My Wardrobe, Myself

The intersection of clothing, emotions, and life

NOTE: This post was originally published on my previous blog, Recovering Shopaholic.

I’m a big fan of the singing competition television show, “The Voice.”  Last week, right on the heels of my “Who Are You Dressing For?” post (that was hard for me to write and helped me to turn a powerful corner), one of the competitors on the show sang a song that cut right through to my soul.  I knew the moment I heard it that I needed to write a blog post about the thoughts and emotions it evoked in me.   The sentiments expressed in the song not only affect me personally, I know they also impact thousands – and likely millions – of other women worldwide.

Trying too hard

The song is called “Try” and it’s by Colbie Caillat.  The cover version was sung by the youngest competitor on “The Voice,” Reagan James, on the eve of her sixteenth birthday (watch her performance here). As she sang the song, I could tell that she felt the words deeply.  Yet I –at age 48, three times her age – felt them equally as strongly, if not to a larger degree.

Trying So Hard to Fit in and Belong

The song is about the lengths to which we go to fit in and belong, especially in regards to the way we look.   Here are a few excerpts of the lyrics (you can read them all here and watch the very poignant video here):

Put your make up on
Get your nails done
Curl your hair
Run the extra mile
Keep it slim
So they like you. Do they like you?

Get your shopping on,
At the mall,
Max your credit cards
You don’t have to choose,
Buy it all
So they like you. Do they like you?

Those words – and all of the other words of the song – resonate deeply with me.  I have struggled with my confidence, particularly around my appearance, for as long as I can remember.  I was a shy, introspective child and reached my full height of 5’10” at age 13.  I’ve always stood out as a result, but I often wanted to retreat into the woodwork.   Shame over adolescent weight gain and just feeling “wrong” led me to develop an eating disorder that would last over two decades.

Obsession, Pain, and Anguish

Obsession about the way I looked, as well as about my weight, has caused me immeasurable pain and anguish over the years.   For my entire life, I’ve been a total perfectionist about my hair, make-up, and clothing.  Even when I was in the hospital for anorexia and dangerously thin, I insisted on putting my make-up on and fixing my hair.  I didn’t want anyone to see me looking less than my best.   Deep down, I felt unacceptable “as is” and that I needed to go to great lengths to improve upon my image.

Around the same time that my battle with anorexia and bulimia started, my issues with compulsive shopping began.  I kept thinking that if I could somehow get thin enough, wear the right clothes, and look sufficiently pretty, I would be able to fit in and feel good about myself.  But no amount of weight loss or new outfits could quell the deep feelings of inadequacy that tormented me each and every day.   Of course, I didn’t realize that at the time, so I kept dieting, shopping, and primping, all to very little avail.

I am so very tired of trying so hard to fit in and be liked.  I’m weary of feeling like I’m not good enough, like I have to look a certain way or do certain things in order to be accepted by others – and by myself.   I’m more than ready to lay down my sword and stop fighting this unwinnable battle.

You Don’t Have to Change a Single Thing

While the verses of “Try” that speak to the struggle are so familiar to me and my journey through life, what touched me the most about the song were some of the other words, like the following:

You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing

Wait a second,
Why should you care, what they think of you
When you’re all alone, by yourself
Do you like you? Do you like you?

I am not exaggerating at all when I tell you that I cannot hear or read those words without tears welling up in my eyes.   I am exasperated at trying so hard to be something I’m not, at feeling like who I am is somehow bad or wrong.   Over the years, I have gradually gained increasing self-respect and confidence and have been able to see value in myself beyond my appearance.  Deep down, I know that I have worth that goes much deeper than my exterior.   And though I may not be able to say that I unequivocally love myself, I do like myself now and believe that I am a good and worthy person.

On Aging, Hair, and Identity

Yet I still struggle with my appearance and the aging process has been difficult for me.   I lament that I no longer have the smooth, taut, lineless face of my twenties.  And no matter how hard I work out, my muscles are not as firm as they used to be and I now have a bit of extra padding around my middle.  These things are not at all easy for me to deal with, but the main area in which I still try too hard is with my hair.

For most of my life, my hair was truly my “crowning glory.”  It was long, thick, lustrous, and a lovely shade of auburn.   Although I’ve flat-ironed it for close to twenty years, it remained strong and healthy, until about five years ago.  An ill-advised straightening treatment ruined my hair and adversely affected my health.  I experienced serious breathing difficulties and an unbearably sore throat, and my hair started falling out in clumps.  I had to cut half of it off, as the fumes from the formaldehyde (that I didn’t know was in the treatment and which I’m apparently extremely sensitive to) were outgassing and making me sick.

Fortunately, the health issues gradually improved (although I wonder if there are lingering effects), but my hair has never been the same.  It’s now much more brittle and breaks easily.   It’s also almost completely grey.  I get it colored every four weeks and it needs it much sooner than that.   I still flat-iron it, as it’s a frizzy, bushy mess without it, but it no longer withstands the heat like it once did.  Many other women would have cut it off by now, but I’m very afraid to do so.

I cling to my long hair (which really isn’t that long anymore) as if it’s my identity and like I’d be lost without it.   I fear that if I let go of my hair, I won’t be attractive anymore and I’ll just look old and past my prime.   Although I see beautiful women with short hair (and wrinkles, too) all the time, I somehow don’t believe the same could possibly be true for me.   So I continue to hold on to something that once was great but isn’t any longer.  I continue to try too hard to make something be what it is not.

From Tightly Wound to Peace and Freedom?

These are the types of worries that plague me.  They may seem ridiculous to you, and even I know that they are “first-world problems.” I also know that I’m very fortunate in many, many ways.   I am grateful for my blessings in life, but I cannot seem to let go of my stupid hair and appearance worries.   No wonder I’ve suffered from migraines for thirty years; I’m just so tightly wound that I can’t relax and let go.   But I really need to do so…   My full recovery depends upon it.

Towards the end of the Colbie Caillat video, she and other women take off their make-up and one woman even removes her wig to reveal a bald head.   Each of them looked relaxed, confident, and beautiful as they did those things.   I found myself longing to capture those feelings and to finally be free of my self-imposed bondage.

I wonder how many of you can relate to what I’m writing here.  I know I’m not alone.  The fact that “Try” was such a big hit is a testament to the resonance of the lyrics among women in the United States and around the world.  Many of us are tired of trying so hard and feel encouraged at the thought of not having to do so anymore. What if we really didn’t need to change a single thing?   What would be possible for us as women and as people?

What if Things Could Be Different?

What if we didn’t need to keep shopping and shopping to try to measure up to society’s expectations of us?  What if we didn’t need to spend an hour or more getting ready each day?  What if we could relax, at least some of the time?   What if we could stop caring so much about whether other people like us and just focus on liking ourselves?

I’m sure some of you have already moved past the types of concerns I wrote about above, or perhaps you were lucky enough to never have had them in the first place.  I hope to be able to cross over the bridge into true freedom soon.  Even the fact that I could write this post and air more of my “dirty laundry” for all to see is a testament to my willingness and readiness to change.

I’ve thought about writing these things many times before, but it took a brave 15 year-old on “The Voice” to give me the courage to take this next step.   Thank you, Reagan James, and thank you, Colbie Caillat, for writing such a beautiful and inspiring song.   And thanks to all of you for your support and for being witness to my growth and recovery.

If you’re reading this and find that you’re still trying too hard, perhaps my words will give you some courage to break free from that bondage.   I don’t know you personally, but I do know one thing.   You are good enough, and so am I.   With that, I’ll close with the final words of “Try”:

Take your make up off
Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror, at yourself
Don’t you like you?
Cause I like you

With love and wishes for strength, Debbie

120 thoughts on “We Don’t Have to Try So Hard

  1. Saltbox says:

    A very powerful post Debbie, thank you for making me feel more normal! I’m really struggling right now with my looks and this helps to put it into perspective.
    I’ve always been quite pretty as a youngster and I didn’t have to work too hard on my outside but inside I felt ugly and unworthy. What age has taken away in terms of anxiety it has given back in insecurity about my looks.

    I turned 50 this year and although I’m very blessed to be healthy and happy I’ve become even more introspective than normal and I find mysel obsessing over clothes, hair and skincare/ makeup like never before. As my hair is also mainly gray I have it coloured. My natural colour is dark brown but the colour fades so fast I look brassy and faded so quickly. I hate my hair. I’m not wrinkly and I’ve never worn very much makeup but now I feel so dowdy without it and yet I
    feel less inclined to do anything at all these days and that in itself makes me unhappy as well.

    So, I have no answers, just a whole bunch of empathy! I think a large part of my problem is that I don’t have enough to do so I spend too much time navel-gazing and over-obsessing on the things I can change to make me feel better. I’m a full time self improver and that’s very wearing in itself.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’m glad I could make you feel more normal, Saltbox. You did the same for me! It seems we are on a very similar path. It’s okay that you don’t have answers, as the empathy is wonderful to receive. Yes, the “navel-gazing” can make things more difficult for us. That’s why I intend to put myself out there in the world more next year. It’s scary, but it’s something I need to do.

  2. Jessica says:

    Thank you so much for sharing Debbie. This is a powerful post. I will say it again: you have come such a long way!
    I recognize many of the things you write about. The old me used to think that way about myself. It took years for me to be nicer to myself, but I can finally say that I like me. My wish is that you will feel the same about yourself! You have made such amazing progress and your honesty is like a breath of fresh air. THANK YOU 🙂

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I really appreciate your encouragement, Jessica. I’m glad that you are finally being nicer to yourself. I am getting there, bit by bit. Writing these types of posts is helping the process, as are the wonderful comments I receive when I push “publish” even though I’m scared to do so.

