breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
I've been working out in the gym at Lesley University lately. It's been very convenient, as I can go after I teach my classes, and it has very nice facilities. Mostly I just want to run indoors while it's cold outside, as I tend toward weird asthma-like symptoms when I breath cold air for too long.

As a faculty member, I'm allowed to use the gym for free, which is nice. But I've never seen anyone other than students in there-- at least, never anyone I thought looked like post-college-aged adult. I've decided not to feel weird about it, as I know I'm allowed, but it does seem a bit odd. Where are all the other people like me who can use it as a job perk? Why do I never see them? Is it just the timing? Or are there just not many others who choose to use it?



When I'm teaching I dress very professionally to give myself some authority, but in the gym I wear my typical workout clothes, often just a sports bra and leggings. I dislike seeing students of mine in there, as I don't know if it makes a weird impression. Like, hi, I'm in charge of your grade, and here's my midriff? God, I've been dreading running into one in the locker room. I know I would not have wanted to be around my professor while one of us was changing.

And I wonder how the students who don't know me read me. I've been mistaken for a student at Lesley before, but usually by other employees; only once by an actual student that I know of. Do they assume I'm one of them, or to kids of their age, am I obviously older?

I mean, I know I look good. I am beautiful. Honestly I'm in better shape than most of the students, not just in general but even those I see in the gym. But I wonder how old I read, at least to people younger than me. I turn thirty this year. My skin has been really clear lately, thanks to the excellent acne medication I've been using, but I've begun to worry about the two spots on top of my cheeks that I think are beginning to look sun damaged, or possibly just showing age. I'm afraid my metabolism might slow down at any time.

Only a ridiculous person wants to look twenty forever. But aging is a great fear of mine. So I cling a little bit to things like when I get mistaken for still a college kid. But the truth is, I'm not a kid anymore, and I worry when that's going to catch up with me.

War paint

Jun. 20th, 2016 02:41 pm
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
One thing I actually have done a little work on in the last few weeks is practicing with makeup. As I've mentioned, I don't like to wear it often; in fact, my dislike is strong enough that the fact that my practicing has led to me showing up places painted more frequently has made me a little uncomfortable. I prefer to cultivate an #IWokeUpLikeThis kind of beauty. But I respect its transformational power, and I'd like to have the ability to harness it within my capability, so lately I've been practicing.

The primary skill I'd like to develop is the ability to simulate flawless skin. I've got a noticeable acne problem and I'm somewhat self-conscious about it; I'd say it's really the only unattractive part of my appearance. So most of my effort has been focused on how to hide the bumps and pits in a way that doesn't make me look caked with product.

The problem with that, however, is that when you make your skin look more uniform, you run the risk of eliminating the definition. I find sometimes the foundation and powder makes me a little moon-faced; round and smooth, obscuring my cheekbones. I like the chiseled look, and having soft features I think playing that up is not a bad idea. To that end, I’ve started trying to learn how to contour, or use makeup to make my features look a little sharper. It’s not something I’d want to do in person very often, but it can look very good in pictures, and since I do Skype interviews it can keep me from getting too washed out. It’s not easy, though, since the danger is making yourself look like a clown with too much paint on. I’ve only practiced it a few times, but with more attempts I can probably get the hang of it, at least for the camera if not in person.

As for the rest of it, it’s a mixed bag. I have great eyelashes and not much in the way of under-eye circles, but I’m still trying to learn the tricks. My eyebrows sit very low, so figuring out how to use fun colors that don’t make me look weird is challenging, but a touch of eyeliner looks great. I’m trying to learn how to use liquid just to get that really sharp black line. As for lip color, well, I’ve honestly yet to find one that I don’t think looks weird on me, so I usually don’t even bother.

