For my first “change” article, I’d like to clear up a very global misconception – which is that – there is no one way to define a woman. Though I am not a psychologist, or expert on all women, I am an expert in knowing me; a woman.
And I – my friend, am very multi-faced!
Not to be confused with schizophrenia, which may very well be the case, though I have never been diagnosed by a doctor as having it.
What I mean by “multi-faced” is that I have many different levels that I allow the world to see, and sides I keep to myself or my limited circle of people. It’s a matter of choice, rather than mental disorder. However, as I gain more comfort in the outside world, one by one my brick wall is coming down and the world will see me for the sweet, crazy, chaotic, free-spirited girlish woman I am.
As mentioned above, women are not [and should not be] defined by one word or phrase. We are all different, we are all special, from one mother to her daughter, to strangers from countries across this globe. Strong, weak, beautiful, ugly, smart, less smart, clean, tidy, good cook, great hair, beautician, whatever the label we wear- we are all who we were born to be and although many of us hide the imperfections away from the public eye, we do have them. There is the flawless image society believes, and then there is the very flawed version that only we know to be the actual case. Can you imagine what would happen if the world saw what really happens? Kind of like a “Behind the Scenes” documentary, only it would be about women and the struggles or transitions we go through to be considered worthy of the public view.
Take me for example: Here I am, about to bare everything to the world, to hopefully allow other women to open themselves up too. To inspire others to stop being ashamed of who they are. Set free your negative body image and negative mindset, you have nothing to be ashamed of and I’m hoping my story helps others be able to let go of their shame.
My name is J.J. Day. In full, Jackilyn Janet Hastings Day (no hyphen). I am 4′ 8″ [last I checked], and if I were to be a car, I would not be a “Ford” or a “Dodge”, but rather a “Rolls Royce”, (just kidding I’m not that classy- but I got rolls-a-plenty!)
Yes, I suffer from negative body image. I have gone past the phase of “curvy” and now know that I have a weight problem. Although I have a very strong desire to change this, and get back to a more comfortable, healthy and manageable weight, I lack the ability to push myself up and get out to do something about it. I even have signed up for a gym membership [currently at 2 gyms] but am have fears of going – which I realize make absolutely no sense. I fear what people will think of me when I workout. I jiggle, I sweat and if I go as hard as I want to, I stink to high heaven! Even at home, when I’m working out, I smell myself and want to throw up. I am afraid to look that gross out in public. My weight got out of control when I got into a deep depression. I am also blessed [or cursed] with hair, both course and thick, not to mention really dark in colour. I have to shave every day pretty much in order to avoid feeling stubbly, and looking like an ape. The curse comes into effect in other areas of my body where hair grows. I have hair that grows on my face, on my back, on my neck, my knuckles and toes and most embarrassingly my butt. (All thanks to the Scottish in me!) Which means if I want the sexual attention of a man, I have to be willing to go out and pay someone to put me in excruciating pain to get it all waxed smooth. Another truth, at times I suffer from severe depression and was really bad when I was in my final year of high school; which I ended up dropping out of after I tried my first(1st) of four(4) or five(5). I am a strong woman, but I get knocked down a lot; and when I do it is difficult for myself or anyone to pull me out of it, until I’m ready in my own mind to let go. I just get so bogged down by the carelessness and insensitivity of the world around me that I physically and mentally become extremely saddened.
Which leads me to another trait I have: high sensitivity. [If you’ve read the books by Elaine Aron called “The Highly Sensitive Person” and “The Highly Sensitive Person in Love”, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t I strongly suggest you do.] If you were to google, “Highly sensitive person as defined by Elaine Aron” this is one of the options you would find, “Sensory processing sensitivity (SPS), a personality trait, a high measure of which defines a highly sensitive person (HSP), has been described as having hypersensitivity to external stimuli, a greater depth of cognitive processing, and high emotional reactivity.” However, I would like to take it a bit deeper than this by adding that if you were to look at it as a gift, you would see the benefit of having this trait.
In her writings Elaine describes the trait as having the ability to walk into a room and be instantly aware of the mood, the friendships and enmities, the freshness or staleness of the air, the personality of the one who arranged the flowers. It does not mean that you’re crazy, or that you have a problem. It just means that the world gets to you on a deeper level than it does to others. But that’s not a bad thing by any means, it’s actually a blessing [however in disguise it may seem for some of us], because it means we are a crucial necessity when it comes to cruel and insensitivity in this world. We are there to comfort those who are sick, frightened, hurt or just feel alone. We are the hope and the light that shines through the darkness that overwhelms.
I am also not very tidy – as anyone who has visited me can attest. Its not that I like being surrounded by clutter, in fact that is so far from the case; I just have to work extra hard to force myself into doing it and I am so unbelievably happy and get the strongest feeling of accomplishment when I get my surroundings exactly how I want it. Much to everyone’s surprise, I am not “lazy”, it’s not that I am choosing not to get up and be active one explanation for my behaviour is that I suffer from ADHD. And on that note, I am getting better at learning to control it as I find the realize how much I am truly able to do, when I’m able to find the motivation technique that works best for me. However, usually my mind is too overwhelmed and worn out from thinking about quite literally EVERYTHING to function well. Here’s an insightful analogy: My mind is as cluttered and scrambled by thoughts as my house is by materialistic junk. Just as I trip over a book laying on the floor, or a pile of clothes (mixtures of clean or dirty I do not discriminate!) that threatens to fall over and consume my bedroom, I trip over all the thoughts in my head. I can be thinking about anything from future life plans, to wondering how much water is being consumed globally on a daily basis. Quite often my sleep is disturbed or inaccessible due to my brain’s inability to shut up and shut off.
