Part 1 of my mental recovery: body image

Girl in a pink tshirt and jean shorts laying on the ground, covering her face with her hands.

Hello, dear readers! I have published a lot of casual blog posts on Dolls Have Hearts lately, however, today I wanted to talk about something more personal and reach out to those who are dealing with the same issue. I am not sharing this story for pity or just to whine, I am doing it as a promise to myself and you that I will get better.

I barely remember the last time when I felt comfortable enough in my own skin and didn’t worry about my jiggling thighs. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time to when I was only 5 years old. At that time I was careless kid whose mind was not ruined by opinions of others. Fast forward 10 years later. Fifteen year old is full of doubts, constantly checking her stomach and thighs online, working out every day for an hour even if I am sore from yesterday’s workout. She felt guilty about every slice of cake, every ice cream and can of soda she had because in her mind there was this perfect version of herself with a perfect body and she had to be that version… Every time she had to wear shorts, this girl felt really self-conscious and though everyone was staring at her, judging all of her flaws and wondering – why the hell doesn’t she look like Ariana Grande or some other celebrity on the cover of Glamour?

Fast forwarding to this very moment, to almost twenty year old version of myself. I have made a promise to myself that I will get my confidence back and fall in love with the body I have, instead of focusing of some sort of perfect version of my body that exists only in my mind. See, the problem is not my body, it is my perception of it. I came to this conclusion when I not only reached my goal weight but even went few kilograms under it, yet still felt unhappy. Just few months ago I thought that I will have to live with distorted body image forever. All these celebrities with perfect bodies, Instagram famous fitness trainers and guys that bullied me every day for 9 nine years straight have fucked up my mind too badly… right? Wrong. I have talked about victim mentality and depression on my blog before and I refuse to keep that mentality for the rest of my life. That is exactly why I started breaking out of this mental cage now and started doing few things to recover.

My first step to recovery was starting to attend dance lessons. I know what you are thinking: “Yeah, that’s lovely but what does it have to do with your self perception? You are still working with your body not mind.” In a way you are correct, however, two types of dancing I decided to pick up are burlesque and pole fit. If you have tried any of these yourself or even watched them, you know how much bravery and strength it takes. Confidence and persistence is the key, and you have to be ready to get new bruises in the most random places every time you go to a lesson. Your body might be sore the next day and even few days after when you are just the beginner but those types of dancing definitely give me the confidence boost that I needed so much. One more thing that I noticed while attending dance classes – they are not only for skinny and fit girls who are already good at everything. They are for everyone, who wants to improve themselves, no matter if your stomach is perfectly flat or not, no matter if you have stretch marks or not.

My second step was writing down everything I ate in a day. I am not counting calories, however, I wanted to make sure that I get rid of the silly “overeating followed by starving myself” habit. I have added food log to my weekly spread, writing down what I ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as snacks. In food log I also track water intake in a day, just to make sure that I don’t forget to stay hydrated.

My third step was picking art journalling (again). I have used my art journal previously to deal with issues such as depression and anxiety, however, I quit using my art journal for a while just because I left it back at home. During this break without free creative expression I started to feel uneasy, so I bought new plain notebook and started putting my thoughts and feelings on pages in form of drawings and written text. It does not matter what type of mental health problem are you dealing with, art journal has given me huge relief pretty much every time.

These three steps are the only ones I have taken so far in my self-acceptance journey but I am proud of myself that I was brave enough to begin. If you are dealing with the same problem as I am, just know that you are not alone and you can get better. You are not stuck with one type of mindset for the rest of your life and you have the capacity to start making small changes today. Until next time on Dolls Have Hearts!

P.S. I do apologize that I am publishing this post so late on Thursday night but it still made an effort to publish a post today and I truly put all of my heart into this. I hope you enjoyed it. 🙂

Love, Porcelain Doll.

 

10 red flags you should not ignore in your new workplace.

man in a suit, sitting at the table and having a phone conversation

Dear readers! My life has been kind of hectic for the past two or three weeks and the main concern of mine has been work. Before I was so worried about being unemployed that I did not realize that being employed but working in an emotionally abusive environment is worse that being unemployed. Today is the day I realize I can not tolerate it anymore and the things that have been happening to me are not normal. Why am I sharing this? Because I do not want you to go through the same unpleasant experience I went through. Learn from my mistakes. Let’s begin!