Maybe I should ask a makeup person for help. But I really love how you can go on YouTube and watch tutorials for just about anything you want to learn how to do. With observation and practice, I think I can pick up what I need. Except for maybe the color thing. That I might need somebody in person who knows their shit.
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
So I did what I was threatening to do, changed my hair color for the first time in my life. Because I wanted to be Betty Draper for Halloween but don’t have the right coloring for it, the idea occurred that maybe I could use the costume as an excuse to change it. The idea, once pondered, of a change seemed nice, not just for the costume but to try something new. I was nervous, because I was really afraid it wasn’t going to come out, and some stylists warned me off because of how big the transition was going to be. But you should do something drastic with your hair once in your life, and I never have. So, repeating to myself the mantra that it’s just hair, it grows back, I took the plunge.



I am actually pretty happy with it! It is noticeably a different color, not just a different shade of brown, and doesn’t have that brassy falseness a lot of brown-to-blonde dye jobs turn out. It’s honestly not exactly what I wanted— I was hoping for something a little lighter, a little more golden –and it’s not quite Betty’s color. But one Halloween costume is just the excuse, not the point, and I will take looking good over trying and failing for perfection. I was also concerned that my eyebrows would look odd still being so dark, but now that I think of it my mom's were darker than her hair too. For reference, here's the brown I was previously, in case the difference isn't obvious.



My younger self would be very surprised this was the direction I went in. But my tastes have gotten blonder as I’ve gotten older. I used to be drawn almost strictly to brunet men, but these days I’m finding blonds catch my eye more and more. I don’t know if it’s because of my favorite look for Chris Evans, or if my love for it is symptomatic of the larger pattern. Though I’ve always admired the looks of a number of blond women. I’ve always adored crearespero’s wavy golden hair, and that feature of course naturally made it into my visualization of Mrs. Hawking. There tends to be a particular shade I’ve gone for— not too dishwater, not too platinum, but that medium gold is my favorite.

And then, of course, there’s my mother. My ur-blonde, the first beautiful woman in my life. I remember when I was very small, wondering what I would look like as a grownup, and having a tough time picturing it for some reason because I wasn’t blonde like her. She was also the origin of my admiration for blondes with green eyes, a feature that Frances and therefore Mrs. Hawking share.



I’ve been working to remake myself in a way recently. The shape of my life, generally, but specifically my body. The diet and exercise have been to really to make me become more like what I feel is my true self. But this hair thing doesn’t feel really ME, not really PHOEBE. I thought that might make me uncomfortable. I’ve never been much of an experimenter before. I tend to find myself always working to get to the place I want to be, rather than seeing what possibilities are out there and trying them on knowing they won’t all be forever. So it’s very unlike me to make a change in the service of being something other than what I want to truly be. But I find I’m okay with it right now. It’s fun for right now, it makes me smile and shakes things up a little. Overall I like my natural hair better for me. But this is a nice change of pace.

I wonder if, now that I’ve made the transition, if I could make it more the blonder shade I imagined. I don’t want to over-process it. There was no bleach in this treatment, which I was told spared my hair a lot of damage. I also don’t feel like dealing with that now. But I’m curious, now that I know it’s possible to change at all without completely wrecking things.
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
I am in a dilemma about my hair. It's super terrible right now, way too long and flat and shapeless. I tried switching up my shampoo and conditioner, but it didn't make much difference. That means that the only alternative is to get it cut. It's waaaaaaaay overdue, I know, but I've also been putting it off. At first it was because I didn't want to spend the money, which isn't a super-big problem right now, but now I think I've screwed up the timing.

I want to try dyeing my hair for my Halloween costume this year. I've never done anything like that before, and I want to try changing my hair at least once in my life-- another thing I haven't much ever really done. Growing out my horrible childhood bangs, cutting it down to mid-back-length, and putting in long layers don't really count. So I'm going blonde for my Halloween costume.

It's a pretty drastic change, and I'd love to get it professionally done so it doesn't come out like garbage, but it would cost a fortune, so I'm braving the risk of doing it myself. I'm terrified I'll hate it-- God knows I can't STAND not liking how I look. I might also end up looking exactly like my mother and it will weird me out. But it's just hair. Can always cut it off, dye it back to brown, or let it grow back. It certainly doesn't take that long for me, clearly.

