When I had time to myself and started taking care of myself FIRST, that's when the SHIFT happened.
I started doing seemingly simple things like taking a shower every day and getting my hair cut. (I had often rolled out of bed and pulled my greasy, long hair back in a clip and went to work without even showering. I also hadn't cut my hair in over four years. Something I previously did religiously every six weeks.
I bought clothes that fit my new, smaller body. Thrift stores rock!
I bought stylish clothes instead of those that hid the curves of my body and I started wearing dresses for the first time since kindergarten.
I started to create non-negotiable requirements for myself and ensured they were met. The first one was that I HAD to dance at least once EVERY weekend.
I eliminated toxic things from my life, including people and substances.
I quit waiting for people to invite me to do things and I started inviting people to do things with me — even people I didn't know very well. If no one was available to go somewhere with me and I wanted to go, I went by myself. We have two great art festivals in town, and I enjoyed both of them — alone. I've also gone to several movies by myself. And, there's always dancing!
Having not been sexually active in nearly three years, I decided to take my sexuality into my own hands (literally) and began enjoying myself instead of waiting for a man to pleasure me.
Essentially, I just put myself out there — exactly as I am. People (potential friends, mates, family and employers) can choose to take me as I am (and meet my non-negotiables) — or not. THE BEAUTY IS, I'M OK EITHER WAY.
With this new approach, I started smiling — like crazy. All the time. People comment on it all the time. Once a man I was dancing with told me to stop smiling because he couldn't handle it. "Sorry, not possible." It's now a way of life.
When I met my last boyfriend, he said, "Do you know how refreshing it is to meet someone as happy as you?" Who knew? He also said, "I like being with you because I smile so much my cheeks hurt." THAT'S THE ONLY WAY LOVE SHOULD HURT IN MY OPINION.