  1. You get promised unrealistic salary, comparing to average salary in the industry. In this case I am talking about waitressing. In Latvia average salary of a waitress is 590 euros, according to website algas.lv . When I saw the advertisement and went to interview, I was a little surprised that I got promised 1000 to 1500 euros monthly, if I do my job well, however, at that time some people told me that such salary might be realistic in a capital city, especially, if I work in an area which tourists visit quite often. Turns out I was wrong – most waitresses do not earn that much, especially, if they are working only 15 days a month or less. Life lesson – check average salary in the industry in your city or at least country, if possible.
  2. You start the job with no previous experience, get promised training but never receive it. It is still a mystery, why I have not received the training they promised me about two weeks ago but it is what it is. Just another shady thing in the mix.
  3. Your boss talks shit behind your and your coworkers’ back. Major red flag that I foolishly ignored at first. I thought that maybe someone is a really bad employee and deserves all the bad words that were said about them but… no. If your boss is badmouthing a certain person behind their back, she / he is probably doing the same to you.
  4. You get promised a certain work schedule that is never made or made without you having a say in it. Even though waitressing is the type of job that ignores your brother’s birthday, national celebration or something similar, schedule has to be made. If it says in the contract that next month’s schedule is made in the previous month with signed agreement of all employees and it is not, that is just another red flag. You deserve a boss, who respects your time. When you work, you are all in. When you visit your family or rest, you deserve to enjoy it instead of stressing out about being randomly called in to work.
  5. You have toxic colleagues. Waitressing is one of those jobs where teamwork is incredibly important. However, in a way it just like playing basketball – if someone in your own team sabotages or ignores you, successful teamwork is impossible. Besides – if your colleague is telling bad things about your to your boss, you are in trouble even more.
  6. Your boss is constantly criticizing you. This time I am not talking about constructive criticism which actually improves the quality of the work. I am talking about the type of critique that lowers your self-esteem, increases the level of stress and decreases your ability to work. In my case I was too stressed that I started to suffer from panic attacks again which made me incapable of doing my job as well as I could. (To know more about how it feels to live with a panic disorder, read this post.)
  7. There is no equality in workplace and rules constantly change. One day I was supposed to use the tray, another I was told not to use it. One day I was supposed to answer to phone calls, on another it was forbidden to do so. My colleague can do whatever she wants, break as many glasses as she wishes, be clumsy, slow and fuck up stuff, and get away with it but as soon as I make a mistake, I am repeatedly told, how much I suck at this job.
  8. Your boss and/or your colleagues do not want to help you, if you do not understand or can not find something. For fuck’s sake… Do you want me to succeed at this job or make a fool out of myself? Without any previous experience I am doing the last one because you deny your help whenever I need it. So what, if it is my fifth day at work and I can not find toothpicks? Be a decent person and help me, instead of looking down on me.
  9. Employees change often. If it is not even your second week yet and you have seen more than one person leaving and new, naive people coming in place, it is a bad sign. Even worse, if the place you work for a looking for employees for months but can not  find dedicated ones.
  10. Your boss is never open for new ideas. “We have always done it this way and that is it. Changing something is not necessary and will not work.” It does not matter that at some point you are excited to make improvements in your job, you are too young and dumb to offer valuable ideas.

I could probably dig up some more red flags that are quite common not only in my workplace but also in many others but I will not. Let’s stop here. The next thing that I have to do today is take a nap and then go to the city centre to quit the damn job. I have pride, I know my worth and I will not let anyone make me feel like I am less than. And neither should you. If you have noticed more than one of these red flags in your own workplace, I would suggest you to reconsider working there. If you are putting all your time, energy and effort into work and it still is quite bad, quit it. Your mental and physical health is something valuable and no amount of money can buy it back once it is damaged. Take care!

Love, Porcelain Doll.

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.

 

The real reason I’m not very active on social media.

girl looking at her smartphone and smiling

Hello, dear readers! Today I wanted to talk to you about something more personal instead of sharing inspiring content. Real talk is necessary sometimes, too. If you’ve been following me on Twitter, Facebook, Bloglovin, Instagram or Pinterest, you may have noticed that I’m not very consistent at posting and I don’t post as often as I should have. A lot of bloggers are often active on social media, interract with their fans and are happy to be on those platforms. Well, not me. If you have been following Dolls Have Hearts for a while, you know that blogging isn’t the only or main thing in my life. I love writing with all my heart but I still have priorities like graduating from Music high school and a day job. Those priorities need quite a lot of socializing and energy, so when I finally come home after a lonnng day away, I’m exhausted. And, as an introvert, when I’m exhausted, the last thing I want to do is dive in Twitter or Instagram, see what drama everyone’s been interested in right now and how amazing everyone’s lives are.

I know that social media takes huge role in bloggers’ lives but… it really overwhelms me. Even if I’d use social media post scheduler, it still means I have to think about what kind of content to post and it takes time. The fact that I haven’t been consistent with blogging and posting on social media before makes me even more stressed. Although, on a positive note, I’m proud that one month of 2018 has almost passed and I’ve successfuly posted on my blog every single week without failing. Besides – I’ve posted only quality content. No more ranting posts in here like it used to be few years ago. Anyways, back to the topic of social media. Until this time I’ve been trying to stay active on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Bloglovin and Instagram because I thought – than more sites I used, than more new visitors I can bring to my site. Well, not really. The key is posting quality content consistently not only on blog but also on social media sites. For example, if I’d pin 5 pins a week,  pin each day and then disappear for few days, I couldn’t grow my Pinterest following at all. People follow each other for a reason – they expect new and exciting content regularly. You get the point. I have no problem with Pinterest because I find a lot of inspiration there but Facebook and Twitter is kind of tough. If not the blog page on Facebook, the only thing I use it for is keeping in touch with my friends and relatives. That’s it. When it comes to Twitter – I used to be a huge fan of it about 4 – 5 years ago, mainly because of the chance to see what my favorite celebrities like Lady GaGa or Taylor Swift are up to.

So, in general, social media for me is good only in small doses and mainly for entertainment purposes. Except Pinterest. Pinterest is life. However, I deleted my Instagram account because the pressure to keep posting regularly pictures from my life, which does not feel that exciting most of the time, was too overwhelming. And seeing my follower count drop as soon as I couldn’t find time and content to post wasn’t exciting. You have probably heard a lot about uncluttering, removing stuff from your life that doesn’t make you happy. Mostly those videos and blog posts tell you about throwing out old clothes, broken stuff etc which is a great idea. I decided to take this a little further and get rid of social media that doesn’t make me happy and deleted my Instagram. Bloglovin is still debatable, however, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook will stay. I don’t make a promise to post every day on all of these accounts because I would not be able to keep it. I will stay as active as I can and do my best – that’s all I can say.

I truly appreciate every single person, who takes his or her time in the day to read my blog, like the latest post and comment. It means a lot to be heard. It means a lot to be relatable, helpful and inspiring – that’s the message I will continue spreading. Thank you for being here. My blog wouldn’t be the same without any of you.

 

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.