Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Lie Behind Self-Hate Is The Truth Behind Self-Love

Hello :'D,

Two posts in one week?! Gosh- I'm on a roll. This post, unlike the other, is more positive and less about me and MY problems. I wanted to discuss something that is so prevalent nowadays among our generation, especially the females within it. That is self-love, or rather the lack of it; it's a concept that I'm only beginning to come to grips with myself, but a concept that I've always understood to be really important because it doesn't only affect you, but others around you, especially those who love you more that you're able to love yourself.

The inspiration for this post came from a conversation I had this morning with my friend, Chantelle. Chantelle is one of the prettiest girls I know, I mean from head to toe. She has pretty eyes, perfect teeth, nice shape and an amazing personality that just fills a room. Sure, like everyone else, she has a few things about her that she's not pleased about, like the head that she considers "ginormous," her wild set of hair, and, most importantly, her weight. Chantelle is not the thinnest, but she's big boned and struggles with her weight. I can relate to her because although I've never been huge, I've been big enough where it bothered me.

When we were talking, we were talking about this boy she liked and how she decided that she wasn't going to pursue a relationship with him until she had lost some weight and was able to love herself, because she couldn't see someone loving her before she did. This comment really made me look at myself and it was then that I realized that my own, personal self love has improved so much over the months past. I actually realized that August will be a year since I tried to end my life, and I just couldn't believe it.

As girls, we're faced with so many different pressures, be it the pressure to fit in, or the pressure to be loved; it all works on our emotions and often causes our mirrors to become tainted. We look at ourselves and become extremely critical, seeing first our "imperfections" rather than the things that make us who we are. That becomes so dangerous, resulting in disorders like anorexia, bulimia, body dismorphia and depression, not to mention the practices of self harm. We do all of this for what? Not to look good to ourselves, of course, but to look good to others. We bend over backwards to diet and work out and wear the latest clothing and do everything the right way in order to be like girls that are just as imperfect as us.

Sometimes it's hard to be objective in our thoughts, but just try it with me this one time. Imagine the girl that you look at on television or even a girl that you see every day that has just the pretties hair that falls just the way yours never will. She's got eyes brighter than the sun and a stunning smile that does just that- stun. She's got double-d's, but a small waist and a flat stomach. She's about 5'9 with long, toned legs and a significant thigh gap that doesn't make her look too skinny, but trim. The clothes she wears are always so beautiful and they fit her just well, showing just the right amount of cleavage to make all the boys, including your crush, blush. She's a straight A student who's head of the cheerleading squad and the volleyball team and has now just gained presidental status at your school.

Sounds perfect, huh? Maybe even too good to be true. Why? Because it is, yet too often that slips our minds. Sure she's "perfect" when you're on the outside looking in, but do you really believe that she has everything in her path laid out for her? Of course not! Everyone has problems, some more drastic than others, but they're problems nonetheless. Most importantly, she's imperfect, just like you and that's the one idea that helped me to cope when I was younger and felt like I was too different to ever fit in; that the one similarity between us places us on the same level, no matter how different we seem to be.

Another thing I thought I'd bring up is the recent Barbie study, where they took the proportions of the famous Barbie doll, considered to many girls to be the figure of perfection, and put them in terms of a real woman. It was discovered that if Barbie was real, she would pretty much be disabled. With a neck super long and too skinny to hold up her head, feet so small, she'd have to crawl to move, a waist 18 inches in circumference, leaving only enough room for portions of her vital organs, and other ridiculous measurements, we're able to see that not all that glitters is gold. Believe it or not, they're linking this doll to body hatred among girls. This visual of what perfection is is created from an early age, but it's up to us to decide what's realistic and what's not; Barbie is just one of the many examples that we may all be able to relate to.

As noted earlier, not loving yourself can lead you down many dangerous roads, but one that I hadn't mentioned was that one than many girls call "love." As my friend Chantelle said, nobody can really love you until you love yourself; that is when the love becomes true on both ends. I mean, of course your family and friends can love you, but in terms of relationships, boys are inclined to sense when we lack self confidence or not and more often than not, they prey on our insecurities. If you don't think you're pretty, he's say you've got the prettiest eyes he's ever seen. If you think you're fat, he'll say that you're his Shakira. If you think you're dumb, he'll call you a genius. If you think nobody loves you- well, he'll say that he does. Here's the thing; if you're able to love yourself, and I mean really feel ardent about it, then his "ILY" won't really matter to you until it really matters to him. Loving yourself gives you the opportunity to step out of the situation and think before you act. It's not all emotion and lust that you work off of at that point, but the joined communication of both your heart and your brain; despite what people say, your heart is stupid and seldom grants you happiness by itself alone. It's your perceptive abilities along with a trained conscience that help you to decide whether the person you're with is someone worthy of all of you, body and soul. Otherwise, you can end up like many girls around the world, including me, that walked blindly into a trap that leads to regret and further self hate. At least if you're wrong after thinking things through, you'd feel less guilty because at that point you know that you tried and the signs that you were realizing now never surfaced earlier. Heart break happens, but make sure that you didn't allow for it to be broken because, believe it or not, that's when it's the hardest to fix.