I also suffer from a constant need to be desired by a man; which thus far has not been attempted, much less satisfied. I don’t want you to get the wrong impression, I am not a whore, nor do I want every guy on the planet to notice me. No no, just the ones I’m interested in, or even better may be interested in me. It is a natural instinct to want to be found attractive and desirable by someone or people you find yourself attracted to. When you’re approaching your 30s and realizing that you’ve had no [real] significant relationship with a man, ever – you can’t help but have your ego and confidence shaken. Ever since I was a little girl [circa, day care], I have been on the hunt for the elusive one, but to no avail. I’ve always scared off any potentials, and attracted the never-shoulda-coulda-woulda types that didn’t rise to my standards, but due to my need I allowed my level to be lowered to theirs. But no more is that to be the case. I now am more aware of my worth – both to myself and the world I was born into. When its my time, the right man will come along, and until then, I’m going to try casual for a change.
I also have a massive quirky side to me, that when in the right company flourishes and brightens the faces I see. I love to smile, in fact, most of the time that’s my most favourite accessory to wear! I also love to make others laugh with me – most of the time. I will wear funky things, say funky things, and express myself extremely funky verbally. You never know what dialect I will attempt to speak. I love to sport the British, Scottish and Asian most, with special mention to French, and I think there is sometimes Dutch or Australian somewhere in there as well. Please note, I am not doing it to make fun of other people or cultures. I just like to do impressions, and although when I make people laugh I get enjoyment out of it, I want to be that person. Especially the British accent; worldly it is associated with class and gracefulness as well as beauty and elegance. When I am feeling like being those things, I embrace the Brit in me (my grandmother was of English descent), and my Scottish side (my grandfather). My quirkiness also extends to my attire. I don’t always dress to impress, sometimes I dress to entertain. I have sported everything from a princess, to Mickey Mouse at a house party – just to try and make people smile and be happy. To express one’s self, and introduce herself and others to more dimensions of who she is is a great privilege and a right I value.
I was also diagnosed with what’s simply called a “math disorder”; which means I have an almost non-existent understanding of anything mathematical. I know what money is, and if I take the time to write it all out, I am able to understand how much I have and when I add or subtract how much I am left with as my final total. But, this paired with my ADHD and my impulsiveness that is tied to my disorder, is a detriment to me because when I’m shopping, I have a very hard struggle to control myself and how much I spend. I will usually spend until I’m left with absolutely nothing. At which point, as much as I want to cry because I lost control, I’m also relieved because I know I can no longer spend more. This doesn’t mean I will never be able to live successfully, I just may have to hire people to be in charge of my finances, so I don’t lose it all. At least until I feel I can comfortably control both my impulse and my discipline.
I also dropped out of high school when I was 17, and moved out of my mom’s house, at 18. My mom is my best friend and I love her to death, but we just don’t do well living together for too long. Since dropping out, I’ve had a revolving-door pattern of work, school, work, school, work, etc. I would work to earn money, then due to my inability to handle the money I earned, lose it and then decide working wasn’t working for me, so I’d try school, again and again. I still don’t have my high school, but am currently working on completing my GED and am preparing to apply to college for Journalism upon receipt of my GED certification. I’ve fallen behind in terms of keeping up to my friends who graduated when I was supposed to, but I realize now, I was meant to go a completely different journey, often on my own [with people in the background cheering me on, and ready to offer me help when I was able to ask for it].
I have struggled in my life, and I’m sure I will continue to as my adventures are far from over. Hell, some might say they are just beginning, and that what I’ve been through so far was just training my legs to be extra strong so I can keep on running down the road. I have a lot of flaws and layers of ashes to shed through, but among my ashes I will one day spread my wings and rise above much like a phoenix; finding myself reborn into the person I’m meant to become. So therefore, maybe the labels do fit after all; but my weakness becomes my strength, my clumsy duckling form is reshaping into the elegant and graceful swan of beauty and wonder, increasingly smart as time passes, and I am able. Able to be a complex, awesome woman, and follow the footsteps of fabulously fierce and unstoppable goddesses that have come before me. I can do it, and so can you! Don’t let others tell you are, create your own definition. And don’t bow to anyone who isn’t willing to bow to you. Smile, be appreciative, be humble, be thankful, be honest, be friendly, be willing to step up and help when needed, be comfortable with who you are, and only change if its something you desire to see. Be the change you wish to see, be the voice for yourself and others if you feel there is something to say; say it!
I share this information with you not to be “an open book” for attention, but to create awareness for women. To point out to the men, and women who don’t have these struggles that there are others who differ from yourselves, and to be more mindful of others. As well as to help other women like me, who suffer in the silence and shadows, never speaking of these things because it would be too embarrassing or shocking to the public. Well, I have said it, so there is proof that there is someone out there that may be like yourself.
If you liked this article, and either share similarities to my own story, please feel free to comment, or message me. Connect with me on my Facebook or Instagram!
Thanks for reading!