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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jen's been hiding a BIG secret...

Actually, it's still rather small in size. Not quite two inches, I do believe!

I'M PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've been waiting for this for a long time...all my 30 years, to be exact. ;) We had a lull in blogging a while back when I found out; it was just impossible to think of anything else! Then the nausea and exhaustion REALLY set in, and I mean big time. I'm about 11 weeks now, so the nausea at least seems to be more off-and-on now rather than 24-7 like it was, and I'm fervently praying it continues easing up. My husband and I had our first appointment with the midwife last week, where we got to listen for the heartbeat. He was pretty sure he heard it, and the midwife definitely did, but I couldn't hear anything over my own booming one. lol Oh, God, I just had a weird realization that I'm going to be a mom and just said "lol." Is that okay anymore?!! heehee And in a little over a week, we'll get our first ultrasound! We found out the news on February 18th, and now scrolling back through older blog entries, it's so surreal knowing I wrote them when I was pregnant and didn't even know it!

Because I've always wanted to be a mom so bad and have always thought there is no more beautiful and radiant woman than a pregnant one, I always assumed pregnancy would be blissful. I had this idealized vision of loving my ever-expanding body while I happily awaited my bundle of joy, totally care-free. I was going to sail through pregnancy with a constant glow and never feel big, only pregnant. What a dolt I was! ;) 

As excited as I am between bouts of puking, pregnancy has brought about a lot of unexpected things for me. I never in a million years expected to have any sort of body image issues when I was pregnant, but I've struggled with some (and may yet as my hormones keep surging).

Our friend Melanee over at Looking in the Mirror (a truly fantastic blog about her journey towards self-acceptance) asked if we could swap guest posts. Of course, I jumped at the chance! I've been wanting to blog about the pregnancy/body image thing once I announced it to y'all, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity.

So after you've left me tons of excited, congratulatory comments underneath this post (was that a shameless request or what), please head on over to Looking in the Mirror to check out my guest post about learning to deal with my pregnancy-induced body image issues (the italicized part above is an excerpt)I think you might just relate to it whether you're preggers or not.

And be sure to check back tomorrow for Melanee's guest post here at TCN!

Oh, and did I mention that...

I'M PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Eeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Girl's night went swell last night! The music was amazing as was the company! I nearly didn't wear my dress because I thought I would look foolish wearing it in the chilly weather. But I did it anyway, and I know at least one man liked it because he told me so. So what if that man was the freakishly tall, wild haired guy selling band t-shirts. He was kind and beautiful in his own right! And remember my fantasy? The embrace I longed for? Well...

I got it!!! And it felt NICE!

The crazy hot kiss, however, will simply have to wait until next time ;)!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Secondhand Style by Kam

Spring is finally here, and as always, I'm feeling a strong desire for personal renewal. Although I love the winter season, I don't love the dreary, ho-hum feeling that eventually sets in after the holidays. For two months, I have yearned for the warmer weather. The glistening sun. The colorful landscape. My flip-flops! I'm excited about getting my hair done and polishing myself up a bit too. Can you believe I haven't cut or colored my hair since Jen's wedding? That was in October for goodness sakes! It's not that I've just let myself go. I simply don't get very excited about my winter wardrobe. This is largely due to my aversion to shoes. I would wear flip-flops year long if I could. Better yet, I'd go barefoot. I also don't enjoy the heaviness of bulky sweaters and coats. Not to be narcissistic or anything ;), but I just don't feel my cutest all bundled up and such. I know there are ways to look adorable while also dressing cold-weather friendly, but I just hate to spend my money on these items when there are so many fabulous tank tops, sun dresses and oh yes, flip-flops to invest in!

So like a said, I am in dire need of some form of personal renewal. Right now I'm focused on my wardrobe. That sounds a tad shallow, I'll admit, but it will most certainly cause a ripple effect that will boost my mood and self-confidence for the better. Plus, I am focusing my energy on secondhand stores that offer great deals. I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but I'll say it again... bargain shopping makes me feel good! Knowing that I am shopping smart and saving money is like a natural high to me. And I'm buying items that may have otherwise ended up in a landfill, therefore, every purchase saves the Earth a little. My second hand style is good for mankind. Woo-Hoo!