  3. KimM. says:

    I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for you to write this post Debbie. Thanks for sharing because I bet there’s lots of us here who’ve felt the same way at some time in our lives. I’ve always been a fairly confident person but did go through some insecurities in high school. I couldn’t wait to graduate, lol. The older I get the less I care what people think of me. I used to never leave the house without makeup and once, though halfway to work, turned the car around and went back home because I’d forgotten to apply mascara. I was late to work but didn’t care because I had my “face” on. Now I’ll go out with only powder and blush. My husband loves it when I don’t wear makeup and tells me how pretty I am without it. That’s very empowering. I truly hope that you will grow to love yourself even more for the beautiful woman you are, no matter your hair, makeup or clothes.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      It was more difficult for me to hit “publish” than it was for me to write the post, Kim. But I am humbled by all of the wonderful comments I am receiving! I think I was most insecure in high school, hence the genesis of my eating disorders. I think it’s great that you are feeling more secure within yourself. I sometimes leave the house now with minimal make-up, too, but I still feel uncomfortable when I do. Sometimes we need to “feel the fear and do it anyway,” as that’s the way we grow. Thank you for your kind wishes for me!

  4. Juhli says:

    Perfectionism when directed at oneself is a terrible burden. I know my Mom felt the way you do right up until she died at 93. I hope you find the peace that alluded her all those years.

    And to totally change the subject, have you checked out Curly Girl for coming to terms with your hair and keeping it from frizzing?

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      That’s very sad about your mom, Juhli. My mother-in-law is like that, too, at 81, and I see her as a cautionary tale. I really DO want to change, but it’s very difficult to shift one’s ingrained ways of thinking and being. My hope is that by writing about it, I will gain increased courage to be able to make powerful leaps in the way I approach life. I appreciate your link to the Curly Girl method. I am so biased toward straight hair, but perhaps I can learn to love what I have instead of always looking to change it.

  5. Jane says:

    For your hair: get a bottle (or two) of Aubrey Organics 100% Aloe Vera. Not aloe vera gel – just aloe vera (more on that later).

    It comes in a 4 oz bottle that you have to keep refrigerated, but that’s not a big deal. I say get 2 as Amazon has a better deal on the 2-pk. Put it in your virtual cart & wait a day or so – the price always drops + free shipping for Prime. Link below.

    Anyways, shampoo & conditon your hair. Squeeze out excess water. Lightly spray a leave-in condition (if you use one), then lightly blot dry with a towel. Now take the aloe vera & shake out a decent palm full & start applying to your hair. It has a faint scent (that does not linger) & feels like water going on. You’ll apply as much as you feel you need to. I have a curly bob-length cut & I use a right good amount to ensure that I got all my strands sufficiently coated. It’s not gonna weigh your hair down either so don’t worry about that. Apply styling products if you use them. I use gels (a blend of DevaCurl Ultra & Publix-brand aloe vera gel). & then apply a wee bit more of the aloe over that for good measure. Dry your hair.

    You should try one day of just using only the aloe vera to get a good sense of how much to use. You’ll know you got the amount right when your hair is insanely soft to the touch & shiny. It alone won’t do much for combating all the frizz (which is why I use styling gels), but it goes the distance for leaving you with super silky, super pretty hair with little to no effort on your part aside from having to keep the bottle in the fridge.

    Can’t hurt to try it. My Sister-in-law had a bad keratin treatment & tried the 100% aloe vera only after ignoring me & trying 1000 other salon products. Finally she caved & has been apologizing ever since! LOL.

    I tried commenting before on your posts & got shut down by you & your fellow commenters for being rude. But that was never my intention. I just don’t sugar-coat everything all the time just to mitigate potential hurt feelings. People want camaraderie, not solutions when you do that all the time.
    Anyways, try (or don’t try) the aloe vera. It is such an under-the-radar solution that I found out about from a friend & just feel compelled to pay the advice forward. Jane

    1. Paula spruell says:

      Ok, you inspired me and I ordered some! My BF swears by aloe vera. Thanks for the referral 🙂

    2. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for the tip on the aloe vera, Jane. I just ordered some and look forward to trying it. It’s inexpensive and definitely worth a try based upon what you wrote. A keratin treatment is what I had back in November 2009. One of the worst decisions I even made. I wonder how many people have gotten sick and/or ruined their hair with those dangerous chemical processes! Fingers crossed that the aloe vera will help my hair – and Paula’s, too!

    3. Leah says:

      The book “C” recommends below also says that Aloe Vera is a great treatment for hair. Thanks you for letting us know about a product that’s good for our hair and for us!

      1. Debbie Roes says:

        I received my aloe vera and am going to try it on my hair tomorrow. I’m excited to see if it makes the kind of difference Jane said. I’ll let everyone know how it goes.

  6. Leah says:

    Thank you Debbie, for putting into words what many of us feel! I just heard “Try” for the first time a few days ago and was also very moved by it. I teach middle school students and see these girls who are just lovely and smart worrying about not being “popular.” Looking through the eyes of a 44 -year old, I wish I could tell them all the stuff they don’t need to worry about. The hair straightening is a big thing to girls and lots of them get Keratin treatments. It makes me very worried about their health that they are starting that so young – and it’s so expensive. Are they condemning themselves financially at such a young age?
    I have started to look at a few of my grooming things that may not be serving me anymore. I have been getting regular gel manicures and pedicures that are very expensive. I guess I have needed my nails to look “photo ready.” I have also just let go of years of collected articles and pictures in my two inspiration binders. (Some of my articles are actually collectors items – like all my Carolyn Bessette Kennedy stuff. ??) I realized that I was serving it more than it was serving me. It was all in some goal of personal perfection which is not attainable anyway. I do want to be always improving but not if the improving is costing me peace of mind.

    As far as hair and makeup – I don’t think the song is about stopping our grooming but about stopping the obsession with some ideal (and the ideals are always changing). I’m not going to stop doing my makeup or doing my hair in a way that serves me. I found a style that suits the hair I have now (damaged and a little mullet-like from bleach damage – oh well), stopped overcoloring, and stopped trying to make my straight hair curl. If your hair serves you and is the best style for your face and the time you are willing to spend on it – don’t cut it off. Shorter hair may actually take longer to style and mess with. I have learned that the hard way. My reasons for overshopping I am still working on and the lyrics of the song are a good thing to think about when I am feeling the need to shop (as well as many of your words of wisdom). The way I dress makes me stand out more than fit in and I don’t really want to fit in sartorially (tights as pants – yikes!!!) but my need to be different may be another side of the same coin.

    Thanks again for all that you share!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Middle school is often when the low self-esteem and worries about not being good enough starts, Leah. I’m saddened to learn that girls that young are getting keratin treatments. I hope the formulations aren’t as dangerous as what was in the one I got. Yes, it made my hair straight, but at what cost?!?! I have inspiration folders with articles and photos, too. Carolyn Bessette Kennedy was always one of my favorites as well. I always seemed to aspire to look like those tall, willowy blondes with perfect-looking straight hair (Jennifer Aniston was another one, especially in regards to her hair). Perhaps I need to update my inspiration files to be more realistic.

      I agree with what you wrote about the message of the song. We don’t need to totally go in the other direction and place no time and energy on our appearance. It can be a delicate balance. I’m still trying to find my way and it was helpful to write about my journey. There can be many, many reasons why we overshop and that can make it difficult to stop. I’ve found it’s like peeling an onion and I wonder just how many layers are left!

  7. C. says:

    Thank you for this extremely honest and open post Debbie. I have had bad dreams about my hair falling out or someone cutting it all off, so I can’t imagine the stress of having your hair damaged so badly by chemicals. For me, my long hair is like a security blanket. A few years ago when I got pregnant, I decided to start looking into research about shampoos, cosmetics, hair treatments, etc. so that I could be “cleaner.” I highly recommend the book “No More Dirty Looks.” One of its authors started the book after an identical experience you describe with keratin treatment. It’s very readable and makes so much sense. They also advocate changing the products in your life little by little, which I like because real change takes time, as we probably all know in recovering from overshopping. Four years later I am happy that all my products are clean, and affordable – there are good options out there.
    I share this because I felt I always had to conform to what others were doing or what we were being told was trendy with clothing, looked good with hair and make up, and now at 37 I’m entering the arena of all the non-stop marketing for anti-aging. Finding products that were going to be good for me & for my pregnant body and not because they promised beauty, being trendy, etc. helped me find more confidence in my own likes and my own appearance.
    I agree it IS utterly exhausting to worry about what others think of our appearance and never feel like we fit in or look quite right. One of the takeaways from your blog that has helped me so much with reducing my closet (by about 30% so far!) is when you said everything in it should be a “7” or higher out of 1-10. It was like a light bulb went off in me. So each day I feel more comfortable and happier wearing my favorite outfits, repeating my favorites, instead of wearing something because I feel obligated or guilty (that I never should have bought it). Another thing that helps me feel like I “fit in” is realizing that I actually DON’T WANT TO fit in with certain people. In high school I probably felt the normal pressure to emulate the “cool group” of kids (and failed lol), but then luckily I went to a female-dominated college campus (65%), with very open-minded men and learned how to be myself and discover who I really was without being buttonholed. I also swam in college, giving me more confidence in my body and what it could do physically versus how I looked in the mirror. From there my confidence only grew, because I realized that I didn’t need everyone to like me, I could also make more efforts to get to know different people of my own choosing. I’ve realized I enjoy other women, and moms, with sense of humor – can laugh at themselves, can have serious conversations about life, current events, kids, etc., who aren’t competitive with other women or make our kids’ developments into competitions. Basically I’ve realized that there is only one area in my life where I feel competition has its place, and that is the swimming pool. Outside of racing (which I hope to get back to, it’s my goal for my 40th birthday!), I don’t like being around competition or competitive people. Learning more about myself and steering toward positive, energetic, empathic and creative people makes me happy, and steering away from negativity, stress and competition brings me peace of mind. I know as my kids get older I’ll have less choice in the matter, as I have to interact with all sorts of parents and people for my kids’ sake, but I feel like now is a time for me to fortify my own strength and preferences and set good boundaries.
    Obviously your post gives a lot of food for thought! This has just been my journey on overcoming all the moments when I tell my husband I feel “frumpy,” “unattractive,” “exhausted” or insecure and anxious. It’s a daily process, especially when I am trying to take a shopping hiatus. I haven’t bought anything in 2 weeks so far and it’s definitely helping me to sit with my feelings & deal with them rather than escape them through shopping. Mindfulness meditation sitting down has not worked too well for me – though I know it’s fantastic for others. But I wonder Debbie if you have ever tried it, or yoga with some relaxation/breathing techniques at the end? I find doing something active, yet also calming, like yoga, really helps me with anxiety.
    Thanks for all that you do!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for sharing some of your story, C, and for giving the book recommendation. A keratin treatment is what I had and it was a very horrible experience! I really think those things should be taken off the market. They may not harm everyone right away like they did with me, but the chemical exposure is likely doing damage over time to others. Since the time I got that awful treatment, I’ve been gradually moving toward more natural products and foods. It’s been a difficult journey for me and my health is still not great, but I know I’m making an investment in my future with my day to day choices.

