Happy Friday! Let’s Talk About Self Hate

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I like that I’ve stumbled upon the start of a series here on the blog. There’s something about the juxtaposition between a happy, positive sentiment and a topic I probably wouldn’t share with you if we ran into each other at school drop off or Trader Joe’s.

So, for today, welcome to Happy Friday! Let’s Talk About Self-Hate. It might be Happy Tuesday or Sunday in the coming weeks, depending on when the mood strikes to write about uncomfortable subjects. And the subject matter might alternate from the things I’m working on in therapy to my fears with cancer. It just all depends.

Last time, I wrote about my struggle with depression and I want to thank you for your comments and the messages I received. Honestly, I immediately regretted hitting publish on that post – for so many reasons – and a few that lead me to today’s topic of self-hate.

When I started seeing my therapist, I told her that self-loating had become a major part of the funk I had been dealing with. She asked what that sounded like but I could only explain that it was the overwhelming feeling of not liking myself. Everything from the way I look to how I keep house to my relationships.

She wanted specifics, though. She wanted to know exactly what I was telling myself so I began to keep a journal.

As I rode the elevator down from her third floor office, I felt happy. Then it started. “Who do you think you are needing therapy? With all the atrocities happening in our world, boo-hoo, you feel blue.”

I banged out my depression post that same week. As soon as the comments came in, I felt embarrassed and ashamed about what I have been dealing with. “You’re damaged, broken” that voice told me. That afternoon, my daughter wanted a play date with a friend that didn’t work out. “That mom probably read your post and she doesn’t trust having her child around you,” I thought.

When I got together with friends for dinner, I found myself sitting quietly as I thought “You offer nothing to the conversation. You’re dumb.” I stumbled over the pronunciation of something on the menu and I berated myself for the error all night.

The group dynamic is really bizarre to me. I only realized recently that I often shut down in group settings. I always thought it was because I was shy. Truth to told, I’m not especially shy. Yes, I might be an introvert but I’m social and I really enjoy hanging with others that lift me up. But, when I beat myself up over little things like the pronunciation of words or feeling like I can’t bring anything to the conversation, I turn into someone who appears to be totally disinterested. I’m not, I’m just freaking out inside.

Even sharing these thoughts even now makes me feel ridiculous. As I type, I’m thinking “You are a moron. This is so self-serving. Are you just seeking empathy with this post?” Another voice says “No. I’m looking to connect with others who have had similar experiences.” Talk about juxtaposition.

The journal has helped me remember what it is that I’m telling myself. It has totally helped me identify what’s contributing to my bubble of self-hate. I like the direction I’m moving in. My therapist has given me some tools on how to counter those voices with the hope of finally deflating my bubble.

January Netflix Binge: The Carrie Diaries

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I watched and liked the original Sex and the City series and have seen both movies but flat out ignored the Netflix suggestion to watch The Carrie Diaries. However, after finding myself watching the first SATC movie on basic cable earlier this month, I decided I would give the defunct CW teen series a go.

But only after I cried my eyes out during the scene where Charlotte protects Carrie from Big after he leaves her at the alter. It kills me every single time.

Based on the YA novels written by Candace Bushnell, The Carrie Diaries is considered a prequel to her 1996 smash Sex and the City. As we all know, her book was turned into the long running HBO series. I think the CW hoped they would have captured the same success with The Carrie Diaries but sadly the show was canceled after two seasons.

I liked The Carrie Diaries more than I thought I would. The series begins with Carrie as a high school student living in Connecticut in 1984. She has been scarred by the recent death of her mother and lives with her hostile sister and widowed father. We are led to believe that Carrie Bradshaw is on the outskirts of the popular crowd at her high school. She has a gang of stereotypical high school girlfriends and a nemesis in the girl who gets all the boys. She is obsessed with “the city” and convinces her dad that she take an internship at a law firm after school in New York. This is where she eventually meets the editor of Interview Magazine and thus finds her voice as a writer. And of course there is a love interest named Sebastian Kydd.