I have fallen in love with my local Goodwill and Plato's Closet. They are both located near the University of Georgia, so the pickings are good! My daughter and I have made several trips recently, and we've had some great finds each time. This past Saturday, my goal was to find an outfit for girl's night this coming week. My two favorite bands are playing together and I want to look my best. I'll let you in on a little secret...I have this fantasy that one of the beautiful men we're going to hear play will see me through the crowd and have to meet me. Then we'll share an unforgettable moment, and he'll be mesmerized by me. Oh, and we'll embrace and indulge in a crazy hot kiss! Yes, I'm married. But it's okay. I have permission and so does he- ONLY in this type of fantastical situation. We're not weird or anything. I think Jen just may have this same fantasy, hee hee. I doubt we're the only ones either! Wow, I'm so off topic. Sorry y'all, these men are super hot! Where was I...

I found what may be the perfect outfit for the occasion. It is a plaid, halter style dress by Forever 21 that I picked up for $8 at Plato's Closet. The colors are orange, blue, and tan and it has orange piping, ribbon, and buttons. It has a retro feeling with a bit of country charm. The bands we're going to see are Folk Rock-Americana (or something along those lines), so it suits the occasion splendidly. It also shows off a bit of my tattoo, which I've been dying to do since I got it back in July! My only concern is the very low back and my non-perky chest. Since my little darlings won't cooperate and sit tall, I've purchased a sticky bra from Wal*Mart. The thing comes in two pieces and clasps in the middle (no straps and no back). Apparently the further apart you place the two cups, the more cleavage you get. I'll have to let you know how it goes. My expectations aren't too high (sort of like my chest), but it sure would be great to not look deflated during my big moment, ha ha. Here's a few pics... 

The low back 

A peek at my tattoo :)

What do y'all think? Do you have a favorite spot where you know you'll find exactly what you're looking for... whether you were looking for it or not? Oh, and what type of shoes should I wear with my dress? ;)

And now, a look into my fantasy world...
Cute Langhorne
Sultry Scott (his brother's in the band too!)

Body Confessions: Think skinny girls have no image issues?

flickr photo credit Janelle Rodriguez

I came across a web site today,, while reading on Medicinal Marzipan. It's a place where you can anonymously confess how you feel about your body. The idea intrigued me, so I clicked over to see what people were saying. 

Let me warn you that you should read through this web site with a certain amount of caution. I read through 17 pages of it and felt like I needed a good cry to purge it out of my system. So much sadness, so much self-hatred. It was a little overwhelming. I can remember reading maybe 3 posts where people were confessing things they actually LOVE about themselves. As I said in my comment on MM's post, "I absolutely appreciate their vulnerability and honesty, but I’m with you on changing the convo. I’m sure it helps a lot of gals to know others out there are struggling with the same things, but they also need to hear from more of us who’ve been there and overcame it! Then maybe they’ll believe they can do it too." So if you decide to click over, pleeeeease do yourself and many others a favor by posting something you like or love about your body, even if you have to start small with toes like one poster did. 

A few confessions really stuck out to me, and I found myself a little surprised by them. We tend to think that anyone who's skinnier than we are (no matter what our weight, cuz there's always someone out there who's skinnier) must automatically have an awesome self-image, right? But not necessarily. We think, "Oh, if only I looked like SO-AND-SO, I'd never feel bad about myself!" Well, truth be told, yes, you probably would. Because how you perceive yourself is based so much more in your mind than how you actually look. I'm at a healthy-for-me weight now, but losing weight didn't automatically solve my body image issues. And just because I co-run a blog about confidence doesn't mean I feel confident 100% of the time...just a whole lot more than I used to. :)

I tweeted a while back that Forever 21's current models are so thin that they're painful to look at, and I'm sorry, but I still stand by that. They look sickly, and those ads are probably making even skinny girls feel overweight. I hope to God the ads are airbrushed just so those girls aren't being pressured to actually be that thin; I just have a hard time believing anyone is that thin without hurting themselves. People love ads that promote women "who aren't sticks," as people like to say, and we think those types of ads automatically promote self-confidence for the "real woman." I'm not saying those ads are bad at all. They're a much better alternative than Forever 21's. But maybe we forget how skinnier-than-us women sometimes feel. (Again, I say skinnier-than-us because skinny can be a relative term.) Before you roll your eyes, read these confessions.

