Shape of You

I’ve got freckles on my back

And pasty pale skin.

I’ve got stretch marks on my stomach

And light grey eyes.

I’ve got curly brown hair

And scars on my thighs.

I’ve learned to love my body, even the parts that make my heart sink when I look in the mirror. I remind myself of it’s strength and it’s power and it’s duty to protect the organs that keep me alive. My body’s purpose isn’t to squeeze into a pair of jeans from Topshop.

It is there to protect the heart that pumps blood around my body and the lungs that are the reason for every breath I take. My body protects my brain, which is full of ideas and memories and dreams. My body protects the bones that are the reason I can walk down the street and dance around the kitchen and hug my parents.

Your body’s strength is mesmerizing, so the next time you start to worry about how your legs aren’t long enough or how your tummy isn’t toned enough, remind yourself that your body is strong, your body is your great protector and your body is your home.

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6 Things That Made Me Smile This Week

I was lucky enough to take part in a mindfulness workshop in college on Wednesday. One thing that helps boost mindfulness is gratitude, so I’ve decided to start a positivity journal. I’m toying with the idea of visiting Paperchase and splashing out on a new notebook *swoons*, but today I’m going to scribble here on my blog and share a few things that made me smile like the Cheshire Cat this week.

1: My Mam minds my little cousin Molly three days a week. She brightens my mornings and never fails to make me laugh. She’s such a placid kid and is a joy to have around the house. This week she ran around the house doing dinosaur impressions, which made me laugh so much.

2: I handed up my special subject assignment, which has been stressing me out for months. It’s one of the biggest college projects I’ve ever worked on so I was over the moon when I handed it up on Tuesday afternoon.

3: Riverdale is back. I am crazy about this show so that two week break was a true struggle. Oh it’s so great to see Jughead back on my screen. I’ve got the biggest crush on Cole Sprouse.

4: Twist and Shout by The Beatles played on the radio as I drove to college with my Dad. That song always makes me smile because it reminds me of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

5: I bought new denim shorts that make me feel really body confident. I struggle to find shorts that fit well because I’ve got huge hips and a slim waist, but finally I found a pair that make me feel super sassy.

6: My skin is clearing up. Bon voyage spots! I’ve been drinking more water, eating more fruit and using the L’oréal Fine Flowers Gel-Cream Wash and it seems to be working on my angry red blemishes. It feels good to have clear skin again.

What made you smile this week?

Sincerely Yours

Kat

2017 is the year of self care

Happy New Year! I am so glad that 2017 is finally here. I’ve made a tonne of goals for 2017, but my main mission for this year is to focus on self care which I’ve failed to do over the last few weeks.

When you’re feeling low it is important to acknowledge your feelings. I am currently suffering from seasonal affective disorder which is a certain type of depression that is related to the changes in seasons. Some of the symptoms include tiredness, lack of energy, weight gain and oversleeping. Personally, I tend to suffer from the disorder after the excitement and huge build up to Christmas dies down. I tend to wallow in self pity like a grumpy little gremlin and find it extremely difficult to make myself feel better. I let the disorder take over and mope about all day. However, I am determined to take better care of myself thanks to a video by Lucy Moon and Rosianna Halse Rojas where they discuss self care and share their tips on how to make yourself feel better during these darker times.

The video reminded me of how great I felt during last summer when I was really invested in looking after myself. One of the main things I did was taught myself to enjoy my own company. I think it’s extremely important to be comfortable with who you are and to feel content by yourself. Some of my happiest days were days I spent alone, for example my solo day trip to Galway or the day I spent in a local cafe reading. So I’ve set myself a few self care goals for the month of January and will continue to do so because 2017 is the year I take care of myself. It’s the year I put myself on a pedestal.

1: Go to the cinema by yourself

2: Get a haircut

3: Spend more time outdoors

4: Drink more water

5: Go on a solo day trip

Have you got any self care tips that you swear by? Share them in the comment section or tweet me @katkatkatt

Sincerely  Yours

Kat.

 

It’s Just My Skin

For the first time in a very long time I smiled when I looked in the mirror today. My sleepy eyes looked at my reflection and I didn’t have a heavy, disheartened feeling in my chest. I felt calm. I felt happy with who I saw looking back at me. In the mirror I saw 21 year old me wearing a creased 1975 t-shirt, my eyes were grey and sleepy, but the spark was back, my skin looked fresh, not completely clear, like always there was a spot or two on my chin, my hair was tied up in a ponytail with half of it falling around my shoulders. I didn’t look stereotypically beautiful. I wasn’t wearing one of my best dresses, my hair wasn’t curled and I didn’t have my favourite red lipstick on, but I felt beautiful, for the first time in a very long time.

I used to have really bad skin during my teenage years. My spots made me feel like a hideous monster. I tried to cover them up with Essence concealer, cheap Natural Collection foundation or any other make up that matched (or didn’t match) my pale skin. I’d go to bed with a face covered in sudocrem to try help. I went to the doctor and went on all kinds of tablets and creams to try get rid of my acne. 

