In one of my sessions with Dr. G, she asked me to list down pleasurable activities, or activities that make me happy. They can be as simple as walking at a leisurely pace while listening to music or eating ice cream. I listed down several, and she told me that I am free to add more activities to the list.
Then, part of my homework is to do at least one pleasurable activity every day. This is on top of keeping a thought journal. Sometimes, I am able to do at least one of those activities that make me happy. But on really bad days, I am not able to. When I'm having a bad day, I feel like every hour is a struggle. And when the clock hits midnight, that's the only time I can breathe because, whew, I was able to survive.
Lately, I've been enjoying taking selfies and posting them on social media. Last week, when I was having another depressive episode and was feeling so insecure, I compiled my best and prettiest Facebook profile pictures and created a collage out of them. Then, I posted this collage on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages. It was my way of assuring myself that yes, I am pretty and I am enough.
Sounds shallow, doesn't it? But if you are constantly down and insecure, won't you do anything--no matter how shallow it is--to make yourself feel better? I don't mind if people would call me vain or conceited. When I finished that collage, I felt good. I felt great. I felt beautiful. These positive thoughts pulled me out of insecurity.
I've started to see my true self-worth only recently, after countless people have assured me that I have nothing to be insecure of. That I don't have any reason to be insecure of Z. That I am beautiful, smart, and that I am enough. I am not fishing for compliments. I just need to be reminded that I am enough and that I have nothing else to prove.
The other day, I posted a collage of my photos wearing no makeup. It was my response to a challenge posed by an actress here in the Philippines. So there. While I was eating breakfast, I remembered the words of that actress, and decided to do what she said.
At first, I was hesitant. I don't go out without makeup because I don't feel as pretty as I am with one. And I am also scared of bumping into Z and looking plain. Makeup, for me, is more like a shield than it is a mask. It protects me from ugly things that people might see or say about me. It makes me feel armed against my insecurity, my ammunition against Z. But because I have started to realize that I don't need to be better than Z or anyone, I have decided to put my shield down little by little. Hence, the #nomakeup and #nofilter selfies.
When I saw my no-makeup photos, I actually thought I looked nice. I did not look glamorous or great, but I did see that I did not look as bad as I thought I would be. My face was plain and bare--I didn't even wear face powder. But I didn't look horrible. I wasn't ugly. In fact, I did think that those photos were refreshing to see.
Don't get me wrong. I am not bragging. But that #nomakeup challenge made me see that I am now in a safe place so I can now put down my shield. The battle between Z and me (the battle that Z knows nothing about) is over. Or at least, I can now see it ending soon. And it took me countless advice from PM and my friends and three #nomakeup selfies to realize that.
I'll definitely take more selfies because this activity makes me happy. I will take photos of myself wearing my go-to deep red lipstick. I will take photos of myself wearing simple makeup. I will also take photos of myself wearing no makeup at all. I won't post all of these on social media, but I will make a security blanket out of them. And whenever I feel down and insecure, I will look at these photos to make myself see and feel, again and again, that I have nothing to worry about.