Carrie Cotton

Just a Girl In The World Sharing The Ups and Downs of a Messy Life

I caught myself staring at my legs recently.  More accurately, the vericose veins that decorate them like a road map.

“Uggg.  I wish I could get rid of these. “  Then I remembered, my mom had them too. It’s a way of feeling connected in some strange way. I still wished they weren’t quite so visable.

These last few months have been a real struggle for me.  I’m not quite sure why.

Back in January I did something I’ve never done. I learned to dance.  I danced in front of a few hundred people, in the name of charity.  It pushed me through all sorts of emotions.  My confidence dropped.  I was forced to look at myself in the mirrors of the practice studio.  I felt defeated.  Not only did I not know how to dance, but I was dealing with feeling so uncomfortable in my skin. I didn’t like how I looked. And the more I hated on my reflection, the worse I felt in everything else I did.

It was a struggle, even if it was an amazing experience.  The night of the show I felt like Cinderella at the ball. Hair and makeup done. Not one, but two, beautiful dresses. Sparkly shoes. We almost won. The flowers, the compliments – the ATTENTION.  It was amazing.

When it was over, the adjustment back to real life was a bit tough.  The downward spiral continued.  I was losing myself.  I felt out of control.  Disappointed. Frustrated. Lacking in everything. Invisible. Forgotten.

I wanted to feel good about myself again, but felt so far away from that point.  Exercise didn’t seem to be working. It wasn’t enough.  Maybe it just wasn’t enough for me.  Maybe it wasn’t enough because I was searching for something I would never find.

Searching to be like someone else.  Searching for someone else’s results. Searching for someone else’s dream. Someone else’s goal.  Someone else’s life.

It’s a pattern with me that I am just starting to break free from.

It’s taken a lot of years.  At least now I am becoming more aware of what I’m doing.

I remember starting high school, and wanting to look like a girl I loved watching on TV. Anybody remember Degrassi JR High? Yep. I had a picture. And I took that picture to the hair salon. I just KNEW that if I could look like her life would be different. Right? I could be one of the popular girls. I would fit in. I would be pretty.

A lot riding on one hair cut.

My hair cut was devastating. It was so awful. Seriously. So short. No style. Nothing like the picture. Nobody chooses this on purpose.

grade nine

What a way to start a brand new year of school. Not to mention we had just moved from the big city to the country, and I was already the one everybody picked on. Now they just had one more reason. Or so I imagined.  It took forever to grow that out.

As high school went on, I wanted curls like the other girls had but I was stuck with straight hair. I would spend so much time with the curling iron trying to get it to look like “them”. It never worked. It was always straight before I even got off the bus.

As I got older, I would compare myself to the women on the magazine cover. I followed the fad diets.  I analyzed relationships.  Always trying to be like someone else.  Thinking, if my relationship wasn’t like it said it should be, I was a failure. If only I could be like HER. If only.

I nearly cried as I sat in the hair dresser chair, hoping the next cut would help me look like someone else. Anyone else. Just not me. Always disappointing when I still had my same average face.

I made myself so unhappy in doing that. I just wish I’d realized it sooner. It would have saved me so much stress and frustration.

So today I am a work in progress. I still have my moments where I start to wish for something else. Someone’s hair, or lips, or perfect legs. Ones without the veins. (smile)

But I quickly remind myself that I am who I am.  Grey hair.  Belly.  Vericose veins.  I’m embracing the imperfection. The self perceived flaws.  I’m allowing myself the freedom to be me.  I’ve slowed down the search to be someone else and it feels so good.

I’m kinda excited about this new journey I am on. I’m excited to be excited again!  Excited to feel strong and determined and focused on just being ok with being me.

It’s a combination of things.  Embracing the flaws. Ignoring the negative talk in your mind. And doing things that make you smile and laugh and love life.

It’s a beautiful freedom I never expected and it feels so good!

pant suit




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