      Congrats on not buying anything new in 2 weeks. It’s good that you’re taking things day by day, as that’s the easiest way to make changes. I wish you the best of luck with your journey! To answer your question, I have done some yoga and relaxation techniques, but I really need to do more. Going on walks with my husband is helpful and we try to go at least 3 or 4 times per week, if not more. I know that mindfulness meditation can be very beneficial. I just need to push myself to do it!

    2. Leah says:

      Thank you so much for the book recommendation. I read it today and started looking at products in the house. I ended up at Whole Foods replacing as much as I could. Thanks again!

      1. C. says:

        So glad I could help – I don’t remember how I found the book originally. I have tried to clean up all my products. If you are looking for cosmetics, I highly recommend The All Natural Face website. Her prices are great, and I tried the sampler first. I usually only wear make up to work, but since it’s all natural, it’s not irritating, especially the mascara, so I’m wearing it more. Hair dye is the hardest to replace… it’s pretty toxic… but I started going gray in my mid-20s and I find it hard to give up! Related to the shopping, I’m trying to focus on the clothes & accessories I already own & not buy more, so taking care of my hair & skin helps with that… a way to take care of myself without buying more items!

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          Looks like a great resource, C. Thank you for sharing this and the book recommendation with all of us! I am definitely sensitive to both hair and skin care products and have experienced reactions to more than just the hair straightener (although that was by far the worst one!). I use Aveda hair dye (have it done in a salon) and do okay with it, but I know there are still harmful chemicals in there. Apparently, the ammonia percentage is 3% vs. 17%, but 3% isn’t nothing…

          I think your plan to focus more on what you have instead of buying more is a good one. Often, our shopping is motivated by a desire to nurture ourselves, so if we can find alternate ways of doing so, the urge to buy may not be as high. I hope that will be the case for you.

  8. Ana says:

    Sure you’ll do, you’ll be free, you’re already doing it. You said appearance is a concern for the first world, but I also strongly believe that is a concern mostly for women, due to this menly society. For ages women have got to be stronger than men; we give birth, we work, we take care of the home, while men just works, and Ï think it’s time to bear in mind we have nothing to prove anymore, to anyone.
    Love, Ana

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for your comment, Ana. I agree that appearance is much more of a concern for women than men. You’re right that we don’t have anything to prove to anyone. I think that as we get older, we come to realize that more and more. I’m getting there…

  9. Sarah E says:

    Debbie, these worries don’t seem ridiculous at all. I think you might be surprised at how many women struggle with the same or similar issues every single day. I grew my hair out because my last boyfriend (right after a divorce- recipe for disaster) made a comment about not really liking short hair. It cut me deeply and I’m sure to this day he still doesn’t know how it hurt me. Certain things in our culture end up as a big part of our identity as women, like hair and weight. Men get to make their own identities to a certain extent, but we are often told what femininity is. Lately I’ve been thinking about this a lot since I may be facing a hysterectomy at age 31. I’ve never wanted children but it still somehow feels like I’d be robbed of a piece of my womanhood.
    So please do not think you are some kind of freak. Perhaps you are just braver than the rest of us to say this stuff in public.

    1. Sarah E says:

      And P.S. since a lot of people are chatting about the hair issue, I just wanted to mention henna, indigo, cassia, and amla again. They are natural plant pigments (I use just henna, myself) that you can make a “gloss” with (mix with your conditioner) and it deposits natural color slowly so you’re always looking your best. I know it can be scary to do it yourself if you never have, but starting with the diluted method can help people ease into it. It actually makes your hair stronger and smoother over time, and you can mix them to make different shades of brown, auburn, blonde or black. Personally I’m sort of looking forward to going grey because to get the color I want now I have to bleach first. 😦 I’ve also been pinning pictures of older women on Pinterest who have beautiful long platinum grey hair. They are totally rocking it and I hope I can someday too. Looking at those photos definitely make me feel better.

    2. Debbie Roes says:

      I appreciate your encouragement, Sarah. I’m sorry to hear that you might have to have a hysterectomy. I’m sure that’s very hard for you even if you weren’t thinking you wanted to have children. What defines our femininity is a complicated thing and is definitely compounded by societal views and expectations. A uterus isn’t what makes us women any more than long hair. I have gotten a lot of attention and validation for my hair, which is why it’s hard to give it up. I don’t get nearly as much attention about it anymore (except for about the color, which is obviously from a bottle), but old habits die hard. Thanks for the tips are home hair color. I’m scared to do it, but it’s nice to know there are more natural options. I should pin some images of women with grey hair, too. I need to cultivate more realistic images of how I want to look and I’m sure I can find many on Pinterest.

      1. Sarah E says:

        Here are two that I particularly love, to get you started:

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          Thanks so much for sharing, Sarah. I think both of these women look beautiful! I used these two images to start a “Grey Hair Inspiration” Pinterest board and look forward to adding more images very soon.

  10. Deborah (Deby) says:

    Wow, Debbie–I had no idea that your myriad health concerns that you refer to often were the result of a toxic hair treatment. Now I have a far better understanding of why you were motivated to start this blog and reach out to others. You experienced an awakening of the most jarring sort–the integrity of your health vs. the pursuit of physical beauty. Thank you for sharing this, it gives sobering pause for thought.

    But I think you are overworking your hair by trying to cling to an earlier look that obviously isn’t benefiting your hair. I can understand not wanting to cut your hair. We women equivocate long hair with attractiveness because supposedly men find it more attractive. I think if a man finds you attractive for your true self, it doesn’t matter how long your hair is.

    But about grey hair–the other day I saw a gorgeous 6′ tall woman in her 70’s at TJ Maxx. She had waist length grey hair in a single braid. She was fashionably and casually dressed in skinny jeans, boots and a poncho that picked up the various grey tones in her hair and she looked FANTASTIC. I said to myself, “I want to have a look like HER when I have grey hair!”

    I think grey hair can look very sophisticated and elegant, but you have to change your wardrobe color palette to make enhance it.

    A few months ago, I cut off about 14″ of my hair (which is very thick and wavy) to a more modern angled shoulder length bob. I am in the process of growing out my bangs. Since I wear glasses for work and have complicated astigmatism which means I can’t just buy reading glasses at the drugstore, I am taking some of my image inspiration from the Warby Parker website (from where I am going to order my new frames in a few weeks). Its been kind of fun, and certainly a lot easier having shorter hair. All I do is wash, condition, comb it to dry naturally and let it be its wavy self. I have come to view straight hair as a ‘special occasion” look.

    You might try a product called Wen. I used it when my hair was very long and it was a marvelous product that made my hair feel great.

    1. Abgurl says:

      I so agree that grey well kept hair can be stunning. I only started going abit gray abt 6 yrs ago and found as time has passed, it required more work every passing yr to hide it. 2 yrs ago I said to hell with it and stopped. It is now salt and pepper, thick& wavy ,long(3 feet) and healthy. Best of all no more wasted days, time or money to only repeat the hiding process. And although I struggled for the longest time whenever I passed a mirror( who is that I would say, that isnt me is it?) for the first year,I realize now how liberating it really is .

    2. Debbie Roes says:

      Not all of my health issues were as a result of my toxic hair treatment, Deby, but my health did significantly decline after that time. It definitely helped me to see what my obsession with physical perfection was costing me, not to mention the many years with eating disorders that also damaged my health and my psyche. I do want to help other women and I originally thought this blog would only be about shopping. But like pretty much everything in life, things don’t occur in isolation. I think that for many of us, the shopping issues are tied up with a lot of other things. As I’ve been unraveling my problem, lots of other things have come up and it’s helped me to write about them, and I’m glad it’s helped others, too.

      I agree that I’m overworking my hair trying to cling to an earlier look. At this point, something’s got to give. I either need to embrace the color or the texture – or both. I need to be more brave and more realistic about my hair. For some reason, it feels less scary to go gray than to either chop all my hair off or to try to embrace my natural texture. So maybe I’ll start there. Your new hairstyle sounds nice. I had no idea you had such long hair. In your small avatar image that I’ve seen, it looked shorter, but I can’t really see it that well. I’ve been curious about Wen but haven’t tried it. I tried Ovation Cell Therapy and it did help my hair condition, but the smell drove me nuts and I had to stop using it.