This pretty much sums up the two seasons.

What I loved about The Carrie Diaries:

The soundtrack. It made me want to only listen to the 80s station on my satellite radio. Deeper cuts from the Cure, Devo, ‘Til Tuesday, Bryan Ferry and more were featured which made the show less pop and more underground.

The costuming for Carrie was gorgeous. I’m really not sure most 16 year olds in 1984 would have had the means to wear what we saw Carrie in but it sure was fashion eye candy for the viewer. I love this Tumblr page dedicated to the wardrobe.

AnnaSophia Robb was really charming as Carrie. I was left wondering why we don’t see more of her on TV or movies.

What I didn’t like:

The wig they put on AnnaSophia Robb during the first season. It was a hot mess of blonde ringlet curls. I’m pretty sure she wore her natural hair in the pilot episode but she definitely had a wig on in the episodes that followed. She was back to natural curls during season 2 and it was so obvious that they even mentioned how she had changed her hair after her summer in the city.

Her high school friends and their irrelevant story lines. Of course, a teen soap needs a cast and I think having a core group of gal pals foreshadows the importance of friendships to Carrie for later but blah. The story lines were painful, with the exception of Donna Ladonna who redeems herself as bad girl to empathetic friend.

What Surprised Me:

Maybe I’m getting too old for a teen series but I was shocked at the references to cocaine use. I get that was a thing in the 80s but it just surprised about how often it came up.

You can stream The Carrie Diaries on Netflix now. Have you seen what’s new on Netflix for February? You bet I’ll be watching Fuller House later in the month.

I am part of the Netflix StreamTeam and gladly share all my binge worthy finds. All opinions are my own.

How To Be Your Best Self in 2016

As I type this there is a cold glass of Coca-Cola on one side of me and a sugar cookie on the other. I’m already failing two of my 2016 resolutions which were 1. stop drinking Coke and 2. cut the sugar. But, if I’m being totally honest, I haven’t given these new year resolutions much of a try even though it’s now seven days into my NEW YEAR, NEW ME outlook on life.

Look at the photo below. My almost 8 year old daughter brought it home from school earlier this week. These goals weren’t exclusively hers but a collection of suggestions from her class of 2nd graders. I saw it and thought there was definitely a lesson I could learn from it.

For the most part, every goal is a positive one. “Eat more fruit and veggies,” “Make healthy choices,” “Be a good friend,” “Always try my best” and so on. There isn’t one that says “DON’T DO THIS” or “DON’T DO THAT.” And for some reason, to this 40 year old who has never once kept a resolution, my daughter’s list of New Year’s goals actually feels like ones I could achieve if I tried.

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Feeling inspired, I’ve replaced my destined to fail resolutions for her positive and encouraging goals.

1. Drink More Water
2. Make Healthy Choices
3. Eat More Fruits and Veggies
4. Be Brave
5. Get More Energy

It feels simple. And sure, there aren’t any actionable steps attached on HOW to do these things but I think I’ll be ok if I just follow my kid’s advice to “Be Your Best Self.”

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Megan and I were asked to create a Realistic Resolutions For 2016 video for She Speaks TV! Click on over to our website to see the video! Megan also shares her favorite planner essentials for getting organized.

December Netflix Binge: Making A Murderer

For December I set out to binge watch all six seasons of The L Word and share my thoughts on the series for this month’s Netflix Stream Team post. Well, I did finish all 70 episodes and really, really loved it. In fact, I was sad when it was over and still find myself thinking about what happened to those characters.

But, my review will have to wait because the internet blew up right before Christmas with everyone talking about the original Netflix true crime documentary series called Making A Murderer. After all the gifts were opened on the 25th, I settled in with my iPad for an hour and watched the first of the 10-episode series.

This pretty much sums up the first episode.

Episodes 2 through 5.

And then episodes 6 through 9.

And finally, the last episode.

