. In fact, I think it's been that way since middle school when an ex-crush of mine gave all the other girls candy one year and purposely didn't give me any because I dumped him right before Christmas break that year (of which he terrorized me until 8th grade graduation that year). The following two years after that I was either sick or just had nothing to do that day. Then the next year I made plans with a guy friend of mine and he blew me off to hang out with another girl (who ended up being a psycho). The year after that I made the effort to at least buy valentines for my family and then-boyfriend. Then I was newly single the next year, and then I had a guy to celebrate with for three years, and now I'm single again (this is my first time publicly admitting it). Through the ups and downs and having someone to celebrate with and then not have someone to celebrate with, I'm pretty sure my hatred for Valentine's Day has remained constant. Or maybe just went dormant for the last three years and then came back with a passion the other day when I saw Valentine's Day crap all over the shelves at Winn-Dixie and had to fight the urge to suffocate myself with a teddy bear. I don't know. All I know is that I hate it and think it's the stupidest holiday ever. But at least this time I have good logical reasons for hating it.
Couldn't have said it better, honestly.
    First reason why I can't stand Valentine's Day is because people treat it like it's the only day of the year to go all-out balls to the wall celebrating your love for someone. One person (usually the girl) has all these crazy expectations about how romantic the whole day/night should be and wants the moon given to them in a silver Tiffany's box, and ends up getting mad at the other person (usually the guy) when all they get is a dozen roses and a box of chocolate. First of all, shouldn't you be celebrating your love for that person more often than Valentine's Day? Like every day maybe? Second of all, if your romantic expectations aren't like this any other day, why are they so high on this particular day? It's ironic to me because on any ordinary day of the year it's completely the most romantic wonderful thing when your SO does something thoughtful for you, yet for some reason those same little gestures are just not as good because this overrated, ordinary-day-turned-holiday caused your expectations to skyrocket. It's like you purposely set yourselves up for disappointment.
"I love you so much I hope you never die."
    See, it never used to be like this. Valentine's Day used to be a pagan celebration of fertility, then became dedicated to a saint when pagans began converting to Christianity as a means to make the celebration less sacrilegious. Or some long story along those lines. Then somewhere in the 19th century it turned into a thing for kids where they glued some macaroni to a paper heart and gave it to their parents and called it a valentine. And then they ate chocolate. Then advertisers got a hold of it and commercialized it to this ridiculous degree that now if a guy doesn't plan a huge romantic night and buy his woman some overpriced jewelry or some other crap, then he's in the doghouse. Which brings me to my next question. Why does nobody ever get angry at the women for not making an effort on Valentine's Day?? This type of nonsense should go both ways, ladies!
    The next thing I can't stand about Valentine's Day is that it is the holiday dedicated to couples. See, what gets me is that any holiday that becomes Big Business's Commercialized Universal Couple Day  for every single couple in the world is automatically less special. There's no spontaneity at all to that. You know what's even better than Valentine's Day? Your anniversary. Why? Because it's your special day to celebrate being together and not everyone else's also. Plus, you don't have to make reservations months in advance and fight crowds and deal with the price of chocolate skyrocketing (seriously, that's the worst thing ever). Think about that one.
This cake loves me enough to stay with me forever...
right on my thighs.
    Don't get me wrong, I love a holiday that gives me an excuse to eat candy and buy myself another teddy bear to add to my superfluous collection, but please enlighten me on what the big deal is? Even after having the last three Valentine's Days of my life be amazing days full of memories, I still hate it. I guess you could call me cynical, or maybe slightly embittered that I no longer have someone to plan an awesome date for anymore. I'll admit to the latter. Either way, I won't be buying into any of it. Past this blog post, I'm not even going to whine about being alone on Valentine's Day. Instead I'm going to take this year's Valentine's Day with a grain of salt and do something nice for myself. I'm going to call my family and wish them a happy Valentine's Day and tell them I love them, and then spoil myself rotten. I'm keeping away from Facebook that day with the exception of a facetious "I think today is stupid" post or two because I don't care to expose myself to everyone's nauseating "Happy Valentine's day, honey!" posts all day ad nauseam. I feel it's toxic to my emotional well-being this early in the game. As far as Valentine's Day is concerned, it will just be another ordinary day to eat chocolate.

Friday, January 4, 2013


"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
- Anais Nin

    One of my favorite quotes. I feel like Anais Nin was talking to me when I read this... even though she died in 1977, this was published sometime long before that, and I wasn't born until 1989, so in a weird talking-to-me-from-the-dead-but-not-really-way. Since November 2010, my entire life has been this quote, starting with the day I got my acceptance letter from Florida State. Since then, I've moved a lot from Tallahassee to home several times, got a job, built my acting resume, changed my major, met and worked with some amazing people, loved with all my heart and lost part of it. In the summer I'm going to graduate and then things will change even more. I was excited for it, but fear and apprehension have come into the mix. My world had been turned upside down when an unexpected situation ending 2012 left me with a terrible start to the new year (pardon the vagueness, but I'm choosing not to go into detail out of respect and discretion).
    My biggest goal this year is to take this painful situation and use it as a lesson for self-improvement. This is a new time for me to heal and grow from it. Truth be told, I'm really not the woman I'd like to be right now. Before I go on, please understand that I am not at all trying to make anyone overlook my good and redeeming qualities, but rather understand where I need work. That said: I'm insecure, indecisive, and a perfectionist. I talk myself down too much, and I hold back out of fear. Worst of them all, I talk negatively about myself to people and sometimes take my insecurities out on others. It's pretty bad and embarrassing to admit to, on a public blog, no less. It has caused many a headache and has resulted in heartache that probably could have been avoided had I fixed them sooner. It is incredibly painful.
    One of the reasons why we hurt is because it is a sign that something has to change. In the midst of all the anxiety and tears, we have to take a step back and realize what is wrong. Sometimes it's our own issues, undue fear or worry, or simply bad timing. Instead of dwelling on what might have been, we must focus on what can be and how we can get there. I was repeating unhealthy and unbecoming patterns of behavior that had become habit from past situations and it was carrying over to my present. It was smothering me and the people around me. I'm incredibly sad and disappointed that things have to happen as they are, but I need to learn to let go first before anything can continue or happen. Maybe I need to hurt for a little while before I can experience joy again. Only then can I let go of the worry that is not serving me well, and forget about what has happened. It cannot change and there is no use blaming myself or letting it affect me anymore.
    We can hold on to those toxic things and stay inside that shell, but in the end it's only hurting us more than just letting go and being free. Only then can we feel hopeful and find out what's waiting for us.