How smartphone is ruining your life without you even knowing it.

Blonde girl sitting near the fountain with a phone in her hand.

Hello, dear readers! Today I am sharing with you more of an essay type of post about the topic that has been on my mind for quite a while. Without any further intro, let’s dive in.

“What a shiny, little thing!” You think to yourself as you open the box and unpack your new smart phone. It is beautiful, without a single scratch, works incredibly fast and offers a lot of opportunities. You are excited about being able to stay in touch with your friends 24/7, sharing a lot of interesting things on social media, playing games… You feel like you will never get bored again. There’s a whole world beneath your fingertips and instantly you get hooked, forgetting about the fact that your old phone was just the same way when you bought it but turned into laggy, slow and boring device months later.

First month of having a new phone feels like a honeymoon period. You are still exploring it’s options and don’t go anywhere without it. It responds to all of your wants and needs so well. It doesn’t really matter, how often your friends text you because the internet is full of opportunities. You will take that flawless selfie for Instagram, you will tweet non stop, you will post updates on Snapchat, trying to make your life seem more interesting that it actually is. You will anything to gain those followers on each social media platform because the more people follow you, the more influence you have… right? Wrong.

When the honeymoon period is over, you slowly start feeling like your phone doesn’t excite you as much. You keep checking it quite often to get the rush of endorphins but all you get is disappointment. Endless Youtube and Instagram notifications keep popping up but your inbox is still empty. No new messages. No missed calls. Nothing. Do your friends even think about you? If they are, why aren’t they checking up on you? Oh, look, they posted this picture on Instagram, doing some fun things but… you’re not on it. Are they even your friends? What if you don’t have any friends and all the people you used to communicate you were just pretending to like you? Anxious thoughts start racing in your mind and with every second you start feeling worse.

When messaging apps don’t carry any meaning anymore, you turn to social media apps. Maybe, if you post something exciting on Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat, someone will text you. Maybe someone will comment. Maybe someone, anyone will care. But… what can you post, if no one invites you to hang out anymore? If you post third selfie in row where you’re all by yourself, people will think that you are an antisocial freak. Or maybe a narcissist, who’s only cares about your own looks. You wouldn’t want that, right? So you post nothing, yet keep checking up on all the apps. Day by day you are losing followers on social media sites and the only people, who send you texts are your parents. But that doesn’t really count, does it? They are obligated to check up on you.

It’s been several months since your excitement about the “shiny, little thing”died. It doesn’t look so pretty and new anymore. Your smart phone is covered in scratches and the screen is cracked from that one time you went for a run and dropped it on the sidewalk. Even when you open music player, it takes ages to load and when it finally does, and you start listening to music, your phone freezes. The music stops. This device is nothing but a disappointment. It has made you feel lonely, unpopular and less than you are. Even worse, it has stopped performing the most basic actions it should be able to do – texting, calling, setting up an alarm, playing music…

Can it get any worse? You don’t want to spend a lot of money to buy new smart phone only after a year of using your current one but seems like you have no other choice… Wake up! There is a choice – you can stop wasting your money on smartphones. They are built to break after a year or so. That is how phone brands make money. If you would be able to buy a smartphone that lasts 5 or 10 years, there would be way less smartphone purchases meaning less money for phone brands. Also, do you really want to tie your life and self-esteem to a device? Do you really want to spend your whole life online instead of living in the moment? Do you really want to measure your self-worth in followers and likes? Do you want to live in constant anxiety, wondering why you haven’t received any text messages? Just think about it.

Until next time on Dolls Have Hearts!

Love, Porcelain Doll.