      1. Deborah (Deby) says:

        I cut my hair because you’ve got to be bold and make a statement at a certain age. I looked in the mirror and said, “this long hippie chick hair is not working for me”. It was dragging me down, making me look older, like a has-been. I had long bangs as well, and I looked like a mess of hair. Even my son criticized me and said I looked like “Cousin It”! It was exhausting to style all that hair, so I usually went the lazy route and let it air dry which produced all kinds of crazy wave patterns around my head. Then it was uncomfortable to let hanging loose, so I defaulted by always putting it up, which made me look like my grandmother from the early 1920’s (because I am a dead ringer for her–its uncanny)! Who want to look like how their grandmother did 90 years ago?

        If I had your hair problems, I would do three things: start using an emollient hybrid shampoo conditioner (like Wen or Aloe as was suggested), stop straightening your hair at the same time (once your hair is conditioned the frizz will turn into waves), and instead of dyeing your hair a flat color, consider having some “baliage” done, where several related tones are brushed onto your hair creating a multidimensional color that merges together the tones of your hair–kind of like highlighting but more complex. This way, you could grow out your grey, but add other tones intermingled. This can be a really beautiful coloring technique and its not as hard on your hair as flat color.

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          I often get a good laugh at your comments, Deby. I like the Cousin It remark and can relate, as my hair would often look like that, too, when it was longer and thicker. It sounds like you have a much better hairstyle for you now. Thanks for the suggestions for my hair. I ordered the aloe and am going to give it a try. If I’m not happy with that, I will try the Wen. I have a hard time believing that my hair will stop being frizzy, but I will try to keep an open mind. I will talk to my hair stylist about the baliage. I have heard of it, but am not that familiar with it. I like the idea of being able to grow out the grey because it’s only been two weeks since I had my hair colored and I already have a stripe of grey at my part. It’s just too high-maintenance to keep the flat color going. I’m sure the stylists love the clients like me who come in like clockwork every 4 weeks, but I really need it more often and both my hair and my wallet can’t take that. I use the mascara-style root cover-ups, but it’s hard to get the color to match up well and I often don’t like the result. I really need to make a change and I like the idea of having multiple tones in my hair.

        2. Deborah (Deby) says:

          I’m of the opinion you’ve got to work with what you’ve been given instead of fighting it all the time trying to be something you’re not. This may be easy for me to say because I never considered myself to be conventionally beautiful, and I knew realistically no matter what I did, I would never BE conventionally beautiful, so why waste the time torturing myself? This may seem overly simplistic attitude, but its true. I’ve had my share of pity parties over my looks, they last about an hour or two, I get bored with myself for feeling that way. And the older I get, the less I agonize over my looks.

          In working with what I’ve got–I was blessed good skin, good hair, and a good eye color. My features are not as chiseled and elegant as I would wish, but rounder faces tend to ager slower so they say. I focus on keeping my skin and hair healthy, and I use discreet makeup that complements my coloring. I don’t put a lot of thought into it really, in fact if it takes too long to get ready, I get annoyed. I want to get on with the business of the day rather than futz over my appearance! To that end, I have simplified my beauty routines down to the “best of the best” and then I “hope for the best”, and go on…

        3. Debbie Roes says:

          You have a very healthy attitude about your appearance, Deby, and we would all benefit from adopting such a perspective. I think that keeping “pity parties” about anything to just an hour or two would save many of us a lot of grief. I was hoping that I would agonize LESS about my appearance as I got older, but that hasn’t been the case. However, I believe that by writing about my issues and getting more real about them, I will get there.

  11. Sarah S. says:

    [Just to comment first on the comment right above me – Wen made my hair fall out. It seems to be magical for some people, and not so much for others.]

    Debbie – what a heartfelt and brave post. I think we all struggle to an extent with this. And just when I think I’ve healed my thoughts and got past this, something else will happen to cause insecurity again. Part of my overshopping tendencies has always included skin care, and hair care to an extent. I’ve never been big on makeup but have experimented with it – in my teen years I read a lot about French attitudes to spending more on having great skin as opposed to covering it up with makeup and that stuck with me. So I have spent a lot on lotions and potions. Anyway, part of my insecurities are to do with personality as well as appearance (am I too quiet? Boring?). And also about hygiene – I remember being teased once at school for having wax in my ears, and I live in horror of someone recoiling from my breath (and yet, here I am with a coffee in front of me!). ALL of it falls for me into the “am I good enough?” thinking. And of course, it is so easy to have compassion for other people and yet not for oneself. I have been working hard on this, especially doing some Buddhist “metta” practice around developing self-compassion.

    I am a work in progress. I am going grey naturally, and am also growing my hair long. So what if it’s a bit thinner than it used to be. My hair has always been pretty good, although I use a TON of conditioner to achieve that. I DO wear skinny jeans now and enjoy them, even though my butt is bigger than I’d like it to be. I feel more at ease with some aspects of my personal style. I have set myself monthly budgets for clothing AND for skin and hair care – I find having a budget at the moment both helps to reign in the impulse to over spend and allows me to spend SOME money without guilt. Yay me. And yet at other times I am riddled with self doubt and insecurity. My hair is thinner than it used to be! I’m going to look like a homeless old woman with dirty, stringy thin grey hair! My butt is too big to be in any way involved in healthcare and telling people how to eat better. I should wear more makeup to look more polished and be taken seriously! And so on. The very things that I am sometimes happy and confident about turn around to bite me.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience with Wen, Sarah. Now I’m nervous to try it, as my hair has already been falling out quite a bit. Since I had the keratin treatment, my hair is about half as thick as it used to be. It’s a good thing I started out with such thick hair in the first place! Of course, I’m not sure that all of my hair loss was due to that process, but that’s when it all started.

      I’m glad you liked this post. I think I should probably adopt that self-compassion process, too! I think it’s great that you are embracing grey hair and wearing skinny jeans even if you aren’t stick thin. I have a budget for skin and hair care, too, and continually exceed it. Maybe I need to focus more energy on that area of overshopping now that I’m doing better with the clothes. I think we all have ups and downs in terms of our insecurities. Sometimes I feel much more grounded and confident than others, too.

      1. Sarah E says:

        Debbie, I was reading about wen recently and apparently it is mostly marketing hype. It’s simply a conditioner that you use without shampoo. Here’s a good blog article about it:
        The good news is that you don’t have to get spendy and can choose a (safer) all natural conditioning option or less pricey version. Some people also use coconut milk and aloe to “wash” their hair with good results although that seems sort of fussy to me.
        Also here’s a video about making your own from some common ingredients:
        Whatever you try, good luck!

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          You always have a lot of great resources, Sarah! Thanks for sharing the article and the video. I’m all for making my own products, as at least I’d know what’s in them. I definitely need to do something different from what I’m doing and I’m open to exploring various alternatives. It may take me a while to find the best solution for me, but at least I’ll feel good knowing that I’m not just sticking with the status quo (and being unhappy about it). I like to take action. It is taking me a while to figure out my wardrobe and style, but as I keep taking steps, I’m making progress. My hope is that the same will be true with my hair challenges!

  12. grechen says:

    thank you for writing this post 🙂
    of course it resonates with me…

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      You’re welcome, Grechen. I’m glad you liked this post. I think we are kindred spirits, as I often relate so much to what you write, too.

  13. Janet says:

    Thanks Debbie for sharing your vulnerability. It takes a truly strong and generous person to put yourself out there because you want to help others. I used to straighten my hair every four weeks, and this meant I was at the hairdresser every other week, because I didn’t really think having natural afro hair was acceptable in a corporate environment. After I had my son I had neither the time nor resource to devote to my pursuit of straight hair. I’m always having to explain ‘why’ I have natural hair. Am I making a statement? Rebelling against what society demands? Am I being a strong, black woman? The simple answer is that it is cheaper and easier to maintain and it should be okay, in 2014, to just have your hair as you want without having to justify going against the norm.

    1. Sarah E says:

      As a white woman with really fine, limp hair, I am often jealous of those amazing afros. It’s funny, people with curly hair always want to straighten it, and people with straight hair always want more “body.” I seriously do not understand our culture’s obsession with straight hair for African American women. I love those afros, they are gorgeous!

      1. Janet says:

        Sarah E, you are an angel. Thank you.

    2. Debbie Roes says:

      I really appreciate your comment, Janet. I never really understood the struggle that African-American women go through with their hair until I saw the Chris Rock documentary film, “Good Hair.” That really opened my eyes in many ways. I agree with what Sarah E said. We always seem to want what we don’t have. I always applaud those who have found a way to embrace their natural hair texture, no matter what the reason behind it. I wholeheartedly agree with you that in 2014, women should be able to wear their hair however they choose without having to justify it.

      1. Joanna says:

        Good Hair was interesting and educational!

  14. Anna says:

    Thank you so much for writing this, it really resonates with me. I found your blog today and read many of your posts. They made me feel not so alone in the feelings I have been having lately. I am in my late twenties and I have always enjoyed shopping, makeup, beauty and anything fashion related. Lately, I have found myself more and more obsessed and more and more unhappy with myself due to these obsession. No purchase, or product keeps me happy and I end up feeling more dissatisfied the more I buy and the more time I spend browsing the images of the beautiful women I follow on Instagram and Facebook. I am trying to accept myself in my own skin and embrace the natural me, but I find it so hard in the society we live in that is so focused on image. One of my goals for this year was to go to work one day without makeup and feel good about it. I am getting closer to that goal and I want to make a conscious effort to cut back on my spending and put more energy into more meaningful aspects of my life. It is blog posts like this that women need to remind each other of what really matters.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Welcome, Anna, and thank you for your comment. I’m glad my posts are helping you to feel less alone. Stick around, as this is a very supportive and encouraging community. I can very much relate to what you wrote and I applaud your goal of going to work one day without make-up. That would be very scary for me, too, but I think it would also be quite liberating. I wish you the best of luck with your journey and I hope you will comment again to let us know how you’re coming along.

  15. Paula says:

    You are brave to be so honest! God bless.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for your kind words and blessings, Paula!