Making A Murderer follows the arrest of Steven Avery over a ten year period. I don’t want to give any spoilers away because I really feel the series is worth watching, especially if you find true crime drama interesting. I finished all ten episodes in two days and I’ve been left dumbfounded at its conclusion.

Have you watched Making A Murderer? Tell me what you thought in the comments below. I’ll be back with another Netflix Binge in January.

I’m lucky to be part of the Netflix Stream Team. This post is non-sponsored however Netflix has provided me with an account and device to stream from the Netflix library. Gifs via Giphy.com

First Impression: SkinMedica Vitalize Peel

I recently visited CosmetiCare for a treatment that had me a little worried about the outcome: a Vitalize Peel.

My skin can be incredibly sensitive and I was once advised by an esthetician that I should refrain from doing anything too aggressive to my face because of the fragile capillaries and active areas of rosacea.

I met once again with Lisa McCoy who talked to me at length about what the Vitalize Peel could offer and what I should expect in the days after. I was really worried my face might end up red and raw but Lisa assured me I would probably only experience peeling similar to a sunburn. She showed me several before and after photographs, including ones of herself.

The purpose of the Vitalize Peel is to smooth fine lines, wrinkles and skin roughness.

Lisa had me hold a hand held fan during the procedure because the chemicals used do get warm and “sting” the skin. The process is three-step. First, the skin is prepped with Isopropyl Alcohol. Next is the peeling solution which is made up of Salicyclic Acid, Resorcinol, and Lactic Acid. The last step is Retinol. Lisa applied it to my entire face with exception to the eye area and to my décolleté.

My face felt tight for two days afterward. I started to see the skin get dry and lift on the night of day two. The third morning I woke to a full face of dry skin. Lisa advised that a soft peel was the goal and suggested using coconut oil all over at night and a SPF during the day.

The amount of peeling was more than I expected and had seen on other patient photographs. Additionally, I saw peeling around my eyes and down my neck even though the chemical wasn’t applied to those areas. The only area that didn’t peel was my décolleté but Lisa said that cell turnover is happening even though not visible.

Unfortunately my timing for doing the Vitalize Peel wasn’t great. I had several video projects to film that week and thought I wouldn’t be so dry. Luckily with a lot of makeup and great lighting, the peeling wasn’t totally obvious on camera but you can see the a little bit of dryness under my eyes and a flake of skin on my cheek in this picture from that week (four days out from the day I received the Vitalize Peel).

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The results post peel have been glorious. My face is baby soft and the fine lines on my forehead have smoothed out nicely. I have long struggled with one patch of extremely dry skin on my cheek and it is completely gone now. My makeup blends beautifully and my skin looks luminous. I wish I had seen better results on my décolleté.

The following week I was in front of the camera again for more videos and though still a little dry around the hair line, I thought my skin looked great.

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CosmetiCare is located at 1101 Bayside Drive, Ste. 100 in Corona Del Mar. (949) 537-2367

Visit CosmetiCare on Facebook

I’ve been fortunate to be part of the CosmetiCare Moms ambassador program for several months now. This post is sponsored however all opinions are my own.

November Netflix Binge: River

I’m not really sure what it is about this time of year and my need for dark crime dramas. Last year around this time, I tore through The Killing, Happy Valley and The Fall. Over the holiday weekend, I found myself searching Netflix for something gritty. I love getting into bed with the lights out and the iPad streaming well into the late night hours.

I found River.

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River is a new crime drama new to Netflix. The six episode mini-series debuted earlier this fall on BBC and stars Stellan Skarsgård as a tortured police detective who shoulders the investigation of his murdered partner. John River is consumed by voices. He still sees his partner, a street thug he accidentally killed, a young girl whose case remains unsolved and a 19th century serial killer. All these “ghosts” in some way help and hinder his investigation but also lands him into a psychiatric evaluation.

Skarsgård is excellent. The major story arch is good – nothing earth shattering – but the way we get to peek into the unstable mind is nothing short of compelling.