My joy list – source of happiness in bleak days.

two girls standing in top of the mountain with raised hands

Hello, dear readers! As you may know, it’s currently an exam time for me which means that I am very stressed out. And, as you may know, it is so easy to focus on all the negative stuff in your life when you are stressed out. I caught myself putting myself down a lot, having a negative body image, worrying about relationships, losing belief that I could get in my dream school, feeling like I have lost my direction once again… You get the point. So today I decided to do something that might count as an act of self-care – writing down all the things that bring me joy. The reason, why I decided to share this with you is because I am encouraging you to do the same, especially if you are in some kind of routine right now or have been feeling down for a while. Do not skip the small things because every little thing matters. Let’s do this exercise together and try to come up with as many things as you can! So here are all the things that bring me joy in life.

  1. Rainy summer days. (Nothing compares to that refreshing feeling when it’s very sultry outside and finally it slowly starts to rain.)
  2. That moment when I can slowly enjoy a cup of coffee in my favorite coffee shop.
  3. Buying new books and notebooks.
  4. Morning routine in which I have at least 30 minutes to read a book and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea.
  5. My cats. (They don’t live with me right now but I visit them now and then, and their purring just warms up my heart.)
  6. Writing in any form. (Wheather it’s a journaling, writing and essay or continuing my novel, writing makes my mind feel clearer and I feel more calm after writing for a while.)
  7. Taking a warm bath. (Preferably with essential oils.)
  8. Listening to empowering music.
  9. Taking a nap.
  10. Reading inspiring books. (For example, “#Girlboss” by Sophia Amoruso, “Witch” by Lisa Lister and “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegy.)
  11. The smell of freshly mown grass.
  12. Enjoying a glass of wine after hard and exhausting day.
  13. Art journaling.
  14. Spontaneous road trips.
  15. Italian cusine.
  16. Exercising.
  17. Dancing.
  18. Watching movies.
  19. Painting.
  20. The smell of lilacs.
  21. Changing the colour of my hair.
  22. Buying new make up.
  23. Getting ready for special occasions.
  24. Going to concerts of musicians that I love.
  25. Getting tattoos.
  26. Trying out new dishes.
  27. Learning new languages.
  28. Riding a bike.
  29. Cold beer.
  30. Getting a manicure.

Those are all the things I can come up with right now but even just writing this list made me feel a lot better about myself and my life. It’s not all that sad and grey as it seemed just a little while ago. Even if it feels like that, those moments will pass. How many things could you come up with? And how many of them you had in common with me? Share in the comments below! 🙂 Until next time on Dolls Have Hearts!

Love, Porcelain Doll.

 

It’s time to stop self victimization.

Blonde woman with flawless makeup black and white photo

Hello, dear readers! Today I wanted to talk about topic that is very familiar to me and might be familiar to you, too. We all had out ups and downs in life but a lot of us have so very serious downfalls. Maybe we were depressed, maybe our parents divorced when we were just kids, maybe we were heavily bullied at school, maybe we had a romantic relationship that shattered into pieces, leaving us vulnerable, sad and… helpless. I have faced three of the four situations I just mentioned and it is harsh. However, for example, after you graduate from the school you were bullied in, the scars still remain. That happened to me and it was ruining my life without me even realizing it. It is normal to be upset about some unpleasant experience in the past but dwelling on it too long actually prevents you from making the most of your life. Recently I caught myself in this state, too and, as they say, admitting that something is wrong is already the first step towards change.

Here are some common signs that you might be self victimizing, too. 

  • You think that everyone else is doing better in life that you are.
  • You feel like everyone and everything is against you, that you are meant to fail.
  • You are constantly putting yourself down.
  • You expect to receive sympathy from others and, when you don’t, it upsets you.
  • You blame other people and circumstances for your failures.
  • You feel powerless when it comes to changing anything in your life.
  • You refuse to consider other points of view when talking about your problems.
  • You keep reliving bad past memories that made you feel like a victim.
  • You think that everyone is trying to hurt you on purpose.