But I hear it's generally healthiest for your hair to get it cut right after you dye it. I don't know if it's a good idea to get it cut in early October when I'm going to need to get it cut again in late October. Paying for it twice-- my stylist is expensive --also doesn't sound good. Hmm. I'll have to figure it out. As mentioned before, I really really dislike when I'm not pleased with my appearance.
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
In keeping with my recent fixation on improving my complexion, I have wanted for a while to get a facial cleansing brush. They're little handheld, battery-operated devices with a spinning head of soft bristles that's supposed to do a better job of cleaning out your pores than scrubbing your face with your fingers. I've been researching them for a while, but the good ones tend to be very expensive, such as the archetypical Clarisonic, which is basically the Cadillac. So I'd been holding off buying one until I did enough research. Cheap ones exist, but they can be too rough and encourage acne rather than help you get rid of it.

I found a mid-range one from Olay on deep discount at Target, however, so I decided to give it a try. I used it for the first time last night. It's waterproof, has two speeds, and comes with an exfoliating cleanser. The reviews on it tend to be pretty good. Basically you spread your cleanser over your face, wet the bristles, and move it over your face for about sixty seconds. I used my own apricot scrub instead of the stuff that came with it, in order to minimize any reaction to the new process. According to my reading, these automatic brushes have a tendency to break out your face at first before your skin gets used to it, so I thought that might help. I enjoyed the sensation of the brush on my face, but I had some slight sensitivity on my chin, where I've had the most lingering acne. Afterward I used my moisturizer as usual, and instead of spot-treating, I put my acne cream over my whole face, in case that might help forestall any breaking out.

I'm going to try to make a habit of using it, at least for a while, to see if it makes any difference. Supposedly it has a good track record for smoothing and brightening skin. But some people do say don't use it every day. I mostly hope it will eventually help me with my acne. I'm in the process of overhauling my lifestyle recently in order to feel healthier and steadier, and clearing up my face really helps with that.

Skin fix

Jul. 16th, 2015 09:48 am
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
Among other bodily concerns, I have been obsessed with my skincare recently. My acne-prone dermis hasn't looked as good as it does right now in years, which is encouraging and making me redouble my efforts to improve it. Still, it's got plenty still wrong with it. Some zits remain, and there's more than a few pits where the damn things left scars. I dream of truly clear skin, though it will probably never happenb. Based on my mother I'm genetically predisposed to acne, plus I think I have too many scars at this point. I've been using an apricot cleanser, a moisturizer, and a spot treatment, but I think I'd like to do some research into finding something to reduce the appearance of scarring.

Recently I discovered My Pale Skin, a Youtube channel by a girl with serious acne scarring who shows you how to create the appearance of flawless skin with makeup. I found it fascinating. I mean, I always knew makeup could change a person's look, but I guess I'd kind of been assuming that it wasn't possible to do things like hide scars and pitting without making it obvious you were caked with product. But this girl manages to do it-- you can tell she's wearing makeup, but the finish on the skin looks nice, not like she's got a layer of spackle over her. And she uses a LOT of stuff. Her makeup skills are really impressive.

I kind of want to learn to do what she does, just to have the skill in my trickbag. It would be a pretty expensive proposition, though, since as I said, she uses a lot of products and I'd have to buy them all. I don't wear makeup normally-- which is the primary reason I want clear skin. All my life, I've been very attached to the idea of if you like something about my appearance, it's not something put on, it's what I look like all the time. Like, you won't catch me without my whatever and think I'm not as good looking as you thought. So I wouldn't want to use it in normal situations. But maybe for special things-- modeling, acting, special occasions --it would be cool to know how to create the illusion of perfect skin.
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
I’ve been investing a lot of effort lately into working up the old mortal shell through which God would have me experience His creation. I am probably a little too wrapped up in my own vanity, but I also care about keeping myself healthy and in shape. It makes me feel really good to look pretty and feel strong, so though it adds a fair number of extra responsibilities to my list, for me it acts as a form of self-care.