I’m not sure if River was intended only as a mini-series and this is all we get or if there is more to come. Six episodes was not enough. There is definitely more story to tell.

I’m thrilled to be working with Netflix again this year as part as their StreamTeam. This is a non-sponsored post but Netflix did provide me with a year long membership so I can binge watch until my heart’s content and share my finds.

Botox Before and After – Eek!

Ok, I get it. Frown and laugh lines are a natural part of the aging process. However, this doesn’t mean I want to look tired and mad all the time. When I was in my early 20s, a very mature older woman told me I should start doing something about my crows feet (you know, those lines from smiling eyes). I was devastated. I was still a baby and maybe then a nightly eye cream would have been a nice addition to my skin care routine, but little did I know how this comment would have me forever scrutinizing my face.

I have had one very prominent groove between my eyes for as long as I can remember. When I was 28 years old, I remember talking to a co-worker about someday getting Botox. She waved off my concerns saying I was too young. Over the years, three other lines appeared. I’d dab on lotions and primers to help smooth things out but everyday my makeup would settle into these grooves and I would go threw my day with a permanent scowl.

I really started to consider Botox a few years ago but when I brought it up to some friends, I was almost shamed in considering the treatment. Why would you ever put a toxin in your face? 

Because I am not happy with the way I look.

It was as simple as that.

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This photo was taken a few weeks before I joined on as a CosmetiCare Ambassador. For the last year, I have been working on Long Story Short and appearing in weekly videos on YouTube. I also was growing increasingly critical of how I looked. Call me vain but it made me unhappy.

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I knew that a Botox Cosmetic treatment was likely an option as a CosmetiCare ambassador and I was ready. Ok, maybe a little terrified. Not of needles because I have been through the medical ringer in the last seven years. Needles were nothing. However, I was worried about the possibility of something going horribly south. Like my eyebrows. Obviously, there is risk with everything and the lovely nurses at CosmetiCare walked me through the procedure and the aftercare.

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Those two parallel lines between my eyes were the biggest offenders. There are also four horizontal lines between my eyes and at the top of my nose from years and years of scrunching my nose when I smile. These are things you become keenly aware of when analyzing your face in mirror for 20 years.

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The treatment was quick. Four itty bitty needle injections across my forehead above the eyebrows. My skin was raised a little at the injection site when I left but I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and no one looked at me like they knew what I had just done.

I thought the Botox treatment would be immediate. For two days I was able to scrunch up my face and make those frown lines, albeit not as easily but still managed. It was like I was testing the Botox. Did it work? It was about 3 or 4 days that I started to see things smooth out. Finally, my makeup wasn’t settling into those lines anymore and I looked refreshed. I did have what felt like a sinus headache for days after the treatment but it was mild and considered very normal amongst clients.

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It took me a few weeks to decide if I was pleased with the results from Botox. The Botox Cosmetic treatment had given me a little more lift in the eyebrow – normal per the CosmetiCare nurse – than I had expected. So, I wasn’t sure how much I liked that considering I was watching myself on YouTube being far more expressive with my eyebrows than I had before.

Yet when I see photos or video of myself post Botox, I am genuinely really happy with the way I look. Now, what should I do about those crows feet?

CosmetiCare is located at:
1101 Bayside Drive #100 Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
949.537.2178 Visit on Facebook or at www.cosmeticare.com

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

What I Love About The League

I knew absolutely zero about football before I met my husband.

He was a big fan of the both college football and the NFL and I quickly realized that if I wanted to hang out with this guy on the weekend that I better learn a few things about the sport. (To be fair, he took me to see plenty of chick flicks. It was a very balanced courtship.)

I was a pretty quick study. One Sunday afternoon, my dad had a game on and I yelled “PASS INTERFERENCE!” at the TV. My dad couldn’t believe what he had heard. I followed up with “What? The guy didn’t turn to look at the ball.”