Many of you already know the struggles that I've faced personally, through posts such as "My Confessional" and "Perfect Eyes of Mine," among many, but at this point I think I can fully grasp who I am and why I am. I mean this in terms of being able to say, "I am Katrina, and I'm here for a reason." I think that sometimes we don't really know why we're on this Earth, and I see it a lot on Google +. There are two groups of my followers that I see this most in: the so-called "emos" and the  homosexuals. Their profiles often depict their "classification" in society rather than who THEY ARE specifically. It's almost like when you have multiple white whippets (and this is just an example, no disrespect). Whippets all look the same, to me, especially when they're the same color and I honestly wouldn't on a first, second or third glance be able to distinguish between two of them. However, many people own more than one whippet at a time and are still able to know who is who by just looking at them. Why? Because although they look the same, they're different on the inside and that's the part that really matters. In much the same way, yeah, maybe you have the same haircut and you dye it the various colors that many people that identify as emo do, or you're homosexual and you post photographs of gay rights or what not- that doesn't say much for me. That still hasn't told me who you are, nor why you're here. I think that once we can get past the idea that saying your name and identifying with a group in society tells people who you are, that we'll have a greater understanding of who we really are.

I've had this name "Katrina Lowell" for about three years now and I've been able to grow into my skin. At one point there was a huge disconnect because Katrina was just a name, but I found that the writing that I did under her name exhibited characteristics so unlike the real me, but positive ones. My writing became confident and honest because Katrina, to me, was a name of power. With this name I've grown into her because I've understood that Katrina Lowell was just a name, but it was my job to tell her story. I am Katrina Lowell because I believe in a better world. Named after a powerful hurricane that in a split second was able to destroy, I decided that as Katrina, I would try to improve the world in which we live. At one point, I had started to blame this dying, sinful world for the trials that I had faced. However, there was a moment where I realized that I could do something to help change the world and I knew that I had to do whatever I could to do so. In that time, I've actually been able to see the results of two quotes by the late Maya Angelou. These state: "If you don't like something, change it; if you can't change it, change your attitude," and "We cannot change our past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate- thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising."

I've realized that although my efforts have helped many, it won't be enough to change the world in it's entirety, but in the years that I've had my blog, my attitude has changed to a point where I'm less pessimistic and more optimistic about my life and where it's be headed.

Loving myself has helped me to be comfortable in my own skin, and to finally focus less on how I look to other people, but about what I enjoy doing and who I enjoy doing them with. In this past year, I've rediscovered singing, found out that I love to dance (although I can't dance very well, to be honest). I've discovered volleyball, a sport that I'm actually really good at and I've been dedicated to making myself better at. I've really defined my style and started to be less critical of myself upon societal standards, but rather defining myself based on God's and my own standards for life and who I want to be. Loving myself has been like putting on a new pair of glasses- everything looks crisp and bright. Self hate blurs our vision as to what's perfectly fine in our lives. It's about time we started to get our eyes checked, and by doing so, obtaining a new pair of glasses that ultimately changes our world.

Love Always <3,
Katrina Lowell

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

This is Katrina- Like It or Not

Hey readers,

So for the first time in a while, I have something to "vent" about. What I'm talking about is my inability to tolerate the deplorable quality that many girls nowadays portray. To be quite honest, I said to myself, 'Katrina's gonna get dangerous nowadays." Why? Because I'm moving off this rock in a month's time and I've got a few things to say.

Everyone knows me as the quiet girl that gives and gives, but takes very little, if anything at all. I don't argue because I figure it's not that big of a deal, you know? That you win some, you lose some, but I've realized that philosophy is crap. So- let's start off with a post, shall we?

