Archive for the Week 12: Self Esteem Category

In The Mirror…About to Break…Worthy…Not This Disease…I Am Dance! By Dana

Posted in The Blogs By Dana, Week 12: Self Esteem on January 23, 2012 by Cookie Has A.S.
This satisfies the MOWer’s blog topic: self-esteem!
When I first began belly dance class, it was at night in the neighboring apartment complex. I had never attempted it before. I had my shoulder replaced in March 2010 and began belly dancing in August of that year. It was difficult for me at the time. I can’t lie. I had already finished my physical therapy but still did not have full range of motion in my right shoulder. I didn’t have a lot of flexibility everywhere else~back, neck, hips, and legs. I also didn’t have a lot of self-esteem. If I was going to go back to dancing, I was going to have to be that same person that held nothing back and just let loose. If I couldn’t be that person, then I was going to have a hard time dancing. I also knew if I couldn’t allow myself to dance again, that would be like a death sentence.
I only went to the apartment complex belly dance class 4 times. Then I thought it just wasn’t for me. I felt self-conscious and as if I just couldn’t keep up. I thought for sure everyone was watching me and wondering what was wrong with me. I just knew that I stuck out as someone that couldn’t dance because there was “something wrong” with me. I felt every one’s eyes looking me over, up and down, and through me. I couldn’t go back…I failed!
A couple months later, a bunch of people went out for my birthday. One person that works with my hubby, who happens to be a long-time belly dancer, gave me a gift certificate for class with the same dance instructor that was at the apartment complex but at a dance studio. I thought I should give it another try…
Meanwhile, we adopted our son Michael. We brought him home, and we got settled. Then I returned to belly dancing once more to give it another try. I felt better about it this time for some reason. I was stronger. My right shoulder’s range of motion was back to normal, and I was feeling pretty good physically. I began in February of 2011 when Mick was only 2 months old. I started in the Saturday Beginner Class. At first, it was a little hard, but not as hard as it once was when I was going at night to the apartment complex classes. I felt like maybe I could catch on faster now that I was physically feeling better. By the end of that first class, I had a confidence that I had not had in soooooooo long! I really needed that class! I had my friend Ang come visit from out of town, and she joined us for one class to learn the very end to our dance. She caught on extremely quickly, and she did an awesome job especially considering that she had never taken a belly dance class ever. At the end of that class, I took one more Saturday Beginner Class, and then was moved up to the Intermediate-Advanced Class!
I couldn’t believe it! By the time I left for my brother’s wedding in April, 2011, I had already completed my first Intermediate-Advanced Class! I had no problems keeping up either, which made it so much more enjoyable and worthwhile. I began taking both the Beginner and Intermediate-Advanced Classes together so that I could take more than one class at the same time. I fell in love with belly dance!!!!
Just last weekend (January 15th), our belly dance studio had a performance. We were asked to get together with other people in our class in November to perform a dance or by our self to perform a solo dance in the show. I was asked by 5 different people to do a dance with them. Talk about a boost in your self-esteem! You know that when others ask you to dance with them, they appreciate your talent or else they would not ask you to dance with them. I was honored and excited to begin practicing. Of course, I was going to be out of town for a lot of the holiday season which meant that I would miss a lot of practice time, so I opted out of the January performance. I told everyone that I would love to dance with them in the spring performance in March or May.
The holiday season has come and gone so quickly. We returned from visiting family in St. Louis, and were ready to get back into our normal routine again. I had made an appointment with my hip orthopaedic surgeon way back in November to see him on January 4th. I had been having some problems with the right hip~clicking, sticking, popping, pain, grinding, and I feared that it was near total collapse.  My fears were actually made true when I was told that the right hip could collapse totally any moment now. I am continuing to belly dance though until I can no longer do it physically. I went to the performance eleven days after my news from my orthopaedic surgeon. I cheered on my fellow classmates.
Two days later, I went to my belly cardio class, which is fast paced and super-charged fun! I danced my body and my heart out as if nothing was wrong with me physically. I told no one in my class about my hip. I just wanted to be “normal,” to feel “normal,” and to only have people look at me for how I danced because they liked my dancing! OH, I danced as though my life depended on it! I held my head up high and my shoulders back! I was so proud of myself! No one can make you have self-esteem, it is