Content warning for body and diet talk to follow. )
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
Feeling a bit burnt and overstretched lately, but it's not that bad. Been spending a lot of time lately running from one appointment to the next, which for me is always more exhausting if I have more things to do but I don't have to travel between them. Festival is coming up this weekend, which I'm super excited about, but I'm scrambling to make sure my new game Woodplum House is ready to go. The sheets are done, but there's lots of in-game bits and pieces and environmental stuff to put together, which is tricky. Between work and rehearsals, I'm slammed.

This kind of slight frustration usually comes out in me as some kind of vague discontent I direct at something I have an ability to fix or change, which I think explains why lately I've been super bored and annoyed at my appearance. I hate my hair and all my clothes right now, which likely has more to do with the fact that I can do something about it, but still is annoying me.

I kind of want to change my hair, but I think I would end up hating anything that I did to it. I have recently become weirdly fixated on the idea of getting an undercut, like Natalie Dormer has in the Hunger Games. I don't know why. It probably would look super stupid on me. But I've been thinking how they say everybody should do something crazy with their hair once in their life and I never have. And it's just hair, it grows back. I've even heard if you do it right you can make it so you can have enough hair to flip it down over the shaved part so you don't see it all the time. But my wardrobe is definitely not badass to be compatible with a look like that. And it'd probably look stupid, the idea of is unbearable to me and my Narcissus-like self-obsession.

The obvious response is, of course, "Why don't you just change it to a more conventional hairstyle?" Frankly because I'm concerned anything as simple as cutting it short would make me look like a soccer mom-- dorky, unflattering, with the air that you've given up. See above, Narciussus-like obsession with my own image. I guess there's dyeing it, but I'm generally not a fan of how non-professional dye jobs come out, and the salon ones are very expensive, not only to get but to maintain. I'm not sure any other hair color would suit me anyway; I have very classic fair-skinned brunette coloring.

I also want to throw out all my clothes. Recently I started a joke with myself, when I found myself getting dressed in the morning and not being totally happy with my look, "Well, today's not the day I'd like to run into Chris Evans, but it'll do," playing on the fact that he's from the area and occasionally returns to visit. But now it basically just feels like I'm embarrassed to be seen at all. Yes, not everything needs to be the gorgeous but low key, effortlessly chic but simple, not trying to hard but still totally sexy ensemble I would choose to win the heart of my celebrity crush, but I just hate everything and want to replace it all. Unfortunately that's also too expensive a proposition of me.

The wardrobe thing at least is very likely related to the fatigue of winter clothes, and feeling completely bored of all the layers and sweaters and stuff I've been forced to wear to keep warm. Once the weather really changes and I get to wear cute stuff I haven't touched in ages, I might cheer up. That would be nice, as my pocketbook would not like me to pitch out everything I own right now.
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
The sky is blue, and that’s beautiful.

Everyone thinks so. I mean, look at it. Even people for whom blue may not be their favorite color, they can definitely see how pretty it is. Even if it weren’t obvious to me, everybody around me tends to think so.

If you have eyes in your head, you can see it. By any standard, it’s blue.

I really like how that blue looks; honestly, sometimes it seems like the bluer it is, the more I like it. So I’m actually rather invested in the sky being blue. I work hard to avoid allowing things like pollution and smog to ruin that blue. So the fact that it’s blue gives me a lot of joy, and I put a considerable effort into keeping it that way.

But because I like that blue so much—as I said, sometimes it seems like the bluer, the better — it’s on my mind a lot. The comparative blueness. The quality of it. “God, it’s so blue today! Gorgeous!” “Well, it could be a little bluer, but it’s still pretty blue, and it’s still nice the way it is.” But sometimes it’s not so much about appreciating it as worrying over the possibility that someday, it might turn green. “Make sure you don’t let the sky turn green,” so that I put in the effort to keep the smog levels down. “Ugh, keep polluting like this, and the sky’s going to turn green for sure.”

The sky is blue, not green. The very idea is absurd, and I’m not crazy. I can look at it and see that.

But sometimes— and how often can vary, depending on a lot of things —the little voice in my head actually tells me, “The sky is green.”