1. Kody
Kody and I have had a pretty sucky relationship and some of it is my fault, some is his, but here's the thing; you don't say sorry for something you're not sorry for. I mean, when Kody and I had our rift at the beginning, I tried to mend things the best I could, but I don't exactly know WHAT or WHO I was doing it for. I don't know if you guys can relate, but imagine someone that you thought was your best friend saying that your best wasn't good enough and pretty much that you didn't mean much of anything to them. I think that the feeling that that causes is so underrated. People understand that you hurt, but don't quite get why you hurt so long or why it even really mattered, but for me, it hurt more than I could describe. I felt lost in a way, like I kinda didn't know where to go next. From before I started this new school, he was there. My first day didn't even feel like a first day. His friends became my friends and having him around was comforting in a place where I felt so small. I don't even think that HE understands that.

My biggest challenge is how he has responded to the situation. At first, although it was hard to try to get over what had happened and move on like we had used to, he seemed disinterested in the relationship, disregarding my efforts. I mean, he even said so. Because it was still a sensitive thing for me, rather than talking in person, I sent him texts, asking him how he was doing and so on. He believed that that was a poor attempt at reaching out and I think that's when the feelings of hurt became feelings of anger.

I feel like Kody believes that he is perfect- or so he portrays himself to be. It feels like the one thing he's been exceptionally good at, besides blocking or setting a volleyball, is telling me how I've been incompetent as a friend. It's ironic, though, because while it meant so much to me for us to resolve our problem before it tore us apart, he just kinda went with the flow and that's not what good friends do.

Kody has more problems than I want to even spend my time explaining, and I didn't post this to put him on blast or embarrass him, but to really express how I feel without being told that I'm doing it wrong or being laughed at and ignored. He doesn't know how to treat people. I mean, at church, yeah, he's the apple of everyone's eye with his well groomed hair and crisp shirts that are complimented by a personality so unlike the Kody I've come to know. When it comes to people that he's gotten "bored of," however, no matter how much they or their family has done for them, he discards them like everything else he dislikes and moves on.

Last month, after a long time of blanking Kody, I decided to pretty much settle things once and for all by sending out an olive branch and hoping for a tug. The tug came back as an apology for all the crap he's done with the reassurance that he wants us to close the gap between us. I should've felt relieved, but I don't really know how I felt. I was worried that behind that keyboard, he was smug, thinking that I'd taken his bait and that he was the one off of the hook. I'm glad I was reluctant because nowadays, I think that my suspicions were valid.

Not one thing has changed- NOT ONE. And, telling from his behavior with Gus this morning, he's content with the "rift" that he claimed to want to start closing. Please. I don't know what I look like. So, I say whatever, and I let it go. I'm done trying to work miracles because hell- I'M NOT A MIRACLE WORKER. I'm Katrina Lowell and I'm done allowing Kody to rent head space. Whether he believes it or not, he was blessed that I stuck around for so long before and now I'm allowed to give up. I've read, I've prayed, I mean, even his mom tried to help mend the relationship, but at this point, I don't want it. Good riddance and good luck.

2. Melissa
Melissa is Kody's God-forsaken girlfriend, also one of my closest friends... until yesterday. Melissa and Kody have been messing around for a while now and to be honest it's weird, but not weird enough for me to think about. I really couldn't care less what or who Kody's doing, to be honest. At any rate, Melissa and I were pretty close. Our parents knew one another from teenagers and we played volleyball together. I loved her like a sister, but she let her lack of self confidence get in her way. I'm not sure how much she really likes Kody, but one things for sure, even if Kody was one of the ugliest out there, he probably would've had a good chance with her. Why? Because all you have to do is tell Melissa that she's pretty and you've got one foot through the door. Self confidence has never seemed to be her strong suit, but I never thought that it would change her so much.

Since she and Kody have been together, we haven't been as close, but I figured that that was because of exams and such, but it all became clearer yesterday. Beware, because what you're about to read is the most ridiculous, immature crap you'll probably read for the year. Helmets on?

So, there's a school party called "Untamed." I had wanted to perhaps have a sleep over with a few of my friends the night before so that we could get ready together and bond before heading to the party. However, because my mom is driving and my car can only accommodate five people, I had a quota of three people. So, I invited my best friend Keila, and two friends from school, Carrie and Aliyah. We haven't fully organized this, but we have the idea down and we're sorting out details. That's when Melissa and another friend, Alison, heard about it. I tried to keep it from them because it wasn't a big thing and I didn't want them to feel left out because I couldn't invite them. I even thought about cramming the car, but it just wasn't worth it. Plus, with my going away party so close, I figured it wasn't a big deal.