I'm petite, 5'1" tall, 106 pounds, and I don't really like my body. It hurts so much when people say something about my A cups, because I would do anything for them to grow bigger. I'm afraid of getting close with guys because I think they won't like my body and I cringe every time I see an ad saying how skinny people "aren't real women". I wish I could love my body.

I'm little, all around, but I'm in average weight for my height (5')-- not overweight, not skinny, right where I should be. I once tried on a size 2 skirt that was too big, and asked the saleswoman for a 0. She got it for me, but scoffed, "I wish I was a size 0. But I actually eat." She was about half a foot taller than me. I was so offended. I eat. I love food. I don't purge. It isn't my fault that vanity sizing has screwed everything up and that there's no consistency in sizes between stores, either. Maybe it isn't nice to be the "fat friend", but it isn't nice when people make rude comments about the size you wear when that has nothing to do with how skinny or healthy you are.

When I feel confident and I can walk down a beach in a bikini and feel good about my body, I feel that other women are suspicious of me, or jealous, or just spiteful. But when I'm self-conscious and uncomfortable in my own skin, I feel that other women are dismissive and annoyed. I'm short and I'm slender, but that's not the point. I really hate all this body-bashing that goes on, and I'm sick and tired of my friends who are bigger than me (most of them,) comparing their thighs to mine, or saying things like, "You're so skinny, I hate you." I know they're joking, but it makes me really uncomfortable. Even if they're not overweight, there's nothing I can say that would make them feel better. My best friend is overweight. I don't care, I think she's beautiful, and I love her for her personality, not her dress size. But I can't express the least bit of self-consciousness without her yelling at me and really making me feel humiliated. I'm angry that such a stupid thing, like weight and body shape, has had such a negative impact on so many of my relationships.

I was always the fat girl. The girl looking she is about to die on the treadmill at the gym and giving the evil-eye to all the skinny b words. I finally lost all of it. Now the heavy girls give me the evil-eye. I still feel fat.

When women who are skinnier than me complain about their fat and say self-deprecating things like "OMG, I am such a fat cow", I want to slap them. If you think that you're a fat cow, what do you think of me?

There is just as much prejudice against thin girls as there is against larger girls. Other women judge you, hate you, despise you--without ever speaking to you. People are offended when you say you need to get more exercise or need to eat healthier foods because you have a smaller body. Healthy is healthy regardless of size, and wanting to eat right and exercise is NOT the same as wanting to lose weight. Stop looking down on me for weighing under 150 pounds.

Thanks to the cultural positioning of thinness as extremely desirable, I feel really awkward about describing myself as thin, skinny, slender, etc. Using those words feels like bragging or gloating. Nobody has a problem with me saying "I have brown hair", but I can't say "I am thin" without worrying that people will think I'm conceited or full of myself.

Kam's probably a good 20 pounds lighter than I am, though, oddly, we can share some of the same clothes, and I've never figured out how that is. But she looks great, I look great, thank ya very much. ;) I know I've said to her on more than one occasion, when she makes some sort of comment about the love handles she thinks she has, "Will you quit already? You're skinny. Shut up." We tend to think that saying something like that will boost the confidence of the other girl. Maybe it doesn't always. We're not always fishing for compliments when we make bad comments about ourselves to our friends; sometimes we're genuinely self-conscious and looking for support.