Fast forward several football seasons with lots of wins and a few heartbreaking losses for our favorite teams. My husband and his brother decided to create a fantasy football league and they needed another player to round out the league. I bet they thought I’d be an easy opponent. Sure, I might have learned the ins and outs of the sport over the years but what the heck did this girl know about the players?

Well, if it wasn’t for Andy Reid pulling out Eagles running back, Brian Westbrook, I would have locked up the championship that season. We still laugh every time we see Andy Reid on TV and my husband makes sure to remind me of my words that day I was robbed of the league championship: “DAMN YOU, ANDY REID!!!”

I have since retired from playing fantasy football.

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I recently started watching a hilarious and far too realistic scripted comedy about fantasy football called The League. It’s in its last season on FX but I’ve binge watched the entire first and second seasons on Netflix.

The League is about a group of guys who play fantasy football. The quips are sharp and the dialogue is both fast paced and wildly inappropriate. What I love about The League is that it’s not all football all the time. It’s largely about the friendships between the male characters and there lay the comedy gold. Spouses play a significant role in each storyline, too. The ongoing push and pull between Kevin and Jenny is hilarious. Especially when Kevin refuses to let Jenny join (even though she is clearly a better player than he) and it seriously backfires.

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My favorite is Paul Scheer as Andre. He’s a gullible plastic surgeon who believes he should take Tim Brady (yes, Tim, not Tom) in the first round of the draft. Andre often gets the last laugh (Shiva!) but I crack up every time the guys lay into him about his Ed Hardy shirts and when he erroneously shouts “child please.”

Season two introduced Jason Mantzoukas as Rafi and he delivers the best one-liners throughout.

I’m already mourning the end of this series because it’s so funny. I’m glad to know I’ve got Netflix to catch up to the season currently airing on FX. Thank God for Netflix and thank God for The League.

Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix #StreamTeam. This post is not sponsored but I did receive a subscription and tablet to stream content from the ever growing Netflix library.

First Impression: HydraFacial MD

I have long struggled with my complexion.

As a teen on a quest for perfectly clear skin, I would obsessively scrub, tone and dab creams to minimize breakouts. My twenties saw too many days without sunscreen and a lot of nights without washing my makeup off. When I was pregnant with my daughter in my early 30s, I expected to glow from within but instead battled cystic acne. Now at 40 years old, I still find myself trying to manage some of these same skin issues plus dry skin and wrinkles.

A few years back, I met a wonderful facialist who encouraged me to view skin care as something that should require my full attention. I really thought I had been doing that already. No one spent more time in the mirror playing dermatologist than myself.

I recently had the opportunity to experience the HydraFacial MD treatment at CostmetiCare. Very simply, this treatment is highly effective at improving your overall skin health. It is also excellent for remedying congested pores, fine lines and wrinkles, skin texture, vibrancy, elasticity and firmness.

Upon arriving that morning, I consulted with medical esthetician, Lisa McCoy, about my skin concerns. I told her that the congested pores on my nose and chin were priority number one followed by the dry skin on my cheeks and forehead. Additionally, I pointed out an area on my face where I still often break out with cystic acne.

She quickly got to work with a gentle cleanser followed by the multi-step HyrdaFacial MD treatment process. She likened the procedure to a steam cleaning. She would infuse the good stuff while extracting the bad stuff.

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Let me explain: the HydraFacial MD treatment begins with a serum to remove dead skin cells and uncovering healthy skin. Then a mixture of Glycolic and Salicylic Acids are applied to soften the skin in an effort to remove impurities. Next are extractions with a painless vortex-suction used to clean out congested pores. Finally, antioxidants, peptides and Hyaluronic Acid are infused to detoxify, protect and plump up the skin.

I loved several things about the HydraFacial MD treatment at CosmetiCare.

1. There is virtually no down time for this procedure. I skipped out of the med spa and went on with my day with absolutely vibrant skin.

2. Lisa was very knowledgable about the HydraFacial MD treatment and understood the complexities of my personal skin issues. She echoed the advice I had received from years ago about treating my skin as good or as well as I would treat the rest of my body.