Important thing to know about self victimization is that it’s not always about manipulating others and/or seeking attention. For some of us it is a coping mechanism. There are things in our lives that doesn’t always have an explanation. For example, if you got bullied at school, mostly likely it had nothing to do with who you are. It had something to do with your bullies back then but you didn’t realize at the moment, blamed it on unlucky coincidence. Later, when next bad events happened, at some point you slowly started falling into a mindset that “nothing good ever happens to you and trouble follows you everywhere”. Thoughts like these seem innocent at first but they have huge power over your behaviour. If you constantly tell yourself that bad things are happening to you and there’s nothing you can do to make them better, that’s it – you are officially stuck. Negative thoughts have paralyzed you and you are sinking deeper and deeper into the swamp of self victimization.

When did I realize that I am self victimizing?  Only after several years, spent participating in guitar contests I’ve came to a realization that the main thing that is holding me back from success is my own damn mind. When I was a little kid, I used to love participating in contests. I often got first place and luck followed me everywhere. However, at some point later in my life I lost all belief in myself, all confidence and depression took over my life. I can’t tell exactly what caused it, maybe all the bad life experiences put together did that. I felt terrified, weak and helpless on stage. No matter, how much time I spent preparing, I still kept failing. After some time I realized that problem is not in what I do and it’s not in others either. The problem is the way I think. I listened too much to my former guitar teacher back then, who never cared about my progress and often talked about me, having second place syndrome. From the outside I acted like what he said had no impact me but it did.

When it this year’s guitar contest was near, I almost felt sick. I didn’t want to show up at all because all the bad memories kept hunting me… until something clicked. I realized that I am tired of feeling like crap, feeling like I’m not enough and everyone else will always be better than me. Of course, you can’t stop negative thoughts in a blink of an eye but you can catch yourself in the moment and snap out of it. In this situation you can easily use 5 second rule of Mel Robins (read more about it here: https://melrobbins.com/the-5-second-rule/ ) . Just count from 5 to 1 slowly and imagine that when you get to 1, your mind will be free from all the negative and destructive thoughts you just had. Does that seem silly to you? At first I thought the same until I actually tried it. Stop those negative thoughts here and now. I know that at the moment you might feel like you have no control over your life but you have. Just keep telling yourself that things will get better, you deserve success and push all the negative thoughts out of your head. You can be just as successful as anyone else. We have equal shot at getting what we want. So what differs you from others and why don’t still have the thing you want? Your mindset. Every action starts in our head. Just think about it; human is way more powerful than you think.

So that is all I wanted to share. Today is the day when we start making the most of our lives. Today is the day we claim back our power. Just because something bad happened to us in the past, doesn’t mean we are less worthy and deserve less happiness. Take a deep breath, count from 5 to 1 and take an action – big or small – to change your live at thiis very moment. You can do it, I believe in you.

 

Love, Porcelain Doll.

The less visible sister of fat shaming – skinny shaming.

Skinny brunette in workout clothes, walking down the street

Hello, dear readers! By now I think you have all heard of fat shaming. Curvy people, especially women have raised awareness about it a lot during last few years. It is no secret that media has been pushing the image of “perfect woman” onto us for quite a long time. We are still drowning in magazine articles about getting beach body and different diets that will help us lose x amount of pounds every month. However, there is one side of body shaming that has not been covered as much and it is skinny shaming. Yes, that is really a thing! Why am I writing about this? Well, because I have been fat shamed as well as skinny shamed.

During my childhood years I was somewhere in the middle – not really chubby but also not skinny. However, I despised PE lessons and ate what ever I wanted, so I was no way considerable as the fit one. Being a kid and hating sports was not cool at all, so I quickly became the main object of mockery in my school. Most of my bullies were boys, who were skinny and loved sports. They could eat all the junk food in the world and still stay the same way. However, if I would eat too much pizza or cookies, my body would show it after some time. I was a girl and being tall and thin was not in my genes. I was jealous at girls, who were like that. The self consciousness made me feel terrible about my thighs, who seemed way too thick at the time (I mean, how thick can be thighs of a ten-year old, who is not overweight?) and small stomach roll that I had while sitting down. For nine years straight I was laughed at because of my body and fat shamed almost every day. It did not mater, if I tried eating less or dressing differently – I was still the ugly, weird and fat kid. This nightmare ended after middle school.