Picture on What was your first thought when you looked at it?
"I'm so glad I don't look like her (A or B)!"
"A needs to eat a sandwich!" or "I hate A for being thinner than I am!"
"B needs to stop being so lazy!"
It's easy to make snap judgments. It doesn't make them accurate or okay!!

My real point here (I think) is that real beauty isn't defined one way. We think we know that, but when we start looking down on skinnier-than-us women or bigger-than-us women as a source of so-called empowerment ("At least I don't look like her!"), maybe it makes us feel better about our own bodies for a little while, but it's not really helping solve the overall problem. Some "real women" are naturally skinny no matter what they do, and some are larger framed. I think we gotta start learning to appreciate bodies of ALL shapes and sizes and focus on health...without getting wrapped up in who we'd rather look like and without looking down on someone just because they're bigger or smaller than we are. Does being skinnier or heavier always equate to health or non-health, respectively? They can, but not always! You can just as easily be skinny and unhealthy and larger and healthy. Stop judging the smaller girls just because you're bigger, and stop judging the bigger girls just because you're smaller. Okay? Good. Glad we got that settled. :)

Large and small alike, we all gots goods that are worth showin' off! I read more than one confession from women who were so ashamed of their bodies that they had not let their husbands see them naked in years. Oh, how that saddens me!!! For them and for their hubbies. That's doing way more harm to their relationships than their husbands seeing "JUST HOW FAT" they think they really are.

If you have more curves, if you have less curves, embrace your body for what it is, without the "aid" of looking down your nose at someone who's a different size from you. It's yours, it's beautiful, it's powerful, it can do so many things. You've gotta learn to see it realistically for what it really is - not what you think you see and not who you think you should look like. Treat it right, be healthy, and it will reward you. 

And sorry to close out like Jerry Springer, but...we need to take care of ourselves and each other. Women of all shapes and sizes typically have some sort of body image issue. We need to stop being so mean and judgmental of each other, even when it's only on the inside! And that absolutely includes the ways we judge ourselves.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

More self-lovin' music for the soul

Recently, I posted an awesome music video by eddy called "Let It Go." It's such an inspiring message. I am SO loving the current flow of self-love-inducing songs out there right now...the longer we have our blog and the more bloggers I come across who are also exploring and trying to increase their own self-love, the more I think something is shifting in the world, as dramatic as that might sound. Self-help stuff has always been around, but lately it seems to be becoming more real to people, and they're starting to feel like, "Hey, maybe this is actually attainable for me." Or maybe it's just the kinda thing where you notice things more because you're focusing on them. Who knows...but I thought I'd share some more songs with y'all that are out right now and focus on self-love. Even if you don't normally listen to these artists, I hope you'll still watch and pay attention to the lyrics. I'm using videos that actually contain the lyrics so you can't miss 'em!

If the f-word bothers you, just ignore it and get the message, cause this song's powerful to me. :)

What songs are your go-to songs when you need a boost?

P.S. If you need an extra dose of "luck" for St. Patrick's Day, check out this awesome post on Positively Present about making your own.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A new way to comment - you likey?

I searched flickr for "suggestion box" and found this funny little example of wordplay. Get it? :)
I don't agree with what it says, of course, but the wordplay is cute! Photo from Little Big Joe.

As you may have noticed by now, we switched our commenting format from Blogger's built-in feature to the Intense Debate widget. I had intended to introduce it to you before just throwing it at you, so I'm sorry I'm just now getting around to that!

Let's face it; if it's not easy to leave comments on a blog, people generally won't. And of course that's the LAST thing we want! We kept having non-Blogger readers tell us that they wanted to comment but couldn't get Blogger's feature to work, which played a role in switching...I certainly hope we didn't make the problem even worse by switching. I'm wondering if anyone is having any trouble using it and thought I'd explain the features and see what we can do to help you out if maybe you've been trying to comment and hitting a wall. 