However, instead of taking possible disappointment for not being invited, they decided that it made sense to start ranting about how I don't like them anymore and my mom didn't approve of them and how they didn't want anything to do with me and my "party" anyways. I was taken aback when I heard of this, so I confronted Melissa.

Now, Melissa's attitude is best related to the juices secreted from the anus of a hippopotamus. IT WAS HORRIBLE. It started with the rolling of eyes and the snapping back and forth of her head like she was a bobble head on the dashboard of a car driving on seven miles straight of speed bumps. Mind you, I started by saying, " I heard that you have a problem with me or that I did something. What's up." Then she starts off, "well I heard that you're going around inviting people to a party and you haven't invited us because you don't like us or something like that. And you're telling people not to tell us because you don't want us to know." I was amused by the twisting of the story, but I reassured them that the only reason they weren't invited was limited space and that it was nothing personal. In fact, that I cared so much about their feelings that I tried to keep it on the low. To this, she replied, "well sure you did. But, that ain't what I hear so. And if you were our friend, you wouldn't be hiding it, like what the hell."

I struggle with bad attitudes. It just makes my blood boil. I asked her why she was taking that sort of attitude to it because it wasn't even that big of a deal to which she responded, "WAITTTTTT- it's my attitude and I can choose to have it if I feel like having it." At this point, I began to think, "hmmm- well THAT'S attractive. Like if I was Kody, I'd definitely see you behaving like an untamed baboon and think 'damn that behavior is sexyyyyy!'" Like for real; the level of class that I was dealing with was obviously below par and don't get me wrong, I'm not by any means saying that I'm better than these people or expressing hate, but just my honest opinion of the situation. And- this is my blog, once again. If I was at school, I'd probably have the whole year level on my back for saying all of these things, but I honestly don't believe that we can improve if everyone sees these things, but doesn't have the heart to tell the truth. So, I'll do the honors.

Right, as I was saying, she carried along on the same path and I finally just let them know that they over reacted, their attitudes were less than desired and that I was not interested in having anything to do with them in the future. They reciprocated my feelings by saying that they didn't want to go to my "stupid party" anyways (which I find humorous, because if that was the case, they wouldn't have made such a big deal in the first place). But here's where the story REALLY gets funny- she's believing that Kody has something to do with this so-called "dislike" of her.

I want so badly to let her know that right now, in the life of Katrina Lowell, where exams and Waffle dance around my head and occupy my time, the two of them are beyond irrelevant. However, the best I can manage is a "Melissa, would you like a lollipop for your achievement or a cheque for your troubles? Either one is a possibility hun- you just name it." I don't understand how girls are able to manipulate situations. She has this invisible pride that she wears where she thinks that she's in a position to do and say anything because she doesn't have consequences, but consequences come in the funniest of ways.

The truth is, losing a friend hurts, but losing a friend to stupidity and lust is a pill that's much easier to swallow. Sorry to say, but Melissa has to go. Hopefully Kody'll give her what she lacks rather than creating more of a deficit.

3. Gus
So today I found out that Gus' house burnt down, but I didn't really have a clear internal response.

We aren't talking- at all really. I've given up trying, figuring that if it had bothered him, he would've done something... and he didn't; sometimes you just gotta let sleeping dogs lie, right? And imagine that only minutes before hearing this news, he saw me and turned right back around, like he wanted nothing to do with me. How should I feel now that something so tragic occurred?

Of course I'm not heartless, so I felt horrible when I heard his name over that loudspeaker at school, but I don't think I'm gonna do anything about those feelings. I'm kinda over being the girl that allows people and my emotions to intimidate me. If you love me like a friend should, then I'll be the best friend you could ever have, but otherwise, you don't quite deserve it.

It only occurred to me as I sat down and thought about all the clothes that we were planning on donating when we moved and how I wanted to see if he was alright. I realized, 'Wait- why am I caring about someone that I don't think has ever truly cared about me?" No, I just can't allow myself to do it anymore, and this is just the first step, as painful as it might be, to deciding that I deserve more than I've gotten.

Sometimes the #LOWELLMILITIA has to come back home. It's not an act of selfishness, but an act of survival

Our generation is getting worse every day. Until we decide to speak up and protect ourselves, we're going be continue on a path that's painful. I follow the words of Romans 12:2 every day by looking and observing changes in the world and the people around me, but deciding that I refuse to allow them to mold me. I am Katrina, and I've gone through things in life that people really shouldn't. I came close to not even being here in the first place- so I'm not going to allow anyone to steal my joy. 

THIS is Katrina, and folks, you can either like it or not.

Love Always,
Katrina Lowell