The funny thing is? Most of the time, it is not hard to ignore. I mean, yeah, it’s silly that there’s a part of me that thinks that, but it’s OBVIOUSLY, VERIFIABLY WRONG. It doesn’t bother me that much because it’s not difficult at all to just go about my life, free of distress, ignoring the plainly irrational thought without allowing it to change my behavior in any way.

I am proud to say that I’ve never allowed that idea to affect my actual behavior. Maybe I’ve occasionally made a bad choice on an isolated occasion, but it’s never become a pattern and it’s never hurt me. I will confess, though, that sometimes the voice gets loud, and sometimes it gets vehement. Most of the time it’s just an occasional moment of “The sky is green,” but in very bad moments, weak moments, it becomes, “Phoebe. The sky is so fucking green I don’t know how you stand it. Shut down the factory, close off the smokestacks. NEVER OPEN THEM AGAIN.”

I’ll admit, the yelling has on certain occasions become so bad I started to believe it. But still, always, I have never acted on it. I have always been able to understand intellectually that I’m being crazy, even if it doesn’t feel true in the moment.

I suppose there’s still the temptation to go to absurd lengths to maintain that blue. But I’ve never given into it— I am too busy, too healthy, too grounded, thank God. But right now, the sky stays blue pretty easily these days. That may not always be the case.

I know it can’t stay blue forever; even if I don't smog the hell out of it, eventually the sun’s going to set, and all that gorgeous color’s going to go away and change into something else. I don’t like thinking about that. The color of the sky is probably way too important to me. Especially since its change is almost inevitable, no matter what I do, and I shouldn’t put myself in a position to hate the new color and be miserable. People put way too much stock in blue, I know. Other colors can be beautiful, and the world would be a better place if we didn’t care so much about beauty at all. But I’ve internalized it. Blue is most beautiful to me. I want the sky to be blue forever.

When the sun sets— if the sky really does turn green— I don’t know what I’m going to do.

Today is my twenty-eighth birthday.
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
My landlord is obligated by my lease to plow my driveway. Today he did not, and we got something like eighteen inches of snow. I have to go to work tomorrow. I had to talk to my mean downstairs neighbor about moving his car from the bottom of the driveway tomorrow so I can leave. I was pretty enraged, and feeling a profound lack of control.

So I cleared my driveway. From the front of my car to the back of my neighbor's. Roughly sixty feet.

image

I DID THIS.

For sixty feet, four feet at the narrowest across and six at the widest. So call it five. Eighteen inches deep. In two hours. I DID THIS. By myself. You do the math. All five feet and two inches, hundred and fifteen pounds, twenty percent body fat of me. YOU DO THE MATH. In case you have forgotten who I am, and just what I am capable of. I am a SUPERHERO, and I CAN DO ANYTHING.

Tell your friends, tell you enemies, so that they may tremble.
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
AUGH I haven't posted here in so long, because Mrs. Hawking has me so busy. I hate when I do that! But I finally got new glasses and I wanted to mention that.

I REALLY needed them, as my night vision was basically shot. I got two differrent frames, neither of which I love. But that's what always happens. I get new frames, which are too different from my old frames so I hate them. That is, until I get used to them eventually, at which point they wear out and I need to get new ones which I hate. The cycle continues. But as it is, here they are.

image

Look at these fucking old lady glasses.

image

Neeeeeeeeerd.
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
I've taken to wearing my hair in these spiky headbands with large teeth these days. I first bought two of these to glue together make a sort of coronet for an Ancient Rome larp costume. I liked how the spikes sort of formed a tiara look. Then, later, I got a haircut, with the sideswept bangs I've taken to lately, but shorter than usual. I found the headbands in the drawer, picked off the hot glue, and started using them to hold keep those tiny bangs out of my face, since they wouldn't go back in a ponytail.



It works well to keep hair off my face, which is supposed to be good for my acne. If I put it in right, it can push the hair in front up a bit, giving a little bit of volume at my hairline. And if I angle it right, the spikes stick up and look like a crown. I've been wearing it a lot in the last few months, as it makes me look at least presentable when my hair's not cooperating. But I hope it doesn't come off as settling. I know I look my best with my hair down, framing my rather round face and giving it definition. I hope it actually looks good, and not like I'm going with something easy and practical instead of pretty. I am vain enough that I'm willing to go to a fair bit of extra trouble to look better.

