What a Difference a Year Makes

Our theme this month is strong women, but I guess I’m going to kind of deviate from that. Deal with it. We state in the About Us that this blog is for whatever we feel like writing about. And right now I feel like writing about finding my happy.

It’s no secret that I’ve been feeling happier for a while now. My tweets have been much more upbeat and less negative. I’ve written a little bit here about how my happiness has influenced how much of my body I share on the internet. But, in truth, I’m having difficulty expressing just how happy I am. Sometimes I struggle because I often feel  like I don’t deserve this much happy in my life, which, intellectually, I know is just plain stupid. But still, there are times when I have to remind myself that this is real.

In the past six months, I’ve made a lot of difficult decisions that have brought me to this point in my life. I won’t say that everything I’ve gone through hasn’t been stressful. When I’m feeling stressed and overwhelmed, I tend to lose my appetite, so my weight has fluctuated quite a bit; all told, I think I lost almost 10 pounds over the course of the last year. Not good when I was already underweight by most standards  to begin with. The worst part? I went down a cup size because of all the weight I lost. I threatened a suicide note full of scrawled Bs if I went down another cup size, but things appear to be holding steady. Snort.

While I’ve been feeling happier for a while, I had no proof, other than just feeling lighter and freer. Yesterday, I got my hair cut. As an aside, I’m really bad at keeping up with my hair. I’ll go six months without getting my hair cut. Oops. So it had likely been several months since my hair had been cut last. My stylist had been trying to talk me into highlights for the longest, so I finally said, “Fuck it,” and went for it. I love the results.

What a difference a year makes

When I got out of the salon, I took a picture of my new hair in my car and posted the picture to both Twitter and Facebook. When I got home, I was clicking through my Mobile Uploads album on Facebook and came across a picture taken just over a year ago, right after I had my hair cut. I was in almost the exact same pose. The only thing really different is my face.

I look at the picture on the left from February of last year and I see dead eyes and a forced smile. I’m reminded of the person I used to be and I can’t help but wonder how I never noticed that face staring back at me in the mirror. Was it because I never had a truly happy face to compare it to? Or do you just not notice those things about yourself? All I know is that I look like a completely different person in the picture on the right. And I like that person on the right a whole hell of a lot better. The person I was a year ago hid how unhappy she was and tried to keep it together. She sobbed on her way home from work because she didn’t want to go home. She ignored her problems and hoped they would go away. Spoiler alert: her problems didn’t go away, so she was forced to confront them head-on, but I don’t remember the last time I cried. I smile a lot more and laugh more easily.

It takes a lot of strength to admit mistakes you’ve made in your life and work to move on from them. I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but not everyone goes through the things I have and comes out this happy only six months later. Is it egotistical of me to call myself a strong woman? Oh, fuck it.

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11 Responses to “What a Difference a Year Makes”

  1. kelly says:

    It’s not only not egotistical, but you gotta remember you deserve all the happiness you allow yourself to have. And there’s no reason to think you don’t.

    • Bitchy Librarian says:

      You’re right. I just have such a hard time accepting that I deserve good things. It’s one of my many issues. HA. Thanks. :)

      • kelly says:

        I have been working through some of the same thoughts myself with the happiness thing, but it’s one of those things you can’t deny yourself of. Screw what anyone else thinks because all that matters in the end is YOU and making YOU happy.

  2. Anna says:

    Yay! I have had a similar experience over the last year and a half, and it makes a world of difference to have moments when I realize I’m just . . . happy. Time to get used to it! I’m glad you’re able to reflect on these things.

    • Bitchy Librarian says:

      Right? I have those exact same kind of moments. I just smile for no reason now. What the hell? How does that happen?! It is hard to get used to, I think. I feel like I’m waiting for something bad to happen. Does that happen to you?

      • Anna says:

        On and off. I try not to think about it and be more in the moment. Sure, shit is going to happen. But I have friends and family and a girlfriend and a small boy to help me make it through.

        Basically, my therapist had to pound it in to me that it was OK for me to want to be happy, and that I should take care of myself before I spend all my energy on everyone else. It doesn’t always stick, but it’s sticking more than it used to.

        • Bitchy Librarian says:

          I need to work on the being in the moment thing. That sounds like a good idea.

          It’s hard to accept wanting to be happy, I think, especially if you had people other people before yourself for so long. I’m glad you’re finding your happy, too. :)

  3. John says:

    Wow — I know you’re the same person, but those pictures truly look like two very different people. So very glad you’re finding your happy. You deserve to spend lots of time with your happy. Lots.

    • Bitchy Librarian says:

      Right? It’s so obvious how sad I looked last year. It makes me wonder why no one noticed it. Maybe I always looked that sad.

      Thanks, John. :)

  4. Lou Lange says:

    You have every right to call yourself a strong woman. It is amazing what the smallest thing can do to help the good feelings roll on. Continue to be strong and keep the faith!

    • Bitchy Librarian says:

      Thank you! :)

      And you’re absolutely right. Even the smallest things can make you feel amazing.