Thankfully, years later my skin is better, a lot better! I don’t think it’s ever been as clear as it is these days. It feels amazing having makeup free days and smiling when I catch a glimpse of my reflection. It feels so good to love how I look again. There are three special things that are keeping it clear (ish) Growing up is one of them, my skin was bad during my teenage years, the years when puberty causes the skin to go a tad insane. They say time is a healer and it’s certainly true when it comes to my skin. When I was 16/17 I never thought I’d have a normal complexion, but here we are five years later on the road to clear skin, hooray!

Another thing that’s helped me a lot lately is good ol H20 and peppermint tea. Ooooh two perfect, guilt free drinks. Drinking three to four pints of water a day has helped keep my skin hydrated. It has also prevented me from looking like I’ve got the chicken pox. Peppermint tea has done the same, it’s a little miracle worker and the tastiest drink to sip on. It has numerous health benefits, but I’ve noticed my skin has a healthy glow again since I started drinking peppermint tea. It soothes skin inflammation and the menthol in peppermint tea prevents the release of oils from the sebaceous glands, which stops your skin from producing too many oils. I drink the twining’s peppermint tea which is about €2.50 for a box of twenty. I couldn’t recommend it more. 

Lastly, the one skincare product that has saved me from horrific break outs is the Soap and Glory 3-in-1 Daily Detox Vitamin C Facial Wash. There are a tonne of reasons why I swear by this product. Firstly, it smells heavenly, like all Soap and Glory products do. Secondly, it washes your make up away in a matter of seconds. You know when you get home after a late night out and dread having to wash off all your makeup? Well you won’t have to anymore thanks to this product. It brightens your skin and makes it feel as smooth as silk. It has made my skin look alive and fresh again. I’d highly suggest you picking up a bottle of this stuff (which last a very long time too)I LOVE IT! 
If you’re struggling with bad skin don’t let it get to you. I spent way too long worrying over my spots and stopped myself from going out and enjoying life. These tips may help you like they’ve helped me so do try them out. Bad skin does not make you ugly or unappealing or unwanted. Don’t let your spots define you. Everyone is beautiful in their own way.

Kat

Your Body Is A Wonderland

I was chatting to my fifteen year old sister about body image and I was so shocked when she said that she dislikes everything about her body. There’s nothing wrong with her whatsoever, yet society and the media have filled her mind with the idea that there’s something wrong with you unless you don’t have a thigh gap, a flat stomach, perfectly plucked eyebrows and clear, tanned skin. She doesn’t feel comfortable with how she looks and sometimes even finds it hard to be around people because of the pressure to look ‘perfect’. 

Back when I was fifteen I had a badly cut full fringe, spotty skin and wore funky t-shirts my mam bought me from Dunnes Stores. I didn’t feel this pressure to contour my skin or to fit into a pair of size 6 Topshop jeans. I was happy and care free about how I looked. To this day I am still happy with how I look. I adore my quirky sense of style, I’ll wear frilly socks and black patent brogues if it makes me feel good. I love my pasty pale skin even though my mam constantly hassles me about wearing a bit of fake tan. I love my legs, even if they are short and bruised, battered and as white as snow. I’ve got stretch marks on my thighs, I’ve got spots on my face, my eyebrows aren’t perfectly plucked, my hair can be short and frizzy and my stomach isn’t as flat as a pancake, but I love my body and how I look. I feel comfortable in my own skin and that’s how we should all feel, no matter what society says. 

We need to encourage and empower one another. We need to ignore these articles and online comments fat shaming Selena Gomez, attacking Wentworth Miller for gaining weight or mocking Tanya Burr about being curvy. The negative impact the media is having on people is horrifying and it has to stop. These people pressurising society to look a certain way to not deserve our attention anymore. We need to focus our energy on boosting one another’s confidence. Something as simple as commenting on your friends new profile photo and telling him his hair looks great or complimenting your aunties new dress at your next family event can help. It’s time for us to battle against this idea that if you don’t look a certain way you aren’t beautiful or attractive or appealing. One of the most important things we need to do in life is to accept ourselves and love us for us. As Miranda Hart (my favourite funny lady) brilliantly said “We all have our worries about our bodies and our looks. We just need to make the best of our lovely, wonky selves. The key is to never compare and try be something you’re not.” 

Everyone comes in different shapes and sizes and that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with being tall and slim or short and curvy. There’s is no such thing as one ideal way to look. We are all perfect in our own unique ways. And if anyone tells you different then they’re not worth your time. We need to fight against this pressure and love who we are. Embrace every freckle, every curve and every spot. Don’t let the media’s toxic words ruin who you are. Be you, because that’s the best person you can be. 

-Kat 

p.s yes I did name this blog post after the John Mayer song, I couldn’t help it!

Flaws: Acne Scars and Stretch Marks

The Waves by Kat O’ Connor

The pressure to look perfect drowns me everyday. Thoughts about my appearance flood my mind like rough waves at sea on a dark November night. I struggle to swim away. 