A pox on me

Oct. 9th, 2014 11:12 pm
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
My acne is really starting to bug me. I’ve been making a more concerted effort to deal with it than ever, and the results have not been great. Thanks to HabitRPG I’ve used my medicated face wash and moisturizer almost every day for a month now, which is way better than I was doing. Still, chronic acne like mine probably needs an application twice a day, and I haven’t worked up to that yet. My skin, weirdly, does seem improved, as my complexion seems brighter, softer, and smoother in the places where I do not have acne, but the spots seem to be as persistent as ever.

I think it’s due to a lot of factors. Genetics are certainly one; I simply am prone to it. I’m fairly certain the way I like to wear my hair touching my face all the time also aggravates it. And God knows I put my hands on it a lot, which every source tells you not to do. When I was on birth control I think I remember it not being so bad, but since I got pulled off it due to my migraines it’s back full force.

It’s probably at the point where I need a prescription from a dermatologist. Unfortunately getting a referral to one is likely to be a huge pain, and my finances are such that a big copay for a non-necessary medication would not be welcome. I’ve also heard that there can be a lot of side effects, ranging from the pain-in-the-ass to the possibly fatal. So I should probably resign myself to my spotty self. God, I am so physically blessed in so many other ways I should probably be grateful that’s the most messed up thing about my body.

Of course I haven’t been on the current regimen long. I should probably wait and see what being a little more consistent would do, try doing it twice daily. In the meantime, a pizza face I remain. :-P
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)


I learned recently that Chris Evans, the gorgeous actor who plays Captain America whom I have wiled away many a happy hour ogling, suffers from extreme social anxiety. There’s a part of me that is shocked by that. Imagine, being a golden god, and being afraid people are going to judge you. But really, it makes me feel a kinship with him. More and more, I suspect I have some social anxiety too—at least a mild form of it.

It’s weird. As I’ve mentioned, I only have a couple of the markers, but the ones I do, I have to an extreme degree. I have inordinate anticipatory anxiety before many social situations. It’s not unmanageable, I usually just handle it, but it’s still there to be handled. It’s very strange. While I do have strong self-esteem, I still have a constant little nagging fear of being judged. Most people don’t understand how those two things can coexist, but I really feel like they do. The only way I can characterize it is, like, I see myself as definitely good. I am secure in the knowledge that I am good. But it’s like I have a fear that “good” isn’t good enough, if I’m less than “perfect,” that invites judgment. Fortunately that internal voice is not too hard for me to ignore, but it still meeps a fair bit about “You should be perfect and you’re not!” Honestly, a lot of my damage centers around the notion of “You should be perfect and you’re not!”

It often takes the form of an absurd, irrational worry that there’s something wrong with my face. I mean, I know intellectually that there’s nothing wrong, but my anxieties for some reason center on it. Certain people in particular, specifically people who I’m always struck with how good they always look, will trigger it. For example, it’s often set off when I talk to [livejournal.com profile] niobien, through no fault of her own, because she looks so damn perfect all the time.

I also worry a lot that I’m going to “bother” someone. Like, people will react with, “Ugh, leave me alone,” if they know me, or “Who the hell are you? Why would I do anything for you?” if they don’t. It makes networking hard as shit.

The other day I went over a list of sixteen markers and assigned myself one point for every one I had, and half a point for every one I’ve experienced even a little bit. Even then, I only got five and a half out of sixteen. All the ones regarding people paying attention to you were not problems at all, and often were in fact things I thrive on. But the ones I did have—a fear of meeting new people, a hatred of small talk, of calling people on the phone, of using public restrooms –I have pretty badly.

My head is a strange place. It’s full of tiny little voices saying crazy things, but none of them really hit me that strongly. I guess everybody has them, but I suppose I’m pretty good at remembering my jerkbrain is a liar, as Captain Awkward would say. But even though the feeling of social anxiety is manageable for me, I can’t really pretend it’s not there.

breakinglight11: (Default)

Here's a picture of the costume I wore for Halloween this year.