One reason we made the switch is that it allows your most recent blog post link to show up in your comment, thereby gaining your blog some extra publicity! Blogger doesn't currently offer this feature, and we thought it would be a nice way to give you the extra respect you deserve because we appreciate all your comments so much and love promoting our readers' blogs. Just make sure the CommentLuv box is checked and that you have entered your blog's address. Even if you don't check this box, DO make sure to at least enter your blog or web site address...people will then be able to click on whatever name you put in and go to your site!

Another reason is that you can also reply directly underneath someone's comment if you want to now (which means so can we). You can subscribe to email notifications when someone replies to your comment or when someone comments after you. You don't wanna miss our brilliant, sometimes witty, comments back to you directly, right??!

And you can now log in to comment through Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, or Open ID. People without Blogger accounts were having a hard time commenting even anonymously, so now those readers have other options. If you normally commented here through your Blogger/Google account, just use Open ID instead and put in your blog address to log in! Easy peasy. Whichever route you choose, it can lead other curious commenters to find your blog or site. I wish they'd add a Blogger login button, and I have emailed requesting this, but ID came from the WordPress folks, so I don't know if they will...but it's only fair! You also don't have to log in at all if you don't want to; you can just fill out whichever fields you want to as a guest, and people will still be able to click over to your blog if you enter its address. And you also still have the option to remain anonymous.

Intense Debate doesn't seem to be quite as popular as Disqus, which you've probably seen and used on other blogs, as many of them seem to be using it now. I weighed the options and just felt Intense Debate's look and format were more suitable for our blog. I know I used to have issues with Disqus when I’d try to put my name in as “Jenarcissist @ the closet narcissist.” It didn’t like that many characters. But it took me a while to figure out that was the problem! So maybe your issue is something like that.

If you're having issues, hopefully you can somehow let us know the steps you're taking, either through a comment or an email, so we can help you figure out what's going on! We LOOOOOVE your comments...thrive on 'em!

Will you try it out real quick for us? What do you like/love/hate about it?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

2011 Faces of e.l.f. Contest Entry

Just wanted to let you all know that today I entered e.l.f. Cosmetics' yearly contest for a face to represent their brand for the next year for the age 30-39 group, eeek. If you've been reading our blog for any length of time, you know I'm an avid fan of e.l.f.'s cheap but quality cosmetics! KameraWhore and I don't believe in confidence primarily coming from your appearance, of COURSE, but we do believe in sharing ways you can improve your appearance to feel better about yourself, and we don't think that's wrong when it's within reason and coming from a healthy attitude. I thought entering would be fun just to see what happens. Plus, I would love the exposure it could get for our blog's message of self-love because it's a burning desire on our hearts to spread it. To me, e.l.f. represents a "happy" kind of beauty, if that makes for real people on normal budgets who believe makeup can enhance the greatness that's already you feel happy in.

Here's my statement in the entry:

Besides being an e.l.f. fan from its beginning days, I co-run a blog called "the closet narcissist," which is all about helping girls and women develop more self-confidence. Makeup is fun and creative and can increase confidence when your inner beauty already shines through! I believe in celebrating self-love, and it's my mission to share this message and show that we're all beauties if we know how to tap into it. I know that e.l.f. promotes real beauty as well, so we'd be a perfect pair!

I would love your votes! It's not a popular vote-based contest, but votes give you better chances to win other prizes, and plus, hey, they feel good, if I'm being honest. heehee

Here's my page where you can see my entry and vote:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How to turn around self-destructive thoughts - Part 2

Hey there, narcissists! We're back with some more ways to turn around your cycle of self-destructive thoughts. (Part 1 is here.)

It's so easy to think one negative thought, and then before you know it, it has completely spiraled into all kinds of other negative thoughts. Then they're all swirling around in your mind, and you don't know how to make them stop. 

Scene from Mean Girls, heehee, but it illustrates the point!
For instance, say you see a pretty girl at the mall (or perhaps even on a blog). You think to yourself (whether consciously or not), "I wish I looked like her." Then your thoughts start spiraling: "She's way prettier than I am. I'm so ugly and fat. I hate the way I look. My hair/body/face aren't as nice as hers. If I looked like her, I'd probably have a boyfriend. What if I never have a boyfriend? What if I'm alone forever? What if I die alone?" Your thoughts may or may not move that quickly or to that extent, but you see how easy it is for one little seemingly-innocuous thought to turn into something much more powerful; your brain takes you years down the road to something that is highly unlikely to happen and leaves you feeling drained of any self-esteem in the present.