About a year before graduating from middle school I started working out. Of course, results did not show that quickly but I was getting there. After middle school I decided to continue my studies in a different city and different school. Things seemed to get better – my schoolmates did not care about my looks at all and the fat shaming was over. However, soon after that when my workout results finally started showing, I experienced something as uncomfortable which was skinny shaming. As I continued to workout, my stomach rolls disappeared, hip bones, ribs and collar bones started showing a little bit more. I was eating healthier than before and still had normal BMI, however, my parents started getting worried with no apparent reason. I started getting a lot of comments from them that I workout too much and suggested me to workout less and eat more. I could not understand their reaction. I finally started feeling better about my body after all the fat shaming and now this? My parents have never been on the thin side, so this fact made me nervous from early childhood. Will I look like this when I grow up? I didn’t want to. I wanted to be like one of those fit, happy girls you can see on Pinterest and Instagram. Why was is such a bad idea? My parents should have been happy that I wasn’t one of those girls, who look at thinspo every day and starve themselves.

During last  4 years I’ve been working out and eating healthier but their remarks didn’t stop. Especially from my dad. I wanted to feel better about my body and love it but comments like: “You should eat more. Your breasts have become smaller. Your hip bones are showing too much. Your ribs are showing too much. Are you trying to starve yourself? The way you look isn’t healthy. Stop starving yourself. Stop working out so much.” made me insecure and unhappy. You might think that having a slimmer body would make me more confident. It didn’t. I still listened to what people are saying about it. I felt insecure about my hip bones and the fact that I sometimes got bruises on them after workouts, I felt stressed out because I couldn’t find pants that fit me just right. Most of them were too tight in the area of my thighs and too loose around my waist. I felt insecure about my breasts that were never too big but now got even smaller. I was jealous to girls, who could wear nice lingerie, push up bras and actually have something to put inside them. I was almost flat, I still am.

I shouldn’t hate my body, I should love it and you should do the same with yours. It’s okay to have thick thighs, it’s okay to have tiny breasts, it’s okay have boyish body with no curves or very curvy one without small waist. I’m here to tell you what no one has told me – love your body the way it is now. It doesn’t matter, if people tell you that you’re too skinny, too muscular or too chubby. There is no such thing as perfect bikini body and you shouldn’t stress about getting it. There is not one universal body shape everyone should and would be able to fit. No matter what body type you have, it has its own beauty. Stop listening to media and society in general, who’s telling you that you need an ass like Kim Kardashian or body like Keira Knightley, or that you can’t wear crop tops because your stomach isn’t perfectly flat. Wear what makes you feel good, don’t torture yourself in order to look like someone else. You already have a full package of what you need. Sure, you can do some ab workouts or squats, eat more veggies and treat it like a temple but… never take it for granted. You are beautiful in your own skin – embrace it here and now.

That’s all for this week’s blog post. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as enjoyed writing it. See you next week with another great article. 🙂

Love, Porcelain Doll.

Being fit does not always mean loving your body.

Fit, blonde girl in yoga pants and sports bra.

Hello, dear readers! Social media, magazines, commercials and movies are full of images of hot bodies. More concretely – fit bodies. We are overwhelmed with titles of blog posts and magazine articles like “How to get in shape for summer”, “How to lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks” etc. Even more – authors of these resources are trying to tell us that, if we lose 10 pounds, get a flatter stomach or thinner thighs, we will like ourselves more. Hell, we might even love ourselves. However, that’s not true. Let me tell you my story about how I tried to change my life by becoming fit.