I use every ounce of energy I have to fight them; they push me under into the ocean, I choke on the harsh salty seawater, my eyes burn and my bones ache from trying to hold my feeble body up above the surface.

But it’s too hard, the sea has a strength that I will never defeat. I let the waves take over, I let them take control of me. They toss my weak, pale body around and take me further and further away from the shore.

So, I know I haven’t posted on here in over a month but, I took a major confidence blow recently and haven’t felt like blogging at all. However, I have been dabbling in creative writing again which has helped me feel a lot better. I wrote the poem above when I was feeling really low about my looks and who I am, which inspired today’s blog post. 

We often encounter nasty, judgmental people in life. Unfortunately it’s just the way life is. People point out your flaws to belittle you and to make themselves feel better. I’ll never understand why people do this. It’s nice to be nice and we should always compliment one another and spread positive vibes. Why call someone fat when you can compliment their curves and make them feel good. Why mock someone’s quirky fashion sense when you can tell them you admire their brave style. Why insult someone’s long, lanky legs when you can tell them they’ve got legs fit for the catwalk. Picking somebody apart and being nasty about their appearance or who they are is beyond cruel. Stop wasting energy on being negative and start to be a kind, positive person to those around you and to yourself too. Our flaws are part of who we are and we should love every part of ourselves.

We all have our flaws. We are all self conscious about certain parts of ourselves whether it’s your freckles or your frizzy hair. We’ve all got something we’re not too fond of. I don’t like my nose or my chubby belly, but what we need to do is learn to love our flaws. We have to embrace the parts of us that we’re not too crazy about. If applying fake tan makes you feel better, do it. If you want to shave all of your hair off and wear an orange wig, do it. If you want to wear black clothes everyday, do it. Do what makes you feel good. Do whatever it takes to love who you are.

Always remember that your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.

Kat


Love Yourself: How To Boost Your Self Worth

There’s a photo on my bedroom wall of me when I was eight years old. In the photo I am smiling alongside my Nanny, Uncle David and my cousin Emma. What I love about this photo is how care free and happy I look. One of the biggest things I adored about being a kid was how little our appearance mattered. I was missing teeth, I had a crooked full fringe and chubby cheeks that made me look like a squirrel with a mouth full of acorns, but I was still smiling from ear to ear.

When my teenage years came around I suddenly became more worried and concerned about how I looked, how others viewed me and whether or not I looked ‘perfect’. I felt the pressure to look like the celebrities that graced the covers of Ireland’s KISS magazine back in the day. I wanted to have clear skin like Taylor Swift, a toned figure like Vanessa Hudgens and wavy, blonde hair like Lauren Conrad. I was hypnotised by the media into thinking that these women were what I should look like. I certainly didn’t look like them back when I was 14. I had acne, dodgy hair cuts and I was extremely chubby due frequent purchases of chocolate donuts from our local shop, the Kokonut. But what I wish I knew back then is that it is okay to have flaws, it is okay not to look like that celebrity on the front cover. I wish I knew what I know now and that is to love who you are.

One of the best things I’ve done in all my 21 years on earth is to teach myself that I am good enough. Like everyone else there are things I don’t like about myself, I’ve got flaws just like every other person on the planet, but what I’ve done is learned how to accept my flaws and to love me for me. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard was from my aunt Joan who told me and my cousins to, “look in the mirror every morning and say I love me.” It’s an easy thing to do, but it makes a huge impact on how you view yourself. You may feel a tad silly saying this, but it’s so beneficial. If you do this simple task every morning you will feel better about yourself and it will give you a positive outlook for the day ahead.

Another tip that helps you embrace who you are is to make a list of things you love about yourself. I often find that when I’m feeling glum I tend to focus on my flaws, so to beat that I list the things that I love most about myself; my curly hair, how my eyes change colour from time to time, my quirky sense of style. It’s a great way to push the negative thoughts away by simply thinking in a positive way. Next time you’re feeling down in the dumps about yourself make sure to focus on what you love about YOU; whether it’s your freckles, the gap between your two front teeth or your pasty pale legs.

Finally, the most important thing that made me love who I am was to stop comparing myself to others. As you scroll through your Instagram feed you’ll see photos that trigger thoughts like, “I wish I was as skinny as her”, “I wish my hair was that long” and “that dress would never look as good on me.” I’ve been guilty of doing this in the past and sadly I’ve witnessed so many of my younger relatives doing this and it breaks my heart. These negative thoughts will destroy your confidence. The best thing to do is to focus on positive thinking and to stop comparing yourself to others. You are fueling self hatred by comparing yourself to others. What you need to do is to focus on the self. Do what makes you happy; wear green jeans every day, cut your short and dye it blue, wear bright pink lipstick to college- do what will make you feel good about you!

What matters most is that you feel comfortable and good in your own skin. Boost your self confidence, don’t be afraid to be who you are and remember to love yourself like Kanye loves Kanye, hehe!

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who matter don’t mind, and those that mind, don’t matter.”  -Dr Seuss

Kat