3. I loved the way my skin looked afterwards and I felt fantastic. I knew that I was giving my skin the attention it needed.

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I am thrilled to share that I have been selected to be part of the CosmetiCare Mom Ambassador program and I look forward to sharing my first impressions with the treatments I receive over the next few months!

CosmetiCare is located at:
1101 Bayside Drive #100 Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
949.537.2178 Visit on Facebook or at www.cosmeticare.com

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Too Fat for Stitch Fix?

Last week I received my 18th Stitch Fix box. At this rate, some might consider me an optimist and others might call me a glutton for punishment.

Let me back it up here. Stitch Fix is a monthly subscription service where a box of brand new clothes arrives on your doorstep. Inside is filled with pants, shorts or dresses, blouses and knit tops, sweaters or outerwear, and accessories. Their stylists put together your monthly Fix based on a profile created when you sign up. The cost of the service is $20. You keep and pay for any items you like and mail back the other pieces you don’t like. If you hate everything and send it all back, it costs you $20. If you keep anything, the $20 is applied to the purchase.

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The Stitch Fix model is fun, effortless shopping for busy women. So many of my friends love the service and rave about the convenience. There is also a lot of complaining on the internet about Stitch Fix, mostly that the price point is too high for brands that can be found at stores like Nordstrom Rack.

My thoughts? I really love when that box arrives. I am always hopeful for what’s inside. Will there be a pair of shorts that don’t make my legs look like tree stumps? How about the perfect pair of distressed denim jeans to replace my beloved ones from the Gap? Or a blouse that will finally make me look put together for mornings at school drop off but that I can also wear to record videos for Long Story Short.

I absolutely love the convenience because I really hate shopping for myself these days. I’d much rather be disappointed in my own home rather than do the walk of shame from the dressing room and field questions like “How’d those work out for you?”

I do agree that the price point on some items can be high. I’m willing to pay a premium for quality clothing, especially denim, but this gal who typically shops at Old Navy and Target chokes on a $70 knit top and $40 necklace. Not to mention, I have purchased items in that price point from Stitch Fix and have found the quality to be on par with the fast fashion from my favorite retail stores.

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What does any of this have to do with being too fat for Stitch Fix? Well, over the last 18 months my biggest complaint with the service is that the clothes do not fit. Now, of course a lot of that burden falls on me. If I lost the ten (or 20) pounds I’ve been saying I’m going to lose for the last 7 years, I might actually fit into the pieces they send me. But that aside, I’m really disappointed at the lack of variety they have for women my size.

Real talk here: I am a true size 12 and I typically wear a size large. With some brands, I wear an XL to accommodate my larger chest and long arms. I’m also tall, so I like pants that are long. I’ve fiddled with my Stitch Fix style profile several times and have given tons of feedback to my stylist about selecting brands that aren’t cut so slim or sending pieces that fit my dimensions. And each month, I receive a pair of pants that are too tight and too short and shirts that are too boxy and drapey.

I finally realized I might be too fat for Stitch Fix when I started keeping the accessories from each Fix and sending all the clothes back.

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I’ve been dealing with immense feelings of self-hate for many months now. A lot of it has to do with how I feel, how I look physically, and since turning 40, how I am aging. I’ve been trying hard to navigate these rough waters. Part of the internal dialogue is conceding to this is who I am now and the other is screaming NO! YOU ARE NOT THIS PERSON! I certainly try to make changes and then find myself slipping into old habits because I am overcommitted to everything else in life except myself.

This all of course is not any fault of Stitch Fix. Yet, I find myself annoyed at this service that can’t accommodate styling the average size of an American woman.


With that said, I’m going to wrap up today’s blog. I would love if you left me a comment about anything I’ve written here. Are you using Stitch Fix? Tell me about your experience so far and what kind of tips you might have. Where do you shop for clothes (I have another blog post brewing about that dilemma as well)? Also, if you have dealt with similar feelings of self-loathing, I would love your advice on how to break free from it.