As I mentioned, I was feeling uncreative so I decided to go as one of the Ironettes, the Iron Man-theme dancers Tony had at the Stark Expo in Iron Man 2. I made it out of various pieces of shiny red dance wear, plus an arc reactor patch, a gold chain belt, and gold cage heels. I didn't feel like spending money on sparkly red boots I'd never wear again, so I wore these metallic red stockings with shoe I already owned. They creeped down my legs a lot, which was irritating, but whatever. I think I looked a bit too much like a gogo dancer from the sixties, but at least it's cute and marginally recognizable. I do wish I'd managed to get little red gloves of some kind. It would have been fun to find LEDs or little tap lights to make repulsors for my hands.

breakinglight11: (Femme Fatale)
So, as many of you know if you've been acquainted with me for more than five minutes, if a magical genie offered me a chance to choose between world peace and an eternal set of perfect washboard abs, well, I would have to think real hard. But since I have no genie, I periodically decide I'm going to do something more serious than usual to make those abs happen. Right now I've cut out processed sugar and stepped up my workout regime quite a bit, definitely to a higher level than anything I've ever undertaken before. It's definitely having an effect-- my midsection is stronger, denser, and firmer than it's ever been. Seriously, next time you see me, squeeze me. I feel BULLETPROOF. But as strong as they are, they are still not quite as visible as I would like them to be to fulfill my midsection-related dreams. Because, let's face it, as much as I like being a physically powerful imposing force of nature, I just really really really like the way they look. So I've got to keep working at it. But still... I think, kind of you... you can sort of see them?

abs1

In the right light? Maybe?

abs2

ABS OF MY DREAMS HERE I COME. 
breakinglight11: (Heroic Me)
Generally, in the grand scheme of things, my body image is pretty good. That's thanks to a combination of mostly looking the way I want to look and having a realistic perspective on how warped the beauty standard is in our culture. But it shifts a little this way and that, depending on how I really look or how I think I look or things that happen in my life or how I'm feeling about other things. The last couple of years I've been a little heavier than I used to be. I guess I didn't look too different, but I didn't like it. I have a really broad rib cage and really flat hips, so I like to keep my midsection as small as possible to keep my proportions looking right. I wish I were a little more hourglassy, but it looks like the closest I can get is straight up and down. A big tummy really looks awkward on a figure like that.

Perception's a funny thing. I mean, even as all this was happening, I was still modeling for photographers, as I do sometimes. On occasion they have even paid me for it. (My rates are extremely reasonable, if you know anyone who's interested!) You'd think that would be enough to convince a person that they look good. But I've been kind of invisible to men in the last few years. In my social circle I'd been taken and unavailable so long, and I'm not really a flirt, so I've haven't seen much in the way of male attention in a very long time. Whatever, I tend to be attracted to very very few people, so I understand how it's not so much fun to compliment someone who can be gracious, at best, but can't really return the favor. But it was a pretty strong contrast to the way people used to treat me a few years ago. It was hard not to wonder if it was due to something, my weight gain, or just maybe looking as bad as I so often felt. It didn't help that the number one person who theoretically was supposed to think I was beautiful no longer seemed to like anything about me.

The stress of the last few months caused me to drop some weight pretty quickly, but now that I'm a little less raw I've been a little more inclined to lazy eating, so I've got to be careful not to let it all come back. I am pretty active, at least. I've been getting at least four hours of serious exercise every week, in the form of two ballet classes and one circuit workout with a trainer. I can even attend an extra ballet class in the mornings if I want to, bringing up that total to five and a half. While I have definitely been thinner than I am now, I have certainly never been stronger. I can see it most in my arms and legs, but I feel it all over my body-- my endurance is greater, I can do more difficult physical tasks, even my ballet dancing is benefiting from it. The circuit workouts I've been doing have been extremely difficult, and the trainer is always increasing them as I get stronger, so it never gets any easier even as I improve. I've never loved physical activity for its own sake, and I like the feeling of being physically exhausted even less, but it really makes me feel good thinking, wow, I can do this. It makes me feel strong and capable. A lot of people couldn't get through what I can. It helps make me do it, even when I feel lazy or resistant.