The music began…I watched myself dancing in the mirror next to all the other women and young ladies in my class…I couldn’t even tell…I don’t think anyone could tell…I truly couldn’t tell…I moved my hips, then my shoulders, and I could keep up with everyone in the class~old and young alike…No one even knew I was about to break…No one knew I was less than perfect…it looked as if I was afraid of no one or nothing…I gave the impression that I had so much spirit, brevity, courage, spunk…I obviously feel comfortable in my own skin…I know what I’m doing…This is so right!…I am worthy!…I am a dancer!…I am dance!…I am not this disease…it doesn’t define me!…I am worth so much more!…

You don’t wake up one morning and say, ‘I will become a dancer.’

You wake up one morning and realize you’ve been a dancer all your life,

And you say to yourself, ‘I am a dancer.’

‘I am dance.’


Self Esteem By Jackie

Posted in The Blogs By Jackie, Week 12: Self Esteem on September 26, 2011 by Cookie Has A.S.

I find this quite a difficult one, probably I think, because it is!

I can tell myself all the right things, gee myself up to go out, and feel great, but when I meet people, new or old, I can often be found to just quietly withdraw. Especially with a group of people, I find I just don’t feel confident in a crowd any longer. I do find myself feeling so out of the loop, boring, nothing to talk about and so on.

After spending my whole life working, suddenly because of my circumstances, my world has shrunk so much. While I will never miss the job, I do miss the mixing with people, the social side to working. I was mixing with all sorts of people, all sorts of ages and backgrounds. I chatted each day to all sorts of people, tenants, other departments, tradesmen. While these days I can go days with only seeing my OH briefly. Apart from that it’s me, the cats, the TV and the laptop. I am not too bad, one on one, as I like to think I am a good listener, but in a crowd, I pull on my invisibility cloak. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel I am inferior as such, I just have little to say, because of this small, shrinking world I now inhabit.

I  can  be walking around, say in the shopping centre, leaning on a trolley and looking in the windows, then see my reflection……..and it often will really knock the wind from my sails. I don’t mean that in a narcissistic way, just that I still think of myself as I was, 6 inches taller, a few stone lighter and with a straight spine. Even after all these years the reality can still take my breath away, and obviously affects my self-esteem. Any self-confidence I had mustered in order to get out, goes straight out the window! It can become such a catch 22 situation, the less you do it, the less you want to do it, the less you socialize, the more difficult it is. I can’t see an answer to this for me, as my circle gets ever smaller, so do the opportunities. However, I shall continue to strive to get out and about, to try and have a little more confidence, the poster below I feel is wholly appropriate to me and others in similar situations, but it is not easy, but then why should we expect to be?

When We Look In The Mirror By Cookie

Posted in The Blogs By Cookie, Week 12: Self Esteem on September 26, 2011 by Cookie Has A.S.


You see a person who is an old woman.

I see a person with a  youthful spirit.


You see a person ravaged by Ankylosing Spondylitis.

I see a person who appreciates the simple things.


You see a person unable to stand tall.

I see a person who will stand beside you.


You see a person who can’t look up in the sky.

I see a person who’s able to hold her head high.


You see a person who is unable to pick up heavy things.

I see a person who cares enough to lift your spirits.


You see a person who’s unable to hold things in her arms.

I see a person who will always hold you in her heart.


You  see a person whose spine is  failing her body.

I see a person who has  a backbone.


You see a person who is unable to get up off the floor.

I see a person who will pick you up when you fall.


You see a person that’s unable to walk very far.

I see a person who will carry you the distance.


You see a person who is unable to travel the world.

I see a person who will never leave your side.


You see a person who’s suffering in pain.

I see a person who’s comforted by friends.


You see a person battling Ankylosing Spondylitis.

I see a person who fights to raise awareness.


You see a person whose life is affected by this disease.

I see a person who has been truly blessed.


You see a person whose body lies and betrays her.

I see a person who won’t lie against or betray you.


You see a person whose body is failing her.

I see a person whose heart never will.


Today when I looked in the mirror I realized.

It doesn’t matter what you see.

It only matters what I know.

Because you see my body


I see my soul.

Dedicated to

those who only see

the wrong things about me

because it forced me

to see the right things in me.

