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On feeling like a girl October 1, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Fashion, Makeup/Cosmetics, Travel.
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Generally, I don’t really care how I look when I travel. Let’s be honest – I am not out here to “pull” anyone, I’m here to enjoy a country and experience the best it has to offer. Whether or not I look presentable or not isn’t really the priority here. In addition, I’m travelling. I don’t have that same easy access to girly bits and pieces, to straighteners and hairdryers and far too many pairs of shoes. If I was going to worry about my looks, I would be fighting a losing battle. Plus, if someone I meet is going to judge me based on whether or not they think I look good enough, then my normal approach to life still applies – they simply aren’t worth knowing.

As it happens, I think, most people don’t judge me. I have sported some pretty funky hairstyles these past weeks, I’ve spent nearly every day makeup free and blinking like a newborn foal in the sun, I’ve worn the same clothes all the time (and a secret relief it has been too).

However, that doesn’t stop the girly qualities catching up every now and then. Those days that actually anyone of any gender, of any inclination, can have. The morning when they wake up a little fragile, for some reason not approaching the world with quite the same casual ease as they normally do. And when that happens, you either battle on in your androgyny, or you accept the situation and do something to make yourself feel better. For me, I dyed my hair – no easy feat I belatedly realised, in the restricted facilities of even the best hostel. I also put makeup on – I may rarely wear it, but I have a basic little selection with me for just such an “emergency”.

And today? I feel pretty. People have told me I look nice (OK, drunken people, but who’s counting?!). Tomorrow, I’ll be off the makeup again. But for today, I needed to feel like a girl.

What I like about me… August 17, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Depression, Inspiration, Life, Chatter & Politics.
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On the advice of the beautiful Sharon from Queen In Heels, I am taking a break from the maudlin ponderings of my life to think about what I like about myself. Because, well, there must be some things, and one of the main annoying characteristics of feeling sad is that you tend to forget them!

So, what do I like? Apparently I have to list 10 things…

1. My sense of humour. It is remarkably silly, and fluctuates between making the most immature jokes known to man, and actually being quite witty. It makes me laugh, enough so that I don’t actually care what other people think of it!

2. My bum! I have always like my derrière, it fills out trousers and can give a sexy pencil skirts a run for their money. Essentially it is eminently grabbable, and it is the one piece of me I wouldn’t ever change!

3. My brain. My brain  is one part of me that rarely lets me down. With the exception of the fact that it can’t get its chemical balance right, and consequently can’t deal with normal life stresses, it is pretty damn good. It gives me room for facts and figures, politics, useless knowledge, and shoes. I love that it can fit everything I need in, apart from names, which it clearly deems unimportant…

4. My eyes. They are a dark grey blue colour, and I really like them. I have received complements on them in the past, and I generally feel that they are just different enough to the crowd to make them worthy of praise.

5. My confidence. This is a reasonably new addition to my personality, but nowadays I am actually quite confident. I can laugh, joke and hold quality conversation with total strangers, and I have the balls to network in a room full of people I don’t know. Knowing that I can hold my own in life is a great feeling!

6. My attitude. I am very liberal, very left wing, and very accepting of others. To me this is something to be proud of, although with right wing repressive conservatives I may not be very popular…

7. My shoes. OK, so they aren’t technically me, but they are a representation of my personality and my confidence. I own a pair of shoes for every mood, and I think they are pretty enough to be proud of!

8. My talents. I used to think I had no talents – other people were there with their blinding abilities, whilst I just pottered along. However, I have realised that I do have talents – I can write really well, I can paint, I can draw, I can take photographs. I do have abilities!

9. My arms. Once upon a time I would have preferred my legs (see photo below for why! Oh, how I miss those days!), but they aren’t as good now. My arms, however, generally don’t go pudgy and saggy, thanks to muscle memory from the days when I exercised lots! Woop!

10. My craziness. It makes people uncomfortable and awkward, but the fact that I am a little bit bonkers has always been something I like about myself. After all, there is no bullshit – I am who I am, and I never bother to pretend otherwise. So there!