I was never the sporty type of kid in school. In fact, I was the one, who was hiding behind all others and hoping that somehow the teacher would not notice me and I could skip high jumping or rope climbing. Maybe I would have tried but the teacher just didn’t care enough to motivate me. Maybe… but the others would have still laughed at me, right? I grew up hearing phrases like: “Ew, she’s fat.” , “Oh my God, look at her ugly face!” and other similar ones every school day. I am pretty sure that I could count the days that passed with no such comments on fingers of a one hand. Not many, honestly. I kind of knew that my bullies weren’t right – I was not fat, just a little bit chubby like a lot of kids in their childhood and early teenage years. However, at that point I didn’t pay much attention that it was normal. All I kept hearing were those mean phrases, repeated every day. And not by one or few people – at least ten if not more of them. These thoughts got stuck in my head and I started to feel more and more uncomfortable in my own body. “Damn,” I though to myself. “my thighs are actually huge and I hate that my stomach isn’t as flat as it should be.” I started to hate what I wear and how I look because so many people reminded me, how much they hate it. Around the age of thirteen I started spending about a half an hour, sometimes even more on my makeup, trying to make it look as good as possible. I thought that maybe it could help me cover up my insecurities and make my, so-called, ugly face more beautiful. I did my best to look better, naively hoping that it will make them stop. How foolish – nothing changed. I hated myself and constantly asked myself: “Why me? Why am I the ugly one? Why can’t I look like my friends? They don’t get even the third part of the mean comments that I get.” This first part of the story continued until the age of fifteen.

One summer I thought to myself – enough is enough. I don’t want to be the ugly girl anymore. I’m sick of having huge thighs and a little chubby belly. I am going to workout to get the body I want and that will make me feel more confident! I started out small – with about 30 squats, 30 sit ups and 30 reps of some other kind of exercise daily. There was nothing more I wanted than just to get those results. This was kind of similar to the makeup part – I hoped it would make me feel more confident and keep the bullies away. Side note – if kids have no apparent reason to be mean to you, they will make something up in their heads. It doesn’t matter, if you have glasses or not, if you’re fat or not, if you’re teacher’s pet or not – they will come up with something. Like Dita Von Teese said: “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be someone, who hates peaches.” However, I didn’t know that at the time. So kept trying and pushing harder with every month. I used work out every day and sometimes I skipped a day or two, or ate something unhealthy, I hated my guts for some time. How did I dare to do this to myself? I need to reach this goal, I can’t self sabotage myself right now! My workout plan changes with time but I still managed to exercise more than 2 years straight in a row. My body looked better than ever but I still didn’t feel confident enough. I used to look in the mirror and look for imperfections. “My abs are not showing, my arms are too thin and shapeless…” I used to think to myself. I was on this journey that should have been incredibly exciting but somehow I wasn’t excited. Even though I noticed that I had made some kind of progress, it was never enough and the feeling of frustration never really left me.

Some time in November of 2016 I gradually stopped working out at all. I was so sick of this endless frustration and never feeling confident about my body. Whenever I started exercising, there was a little voice in my head that said: “You hate doing this and you still haven’t gotten your dream body after two years. Why even bother?” So I quit and focused on eating less and healthier while I lost about 8 kg until May 2017. Month later I got off the meds and started recovering from everything that had happened. I’ve spent way too long time in this trance-like state, not really caring about anything, not really wanting anything and sleeping way too much. I couldn’t help but sometimes wonder – is this how my life is going to pass? Am I going to exist all the time that I have left in this world?

Getting off meds wasn’t hard but I really had no idea what to expect afterwards. Will I need to use them again? Hopefully not. So I got the courage and told myself: “Listen, you need to get your life together. It’s not going to be easy but you can do it. Stop putting yourself down. Some other person is probably doing it, so why join them and make yourself feel even shittier?” Later on I came up with the 3 task idea. As you probably know, depression basically turns you into a zombie. You don’t care about anything, you don’t want to do anything but sleep and it’s not easy to get out of this cycle. The 3 task idea is pretty simple. Just wake up in the morning and get 3 things done that day. Even if it’s just watering your plants, washing two dirty plates and making your bed. It’s small but it’s still a progress. Later, when I felt like I’m ready to do more, I added more tasks and – voila! – now, in September I’m pretty well-functioning average person. The fact that I came to this point has already raised my self-esteem. When it comes to body image – I realized that I am a human being. I don’t need to be perfect. In fact – I don’t think there are people in this world that have naturally perfect bodies and who maintain them without doing much. Some of as have huge thighs, some of us have small breasts, some of us don’t have perfectly flat stomach but hey, it’s okay! For example, yes, my thighs are still not on the thin side but at least my waist is slim. Life is just way too short to worry about my imperfections and constantly blame myself for not fitting some unrealistic standard. Also, this reminds me one quote I recently found on Pinterest and now it’s added to my cork board in my work room.

