By fire dancer, 2014-03-25
Six months before my 30th birthday, I decided I was going to quit smoking. In order for my insurance to pay for Chantix, I had to attend smoking cessation classes. This was the beginning of the rest of my life. In these classes we were taught about changing our language. Instead of I NEED a cigarette, it was to become I WANT a cigarette. Instead of I WANT a cigarette but I CANT, it was to become I CAN have a cigarette, but I dont WANT one. We were also supposed to develop a mantra, something to chant to help us through a craving. Mine was on the generic basis of I think, therefore I am. With that in mind I came up with simply saying, I do not want a cigarette over and over in my head until the craving passed. I had my last cigarette on September 28th 2010. I translated this into other aspects of my life.
I used to spend hours in front of a mirror and in salons, thousands of dollars on cosmetics and clothes. I was obsessed with looking beautiful, attempting to recreate the images in magazines and television. This put my self-esteem at a major low. How was I to know I was beautiful? I was consumed by what other people thought of me. My husband told me everyday he thought I was beautiful, but this didnt count; he was supposed to think that. I had children and my body changed and he still told me how beautiful I was to him. That wasnt enough for me. I wanted to be beautiful to EVERYONE, and how could I with all of these stretch marks, this loose skin, freckles, frizzy hair, puffy eyes, pale skinthe list went on and on in my head, the list of all the things wrong with me. Then it dawned on me, I think, therefor I am. I was constantly thinking about all of the things that were wrong with me, so I only saw those things. When I would start to spiral into that thought process, just like when I would crave a cigarette, I would chant to myself over and over in my head, I am beautiful. After a couple of months I gained confidence, I lost weight, my skin cleared up so I was wearing less make-upso my skin was healthier. I was actually becoming more beautiful. The final push was 2 years ago. I had always admired women with dreadlocks, the confidence they showed and the beauty they embraced. A beauty outside of the normal conventions I used to be so obsessed with. After a little research, a huge show of support from my husband, and a whole lot of excitement, I decided to go for it. Through the process of allowing my hair to dread naturally, I have learned patience and to care a whole lot less about what others think of me. I am happy, I am healthy, and I am beautiful.