My ballet ability is also improving. Just the practice of keeping at it with as long as I have has helped. Control and balance have always been the toughest parts for me, but that's where getting stronger has helped. I really love dancing ballet, and the more proficient I get, the more I enjoy it. I can feel my body adapting to it, as except for my weak ankles, I'm rarely sore after class. It gives me such a sense of accomplishment to go through the routine exercises my teacher shows us and see how much better I can do them now than I could when I started. I also like how it gives me a metric for body image independent from its appearance. 
breakinglight11: (CT photoshoot 1)
newpiercing

I decided to finally do something I've wanted to do for a while, get a second piercing in my ear. Just above the first one, for wearing studs while the old lower hole could have a dangling one or something, as in the picture here. I'm happy with how it came out, it's pretty and interesting but still subtle enough to not change my look too much. I don't own that many that earrings that could be worn in the upper holes right now, but the trainers I picked are neutral enough that I could probably wear them with most of my other pairs. I probably shouldn't have spent the money right now, but I wanted to do something for myself like this.
breakinglight11: (Femme Fatale)
If you could look like anyone, who would you look like?

I have been watching a lot of Judging Amy. It's a great show and I should write about it. But all I can think about right now is how if I could look like anyone in the world, I'd look like Amy Brenneman. I love her wild dark curls, I love her refined features, I love her lean, sleek figure. I even love the way she's aging, how even the lines appearing on her face are elegant. I bet she looks just as good first thing in the morning, a quality I've always aspired to. In fact, probably why I'd pick her is because she's everything I aspire to with my looks-- the perfection I wish I had.

amy_brenneman_3

violet_private_practice

amy_brenneman_1
breakinglight11: (Default)
I popped another button on a pair of jeans the other day. Promptly collapsed into a self-hating mess that I had to dig myself out of before I could be a functional human being again. In order to make that happen, had to think through some things to get myself out of that headspace.

When I was in undergrad, this is pretty typical of how I dressed every day. Jeans (size zero Lucky's) and a shirt short enough to show at least a little bit of midriff. My stomach, obsessed over constantly by me, was one of my best features, and I liked to show it off.  

typicalme

Now I have a day job, in an office with a professional dress code. It's frequent I'll go weeks at a time without wearing jeans, because it would mean going through a whole second set of clothes after work. I don't always want to generate that much laundry. And the whole bare midriff thing in the professional world certainly does not give off a vibe of "take me seriously." But I've also done it less because I've put on weight. I am ever so slightly too big for my old jeans, and while it's mostly okay, I wore them tight enough already that I don't exactly have a lot of growing room. And I hate the muffin top look, the look of being squishy. I am less enthused to show off a midriff that is less lovely than it was before.

I know I'm being melodramatic. I'm still small enough that I still get referred to as "the skinny one" and have people marvel at how child's-sized my clothes are. But I've been thin enough in the past to model underwear. To have those jeans fit like someone painted them on me. And going from that to popping buttons is depressing like I can't express. I look at pictures of my old body, remember how my pants used to fit, and can't help but feel like things have gone a little wrong.

But you know, the more I get hung up on my literal size, the less that size becomes associated with how good I actually look. Which is what I really care about, of course. Yes, I probably have a little bit too much attachment to that little zero on the tag in my dress, but I really just like having nice narrow waist to allow my decidedly non-childbearing hips to seem somewhat full by contrast, and smooth muscle on my tummy. Yeah, well-defined abdominals someday would be nice-- I have a kidney and a liver in near-mint condition if someone would like to trade --but I will settle. And even a little heavier, I need to focus on the evidence of my eyes. Something that can't be quantified in inches or pounds. And you know what? I'm still looking pretty good.

"There's other ways I'd like to take you, though." ;-)

And yeah, I'm looking to drop a little of the extra weight. I'm already working to tone back up. But giving myself a complex about it is not going to help me feel better about my body. Which is what I really want.

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breakinglight11

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