hero-today-im-channelling_sarah-silverman

So that’s my journey from hating my body to finally feeling comfortable in my own skin. The moral of the story is – being fit does not always mean loving your body. It’s not about working out, it’s about putting yourself in the right mindset and accepting who you really are. Sure, you can lose those 10 pounds, if you want to but before you do that just stop and ask yourself: “Do I want to do that because I feel the pressure from others and want fit some strange standard? Do I want to do it because I don’t like my body?” If the answer is yes, you’re doing it for all the wrong reasons. You don’t have to be the next Jen Selter, you can live a great life in the body you already have. So what if those thighs jiggle a little? You’re not a Barbie doll that’s made of plastic. Let them haters talk but do not become one of them. Remember, there are only two chances – you can either be your worst enemy or your best friend. Chose wisely.

Love, Porcelain Doll.

Living with panic disorder.

Hello, my dear readers! I have mentioned before in this blog that I am battling depression. What I did not mention before is the fact that I also have a panic disorder. What does that mean, you may ask? Having a panic disorder means experiencing sudden panic attacks, sometimes in stressful situations, sometimes at random moments for no apparent reason at all. In those moments symptoms like nausea, shortness of breath, light-headedness, shaking and derealization or depersonalization may be experienced. Personally I can go without panic attacks for weeks, even months and then suddenly have one again. I do not remember having them under the age of sixteen. When I finished elementary school and moved to another city, that is when I probably had my first panic attack. It happened in a Latvian lesson. I was called up to the blackboard to write down a simple sentence and analyze it. What could I be worried about? I was always good at languages and my native language was no exception. As soon as I walked up to the blackboard, my head started spinning, my heart was going way too fast and I was catching my breath, barely even reading the sentence. At that moment everything felt so unreal, yet I knew that everyone was watching me and I could not help but wonder – is it visible to them that I am having a panic attack in front of the whole class? How embarrassing! I just wanted to run away and hide until it is over.

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After the first attack I experienced several more in next few years. Symptoms were the same but situations sometimes changed. I had a panic attack while reciting a poem in front of a class, I had it in my guitar lesson when I did not feel physically good and was worried that my teacher would get mad at me for not trying hard enough. Also, panic attacks occurred in such simple every day cases like ordering food at the restaurant while being abroad or visiting a local bank to get a new credit card.

I wish I could just get rid of the panic disorder but I does not happen like that. I can only have good days and bad days. Sadly, I never know which one this will be. I guess, I just have to accept the fact that I am one of the people, who experience this. There is not much I can do about it, except for taking pills but I am so done with all the medication that is used for treating mental disorders. I do not want to go into the same apathetic state where I did not want to do anything at all because I just did not feel anything or care about anything. I will rather have annoying mood swings than never-ending apathy. Living with any kind of mental disorder is not easy at all. I guess, the first thing I have to do is fully accept that I have it and it might interfere with some of my every day activities. It is okay, things like that happen. I am definitely not the only one, dealing with this.

In case you are battling depression, anxiety, panic disorder or any different kind of mental disorder, do not hesitate to message me. I will try to support you the best way I can because feeling of helplessness is not new to me. We will try to live this life the best way we can. Having a mental illness does not mean you have to spend all day locked in your house and watch as the life passes by.

Love, Porcelain Doll.