  16. Paula spruell says:

    Once again, I commend you for your honesty and courage! Thai journey is a process, and I feel you are making such incredible progress. I am also grateful you are generous enough to share it with us, it truly means a lot. As I have mentioned before, I too have had image issues. It’s nice to know you are not alone. Recovery takes effort, but I have to say that I wouldn’t trade the bad stuff, as it has made me stronger! I am grateful for the people in my life, my deepening yoga practice and my faith, as these things make me stronger and hopefully better. Kudos to you

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      My intuition always tells me to share these things, Paula, as deep down I know I’m not alone in my feelings. I’m glad that this post has resonated with so many people. I agree with you about not wanting to trade the bad stuff. We are who were are because of ALL of it, not just the good. Thanks for your kind words.

  17. Abgurl says:

    Oh my – never has a post hit so close to home for me and esp the aging. Although it is only within each of us that the ability to learn to embrace the differing idea of beauty brought about by the changes, I am glad to know there are others who are struggling as well and I am not alone.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I knew lots of people would be able to relate, Abgurl. It helps me to know that I’m not alone, too. You’re right in that there are different ideas of beauty. We can still be beautiful, but it won’t be the same at 50 as it was at 30. It can’t be and if we are able to accept and embrace that, we’ll be happier and feel more inner peace. I’m not there yet, but I have hope.

  18. annie v says:

    Growing old is not for sissies!!! cant remember who said this, but all true. Like you my hair was my pride and joy till I had breast cancer and chemo did its job, now it is grown back but it shall never be the same,, it was a major eye opening…. my body was still pretty good, but I decided there and then, no reconstruction, wanted to face myself as I am and not someone’s else idea of womanhood, does it take courage? do not know, but I want to give my daughters the idea that your body is not who you are, and it had to start with myself.

    God bless

    Annie v.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I don’t know who said that, either, Annie, but it’s true! I love the message you are passing on to your daughters and I know they will benefit greatly from it. I applaud your courage (I definitely think what you’ve done takes courage) and your willingness to face yourself as you are and not feel less than as a result. Blessings to you, too!

  19. BamaCarol says:

    Thank you for this post. How very brave of you to write it. I have had these feelings for a long time but over the last few years have come to have peace with my looks because I have had some very severe health problems. I had 5 major surgeries in an 18 month period and after finally recovering my health, my looks are pretty low on my list of priorities these days. I do like to look nice, and take care of myself but after having over half of my hair fall out I am thrilled to have it growing back in now and healthy. I swim for exercise and am very faithful with conditioning it and not putting too many chemicals on it otherwise. I have recently cleaned out my closet thanks to your encouraging postings and finally have all of my clothes in one closet now! It is wonderful to see all of my clothes at once and I feel like I can make better decisions on what I need to purchase and can put together better outfits as well. Thanks so much for this blog and your willingness to put story out here for all of us to see.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I appreciate your comment, BamaCarol. It seems you’ve gained some wonderful perspective as a result of a very difficult time in your life. I’m glad that you’ve been able to recover your health and have been able to place your looks in the proper place in your life. I’m also happy that my blog has been helpful to you and that you’ve been able to consolidate your clothes into one closet. I’ve been able to do that, too, and it’s very satisfying! I wish you continued health and happiness with your life and your wardrobe.

  20. cs says:

    Hi Debbie,
    Thanks for sharing this with us. I want to celebrate your courage. I am sure expressing this publicly is a powerful move for you that shows the progress you are making. I see many people are encouraging you to ‘go natural’ with your hair’, and I agree, if you are ready to go there. Going gray and naturally curly has been popular these last few years and I think you will find a lot of support on the internet from others who have made the transition. But what I wanted to add is, have you considered that your naturally curly hair perfectly expresses that edginess you have inside of you? I think it will really complement your look, and may just be the crowning touch for your newfound style and your true essence.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for your kind words, cs. It does help me to express my thoughts publicly, especially since they seem to resonate with so many people. I am scared to go natural with my hair, but I think I’m gearing myself up for it. I will probably do one at a time, color or texture. I didn’t think about wavy/curly hair being edgy, but perhaps it is. Food for thought, for sure.

  21. Terra says:

    Dearest Debbie, an enormous triumph with this deeply moving, beautifully written post. Thank you for sharing what is in your heart. This piece, painfully honest to the bone, is laced with profound insight, and in the process you are helping so many others who are walking the same journey. When I was young there were many aspects you describe that haunted me too, and I’m sure all of us here can relate not only to your story, but also to the outpouring of intimate comments shared. Thank you everyone. One day I woke up feeling exactly as you are feeling now, feeling sick and tired of all the pretense. It’s a lovely feeling to know that you want to be done with all the perfection, to let those feeling go, isn’t it. I’m cheering for you! You are claiming yourself. My moment of awakening and claiming was in hearing a line in a Neil Young song… “Natural beauty should be preserved like a monument. Don’t judge yourself too harsh my love, someday you might find your soul.” Those words reached inside me. Debbie, you are, and we all are, a beautiful poem in progress, just as we are.

    1. Terra says:

      Ten years ago I destroyed my lovely long brown hair in a vain attempt to cover gray and make it sleek and smooth. I had gone to a well trusted professional, but it turned out I was allergic to hair dye and the other product. The next day my head was raw, it ruined my hair, and I had to cut it all off in a pixie cut and wait for it to grow out. But this was not the first time I ruined good hair in an attempt to have the perfection I was seeking. You would think I would have learned from the time when I was in high school and wanted blond hair and ended up with long brassy orange. The good news is that I have not dyed my hair in ten years, it is healthy again. I’m letting it go gray on its own. For a few years I endured LOTS of criticism. But now I get compliments on my hair. But it’s just hair, and I know that it could be gone in a flash. If it does I’m sure I will need lots of support from loving friends! Please remind me that its just hair.

    2. Debbie Roes says:

      I am grateful for the sentiments you expressed, Terra. I love the comments on this post, too, and I’ve really enjoyed reading them. It’s becoming less scary to write these types of posts because I receive so much encouragement and support, plus so many others seem to relate to what I’m writing. I know I have many kindred spirits out there, including you, and for that I am very blessed. I love the Neil Young line you quoted. I’ll have to listen to the whole song. You’re right that we are all beautiful poems in progress. That’s a great way of looking at it!

      Your hair experience sounds quite harrowing and it must have been very difficult for you to go through that. I thought I was going to have to shave my head, but it ended up being okay to just cut half of it off. I have had several bad hair experiences over the years, including the brassy orange result that you mentioned. You’re right that it’s just hair and we really need to remember that. It doesn’t define who we are. Please remind me, too, when I need to hear it that it’s just hair!

      1. Terra says:

        Debbie, I have two completely different types of hair texture depending on the humidity. In a dry climate my hair is straight. But in humid weather my hair is curly on the left side of my head and sort of wavy on the right side and frizzy all over. My husband loves it when I let my hair do its own wild thing in humidity, but I’m not so crazy about it. I’m trying to learn to love it, but like you, I’m happiest when there is less humidity and my hair is straight. So I completely know what you mean about feeling more like yourself with straight hair. Though recently, when my hair was doing its own thing in the coastal fog, a man very kindly and politely flirted with me while my husband, watched from a distance. Of course the man didn’t realize he was there. And afterwards my husband said, “See, I told you that you look great with your hair wavy and frizzed out, now do you believe me.” I love the new gray/silver color I’m slowing gaining, but I’m still working on loving my hair when it does what “it” wants to do.

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          The same thing is true of my hair! All summer long, it was SO humid and I couldn’t do anything with my hair. My wave is also uneven, plus the top layer (which is really damaged) is very frizzy. I often let my hair dry naturally at home to minimize damage and my husband will tell me it looks good. But I look in the mirror and all I see is a crazy woman. Maybe it doesn’t look THAT bad, but it does in my eyes. Perhaps I just need to get used to it. I think I’d like it better if it were longer, as the curl tends to make hair shrink up and look a lot shorter. I never leave the house with my hair au naturalle. I often will put it up when it’s really humid, though. I need to figure something else out before next summer, as I really had a hard time of it this year. Maybe I can learn to embrace the waves (while hopefully toning down the frizz) at least SOME of the time.

        2. Heather says:

          I really recommend reading up on how to manage curly hair on It helps you identify the type of wave, density, etc. of your hair and then you can see what kinds of products to use, and how to use them. I have very similar hair and 2 years ago I was able to learn how to work with my hair, so now I wear it wavy/curly in the summer, and then when the humidity dies down, I straighten it. I like that for at least 3 months my hair gets a break from the heat of the flat iron. I never knew how to care for wavy hair, so when I wouldn’t straighten it, it looked really inconsistent, the tricks (my favorite being scrunch each section 8 times) on the website made a world of difference.

        3. Heather says:

          I ran out of time the other day, but I wanted to thank you for your vulnerability. I think a lot of women can relate to all that you were saying. I know that my hair is an area where I have really struggled with insecurity. From slightly before puberty on, I felt like I had “triangle hair.” I would blow it straight, but it would still frizz and poof. When I finally discovered the flat iron, I remember thinking, “My hair feels like other people’s!” It’s been a journey for me as I’ve begun to embrace my wavy hair in the summer’s humidity, although it helps that I feel more casual and fun in the summer anyway, and the waves seem to go along with that.
          Ultimately any chooses that you make with your hair, either to continue doing exactly what you are currently doing (which looks great) or to try something new are not going to affect the beautiful inner part of you that is what keeps people coming back to your blog. All that to say, you’ve been vulnerable, which is always scary, and I hope that people’s ideas (including my own) come across as other people on a similar journey sharing what worked for them and not as people trying to fix you who you have to “try” to please.

