“As a kid I wanted to be a writer. As a teen I wanted to be a performer. Now I just wanna be happy.” And happy she is. My next guest writer, Jessica, is a wonderful kindergarten teacher, and devoted vegetarian, who has managed to look her dreams and fears straight in the eye and step toward them, ever willing to discover the power within.
In just a matter of a few years, Jessica has developed and nurtured her own award winning web design company called JessBox Web Design, and recently overcame a 10 year eating disorder losing 70 lbs in the last year. Wise, yet curious, timid yet brave, one of my favorite people on the planet (yes malmo Sweden is on the planet): Jessica Gustavsson…
Embracing The Authentically Imperfect Me
Do you remember that old Roxette song “The Look?” It’s about a girl who has, well, the look. Now, I’m fairly certain that when group member Per Gessle penned his international smash, he wasn’t thinking of miniskirts, $1000 dollar Gucci shoes or a 6 foot rail-thin frame models with watermelon-sized breasts. In fact, the woman in the song was “walking like a man” and “hitting like a hammer.” In other words, she wasn’t your average stereotypical male fantasy.
This girl had personality, chutzpah and sex appeal. And whoever it was that Per was thinking of at the time, I’d like to tell him that the woman who made him go “na na na na na” all those years ago didn’t have the look; she had her look. And I’d bet him every single one of his Gold records that that’s what made her so damn fascinating.
It’s taken me 30 years to realize that all that really does matter when it comes to appearances is my own opinion. Yes, it’s a lesson we’ve been fed since before we were teenagers but indisputable as it may be, it often takes years before we can truly embrace it. When you think about it, it’s not so much a lesson as it is a realization, an awareness that usually, hopefully, takes shape within us as we slowly mature; and this new awareness grows and stretches and is strengthened with each life experience we make.
I can honestly say that all through my teenage years and most of my twenties, it never even occurred to me that if somebody didn’t like the way I looked or had a problem with the way I came across, it was their problem and not mine.
Then one day it just hit me: if I don’t like everyone, how can I expect everyone to like me? Yet that is exactly what I tried to achieve every day for 29 years; to have even my least favorite people think and speak well of me at the end of the day. Needless to say, throughout that time, I rarely, if ever, had a moment of complete peace of mind.
BE HAPPY AND AT PEACE
I’ve lived and laughed and cried and stumbled and screamed and fought tooth and nail for my health, my happiness, and at times even my sanity, I’ve come to realize that life is too short for me to live my life in a way that does not truthfully depict who I really am. To be happy and at peace, I must speak my mind, dress as I truly please and act as I would around my very best friend and confidente, at all times. No small task, I know.
It’s a constant struggle and most of us fail at some point every single day: we don’t talk back to the office know-it-all, we laugh at the tacky joke that really made us cringe, or we may wear something uncomfortable but sexy for the man we know deep down doesn’t deserve us, yet in a moment’s weakness we value his approving eye more than our self-respect.
Ladies, it’s okay. It’s human nature. The important thing is to be aware. I believe the best we can do for ourselves whenever our resolve weakens is to gently forgive and recommit; over and over again for as long as we live. Truly, as long as we don’t give up on whatever it is we’re striving for, we have not failed.
To look and feel our very best we must be brave enough, wise enough and strong enough to be our authentic selves. It is my firm belief that to any worth while partner there is nothing sexier than a confident woman who knows who she is and what she stands for and refuses to apologize for it; and to any friend worth having, an authentically imperfect you is worth much more than a strained, airbrushed version.
After all, the song continues, “What in the world can make a brown-eyed girl turn blue?” Hopefully nothing, unless the girl truly believes the colored lenses would greatly enhance her life. Written by: Jessica Gustavsson
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