One thing that sounds pretty obvious but often hinders us is not getting enough sleep. You will generally be able to control your thought life much better when you're well-rested. The past few nights, I hadn't been sleeping well, and it left me much more open to worrying and all those "what if" thoughts. Last night, I got a really good night's sleep, and it's amazing how different my outlook was this morning from the moment I got out of bed compared to the last couple mornings. Of course, if you can't sleep, you may start to worry, "What if I can't fall asleep and then I'm exhausted again tomorrow?" - another example of letting your thoughts spiral. (If you're having trouble sleeping, there are all kinds of things you can do to help, and we won't go into them here just because there are resources everywhere you turn online or by going to your doctor.)

It's imperative to learn to STOP worrisome or negative thoughts - preferably as they are forming rather than when they're fully formed or spiraling, but you can halt them in any state. 

Something I learned when I went to an anxiety group meeting a few years ago when I was at the peak of my issue: stop "what if" thoughts immediately. Do whatever you have to do to distract yourself from letting that thought fully form and then spiral. If you think it's coming on, turn on some music, call someone, watch TV, force yourself to think about something else, etc. When you're in a better frame of mind later, you'll realize that the negative thought has no hold over you and had no real basis to begin with.

Learning to control your thoughts can take years of practice in some cases (like mine). But that's not the case for everybody. The point is to be patient with yourself and remember it won't always be like this. If you surround yourself with positive-thinking people, web sites, blogs, books, or whatever resonates with you, eventually you'll realize you're controlling your thoughts much more often than they're controlling you. 

The subconscious is a very powerful thing. But it's not always honest with you. Sometimes IT LIES! Your subconscious believes that life experiences have taught it certain things that aren't true (for example: no man can be trusted, no one really cares about me, I'll always feel like this). They're not always logical beliefs, but they can feel so true to you. That's one reason why hypnotherapy can be a positive and powerful agent in turning around those ingrained lies; if you believe it can work for you and allow it to work, it can get in there and dig out those lies, often faster than you can on your own, or at least propel you down that path. 

You need to learn to challenge your thoughts (a/k/a your "self-talk"). Separate the fact from fiction. Just because you feel or think something DOESN'T make it true. Here are two *MUST-READS* on challenging your thoughts to weed out the lies.

 flickr image from SashaW

Some people unknowingly sabotage themselves from being happier with themselves and with their lives. You might subconsciously be doing (and thinking) things that are holding you back for whatever reason. Maybe it's because secretly you think you don't deserve it and aren't worthy of it. I found these three articles, which I thought were so spot-on, and I really hope you will read them too! 

I think the first one also proves what KameraWhore and I already know...that there's no such thing as loving yourself too much!! Think this sounds wrong or conceited? Read the explanation in the article. :)

Remember that if you think a thought, you're most of the way there to making it come true...if you think, "I can never do or have that," you probably won't. As that third article in the previous list says, whatever you "order" in your life is what you'll get.

Finally, ask yourself, if you heard a friend say out loud things about herself that you think about yourself, wouldn't your heart break? Wouldn't you wonder, "How can someone as incredible as she is ever doubt herself?" Well...we can assure you that other people would think the very same thing about you. So cut yourself the same slack you would for a struggling friend; learn to think of yourself as your own best friend, and be as kind in your words and thoughts to and about yourself as you would be to your other friends. One way you can constantly say nice things to yourself is by wearing one of our handmade necklaces. Those who have them have told us over and over that the simple act of wearing them and knowing they're there has helped them change how they see themselves. Definitely works for us!

So, we'd like to know...what resonates with you most in this post? Will you decide to stop letting your self-destructive thoughts control you?