        4. Debbie Roes says:

          I really appreciate what you had to say, Heather. As this past summer died down, I told myself that I HAVE to find a better way of dealing with my hair in humidity, as I always feel like I’m fighting a losing battle in such conditions anyway. I’m very familiar with “triangle hair” and that’s a big part of why I never try to wear a bob style. Due to the thickness and texture of my hair, it pretty much needs to be long or short, I think (although I haven’t done short all that much). I take some comfort in knowing that you’ve been able to deal with your similarly textured hair in the summer and I’m going to try to do the same. I DO see other people with wavy hair that I think looks pretty. I just have too much of a rigid perspective on my own hair and how I want to look, but that hasn’t exactly been serving me well, as this post expresses. I love what you wrote in your last paragraph. I am learning to appreciate myself more and more for who I am inside. Writing this post helped me a lot, as I am really, really tired of always trying so hard in many aspects of my life.

  22. Lynn says:

    I wonder whether you have read Carol Tuttle’s blog books, website etc. Your current straight hair and clothes seem to indicate Carol Tuttle’s Type 4 look, but ruffled toppers and asymmetrical hemmed skirts and un-straightened hair would also suggest type 2 or possibly 3.Carol seems to help many women to find their own true look and feel confident and good about themselves. It may help you feel happier and more confident with how you look.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I actually took the “Dressing Your Truth” course about two years ago, Lynn. I had a hard time determining if I was a Type 2 or a Type 4. I eventually decided that I was a Type 4 with a secondary Type 2. Actually, I feel most like myself in Type 4 looks and the straight hair is part of it. Taking the course helped me to better understand why I am so attached to perfect-looking straight hair. I feel more confident in the colors and shapes I’m wearing these days, but the hair part still has me stymied. I would be thrilled to pieces if my hair would just behave and be straight, but that’s not what’s coming out of my head now. I need to find a hairstyle that feels like “me” but isn’t such a struggle for me to create and maintain. I just got a link for a recording of a “Dressing Your Truth” session about hair, so I look forward to looking at that very soon.

      1. Saltbox says:

        Oh my goodness, Carol had me turning myself inside out and back to front trying to figure out what ‘type’ I was. I so wanted to put myself in a box with a label and I ended up having to be half 2 and half 4. I would have stuck to a 4 but I realised that my main attribute is questioning. I question absolutely everything which makes me a 2. I’d be a 4 if I had any confidence though so you can see why I drove myself half-mad trying to label myself. I had to stop in the end and acknowledge that I’m quite unique – as indeed we all are!!
        Heartfelt hugs x

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          I struggled with labeling myself, too, Saltbox. What I ended up doing is just taking the parts that best fit for me instead of adopting the program like gospel. I see that DYT has been beneficial for a lot of people, but I’m just not one that likes to fit myself into a box too much. If I like a color or style but it’s not recommended for my type, I’m still going to wear it.

  23. A powerful, brave and beautifully written article Debbie. Although I heard and liked the song, I never realised how powerful the lyrics are. I hope you can take those lyrics to heart because you are truly beautiful just as you are.
    As for myself, I try to mainly please myself with my looks. It’s important for ME to see an image that pleases me. I try to have fun with fashion as it puts a smile on my face. I also enjoy looking at others that have made an effort. I think it’s important to find that right balance. Still paying attention to your grooming and the way you look, but doing it mainly to please yourself and bring beauty and art to the world, rather than doing it to please others or to try and fit in.

    Wishing you lots of strength in your journey!

    I have shared your powerful message on my Facebook page and Twitter.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Sylvia, and for sharing my post on your social media. I like your approach toward style and I think you have found a good balance. You don’t seem to be a slave to trends even though you run a very high-profile style blog. I love your signature style with all of the asymmetrical garments and I especially like how happy you look in your clothes. The post you did where you wore your friend’s clothes was especially good, as you were able to see that even if you looked nice in some of the outfits, they weren’t really “you.” I’m getting a lot better at pleasing myself in terms of my clothes and everything else, but I still have a way to go before I’m where I want to be. I’m going to do my best to enjoy the journey!

  24. Tonya says:

    What a great post Debbie. You seem like you’ve come so far this last month alone!
    I used to put a lot more time and effort into my appearance when I was younger. I still feel a bit insecure when I’m breaking out (I’m 42-when will it end?) or when my hair is frizzy, but I don’t worry about it nearly as much as I used to. I feel like I’ve achieved a pretty good balance. I don’t wear makeup and I leave my hair natural when I’m home to give my skin and hair a break. If I need to run to the store and I’m wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt with no makeup, I’m fine with that. However, I still enjoy choosing a cute outfit and doing my hair and makeup if I’m planning a day or night out.
    I have curly hair that likes to frizz. Two things that have helped me are when I let it dry I clip the front part back with one of those claw clips? while it’s drying. That really cuts down on the frizz. Also when I do my hair I use a curling wand. That also cuts down on the frizz and isn’t as difficult to maintain as straight hair when it’s humid. It can take a little bit of added poofy 🙂 and still be okay. I knew I was fighting a losing battle when I moved to Tennessee with the hair straightener.
    I think I transferred many of my insecurities from my looks to my behavior. I had such unrealistic expectations of how I should act, feel, and think. While trying so hard to be “a good person” all of the good was going out to other people and there never was any directed to myself. I know I need to practice balance and be kind to myself in ALL areas before I can really achieve all the changes that I’ve been working for.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      You’re right, Tonya, I have come far in the past month. I think I’m really ready to change, even though it’s scary. I still break out sometimes at 48, so I’m not sure when it ends! I’ve always said that it’s unfair to have wrinkles and pimples on the same face, but I guess it happens to a lot of us. I think it’s great that you’re worrying less about your appearance. I went through a period like that, but then I got into my 40’s and it got worse again. But I’m tired of the worries and the stress and I would really like to change. Thanks for sharing your hair tips. I often feel like I’m fighting a losing battle here, too. It’s not usually as humid as Tennessee, but it might have been close this past summer. Something’s got to give! I have insecurities about my looks AND my behavior, but it’s making me miserable. Time to be much kinder to myself like you have learned to be!

  25. Jan says:

    Debbie, this is such a touching and honest post. Thank you for sharing. I can really relate to what you are going thru with your hair. I was known for my brunette hair, it was always long, thick & wavy. I started coloring to cover the white in my mid 30’s because I listened to other peoples opinions. As you know, I had an allergic reaction to hair dye after 15 yrs of coloring and was forced to stop dying it. The 11 months of growing the dye out was not easy. I wore hats and pinned my hair in various creative ways. At first, I was self conscience. But, as it grew out I felt more confident & bold even though I looked like a skunk! I know of 2 women who stopped dying their hair after watching me do it. Having a sense of humor helped me when I felt frumpy. I also wrote encouraging words to myself on my daily calendar to keep me focused on my goal. I now have white/gray hair that is soft with wavy layers below my shoulders. I agree with the comment above , I feel edgy, daring and more confident than when I dyed it. I’m learning to enjoy aging. I have 3 lovely nieces in their 20’s that I want to be a good example to, for aging gracefully . I look forward to reading your future posts. Thanks

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I really appreciate your sharing more of your hair story, Jan. I know you went through a lot, but it seems like you are in such a good place now and how wonderful that you’ve been able to inspire others. I always wondered about the “skunk look” when growing out grey hair, but I know that’s just temporary and if one isn’t allergic to hair dye, the hair can be colored blonde to get around that. I have read of many women who are MUCH happier after getting off the hair dye rollercoaster and I wonder if I would be one of them. I am just exploring the option right now, but I may opt to go that route before too long. I am inspired by your story.

  26. Alice says:

    A very moving post, thank you for the honesty. My hair was always my crowning glory, thick, long and natural strawberry blonde. I do sigh when I look at it now. I don’t dye it, I like grey hair, but it’s just so thin! And as someone who has gone through chemotherapy, and for 9 months had no hair, you would think I would be less vain!
    On the plus side, I gave up make-up about a year ago (except for lip gloss) and I am really loving the sense of relief. I wish I had done this much earlier. I now look at women piling on make-up and think ‘what on earth are you doing?’ I made the change after working with a group of women who mostly didn’t wear any – they looked so great just as they were I began to feel a bit silly, and now I doubt I would ever bother, except perhaps for a party or special night out.
    best wishes

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for sharing about your journey, Alice. It must be liberating to be free of hair dye and make-up. I like to wear make-up, but I’d like to feel okay NOT wearing it sometimes as well. Hair thinning with age seems to be very common. I still have a lot of hair because I started with so much, but it’s probably half as thick as it used to be. Sometimes I wonder when the hair loss will end. I think I need to find more things to value about myself outside of my appearance because I don’t want to be a shallow person and I really don’t think I am deep down. I see so much beyond the surface in others and need to do that more often with myself!

  27. Sharon says:

    Great thought provoking post. A lovely piece of writing. I can see you have inner and outer beauty. It must have been v distressing having so much trauma from hair straightening. I had a bad reaction to hair dye but it was no where near as severe as yours. I have long hair and have had it short but I can’t bear it short. I think it is a kind of security blanket. Society and the media put us all under undue pressure to be slim and fit, to wear certain clothes and not to wear such and such because we won’t look fashionable. At the end of the day we have to be happy with ourselves and say no to the endless merry-go-round of fashion.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Yes, my hair straightening experience was very traumatic, Sharon. I even worried at one point that I might die from it because of the breathing issues. Or I thought I’d have to shave my head in order to save my life. As it was, my dear husband washed my hair in the sink (because I would cough from the fumes in the shower) over 50 times to try to get the stuff out of my hair (it is bonded onto the hair and usually lasts 3 months under normal washing conditions). I think I have blocked out how truly horrible it was. I remember thinking how tragic it would have been for me to die just because I am not happy with my God-given hair. I still dye my hair and I know that reactions are possible from that, too. I use a more natural dye (Aveda), but problems can still occur). You’re last sentence really says it all. We all need to find a way to be happy with ourselves instead of chasing an ever-changing and often impossible to attain ideal. I hope to get there before too long.