Well, this post took a long time to write – I got stuck at about 6! But I thought of 10, in the end, and that has made me feel a bit better! Woo! I thoroughly recommend this to anyone – give yourself some love!

Body Issues May 22, 2009

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Depression, Life, Chatter & Politics.
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Today (and for the past few days) I have been having to deal with a massive wave of body self loathing. I’m not my biggest fan at the best of times, so periods like this are especially hard to deal with. It is particularly difficult when I am having to pack skimpy summer outfits and think about bikinis.

My own illogicality is starting to wind Ben up. He spends so much of his time trying to reassure me, as I cry and berate and beat myself up about the imaginary lumps bumps and horrible self I see before me. I wonder if he is close to giving up on me, as silly and self-destructive and miserable as I am. Since we first started going out I have been systematically trying to find reasons we shouldn’t be together, reasons why he shouldn’t like me, ways to push him away and banish him to the realms of good memories – things that didn’t last. Luckily for me he is a stunningly (annoyingly) resilient fellow, battered down by little and stubborn enough to beat even me. Now, however, my inability to see the good things – the holiday, the sun, the fact we are happy and both have good lives – seems to be digging away at him.

I would love to stop, and become the loving and enthusiastic girl that resides underneath this self-hating exterior. Unfortunately, currently, this girl is trapped. I don’t have the foggiest idea how to draw her out, and sense a metaphorical carrot (preferable dipped in chocolate) is needed. I need a healthy dose of unpoisoned reality, a harsh look in the mirror at what I have become.

The facts? I’m reasonable looking (more so once I finally get my hair cut, it’s currently at a kink outwards stage… I can see it marching along. Kink Out! Kink Out! DO NOT LET THE BRUSH DEFEAT YOU!), have a reasonable-to-good body, have friends (although I am very lonely at the moment), have a boyfriend who loves me and a work where I am interested most of the time. I just can’t see it!

Sorry everyone, a miserable post today. But I needed to vent, to put my feelings down on paper and have a whine about it. I just hope that over the weekend I manage to do something about the self-hate that is damaging me, before it gets beyond repair.


To gain or not to gain November 19, 2008

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Uncategorized.
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I’ve started worrying, for a change, about my weight. Now, I am in no way overweight. I weigh in at about 9 1/2 stone, and unfortunately always show as underweight on BMI scales. Which, to be honest, isn’t all that fair – I eat as much as I can, and I officially love food!

However, recently my physical activity has plummeted, and my eating has rocketed. I keep finding myself sat down with a chocolate bar, and before I know it the creamy, sweet substance has found its way into my over enthusiastic gullet. Now, my favourite trousers and dresses won’t do up around my rather wobbly belly, and although I’m a 10/12 size-wise, I cannot admit it. If nothing else, I don’t want to have to go out and buy a whole new collection of clothes.

I like my old and treasured collection, to which I gradually add quirky and day-to-day pieces, and with which I’m utterly familiar and comfortable. The idea of starting again, though perhaps appealing to my inner shopaholic, absolutely terrifies my bank balance.

I think the real reason that I am so worried about this, however, is because my shape has always been my fallback. Other people have great eyes, or beautiful hair. I have/had a great body, generally toned in the right places. This served to detract attention away from the flaws of which I hate to admit I am self-conscious. The crooked witch nose, the dark shadows under my eyes. The fact that my hair simply refuses to do what I tell it. A word of advice, never give your hair the free reign – it ain’t good!

So now I’m plumper than I was, and struggling to deal with this and my face. Amusing as that may sound. So, for the first time in my life, I am properly dieting. And I am vowing to exercise more, forcing poor Ben to partake in callanetics, and other such sporty activities.

Now I know that a lot of you will be reading this with a certain air of raised eyebrows – that look that says, sure, you may be worried, but you’ve got it great. But you need to understand that in a way, weight is relative. What can look great on one person will look obscene on another. What someone doesn’t care about can cripple someone else’s self-confidence. For me, this weight is crippling it, and it is made worse by knowing that it is my own paranoia, and no one else agrees.

I you see me some point soon, I could do with a hug.