I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!
~Theodore Roosevelt

Self Esteem And Fear — Are They Related? By Meloni

Posted in The Blogs By Meloni, Week 12: Self Esteem, Week 13: Fears on September 26, 2011 by Cookie Has A.S.

Self esteem and fear–are they related?

When given a topic of self-esteem nothing “bloggy” comes to mind. I’m not an arrogant person, just that I do not struggle with a “low” self esteem. I can think back to my childhood and all the bullying that I endured, but even that didn’t stop me from reaching for things I wanted. And trust me I was certainly one that was bullied a LOT!
So, having a chronic, life-changing, VERY painful disease doesn’t” bully” me enough either to have a lower self esteem. It just makes me want to “reach” for things that are harder. Not really setting myself up for failure but learning the limitations and/or setting new ones, but still LIVING TO THE FULLEST! The fullest that a life with AS can be.I think that’s where fear comes in. Are you afraid to try? Are you afraid to reach for those things that seem so far away? I think a lower self esteem causes fear! So, for me I do think they can be related to each other.

Now, there are things that make me go hmmm, but I’m not afraid of them. What does my future with AS hold? Will I be all fused and hump back–makes me sit up straight as I’m typing :)!!! Will I be able to throw my grandchildren up in the air and run and play with them (as long as their young-ha). Will my medicine work and do I have to be on it forever? But, I truly think that if you dwell on all the “what-ifs” in life then FEAR will consume you. I think we all-healthy or not-should live today as if it were your last. Cause really there aren’t ANY of us guaranteed LIFE, we are guaranteed ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ, but LIFE? NAH-we are not.

So–put others first–think positive thoughts–don’t let fear and low self esteem stop you from LIVING!

Reach for those Dreams–even if it’s walking to the mailbox today! Or calling a friend and saying I love you!!

CHOOSE JOY!–yes, I truly believe it’s a choice.

Just like when a kid say “I’m bored”–makes me shake my head–that’s because they’re choosing to be!

AS has my body, but NOT me!   I don’t choose AS!!!

Self Esteem and Chronic Illness By Kate

Posted in The Blogs By Kate, Week 12: Self Esteem on September 26, 2011 by Cookie Has A.S.

I know I may not be beautiful to everyone.
I know my back may be starting to look funny.
I know my mind may go some days and make me look awkward.
I know my outfits may make me look silly.
But I am me.

I know I am not the skinniest like the models you see on tv.
I know I am not near the average looking beauty.
I know some days I cry when I look in the mirror because I see what my disease [AS] is doing to my body.
I know some days I cry because of the things I have DONE to myself because of my other disease [bipolar].
But I am learning everyday to love me.

You know how I learn to love me?
By watching others love themselves. Others who are less fortunate love their loves anyway. They love life no matter what. Sure sometimes it really makes me so angry they can still be happy, but deep down inside it’s envy. Envy that they can still love life when I can’t at that moment. I can’t right then because my self esteem is so bad right at that moment I want nothing more than to curl up, and hide in the house- even away from my family. To hide my disease ridden body- from everyone. To hide what it has done to me both inside and out.

Yes, I am learning to love me but it is hard. I try to find joy in everything in life, and I can find joy in so many things, but in myself not so much. At least not the last few weeks. Depression has taken it’s toll as my disease has worsened lately, and all because I haven’t had treatment. I have embarrassing nodules on my toes- must wear sneakers- thank goodness it just hit fall last week, though it’s still hot here.. My back is looking and feeling worse. I am swelling everywhere and look quite heavy but no medicine to help. I am living off pain medicine but only when I desperately need it, because I would never, ever, take them all the time. I refuse. So it’s hard to have good self esteem when disease is ripping apart your body and you cannot get your treatment. This makes me think of all those out there unable to receive treatment ever. It makes me want to cry for them. I am sure though, most of them, find some joy in life and move on. This is what I am learning to do. Learning to love myself and find happiness in life.

Most days I hate what I see in the mirror. I will be honest. I hate being in photographs and now I don’t even like meeting others or going in public but I am wishing and praying for a little hope to come my way. Just to be bitten with a little positiveness and find myself beautiful again. There was a time I found myself beautiful. I want that time back, but we can’t have the past back. We can only move forward.

I think my first step will be acceptance. Then I can move on to feeling beautiful. But tonight at this moment- I will accept I am beautiful. Sure, I can do that if even for a few hours alone. I think it could be a start.