  28. Kathy says:

    Another reason you may be having an issue with your hair is because you moved from a dry mountain climate-which tends to straighten our hair, to a humid beach climate-which tends to curl our hair. You have gone more edgy with your dress, I would try a more natural hair style for everyday and only flatiron once in a while. The french spend their money getting the best hair cut they can afford that brings out their best. Just a thought.

    I have begun to change my products to natural homemade recipes that our great grandma’s used and my hair has never been better. I wash with baking soda and do a white vinegar rinse -I’m an ashy blonde. Washing my hair 3 times a week, I only use my regular shampoo on one of these. Once it’s gone I won’t be replacing it. I do have highlights added every 3 months that enhance my “angel kisses” and my hair dresser doesn’t t put the color in my part and it really lasts that long.

    Highlights aren’t as harsh as all over coloring either. Darker hair may need different color treatment, but I think a solid color doesn’t look pleasing to the eye unless it is enhanced by shine.

    But again, just as with your wardrobe, you need to feel comfortable in your own skin and ask who am I doing this for. I add my thanks to all others for your candor.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      You’re right, Kathy. My hair is MUCH better when I visit my family in Lake Tahoe. I love the ocean, but my hair doesn’t so much! I am scared to do anything different with my hair, but I have to at least try. It’s not so risky to try something at home, so that’s where I will start. I’ve moved to more natural products, too, and don’t wash my hair very often. That helps, but the dye every four weeks probably isn’t good for me and it’s hard to maintain. You’re right that it’s all about being comfortable in our own skin. I’m not there yet…

  29. Lia says:

    Thank you Debbie for this beautiful post.
    I read you from Italy and your blog always makes sense to me. Please give your wavy and frizzy hair a chance to be free. Your life will simplify a lot. I found good advices on some years ago and since then I don’t straighten at all, only condition and diffuser with a flaxseeds-honey homemade gel that really is the best but there are also products you can use.
    Thank you again

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thanks for the tip, Lia. A few others have also recommended that website and I will check it out. I truly would love to be free of the straightener or to even use it less often. I have little faith that I could like my natural texture, but I’m going to try to keep an open mind. I’m happy to have at least one reader in Italy! I hope to visit your beautiful country one day.

  30. Sherri says:

    Beautiful writing, wonderful and honest post. I am a decade older than you, and have always had issues with my complexion. As a preteen, teen and even adult, I have had acne. I can’t tell you how many dermatologists I was dragged to growing up, but the meds never really helped. It wasn’t until after I delivered my last child that a new med came on the market, and seemed to help. But the damage was already done; scarring, discoloration, etc. I was still breaking out a bit at the age of 50!! I still will not leave the house without foundation and some powder, and if too many hours go by,I need to wash my face and reapply the makeup because it feels greasy. Even after all these years I have not found a perfect match to my skin tone, and sometimes feel as if I am wearing a mask. As I have aged, the imperfections and scars have become more pronounced because of sagging skin. So I understand insecurity, you can believe that. At some point, we just have to learn to count our blessings (as you have said), and get on with the business of life.

    1. Jan says:

      Sherrie , Check out this blog…. She is a beautiful woman with natural organic solutions for skin problems. (I now use avocado oil for my oily skin.) Good luck.

    2. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for sharing your story, Sherri, and thank you to Jan for the blog recommendation. I’ve had skin issues, too, but mostly around brown patches that I got from taking birth control pills. They have faded in recent years, but I still feel self-conscious without make-up. Insecurity is difficult to deal with, but it robs us of a lot of joy in life. I become more and more aware of that as the years go by. I don’t have the answers at this point, but I believe that if we question the status quo, we can experience breakthroughs. I wish that for you, me, and all those who struggle with appearance-based – and other – forms of insecurity.

  31. Sherri says:

    P.S. Have you ever thought of trying wispy bangs? I think they would look great on you!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I often like bangs on others, but never on myself, Sherri. I don’t like to have hair in my face/eyes, which is why I’m always putting my hair behind my ears. I might look good in bangs, but I’d probably want to grow them out. But what I have thought of trying is clip-in bangs that I could have dyed to match the rest of my hair. That way, I could play with the look as desired without the commitment. Win, win!

  32. Chelsea says:

    The hair issue can be really tough and often the solution takes a long time of trial and error rather than a quick fix. About five years ago, I had straight, copper red hair, cut into a stylish bob. It was gorgeous – but it was also not “mine” and it took lots of $$ and upkeep to maintain it. Today, I have long, almost black wavy hair – which is my natural hair. I didn’t get there overnight… But the journey has been worth it! I used to have my hair chemically relaxed, dyed every 3 weeks, straightened daily with a flat iron, and cut religiously. Now, my natural wavy hair air dries, and my natural dark hair does its thing. It’s liberating and fulfilling to know I’m not spending the money or time on looking like someone else. The process to get here wasn’t easy and it took a lot of moments of insecurity, but now that I’m here, I’m never going back! I do believe that if you were to embrace your natural texture, you will love it in time. Your hair will have to go through a period of adjusting from being straighted to being allowed to reform its natural curl/wave…but it will re-learn it’s texture! And as for frizz – it will go away too! I live in Florida (aka 1000% humidity) and my hair (with conditioning and minimizing damage) is frizz-free 🙂

    I feel like there is so much more I want to say… Great post!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I found your story very inspiring, Chelsea, so thank you for sharing it. If you can have no frizz in Florida, maybe I can have no frizz in San Diego. Of course, my hair is almost all grey, which is more prone to frizz, but it’s possible. Your previous hair sounds like mine now. I really do need to color it every 3 weeks, but I refuse to do so due to cost, time, and potentially hair damage. I would SO love not to have to flat-iron my hair and to still be able to like how it looks. I have to admit that it really feels impossible to me. I feel like I’d be “settling” for frizzy, unattractive hair, but your story gives me hope for another outcome. I am willing to go through the “growing pains” if I could get out of what feels like “hair prison.” I’m scared, but I’m getting closer to being willing to at least give it a try.

      1. Chelsea says:

        lol about “hair prison” – I felt like that too. My hair took up sooo much time and money, and yet the unknown of anything else was just too risky. The journey out of hair prison isn’t an easy or quick one, but it really is worth it. For instance, I found that growing my hair out some actually gave me more control over my frizz and curls since my hair, as it grew longer, began to weigh itself down some. The greater length also helped in giving me more options on how to style it (ie braid, top knot, ponytail, headband, half up half down) than my shorter length allowed. Now, I air dry it in the evenings using some product and “twisting” my hair into two long sections – I let it dry over night and undo it in the morning – my unruly curls/waves give way to smooth loose curls. If this is something you are interested in, feel free to email me for a more detailed account – or you may want to search “no heat curls” or “no heat waves” on Pinterest for some other ideas. The best part is that I found a way to style my hair (and I only wash it 2x a week – let your natural oils fight some of that frizz!) that’s non-damaging and gives me a look that is polished and pretty, but without the cycle of the hair prison.

        I’m so confident you can do it too. The scary part is trying. 🙂

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          I’ve done better with longer hair, too, Chelsea, for the same reason you mentioned. However, I had to cut a bunch of my hair off (and add layers, which I hate) due to all of the damage. I know I would be happier if my hair were longer and mostly one length, but I’ve struggled with growing it because I keep flat-ironing. It’s a vicious cycle, really. I don’t wash my hair very often, either, because it doesn’t get all that oily anymore. I would love to escape from “hair prison” and am willing to try other options to make things easier for me. Yes, I’m scared, but the frustration at the status quo is starting to outweigh the fear. I’m going to email you for more details about your hair-styling method, as it sounds like what worked for you might also work for me.

  33. Alice says:

    I forgot to mention – my hairdresser taught me a trick for my fine, slightly wavy, frizzy hair, When it’s partly dry you rub in a little product (eg mousse) and then take sections one by one and twist them (until it is all sort of in damp ringlets). Then dry it on low speed/high heat, with a diffuser, head upside down if possible, or if you are at home just let it dry by itself. The twists stop it frizzing and you end up with natural waves. It’s easy and doesn’t damage the hair.
    maybe worth a try

    1. GingerR says:

      I have started listening to what my stylist suggests as to doing my hair. She does know how to use products to get looks and it’s helpful.

    2. Debbie Roes says:

      Sounds like a promising styling process, Alice. I am definitely willing to give it a try. One thing I wonder, though, is if you have to wash and style your hair every day with this method. I don’t wash my hair all that often because it’s try and I wonder if I’d at least have to wet it daily if I were going to try to wear it wavy. Also, I think brushing creates frizz, right? So do you just use your fingers to fix your hair throughout the day? As you can tell, I pretty much know NOTHING about dealing with wavy/curly hair other than fighting against it!

      1. Alice says:

        I only brush my hair before I wash it, which is every 2 or 3 days. It’s usually flatter on the second day, in which case I would take a tiny bit of product like mousse or wax on my fingers and rub it through and re-twist. Serums are too slippery, and water can make it frizz – but you can just experiment with different.things (it’s quite traditional, people used to do ‘pin curls’ and let it dry before any modern appliances were available, in this you could also pin them, but I don’t). It’s not a tidy style, especially days 2/3, but worth trying as it avoids straightening and fierce blow drying. It’s basically working with the natural wave/kink (the hairdresser is keen on this and the salon even cuts hair dry, not wet, so that they can see how it behaves). I made it clear that i’m fairly hopeless with complicated styling, so they work with my limitations!
        If I want more curl I tong a few sections, but I only do this occasionally.

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          Thanks for explaining your hair styling method, Alice. I’ve always been curious about second or third day styling with wavy/curly hair. I have a friend who has curly hair and she always wets the whole thing every day even if she’s not washing it. But that seems like a pain. Your method sounds much more doable. Even if I could cut my flat-ironing in half, it would probably make a big difference. I’m pretty hopeless with complicated styling, too. I haven’t used a curling iron in years. All I know how to do is flat-iron and put my hair in a ponytail – LOL.

  34. You are an incredibly courageous woman. Your beauty really shines through in this post.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for saying this, Wendy. It made me smile 🙂

  35. Murphy says:

    Thanks for another honest & insightful post! I’m a decade older than you, and am trying just now to let up on myself and my need to please everyone. I know in my own case this pattern started at a young age when I tried to please my mother which was impossible. Unfortunately, at 81 she still does not approve of my hair, makeup or clothing and is not shy about saying so. But I have finally realized that this has very little to do with my appearance, and a lot to do with how she is feeling at a given moment. So I’ve finally started asking myself how I want to look and what I like to wear. Even though I have a few wrinkles, I actually like my appearance better now than I did in my 30s, although I still have many insecurities to overcome. Thanks for sharing – it’s so good to know that i’m not the only one working on these issues!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I can relate to what you wrote, Murphy. In my case, it was my father who was never happy with the way I looked or what I did in life. He doesn’t criticize my appearance or what I do now, but he doesn’t give me any praise, either. I still feel like I’m trying to win his approval at age 48 and it kind of pisses me off, actually. I’m really tired of trying to gain anyone’s approval besides my own. I always admire those people who totally march to the beat of their own drummer and feel that if others don’t like it, they can lump it. I think we CAN get past our insecurities and it sounds like you are well on your way. I wish you the best with your continued journey!

      1. Juhli says:

        So sorry that your Dad has had such a negative impact on your self worth. Some people are so damaged that they can’t give to others or they are just repeating what was done to them by their parents. Either way the challenge is to let them carry their own “baggage” and not let them pass it to us to carry.

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          You’re right, Juhli. My dad had a very traumatic childhood himself. Sadly, I internalized a lot of the messages I received from him and now I’m having a difficult time getting all of the nonsense out of my head. I’m glad I didn’t pass it on to anyone since I don’t have kids, but I’d like to stop being so mean to myself. I’m better than I used to be, but I need to accelerate the process because I’m not exactly a “spring chicken” anymore!

  36. GingerR says:

    I’m pretty gray myself. I color my hair because I’m in a competitive workplace and gray hair makes it look like I should be retiring. I had a much shorter cut this summer and toyed with the idea of not touching up the color and going gray, but ended up changing the color to be lighter. I imagine that having someone whose hair color changes around suggests that I’m no spring chicken, but I can only fret about so many things.

    My goal at present is to maintain hair that isn’t mono-color. I highlight every 6 months and like that I have different tones in my hair.

    Changing the length bothers me much less than going gray!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I understand the struggle about grey hair in the business world, Ginger. It’s sad that there’s such a double standard, as I know men don’t really worry about going grey. It sounds like you’ve come up with a good compromise with the lighter color and the highlights. I’ve talked to my stylist about going lighter, but she said I can’t do so yet without using bleach, as I still have 20-25% dark hair in there (my hair would never tolerate bleach, as it’s just too damaged). I’m not sure which would bother me more, going grey or changing the length. I’m pretty nervous about both, actually, but I’m going to have to do something. Even just writing about it was helpful, though, as I’m working up the courage to make changes.

  37. liesbeth says:

    I have long suffered from low self-esteem with regard to my appearance without even realizing how bad it was. That’s because unlike most women, I don’t have any weight issues and am pretty content with my body. I used to feel sorry for ‘those’ women all the while ignoring my own insecurities. My hair and my face have always frustrated me. Learning about mindfulness and self-acceptance has made me realize just how bad I subconsciously treat myself.
    I almost always wear make-up (foundation and blush at the very minimum). This started in college. Sometimes I don’t, for practical reasons (like for working out, or when I want to give my skin a rest on Sundays). When I’m not wearing make-up I feel ‘less-than’. I look in the mirror and assert to myself that I look pale, childlike and unworthy of anyone’s attention. I am very reserved with strangers, as if maybe I can avoid making an impression until I’m fully made-up. With friends, I weigh the decision whether or not to quickly put on some make-up against how deep the friendship is: I may have known someone for years but if I don’t deeply trust them I don’t want them to see me without make-up on. I even have to admit that I don’t really believe it when my husband says he thinks I’m pretty (unless he says it when I’ve made a real effort); and I have trouble feeling sexy when I’m without makeup and in my pajamas.
    It was equally bad when I realized that I am judgy about others on this same topic. I observed my own thoughts about friends and co-workers who choose to go natural and they were not nice: ‘I don’t understand why she doesn’t use blush, she looks so sickly without it’, ‘it doesn’t take that long to put on a little makeup in the morning’, ‘I can’t believe she never uses makeup; does she really think she can get away with it?’ etc.
    I’m smart enough to know that judging others is a clear indication of my own insecurities. But realizing my problem was only the first step. It takes so much effort to really convince yourself that you are enough without all the hard work and the time and money spent. I’m learning though and I have to say that (apart from a circle of great friends and family) mindful meditation may be the single most useful tool in the process.

    1. Alice says:

      Thank you for your honest post. It made me realise that I am also ‘judgy’ of others (although I never would say anything, just think it) – and why (my own insecurities, wanting to score points) . I hadn’t really acknowledged this before . Not on make-up, but on other aspects. It’s not a nice trait, and I will try to do something about it.

    2. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for being so open about your insecurities, Liesbeth. I could very much relate to what you wrote. I also feel “less than” when I’m not wearing make-up or when my hair doesn’t look good. I do feel less worthy of attention in such situations and that makes me sad. What you wrote about judgments struck a chord as well. I also judge others too often based upon their appearance. I know it’s because of my own insecurities, but it really bothers me because I don’t want to be so shallow. I’m usually able to notice that I’m doing it and turn it around, but I’d like to do it far less often in the first place. I can see how mindfulness meditation would be a useful tool for stopping the judgments toward self and others. I don’t know why I resist meditation so much, but I do. My mind always seems to be racing around at a thousand miles per hour and I know that’s not healthy.

      1. Anne says:

        Debbie – There are other mindfulness based practices that do not involve sitting meditation. Google Jon Kabat-Zinn and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. He has a couple of great movement based practices – yoga (both sitting and standing) and walking. I love the mindful yoga practices. They have really helped me cope with chronic pain, anxiety, depression and all manner of negative self-talk. I need to move to meditate and his voice is so calming as he guides you. It has been a life saver.

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          I think a movement-based meditation might work better for me, Anne. I remember walking a labyrinth and loving that. Mindful yoga sounds interesting. I’m going to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

  38. Stephanie Fallas says:

    Hi, my name is Stephanie, I’m going through exactly the same things too! Just want to tell you that for me it has been hard, because I can save money, I always spend all I have, so I never have money for important things, thanks for writing about it because people normally thing this is just a problem of selfish people or people thing this is just stupid and they don’t really know what It is about! You have my support! I keep learning day by day to become a stronger person but is certainly so difficult for me! Because I just want people to see perfection in me! I will love you to keep writing because in here I feel support ! THANKS in advance! 😀 :’)

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Welcome, Stephanie, and thanks for your comment. I’m glad you like my blog and this post. You’re right in that a lot of people misunderstand what compulsive shopping is all about. I think a lot of us are perfectionists. I know that has been a major problem for me for many years. This is definitely a supportive community here on the blog and you won’t have to worry about being judged here. I can relate to what you wrote and I know others can, too. I’m going to keep on writing and I hope you will comment again.

  39. KendraKay says:

    I love this song!! I pray over this part of my psyche on a regular basis b/c I’m longing to be free myself. With a daughter who will inherit my views to some extent (even the ones I try to hide) I wish for this journey to be complete yesterday. Still, since that’s not how life works, I hope she can at least see me grow in self acceptance. Hugs to you on this tricky path.!!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Thank you for your kind words, KendraKay. I think the fact that you’re working hard to change will have a positive impact on your daughter. She will see that you struggle (which is true of so many women in today’s society), but she will also see you questioning and challenging your beliefs. I send you virtual hugs, too, and I hope we will both achieve freedom from these issues very soon.

  40. Meli says:

    Just wanted to say- I loved this post! I’ve been mostly offline due to illness- fighting my third kidney infection right now (3 in 12 weeks time), so my commenting is minimal but not due to your lovely posts.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Good to hear from you, Meli, but I’m sad that you’re going through so many health challenges. I’ve never had a kidney infection, but I imagine it’s very painful. I hope you will feel much better soon. I’m glad you liked this post. Take good care of yourself. Sending virtual hugs and healing wishes!

  41. Lisa says:

    I’m nodding my head with this one. Long hair, yep, mine is almost down to the small of my back and I won’t let it go. I don’t like that I have to color it (too much grey to not color but not enough grey for me to accept being all grey yet) but I figure once I’m mostly grey I’ll just let it go. Until color it is. And I am a make-up gal all the way. I do not leave the house without my make up, even though it’s a five minute routine. It makes me feel good about me, and that’s all that matters.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I didn’t realize your hair was that long, Lisa. Mine was for a long time, but then it started to break a lot and I had to keep cutting it shorter. I have the same problem with the grey. If it was ALL grey, I think it would be easier to transition. Even so, I might be ready to do so before too long, as I’m SO tired of coloring it so often and having it not look very good about half the time (because I refuse to color more often than every 4 weeks). I wear make-up all the time, too. Even if I’m just going for a walk, I put at least a little on, as I feel better that way. I don’t intend to stop wearing make-up or doing my hair. I just want to be less wrapped up in it all. A little balance would be nice…

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